Posts Tagged ‘tea’

#TuesdayTea Review of Her Motherhood Wish by @KeliGwyn

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017

I’m delighted you are joining me to chat about Keli Gwyn’s newest Love Inspired Historical, Her Motherhood Wish, with a heroine dear to my heart. This book releases today!

HER MOTHERHOOD WISH by Keli Gwyn

ABOUT HER MOTHERHOOD WISH

BUILDING A FAMILY 

En route to the Double T Orphanage to work on its expansion, carpenter Chip Evans and Caroline Hunt discover two orphaned children—and become their caregivers. But Chip’s determined not to let himself get too attached to the children who just lost their widowed father…or to the lovely woman helping him care for them. Especially since Callie and the little ones just don’t fit into his detailed plans for the future.

Callie can’t help but fall in love with the orphans, and despite her better judgment, she’s falling for Chip, too. Her dreams of being a wife and mother were not quite like this. But Callie believes a plan bigger than Chip’s brought them all together…and now she just has to help him see it, too.

MY STORY

Many years ago, the love of my heart expressed his devotion to me and said, “I want you to be the mother of my children.” I burst into tears! I confessed to him that a doctor told me I might never be able to have children. He comforted me and said we could adopt children, and those kids would be his own. I did marry this good man whose compassion reassured me that day. We’ll celebrate 46 years of marriage this summer.

In our case, God’s plan for us provided miracles…eventually we did become pregnant. We now have two grown sons, faithful men like their father, and definitely our miracles and treasured blessings.

So…….heroine Callie’s situation in Her Motherhood Wish touches my heart. I relate to her disappointment, hope, and attempts to trust God’s plan for her life. Keli Gwyn writes a wonderful story full of God’s treasured blessing of love.

MY REVIEW
Her Motherhood WishHer Motherhood Wish by Keli Gwyn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Such a lovely cover…and the story inside is just as beautiful!

Her Motherhood Wish is filled with sweet moments as carpenter Chip Evans and loving Callie Hunt discover their happily-ever-after as they work at the Double T Orphanage. Callie’s dearest dream is to be a mother, but she faces some problems. I sympathized with her as she confronted the reality and disappointment of her situation. She is strong and accepting of her fate. As for Chip, many times I was quite displeased with him. He is protective and hardworking, but blindly adheres to the rigid plan he detailed for his future. However…. he completely redeemed himself in my eyes with the execution of his beautiful plan at the conclusion of the story. A precious ending!

I adored the two orphans, Jasper and Ruby, who warmed my heart with their needs and vulnerability. The occasional appearances of other characters from earlier books were a delight, but this book can definitely be read as a stand-alone. The suspense element in this story is an intriguing bonus.

Author Keli Gwyn always includes interesting historical detail in her stories, such as the art of cabinetry in this book. Her books touch my heart with their gentle message of faith and leave me with a happy sigh at the end. Great storytelling! I hope you enjoy Her Motherhood Wish, with its beautiful conclusion, as much as I did.

Favorite quotes:
“The best we can do is love, support and encourage them, all the while praying that the Lord will work His healing.”
“…the Lord has a way of bringing joy from heartache.”
“You’re a beloved child of God, and He has plans for you.”

*I was given a copy of this book. I’m pleased to offer my honest review.

TREAT FOR TEA TIME

With the beautiful, glowing cover art adorning Her Motherhood Wish, I though Lemon Scones would be a bright and appropriate treat to celebrate this sparkling new release. (Yes, isn’t that cover gorgeous?!?!) In the acknowledgements of her book, Keli mentions her husband bakes homemade scones while she works on writing projects. What a great idea! 🙂 So please help yourself to a lemon scone and a warm cup of tea as we celebrate the release of Her Motherhood Wish!

Amazing Lemon Scones from AllRecipes.com

Recipe for Amazing Lemon Scones from AllRecipes.com

 

BIBLE VERSE

For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God. ~Hebrews 3:4 (KJV)

PRAYER

Dear Lord,

Thank you for blessing Keli with the passion to write the stories You place on her heart…..stories which touch others. Her warm personality glows as she reaches out to others offering encouragement. Please continue to bless her  writing efforts so her words reach more readers and comfort them with hope and trust.

We ask this in Jesus’ name……Amen

Thank you for joining me for this review of Her Motherhood Wish. May you be blessed as God’s plan for your life is revealed.

With warmest regards,

Sherida

#TuesdayTea Review of Make-Believe Beau by @KeliGwyn

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

Thank you for stopping by to sip tea, enjoy a treat and chat about Make-Believe Beau by Keli Gwyn. I found this August Love Inspired Historical release to be an entertaining visit to Placerville, California, during an interesting time period. The romance is sweet and the faith element provides an important reminder of forgiveness.

Today I’m serving Lemon Bars as served by the Gold Country Confections shop in this story. So please help yourself to a lemon bar, while I pour your choice of iced or hot lemon tea. We’re ready for a celebration of the end of summer as we review Make-Believe Beau.

Lemon Bars

End-of-Summer Lemon Bars

MY REVIEW:

Make-Believe BeauMake-Believe Beau by Keli Gwyn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What an entertaining story with an intriguing mix of history and romance!

In 1874, draftswoman Jessica Sinclair is a self-sufficient lady with a challenging new position in a male-dominated workplace. Determined engineer Flynt Kavanaugh is her hardworking and fair-minded boss. Both have secrets concerning their earlier situations, providing an interesting story as they try to keep the past hidden and try to be convincing in their pretend courtship.

Jessica warmed my heart with her attitude of believing the best of others and with her cheerful, courageous personality. I found myself sympathizing with Flynt as he struggles with his convictions and his attraction to Jessica. He thought he had his life well-planned until he becomes Jessica’s boss and pretend beau. It’s great fun to watch this couple navigate the awkward situation imposed on them as they try to understand each other and overcome past issues.

Author Keli Gwyn brings the historical setting of Placerville, California, to life as details of constructing the actual El Dorado Canal and of life in the charming town are sprinkled throughout the book. One of my favorite nostalgic scenes is of the couple during a roller-skating activity…very realistic. Most importantly, the romance builds with sweetness and the faith thread is touching, with many takeaways expressed perfectly. If you enjoy history mixed with the romance of an interesting couple, I think you’ll truly enjoy Make-Believe Beau.

Favorite quotes:
“The Lord’s gifted you with a remarkable voice. It’s my belief that when He gifts us, He does so in the hope that we’ll share what we’ve been given with others.”
“Everyone bore stains of one kind or another. That was why the Lord had come. To pay the price for the mistakes of mankind. Through His sacrifice on the cross, He’d cleansed her.”

*I won a copy of this book with no requirement to write a review. It’s a pleasure to post my honest opinion of this book.

 

TEA TREAT RECIPE:

This is my mother’s recipe for Lemon Bars…a perfect end-of-summer treat with iced or hot lemon tea.

LEMON BARS
Mix together:
1 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 cups flour
Set aside 1 cup of this mixture, then pat the remaining mixture into the bottom of a 9″ x 13″ pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
In a large bowl, beat 4 eggs until fluffy. Mix in 2 cups sugar, 6 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 teaspoon lemon rind, 1 teaspoon baking powder and 4 tablespoons flour. (At high altitudes, use 6 tablespoons of flour.) Pour over the baked crust…no need to cool, then top with the reserved 1 cup of crumb mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes. When cool, sprinkle with additional powdered sugar. Cut into squares.
BIBLE VERSE:
“…Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow…” Isaiah 1:18 (KJV)
PRAYER:
Our Father,
We thank you for sending Your Son to wash us clean from our sins so we may live in your treasured forgiveness. Bless author Keli Gwyn as she writes stories to bless readers by spreading Your message of forgiveness and hope.
In Jesus’ name, Amen
You can learn more about author Keli Gwyn (and find tidbits about her writing journey) at her charming Victorian website: KELI GWYN
Thank you for stopping by for #TuesdayTea. May your end-of-summer days be filled with God’s treasured gifts!
Blessings,
Sherida

#TuesdayTea review of Back in the Saddle by Ruth Logan Herne!

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016

Welcome to a HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY celebration for Back In the Saddle, by Ruth Logan Herne!!! This is the launch day for this newest book by a favorite author, so we’re celebrating with a tea from my favorite tea shop!

Ruthy’s newest book is a delight…full of handsome cowboys, strong family bonds, and sweet romance. Prepare to swoon as you take a look at this cover.

BACK IN THE SADDLE by Ruth Logan Herne

BACK IN THE SADDLE by Ruth Logan Herne

And the scenery is sigh-worthy, too. Washington is a beautiful state, especially the central valley setting of Back in the Saddle. Peaceful orchards dot the hillsides, amid ranches and small towns, with veggie farms tucked here and there. A very pleasant place to spend some time as you get to know the Stafford family of the Double S Ranch in Gray’s Glen.

BLURB for Back in the Saddle (Double S Ranch Book 1)

THE PRODIGAL is COMING HOME…..

It’s been a long time since Colt Stafford shrugged off his cowboy legacy for shiny Manhattan loafers and a promising career on Wall Street. But when stock market manipulations leave him financially strapped, the oldest son of legendary rancher Sam Stafford decides to return to the sprawling Double S ranch in Gray’s Glen, Washington. He’s broke, but not broken, and it’s time to get his legs back under him by climbing into the saddle again.

He doesn’t expect to come home to a stranger pointing a loaded gun at this chest–a tough yet beautiful woman Sam has hired as the house manager. Colt senses there’s more to Angelina Morales than meets the eye, and he’s determined to find out what she’s hiding…and why.

Colt’s return brings new challenges. Younger brother Nick, who’s long been Sam’s right-hand man, isn’t thrilled when Colt inserts himself into Double S affairs. And the ranch’s contentious relationship with the town’s people forces all the Stafford men to reconsider what it truly means to be a neighbor. As Wall Street recovers, will Colt succumb to the call of the financial district–or stay in the saddle for good?

*****

MY REVIEW: as posted on Goodreads and Amazon.

Back in the SaddleBack in the Saddle by Ruth Logan Herne
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved every page of this book!

Filled with humor, warm characters, and western wisdom, Back in the Saddle is an uplifting story of strong family bonds and of a couple discovering their relationship within a legacy of hard work and commitment.

Reading Back in the Saddle takes you out West…the West of today, with life around a modern ranch, with small town interactions and community problems, and with real-life cowboys who are dedicated and ruggedly handsome. This is a story about family…..the hurts, the mistakes, the understanding, and the love that weave through the bonds of family. Sam Stafford, the strong-willed patriarch of his family of three sons, is the owner of the Double S Ranch, located in the beautiful central valley area of Washington State. Oldest son, Colt, has returned home after his high-powered New York City financial career faced a major setback. Colt finds a perplexing and outspoken woman, Angelina Morales, running the ranch house and caring for his ailing father.

I loved every page of this book as Colt and Angelina strive to do the right thing for those they care for and as they struggle with their deepening attraction. Forgiveness and faith play a vital role in their decisions, as this prodigal son returns home and finds the place for his heart. Written with just the right pace, from a heart-stopping “click” at the beginning, with continually escalating tension, then building to plenty of excitement towards the end, and finally a tear-inducing last scene…..I truly enjoyed every moment of Back in the Saddle.

*I received an Advance Reading Copy of this book. It is a pleasure to post my honest review.

A FEW FAVORITE QUOTES FROM BACK IN THE SADDLE:

“This is, I think, our juncture. A time of looking back and moving forward. For some reason we are here, at this place, in these moments. God provides and we partake. Or we mess up.”

“Because that’s what neighbors do. They help each other.”

“For the first time in a long time, I had to put my trust in something other than myself.”

Click here for an Amazon link to Back In The Saddle.

 

Angelina's Cherry Cupcakes

Angelina’s Cherry Cupcakes

TEA AND TREATS

Now for a special treat. In Back in the Saddle, Angelina is the house manager, cooking for the family and ranch hands. One of the delights she serves is her own special Cherry Cake. Ruthy puts this recipe in the back of the book and also gave it out during post at the Yankee-Bell Café. She said I may share it with you, my #TuesdayTea readers. Click here for Angelina’s Cherry Cake recipe! Rather than the layer cake topped with whipped cream frosting Angelina uses, I decided to bake the recipe as cupcakes, with a simple sweet glaze, for our #TuesdayTea treat. I hope you enjoy!

#TuesdayTea Cherry Marzipan Tea from Queen Mary Tea Room

#TuesdayTea Cherry Marzipan Tea from Queen Mary Tea Room

Angelina’s mother, Isabo, previously lived in Seattle. I’m sure she enjoyed afternoon tea at the very popular Seattle tea shop, Queen Mary Tea Room. My daughter-in-law introduced me to this charming shop. If you are celebrating an event (birthday, contest entry, book published, job promotion, anything), you’re given a glittering tiara to wear while having tea. And you know how much I like my sparkles! The afternoon tea is amazing…..simply perfect! Click here to visit the Queen Mary Tea Room. For our tea today, I’m serving their Cherry Marzipan green tea….perfect with the cherry cupcakes, don’t you think?

Cherry Marzipan Tea from Queen Mary Tea Room, Seattle, Washington

Cherry Marzipan Tea from Queen Mary Tea Room, Seattle, Washington

BIBLE VERSE

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32 (KJV)

PRAYER

Dear Lord,

You know Ruthy so well and have blessed her with gifts beyond measure. Please continue to place the perfect words on her heart to reach others with Your Word as she writes of forgiveness and redemption. Thank you for giving her the spirit to inspire and encourage others….in so many ways. We ask for her continuing success as an author and as a generous faith-filled servant. Please bless all Christian writers as they spread the hopeful message of Your Word.

We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

SOME EXCITING NEWS: There will be two more Double S Ranch books featuring the other brothers. The next will be middle son Nick’s story and the last will be about Trey, the youngest, a country and western music star. Fun to anticipate! I hope you’ll enjoy getting to know the Stafford family and the Gray’s Glen area of Washington as much as I did.

Thank you for joining me for #TuesdayTea. May you be blessed with an abundance of God’s treasured blessings!

BACK IN THE SADDLE by Ruth Logan Herne

BACK IN THE SADDLE by Ruth Logan Herne

 

 

 

A special Christmas #TuesdayTea celebration!

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2015

Please join me for a celebration of the Christmas season while we enjoy a festive treat of Cranberry Apricot Scones. I’m reviewing A Heart Full of Christmas, a collection of contemporary novellas all filled with the heartwarming joy of romance and happily-ever-after endings. These stories are written by five of the Seekers of Seekerville.

Christmas Tea

Christmas Tea

MY REVIEW:
A Heart Full of Christmas, Contemporary Inspirational Holiday Romance CollectionA Heart Full of Christmas, Contemporary Inspirational Holiday Romance Collection by Debby Giusti
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

SPARKLING CHRISTMAS STORY COLLECTION!

A Heart Full of Christmas is a sparkling collection of five inspirational romances written by five of my favorite authors. Each story has a different quality. The charming angel ornament on the cover is a precious hint of what is inside, as all the novellas feature the touch of a angel.

A MIRACLE FOR CHRISTMAS, by Debby Giusti, is an exciting love story of overcoming fears and focusing on the future. Watch for Gabriel, a secondary character, who is the kind of guy we all need for comfort during stressful situations.

HOME TO HIS HEART, by Ruth Logan Herne, is a story about former high school acquaintances who must confront difficult childhood memories. A relationship develops between them as his rambunctious and adorable twin boys bring them together. Ruthy knows how to “write” kiddos!

UNDER THE MISTLETOE, by Tina Radcliffe, has the flavor of my favorite Christmas tale. I don’t want to give any spoilers, but this is a charming novella, filled with trademark Tina humor. I love this story. And a recipe for gingerbread cookies makes for a perfect treat-filled ending.

HOLIDAY HOMECOMING, by Sandra Leesmith, starts with a sweet pre-Christmas birthday gathering of old friends. At the suggestion of a special waitress, they reminisce about first loves. A delightful holiday celebration and romance with Southern California style.

SNOWFLAKE KISSES, by Missy Tippens, is a warm small town romance set in High Hope, Georgia. A lovely romance evolves as a family secret comes to light. Vintage ornaments and a Christmas Eve surprise add to a sweet story.

With this group of favorite authors, you will experience suspense, heart-touching emotion, laughter, warmth, and sweet romance…..all with the strength of faith-filled grace. What a perfect set of stories to get ready for the Christmas season. A great Christmas gift to fill someone’s virtual stocking…..errrr, Kindle!

*I won a copy of this book, with no requirement to write a review. I’m thrilled to share my honest opinion about this collection.

***

Another Christmas collection of Seeker novellas is Home for Christmas, a set of historical romance stories. I highly recommend both collections….great authors, great stories, great value. And these sets are excellent for gifting!

TEA TREATS: Cranberry Apricot Scones with Orange Glaze, compliments of author Mary Jane Hathaway.

Cranberry Apricot Scone with Orange Glaze

Cranberry Apricot Scone with Orange Glaze

I first saw this recipe when author Mary Jane Hathaway posted a picture on Facebook. She was preparing these scones for sharing the recipe on the Yankee-Belle Café blog. (www.Yankee-BelleCafe.blogspot.com) She graciously allowed me to share the recipe with you. Thank you, Mary Jane and all the Yankee-Belle Café gals!

Here is the recipe Mary Jane Hathaway and the gals at the Yankee-Belle Cafe let me share with you:  RECIPE FOR CRANBERRY-ORANGE SCONES

I used dried cranberries, which worked fine. These are simply delicious…..and taste and smell like Christmas….a perfect treat for a Christmas tea celebration.

If you want to learn about Mary Jane Hathaway’s books, click here.

PRAYER:

Dear Lord,

We pray for all Christian authors as they bring the message of hope and love to others through their books. We pray that others learn about the light of the world, placing their faith and trust in You.

In Jesus name, Amen.

***

I’m sending my prayers for all of you, dear friends, for a blessed Christmas and a year of treasured blessings in the New Year!

Thank you for visiting me and taking a bit of quiet time to celebrate the treasured blessing of Christ’s birth.

Sherida Stewart

image

 

A very special teatime! #TUESDAYTEA

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

 

Ginger Scones

Ginger Scones

We love our tea celebrations!

Recently we were blessed to take care of our grandsweeties for a few days while our son and daughter-in-law had a weekend away attending a wedding in New York City. Granddaughter and I made blueberry muffins one afternoon for an after nap teatime. Fun!

While in New York City, our daughter-in-law had tea at Alice’s Tea Cup, a very special tea house. (Visit Alice’s Tea Cup.) Knowing our mutual love of tea celebrations, she thoughtfully returned with a gift for me of Alice’s Tea, a delightful floral blend. Then she baked Ginger Scones (as pictured above), so the whole family could enjoy a lovely afternoon tea together. ( Basic scone recipe from All Recipes. Add 1/2 cup chopped candied ginger to dough. )

Tea from Alice's Tea Cup, NYC

Tea from Alice’s Tea Cup, NYC. Thank you, DIL!

BOOKS

One of the many books we read to the grandsweeties while we were visiting was My Very First Tea Party by Michal Sparks. This book is published by Christian book publisher, Harvest House Publishers. I especially liked the thoughtful blessing included as part of teatime.

My review on Goodreads:

My Very First Tea PartyMy Very First Tea Party by Michal Sparks
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a sweet book! This is a cute gift for a toddler (the board book) or preschool child (the hardback version). Adding a tea set would be a perfect combination. My granddaughter and I love to have teatime together, and this rhyming book details all the elements of a tea celebration, complete with invitation, blessing and thank you note. Charming!

ART

Not only are the grandsweeties lovers of books, but art is also a favorite activity. Here is a picture painted by Grandson. He knows what Grammy likes!

"MOOSE" by a favorite artist

“MOOSE” by a favorite artist!

We are thankful for the treasured blessing of our family and the sparkling times we spend together.

May you be blessed with God’s abundant treasures.

TUESDAY TEA with Kira Brady & chatting about HEARTS OF SHADOW!

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Please join me for tea with Kira Brady who is talking about the second book in her Deadglass Trilogy, Hearts of Shadow. I’m serving Dragon Phoenix Pearl tea because of the book’s hero, dragon shapeshifter Leif, and pink cupcakes because of the pink cover of this book. (And the author’s daughter helped me make these cupcakes with icing in her favorite color-PINK!) This multi-talented author also crafted the tea pot and cups we are using today.

Dragon Pearl Tea with pink cupcakes.

Dragon Pearl Tea with pink cupcakes.

 

Take a look at the cover of Hearts of Shadow. Yes, it is very PINK!

HEARTS OF SHADOW by Kira Brady

HEARTS OF SHADOW by Kira Brady

Book Blurb:

Grace Mercer’s unmatched wraith-killing ability made her the unofficial defender of a city shattered by supernatural catastrophe. So there’s no way she’ll allow the new regent of Seattle’s most powerful dragon shifter clan to “protect” her from a vicious evil stalking the ruined streets–and keep her from the freedom she’s risked everything to earn. Leif’s science-honed instincts tell him Grace is the key to keeping shifters and humans safe. But helping this wary fighter channel her untapped power is burning away the dragon’s sensual self-control and putting a crucial alliance at risk. Soon the only chance Leif and Grace will have to save their world will be a dangerously fragile link that could forever unite their souls…or consume all in a storm of destruction.

Chatting with Kira Brady:

Kira Brady with the Deadglass map.

Kira Brady with the Deadglass map.

SHERIDA:  Kira, how did you get the glimmer of the idea for your book, Hearts of Shadow?

KIRA:   I took a ghost tour of the Pike Place Market and was inspired by the tales of sin and supernatural hauntings. Seattle was founded as an open city: alcohol, gambling, and prostitution were legal. I liked the Wild West atmosphere of the nacent town at the farthest edge of the civilization, but wanted to set my story in the modern day and make the ghosts of the past haunt the present. On the Seattle Ghost Tour website I found a very inspiring quote attributed to Chief Seattle that I use at the beginning of the book: “These shores will swarm with the invisible Dead of my Tribe. The White Man will never be alone. Let him be kind and just to my People, for the Dead are not power­less. Dead, did I say? There is no death, only a Change of Worlds.”

I loved the idea of the ghosts swarming the streets of Seattle and people just to blind to the supernatural to see them. I started researching local mythology and found tales of Thunderbirds and Ravens and decided to throw them against the mythology of the Scandinavian immigrants who settled and build the city, dragons.

SHERIDA:   Reviewers have mentioned your excellent ability to weave mythologies together in your storytelling. It is interesting you were able to blend the historical elements of Seattle’s many heritages into your books. What do you do to keep the sparkle while you are writing?

KIRA:  It’s really hard to keep interested in a project once I reach the dreaded middle, but I know that it will get better if I can just power through to the climax. I give myself permission to make a mess during the first draft. The second draft is for cleaning it up. Having a contract helps, since I know I have to finish! I also try to make sure that I keep fresh in my mind the original idea I had for the story before I sit down to write each scene. The original vision, like the ghosts flooding the streets of Seattle for the Deadglass Trilogy, helps guide the tone of each scene.

SHERIDA: Knowing your busy family schedule, you are remarkable in your persistence to write and complete your novels while balancing (quite well) all your responsibilities. Receiving a contract for a three book series after your first attempt at pitching a book is equally amazing! Beyond family, friends and your writing career, what jewel of a moment has God placed in your path during your life’s journey that you would share with us?

KIRA:  I have a lot of jewel moments from backpacking and hiking trips. In particular, I remember being in Yellowstone or Grand Teton with my family as a teenager. We were sitting next to a crystal blue lake with the gorgeous mountains right across from us. I remember thinking how peaceful I felt there, and years later I would recall that mountain scene whenever I felt stressed to try to help me find my center again.

SHERIDA: Thank you, Kira, for joining us today and talking about your inspiration for the Deadglass Trilogy. Fun to have you here!

MY THOUGHTS ABOUT HEARTS OF SHADOW:

Exciting place to be in Kira Brady’s world of shapeshifters!

I LOVE Hearts of Shadow, by Kira Brady! This second book in the Deadglass Trilogy could not come fast enough for me after reading the first book in the trilogy, Hearts of Darkness. After an epic battle, Seattle is being rebuilt by shapeshifters and humans trying to work together to restore the functions of the decimated city. To do this, they must use old technologies, evoking an interesting steampunk element. Dragon shapeshifter, Leif, is an admirable hero who takes on the responsibilities for correcting his brother’s actions. He falls in love with Grace, an emotionally scarred woman who fights bravely in the shadows to save the human race. Their love story is about self-sacrifice–and the true meaning of love. Hearts of Shadow is a steamy, paranormal romance with excellent storytelling, world building, and character creation! Kira tells of the battles of good versus evil while creating hope for the future. I expect to read many more books by award-winning author Kira Brady!

Publishers Weekly included these comments about Hearts of Shadow:

“Brady dazzles in this dark paranormal, a return to a fantasy Seattle introduced in Hearts of Darkness……Brady’s masterful world-building transports the reader to a grim but compelling future, seamlessly interweaving the real and the beautifully imagined.”

You can read more about Kira Brady, her Deadglass series, and see the map of the Kivati and Drekar worlds of the alternate Seattle at:  www.KiraBrady.com.

Kira’s prequel novella, Hearts of Fire, is available on Kindle for 99 cents at Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Hearts-Fire-Deadglass-Kira-Brady-ebook/dp/B008847FPS/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1393284362&sr=1-3&keywords=kira+brady

Thank you for joining my amazing DAUGHTER-IN-LAW and me as we discussed HEARTS OF SHADOW. Please join us March 4 for a tea celebration at the impressive conservatory in Kivati Hall as Kira presents HEARTS OF CHAOS, the third book in the Deadglass trilogy……a tea celebration and book launch not to be missed! Hope you can join us!

Dragon Phoenix Pearl Tea from Arbuckles’ in Tucson, AZ.

Dragon Phoenix Pearl Tea from Arbuckles in Tucson, AZ.

Dragon Phoenix Pearl Tea from Arbuckles in Tucson, AZ.

Pearls of Dragon Tea.

Pearls of Dragon Tea.

 

TUESDAY TEA with May the K9 Spy and KC Frantzen

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

 

 

Strawberry and Blueberry Vanilla Parfait

Strawberry and Blueberry Vanilla Parfait

I’m excited to have May the K9 Spy and KC Frantzen with us today for tea. We’re at the dog-friendly Tea Terrace overlooking Doggie Park. May and KC volunteer at Joni and Friends Wounded Warrior Getaways, so in honor of their contributions to this organization, I’m serving a patriotic Strawberry and Blueberry Vanilla Parfait with blueberry tea. Help yourself to iced tea if you prefer. It is HOT out there! For our canine guests, we have refreshing water and special “Pooch Dog Peanut Butter Treats” from Joshua’s Pet Treat Bakery.

Take a look at May’s two books (and note the dates each will be available FREE for Kindle!) Then please join us as we chat with May and KC and enjoy our treats. (And be very sure to check below about the blog tour information and giveaway…sleuthing involved!)

My thoughts:  I just finished May’s first book, May On The Way, and loved it. I laughed, I cried, I fell in love with sweet May, and I completely enjoyed her tale about how she became a K9 Spy. I love suspense, and this book has suspense along with May’s interesting point of view—a dog’s point of view! A fun read for pet lovers from ages eight and up. This would be a paw-fect book for your family to read together during the summer. I’m looking forward to reading book 2, May Finds a Way about her adventure in Paris. It is good to know that May and KC are busy writing a third book.

 

May On The Way

 

May on the Way: How I Become a K9 Spy

Sometimes I start with a well-thought out plan, and sometimes, me being me, things just happen. In my imagination I’m on my way, heading anywhere. Because anywhere’s better than here.

Which is why I’m staring at this latch. I’m going to escape today. I’ve been watching closely to see how they work it, though no one’s noticed.

Humans… So unaware…

Available in Kindle format for $2.99 on Amazon.com.

FREE for Kindle: July 16-20, 2013

May Finds A Way

 

May Finds a Way: Peril in Paris

An enterprising escape, a perilous mission…
After going astray during K9 Spy boot camp, May tries to find a way to the American Embassy in Paris.

Join her and Léonce, a feral cat, as they sniff out an evil plot leading from Benjamin Franklin’s park through the historic Passy Cemetery to The Pantheon…including a journey under the city!

Available in Kindle format for $3.99 on Amazon.com.

FREE for Kindle: July 23-27, 2013

Now for our conversation with May and KC!

SHERIDA: How did you get the glimmers of your ideas for May on the Way and May Finds a Way?

KC: It was a combo for May on the Way. Rescued from abuse, May could be a snippy little dog, but no! She assumes everyone will love her, greeting each with enthusiasm. The more we enjoyed her, the more we thought others could benefit from her story. We watched her “work” on some die-hard cat people. May insisted they offer her a pat or quick game of toss-and-fetch.

A flicker.
When May was about six, a friend came by, with a friend who worked in law enforcement. After meeting May and getting a good throwing arm workout, she remarked (paraphrased), “May would make an excellent bomb-sniffing dog. She is focused and small enough to go where others cannot.”

A gleam.

About the same time, I was about ¾ through the Christian Writers Guild Apprentice Course and was encouraged to do more with one of the lessons by my mentor, the pawmazing, Sandra Byrd.

The gleam passed from glimmer to glow and I got to work. About 5 years later, the first book became a reality.

And writers may find this humorous… I fully intended to have the Christian Writers Guild scene in the first book, and it was, but as the Sneak Peek bonus chapter for book 2! It became the basis of how May is dognapped in May Finds a Way, but really, who’d a thunk she’d have ended up in Paris?

I enjoy history and how God weaves His story throughout, so I strive to make our books full of interesting tidbits where all details are accurate. Research is So. Much. Fun!! (Yes, there was a 28 hour visit to Paris for book 2.) Plus it’s pawmazing to see how seemingly disparate events, places, actions come together as a unified whole.

Adults seem to enjoy them as much as the kids. This is why we’ve changed the series description. We used to say they are for “Middle-grade, readers 8-12 years old,” now its “Enjoyed by animal lovers 8 and up!”

SHERIDA: Oooo! Research in Paris would be fascinating! What do you do to keep your sparkle while you are writing?

KC: It depends on which phase of the writing process…

As a history major, I ADORE research. This writing gig lets me do that full-time! For example, at a recent craft fair I remarked on a gentleman’s military submarine cap and said we have a nuclear submarine in our third book. He then put me in touch with a fellow, not too far away, who was gracious enough to spend an hour and a half sharing ideas and experiences. Can’t get much better than this.

Editing and rewriting is a joy for me too, mostly… Once words are on the page, you can tinker. Blank pages are fairly difficult for me. I’ve morphed into a “planster” – a hybrid of pantster (writing by seat of the pants) and a plotter (plotting each scene). I’m just on book 3 so my style is still developing.

But the sparkle in any project has to be May herself. She is always near as I write and occasionally reminds me to take a break and toss the ball, even though she just celebrated her 13th barkday on June 13, 2013!  🙂

SHERIDA: Yes, I can just see from May’s website photos and her pawmazing adventures, that she is a sparkle girl! A treasure! Beyond family, friends and your writing career, what jewel of a moment has God placed in your path during your life’s journey that you would like to share with us?

KC: The Lord has graced me with an entire box of jewels. We do a fair amount of traveling and one of the highlights has to have been visiting Salto Angel (pronounced SALTo  anHEL), also known as Angel Falls in Venezuela. I’d wanted to see it since World Geography in elementary school. Had to wait until my 40’s but it was worth it on soooo many levels. You haven’t lived until you spend a wedding anniversary under a pole tent in hammocks with about 30 others. When one shifts, all hammocks on your pole swing. What an experience…

Seriously, it was an amazing adventure into La Gran Sabana. Once you fly into the small airport, you board large canoes (with motors) and go upriver for hours. Incidentally, the river is the color of root beer, no animal sounds… But the flora is spectacular. Upon arrival at base camp, you offload luggage and follow the guide, scrambling up the side of the tepui for several hours. Just a couple of minutes before we got to the observation area, the Heavens opened and we were absolutely drenched.

We managed to retrieve only one photo. My husband snapped it of me standing on a rock holding a red anniversary rose, mists of Angel Falls in the background. That has to rank right on up there!

SHERIDA:  Wow! What an experience! My husband was born in Venezuela, but left when he was six-weeks old. He’d like to visit sometime, and we’ll put Salto Angel on our to-do-list of adventures. And now to ask May a question! What jewel of a moment in your spy adventures would you like to tell us about?

MAY THE K9 SPY:  Miss Sherida ~ I’m wiggling my whole self! You saved best for last! BOL!

There are so many things I could mention but then, they’re classified.

The best thing I can say is, no matter how dark things look, there is always hope. Opportunity is on the way, and usually when and where you least expect it. Like when Dad and Mom rescued me from the evil Rukan. In real life, it happened pretty much the way we tell it in my first book. Things were bleak but the Creator had a plan that I was unaware of. I thought He’d forgotten about me but not at all. He’d already set into motion events that took me away from that awful caged existence, into a pawmazing home and now… I’m a K9 Spy and author of a series of books! (I try to humor Mom and say she’s the author but… she’s just the transcriptionist. She has to type, since I have no thumbs.)

Thank you for your thoughtfulness to include me and my FURiends with the dee-licious fresh water and pawmazing pet treats. Yummo!

And now, hint-hint – it’s past time for toss and fetch, don’t you agree? *prance prance* Here’s my ball! Let’s go play!

I adore answering questions, and Mom does too. We’ll be at the ready to chat whenever you like.

Thank you again for asking us to be with you and your readers today!

SHERIDA: It’s been so interesting to hear about your rescue with the reminder that God has a plan for us all. Thank you so much for joining us for tea and water.  Now May and I will head to the doggie park with her ball for a bit of exercise. Be sure to find out about May the K9 Spy’s Scavenger Hunt with the information given below and check out the link for Joshua’s Pet Treats for your FURiends!

Giveaway Information:

Check out the rules and join May the K9 Spy’s Scavenger Hunt at May’s Blog Tour HQ!

May also has a “Lucky 7 Rewards for Reviewers” drawing happening this month! Grab a copy of the book(s), submit your review(s) on Amazon.com, and enter to win super cool prizes. Details can be found in May’s latest newsletter, or contact May’s publicist at amberstokes@editingthroughtheseasons.com.

KC and May

About the Author:

KC Frantzen learned to speak critter at a young age. She and her husband volunteer with a variety of projects, including the Joni & Friends Wounded Warrior Getaway. They enjoy traveling just about anywhere, which helps formulate ideas for May the K9 Spy. The family lives in the country hills of middle Tennessee with two Arabian horses and several rescue dogs, including the real May.

 

Learn more about KC and May at www.maythek9spy.com, and connect with May on her Facebook page.

Learn about Joni and Friends Wounded Warrior Getaways at www.joniandfriends.org.

Learn about the special doggie treats at www.Joshuaspettreatbakery.com.

A FINAL NOTE: I fell in love with suspense and mystery novels when my sixth grade teacher let me read her treasured Nancy Drew books. That is when I wrote my first story, Mystery of the Diamond Mountain Men, filled with romance and treasures! What mystery novels do you enjoy? Please leave a comment! Thanks for joining May, KC and me for TUESDAY TEA!

May working on edits.

May working on edits.

 

 

TUESDAY TEA at Green Mountain Dude Ranch

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

This week, I’m attending a writing retreat at Green Mountain Dude Ranch with about sixty other writers from Seekerville. Beautiful scenery here at the Idaho ranch, where Jake has made us all feel welcome. We are free to saddle up a horse for a trail ride, pull on our hiking boot for a bit of adventure, or find a place on the porch to sit and write. We gather around the campfire to share goals or experiences at the end of the day. Sunday we attended cowboy church, listening to great old hymns. This morning, I took a hike down by the creek and gathered some leaves of wild mint, so today I’m serving fresh mint tea. (I just might have seen grizzly tracks in the mud by the stream. I’ll have to ask the cowboys if there are grizzly bears around these parts.) The cooks here rustle up some delicious grub, so I’ll let you help yourself to anything on the spread. (The strawberry rhubarb pie is a good choice, as is anything with peaches.) The Grammar Queen is here, so I’m hoping for an invitation to her suite for an afternoon tea. Take a moment to enjoy the mountain scenery and stay awhile!

 

Mug of mint tea 1

 

And let me tell you, a virtual retreat with this group of writers is awesome! The more the merrier! Let me know in the comments where you would go on a virtual writing retreat! Thanks for stopping by for mint tea!

 

For information about the retreat, visit Seekerville at www.Seekerville.net.

TUESDAY TEA with Sandra Leesmith

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

Love's Miracles

 

We’re having tea today the with the author of LOVE’S MIRACLESSandra Leesmith. We’re at the Wildflower Gazebo Tea Garden, serving Lavender Scones with wildflower honey and an exquisite blend of English tea, The Queen’s Earl Grey Jubilee, from the Queen Mary Tea Shop in Seattle. The tea includes delicate lavender blossoms. Please pull up a white wicker chair and sit with us while we talk about Love’s Miracles, where wildflowers bloom, hence the flower-flavored scones and tea I’m serving today.

Lavender Scones and tea served in the spring garden with blooming columbines.

Lavender Scones and tea served in the spring garden with blooming columbines.

About  Love’s Miracles

Dr. Margo Devaull came to Dominic Zanelli’s mountain retreat confident that she could help this Vietnam veteran overcome the torment that kept him apart from the world. But her training as a psychologist had not prepared her for the tragic, explosive contradictions brewing inside him. For here was a sensitive artist who could be gentle – and a man whose eyes flashed with violence and pain when he told her to leave and never come back. Yet Margo did come back, slowly gain his trust, and awaken the sleeping needs of his heart. Only by reliving her own wounded past and helping Zane confront a terrible memory from the war could she set them both free – and save their last chance for love.

 

My thoughts on Love’s Miracles

Reading Love’s Miracles helps us remember the sacrifices our military members and their families make to secure our nation’s freedom and the freedom of others who are not able to defend themselves. Love’s Miracles is a story of the post-Vietnam era, but is still relevant to current times. Sandra Leesmith writes of the emotions involved with post-traumatic stress disorder. Her words are written with the care and the consideration deserved by those who suffer from this condition. As I read this story, I was concerned about Zane and Margo as they worked through the issues they must face, their love blooming over time and through difficulties. The detail of both scenery and action is vivid. The ending left me in tears and with a profound appreciation for the sacrifices made during wartime.

As I read Love’s Miracles, my thoughts went back to 1971 when my husband headed to Fort Lewis, Washington, for Basic Training. He was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the United States Army Reserve Corp of Engineers. During this stressful time, he was prepared to go to Vietnam. I dreaded my husband being affected by the war, because I knew the possibilities. My father is a World War II veteran, having been in a German POW hospital after having a leg amputated, an injury which was caused by “friendly fire.” My father handles his disability with grace, helping others through amputee support groups. In my husband’s situation, the United States forces were withdrawn before he was called to go to Vietnam, though he continued to serve in the Reserves for many years.

Soldiers face extreme hardships and each person handles these situations differently. Love’s Miracles is a powerful story offering hope and understanding….and a reminder of those we owe thanks.

With thankfulness, my prayers go out to soldiers past, present and future.

 

Talking with Sandra Leesmith

SHERIDA:  Sandra, I’m so happy to welcome you to Tuesday Tea as my first guest. After “meeting” you and your editor, Amber Stokes, in Seekerville, I am delighted to review the re-release of your book, Love’s Miracles.

SANDRA:  Good morning, Sherida! Thank you so much for inviting me to join you for tea. I love tea. My dad’s family was from England so I always enjoyed tea time with them. Dad’s wife was British and she gave me quite a few lessons about the difference between a tea pot and a tea kettle. Makes me smile thinking of her.

SHERIDA:  Readers like to know how an author gets started with a story. How did you get the glimmer of the idea for your book, Love’s Miracles?

SANDRA:  Ideas rumble around in my head all the time. Characters talk to me and demand their story be told. I have always been a daydreamer so I figure my imagination is overactive. I like to think the stories come from the Holy Spirit.

This particular story was written in the eighties when there were so many after-effects of the Vietnam War. Veterans had a tough time when they returned home. They not only had to deal with public anger and hatred, but had to process the horror they had seen in battle. My brother was a Vietnam vet and my heart ached for the trauma I saw in him and so many others. The story emerged from those emotions.

SHERIDA:  You wrote about this difficult situation with compassion. I’m learning that writing is demanding work. What do you do to keep your sparkle while you are writing?

SANDRA:  What keeps me “sparkling” when I write is plenty of rest, exercise and healthy snacks. I start out my day with a morning walk and let the ideas swirl in my mind. I also walk when I’m stuck. Somehow the process of walking keeps my left brain busy enough to let my creative right brain have a say.

SHERIDA:  Interesting. Many of my story ideas are formed when I’m hiking. I like your thoughts on keeping the left brain busy. Sandra, beyond family, friends and your writing career, what jewel of a moment has God placed in your path during your life’s journey that you would share with us?

SANDRA:  This was a tough question because I have been so blessed with so many jewel moments. One that sticks out to me is the time right after I retired from teaching and started writing again, and I hit a wall. I had written Cody the Coyote, my children’s picture book, but I couldn’t write much more because of an intense set of family crises. I took a hike and sat down in this field thinking, “I guess I just wasn’t meant to write.” All of a sudden a coyote showed up about forty feet away and started singing and yipping. He stood there and pranced his front paws and sang to me for about fifteen minutes.  I’ve never seen anything like it. But I knew that he was telling me that my writing was okay and that I would be fine.

Cody the Coyote finally did get published last winter. All of this simply showed me that even though we may have a glimmer of what we are supposed to do, we need to trust and have faith in the timing. 🙂

SHERIDA:  I love your special moment! God’s perfect timing! Cody the Coyote sounds like a great book for my two grandchildren. FYI-Sandra’s children’s books are written as Sandy Wardman.

SANDRA:  Thank you, Sherida.  It has been a pleasure. And the tea hit the spot.

 

Sandra Leesmith

About the Author

Sandra loves to hike, read, bicycle, and write. She lives in Arizona with her husband and two dogs, a Labrador retriever and a toy poodle. During the hot summer, she and her husband travel throughout the United States in their motorhome, where she enjoys the outdoors and finds wonderful ideas for her next writing project.

You can learn more about Sandra and her books at www.sandraleesmith.com.

LOVE’S MIRACLES can be ordered from Amazon here:
http://www.amazon.com/Loves-Miracles-ebook/dp/B00CVFZEVC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1368994615&sr=8-1&keywords=Love%27s+Miracles+by+Sandra+Leesmith

Here is the information for the blog tour giveaway which is open to United States residents.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Thank you all  for joining us for Tuesday Tea!

If you’d like a recipe for the scones, go to www.allrecipes.com and search for Lavender Scones.

If you’d like to order tea, go to www.QueenMaryTea.com.

Amber Stokes blogs at www.seasonsofhumility.com.

You can find the encouraging authors of Seekerville at www.seekerville.net.