Sheila's Books Read

Sheila's bookshelf: read

The Best Intentions
Scotland's Melody
The Secret Society of Salzburg
Secret of the Sonnets
20-40-60-Minute Dinners: Meals to Match the Time You Have
Through the Wilderness: My Journey of Redemption and Healing in the American Wild
Secret Santa Claus Club: A Tool to Help Parents Unwrap the Secret of Santa
Mr. Pudgins
Revenge Never Rests
The Best Mistake
Meriden Park
More Inspirational Stories for Young Women
The Great Tree: A Christmas Fable
To Capture His Heart
The Call of the Sea
Livvy and the Enchanted Woodland
Come, Gentle Night
The Bad Boy Theory
Guide To Smart Wedding Planning: What You want to know and everything you haven't thought of yet.

Sheila's favorite books »

2024 Goodreads Reading Challenge

2024 Reading Challenge

2024 Reading Challenge
Sheila has read 4 books toward her goal of 100 books.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Official Book Blitz for Secrets Never Die By Laurie Lewis and Giveway!

Tallie Brown’s life has never made sense. Raised in isolation by her mother, Julia, Tallie was dragged suddenly and without explanation from one third-world outpost to another until life normalized seven years ago when Julia took a position on a mountaintop in the Pacific northwest. But when Julia unexpectedly dies, Tallie uncovers clues suggesting that Julia had a secret life. Journalistic phenom Jackson James is still recovering from the devastating mistake that flatlined his promising career. Now he’s paying the price, working as the editor of a syrupy community rag in a posh D.C. suburb. But when the very man who destroyed him drops a tantalizing lead about a potential D.C. scandal, the reporter sees his chance for redemption and sets off to chase the story. Jackson’s investigation leads him to Cutler’s Ridge, a dying Virginia coal town, and directly into the path of the mysterious and beautiful Tallie. As these two mistrustful loners follow their leads, their stories begin to intertwine until they reach an alarming conclusion – something terrible happened in Cutler’s Ridge. As they doggedly pursue the story, the town’s cold reception spirals into threats and danger, proving that there are those who will stop at nothing to keep the past hidden forever –because secrets never die.

Laurie (L.C.) Lewis will always be a Marylander at heart—a weather-whining lover of crabs, American history, and the sea. She admits to being craft-challenged, particularly lethal with a glue gun, and a devotee of sappy movies. Secrets Never Die is Laurie’s twelfth published novel.
Her women’s fiction/romance novels include Love on the Line, (2019), Awakening Avery, (2018), Love on a Limb, (2017), Sweet Water, (2017), The Dragons of Alsace Farm (2016), and
Unspoken (2004), written as Laurie Lewis. Using the pen name L.C. Lewis, she wrote the five volumes of her award-winning FREE MEN and DREAMERS historical romance series, set against the backdrop of the War of 1812: Dark Sky at Dawn (2007), Twilight’s Last Gleaming
(2008), Dawn’s Early Light (2009), Oh, Say Can You See? (2010), and In God is Our Trust, (2011).
Laurie Lewis is a RONE Award Winner (The Dragons of Alsace Farm) and was twice
named a New Apple Literary Award winner in 2017 (The Dragons of Alsace Farm), and in 2018, winning Best New Fiction (Love on a Limb.) She is also a BRAGG Medallion honoree, and she was twice named a Whitney Awards and USA Best Books Awards finalist.
Laurie loves to hear from readers, and she invites you to join her VIP Readers’ Club, or contact her at any of these locations.

VIP Readers' ClubWebsite ~
Twitter ~ Goodreads ~
  ~ Facebook ~ Instagram

TALLIE: Brie Larsen (Captain Marvel) Oh yeah!
JACKSON: Zack Efron
JULIA:  Helena Bonham Carter
BODIE GLICK:  Spencer Breslin

To view our blog schedule and follow along with this tour visit our Official Event page 

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Official Cover Reveal for Grace Without Grace: Stumbling into Romance By Susan Tietjen

Susan was born and raised a Southern California girl but is grateful to have lived on the Oregon coast and in the Rocky Mountains of northern Utah. She’s now enjoying living with her husband in the incomparable beauty of the Redwood forest, nestled against the rugged coast of Northern California.
Susan raised a tribe of children, making ends meet as a registered nurse and lactation consultant, and now her tribe members have tribes of their own and she doesn’t get to see enough of them. She loves to travel and is thrilled with a good movie or a great book, but writing is her passion. She writes almost anything, especially epic fantasy and romance.

Susan would love to hear your comments. Please review her book at your favorite retailer or at Goodreads. Take a peek at her website,, and/ or drop her a note at:

Facebook ~ Website ~
Twitter ~ Amazon ~

Grace has given up on romance, on almost everything, since Rick Fleming betrayed her faith in him five years ago. Given her constant struggle with bad luck (her friend Murphy), being insanely accident prone, and having been the target of endless ridicule growing up, she has no reason to trust anyone.
Rick made some mistakes as a boy, and as a young man, his worst was hurting Grace Evans. His heart still belongs to her, even if she doesn’t know it. Unfortunately, in the last confrontation between them, she demanded he never speak to her again.
Now, Grace’s best friend (and Rick’s sister) Hannah has invited her to a ten-day summer work-vacation to babysit Hannah’s teen cousins. A palatial cabin, a patio boat on the lake, and all the comforts of the rich and famous at their fingertips? A vacation made in heaven.
At least until they arrive and Grace finds Rick there. And neither can leave. Rick’s car is in pieces in the garage, and Grace forgot her driver’s license at home.
How will Grace survive it? Can she find a way to forgive? Can Rick learn to take
responsibility for his past mistakes? And even if they succeed, what will they do when Rick’s most recent wantabe girlfriend shows up on their doorstep, determined to make Rick hers?

And now for the Cover

Preorder Available Now on Amazon!

Join us for the upcoming tour featuring this wonderful book HERE!

Find all of Susan Tietjen's books here
Universal Amazon Link ~ 
Goodreads ~

To view our blog schedule and follow along with this tour visit our Official Event page 

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Onyx (Lux #2) by Jennifer L. Armentrout-Book Review

Onyx by Jennifer L. Armentrout
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Summary:

Thanks to his alien mojo, Daemon’s determined to prove what he feels for me is more than a product of our bizarro connection. So I’ve sworn him off, even though he’s running more hot than cold these days. But we’ve got bigger problems.


The Department of Defense is here. If they ever find out what Daemon can do and that we’re linked, I’m a goner. So is he. And there’s this new boy in school who’s got a secret of his own. He knows what’s happened to me and he can help, but to do so, I have to lie to Daemon and stay away from him. Like that’s possible. Against all common sense, I’m falling for Daemon. Hard.


I’ve seen someone who shouldn’t be alive. And I have to tell Daemon, even though I know he’s never going to stop searching until he gets the truth. What happened to his brother? Who betrayed him? And what does the DOD want from them—from me?


My Review:
Wow, I liked this 2nd book a lot! The storyline was more mature and had a lot more action. Mysteries in the story about "lost" people dominated the plot. I really liked the relationship between the two main characters Katie and Daemon. This was a happy surprise to have the second book in a series be so much better than the first. It still had some normal teenage angst but I felt the characters grew up in Lux#2. I've already started listening to the third book in the series. It's been fun listening while getting ready in the morning, before school starts, and before I go to bed. Now I know I'll finish the series because I'm just that hooked to want to find out more about this world.

View all my reviews

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Obsidian (A Lux Novel Book One) By Jennifer L. Armentrout-Book Review

Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

I'm finally getting round to listening to the audiobook of Obsidian. The main way to describe the plot is... teenage angst at it's finest. I like the cool powers that show up in this book and I also like the originality of what Daemon is. So much of this felt like Twilight revisited. I probably would have enjoyed this more if I'd read it when it first came out. Some readers have said they like the other books in this series more than the first book. I'll go ahead and listen to them. I give Obsidian 3.5 stars.

View all my reviews

Friday, August 16, 2019

Fool's Deadly Gold-A Suspense Novel By Clair M. Poulson-Blog Tour Review & Giveaway

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1090 KB
  • Print Length: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Covenant Communications (1 August 2019)
  • Genre: Mystery/Suspense
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B07VDVS635
  • ***"I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from the publisher. All opinions are my own."***

Book Summary
Lauralyn LaPlant and her sister, Bridgette, could not be closer. Their shared passion for adventure draws them to scale a sheer cliff one fateful day, but despite their experienced precautions, Bridgette suffers a terrible accident and plummets to an untimely death. Shattered by grief, Lauralyn soon makes a sobering discovery: this was no accident—her sister’s climbing rope was cut. But who wanted Bridgette dead, and why? It’s up to Lauralyn and her grieving brother-in-law, Dade, to uncover the truth, even if it means putting themselves in the path of a ruthless killer. As their search for clues leads them deep into the heart of Gold Country, they discover that in the world of prospecting, greed knows no limits.

My Review
This suspense novel is full of surprises. There is a lot going on, especially after the character Bridgette dies. You need to be awake and alert to keep track of the many characters in this novel who are suspects in this murder. 

Dade has so many problems after his wife is killed. All of a sudden he has old girlfriends coming out of the woodwork wanting him back in their lives. It's easy to see why Dade couldn't trust anyone. Then, his sister-in-law Lauralyn has her own problems with a stalker who's causing problems for her. Throw in a kidnapping, gold hunting, fistfights, and claim-jumping and you have a novel of non-stop action and adventure. 

This is not a romance novel but is a story stuffed with tension, uncertainty, doubt, and confusion. Readers will be sure they know who the murderer is and they'll change their minds just as fast. This book is a speedy read and I'm glad that I had a Saturday to start and finish it quickly. Set some time aside because I know once you start, you won't be able to put this down. 

Meet Author: Clair M. Poulson 

Clair M. Poulson was born and raised in Duchesne, Utah. His father was a rancher and farmer, his mother a librarian. Clair has always been an avid reader, having found his love for books as a very young boy.

He has served for forty years in the criminal justice system. Twenty years were spent in law enforcement, ending his police career with eight years as the Duchesne County Sheriff. For the past twenty years Clair has worked as a justice court judge for Duchesne County. Clair is also a veteran of the US Army where he was a military policeman. He has served on various boards and councils during his professional career, including the Justice Court Board of Judges, Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice, Utah Judicial Council, Utah Peace Officer Standards and Training Council, an FBI advisory board and others.

In addition to his criminal justice work, Clair has farmed and ranched all of his life. He has raised many kinds of animals, but his greatest interest is horses.

Clair has served in many capacities in the LDS church, including full-time missionary (California Mission) bishop, counselor to bishop, young men president, high councilor, stake mission president, scoutmaster, High Priest group leader, etc. He currently serves as a Sunday School teacher.

Clair is married to Ruth, and together, they have five children, all of whom are married: Alan (Vicena) Poulson, Kelly Ann (Wade) Hatch, Amanda (Ben) Semadeni, Wade (Brooke) Poulson, and Mary (Tyler) Hicken. Between them they have twenty-three children. Clair and Ruth met while both were students at Snow College and were married in the Manti temple.

Clair has always loved telling his children, and later his grandchildren, make-up stories. His vast experience in life and his love of literature has always contributed to both his telling stories to children and his writing of adventure and suspense novels.

Read more about Clair and his books HERE:

Purchase Fool's Deadly Gold HERE:

Meet The Author on August 31st, 2019

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Monday, August 12, 2019

Invisible Heroes of World War II: True Stories That Should Never Be Forgotten By Jerry Borrowman-Book Review

Product Details

  • Title: Invisible Heroes of World War II: True Stories That Should Never Be Forgotten
  • Author: Jerry Borrowman
  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Shadow Mountain (May 7, 2019)
  • Genre: Non-fiction/Historical
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1629724173

Book Summary:
Invisible Heroes of World War II, documents ten fascinating true stories of a diverse group of soldiers and noncombatants from all over the world, including African Americans, women, and Native Americans, who fought with the Allies during World War II. These heroes made significant contributions in the war effort, and sometimes gave their lives for freedom and liberty, often without much recognition or fanfare. Some were frontline soldiers who were captured by the enemy and endured horrific conditions as POWs, others were ordinary citizens who fought in the French Resistance and provided vital operations to undermine Nazi occupation, while others were engineers, workers in industry, or war correspondents and photographers. All served with valor and distinction as part of the massive Allied forces who fought to free the world from tyranny and oppression.

My Review
I love history and enjoy reading about real people that shaped our country into the glorious place it is today. I particularly love to read about the heroes from World War II. This book has ten stories of incredible people who helped change the course of history helping the Allies win the war. I'd heard of a few of these people but it was fascinating to take a much closer look into their lives and their stories. 

Some of the people you'll read about in this book are more widely known such as the group of men called Navajo code talkers, women in the War Industries, and the Purple Heart Battalion. Readers will also get to know individuals who bravely fought against the enemy & became a POW such as Pat Patton, or Dickey Chapelle an American female journalist who went behind enemy lines and became an invisible soldier. Each story in this book gives you insight into an aspect of the war you may have never read about before. This is why I love reading personal accounts even though they may be hard to read. We cannot forget our history and what these brave men and women did to maintain our freedom. 

This book is not too long at only 189 pages. You also don't need to read it all at once. I read it over the course of a month when I only had a little bit of time to read a chapter. Borrowman does an excellent job of sharing these stories. I love who he dedicated this book to and it shows the overall feel of what this book, Invisible Heroes of World War II, is all about.

"This book is dedicated to the men and women of the United States military as well as the families who support them, for the sacrifices they make in fighting for the cause of freedom-particularly to those who achieved great things despite discrimination and prejudice."-Jerry Borrowman

Purchase Invisible Heroes of World War II: True Stories That Should Never Be Forgotten: 

Meet Author: Jerry Borrowman
Jerry Borrowman is an award-winning author of eighteen published books including military fiction, non-fiction, and co-authored biography. Jerry is a two-time recipient of the prestigious George Washington National Medal from the Freedom Foundation at Valley Forge,"for his contribution to the cause of freedom through his writing." Compassionate Soldier was the 2019 Gold Award Winner from Foreword Reviews in the War and Military category.

Jerry is known for his meticulous attention to historical detail, including the technology that is unique to each story

Learn more about Jerry and his books at his website HERE:

Sunday, August 11, 2019

A Week in Brighton (Timeless Regency Collection Book 13) By Jennifer Moore, Annette Lyon,& Donna Hatch-Book Review

Product Details

  • File Size: 2679 KB
  • Print Length: 233 pages
  • Publisher: Mirror Press (July 30, 2019)
  • Publication Date: July 30, 2019
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Genre: Regency Romance
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B07T92T3Z2
  • ***"I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from the publisher. All opinions are my own."***

Book Summary
Every woman dreams of love, but is a week in Brighton long enough to find happily ever after?
After years of planning, Arthur Grande’s vision for a luxury hotel in Brighton is finally becoming a reality. But unlike the rest of the town, Daphne Dayley isn’t taken in by the newcomer’s cheerful smile or generous nature. She sees only a wealthy opportunist threatening to close her parents’ bakery. With the lease expiring in one week, the two clash in a battle of wills and wits. But they both come to discover that ambitions which had once seemed so clear may evolve when hearts are softened.

SIGNS OF LOVE by Annette Lyon
When the Hughes family vacations in Brighton, Julia goes exploring for fossils along the Undercliff path—a hobby she’s developed thanks to her curiosity in science. Instead of finding fossils, she stumbles upon Silas Hayward, a handsome wine smuggler, and one of his crew. She slips away undetected but is intrigued by Hayward and drawn to him later at a ball held at the Royal Pavilion. Her long-time friend Andrew is in love with Julia and declares his heart to her at the ball. She’s stunned and doesn’t know how to answer, but right then, Mr. Hayward conveniently takes her away to the dance floor. The distraction is brief, however; Julia quickly learns that the Hayward is far more than a harmless wine smuggler: he’s a traitor to the nation. If she can’t stop his plot with Andrew’s help, the country will fall to Napoleon. 

Angry and grieving over his brother’s sudden death, Rowan turns his attention to finding his late brother’s long-lost love so he can personally inform her of the tragedy. One problem: he only has a lock of her hair, a miniature painting of her eye, and the name “Ann” as clues to her identity. With far-reaching dreams of being a renowned artist, Isabella has one shot at becoming one of the few women to be accepted as a student under a local art master. But when she encounters a mysterious gentleman searching for his late brother’s love, her heart tugs on her to help the lost soul. Helping him may mean sacrificing her dreams, and worse—falling in love with a man she cannot have. 

From the publisher of the USA TODAY bestselling & #1 Amazon bestselling Timeless Romance Anthology series in Regency Romance, comes A Week in Brighton. Featuring bestselling authors Jennifer Moore, Annette Lyon, and Donna Hatch.

A Week in Brighton is a Timeless Romance Anthology® book

My Review
I'm always so happy to read these Timeless Romance Anthologies. They fit my busy life when I can only read a little every night before bed.

 This anthology takes place in Brighton, England. After reading these stories I must visit there someday. If you don't know where this is...Brighton is a town and seaside resort in the county of East Sussex. Brighton is located on the south coast of England and forms part of the municipality of the City of Brighton and Hove, positioned 47 miles south of London.
Palace Pier at dusk
Each of the novellas in this anthology brings to life the beauty and beginning of this fashionable seaside resort town. There are conflicts in each story that eventually bring great loves together. Each story is so unique and memorable. 

I also loved this anthology because of the exceptional writing of the three authors who truly know how to write a fantastic romance. I loved reading each one. For short stories, each novella has a terrific clean plot, well-developed characters, and heartwarming endings. It would be hard to pick a favorite, so I'm going to say that they all were a wonderful read and I highly recommend this anthology.

Buy the anthology HERE:

Saturday, August 10, 2019

The Lady in the Coppergate Tower-A Proper Steampunk Romance By Nancy Campbell Allen:Blog Tour Review

Product Details

  • Title: The Lady in the Coppergate Tower: A Steampunk Romance
  • Author: Nancy Campbell Allen
  • Series: Steampunk Proper Romance #3
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Shadow Mountain (August 6, 2019)
  • Genre: Steampunk Romance/Clean Romance
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1629725544
  • ***"I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from the publisher. All opinions are my own."***

Book Summary
Hazel Hughes has spent her life believing she is a Medium—someone who can talk to ghosts. But as of yet, that skill has remained frustratingly elusive. She is also suffering from a reoccurring childhood dream of someone who looks almost exactly like Hazel, but this dream version of herself is slowly going mad.

Sam MacInnes is a talented surgeon who runs in the highest social circles thanks to his family’s position and history. When Sam hires Hazel to assist him with his medical practice, he is immediately drawn to her intelligence, wit, and beauty.

Their potential relationship is derailed one evening when a mysterious count arrives in London and reveals to Hazel the truth about her past: she was abducted at birth and her twin sister has fallen dangerously ill.

Hazel agrees to travel to Romania with Count Petrescu in order to save her sister, and Sam insists on accompanying her. The count has secrets, though, and the journey grows more sinister with every mile that draws Hazel closer to her homeland. Even as her feelings for Sam become deeper and more complicated, she fears she might not survive the quest to save her sister with her heart intact, not to mention her life. She must learn to draw on gifts she doesn’t know she has if they are going to ever return home again.
Hazel and Sam must fight their way past dark magic, clockwork beasts, and their own insecurities as they try to reach her sister in the impenetrable Coppergate Tower before time runs out.

My Review
I have really grown to love this world of Steampunk Romance. This is the third book in the series of a shared world where the characters from all of the books live. This novel has one of my favorite plots. It combines not only a budding romance but dark magic, evil relatives,  magical healing, and a mad sister locked in a tower. This story is loosely based on the fairy tale of Rapunzel. 

I truly liked the suspense build up as the novel progressed. You could sense the danger but not always know the who or whys behind it. Main character Hazel has such strength and courage and I loved to see how she grew into her own light magic. Sam is the best male protagonist while he's there supporting Hazel in her quest. The villain is appropriately creepy and mysterious, which only leads to the dark feeling of what may happen next. There were enough twists that kept me reading and great clues to figure out what was going on. 

The Lady in the Coppergate Tower has enough magical elements and fantasy to keep readers that love this genre interested. It also has the right amount of romance to keep lovers of clean romances happy too. This book would be great for older teens and all adult readers. There is some violence, not graphic, and mild kissing. I hope that there will be more in this genre of Steampunk Proper Romance. 

Purchase:The Lady in the Coppergate Tower HERE:

Meet the Author: Nancy Campbell Allen
Nancy Campbell Allen is the author of 14 published novels and several novellas, which encompass a variety of genres from contemporary romantic suspense to historical fiction. Her Civil War series, Faith of our Fathers, won the Utah Best of State award in 2005 and two of her historicals featuring Isabelle Webb, Pinkerton spy, were finalists for the Whitney Award. Her steampunk novel, Beauty and the Clockwork Beast, was released August, 2016, through Shadow Mountain. She served on the 2015 LDStorymakers Conference Committee and currently serves as the contest coordinator for The Teen Writers Conference. She has presented at numerous conferences and events since her initial publication in 1999. 

Her formal schooling includes a B.S. in Elementary Education from Weber State University and she has worked as a ghost writer and freelance editor, contributing to the releases, We Knew Howard Hughes, by Jim Whetton, and My Life Encapsulated, by Kenneth Brailsford.

Her agent is Pamela Howell of D4EO Literary Agency.

Nancy loves to read, write, travel and research, and enjoys spending time laughing with family and friends. She and her husband have three children, and she lives in Ogden, Utah with her family and one very large Siberian Husky named Thor.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

The King's Trial By M.L. Farb- Official Book Tour & Exclusive Author Interview & Excerpt

By day Yosyph appears nothing more than a mute tavern-hand. By night he is the shadowy leader of a growing revolution.

When he learns that thousands of his people will be sent as slaves to the mines, he must choose—fight the royal army with an ill-prepared rebellion or journey to the land of his ancestors through the deadly King's Trial, where he hopes to win the help of his kin.

His journey grows complicated when he rescues a maiden and enrages a prince, but if he doesn’t return with help in time, the people he’s loved and secretly served will be gone.

As a youth, I made up stories to help my little sisters go to sleep. It backfired. We stayed up for hours continuing the tale. The King’s Trial was born in those late, whispered nights.
Ever since I climbed up to the rafters of our barn at age four, I've lived high adventure: scuba diving, mud football with my brothers, rappelling, and even riding a retired racehorse at full gallop—bareback. I love the thrill and joy.

Stories give me a similar thrill and joy. I love living through the eyes and heart of a hero who faces his internal demons and the heroine who fights her way free instead of waiting to be saved. I read fiction and true-story adventure. I write both, though I'm starting with publishing the fiction—fact will come later.

I create high fantasy, fairy tale retellings, and poetry. I live a joyful adventure with my husband and six children. I am a Christian and I love my Savior.

~ Facebook ~ Website ~
~ Amazon ~

Excerpt 1: 
I turned around to see the prince stomping down a garden path, whacking at bushes with a stick. Sun reflected off his white ringlets. Was he bleaching his hair now, or wearing a wig? He used to have wheat-yellow hair. His skin showed he spent hours outside each day, somehow turning it gold instead of ruddy or brown. His face had the round softness of luxury. It was little wonder the women compared him to a god.
"Prince Halavant," the steward called out, "Hadron, the vintner, has sent a special gift of wine for your bride."
He turned toward us, his brows furrowed and lips tight. "It won't do any good. It would have been perfect for our picnic, but she'd rather go riding without me. I imagine she's climbing our oak or skipping stones on our pond, without me!"
He was an angry, spoiled godling, not yet full grown. But at least he told me where to find her.
I turned to leave as he continued his rant.
"I'd like to thrash someone. But everyone even the least bit capable is on duty. Not one can spar. Nothing is going right today." He turned. "You, what is your name and service?"
Why did he, of all people, notice me? I motioned to my throat.
"He is mute, sire," the steward explained. "The son of the vintner."
The prince studied me closer, then nodded, "You stand with the ease of a swordsman."
I dropped to a slouch.
"Though too tall and lean to be much of a match. Still, I see no better options. You may have the privilege of sparing with your prince and future king."
I slouched to the sparring yard. Perhaps he would rethink fighting me if I looked incapable.
The prince grumbled, "Pointless, worthless day. Left to spar with a mute commoner. Could it get any worse?"
I could think of a hundred ways.
He grabbed one of the dull metal practice swords and tossed another toward me. I leaped to the side, letting it clatter to the ground. I fumbled as I picked it up.
"He has no more skill than a practice dummy. I could take off his head."
I rethought my strategy. He stood shorter than me, but heavier built and held himself with the balance of a dancer. I shifted my weight to my toes and gripped the sword, point down. Defend myself or not? Run? Wait. Watch. Three long breaths.
He sneered, then lunged, driving his sword toward my chest.
I threw myself to the side, barely keeping to my feet. The prince's sword slid by my arm as he stumbled past.
I turned to face him. He roared and swung his sword downward. Metal screamed as I tried to deflect the blow. It was like trying to stop a falling cask with a metal rod. I pushed myself off the weight of the swords and spun aside with a slight stumble. It was getting harder to pretend clumsiness while avoiding blows.
He was like a bear. If I wasn't careful, he'd break my arm or crack my skull. I ducked to avoid the latter.
"Stop dodging and fight, coward!" He whirled around with another crushing swing.
I didn't like taking orders from him, but fighting instead of dodging seemed sound advice if I didn't want to be crippled. So much for my half-wit mask. I leaned away from his swing while flicking my sword under his blow, striking him lightly across the ribs.
His Royal Rageness drew back and blinked. Had I injured his pride? I could end up in prison for scratching his pampered flesh. I tensed my legs, ready to dash through the open porter's gate.
"Unexpected." He adjusted his sword grip from a fist to a fencer’s hold. He rose to his toes. A hint of a smile creased his green eyes. 

Author Interview
1. What is your favorite color?

I don’t have one. I like to wear blues, oranges, and lime greens. Yellow roses are stunning. My husband has the most gorgeous brown eyes. And...shall I continue? As you can see, no favorite color.

2. Favorite holiday?

Thanksgiving. I love how it helps focus on gratitude and it is a wonderful lead in to the Christmas Spirit of service and love.

3. Most embarrassing moment?

Sorry, I’m not going to give my most embarrassing moment. But here’s an interesting one.

One day, when I was about four or five, my aunt asked me to walk across the room. I ran. She laughed and said, “that’s running, but can you walk?” I skipped, then spun, then hopped, and finally, on the tenth try and with concentrated effort, placed one foot in front of the other and walked across the room.

4. Dream vacation?

Japan. I love the Japanese culture and especially their gardens. I’d spend whole days in Japanese gardens, just soaking in the peace and beauty of them. Then climb Mt Fuji. I’d love to cycle around the countryside, past the rice paddies, through the forests, and to the ancient temples. When our children are all grown up I’d love to spend a month or more in Japan with my husband.

5. Something unique about you?

I took calculus at a community college at age 14. I planned to go to MIT and become an astronaut. Plans changed—in wonderful ways.

6. What one food will you NOT eat?

Mud baked eggs. My friend from Thailand offered me one, and I couldn’t even handle the smell, let alone the rubbery texture.

7. All-time favorite book?

The Hiding Place, by Corrie ten Boom

8. Writing snack of choice?

Peanuts, almonds, or other nuts.

9. Top hobby you do when not writing?

Reading to my children, using all the character voices. Right now we are reading Dealing with Dragons, by Patricia Wrede. Or “geeking out” with my husband—talking about fun, random happenings and deep, philosophical ideas.

10. Favorite Animal?

Horse. In a perfect world I’d ride one every day.

To view our blog schedule and follow along with this tour visit our Official Event page