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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Welcome Vickie McDonough and Finally a Bride

Please interact with our guest authors by answering the question they provide. Your response will also enter you in the drawing for a free book.


VICKIE MCDONOUGH is an award-winning author of 23 books and novellas. Her books have won the Inspirational Reader's Choice Contest, Texas Gold, the ACFW Noble Theme contest, and she has been a multi-year finalist in ACFW’s BOTY/Carol Awards. She was voted Third Favorite Author in the Heartsong Presents Annual Readers Contest in 2009. Vickie is the author of the fun and feisty Texas Boardinghouse Brides series from Barbour Publishing. Watch for her new books from Moody Press, Texas Trails: A Morgan Family series, in which she partners with Susan Page Davis and Darlene Franklin to write a 6-book series that spans 50 years of the Morgan family. The first three books release this fall. Also, next year brings the release of another new series from Guidepost Books, Whispers on the Prairie, set in 1870s Kansas. Vickie hopes readers find her stories An Adventure into Romance.

by Vickie McDonough
Published by Barbour Publishing


Keep your eyes wide open for romance in Lookout, Texas. Noah Jeffers enters town determined to make up for past misdeeds. Reporter Jacqueline Davis is determined to nail her story. Will she uncover Noah’s secret before he can capture her heart? With nowhere else to go, ex-con Carly Payton returns to the Lookout boardinghouse. Garrett Corbett is looking for an upstanding wife, not some jailbird. What will he do when overpowered by Carly’s unassuming appeal? Does love deserve a second look?

Readers, buy your copy of Finally a Bride (Texas Boardinghouse Brides, Book 3) today!


Developing Characters Using Archetypes
By Vickie McDonough

I’ve often been asked how I create the characters in my books, and I generally respond, “That’s a tough question.”

It is tough, because like a baby in a womb, a character will start tiny, then grow and develop as I spend more time thinking about him or her. They sometimes develop because of the plot. Say my character is a marshal—this is probably a good time to mention I write mostly historicals. A marshal is brave, tough, not afraid to put his life on the line, so it’s safe to assume he’s probably an Alpha male. Tall, strong, self-reliant, and a protector of the innocent. Can you imagine a Beta male as a marshal? Think computer geek with a gun. It reminds me of that old Don Knotts’ movie called The Shakiest Gun in the West. 

I’m not saying you couldn’t have a Beta male as a marshal, but that would be a whole different type of story, probably about a man learning to conquer his fears to protect the people he cares for.

Some writers use character sheets with long list of questions to develop their characters, while others use tests like the Myers-Briggs or The Four Temperaments. What I’ve found that works best for me is a book called The Complete Writers Guide to Heroes and Heroines: Sixteen Master Archetypes by Tami D. Cowden, Caro LaFever, and Sue Viders.

The word "archetype" was coined by Carl Jung, who theorized that humans have a collective unconscious, “deposits of the constantly repeated experiences of humanity.... a kind of readiness to reproduce over and over again the same or similar mythical ideas...." This shared memory of experiences has resulted in a resonance of the concepts of hero and heroine that transcends time, place and culture. Jung called these recurring personalities archetypes, from the Greek word archetypos, meaning “first of its kind.”

Author Tami Cowden states, “These archetypes are not the inventions of my coauthors and me – they have existed for millennia. All we did was name and describe them, and then gather examples from an assortment of cultural media.

Heroes and Heroines promotes that there are 8 male and 8 female archetypes.

The Chief
The Bad Boy
The Best Friend
The Charmer
The Lost Soul
The Professor
The Swashbuckler
The Warrior

The book gives a complete description of each archetype, including their strengths and weaknesses, which I’ve found extremely helpful in developing 3-D characters. The Warrior is an archetype I’ve used in several books, such as Luke Davis in The Anonymous Bride. Here’s a brief description:

The WARRIOR: a noble champion, he acts with honor. This man is the reluctant rescuer or the knight in shining armor. He's noble, tenacious, relentless, and he always sticks up for the underdog. If you need a protector, he’s your guy. He doesn’t buckle under the rules and he doesn’t go along just to get along. Think Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry, Russell Crowe in Gladiator, Mel Gibson in Braveheart.

You can see how this type of archetype would work well for a marshal, a determined rancher, or detective.

Heroine Archetypes:

The Boss
The Seductress
The Spunky Kid
The Waif
The Free Spirit
The Librarian
The Crusader
The Nurturer

An archetype I often use for a heroine—think of Jack (Jacqueline) in The Anonymous Bride and Second Chance Brides—is The Spunky Kid. (For those of you who’ve read these books and are saying, Jack’s not the heroine—try reading Finally A Bride, book 3 in my Texas Boardinghouse Brides series.

The SPUNKY KID: gutsy and true, she is loyal to the end. She is a favorite of many writers, and for good reason. You can’t help but root for her. She’s the girl with moxie. She’s not looking to be at the top of the heap; she just wants to be in her own little niche. Think Meg Ryan in Sleepless in Seattle, Melanie Griffith in Working Girl, Mary Tyler Moore in The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Whoopi Goldberg in Sister Act, Fiona in Shrek.

So, after I’ve thought about my characters and what they will be going through during the storyline, their character begins to take shape. By then, I know which archetype they are and can use the book to help me develop them further.

Another aspect of Heroes and Heroines is that it shows you toward the end of the book how the different male and female archetypes will clash and mesh. This is fabulous info! Let me show you how I used this to plot a book I haven’t yet sold. It’s called Gabriel’s Atonement.

Gabriel is a gambler, and he’s a Chief archetype. He’s knows what he wants and goes after it. He’s decisive and can read people well. On the negative side, he’s stubborn, usually unsympathetic, and has learned to get what he wants by using the System rather than being a rule-breaker. He is well-liked among his peers, but doesn’t have a close friend. If challenged, he tends to be amused rather than angered.

Enter Leah, my heroine, who is—no surprise here—a Spunky Kid. She’s a single mother with a young child, a rebellious teen sister, and a grandfather who is ailing to care for. She is reliable and supportive of others and never looks for a handout. Her gutsy perseverance makes up for her lack of experience.

So…Gabriel has accidently killed Leah’s husband, and when he discovers the dead man has a wife and young son, he seeks to return the money he fairly won from the man. Leah doesn’t believe her no-account husband had any money and refuses Gabe’s help. He’s determined to help her, and she’s adamant that she won’t accept his help. Enter conflict.

He believes his work (gambling) is important, where she believes in God and family. But, when the chips are down, The Chief and Spunky Kid are there for each other. He realizes she is someone he can depend on, while she discovers he’s a man who follows through when others don’t. A grudging respect develops. He learns she can’t be bullied into doing anything she doesn’t feel is right, while her positive outlook on life and her humor bring laughter into his world for the first time in a long while.

I could go on, but I hope I’ve shown you how Heroes and Heroines can help you develop your characters. This isn’t the only book out there that writers find helpful, but it is the one I’ve used the most.

The key is knowing why your characters do what they do. What motivates them? Tami Cowden states, “Any archetype can do anything – the question will always be why.”

For a little fun, which archetype do you think these commonly known movie characters are?

Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic
Harrison Ford in Raiders of the Lost Ark
Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz
Kathleen Turner in Romancing the Stone

* * * * *

Thank you, Vickie, for sharing with us today.

Guest Question: Look at the end of the guest blog to make your guess on the archetypes of the 4 well-known movie characters listed above.

ENTRY RULES Readers, leave your email address (name at domainname dot com/net) along with your answer to the question for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of the book above. If you do not answer the question, and your email address isn't provided, you will not be entered.

This week, the contest is open to US/Canada residents only.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Welcome Ann Shorey and The Dawn of a Dream

Please interact with our guest authors by answering the question they provide. Your response will also enter you in the drawing for a free book.


ANN SHOREY has been a story collector for most of her life, and has been a full-time writer for over twenty years. Her writing has appeared in Chicken Soup for the Grandma’s Soul, and in the Adams Media Cup of Comfort series. She made her fiction debut with The Edge of Light, Book One in the At Home in Beldon Grove series, which released in January 2009. The third book in the series, The Dawn of a Dream, released in April, 2011. She’s tempted to thank Peet’s coffee and Dove chocolates when she writes the acknowledgments for her books.

When she’s not writing, she teaches classes on historical research, story arc, and other fiction fundamentals at regional conferences. Ann lives with her husband in southern Oregon.

She may be contacted through her website,, which also contains her blog, or find her on Facebook at

by Ann Shorey
Published by Revell


She’s embarking on a new life—but can the past truly be left behind?

Luellen O’Connell is stunned when her husband of just one month tells her he is leaving—and his reason leaves her completely astonished. Deeply wounded by his betrayal, Luellen decides to finally follow her dream to become a teacher, a desire she had set aside when she married. But can she truly hide her past? Or will it destroy her ambitions forever?

A moving story of tenacity and perseverance in the face of opposition, The Dawn of a Dream will inspire you to discover and follow your own dreams.

“Her best book yet! Ann Shorey’s The Dawn of a Dream reminded me of a fine tapestry. A skillful blending of nineteenth-century history, intriguing facts about teachers’ training, and vivid descriptions of military life form a background for the story of one woman’s determination to achieve her dream, despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Readers looking for a gentle story of love and honor should not miss it.” —Amanda Cabot, author of Tomorrow’s Garden

Readers, buy your copy of The Dawn of a Dream today!



I have a dear writer friend and mentor who’s multi-published. She’s guided me along for many years, first by critiquing my initial fiction efforts, then later by endorsing my novels. Since we live in the same area, I’ve seen how the writing life has affected her.

But like so many other things, I could see enough differences in our lifestyles to believe that the pressures she experienced wouldn’t happen to me. Wrong.

When my first novel, The Edge of Light, was released, I already had much of the second one (The Promise of Morning) written. So the book signings and book talks weren’t too much of an interruption. Now fast forward to writing Book 3 in the At Home in Beldon Grove series, The Dawn of a Dream. Here’s where I started to learn what the writing life is really like.

During the time after The Dawn of a Dream went to the publisher, I signed a new contract for another three-book series and began writing Book 1 in the new series. This is when things stopped being easy. :) The first series was historical fiction, as is the new one. Historical fiction requires research—which is the fun part—but time-consuming.

So the new reality is when I say I’m a full-time writer, that about sums it up. When a new book releases, I schedule book signings in our local area. Keep in mind, these signings are happening at the same time I’m in the middle of writing a book, or correcting galleys for my last book, or filling out questionnaires from the publisher, or all of the above.

One thing I’ve learned so far, that I’m happy to share, is that the farther from home I schedule a signing, the smaller the turnout. The exception to this is signings scheduled with other authors, or following a theme. For instance, I spoke and did a signing for The Edge of Light at a bookstore in Sisters, Oregon, during their well-known annual Quilt Festival. Two other authors also participated. The town overflowed with quilters, mostly women, so the attendance was great and so were sales.

On the other hand, I traveled to Washington state (I live in Oregon) with another author to do a signing on her home turf. Unfortunately, the event was scheduled on what turned out to be a gorgeous spring afternoon. Almost no one came—everyone was outside enjoying the weather.

Whatever the attendance, the thing I like best about doing a book signing is talking to the people who stop by, whether or not they buy a book. Another thing I’ve learned that I’ll share, just in case you’re contemplating your first signing, is to speak to the people who come by. Speak first. Say “hi,” ask what they like to read, compliment their outfit, whatever. If you come across as friendly, people will engage with you.

Another lesson I’m still learning is to “triage” my workload. When I’m right down to the wire on a deadline, I don’t do anything but work on my book. I try to save evenings and weekends for my husband, but with my last book even those times went out the window once or twice. In a workshop years ago, I asked the presenter, a published author, how she managed to take care of her home and family and still write. Her answer has served me well. She said she puts most of her home chores off until her husband is there and she can’t focus on her writing anyway.

So, I fold clothes, iron, sometimes vacuum, change the linens, whatever, when my husband’s around. He doesn’t mind—probably doesn’t notice—because he’s busy with his own home chores. This was a hard one for me to put into practice, because I grew up in a time when women were expected to be homemakers. There were even marriage tips about being all glamorous when hubby got home, have the kids fed, house clean, you name it. Not that I ever achieved that level of servitude, but I tried. Cleaning house when he’s around is a big change for me.

I know as time and deadlines go by, there is much more I have to learn. Right now, I must say the biggest thing I’ve learned is how much God has blessed me to allow me to do something I love. I wouldn’t change a thing about my life.

* * * * *

Thank you, Ann, for sharing with us today.

Guest Questions: If you’re an author, perhaps you would share one of your best “finding time to write” tips with me.

I’d also like to hear from readers as to what you think about book signings. Do you like attending? What do you want to see from an author when you attend a signing?

ENTRY RULES Readers, leave your email address (name at domainname dot com/net) along with your answer to the question for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of the book above. If you do not answer the question, and your email address isn't provided, you will not be entered.

This week, the contest is open to US/Canada residents only.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Welcome Kathi Macias and People of the Book

Please interact with our guest authors by answering the question they provide. Your response will also enter you in the drawing for a free book.


KATHI MACIAS is a popular speaker and an award-winning author of more than 30 books. She and her husband, Al, live in Southern California.

Other sites:

by Kathi Macias
Published by New Hope Publishers


Will God protect and keep them safe in the midst of persecution?

Farah lives in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with her family, and wants nothing more than to develop a deeper devotion to her Muslim faith. She sees the month of Ramadan as her chance to draw nearer to Allah, and pursues that goal. All goes well until the prophet Isa—Jesus—appears to her in a dream and calls her to Himself. Her brother, Kareem, who has never liked her, seeks to discredit her.

Farah’s cousin, an only child, frequents an online chat. She discovers former Muslims discussing their new belief that Isa is much more than a Muslim prophet—He is actually the Son of God. She becomes acquainted with an American girl of Muslim ancestry—now a devout Christian—Sara. Sara has problems of her own due to her brother Emir’s suspicious behavior.

Each finds their faith put to the test. Will they be true to their beliefs? Will God protect them, or will they pay the ultimate price for their faith?

Readers, buy your copy of People of the Book today!


When I first started writing, I heeded the admonition to “write what you know,” even though it severely limited my topics and focus. As a result, most of my novels were set either in Southern California, where I was born and raised and currently live, or up in the Pacific Northwest, where I also lived for several years. My characters were a lot like me and/or the people around me, and their lifestyles and circumstances often paralleled my own to some degree.

But somewhere along the line I had to ask myself, Is that all there is? Can I move beyond my own little corner of the world in my writing, even if I can’t actually do so physically? With the Internet at my fingertips, I decided I could.

That’s how my current four-book “Extreme Devotion” series with New Hope Publishers came about. People of the Book, the final installment of the series, which just released in April 2011, is set primarily in Saudi Arabia. Not only have I not been to the Saudi Kingdom, but I had a difficult time finding anyone familiar enough with the country and culture to be of any help. I finally located a lady who had lived there as a secret believer (Christian) for eighteen years and had only recently moved here to the States. She was not only willing but anxious to talk with me and to give me personal feedback on the story. It was the added touch that brought realism and authenticity to the book.

I did similar things on the first three books in the series. Red Ink, the third book, is set in China, and though I’ve never been there myself, my readers tell me the book reads as if I have. I had two people working with me who had spent extensive time in China, and they were a huge help with points of language and culture. The same is true of the second book, More than Conquerors, which is set in the San Diego/Tijuana area (been there!), but also San Juan Chamula in Southern Mexico, where I’ve never set foot. The book that opened the series, No Greater Love, takes place in South Africa during 1989, so not only did I need to transport my readers to a place I’d never been, but to a time I remember only vaguely.

I started putting together the rough draft of these books by doing extensive Internet research, which helped a lot. The books began to take shape, but they were missing something—a cultural element that could come only from someone who actually lived in the country. That’s when I began the search for just the right person for each book.

I can only say that I believe God provided those people, as I really had no clue how to find them myself. In each instance, just when I needed a reader who knew the country and the culture, God placed that exact person in my path. Not only that, but He also gave them a willing heart to read the manuscript and to give me feedback that would flesh out the stories and bring them to life. As a result, my readers rave about the way they feel they’re actually right in the middle of the story/country/culture. Even bestselling author Jerry Jenkins said on the cover of book one, No Greater Love, “You’ll feel as if you were there.”

My new “Freedom” fiction series, also from New Hope Publishers, begins releasing this fall with book one, Deliver Me from Evil. Once again I have approached the initial writing of these three novels with Internet research, but I am also taking advantage of personal input from those who have spent time in the Golden Triangle area of Thailand, where parts of the books take place. It is my way of “going into all the world” without leaving home.

And so, though I strongly encourage new writers to consider starting out by writing what they know, I also encourage them to consider branching out a bit as they grow in their writing career. It’s a tidbit of advice that I believe will work for any of us, regardless of whether or not we are writers.

* * * * *

Thank you, Kathi, for sharing with us today.

Guest Question: Why would you like to read a book set in the Middle East?

ENTRY RULES Readers, leave your email address (name at domainname dot com/net) along with your answer to the question for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of the book above. If you do not answer the question, and your email address isn't provided, you will not be entered.

This week, the contest is open to US/Canada residents only.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Baby Stockton #2 Countdown - 40 Down, and Who Knows?

So, I reached week 40 today in terms of time, and I'm right on target in fundal measurement. I am at 4 pounds up from pre-pregnancy weight. Doesn't look like I'll gain much more. Only gained 12 lbs. total with my daughter.

Just a reminder, I have a "guessing game" online for folks to guess the length, weight, and actual birthday of our son. We will be awarding prizes (books, a $25 gift card, and something else) to the top 3 with the closest guesses. So, get in there and have fun. :)

If you'd like to play, click the link below:

Now, we're at week 40, so here is the update:

My doctor and his assistant both wondered if I'd make it to this appointment. Looks like I did. And there HAS been progress, even if I haven't had as many contractions as I did with my daughter when I was at this point with her. But again, numbers-wise, I'm still looking great, which is a small comfort when I've reached due date and still don't have a baby.

It's that last leg of the race, the finish line is laughing at me, and my patience is wearing thin. I'm told it's no surprise, and entirely normal to be pregnant for the next two weeks, but I'm praying that won't be the case, and this little guy will come in the next few days. Of course, if I want to get things moving labor-wise: I have to get moving myself!

Sure, I can hang out on the couch and take it easy, but my baby might just do the same. And we can't let that happen!

There have been some rough days where it's been painful to walk or move, and only comfortable when I stood or sat. Those days are when I want to do nothing but stay on the couch all day, but my toddler daughter, the doorbell, and the general demands on my time won't allow me to do that. Likely why I haven't gained much weight. I simply don't have time to stay still long enough for weight to accumulate. So, my son is taking away the excess I have and using it to keep himself nourished. Sounds good to me!

In terms of the measurements or stats, here they are:

Dilated to 4 cm
Effaced at 75%
Membranes stripped
Baby weight estimated at near 8 pounds
Baby's heartbeat was 135
Blood pressure and weight are looking good, no issues
Overall weight gain is 4 pounds

Due date is today, and after the appointment yesterday, I had several contractions coupled with discomfort in walking and moving. Lots of pressure, but overall I felt good. I'm just trying to take it easy, but another part of me wants to do everything I can to encourage this little fella it's safe to come out. I'm SO done being pregnant and want to get on with the next stage of life.

Sure, it'll mean sleepless nights, lots of crying, what will seem like a never-ending cycle of changing diapers and nursing, but it'll be worth it to hold my son in my arms. Praying that day comes real soon. I have an appointment next week for another ultrasound and an NST (non-stress test) to check the fluids around the baby, but the doctor doesn't believe I'll make it. Guess we'll wait and see.

And here are some words from the rocket baby inside me:

Today was definitely no picnic. The doctor pushed on my rump and near my head and shoved me this way and that. Then, this machine was put on Mama's belly right above my shoulder. I heard this thump-thumping, which I heard was my heartbeat. Kinda fun to hear that from in here, when I feel it myself. But I gather Mama likes to hear it too. Gives her some comfort and makes her happy.

Other than that, I'm just chilling in here, getting interrupted from my sleep by that caterwauling from my big sister, rolling around when I can, and feeling that tightening of Mama's tummy when those things she calls contractions happen. After what the doctor did, I can't turn my head as much, but I can still kick and move my arms and hands. I'll be glad not to be in this upside-down position for much longer though. Wonder if there's anything I can do to start making my exit. Mama said something about curb-walking, Chinese food, bumpy roads, and walking. Doesn't sound too bad.

Guess I'll start focusing more on coming out to meet Mama, Daddy, and that noisy sister. Hmm, maybe I can be louder than her! That could be fun. :)

It's me again. The mama. :) That's it for now. We're down to any day now. So, I can't say when my next post will be. And if you want to receive an email each time I post an update, subscribe using the form over there at the top right.

Thanks for coming along this journey with me...some of you for the second time.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Welcome Louise M. Gouge and At the Captain's Command

6Please interact with our guest authors by answering the question they provide. Your response will also enter you in the drawing for a free book.


LOUISE M. GOUGE, an award-winning Florida author, writes historical fiction, calling her stories “threads of grace woven through time.” In addition to numerous other awards, Louise is the recipient of the prestigious Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award. Married to David Gouge for forty-six years, Louise is a mother of four and grandmother of six. In addition to writing, she teaches English and humanities at Valencia Community College in Kissimmee, Florida.

by Louise M. Gouge
Published by Love Inspired Historicals


A heroic British naval captain, son of an influential earl, dares to fall in love with a provincial American girl. Then he discovers her family's devastating secret.

Loyal to the British Crown, orphaned Dinah Templeton has vowed never to marry a seafaring man, for her father died at sea and her merchant captain brother is always away. But when Captain Thomas Moberly sails into St. Augustine to defend the East Florida shores from American pirates, Dinah finds that her heart may overrule her head regarding this seafarer. Captain Thomas Moberly, captain of HMS Dauntless, has been assigned to capture the notorious American pirate Nighthawk, who plagues the Atlantic coast of East Florida. War-weary and hoping for a refreshing visit with his brother and sister, who live near St. Augustine, Thomas never expects to find love. But how can he resist the lovely Miss Templeton, even though she is what his father, Lord Bennington, would call a common American?

Readers, buy your copy of At the Captains Command today!


My latest book brings with its release a feeling of nostalgia for me. At The Captain’s Command is the third and final book in my British East Florida Revolutionary War series. I loved researching this story in the St. Augustine Historical Society library and in the streets of our nation’s Oldest City. This little piece of history is not well-known. Even many Floridians don’t know that Florida belonged to England from 1763 – 1783 or that this colony provided a place of refuge for American colonists who were loyal to the Crown. Not only did I have great fun researching the background, but I also had fun looking at the conflict between the Patriots and Loyalists.

In the first two books (Love Thine Enemy, 2009, and The Captain’s Lady, 2010), my heroes and heroines are on opposite side in the war, which is a great conflict for any story. For this third book, however, I was presented with a delightful challenge to write entirely from the Loyalist point of view for both heroine and hero. Me, a flag-waving American who’s more than a little proud of my Patriot ancestors! But the emotional distance created by over two hundred and thirty years (and the fact that England is now America’s best friend in the world community – not to mention how crazy we Americans are about the upcoming royal wedding) helped me imagine how the Loyalists would have felt in 1780.

These people had to flee their homes in the northern colonies to avoid persecution and even death at the hands of the Patriots. Their crime was believing that the king was their God-given authority. Oh, sure, many people were motivated by politics and greed, but my characters are humbler folk, much like you and me. They had never known anything other than rule by a distant monarch. Or, in the case of my hero, service to that monarch as a captain in His Majesty’s Royal Navy.

And so, my conflict between hero and heroine, both related by marriage to my previous two heroes and heroines, had do be different. Dinah, my Loyalist, has lived in St. Augustine since early in the war, having fled there with her foster sister and the sister’s disagreeable husband. I didn’t want this to be a Cinderella story, so I gave Dinah a modest inheritance. Because she is an orphan whose father died at sea and whose brother is a merchant captain, she has vowed never to marry a seafaring man, who will only abandon her as they did.

Enter Captain Thomas Moberly, a seafaring British war hero who has come to St. Augustine to defend the coast against American pirates. Thomas has vowed never to marry an American, as his sister and brother have done, because their father, Lord Bennington disapproved so violently of those marriages. But Bennington has died, and Thomas is chafing against his failure ever to receive his father’s approval.

And then Thomas meets beautiful Dinah. And Dinah meets dashing Thomas. And the rest is...well, maybe not history, but their story.

So why am I feeling nostalgic as I leave this story, this era behind? Well, I guess it’s just like all of my previous series. I fell in love my characters and have greatly enjoyed the journey we’ve taken together. I will miss these people with whom I’ve spent several years of my life!

My one consolation is that I have another story coming out in June 2011 that moves on to the next generation. The Gentleman Takes a Bride tells the story of Thomas and Dinah’s youngest daughter and the man she comes to love during the Regency period. But I’ll tell you about that another day.

* * * * *

Thank you, Louise, for sharing with us today.

Guest Question: Writers of historical fiction have two responsibilities: create compelling characters and place them in an accurately portrayed historical setting. We often struggle not to overwhelm our readers with details of how people used to live, but sometimes obscure facts are necessary to the story. So here are two questions for readers.

How much historical detail (I like to call these golden nuggets of the past) do you like to discover in your reading? Or do you prefer to imagine all that and just get on with the story of the heroine and her hero?

ENTRY RULES Readers, leave your email address (name at domainname dot com/net) along with your answer to the question for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of the book above. If you do not answer the question, and your email address isn't provided, you will not be entered.

This week, the contest is open to US/Canada residents only.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Baby Stockton #2 Countdown - 39 Down, 1 to Go!

So, I reached week 39 this past Friday in terms of time, and I'm right on target in fundal measurement. I am still at 3-1/2 pounds up from pre-pregnancy weight. We'll see what the final tally is on my son's birthday. Only gained 12 lbs. total with my daughter.

Just a reminder, I have a "guessing game" online for folks to guess the length, weight, and actual birthday of our son. We will be awarding prizes (books, a $25 gift card, and something else) to the top 3 with the closest guesses. So, get in there and have fun. :)

If you'd like to play, click the link below:

Now, we're at week 39.5, so here is the update:

Ok, so I DID tease my doctor and his assistant this past Friday about my previous appointment. But that was only because I arrived a little before 11am for an 11:15 appointment, only to not be called back until 11:45! This was after watching 6 other women get called back, 3 of whom arrived AFTER I did. The assistant came up to me and apologized personally when the 7th patient was called then led to another doctor. She said my doctor wanted to see me himself, and they were only waiting on an open room.

It seems the other women my doctor sees are higher-maintenance, have more questions, or just take longer during their appointments. Either that, or it had something to do with it being April Fool's. Sort of like there being a full moon. :) I don't know. But it was nice having one short appointment during my prenatal visits. I usually spend far more time waiting than I do in the actual patient room...unless I'm scheduled for an ultrasound.

Anyway, the doctor did finally arrive, asked how I was feeling and if I had any questions for him (which I usually don't) then told me everything's looking great. Numbers-wise, I'm right on target, and it all looks favorable for a natural birth. The other stats in measurement are as follows:

Dilated to 3 cm
Effaced at 75%
Baby weight estimate at 7-3/4 pounds
Baby's heartbeat was 138
My blood pressure and weight are looking good, no issues
Overall weight gain is 3-1/2 pounds

Some women traditionally go early, being fortunate enough to have their babies before their due dates. My daughter was 10 days late (although according to my calculations, just 3 days late), and my son isn't showing signs of wanting to leave his little cocoon early. Just my luck, right? Looks like it's time for some spicy foods and bumpy roads!

I joked with my mom the other day that I have obedient children in the womb. When I went into labor with my daughter 2 years ago, it was April 1st, and I told her she couldn't be an April Fool's baby. So, she waited a full 24 hours just to make sure! With my son this time around, I told him he had to wait until after his sister's 2nd birthday...which he did. Then, one of my acrylic tops on my nails chipped today, so I told him he has to wait until Thursday after my nail appointment. Something tells me he will. (sigh)

So, I'm still waiting for the signal, and I'm praying it's just a matter of time before this entire situation gets rollin'!

While I'm in this antsy pre-birth limbo monitoring all my symptoms and feeling the size of an international airport, I'm trying to take some time to reflect on the world into which my highly sensitive, helpless and vulnerable infant will be born. Since we're all stocked up on diapers (because we'll be changing them 8-10 times a day in the first months), blankets, and onesies, we've finished the easy part. And some ladies from my Bible study came to finish the kids' rooms with decorations, putting away the clothes, as well as general set-up. The rooms are adorable.

Now, have I started thinking about my relationship with my newest family member? Somewhat. I'm feeling a combination of anxiousness to be done coupled with nervousness over handling 2 kids (a toddler and an infant) and a full-time career at home, along with continuing to be a strong homemake and wife. Praying my husband continues to share the load and split the duties as much as time allows for him. I do know I have help from several ladies, including one who will do some shopping for me, and another who will be coming every Friday just to spell me a bit. That, plus 3 weeks of meals delivered should help the transition go smoothly until I'm comfortable balancing it all.

One can hope, right? :)

And here are some words from the rocket baby inside me:

Yeah, life isn't changing much in here. Still cramped, still finding it hard to get comfortable, and still hearing that yelling big sister of mine out there. At least it's not all the time, and yesterday, there was mama's singing that soothed me quite a bit. I can hardly wait to be on the other side and hear it without all this cushioning that's muffling the sound. I'm sure it's going to be just as soothing.

I gotta tell you though, when that other doctor did that pushing a few days ago, I was NOT a happy camper in here. Shoving me this way and that and pushing on my head. It wasn't exactly the most pleasant feeling in the world. I can only imagine how it felt to Mama. At least she can move around more and stretch out. But I look forward to when I can snuggle in her arms and see her face-to-face.

Until then, I'll just keep getting ready for my first birthday and try not to hurt Mama too much.

It's me again. The mama. :) That's it for now. Tune in each week for the latest...although this might just be the last post prior to birth. If this little boy shows up early, I'll be sure to post an announcement...or my husband will. :) And if you want to receive an email each time I post an update, subscribe using the form over there at the top right.

Thanks for coming along this journey with me...some of you for the second time.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Welcome Allie Pleiter and Yukon Wedding

Please interact with our guest authors by answering the question they provide. Your response will also enter you in the drawing for a free book.


ALLIE PLEITER is an avid knitter, coffee junkie, and devoted chocoholic, who writes both fiction and non-fiction. The enthusiastic but slightly untidy mother of two, Allie spends her days writing books, buying yarn, and finding new ways to avoid housework. Allie hails from Connecticut, moved to the midwest to attend Northwestern University, and currently lives outside Chicago, Illinois. The “dare from a friend” to begin writing has produced two parenting books, fourteen novels, and various national speaking engagements on faith, women’s issues, and writing. Visit her website at or her knitting blog at

by Allie Pleiter
Published by Love Inspired Historical


A gold-rush town is no place for a single mother. But widow Lana Bristow won’t abandon the only home her son has ever known. She’ll fight to remain in Treasure Creek, Alaska—even if it means wedding Mack Tanner, the man she blames for her husband’s death. Mack sees marriage as his duty, the only way to protect his former business partner’s family. Yet what starts as an obligation changes as his spoiled socialite bride proves to be a woman of strength and grace. A woman who shows Mack the only treasure he needs is her heart.

Readers, buy your copy of Yukon Wedding today!


I like the Alaskan Gold rush for the same reasons I like history and I love Cadbury Easter Eggs--the rich stuff on the inside. I disliked the facts and figures of history in high school, but once I dug down past them for the stories of history, I uncovered my passion own for adventures.

Mack and Lana’s adventures are on a landscape of a grand scale--the Yukon Gold Rush--but it’s their inner adventure that catches my heart. Even though their marriage of convenience brings them to the same home, their journey to each other is vast. Like lots of us, they try to solve their inner problems with outer fixes, and that only leads to pain and disappointment. Oh, but when they get it right on the inside, the meeting of their hearts is sweet indeed.

Until something goes horribly wrong. This is an adventure, after all.

Fold in a silver star, some very poorly baked cookies, one smart lady, several dumb crooks, an adorable toddler, and a man who’s been alone far too long, and you’ve just about got it covered. Writing this book was like holding a tiger by the tail--or maybe just a very large Alaskan moose. I hope you’ll sense the fun I had writing it as you read.

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Thank you, Allie, for sharing with us today.

Guest Question: What do you like best about history? And if you don't like history, why not? What turned you off from it?

ENTRY RULES Readers, leave your email address (name at domainname dot com/net) along with your answer to the question for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of the book above. If you do not answer the question, and your email address isn't provided, you will not be entered.

This week, the contest is open to US/Canada residents only.