Saturday, September 7, 2019

The Fixer Upper by Maggie Mae Gallagher #WindowOvertheSink


The Window welcomes Maggie Mae Gallagher today, here to spotlight her new book (and its wonderful cover!) 

The Fixer Upper

Abby Callier is more in love with Shakespearean heroes than any real man, and she’s beginning to wonder if there is life for her outside the pages of a book. It doesn’t help that her esteemed parents tend to view her as they would one of their science experiments gone wrong. On the eve of finishing her dissertation, she escapes her staid existence to live in the house she inherited from her Great Aunt Evie in the small town of Echo Springs, Colorado. Because, let’s face it, when a woman starts comparing her life to horror films, it might be time for a break.

Sheriff Nate Barnes believes in law and order and carefully building the life you want. In his spare time, he has been remodeling his house in the hope that one day it will be filled with the family he makes. But Nate doesn’t like drama or complications and tends to avoid them at all costs. And yet, when Miss Abigail Callier, his newest neighbor, beans him with a nine iron, he can’t help but wonder if she might just be the complication he’s been searching for all along. It doesn’t hurt that he discovers a journal hidden away by the previous tenant and decides to use Old Man Turner’s advice to romance Abby into his life.

Abby never expected her next-door neighbor, the newly dubbed Sheriff Stud Muffin, to be just the distraction her world needed. The problem is she doesn’t know whether she should make Echo Springs her home, or if this town is just a stopover point in her life’s trajectory. And she doesn’t want to tell Nate that she might not be sticking around—even though she should because it’s the right thing to do, the honest thing—because then all the scintillatingly hot kisses with the Sheriff will come to an abrupt halt. Did she mention that he’s a really great kisser?

Praise for The Fixer Upper:

"Maggie Mae Gallagher writes with warmth and a wonderfully compelling voice - I loved The Fixer Upper!" NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR HEATHER GRAHAM

“Maggie Mae Gallagher makes the reader forget the actual words on the page so they can just enjoy the story as it unfolds.” Nancy Berland, NBPR, Inc. President


Social Media:
Twitter: @magmaegallagher  https://twitter.com/magmaegallagher?lang=en

Excerpt:

Abby spent the next hour cleaning her new room as best she could for the night. She’d work on the full house and give it a proper cleaning come morning, but she’d spent the better part of the day in her Rover and could feel the onset of fatigue settling in her bones. There was a semimodern bathroom across the hall, with one of those claw-foot tubs she’d take advantage of when she wasn’t dragging her feet and ready to go horizontal for eight hours. 

Settled in for the night, she made herself a small picnic of her wine and cheese offerings and added hitting up the local market for all the essentials to her to-do list for the morrow. Her parents would only shake their heads if they could see her in her thermal pajamas, drinking chardonnay directly from the bottle that hadn’t even sported a cork, but a lid that twisted off.
She was toasting her own brilliance when she heard the creak of the front door opening. Grabbing her trusty nine iron, a little gizmo she’d inherited from an ex-boyfriend some years back, Abby cursed at her phone’s low battery. 
“Figures,” she muttered under her breath. 
She left her room, tiptoeing down the stairs, her movements muffled by her thick socks. She rounded the corner, and a beam of light blinded her. 
“Gah!” Screaming, she swung the iron, ready to take on her intruder. All the self-defense classes her parents had scoffed at hadn’t been for naught. Who knew that in a sleepy little mountain town, burglars and vagabonds were a problem? The golf club whizzed over the intruder’s head.
“What the?” a deep baritone barked.
She swung again, determined to fend off whoever the hell thought he could invade her aunt’s place with mischief on his mind. The shadowed outline of a large man loomed behind the beam of light. When he didn’t back off, only kept advancing, her internal panic button hit overdrive. The nine-iron connected with flesh with a thudded whack. 
“Ow, fuck, cut it—”
“Get out or I’ll call the police!” she swore, her pulse hammering, her grip on the nine-iron so tight her hand was fusing into a claw formation. She reared back to strike again when his next words halted the forward progression of her swing.
“I am the police.” 
She blanched, almost dropping her weapon, but then thought better of it. What if he’d lied to disarm her and then would attack?
Nice try, buddy. She wasn’t falling for it. 
“Prove it.” She wasn’t the atypical heroine who idiotically descended into the darkened basement, despite the light mysteriously not working, to investigate the strange noise. She’d studied horror films and knew she was not the dumb bimbo, but the smart woman who survived. His indicating that he was the police was a sub-plot straight out of a B horror film and was precisely the type of thing the killer would say.
She raised the nine-iron into a defensive position as the man moved to her right, flipping on the overhead light while pulling a shiny silver badge from his belt. He held it toward her so that light reflected off the silver star. Blinking as her eyes adjusted, Abby wondered if she was dreaming. Cornflower-blue eyes studied her, dressed in her flannel pink pajama bottoms, tank top, and fluffy purple robe. He was larger than the darkness had suggested, probably a good six-three, and lean. His dark midnight hair fell in curly waves to his jawline, which was covered in dusky stubble. There was a ruggedness to him, indicating that somewhere in his make-up he preferred life outdoors, and it showed. He reminded her of the men gracing the covers of the romance novels she’d hidden from her parents growing up, and still hid from her colleagues. 
She’d always had a bit of a thing for men in uniform, but the only defining mark that even suggested he was an officer was his black jacket with an emblem embroidered into the right shoulder. Otherwise, he looked like a mountain man, in a button-up emerald flannel shirt and blue jeans that rode low over his muscular hips.
Then she focused on the badge. Oh, sweet heavens! The badge read: Sheriff, City of Echo Springs. Why did this have all the beginnings of a campy horror flick? Woman goes to the wilderness to find herself, makes acquaintance with the local law enforcement, and then the army of dolls stuffed inside the home come to life, possessed by a demon spawn from hell, to try to kill the heroine.


Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Blackberries are Red When Green by Keith Frohreich


I want to welcome Hoosier writer Keith Frohreich to the Window today. I love his answers to these interview questions and appreciate the time and thought he put into them. 



 What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?

A good story. A POV. Research. Believable characters. Dialogue consistent with age, gender and ethnicity, meaning, for example, do not put big words in the mouths of a 10-year-olds. At least one character the reader likes. When I began writing, a friend gave me this saying, “If you can’t see it, touch it, smell it, taste it, or feel it…it shouldn’t be on the page.”

When did you consider yourself a writer?

I am still a work-in-progress. Writing is an avocation. My career was in marketing and advertising. Someone once said that marketing people notice what we notice. That rang true. I am a pretty good observer of what is going around me. I am a people watcher. The question was could I capture it on the page. It began slowly with the columns in the Logansport Pharos Tribune in the mid-1990s. After retirement I devoted more time. I stuck with what I knew or what I observed. My interests were, and still are, quite varied. I was afraid of fiction.

With “Blackberries Are Red When Green,” I feel I became a writer.

What do you do when not writing?

Cooking, traveling and disaster relief volunteering. Toss in some long distance grandpa joys – our grandson is French and lives there. In the past 14 years I have devoted nearly a half a year to disaster volunteer projects, beginning with New Orleans, post-Katrina. Most recently I flew to North Carolina in the aftermath of the hurricane there. I work with Team Rubicon and All Hands and Hearts. Puerto Rico has been in the news lately. I spent two weeks there in the spring of 2018 in the province first hit by Hurricane Maria.

Where are you from and what do you love best about your hometown?

I am a bit of a blend of the village of Adamsboro and the small city of Logansport. My family moved there when I was one and I graduated from Logansport High, a proud Berry. I am fortunate to have been schooled in Logansport. My township, Clay, voted to send their children to Logansport, way before my family moved to Adamsboro. In those days there were at least eight small high schools in Cass County. I was bused for nearly 12 years. I tell people that I was happy to be raised in the area but also happy to leave. In joining Up With People I became a world citizen. In moving to Southern California to pursue my future bride, I became what I call “Ural” part urban and part rural. My wife and I have been married 48 years. In my older years I re-engaged with Logansport and surroundings and saw it for the first time. Doing this proved valuable to my first novel.

Tell us about your favorite character in the book.

This is tough, because there are three pivotal characters, but my favorite is the retired Pullman Porter, Dutch Clemons. I had several objectives with Blackberries Are Red When Green: one was to tell the story of the Pullman Porters. Another was to portray a strong, though flawed, male character. I have been a member of a book group for 20 years, and as such, read over 200 novels, some of which I never would have read on my own. That is what is wonderful about book groups. My book group and the books nurture me. My group knows my proclivities, literature-wise. One is that there are far too few strong male literary characters in US literature. This is not a male thing with me. Truth is I am not a big fan of US Caucasian men lately. But my critique remains. Who are the literary male models for boys/men? You will not find them in Tom Clancy, Robert Ludlum or even John Grisham novels or, heaven forbid, comic book heroes, although Grisham’s characters come closer. After Atticus Finch, I struggle to think of another. Granted, I have only read about 250 novels in my life, and not all are by US authors.

Do you have a favorite saying?

Two are mine: Aim high, swing for the bleachers, but celebrate the small victories. Another is borrowed from a source I cannot recall: life is one long forced march into enemy territory – be vigilant. Finally, another of mine: climb into a helicopter now and then and get a broader perspective of your life. As an added comment here, my favorite cartoon character is Wile E. Coyote. Why? Because he never gives up.

Tell us a little about yourself, including something people might be surprised to learn.

·       I am a very good cook. I kicked my wife out of our kitchen early in our marriage. She left skid marks when she left so quickly. While in my career I mostly cooked on weekends. Nothing special. When I retired, in Emeril-speak, I kicked it up several notches. Food was the heart and soul of my first nonfiction book, Guy’s Guide to Domestic Engineering. Friends call me a chef. I am not. Chefs live in their kitchens. I only move there when I am hosting family and friends. Food is one of life’s enduring pleasures. Food is the venue into another culture or ethnicity. I was an Anthony Bourdain devotee.

·       I write left-handed but do everything else right handed. So, I must be bi-polar. I blame my first grade teacher.

·       I once was a very good singer – remember Up With People? I can still sing, but not like before.

·       I have completed two marathons.

·       When I am home, I am at the gym at least five days a week.

What was your best day?

The easy answer is when I married my wife, but there was another day and it needs a setup. My first hospital assignment in the Army was the White Sands Missile Range in a remote New Mexico base. The hospital only had 50 beds. I became so bored that after six months I volunteered for Vietnam, knowing the movie battle cry scenes of wounded men screaming, “Medic!” Like I said, I was bored. Two months later the personnel officer summoned me to his office and said something like: “Specialist Frohreich, we have your orders for Vietnam. But, we also just received orders for you to go to the 97th General Hospital in Frankfurt, Germany. Which would you prefer?” I stammered, “Sir, I will accept the assignment in Germany.” I cannot not tell you how much that affected the trajectory of my life. It was yuge!

What was your worst day?

The day our third child died in 1985 after just two days. His name was Adam Todd.

If you could spend the afternoon with one writer, living or dead, who would it be and what would you talk about?

Kurt Vonnegut. I guess partly because he was a fellow Hoosier. Was he, like me, in a like/not like relationship with Indiana? Love/hate is too strong of an emotion. What would he think about Indiana today? How did he feel about where he grew up, and what did he take with him into adulthood. Vonnegut is a quirky writer and I like that about him, though I only read two of his books: Slaughterhouse Five and Palm Sunday. There is one quote of his that rings true, “Being a humanist means trying to behave decently without expectation of rewards or punishment after you are dead.”
***

In less than a month in 1960 two murders traumatize the sleepy village of Adams Creek in Northcentral Indiana. Over the three years leading up to the murders, young Kurt Baumann’s world had been rocked by the loss of his dad, his best friend, and his precious dog, leading him to doubt the existence of God. 

A year after losing his father, a retired Pullman Porter, and a founder of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, Dutch Clemons, moved into a small shack across the river from the small Baumann farm. Change colored the air. 

Kurt now had a new friend, a father figure, and a self-educated historian, who disrupted and enlivened Kurt’s segregated life with tales around the supper table, and while lolling the day away bass fishing down the riverbank. 


Sharing the farm with his mom and big brother, the family forged ahead on hard work, meager income, and the mother’s faith. 




Guy's Guide to Domestic Engineering offers a light-hearted look at guys who shed
their career attire (voluntarily or not), and strap on aprons and tool belts to cook, clean, launder, iron, and maintain the household physique in handy-manly fashion, while their wife or partner continues to bring home the bacon, which they now cook.

Guys will find their inner-foodie, become accomplished zesters and sauciers and understand the difference between Italian parsley and cilantro without sniffing or tasting. Years later, when asked, "How was your Thanksgiving?" they'll be able to reply, "It was the best turkey I ever prepared!"
Their reward, in addition to becoming a kept man, having access to a live-in ATM, and earning a B.S. in Domestic Engineering, will be gaining the satisfaction of doing the right thing, as real men do. Domestic Engineer Guys also possess a secret; the path to the bedroom travels through the kitchen.
Successful completion of this undergraduate degree will elevate guys to Domestic God status in the eyes of their partner, and to the vaulted new 21st Century male label, Uber Guy.



If you're in the area, Keith will be at the Logansport Library on August 10 at 2:00.




You can find him here.




SOCIAL MEDIA

Friday, July 26, 2019

Pickle jars and hope

One of my favorites. I LOVE Lucy Dolan! Only 99 cents for a limited time.

For as long as she can remember, Lucy Dolan has been jotting down her hopes on slips of paper and saving them in a pickle jar—her jar of dreams. It was the first thing she saved when the beloved family diner went up in flames, and it's safely buckled in her beat-up minivan when she lands in Taft, Indiana, to start over. She rents a room and goes into business with her landlady, but then Gert's nephew comes charging in to "rescue" his aunt.

Boone Brennan will be damned if he'll let Lucy take advantage of Aunt Gert, who raised him and his sister. Believing that she's just passing through, he's deeply suspicious of her—despite the sparks that fly between them.

Just as Boone and Lucy are starting to open up to each other, a series of fires throws Lucy under suspicion. Boone wants to trust her and his feelings, but with the whole town against her, will he stay by her side? Or will Lucy move on and find another place to make her dreams come true?




Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Child of Mine by Jana Richards #WindowOvertheSink

New and on sale from my friend Jana Richards, one of the Word Wranglers!



Is Lauren’s love for Cole stronger than her fear of scandal in her hometown?

Lauren didn't intend to sleep with her brother-in-law Cole on the day of her husband's funeral. But now that she is pregnant, she's not sorry. Cole's given her a baby, a long-wished-for miracle. He's been her friend forever, though she never told him or anyone else how unhappy her marriage to his cheating brother was. And she's afraid to tell the small town that considered her husband a hero that the baby isn't his.

Cole's been in love with Lauren since he was sixteen. It kills him that everyone believes the baby is his dead brother's. All he wants is to claim the baby, and Lauren, as his own. Though she marries him, will Lauren's heart ever be his?

Lauren must tell the truth or risk losing Cole. Is her newly-discovered love for him greater than her fear of scandal in her hometown?



Buy Links:


Excerpt:



“You mean everything to me. I love you.”
 She shook her head. “You don’t love me, not really. I’m nothing more than a responsibility to you.”
“Don’t tell me how I feel.” Desperation turned to anger in a flash. Cole jumped to his feet and began to pace. “I’ve been in love with you since I was sixteen years old, but you never saw me, not really. You only had eyes for Billy. It nearly killed me when you married him, but I stuffed down my anger and hurt and congratulated both of you, because really, what else could I do?”
 “No, that can’t be true.”
 “It’s true, all right. I wish to God it wasn’t. I tried to push away my feelings for you, tried to love other women, but none of them were you. None of them compared to you. I thought I’d get over you, but I never did.”
 Her eyes were wide with shock. “Cole—”
 “Billy guessed the truth. I found out he’d been cheating on you, and I confronted him. We had a huge fight, beat each other till we were both bloody. He told me I was jealous because you’d rejected me. He said you’d never want me, that you’d always be tied to him, no matter what happened. And he was right.” He gave a bark of mirthless laughter. “He’s dead and he still comes between us.”
***
When Jana Richards read her first romance novel, she immediately knew two things: she had to commit the stories running through her head to paper, and they had to end with a happily ever after. She also knew she’d found what she was meant to do. Since then she’s never met a romance genre she didn’t like. She writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and historical romance set in World War Two, in lengths ranging from short story to full length novel. Just for fun, she throws in generous helpings of humor, and the occasional dash of the paranormal. Her paranormal romantic suspense “Seeing Things” was a 2008 EPPIE finalist.

In her life away from writing, Jana is an accountant/admin assistant, a mother to two grown daughters, and a wife to her husband Warren. She enjoys golf, yoga, movies, concerts, travel and reading, not necessarily in that order. She and her husband live in Winnipeg, Canada with an elderly Pug/Terrier named cross Lou. She loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website at www.janarichards.com

Social Media Links:
Amazon UK Author Page:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B002DEVWWG
Newsletter Signup: http://janarichards.com/contact.html#newsletter



Thursday, July 18, 2019

Meant to Be by Nan Reinhardt #WindowOvertheSink




Can a near-tragedy help two best friends realize they’re meant to be so much more?

Best friends since grade school, high-powered Chicago attorney, Sean Flaherty, and small-town mayor Megan Mackenzie have always shared a special bond. When Sean is shot by a client’s angry ex, Megan rushes to his side, terrified she’s about to lose her long-time confidant.
Upon his return to River’s Edge to recuperate, Sean discovers that his feelings for his pal have taken an undeniable turn for the romantic. While Megan struggles with an unfamiliar longing for Sean, she worries that he may be mistaking a safe place to land for love.
Can Sean help her realize that they are truly meant to be so much more than friends?

LINKS:


Meant to Be Excerpt 


Meg was afraid to ask, but she did anyway. “What happened?”
“Sean’s been shot.” Sam crumpled back into the booth, sobbing.
Megan gasped as bile rose in her throat. She couldn’t even comprehend Sam’s words. Sean was shot? The invincible Sean Flaherty? Her buddy? Her best friend? His handsome face flashed into her mind—the lock of dark hair that invariably fell across his brow, the blue, blue eyes that sparkled sapphire with wit or turned dark navy with emotion, that killer smile, those amazing Flaherty dimples... impossible!
“What?” She sat down across from Sam. “Shot?” She could hardly catch her breath. “When? Where?”
Sam grabbed a napkin from the dispenser on the table and swiped at her eyes. “I–I don’t know much. Charlie Smith at the firm said it happened right outside the courthouse in Evanston early this afternoon. Some crazy woman. The wife of his current client. They took him to Northwestern; he’s in surgery right now.” She took a shaky breath. “Conor’s driving up to meet Aidan and Brendan at the airport, then they’re heading to the hospital.” She covered her mouth with both hands as if that could stop her lips from trembling, then shuddered. “Dear God, Meg.”
Megan closed her eyes, trying desperately to banish the dreadful pictures in her head—Sean on a gurney, pale and bleeding—and replace them with ones from the last time she’d seen him—grinning and pouring sparkling wine on New Year’s Eve.
They’d hugged each other at midnight because neither of them had had a date, and Sean had pressed his warm lips to her forehead. “You’re the best, Megs,” he’d murmured and held her close to his brawny chest for a long moment. She felt the even beat of his heart under the navy sweater he wore—the one she’d knitted for him for Christmas that made his eyes look deep blue.
“I’m going up there.” Megan stood and gazed at Sam. “I have to, Sam. He’s my oldest and dearest friend. Maybe there’s nothing I can do, but I can spell the guys at visitation and maybe, I dunno, give blood or something. I just know I can’t stay here. I’ll go crazy. I have to see him.”
Sam stared at her silently, then sighed. “Come on. Let’s trade cars. I don’t trust your old beater to make it to Indianapolis, and you sure as heck can’t ride Big Red all the way to Chicago.”
***

My friend Nan Reinhardt is a USA Today-bestselling author of romantic fiction for women in their prime. Yeah, women still fall in love and have sex, even after 45! Imagine! She is a wife, a mom, a
mother-in-law, and a grandmother. Nan has been a copyeditor and proofreader for over 25 years, and currently works on romantic fiction titles for a variety of clients, including Avon Books, St. Martin’s Press, Kensington Books, and Entangled Publishing, as well as for many indie authors.

Although she loves her life as an editor, writing is Nan’s first and most enduring passion. Her latest novel, Meant to Be, Book 2 in the Four Irish Brothers Winery series from Tule Publishing releases on July 18, 2019. A Small Town Christmas, which is the first book in the Four Irish Brothers Winery series from Tule Publishing, is available now, and she is currently hard at work on Book 3.

Visit Nan’s website at www.nanreinhardt.com, where you’ll find links to all her books as well as blogs about writing, being a Baby Boomer, and aging gracefully…mostly. Nan also blogs every sixth Wednesday at Word Wranglers, sharing the spotlight with five other romance authors and is a frequent contributor the RWA Contemporary Romance blog, and she contributes to the Romance University blog where she writes as Editor Nan.