Book Talk Tuesday on a Thursday: A Highlander Comes to Town

I’m sad to see this series come to an end. I’ve loved visiting Highland, Georgia and getting to know some Scots in the South.
HICTTA Highlander is Coming to Town is (finally) Holt Pierson’s story. We met Holt in Trentham’s previous two Highlander stories. Holt has made his peace with staying in Highland to run the family farm. Claire Smythe is on the run from something and takes refuge in Highland after the summer games. She’s taken a job as a caregiver for Holt’s neighbor and is spending the time trying to figure out what to do after her upcoming birthday. Because she has a big secret she can’t share with anyone. Although she’s clear upfront that she’ll soon be returning to Scotland right after Christmas.
Inevitably, the sparks between Holt and Claire combust. And as all secrets must, Claire’s come to light. And Claire and Holt’s simple fling is anything but.
I enjoy these books for their simplicity, their taste of Scotland, their humor. Sometimes I need an escape and these books supply that exactly.
A Highlander is Coming to Town is a Christmas story, complete with a winter storm, hot chocolate, and a heartwarming ending. The perfect holiday read. It will be released in late September, so mark your calendars for September 29, 2020.
I highly recommend it!
—–
I received an advance e-copy of this book via NetGalley, but it did not induce me to leave a review, complimentary or not.

Book Talk on a Thursday: Troubled Waters

Troubled Waters is the fourth in Susan May Warren’s Montana Rescue series. There’s also a prequel novella and a mid-series novella. Whew! She’s a busy writer. And an excellent one.

Troubled Waters is Ian and Sierra’s story. We’ve been following them and hoping for them to work out their issues in the previous books. Finally, this is their time.

Warren.TWIan Shaw is a billionaire. A driven and focused billionaire. Sierra Rose started as his assistant, became his friend, and then he fell in love with her. And she with him. But they couldn’t get past the secrets between them. She knew his niece ran away with her boyfriend and didn’t tell him. He spent millions of dollars searching for his niece, intent on finding her and bringing her home. In the previous books, Ian and Sierra’s relationship devolved and when Troubled Waters begins, they’re barely speaking, barely friends, and definitely not working together.

Now, Sierra has another secret: she found Ian’s niece. She agrees to keep the young woman’s location private for another month, to give her a chance to call her uncle.  In the meantime, Ian is facing huge governments fines for a drilling accident that decimated a town. He needs cash and decides to sell his properties and holdings, including his Montana ranch and his yacht.

Sierra’s working for the PEAK Rescue team at their base. A helicopter crashes and there’s no money for repairs or a new chopper. She appeals to Ian and some of his wealthy friends and they head to the Caribbean for a “three-day cruise,” so she can convince them to donate funds for a new helicopter. Just like Gilligan’s “three-day cruise,” Ian’s and Sierra’s trip ends badly, hence the troubled waters of the title. I won’t give away what happens, except to say it’s gripping and not-put-down-able.

Pete and Jess’s story has also been slowly evolving through the three prior books, and they continue in Troubled Waters. When we get to their story, it promises to be a doozy. I can’t wait!

I love Troubled Waters and I highly recommend it! Another winner from Ms. Warren’s smoking keyboard.


I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, in return for an honest review. I honestly loved it!

Spotlight Thursday: Race the Darkness

I’m super excited to host my friend and Golden Heart® and Dreamweaver sister, Abbie Roads, to Live Vi-Carrie-ous today, to share about her new book coming out in October. Please be sure and watch the trailer below!

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Cover2Race the Darkness by Abbie Roads

Series: Fatal Dreams #1
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publication Date: October 4, 2016


PRE-ORDER NOW
Amazon

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Cursed with a terrible gift…
Criminal investigator Xander Stone doesn’t have to question you—he can hear your thoughts. Scarred by lightning, burdened with a power that gives him no peace, Xander struggles to maintain his sanity against the voice that haunts him day and night—the voice of a woman begging him to save her.
A gift that threatens to engulf them…
Isleen Walker has long since given up hope of escape from the nightmare of captivity and torture that is draining her life, her mind, and her soul. Except…there is the man in her feverish dreams, the strangely beautiful man who beckons her to freedom and wholeness. And when he comes, if he comes, it will take all their combined fury and faith to overcome a madman bent on fulfilling a deadly prophecy.

 

 

 


IMG_2582Abbie Roads

Seven Things about Abbie Roads:
1. She loves Snicker Parfaits. Gotta start with what’s most important, right?
2. She writes dark emotional books featuring damaged characters, but always gives her hero and heroine a happy ending… after torturing them for three hundred pages.
3. By day she’s a mental health counselor known for her blunt, honest style of therapy. At night she burns up the keyboard. Well… Burn might be too strong a word. She at least sits with her hands poised over the keyboard, waiting for inspiration to strike. And when it does—the keyboard might get a little warm.
4. She can’t stand it when people drive slowly in the passing lane. Just saying. That’s major annoying. Right?
5. She loves taking pictures of things she thinks are pretty.
6. She’s represented by Michelle Grajkowski of 3 Seas Literary.
7. Her first book RACE THE DARKNESS is available for pre-order.

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Hosted by:
FBCOVER
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Spotlight Thursday: Julie Carobini

***Due to the holiday weekend and connectivity issues for me, the free book drawing will be Tuesday May 31. Please keep commenting! You’ll be in the drawing. *****

Congratulations to Shirley Lang on winning the free paperback of Julie’s newest book, Walking on Sea Glass!

I’m thrilled to welcome my friend Julie to the Live Vi-Carrie-ously blog today.

Julie’s written several of my favorite novels and she just released a new one!

Tell us about Walking on Sea Glass, Julie.

 

Walking on Sea Glass final-blurb

 

Hi, Carrie ~

I’m excited about this story, which, though fiction, is loosely inspired by some true events. This is the first in a series of contemporary romances called Sea Glass Inn Novels.

Sounds great! I love beach stories. Can you give us a quick blurb about the story?

Falling in love could tear them apart …

Suddenly single, Liddy Buckle flees the desert to work at an up-and-coming seaside resort with her best friend, Meg. The breezy backdrop of an inn by the sea offers Liddy the dream of starting fresh, but soon she is shocked to discover another setback brewing in her life. Despite the battle that lies ahead, she finds herself drawn to Beau Quinn, a captivating widower with a wounded heart of his own.

As Beau and Liddy’s burgeoning relationship attempts to survive, will Liddy have the courage to trust a man again–especially one as emotionally fragile as Beau? Can Beau commit to a woman facing a challenging recovery? And what is going on behind the scenes at Sea Glass Inn, where late night deliveries and secret meetings are spoken about in whispers?

Set in a fictional California seaside town, Walking on Sea Glass weaves a romantic story of courage, faith, and the power of true love.

What are others saying about Walking on Sea Glass?

Our amazing mutual friend, Katie Cushman, said it’s:

“A poignant story of loss, overcoming, and finding joy along the way.” ~ Kathryn Cushman, author of Finding Me and Fading Starlight

I love Katie’s books, so I know Walking on Sea Glass is a special book, too. 

Now, Julie, tell us a little about yourself!

Here’s the official bio:

JC

JULIE CAROBINI is the bestselling author of The Christmas Thief, the Chocolate Series, and the Otter Bay Novels: Sweet Waters, A Shore Thing, and Fade to Blue. She has won numerous awards, and RT Book Reviews says, “Carobini has a talent for creating characters that come alive.” Julie lives in California with her family and loves all things coastal (except sharks). Visit her at www.juliecarobini.com

 

Thanks for stopping by, Julie! When is Walking on Sea Glass available and where? 

It’s available now here!

Julie has a gift for readers who leave a comment. Leave a comment telling us your favorite beach for walking or beachcombing and you’ll be entered to win a free paperback copy of Walking on Sea Glass

Thanks, Julie!

Thanks for having me, Carrie!

Author Spotlight: Pintip Dunn and THE DARKEST LIE

 

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I’m so excited to introduce you to my friend and fellow Golden Heart® Dreamweaver, Pintip Dunn! Pintip’s newest book is coming out soon and I couldn’t wait to share this excerpt with you all.

ABOUT THE DARKEST LIE 

“The mother I knew would never do those things.

But maybe I never knew her after all.”

Clothes, jokes, coded messages…Cecilia Brooks and her mom shared everything. At least, CeCe thought they did. Six months ago, her mom killed herself after accusations of having sex with a student, and CeCe’s been the subject of whispers and taunts ever since. Now, at the start of her high school senior year, between dealing with her grieving, distracted father, and the social nightmare that has become her life, CeCe just wants to fly under the radar. Instead, she’s volunteering at the school’s crisis hotline—the same place her mother worked.

As she counsels troubled strangers, CeCe’s lingering suspicions about her mom’s death surface. With the help of Sam, a new student and newspaper intern, she starts to piece together fragmented clues that point to a twisted secret at the heart of her community. Soon, finding the truth isn’t just a matter of restoring her mother’s reputation, it’s about saving lives—including CeCe’s own… 

the darkest lie

THE DARKEST LIE: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

 

Pintip cropped 

ABOUT PINTIP DUNN:

Pintip Dunn graduated from Harvard University, magna cum laude, with an A.B. in English Literature and Language. She received her J.D. at Yale Law School, where she was an editor of the YALE LAW JOURNAL. She also published an article in the YALE LAW JOURNAL, entitled, “How Judges Overrule: Speech Act Theory and the Doctrine of Stare Decisis,”

 

Pintip is represented by literary agent Beth Miller of Writers House. She is a 2012 RWA Golden Heart® finalist and a 2014 double-finalist. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Washington Romance Writers, YARWA, and The Golden Network.

She lives with her husband and children in Maryland. You can learn more about Pintip and her books at www.pintipdunn.com.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

GIVEAWAYS (2!)

PrizePack

Prize pack including the following 5 books!

 

Forget Tomorrow by Pintip Dunn

Six Months Later by Natalie Richards

Find Me by Romily Bernard

From Where I Watch You by Shannon Grogan

Lies I Told by Michelle Zink

 

Rafflecopter Prize Pack:

 

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/cf6e2d2816/?

Goodreads Giveaway for THE DARKEST LIE: 

Link: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/177942-the-darkest-lie

 

 

Excerpt

The Darkest Lie, by Pintip Dunn

It’s time to view the body. Family first.

Well, technically, me first. There was always only three of us in the nuclear unit, and Dad’s been locked in the den for the past seventy-two hours. I’ve only seen him once, when he shuffled upstairs like a pajama-clad zombie and asked me if I’d eaten.

That was it: Did you eat?

Not: I prefer the cherry wood casket. Or: Let me make your grandma’s travel arrangements. Or even: I know this was Mom’s favorite dress, but isn’t the neckline a little…low?

Did I eat?

Yes, Dad. I had soup from the can and microwaved pizza rolls and a bowl of cereal. The food sloshes in my stomach now as I walk down the runner to the casket I picked out because of its mauve tint.

Calla lilies pile in urns around the viewing room, and the air-conditioning wars with the sweat along my hairline. My mom smiles at me from a portrait erected behind the casket. Her eyes are hesitant and a little wary, as if she knew, somehow, some way, she would wind up here. Lifeless. Pumped full of formaldehyde. About to be gawked at by a town full of gossips.

This was only going to end one of two ways—with Tabitha Brooks dead or in jail. I never thought I’d say this, but I’d give anything to see my mother behind bars.

I wade through the dense, chilly air and stop a few feet from the body. Behind me, my grandmother and aunt sit, a box of tissues between them, blowing their noses like it’s a sport.

“Look at our Cecilia,” Gram sniffs. “So brave. Not a single tear shed.”

If she only knew. I’m not brave. Fifteen minutes ago, I was retching into the toilet bowl. Five minutes from now, when the doors open for the visitation, I’ll be long gone, leaving Gram to shake people’s hands and deal with the bit lips, the knowing eyebrows, that inevitable speaking-in-a-funeral-parlor whisper. I can hear the titters: “Is it true? Tabitha’s heart stopped while she was boffing the high school quarterback? Why, she must’ve been twenty years his senior!”

Twenty-three years, to be exact, and a high school English teacher to boot. But she didn’t actually die during sex. Instead, a few days after Tommy Farrow came forward with their affair, my mother took her own life.

What could be a clearer admission of guilt? She might as well have been caught in the act. The investigation was shut down before it even began.

I take a shuddering breath. Two more minutes. A hundred and twenty seconds and then I can leave. I steel my shoulders and walk the final steps to my mother’s body.

Oh god. It’s even worse than I thought.

The room whirls around me, and nausea sprints up my throat. My hands shoot out to grab the casket, stopping short of actually touching the corpse.

This . . . this thing . . . can’t be my mother. She never smiled like that, all serene and peaceful-like. She never wore this much makeup; her red hair was never chopped so closely to her head. My mother was chaos and passion, devastation and joy. Dad used to say you could reach deep into her eyes and pull out a song.

Well, her eyes are closed now, and I’m not sure there’ll be any music in my life, ever again.

———–

Thanks so much, Pintip, for letting me share this with my readers. I love the excerpt and can’t wait to read the whole book!

 

Spotlight Thursday: New from James Scott Bell

One of my favorite writers, teachers, mentors, friends, and all-around great guy is James Scott Bell.

James Scott Bell
James Scott Bell

Jim is such a teaser. He’s released Chapter One of an upcoming thriller. I clicked through and read it and was hooked.

He’s doling out the info like a hoarder letting go of his packets of soy sauce and ketchup.

So far, there’s just the chapter. No title. No cover. Just the chapter.

Good thing it’s dynamite (almost literally).

Here’s the link to check it out for yourself.

Jim was a pioneer, hacking a way through the forest of indie publishing. He’s still a prolific writer who’s figured out how to succeed in today’s changing climate.

Jim also wrote the very first zombie fiction that I ever read, Pay Me In Flesh. Yep, believe it or not, I’ve read zombie fiction. A couple of them. Of course, I only trust Jim to write zombies that I enjoy.

That’s why I’m so sure this new series is going to be fantabulous!

Spotlight Thursday: Asa Maria Bradley and Viking Warrior Rising

I’m thrilled to host my Golden Heart® Dreamweaver sis, Asa Maria Bradley’s cover reveal for her new release!

Welcome Asa!

Here’s the cover and some info:

VikingWarriorRising-300Viking Warrior Rising

by Asa Maria Bradley

Release Date: 11/03/15

Sourcebooks Casablanca

Immortal Vikings are among us.

Leif Skarsganger and his elite band of immortal warriors have been charged to protect humanity from the evil Norse god Loki.

Under attack from Loki’s minions, Leif is shocked to encounter a dark-haired beauty who fights like a warrior herself. Wounded and feverish, the Viking kisses her, inadvertently triggering an ancient Norse bond. But when Naya Brisbane breaks away and disappears before the bond is completed, Leif’s warrior spirit goes berserk. If Leif doesn’t find her fast, he’s going to lose himself to permanent battle fury.

But Naya doesn’t want to be found…and he’ll do anything to find her. Because they’re both running out of time.

“Asa Maria Bradley creates a swoon-worthy hero who sizzles across the pages in this tale full of passion, blood, and destiny! Sexy, stubborn, and smart lovers clash in a tension-filled race to outwit science and control fate. Bradley is a new force to be reckoned with in the paranormal genre! Move over Highlanders…the Vikings are coming!”

– Rebecca Zanetti, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Dark Protector series

“Strong world-building, and a hero that will make you want a Viking of your very own!”

– Paige Tyler, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the X-Ops and SWAT series

“An intensely thrilling and unique romance that whisks the reader into the intricate, smart, and sexy world of these wickedly hot Viking warriors.”

– Sara Humphreys, award-winning author of Vampires Never Cry Wolf

Add to Goodreads List or pre-order from: Barnes & Noble or Amazon

About the Author
Asa Maria Bradley grew up in Sweden surrounded by archaeology and history steeped in Norse mythology, which inspired the immortal Vikings and Valkyries in her paranormal romances. She also writes romantic suspense and currently resides on a lake deep in the pine forests of the Pacific Northwest with a British husband and a rescue dog of indeterminate breed. Asa graduated from the Inland Northwest Center for Writers MFA program at Eastern Washington University with an MFA in creative writing and also holds a Master of Science in Medical Physics from University of Colorado. She’s a 2014 Golden Heart finalist and represented by Sarah E Younger at the Nancy Yost Literary Agency.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest

This is sure to be a stay-up-all-night-page-turner!

Spotlight Thursday: Jessica Ruddick and Letting Go

I’m so pleased to shine Thursday’s spotlight on my friend and fellow Golden Heart ® sister Jessica Ruddick.

Jessica cropped

 

 

Jessica’s book LETTING GO will release in May, and we get to see the cover today!!

 

 

 

Here’s the scoop:

Letting Go

by Jessica Ruddick

Release Date: 5/26/15

Blurb:

How long do you hold on?

Cori Elliott likes order. Her schedule, her social life…even her GPA is perfect. Then she finds out her high school boyfriend’s death wasn’t an accident—it was suicide. The devastating revelation is enough to fracture her perfectly structured life, sending Cori in a downward spiral of self-doubt and impulsive decisions.

And right into the arms of Luke Evans.

But Cori’s life isn’t perfect anymore. In fact, it’s all coming apart. The only way she can save herself is to let go of everything—including the girl she used to be. Even if it means losing the one guy who might just be perfect for her in the process…

Add to Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23302058-letting-go?from_search=true

About the Author:

Jessica Ruddick is a 2014 Golden Heart finalist for her new adult novel, Letting Go, which was inspired by her own college experiences. She lives in Virginia and is married to her college sweetheart—their first date was a fraternity toga party (and nothing inspires love like a toga, right?). When she doesn’t have her nose in a book or her hands on a keyboard, she can be found wrangling her two rambunctious sons, taming two rowdy but lovable rescue dogs, and battling the herd of dust bunnies that has taken up residence in her home. To learn more about Jessica, please visit her website at www.jessicaruddick.com.

Author Links:

WebsiteTwitterFacebookGoodreads

And now for the cover …

LettingGo_1600

Isn’t it beautiful?

Congratulations, Jessica! I can’t wait to read it.

Thursday Spotlight on a Friday

Today I’m turning over the blog to spotlight a new

Young Adult title from Cindy K. Green.

ANDREA AND THE 5-DAY CHALLENGE

 

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Dear Lord,
I need Your help and sooner would be better than later. Wouldn’t you know it, just as soon as I decide to attempt the 5-Day Bible Study Challenge, my parents start heaping on loads of pressure to get me into Julliard. My friend Amy isn’t any better, urging me to ask Luke Ryan to homecoming. As if the cute, transfer jock would actually go out with me. I mean, we’re kinda friends, and I’ve enjoyed our Geometry study sessions, but in case Amy hasn’t noticed, I’m the invisible one at Aubrey Christian Academy, and I like it that way. On top of that, I have a feeling Luke’s concealing something behind those chocolate-brown eyes of his. I know I can be self-centered and a bit melodramatic, but I really do want to seek Your will for my life. Then maybe I’ll even figure out which direction points up.

Sincerely, Andrea Jamison
High School Junior
Change-o-phobic & complete neurotic

The eBook is FREE on my publisher’s website as part of a Lenten Giveaway.

Thanks, Carrie! Hope you all have a great Friday!

Release Day: Not Bound by Time

I’m so excited to welcome another friend to Live Vi-Carrie-ous today!

Victoria Pitts-Caine has been featured here before. Her books ALVARADO GOLD, CAIRO, and THE TEMPERING ANGEL have all been reviewed and enjoyed here.

Her latest is NOT BOUND BY TIME and I’m excited to ask Victoria a few questions about the story. She’s also provided us with a short excerpt down below.

Me 2014 #2_copyHi Victoria! Welcome. What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

There’s something magical when love finds a way. The reader will discover there is hope and a little fairy-tale enchantment when the characters, even though they are in an unusual situation, manage to travel through time to their true loves.

 

 

Who is one of your favorite characters in the book and why?

Camille Windham is my favorite. She’s the first traveler and I took a little bit of my own ancestral background to create her.

Why did you decide to do a time travel?

I read Love of My Heart by Bess McBride and was haunted by the story and the concept. The couple discovers they were in love before in another time. I decided it was a genre I wanted to try. The Time Traveler’s Wife was another favorite.

What else about your book might grab the reader’s interest?

There are three separate but connected stories in Not Bound By Time and there’s a little bit for everyone from Western to World War II to protecting the Scottish regalia in the 1500’s.

How much of the book is realistic?

The portrayal of the characters in their day to day lives and what would have transpired in the time period they’re in is realistic, the traveling through time…well maybe not.

How did you come up with your title?

My desire with the storyline is to explain that time can’t hold someone who has found their soulmate and the characters find a way to be with that person even if they’re in another place and time.

Are the experiences in the book based on someone you know or your real life?

I do not know anyone in the book, but I’m interested in Victorian England and Camille travels from that time. She lives in a castle and is a nanny for her distant cousin’s children.

Who or what inspired you to write your book?

I don’t know if it was an inspiration or a challenge. I’m basically an inspirational romance writer and I wanted to write in a slightly different genre.

What is a one-sentence synopsis of your books?

Time cannot imprison love nor hold it in place.

What other jobs have you held or do you hold besides writing?

Most of my jobs were in the clerical field, but I was an account executive for a recording studio for about five years. I retired as a staff technician after spending seventeen years in the environmental sector.

When did you know you wanted to write?

I wrote some twenty plus years ago, but put it aside to raise my children. When I started doing genealogy, I felt I had a story to tell about my family and wrote a novel, Rachel, based on family history. I may rewrite the book at some point now that I’m more comfortable with my craft.

What books influenced you most in your life?

I was read to as a small child and was captivated by Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys when I able to read on my own. I didn’t go back and read the classics until I was an adult or reading them to my own children. I loved Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books and J.R.R. Tolkein.

How do you make time for your writing?

I actually found more time to write when I worked nine hours a day. I wrote at night and on the weekends. It’s about priorities with me. I’m good working with a plan in mind. If I schedule a writing time, I’m able to stick to it.

What writer would you like to be your mentor?

I had a wonderful mentor during my “growing up years” as a writer. Her name is Elnora King and she wrote under the pseudonym of Dianne King. She taught me so much – not just about writing but about life.

What are you reading now?

I read between three and five books a week and most of those go up for review on Amazon or on my blog. So right at this moment, I’m reading a romance. Tomorrow it might be a mystery/suspense. When I’m reading just for the fun of it, I like Catherine Ryan Hyde. I took a couple of classes from her and enjoy her books. I’m also into the whole Dan Brown thing and anxiously waiting for Brad Meltzer’s next release.

How do you “feed” your writing self?

Anything that brings writers together is a benefit. I think we all feed off of each other (in a good way). I facilitate a class once a week for writers where we read our work and do a short lesson. We share our triumphs and sorrows in life as well as in publishing. The triumphs usually with cake!

Congratulations on your new release! Enjoy the cake (I hope it’s chocolate)!

Victoria’s links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorVictoriaPittsCaine

Blog: http://victoriapitts-caine.blogspot.com

Website: http://vcaine.homestead.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/VictoriaPittsC

Email: alvaradogold9@gmail.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1377310.Victoria_Pitts_Caine

Bio:

Victoria Pitts Caine is a native Californian. Her varied interests include genealogy and exotic gemstone collecting both of which she’s incorporated into her novels. While her genre is inspirational, she has branched out into other areas such as her current release, Not Bound By Time and a YA mystery/suspense.

The author has received recognition from: Enduring Romance Top 10 Picks for 2008, William Saroyan Writing Conference, Byline Magazine, Writer’s Journal Magazine, HI Families Magazine and The Southern California Genealogical Society. Her first novel, Alvarado Gold, was published in 2007. To complete the trilogy which began with Alvarado Gold, Cairo was published in 2013 and The Tempering Agent in 2014.

She is the mother of two daughters. Victoria and her husband enjoy travel, church service and emergency radio communications.

Excerpt from Not Bound By Time:

The year was 1942, and Randolph Mitchell, along with several of his fellow soldiers, marched down a road pockmarked by shelling in London. He shuddered as a light mist fell around him. Late summer had gone.

A captain at twenty-two, Randolph’s first glimpses of war lay around him. Bile rose in his throat at the devastation. Is this what years of military boarding school has brought me to? He bent to retrieve a bit of paper. Printed roses danced on the edge, and with nowhere to discard it, he pocketed the small scrap of the life people there once lived.

When the men arrived in town earlier, Randolph spotted the young woman gazing into a merchant’s window. She carried herself with an air of importance. Ribbons and lace accented her oddly-layered clothes of multicolored fabrics. Such elaborate attire was ill-suited because people were starving and only making do. Randolph dismissed her unusual manner of dress. Who could she be? So out of place, yet so beautiful.

His troop moved up the street, and as he surveyed the area, he forced himself to forget the woman, but when he approached the shop, she turned, and their eyes met. Randolph Mitchell lost his heart in that split second, but it would take his head a while to figure it out. His eyes pursued her as she picked her way through the rubble of the bombed-out buildings.

“Hello,” he ventured.

As a delicate pink color rose from her neck, she turned her eyes toward the window. Randolph sauntered to stand beside her and glanced at their reflection. He stood a good foot taller than she. His wrinkled uniform caused a pang of self-consciousness, but his desire to speak to her quelled his embarrassment. “I’m Randolph Mitchell, US Army.” He smiled, studying her porcelain complexion and bright hazel eyes, hoping for a welcome response.

“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t be talking to you,” the woman said.

“It’s safe. We’ve been sent here to protect you. Or err… your country.” Randolph took his cap off and grinned at her. “I, ah, we might make sure you get home. Do you live close by?”

The young woman’s face blanched as she shook her head. “I used to live here.” She sighed. Then she backed away, turned around, and started running.

Randolph clenched his fists. He had to find out.

“Wait! I didn’t mean any harm!” He called after her. “Your name? At least tell me your name!”

“Camille Windham,” came from her lips, and her name planted itself in Randolph’s heart.

She scampered down the walkway away from Randolph, leaving only her name.