Relaxed Friday 17

It’s Friday! Here’s the scoop on #CleanWIP Relaxed Fridays.

Let’s get this Friday party started with an excerpt from Sunlight and Shadows by Jessica Marie Holt.
*
If there was one thing Betty couldn’t ever come to terms with, it was how the best day of her life also ended up being the worst day of her life. The irony of it all seemed especially cruel, like it ought to go against some kind of sacred law of nature. But it was the hard, cold truth; October twenty-fifth, 1870 — two weeks after her seventeenth birthday — was the day everything came together, and the day it all began falling apart.
*

From Love Abideth Still: A Novel of the Civil War by Scott R. Rezer

From To Trust Her Heart by Laurean Brooks
(Amanda at a job interview with Attorney Jake Tyler. She just told him, his reckless driving through a puddle splattered mud all over her yellow coat.) Jake pushed a button on his desk phone. His deep voice boomed over the intercom. “Willa, will you come to my office,please?”
Was he planning to use his receptionist to swear he had been in his office at the time of the incident? Because Amanda knew better.
The receptionist cracked the door enough to poke her head through.
The woman’s voice quavered. “You wanted to see me, Mr.Tyler?”
She felt sorry for the gray-haired lady who appeared to be intimidated by her employer. His deep voiced didn’t help matters.
Amanda’s throat tightened. She should not have applied for this position. What happened to his last secretary? Did she run for cover?
“Yes, Willa.” The attorney’s voice softened. Pulling the soiled coat off Amanda’s arm, he dangled it in front of the receptionist. “Drop this by the cleaners on your way home, please. Charge it to my account, and tell them to have it cleaned as quickly as possible.” 

Listen

Today’s #CleanWIP theme and collaborative article is Listen. [More info]

Photo by olafpictures from Pixabay

Author Search

Searching for an author who prefers the clean end of the spectrum? You’ve come to the right place. However, since today is National Puzzle Day, we’re not going to make it easy on you. Look forward, backward, and even diagonally to find the ten authors listed below. Click each name to visit their Amazon profiles and learn more.

To view the pieces of the puzzle in a different tab or window for printing, just remember to close the new tabs or windows to return here. The puzzle and (MAJOR SPOILER) answer key are JPG images. The list is also available as a text document.

Katherine Karrol
Danielle Thorne
Jessica L. Elliott
Ruth O’Neil
Scott R. Rezer
Laurean Brooks
Rebekah Lyn
Katy Huth Jones
Jessica Marie Holt
Earl Chinnici

Puzzle

Today’s #CleanWIP theme and collaborative article is Puzzle. [More info]

Featured image is an adaptation of a photo by Hans-Peter Gauster

Adore

Today’s #CleanWIP theme and collaborative article is Adore. [More info]

Featured photo by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Compliment

Today’s #CleanWIP theme and collaborative article is Compliment. [More info]

Featured image is an adaptation of a photo by PublicDomainPictures on Pixabay

Marry

Today’s #CleanWIP theme and collaborative article is Marry. [More info]

Photo by Sandy Millar

Relaxed Friday 16

It’s Friday! Here’s the scoop on #CleanWIP Relaxed Fridays.

Featured image is a minor adaptation of a photo by Aaron Burden.

Review Highlights
Jonquils in the Snow by Laurean Brooks ~ “A beautiful, heartwarming story of grief and loneliness being overcome by love; Miranda and Brady touched my heart and the author’s wit made me smile. Definitely a thumbs up read.” ~ Rebecca J. Vickery

~~~

Shadow of the Mountain by Scott R. Rezer —Chosen… or delusional? How does one man persevere when he is given a message that will either test the strength of his faith or convince him he has lost his mind?
“… a version of the Noah story from the Old Testament that is both richly imagined and radically different from anything readers are likely to have read before… well-done political intrigue, vexing questions of faith, and a deep and challenging portrait of Noah himself. The action builds slowly and expertly as the unthinkable disaster of the Flood looms closer and closer, and Rezer’s so skilful at infusing his entirely human stories with drama that most readers will likely start to think of the forty days and forty nights of rain as something of an anti-climax. Very strongly recommended.” ~ Steve Donoghue, Historical Novel Society Reviews [Editor’s Choice Selection]

Divide

Today’s #CleanWIP theme and collaborative article is Divide. [More info]

Photo by Kate Honish

Multiply

Today’s #CleanWIP theme and collaborative article is Multiply. [More info]

Technical Difficulties
We are experiencing some te

Subtract

Today’s #CleanWIP theme and collaborative article is Subtract. [More info]

Add

Today’s #CleanWIP theme and collaborative article is Add. [More info]

Photo by Ulrike Leone

Calculate

Today’s #CleanWIP theme and collaborative article is Calculate. [More info]

Photo by Steve Buissinne

Relaxed Friday 15

It’s Friday! Here’s the scoop on #CleanWIP Relaxed Fridays.

Photo is a selected portion of a larger photo by Mohamed Ajufaan.

Laurean Brooks ~ Journey to Forgiveness is the book I wrote and dedicated to my parents. It is loosely based on their lives (romance) in 1938 Chicago. Witty and sassy characters, goofy ones–but all interesting–grace the pages of this heartwarming story of a mission trip to rebuild a small town after 5 tornadoes destroy homes. A time when the last of Chicago’s gangsters were captured. Or…were they?

Find

Today’s #CleanWIP theme and collaborative article is Find. [More info]

Photo by Tom_Crew

Book Search

What could possibly be as much good, clean fun as looking for a great book? Exactly. So we’ve collaborated with authors who prefer the clean end of the spectrum to create a word search puzzle containing twenty-six book titles. You’ll need to look in every direction forward, backward, and even diagonally to find them all.

To view the pieces of the puzzle in a different tab or window for printing, just remember to close the new tabs or windows to return here. The word search puzzle and (MAJOR SPOILER) answer key are JPG images. The list is also available as a text document.

Sunlight and Shadows
Fathers and Sons
Lunch Ladies
The King’s Shadow
Leandra’s Enchanted Flute
Journey To Forgiveness
Fixed In The Tempest
Stormy With a Chance of Love
Murder Under the Magnolias
Mercy’s Prince
New Beginnings
A Summer of Rainbows
Second Chance
A Mermaid Under the Mistletoe
Flying with the Billionaire
The Leper King
If You Believe
Little Women
Reluctantly Yours
Never Ask A Dinosaur
Abide
The King’s Trial
A Chronetic Memory
Aliens Love Astronauts
The Pawns of Sion
Severed Hearts

Search

Today’s #CleanWIP theme and collaborative article is Search. [More info]

Photo by Francesca Tirico

Decide

Today’s #CleanWIP theme and collaborative article is Decide. [More info]

Photo by Stux from Pixabay

Hope

Today’s #CleanWIP theme and collaborative article is Hope. [More info]

Photo by Myriam Zilles

Bless

Today’s #CleanWIP theme and collaborative article is Bless. [More info]

Relaxed Friday 14

It’s Friday! Here’s the scoop on #CleanWIP Relaxed Fridays.

Incidentally, we started off this Relaxed Friday article with a cute kitten in a tree photo but we’re going to move quickly forward to a thousand zombies and tortured metal. Let’s get this Friday party started with an excerpt from Time For Blood. This work-in-progress is part of The Blood Series by Michael Lynes and it’s expected to be released November of this year.

“Ow!” He let go of the handle and began rubbing his arm. “Okay, I get it. . .the air stinks like a thousand zombies and our door is all beat-up. Plus, the whole place is a wreck, and it’s pretty spooky in here.” He gestured toward the scratches and dings along the doorjamb. “But look. . .whoever wrecked this place might have tried to break in, but as far as I can tell the door hasn’t been forced. Second, besides the locks, we also have a little magical protection on the space. Even if the Undead had managed to break down the door, I don’t think they would have gotten past that.” I nodded reluctantly as my heart began to slow. “So let’s go in, grab what we came for, and get out. No muss, no fuss.”
He turned back to the door and inserted his key, unlocking the deadbolt. He reached to turn the knob. Before he could touch it, the door swung open without a sound. Pearl’s hilt jumped under my hand and her light flared sun-bright. I felt my heart stop. A howling wail filled the air and scores of dead-white arms erupted from the darkness. The door disappeared with a shriek of tortured metal as it was ripped it from its hinges. We sprang back, drawing our swords as zombies surged through the shattered doorframe.

Laurean Brooks shares with us today from Beneath A Macon Moon.
“Born with a silver spoon in her mouth” described Jaela’s life to a tee; but if her mother’s behavior was any indication, Jaela’s perfect world was about to shatter. The late afternoon sun slanted through half-closed blinds, glinting off the ballerina atop the music box. As a child, Jaela found comfort in the melody. The music box had not been wound since Dad died. The compulsion to hear it grew until it overcame Jaela’s fear of invoking bittersweet memories.
She picked up the box and wound it. Beautiful music flooded the room. Jaela hugged it close and waltzed around the room, soaking in the tinkling melody of “You’ll Be In My Heart.” 
When the music died, she dropped the lid. But it would not close. An envelope, folded to fit the interior, was wedged in the music box, preventing it from closing.
Who had put it there, and what did the message say?

Scott R. Rezer shares from a work-in-progress.
Anger had gotten the better of her, but now she tried to bring it back under control, difficult as it always was when talking to her brother. “And because of it, I almost spurned a chance for happiness simply because the man I fell in love with is a commoner. Do me the favor and don’t bother to lecture me, Anton, about marrying a man beneath my station, for in all truth, he has more nobility in his common blood, than you or I have in ours.”
He wagged a finger before her face as if scolding a defiant child. He clenched his pipe between his teeth. “If you do this, Johanna, if you marry this commoner, this haberdasher, you do so without my blessing. And in so doing, you give up everything—your title, your wealth, the security of everything you’ve ever known—and for what? Love? Life needs a few more assurances than simple love.”
“If love isn’t enough, Anton, then none of those things hold any meaning. It’s a pity you have forgotten that, or maybe, you never did.”

Chair

Today’s #CleanWIP theme and collaborative article is Chair. [More info]

Photo by Kari Shea

Unsung Heroes

Photo by Timothy Eberly

Heroes often carry on without much ado following their heroic deeds. Some, such as first responders, perform many heroic deeds daily or at least weekly and most of those heroic acts are barely mentioned. It’s sad, really. So we decided to shine a light on a couple special folks who aren’t main characters yet they are heroes nonetheless, Mr. Niff and Lucy.

Mr. Niff

Mr. Niff is a goblin warrior in the William Bradshaw King of the Goblins series. Like most goblins, he is small, weak, stupid and more than a little crazy. Unlike most goblins he isn’t cowardly. Mr. Niff runs toward every fight, eager to defend his king from any enemy (and a startling number of innocent bystanders).
This stems from an event in his youth where the goblin found a little girl lost in the woods. He led her to the nearest human settlement, and she rewarded Niff by giving him her rag doll. This convinced Niff that he is in fact a hero, brave, strong and skilled in battle. Through means no one understands he has become the hero he thinks he is, surviving against incredible odds and winning when defeat was certain.
Mr. Niff is also addicted to taking trophies from his victories, and has filled the goblin treasury with useless knickknacks like melted swords, broken masks and a hideously ugly tie that he claimed from his enemies.

Lucy

The main character in Of Bows and Cinnamon is Elena, a breast cancer survivor. Elena nonetheless fears allowing a man into her heart because there’s no guarantee she will stay cancer free. In comes sweet and fearless Lucy, a woman who has been down that road. Lucy helps give Elena the courage to live her life without worrying about tomorrow. Lucy is one of her author’s very favorite side characters, largely based on a sweet angel she knew growing up.

At times there’s a good reason a hero’s name is not well-known.

I actually love for side characters to become heroes, especially if it is unexpected. I think my book Sunlight and Shadows is a great example of this. In fact, one of the main things Betty learns is that ordinary people can be extraordinary heroes, in big and small ways. There are lots of twists and turns in this story, and I don’t want to spoil anything for you. But whether it’s a neighbor appearing in the middle of the night to rescue her father, or an unexpected source of help delivering a baby, or townspeople putting aside their petty grievances and banding together to rescue someone in need, or a long-buried great act of heroism that only reveals itself through tragedy, I really wanted to explore the idea that people are complex, and heroism, big and small, can come from really unexpected places. ~ Jessica Marie Holt

Table

Today’s #CleanWIP theme and collaborative article is Table. [More info]

Photo by Davide Cantelli

Desk

Today’s #CleanWIP theme and collaborative article is Desk. [More info]

Photo by MagicDesk from Pixabay

Bed

Today’s #CleanWIP theme and collaborative article is Bed. [More info]

Photo by Mark Champs

Wardrobe

Today’s #CleanWIP theme and collaborative article is Wardrobe. [More info]

Photo by moritz320 from Pixabay

Relaxed Friday 13

It’s Friday! Here’s the scoop on #CleanWIP Relaxed Fridays.

Photo by Earl Chinnici captured January 3, 2013. #FlashbackFriday

For today’s Relaxed Friday treat, we’re visiting Severed Hearts, a Vietnam-era novella by Laurean Brooks.

“Johnny, did you hear about the Lewis boy from Winchester?” Julie asked. He stopped chewing, his jaw clenched. 
“No…what?”
“His plane was shot down in Saigon. They don’t know if he and the other two soldiers were killed or taken hostage.”
Johnny turned his root beer up and swigged it down, setting the empty bottle on the counter. His somber gaze met Julie’s. “We need a plan to end this conflict. Half of Flyntburg has at least one family member involved.”
“I’m praying for an end to the conflict;” she said, “but above all, I’m asking God to protect our troops.”
Johnny threw down his napkin. “Yeah, I know we should pray–only it seems like God’s not doing anything.”
“Don’t say, that! Sometimes we can’t see it…but He is.”
Johnny glanced at the clock and rose from the bar stool. “Time to hit the road.” His smile didn’t reach his eyes. “Gotta go. See you, tomorrow.”

Home

Today’s #CleanWIP theme and collaborative article is Home. [More info]

Photo by Sam Beasley

New Year 2020

Happy New Year!

I wish all our readers a happy New Year! At this time when we make goals and plans for the coming year, remember that a plan requires action. Make 2020 your year! ~ Jessica L. Elliott

Photo by Jamie Street