Do you have a favorite thing to do when summer arrives? Something that really means summer to you? Summer seems to start a different routine. Swimming? Travel? Gardening? Hiking? How about relaxing and refreshing?
When our local farmers’s market opens, I feel like summer has truly begun since I can taste all the locally grown treats. I miss having my own veggie garden, so the stalls selling fresh produce delight my heart.
Look at the goodies I found at the first market of the season! The fresh salsa is perfect…with just the right amount of fire with New Mexico Chiles. Honey from Enchanted Bees, radishes, even New Mexico Sage soap!
Putting up some jars of apricot jam is on my summer schedule, along with a couple of short backpacking trips. Reading on our patio is planned for many warm afternoons.
Is reading on your summer to-do list?
Here’s a suggestion. Since some of my favorite romance authors released a collection of SUMMER cowboy novellas, I thought I’d share my review with you. So join me on the shaded patio with a glass of iced tea (sweetened with local honey from Enchanted Bees) while I tell you about this sweet romance collection.
COWBOYS OF SUMMER by Mary Connealy, Cheryl St, John, Tina Radcliffe, Missy Tippens, Lorna Seilstad and Sherri Shackelford
What perfect romantic cowboy stories to enjoy during the summer!
I liked all these cute novellas by some favorite authors. Each one had great characters and fast pacing. I loved visiting the various communities with an emphasis on sweet summer romance…cowboy style.
Dr. Tess and the Cowboy by Mary Connealy
A fun-to-read story featuring enthusiastic paleontologist Tessa Rhoades searching for dinosaur bones on hard-working Joe Holt’s Nebraska ranch. His peace and quiet are disturbed by her exciting discovery. There is great entertainment as the couple must dig into their hearts to reveal their true passions.
Hometown Girl by Cheryl St. John
I always love a story with characters helping others, and Stevie Marshall is just such a woman as she helps teens through her garden market and 4-H activities. When her high school sweetheart, bull riding champion Justin Cooper, returns to town to help his father, summer fireworks flare. I enjoyed finding out if past regrets could be rectified to become something better for both of them.
Lake Effect by Tina Radcliffe
This is a fun story of leaving the past behind and forging ahead toward bright new beginnings. I enjoyed Jessica Richards’ experiences as she prepared to open Paradise Lake Bed and Breakfast. Rancher Tucker Jackson, with his work ethic and family priorities, is a strong hero. This summer visit to Paradise, Colorado, is filled with the beauty of the season and with plenty of friendly townsfolk to warm your heart.
His Lone Star Heart by Missy Tippens
Rancher Zeb West wants to buy his neighbor’s Double B Ranch, but the owner’s daughter, Beecher Brown, is hoping to keep her father’s ranch. To find true happiness, both face difficult struggles…Zeb to understand himself and Beecher to prove her abilities. I enjoyed the interesting conflict and the sweet romance.
Great Strides by Lorna Seilstad
Lorna Seilstad is a new-to-me author. Since I’m a former special needs preschool teacher, Dana Etherton’s dream for her equine therapy ranch was of particular interest to me. I liked the second chance theme of hardworking Adam Malone’s situation. The pace of this story great, as is the perfect inclusion of small details…fragrance, color, and weather. I’ll definitely be reading more by this author.
The Decoy Bride by Sherri Shackelford
The trials of pretending to be someone else is a fun premise in this story. As an office assistant to a publicist, Paige Monroe is given a chance to try out being famous. During this experience, she meets rancher Sterling Tanner. It’s a wild ride as the two get to know each other and overcome their fears. “It had taken a brush with the very thing she feared to finally free her.” A laugh-out-loud sweet romance!
Five stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and highly recommended!
I hope you can fit some reading time into your summer days.
I pray you find some refreshment as you enjoy God’s treasured blessing of summer. Whatever you have planned, I pray it is fun, safe and filled with joy!
End of summer reading…cooling off from the summer heat or heading out for an adventure on the trail?
What a different summer this has been for us! Hiking in the mountains is our favorite summer activity, but this year we’ve only made it out on the trail a few times. Both my husband and I had important writing projects to complete…his PhD dissertation and my 70,363-word inspirational romance novel for Harlequin’s Manuscript Matchmaker historical writing contest. Since I’ve submitted my manuscript and hubby is still working on his project, I’ve had some time to catch-up with reading, so here are some suggestions to end up your summer with some great reading.
If you’re steaming in the hot weather, and this picture cools you off, you would enjoy Ruth Logan Herne’s Her Unexpected Family. This book features Emily, a wedding planner, and Grant, a hero who works for the highway department. Since we need to drive the mountain passes often during the winter, I’m grateful for the people who keep the roads safe, even when they must work in dangerous conditions.
The whirlwind of precious two-year-old twins, the peek into the fun (usually) job of wedding event planners, and the warmth of the small community of Grace Haven all mixes together for an amazing story about the grace of forgiveness…a perfect story. Emily is so likeable with her common sense approach to life and the joyous love she expresses. As a protective father, hardworking Grant struggles with the past and the future, but he is a good man, willing to see his mistakes and to work on his flaws…my kind of hero.
I love this story, including the shout-out to dedicated highway department employees who work helping others during very challenging weather conditions. As a former special needs teacher, I appreciate the portrayal of Dolly and the viewpoint of parenting. From the details given about the event planning business, author Ruth Logan Herne knows about wedding planning…and I now want to do the job of organizing special memories for happy brides.
If you love small town stories of hope and forgiveness, this delightful story is perfect for you. You’ll love the ending!
“Faith, forgiveness and trust were key factors in life.”
“God doesn’t care that we make mistakes. He cares that we fix them.”
*I was given a copy of this book with no requirement to write a review. I’m honored to share my honest opinion of this delightful story.
If you want to extend your summer by venturing out on the trail, then you will enjoy Love Will Find A Way, a novella collection by Cara Lynn James, Myra Johnson, and Sandra Leesmith. Each story features an adventure on a trail…in Connecticut, in Texas, and near the Grand Canyon.
A perfect collection of three inspirational romances for summer reading!
STAGING A ROMANCE, by Cara Lynn James, is such a fun romance! I enjoyed this sweet story set at Blue Lake Christian Camp in Connecticut, where home stager Jenna Carlyle and businessman Nate McKenzie met as teenagers. Now they are adults facing responsibilities and considering their future plans. They work their way through issues using prayer and consideration for each other. Jenna’s occupation as a home stager was interesting. On a personal note, I liked this story because my husband and I attended church camp in Connecticut as teenagers…and walked down by the lake. This is a fun and uplifting romance!
“I’m a firm believer that prayer matters.”
“I want to do what we want to do. It’s about us, not just me.”
WORTH THE RISK, by Myra Johnson, is a wonderful story of overcoming with faith! I love and sympathize with the characters in this story. Facing a new location and a new job, single mom Cara Gallagher deals with regrets and unresolved issues of resentment. Tour guide Lucas Montero is struggling with disappointments, but keeps his godly focus on serving others before himself. The secondary characters add sparkle…lively kindergartener Zoe, friendly Sandra, and kind Rosalinda. Weaving their way toward friendship and new beginnings, Cara and Lucas find their faith a strong support. I especially enjoyed the trail hike to see the pictographs and the visit to Candelaria.
“But thank goodness God is in control.”
“Things happen. But it never changes God’s love for us.”
NEW BEGINNINGS, by Sandra Leesmith, puts you right into realistic action on the trails of Grand Canyon National Park! The author’s writing takes you on an adventure along the hiking trails of a favorite National Park. This story is filled with action and emotion as ex-police officer, Samantha Reynolds, and Flagstaff lawyer, Zach Williams, find love while helping others in a desperate situation. Great kissing scenes!
“Let go and let God.”
“Don’t dwell on what could have been.”
*I won this book with no requirement to write a review. It is my pleasure to review this collection.
Now for our tea celebration!
#TUESDAYTEA TREAT: Summer Fruit Marzipan Tarts
Farmers’ markets bring such joy during the summer…supporting local farmers and finding fresh delicious product. This easy recipe for Summer Fruit Tarts was created after I returned from shopping with apricots and honey. Please enjoy this summery treat with a glass of iced tea or lemonade.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees or temperature indicated on the package.
Cut the puff pastry sheets into squares, approximately 3″ x 3″ and place a 1/4″ thick slice of marzipan in the center of each pastry square. Bake according to the package directions, until golden brown.
Meanwhile, cook slices of the fruit of your choice over low heat to make a sauce. (The apricots were good as a stewed sauce, but instead of cooking the fruit, you could top the tarts with sliced fresh fruit or use berries…even easier.)
To serve, top a pastry/marzipan square with fruit and drizzle with honey. You could add ice cream or whipped cream. We didn’t use additional sugar because the marzipan/almond paste is sweet.
BIBLE VERSE: This is the Scripture written at the beginning of Her Unexpected Family, a good verse to tuck into our hearts.
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)
Bless these Christian authors who spread your word through their writing. May they have strength to continue the writing journey. Please give them comfort in the knowledge they encourage others through their work. We pray all the people of the world come to know You and accept Christ as Savior. Please be with us all during the busy last days of summer.
In Jesus’s name we pray, Amen
So, end of summer reading? Air-conditioned comfort as you read in a comfy favorite chair or out on the trail devouring a book while taking a rest break sitting on a rock? How do you relax during the last days of summer? With an awesome book, I hope!
May you be blessed with God’s treasured blessings of summer–good weather, relaxation time, and fresh produce. Thank you for joining me for #TuesdayTea!
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: 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: 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.
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.”
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!
Check out the rules and join May the K9 Spy’s Scavenger Hunt at May’s Blog Tour HQ!
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.
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!