Tuesday, November 7, 2017

NEIGHBOURS, Complete Series 1 and 2 by Tracy Krauss


Contemporary Romance


Lester Tibbett, a former rodeo cowboy from Southern Alberta, moves to the big city for work – and to look out for his wilful teenage sister. In the process, he meets up with a cast of quirky characters, most living right in his own apartment building. With romance, intrigue, humour and a touch of the unexpected, the twists and turns just keep coming as the first 'season' of NEIGHBOURS unfolds. Likened to popular TV show ‘Friends’ with a moral message and a distinct Canadian flair, this full-length novel contains all nine novellas from the first ‘season’.


Look out! The Malloy family have taken over the neighbourhood, starting with Jed, whom we met in Neighbours Series 1. Jed is a downhome boy from Newfoundland who’s a bit rough around the edges, but he’s the first to lend a helping hand when needed. His colourful and sometimes raucous siblings – Bo, Reba, Pip, Will, and Zeb – join him one by one in the western city of Calgary, Alberta. There’s plenty of laughter, romance, and a few surprises, as the Malloy clan get together. In the midst of the surprises, a greater love than any one of them ever expected comes to call: The love that only God can give. This novel contains all seven novellas from the second ‘season.

Note to readers: This series, although labelled ‘Christian’, does contain elements that may be troubling to some readers, such as the use of alcohol as well as pre-marital sexual encounters. (The latter take place ‘off camera’.) There is, however, a faith based element throughout with a strong redemptive message at the end of the series

TIP:  If this novel is part of a series, tell us about the series.
Tracy: The blurbs explain the story line well, but the thing that they don’t say is that each separate ‘volume’ (short novella) is written from a different character’s POV. I’d read a book year’s ago by Maeve Binchy that did this and I really liked the way the story continued to progress, but from a totally different perspective than the previous chapter. It was a ton of fun weaving the story together like that, but I had to be conscious of what things each character would know or NOT know. 

TIP:  Tell us something topical, interesting, funny, or something we would not expect about the writing of this novel. 
Tracy:  I had the idea for this series for quite some time, but I ended up writing much of Series 1 as a Nanowrimo project in 2014. I pitched it to a publisher (Helping Hands Press) and it released the following year in short instalments. They also wanted to release Volume 1 in audio format. One of the prominent characters, Jed Malloy (who becomes the main character in Season 2) has a very distinct ‘Newfoundland’ accent. The voice actor hired to read the story just couldn’t get it right, and for those of us who ‘know’ how a Newfie accent sounds, it was important to make sure it had that lyrical cadence in order to sound authentic. We had quite the hilarious time going back and forth with samples, and I even took it upon myself to learn the accent and try to show him how it should sound. The final product, although not perfect, is a blast to listen to. Unfortunately, it is no longer available due to some contractual issues. I’ve since re-released Series 1 and also wrote and published Series 2.

TIP:  If this novel is holiday themed, or is releasing on or near a holiday tell us how you feel about that holiday. 
Tracy:  The ninth novella in Series 1 – THERE GOES THE NEIGHBOURHOOD - takes place around Christmas time, which I enjoyed writing because it allows for some nice uncontrived ‘gatherings’ of characters and it’s an open door to talk about the gospel in a natural way. The first volume in Series 2, NEIGHBOURHOOD TANGLE - JED, picks up right after Christmas with a new year’s celebration at the ‘Urban Cowboy’ – a local watering hole where much of the action takes place.

TIP:  Do you write exclusively in one genre, or do you "cross-over" to other genres? What draws you to the genres you write in? 
Tracy:  I write stage plays as well, which started because of my ‘day job’ as a high school drama teacher. I was looking for plays that would fit my students and ended up just writing something instead. Seventeen years later, I have quite a few plays under my belt and have been fortunate to have several picked up by various play publishing houses. To be honest, I do quite well with my plays, which surprises me because they aren’t what I would consider ‘high literature’, but I’ve had them performed all over North America.
TIP:  When did you start writing for publication? And why? What drives you to write? 
Tracy:  I’ve been witing for over thirty years, always with the ‘hope’ of publication, but that didn’t become a reality until 2009 when my first book AND THE BEAT GOES ON was published. (By the way, I just re-released it under a new name –CONSPIRACY OF BONES– currently free on amazon.)
TIP:  Do you have a presence on social media? If so, where do you interact with readers the most? [Give the link to the one where you want readers to contact you? 
TracyFacebook pag


Tracy Krauss is a multi-published and award winning author of contemporary Christian romance with a twist of suspense and a touch of humor. It’s fiction on the edge without crossing the line. Also an artist and playwright, she currently lives in beautiful BC, Canada.


Saturday, October 28, 2017

Peach Blossom Rancher by Ada Brownell

Historical Suspense, Western

To write this historical romance, the author drew from her experiences as a journalist covering the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo, a former asylum; and from working during her teens on a peach and horse ranch in Palisade, Colorado.

Although the fictional asylum is in Boston, the author says you wouldn’t believe the types of diagnoses that could get you committed in the early 1900s. She took the information from historical lists compiled by the Colorado Board of Lunacy Commissioners on the supposed cause of insanity of those held in 1899 to 1910, when asylums were young. Many of those diagnoses are identified in PEACH BLOSSOM RANCHER.

The leading man, rancher John Lincoln Parks, yearns for a wife to help rebuild the ranch he inherited. He eyes Valerie MacDougal, a young widow who homesteaded, but she is an attorney who hopes to help three people wrongly held in the asylum, one a brilliant physician.

Will the doctor ever be set free? Will John marry Valerie or Edwina Jorgenson, the feisty rancher-neighbor he fusses with? Will John even marry, or be hanged for a murder after he finds a body in his barn?


TIP:  Tell us something topical, interesting, funny, or something we would not expect about the writing of this novel.

Ada:  I didn't expect to use my experience covering the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo in a romantic story, but here I was with a beautiful attorney who desired to make a difference in the world and three wonderful people wrongly confined to an asylum in the early 1900s. One is Pete, a precious boy about age 12, born with Down’s Syndrome. Then there is Jimmy Cook, a gifted teacher paralyzed in a logging accident. Another tragedy is the physician, Dr. Dillon Haskill who had one seizure after hitting his head on a post when he was bucked off a horse. Because of the seizure, some thought he had become an imbecile or demon possessed. Of course it's all fiction, but I had facts that showed these types of people were thought to be insane when asylums were young.

TIP:  If this novel is part of a series, tell us about the series.
Ada:  Peach Blossom Rancher is the second in the Peaches and Dreams series.  The first is THELADY FUGITIVE. The third book’s working title is RITAH.
THE LADY FUGITIVE summary: A suspenseful historical romance set in 1908. How does a respected elocutionist become a face on a wanted poster?
Jenny Louise Parks, 17, escapes from the coal bin, and her abusive uncle offers a handsome reward for her return. Because he is a judge, he will find her or he won’t inherit her parents’ ranch.
Determination to remain free grips Jenny, especially after she meets William O’Casey and there’s a hint of romance. But while traveling around the country peddling household goods and showing one of the first Passion of the Christ moving pictures, Then William discovers his father’s brutal murder.
Will Jenny avoid the bounty hunters? Can she forgive the person who turns her in?
·         2015 Laurel Award runner-up. Published by Elk Lake Publishing.
#Review The Lady Fugitive. You’ll laugh, bite your nails; wish you had a gun to help. http://ow.ly/QzlIP Available from Amazon in paper or e-book.
TIP:  Do you write exclusively in one genre, or do you "cross-over" to other genres? What draws you to the genre(s) you write in?
Ada: My other books include CONFESSIONS OF A PENTECOSTAL, a story of her spiritual journey and listed many years by The Library Thing among the top-10 books on Pentecostalism.
After we lost a daughter to cancer, I wrote SWALLOWED BY LIFE: Mysteries of Death, Resurrection and the eternal, a book of evidence that you’re more than a body based on my experience as a medical writer, common sense, and from scripture.
IMAGINE THE FUTURE YOU: a book for youth or family Bible study on how to become the best you can be and includes evidence for faith in God, in an era when public schools and universities make atheists out of our children and grandchildrden,
Another is FACTS, FAITH & PROPAGANDA, nonfiction to strengthen faith in God, written from the author’s wide studies and experience. Available only as an e-book and always 99 cents.
JOE THE DREAMER a novel enjoyed by youth and adults. Joe’s parents are missing and an organization is trying to eliminate Christianity from America. A reader said recently it’s the best books she’s read in years.

TIP:  When did you start writing for publication? And why? What drives you to write?
Ada: I had a burning desire to share the gospel, and I did much of that with interviews with people who have amazing testimonies of God’s miraculous work in their lives. In addition to my other writing, I am compiling a book with reprints from The Pentecostal Evangel of those true stories.
TIP:  How did you go about researching for this novel? Did you go anywhere outside your usual locale, or experience anything of note in the researching of this novel?
Ada:  Many authors ask me about the research for Peach Blossom Rancher. I did do research on horses, peach ranching and historical treatment of the insane to be sure little points here and there were correct, but I had worked on a peach/horse ranch in my youth and interviewed experts on mental illness, talked to patients, was in almost all of the mental health institute except the forensics division and even witnessed some parts of that.
I didn’t need much research. I’d written about the museum, seen the strait jackets and other devices. I saw the restraint room and learned how a team of guards can control a patient in moments. I talked to the doctor who determined whether a criminal was insane. I saw patients handcuffed to a wall and those whose hands were cuffed to a wide belt. I interviewed executives, psychiatrists, psychologists, patients, nurses, psych techs, guards, looked at the kitchen, spent several hours in juvenile units, visited their school, and went on an outing with them. I visited community treatment homes, and attended seminars on the new medications and learned about other things they do. I also interviewed a psychiatrist who was shot by a patient, and I dug into the police report about the case.
TIP:  Can you give us a sneak peek or preview into the next work in progress (WIP) you're working on? When do you expect to release it?
Ada:  I have about 15,000 words written on RITAH, the third book in the Peaches and Dreams series. I expect to have it completed by December 2017.
Tentative Book summary: Ritah heads off to college, one of the few women who attends college in 1916. She hopes to fulfill her dream of becoming an outstanding teacher of youth, especially women who don’t think they need an education. Ritah wants to see women succeed in the marketplace in case they need to support their children and keep them out of orphanages if something should happen to their father. Ritah’s mother had to live with a wicked uncle when her parents died (she’s the fugitive in The Lady Fugitive). Ritah also wants to learn things that help a wife and mother, like health prevention and treatments. As Ritah prepares to go to college, a young friend who is an orphan is being dragged into a brothel, and Ritah intervenes at the risk of her own life. But she leaves the orphan in the care of a hopefully capable woman and the sheriff has been notified. Ritah goes to college despite the protests of the man who wants to marry her. War, trouble back home, sickness, and two men who propose marriage stand between Ritah and the life she hopes to live. Will she marry one of these men? Will she achieve her goals?

TIP:  Do you have a presence on social media? If so, where do you interact with readers the most? [Give the link to the one where you want readers to contact you.] Any amusing social media stories? 
Ada:  I interact with friends most on Facebook and I’d love to connect with more readers at Book Fun Network  http://www.bookfun.org  Just connect with me there.  It’s free, easy to join, and readers can not only connect with me, but with other favorite Christian writers and readers in chat rooms and frequently receive free books to review! Plus Book Fun Magazine is free Also they can join my mailing list at ada@adabrownell.com 


 Edwina wrinkled her little turned-up nose. “What’s that terrible odor?”
 John stepped to the fence. “Might be coming from my prize pigs. See the big one over there I call Gertie?”
Gertie trotted close and rubbed her prickly mud-covered back on the hog wire.
 “I expect to make big money from pork while I rebuild the horse herd and work in the peach orchards. You ought to try a few pigs. You get a quicker turnover with your money than with horses. Your papa used to raise them. Besides, it’s always nice to have smoked ham and bacon available.”
Edwina leaned over the fence. The pigs wrestled with each other over the slop, snorting and grunting.
 “I might get some. The little ones are cute. Since my papa is in the wheelchair, I’m running everything. How is the pork market doing?”
 “It sounded great to me. It …” Gertie stuck her snout through the fence and sucked Edwina’s lacy pink dress. Edwina jerked the skirt out of the slimy jaws and then, stringy pig saliva slid down her pretty legs.
 “Eeeeewwww!” she squealed, holding her dress out away from her. “I didn’t know pigs would eat clothing.”
 Laughter almost escaped John’s lips. He pressed his fist over his mouth until his insides quit quaking in case she was mad enough to use the gun strapped on her slim middle.
“Gertie probably smelled the cornstarch you used to starch your dress. I’d guess for her it was quite tasty. I’ll get you a towel.”
 “Don’t bother.” She grabbed a big blue handkerchief from the buggy, wiped at her legs and jumped in the driver’s seat. “You probably wanted me to stand over by the fence so that would happen. You are incorrigible, John Parks. Get someone else to go to the church picnic with you!”
As the dust rose from her departure, she almost ran into the mailman.
John meandered to the mailbox. Strange. He hadn’t asked her to the picnic. He never intended to 
Amazon Ada Brownell author page: https://www.amazon.com/author/adabrownell 
Twitter: @AdaBrownell 
Blog: http://inkfromanearthenvessel.blogspot.com

Ada's great-granddaughter Layla