featuring guest authors; crafting tips and projects; recipes from food editor and sleuthing sidekick Cloris McWerther; and decorating, travel, fashion, health, beauty, and finance tips from the rest of the American Woman editors.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

AN INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR M.S. SPENCER

M. S. Spencer writes cozy mysteries and romantic suspense and has published eleven novels. She’s lived or traveled in five of the seven continents but has spent the last thirty years mostly in Washington, D.C. as a librarian, Congressional staff assistant, speechwriter, editor, birdwatcher, policy wonk, non-profit director, and parent. After many years in academia, she worked for the U.S. Senate, the U.S. Department of the Interior, in several library systems, and at the Torpedo Factory Art Center. Today she sits down with us for an interview. Learn more about her and her books at her website.

How long did it take you to realize your dream of publication?
I’ve been writing all my life, and had a few things published but only started to write novels 15-16 years ago. I wrote a novel before we had computers, and when we moved, my husband threw out the only copy I had of it. I loved him anyway. Then I got my first contract in 2008 with my first novel published in 2009.

Are you traditionally published, indie published, or a hybrid author?
Hybrid.

Where do you write?
In my study. It works for me to have a specific space dedicated to work (I think it helps tax-wise as well.

Is silence golden, or do you need music to write by? What kind?
I must have QUIET! Guess I can’t multitask like some people.

How much of your plots and characters are drawn from real life? From your life in particular?
Plots: no. Characters: not really. But events and little things are definitely drawn from my rather peculiar life. And no, I will not divulge any of them.

Describe your process for naming your character?
This is almost as fun as deciding who to dedicate my book to. I usually can’t even tentatively assign a name until about the third chapter. It has to fit the emerging character. Even then, thanks to the wonders of modern technology (Find & Replace) I may change my mind a thousand times.

Real settings or fictional towns?
Both. The Pit & the Passion is set in Sarasota, Florida. The Penhallow Train Incident is set in the fictional town of Penhallow, Maine.

What’s the quirkiest quirk one of your characters has?
Oh golly, they’re all pretty quirky. Rancor Bass, hero of The Pit & the Passion, is a best-selling, wildly popular, wealthy author—and the cheapest man on the planet. But he’s awful cute.

What’s your quirkiest quirk?
You’d have to ask my friends (DON’T ask my family.) Maybe that I’m the easiest person in the world to tease?

If you could have written any book (one that someone else has already written,) which one would it be? Why?
The Late George Apley by J. P. Marquand. It is one of the most exquisitely crafted books I’ve ever read. Or (big surprise) Pride and Prejudice.

Everyone at some point wishes for a do-over. What’s yours?
I would have been really, really tough on my husband’s smoking instead of thinking he could do it on his own. Too late now.

What’s your biggest pet peeve?
Ah, where do I begin? Gum chewing (do they know how bovine they look?), then people who can’t seem to get the extremely simple difference between “lend” and “loan.”

You’re stranded on a deserted island. What are your three must-haves?
A lot of Jack Daniels, a clever man, and…I think that’s all I need.

What was the worst job you’ve ever held?
The one retail job I ever had—for the 1970s equivalent of a dollar store. I was thrilled that I could get anything I wanted with my employee discount—trouble was, there was absolutely nothing I wanted. I also thought it was cool to be able to go through the door marked “Employees Only”, only to discover a disgusting bathroom on the other side. I did learn how to fold shirts.

What’s the best book you’ve ever read?
That is totally impossible to answer.

Ocean or mountains?
I have to have water nearby, but the ocean is not user-friendly enough. I like my Gulf of Mexico. I like mountains, too—not just forested ones, but pink bare rock like in Arizona. Do I have to choose? Why?

City girl/guy or country girl/guy?
Country. As Daniel Boone was fond of saying, I need my elbow room.

What’s on the horizon for you?
I just submitted a new mystery set on Amelia Island, FL. Lots of history and bodies. I’m working on a novel set in the Peruvian Amazon. And I’m going to the beach.

Anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself and/or your books?
Two of my books—Lapses of Memory and The Penhallow Train Incident—are in the process of being put onto audio format. A fascinating process.

Also, a little back-story about The Pit and the Passion: Murder at the Ghost Hotel: Set on Longboat Key, on the Gulf Coast of Florida, it is one of the barrier islands that protects Sarasota from the bad moods of the Gulf of Mexico. In the early 1920s John Ringling, of the Ringling Brothers Circus, began a concerted effort to promote the area. He planned housing developments, hotels, the St. Armand’s Circle shopping district, and other elements to draw northerners to Florida. His last great endeavor was the Ritz-Carlton at the tip of Longboat Key. Construction began in 1926…and ended in 1926. The hulk sat moldering until 1964 when it was finally torn down. To locals it was known as the Ghost Hotel.

The Pit and the Passion: Murder at the Ghost Hotel
At midnight, in the darkness of a deserted hotel, comes a scream and a splash. Eighty-five years later, workmen uncover a skeleton in an old elevator shaft. Who is it, and how did it get there? To find out, Charity Snow, ace reporter for the Longboat Key Planet, teams up with Rancor Bass, best-selling author. A college ring they find at the dig site may prove to be their best clue.

Although his arrogance nearly exceeds his talent, Charity soon discovers a warm heart beating under Rancor’s handsome exterior. While dealing with a drop-dead gorgeous editor who may or may not be a villain, a publisher with a dark secret, and an irascible forensic specialist, Charity and Rancor unearth an unexpected link to the most famous circus family in the world.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

#COOKING WITH CLORIS--WILD RICE, CHICKEN AND HAM SOUP

Nothing warms on a cold wintery day like a bowl of hearty soup. This wild rice, chicken and ham soup is one of my favorites. I use an Instant Pot to cook it, but a stockpot will also work.

For faster cooking, plan ahead. The next time you make wild rice, cook extra and freeze 2 cups. Likewise, dice leftover chicken and ham and freeze. Pull rice, chicken, and ham from the freezer an hour or two ahead of time to defrost before making the soup.

Wild Rice Chicken and Ham Soup

Ingredients for Wild Rice:
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
1-1/2 cups wild rice

Ingredients for Soup:
2 T. unsalted butter
1/2 cup onion, diced
1/4 cup celery, diced
1/4 cup carrot, diced
2 T. flour
3 T. dry sherry
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups cooked wild rice
2 cups cooked chicken, cut in bite-sized pieces
1 cup ham, diced
2 tsp. fresh thyme, minced
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup whole milk

Rinse rice thoroughly before cooking.

Cook the rice in a rice cooker or Instant Pot. If you don’t have a rice cooker or Instant Pot, bring 2 cups chicken broth, 1 cup water, and 1-1/2 cups uncooked rice to a boil. Cover and simmer 50 minutes.

Sauté onion, carrots, and celery in butter. Cover and reduce heat to allow veggies to soften, approximately 5 minutes.

Stir in flour. Stirring constantly, cook for 1 minute. Deglaze pan with sherry, scraping up bits of veggies from bottom of pot.

Add broth, cooked rice, ham, chicken, thyme, salt, and pepper. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes.

Stir in milk. Gently simmer until heated through, but don’t allow the soup to return to a boil.

Monday, January 29, 2018

#CRAFTS WITH ANASTASIA--THE FACELIFT CONTINUES

Back in November author Lois Winston decided to give me a facelift. No, she didn’t surgically remove all those wrinkles and worry lines I’ve accumulated thanks to all the murder and mayhem she’s subjected me to. If only, right? Instead she decided to update a few of my covers. She began with Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun and Death By Killer Mop Doll, the first two books in the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries. Click here to see the blog post where we unveiled the results. 

Next, Lois tweaked the cover of Decoupage Can Be Deadly, the fourth book in the series. Check that one out here

Lois recently turned her attention to the three Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mini-Mysteries, creating new covers to better brand them as a series. Over the next few weeks I’m going to share the new covers with you.

First up is Crewel Intentions, the first mini-mystery. In this novella I receive a desperate phone call from former American Woman fashion editor Erica Milano. Erica played a decisive role in Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun. She’s now in Witness Protection and living under a new identity in Western Pennsylvania. But someone is stalking her, and she has compelling reasons why she can’t go to the police or notify her Witsec handlers.

She’s convinced I’m the only person she can trust to help her, and she knows I won’t let her down. After all, she once saved my life. How can I not return the favor?

But will I be able to unmask the stalker before he strikes? Find out in Crewel Intentions.

Buy Links
Nook 

Friday, January 26, 2018

BOOK CLUB FRIDAY--INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR MARY MARTINEZ

Author Mary Martinez writes romantic suspense, romance, and women’s fiction. She’s recently begun to dabble in young adult mysteries. Today she sits down with us for an interview. Learn more about her at her website and her two blogs, Mary’s Garden and The After Work Cook.

When did you realize you wanted to write novels?
I’m not really sure when, for as long as I can remember.

How long did it take you to realize your dream of publication?
50+ years, but then I took a lot of years out to work and raise a family.

Are you traditionally published, indie published, or a hybrid author?
At one point I was a hybrid author. Now I’m indie published.

Where do you write?
I have an office I write in every morning before the day job. Then once every other month I have an 8 hour writing day with my critique partner at Barnes and Noble. My two friends and I have an annually three day writing retreat. Not to mention any other time I can find a place to sit down with my laptop.

Is silence golden, or do you need music to write by? What kind?
Oh I have music to write by. And depending what I’m writing depends on what I listen to. When I wrote Watching Jenny (she’s a rock star) I listened to Gwen Stefani and Alanis Morissette. Right now I’m writing a fantasy set in ancient Ireland, I’m listening to Celtic Women. The louder the better.

How much of your plots and characters are drawn from real life? From your life in particular?
Not the plots, but characters have personality traits of friends. Most of my work is fiction.

Describe your process for naming your character?
I use a baby name book. First though, I write the back-story and if the character is Irish or Italian I look for ethnic names. For my fantasy I’ve researched and will be using ancient Celtic names, some named after gods of lore.

Real settings or fictional towns?
Most of my towns are real settings, but I’ve written a couple of books with a fictional town.

What’s the quirkiest quirk one of your characters has?
Effie in my latest book is petite and cute and dresses whimsical. Likes to wear bright colors and one sock is striped and the other polka dot, that sort of thing. She’s described as reminding people of a demented elf or Tinkerbell in another life. With a potty mouth of course.

What’s your quirkiest quirk?
I’m very random. My mind is always working so I’ve been known to just ask a question about the world at a random moment

If you could have written any book (one that someone else has already written,) which one would it be? Why?
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. Because it was just brilliant.

Everyone at some point wishes for a do-over. What’s yours?
I have a lot of those. Let’s see, there are so many. High school I would have studied more and gone onto college instead of listening to my parents to get married and have kids instead. I love my kids; I just would have had them a couple of years later.

What’s your biggest pet peeve?
I have to work a day job so I don’t have time to write 20 emails. So my biggest pet peeve is when I put ALL the information in an email about an event of some sort and the people I’m sending it to skim and don’t read. Then send me 20 emails asking questions that would have been answered if they’d read the damn email. Sorry, pet peeve big time.

You’re stranded on a deserted island. What are your three must-haves?
Since there is no Internet of electricity, my laptop is out. So a LARGE pad of paper, a box of pencils/pens, and water.

What was the worst job you’ve ever held?
Working as an office manager for an HOA (Home Owners Association) crooked as crooked can be.

What’s the best book you’ve ever read?
Oh sure, like I can come up with just one. In Cold Blood of course. LOL. But seriously I have so many. So I’ll go with the most recent best book I’ve ever read. And that would be The Rent Collector.

Ocean or mountains?
Ocean

City girl/guy or country girl/guy?
City Girl

What’s on the horizon for you?
Hopefully a contract with one of the NY publishers. The fantasy story I’m writing. I’ve been planning this for years.

Abandoned, Book VI of The Becket Series (Release date February 14, 2018)

Glenna Beckett loves her family dearly, but being the youngest of six can be overwhelming. Moving across country helped her learn who she was outside the family. She’s built a successful business in the form of a quaint shop on Main Street of Calistoga, that sells a bit of everything vintage, the new age term for antique. What more does she need?

Then he walked into her shop. International playboy, Lance Gordon. After a whirlwind courtship he asks her to marry him. Burying a niggle of doubt in the pit of her tummy, she says yes. He’s even agreed to have the wedding in Brooklyn so her family can attend. But he never arrives.

Glenna refused to believe she’d been abandoned at the altar and asks her brother, Tyler, to contact an agent friend on the West Coast to search for Lance.

Patrick McGinnis can’t believe he’s walking into a prissy shop in the high end of the Napa Valley searching for a missing groom. The bride, Glenna Beckett, is everything he feared, drop dead gorgeous, and a spoiled brat. Not that he’d ever tell her brother that. He hates wild goose chases, and this mission is exactly that. Patrick’s certain the playboy fiancé is off wooing some other delectable creature.

Unfortunately, once Patrick started to dig, he finds there’s more to the tale and it will take all his skills as an agent to keep Glenna safe. Especially when the case takes a turn and threatens the safety of his son, Finn.

Buy Links (coming soon)  
Meantime, in honor of the new release, read Disappear, Book I The Beckett Series, for free through 3/8/18.) 

Thursday, January 25, 2018

INTERVIEW WITH AMATEUR SLEUTH ROBBIE JORDAN

Every so often we like to mix things up here at Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers by adding a new feature. To mark a new year we’re adding the occasional character interview. Here to start us off is an interview with Robbie Jordan, the amateur sleuth of Maddie Day’s (aka Edith Maxwell) Country Store Mystery series.

What was your life like before your author started pulling your strings?
I was working as a chef at an inn in southern Indiana, riding my bike, doing puzzles, hanging out with Aunt Adele, and trying to get over my rotten ex-husband.

What’s the one trait you like most about yourself?
I’m a hard worker, and when I start a project, I finish it.

What do you like least about yourself?
I’m still a little freaked out by my last two romances going south, and it’s hard to trust that Abe is truly the good guy he seems to be. But I’m working on it.

What is the strangest thing your author has had you do or had happen to you?
Finding a body in a frozen lake wasn’t much fun!

Do you argue with your author? If so, what do you argue about?
Sometimes she wants to get me into dangerous situations, and I have to keep telling her I am NOT going into that basement alone.

What is your greatest fear?
That I’ll lose my aunt or my father. They are all the family I have.

What makes you happy?
That’s a tossup between solving a really challenging crossword puzzle and taking a long hilly bike ride.

If you could rewrite a part of your story, what would it be? Why?
Of course I wish my mom was still alive. It was money she left me when she died suddenly that enabled me to buy and renovate my country store and open Pans ‘N Pancakes, but I’d ditch the whole project if it would bring her back to life.

Of the other characters in your book, which one bugs you the most? Why?
State police detective Oscar Thompson bugs me a bit, but it’s not serious. He’s just such an odd dude, and he doesn’t like me butting into his cases. I think he’s starting to grow on me, though.

Of the other characters in your book, which one would you love to trade places with? Why?
Despite murder being awful, it turns out I’m pretty good at figuring out who the bad guy is. Sometimes I wish I could trade place with Lieutenant Buck Bird so I would actually have training in crime fighting.

Tell us a little something about your author. Where can readers find her website/blog?
Maddie, aka Edith Maxwell, lives north of Boston and churns out books from her second-floor office, where she can keep track of who’s going where on her street. All her books and short stories are described on her website. She blogs every weekday with the Wicked Cozy Authors, on the third of the month at Killer Characters, and on the second Thursday at Inkspot.

What's next for you?
Death Over Easy will be out next summer. I’m so excited that my Italian father and his wife come to visit during the Bluegrass Festival. Too bad a musician is killed and then a really nice customer of mine is, too. Life gets pretty complicated!

Biscuits and Slashed Browns, A Country Store Mystery

For country-store owner Robbie Jordan, the National Maple Syrup Festival is a sweet escape from late winter in South Lick, Indiana—until murder saps the life out of the celebration. Robbie drops her winning maple biscuits to search for answers. But can she help police crack the case before another victim is caught in a sticky situation with a killer?

Buy Links

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

A COWGIRL'S FRUSTRATIONS

Donna Schlachter writes historical suspense under her own name and contemporary suspense under her Leeann Betts alter ego. Donna also teaches writing classes and courses and is a ghostwriter and editor of both fiction and nonfiction. Learn more about her and her books at her website where you can receive a free book by signing up for her newsletter. Today her heroine, “Cactus” Lil Duncan, from A Prickly Affair, one of the seven stories in the A Bouquet of Brides Collection, joins us for a bit of insight into her life.

At the time my story begins, I would say my biggest frustration was the fact that I was penning love stories but had never been in love. Not even once. Not a kiss behind the schoolhouse. Not a pitter-patter of my heart when dancing at the local barn dance, not even a dreamy thought in my head about a handsome cowboy glimpsed on a shopping trip to town.

Which might surprise you, but wasn’t really so strange at the time.

Love was a scarce commodity in a land as harsh as Arizona Territory of the time. Hot days, desiccating winds, piercing sand storms, droughts as deep and black as the devil’s heart—at least, if I believed what my mother said—none of this encouraged tears of joy or gasps of delight.

So with none in my real life, I set about to create a world I could escape into. And I didn’t need a fancy dress, or a parasol, or button-up boots. All I needed was a pen, paper, and a few minutes in the evening between eating dinner and collapsing into my bed. Alone.

But looking back on the entire situation now, I can see the hand of God in all of this. If my head was filled with useless notions of how love should be, I might have missed the real thing when it came along.

Just another example of how He had it all under control the whole time.

A Bouquet of Brides Collection
A Collection of Seven Novellas by Seven Different Authors

Meet seven American women who were named for various flowers but struggle to bloom where God planted them. Can love help them grow to their full potential?

A Prickly Affair
A rough-and-tumble cowgirl, “Cactus” Lil Duncan longs for true love, but is afraid to let down her prickly exterior when a city slicker from New York City, with less-than-honorable intentions, tries to win her heart and her hand.

Buy Links

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

#COOKING WITH CLORIS--LEMON CREAM CHEESE COFFEE CAKE WITH PECAN STREUSEL

The other day I found myself with 4 ounces of cream cheese that I needed to use before it turned to mold in my fridge. This one’s for the lemon lovers out there.

Lemon Cream Cheese Coffee Cake with Pecan Streusel

Muffins:
1-1/4 cups flour
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 cup sugar
4 oz. cream cheese, cut in 1/4” cubes
1 egg
1/3 cup oil
1/2 cup milk
1 T. lemon juice
1 T. grated lemon peel
4 oz. lemon curd

Streusel Topping:
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
3 T. cold butter, cut in 1/4” cubes

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease and flour a 7” x 11” pan.

Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Cut in cream cheese.

In a separate bowl combine the egg, oil, milk, lemon juice, and lemon peel.

Add the wet to the dry mix a little at a time just until all ingredients are combined.

Pour battr into pan. Microwave lemon curd for 15-20 seconds. Drizzle over top of batter.

For streusel topping use a food processor to pulse brown sugar, pecans, and butter until crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over batter.

Bake 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean.

Monday, January 22, 2018

#CRAFTS WITH ANASTASIA--AUTHOR LOIS WINSTON'S FINE ART DOPPELGANGERS

My Selfie
There’s an app for everything these days—whether you’re looking for a parking spot or tracking the number of steps you walk each day. Now there’s even an app that will show you your fine art doppelganger.

I recently learned about a new app developed by Google. It’s called Google Arts & Culture. It’s free and fun and even though it’s from Google, it’s available for iPhones, as well.

The app’s description states, “Meet the people, visit the places and learn about the events that shaped our world. Discover collections curated by experts from the most famous museums. Be moved by stories depicted in thousands of photos, videos, manuscripts and artworks on every type of screen and in virtual reality. Find your favorite artworks, create your own collections and share them with friends.”

But the coolest feature of the app is that it will show you which famous artwork you most resemble. All you do is snap a selfie and let the app do its thing. I couldn’t resist.

Then I saw my closest match. Ugh! By 46% my closest museum double was a portrait painted either by or in the style of Franz Hals. I’m not sure it’s even a woman! This was so embarrassing that I’m not even going to show it to you. I will, however, show you the other matches.
Coming in at 41% is "La Muse de Rops", an 1895 sketch by Felicien Victor Joseph Rops. It hangs in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
At a 40% match is an 1864 portrait of Harriet Weld Corning by Charles Loring Elliott. It can be found at the Albany Institute of History & Art.
At 39% is a 1944 charcoal portrait of Sgt. Lois Wilson by Francis Vandeveer Kughler. You’ll find it at the Hudson River Museum.
And finally, at a 36% match is the daughter from "Mother and Daughter" by Victorio C. Edades. Painted in 1926, it’s in the collection of the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum.

So what do you think? Do you see any resemblance between these portraits and me? And do you think you’ll check out the app to find your own artwork double?

Friday, January 19, 2018

BOOK CLUB FRIDAY--GUEST AUTHOR LINDA CARROLL-BRADD

Today Linda Carroll-Bradd, author of contemporary and historical romance, sits down for an interview. Learn more about Linda and her books at her website.

When did you realize you wanted to write novels?
Not until after I’d finished college and started raising a family. I kept envisioning different endings to the romances I was reading. Of course, when I tried, then I learned how many aspects are involved in creative writing.

How long did it take you to realize your dream of publication?
I worked at writing on a part-time basis for twelve years before my first paid publication, which was a story for the confession magazines. My first sale to a book publisher came a couple years later.

Are you traditionally published, indie published, or a hybrid author?
A hybrid. I’ve been published by seven traditional publishers and have also have indie-pubbed several titles under my real name and my erotic romance pen name, Layla Chase.

Where do you write?
In an office in our home in the southern California mountains.

Is silence golden, or do you need music to write by? What kind?
I can write with or without music. When I want to create a certain mood or capture a tone, I’ll put on ethnic music connected to one of the characters.

How much of your plots and characters are drawn from real life? From your life in particular?
I draw from real life for the plots because I research a lot and visit museums on any of the car trips my husband and I take. I find working a real-life event into a romance plot a thrill. The characters are all from my imagination.

Describe your process for naming your character.
I use The Writer’s Digest Character-Naming Sourcebook and start with the nationality I believe demonstrates the character’s background. I strive for unusual names, because I was most often one of several Lindas in my neighborhood or classes while growing up. So, I want my characters to be memorable.

Real settings or fictional towns? 
Fictional towns laid over real settings. That way I can find a map, even a historical one, and picture how the town is laid out in comparison with the surrounding geography.

What’s the quirkiest quirk one of your characters has?
 I work hard to give my characters something unique. One of my heroes does scrimshaw, a skill he learned from his time spent trapping in Alaska.

What’s your quirkiest quirk?
Can’t walk into a movie theater or start a movie at home after the opening scene has started.

If you could have written any book (one that someone else has already written,) which one would it be? Why?
Pride and Prejudice because who wouldn’t want to be known 200 years in the future for her creative endeavor?

Everyone at some point wishes for a do-over. What’s yours?
Starting on my writing path at least a decade earlier.

What’s your biggest pet peeve?
People without the ability to wait their turn, either in traffic or in stores. People who are too me-oriented.

You’re stranded on a deserted island. What are your three must-haves? Sunscreen for my easy-to-burn skin, wet wipes because I can’t stand damp sand on my skin, and a trunk filled with romance novels

What was the worst job you’ve ever held?
Telephone solicitor for vacation property as a high-school student. I didn’t have the maturity to handle rude hang-ups.

What’s the best book you’ve ever read?
The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley, because I loved the feminist bent of the retelling of the King Arthur tale.

Ocean or mountains?
Mountains

City girl/guy or country girl/guy?
Grew up in a city but always wished I could have lived in a small town.

What’s on the horizon for you?
I’m working on a couple of big-themed books that I hope to finish in 2018. One is a prairie historical I’ve been working on for several years involving a paroled convict half-breed and a Swedish immigrant on a homestead, and the other involves the Nez Perce tragedy and how the Army tracked them for months.

Anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself and/or your books?
I write clean and wholesome stories that always have a bit of humor and contain lots of heart.

Tending Troubles, Book 6 in Lockets & Lace multi-author series

Traveling west to become a mail-order bride is the most adventurous act Bostonian Imogene Franklin ever did. Unfortunately, the groom chose another so now Imogene must make her way on her own. Dreading the idea of returning home to continue raising her siblings, she is reduced to waiting tables in the Dorado café.

Guilt hangs heavy over Reggie Othmann—ever since he brought home a childhood illness that claimed both his parents’ lives. The ink is barely dry on Reggie’s degree when he arrives home in Dorado to establish a medical practice. All he’s wanted since he was ten years old is to help people, but now he’s unsure of his future. When illness descends on the town, Reggie and Imogene tend the townspeople but is their emotional tie born of the closeness of the ordeal or perhaps something more?