Review: Mouse’s Christmas Gift

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I had a privilege of receiving an early copy of this wonderful children’s Christmas book. I was blown away by the simple, clear message of the meaning of Christmas, as well as the beautiful illustrations. I recommend this book for children and those of us still young at heart!

My Review:

Mouse is worried. It’s the day before Christmas Eve and nothing in the church is ready. The church parson has fallen ill and the townspeople lack money for Christmas. But- “Did it really take money to celebrate Christmas?”
Ms. Baker weaves together a sweet Christmas story that hits the heart of why we celebrate.

 

***Giveaway!***

Leave a comment with your favorite Christmas movie, either from the big screen or small.

On December 10th, I’ll select one at random to receive a free copy of Mouse’s Christmas gift.

 

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Get To Know True Horizon

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True Horizon Ranch

Located in Liberty Ridge, Texas (fictional town located north of Austin)

1,200 acres in Texas prairie country

Owned by the Murray family, who raise Texas Longhorn cattle

The ranch was started by an Army soldier and his Cherokee wife, Erza and Kamama Burchfield, back in 1845. The ranch has stayed in the family for seven generations.

Favorite line: As they drove down the driveway, Grace lowered the car window and deeply breathed in the fresh air of her favorite place in the world. Acres of grassland enveloped the earth for as far as she could see. For eighteen years, this ranch had been her home. Land where she had run wild and free, a dirty but happy girl. Those hills and fields, spotted with her beloved Longhorn, had been her playground.

Preorder now! Amazon/True Horizon

Get To Know True Horizon

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Meet Bruce Murray, father to Grace

Profession: Cattle Rancher, works his family’s Texas Longhorn Ranch named True Horizon.

Relationship status: Married for thirty years to his beauty queen sweetheart, Joslyn.

Hobbies: Spending time with his family, eating the good food his wife cooks, and riding around in his old pick-up truck.

Things he does not find enjoyable: Seeing his daughter unhappy and coyote going after his calves.

Dreams for his future: To keep True Horizon Ranch in the family and grow old besides his wife, watching their children and grandchildren thrive.

Favorite Line: “I’m gonna give you a bit of advice. You’ll never accept love until you learn to love yourself. Take some time. Grace will wait. You can put money on it.”

Preorder now: Amazon / True Horizon

Meet True Horizon

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Meet Shadow, super pup

Profession: Cattle herder and man’s best friend

Relationship status: It’s complicated.

Hobbies: Running through the cattle pastures, chasing ducks, rolling around in the dirty straw from the horse barn, and always being there for my buddy, Heath.

Things he does not find enjoyable: Baths, baths, and baths.

Dreams for his future: What? I don’t think past my next meal.

Favorite line: “Ruff, ruff, lick, pant, ruff.”

Preorder True Horizon now: Amazon/True Horizon

Meet True Horizons

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Meet Heath Carter, hero of True Horizon

Profession: Former Special Operation soldier, currently working as a temporary ranch hand at True Horizon Ranch.

Relationship Status: Single (though his heart is hung up on Grace).

Hobbies:  Working on his Harley Davidson motorcycle, taking care of the Longhorn cattle on the ranch, winning at cards and potato sack races against Grace.

Things he finds unenjoyable: Horseback riding, flashbacks of his time in the service, and seeing Grace with her fiance.

Dreams for his future: Heath has no dreams of the future until he arrives at True Horizon and meets Grace. Through the healing power of nature and falling in love, he starts thinking his future isn’t as dark as he once believed.

Favorite Line: “You’re better than I deserve. The smartest thing I’ve ever done was jump into the river after you.” His arms tightened around her. “You are the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen, and I never in a million years thought I had any right to love you.”

Get to Know True Horizon

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Meet Grace Murray, heroine of True Horizon

Profession: Cyber Security expert, self-employed

Relationship Status: Currently engaged to Tyler Ross, the man she’s crushed on since high school.

Hobbies: Now that Grace is home at True Horizon Ranch to prepare for her wedding, she enjoys horseback riding and play Solo (Uno) card games with her nieces.

Things she finds unenjoyable: Cleaning out the horse barn (don’t lose a bet to Heath) and having to say goodbye to her fiance while he pursues advancing his career.

Dreams for her future: Grace once dreamed of marrying Tyler and living in the city. Since she’s been home on the ranch, she finds the quiet country life calling to her heart. Heath Carter, her dad’s temporary ranch hand, calls to her heart as well.

Favorite Line: “Ever since I’ve moved home, I’ve felt this shift inside me. This place is reshaping me into the person I used to be. And you know what? I like it.”

Morning Coffee Break

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Why my characters aren’t ‘saved by love’

Welcome to the first post in my new blog series called “Morning Coffee Break”!

Today, I’d like to talk about a decision that I’ve made to avoid the ‘saved by love’ plot device. I write romance, so love always factors into the character’s emotional growth and healing. But I didn’t want to use the love of another person as a magic wand to wipe away all life’s problems.

In Home Field, Julie is deeply grieving the loss of her husband. When she first meets Reagan, falling in love again is not even a blip on her radar. In the end, she does open her heart to Reagan (what girl could resist?) but not after some time to let herself heal. I felt she needed time alone to come to terms with the loss and then find the strength to let herself fall in love again.

In True Horizon, Heath Carter suffers from severe PTSD. In an effort to be true to the struggle, I did not want to downplay the work that goes into recovering from the effects of war. Heath falls in love and love is his motivation for wanting a better life, but his healing only comes after professional therapy and hard work. In real life, most people with PTSD will still experience symptoms even after therapy. They learn techniques to cope. I wanted Heath’s journey to reflect that reality as well as offer hope.

Through out the rest of the books in the Warriors of the Heart series, I’ve tried to maintain the same model. My characters use love as a motivation to grow, but the real change comes by their own strength of will.

A TEA-RIFFIC GIVEAWAY

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Congratulations to Lori Holcroft for winning the prize package!

 

In celebration of the release of HOME FIELD on June 30th, I am offering a tea-riffic giveaway! I’ve put together the ultimate cozy, custom-made package for one lucky reader. Contest ends June 29th at midnight.

  •  A beautiful, custom Alice in Wonderland inspired tea cup and saucer, inscribed with the words ‘DRINK ME‘ on the inside on the cup. (pictured above)
  • Crocheted fingerless gloves made by Primrose Craft & Decor of Green Bay, WI. Perfect for wearing while reading on cool days and nights. (pictured above)
  • A box of my favorite tea – Yogi Calming blend.
  • A $10 Amazon gift card to purchase another book to read after you’ve finished with HOME FIELD

How to Enter:

Preorder HOME FIELD and email me a proof of purchase (photo of receipt or forward an email receipt) to lauriewinterauthor@gmail.com with ‘HOME FIELD’ in the subject line. It’s that easy! I will randomly select a winner on release day-June 30th.

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Buy Now- Amazon

Buy Now – B&N

Buy Now- Paperback, The Wild Rose Press

also available in the iBooks store

  • Giveaway open to individuals with US mailing addresses only.
  • Entering drawing does NOT automatically sign you up for my newsletter. Although, if you’d like to be, just let me know!

Cover Reveal – Before I Shatter

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Today is the cover reveal for Before I Shatter by Mandy Peterson. This cover reveal is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours. The cover MSN Art Studio (Maduranga Sampath).
This is an exciting rebranding of the original cover as the author prepares to release book 2 in the series.

Before I ShatterBefore I Shatter (Before I Shatter #1)
By Mandy Peterson
Genre: Science Fiction
Age category: Young Adult/ New Adult
Release Date: July 2016

Blurb:
Seventeen-year-old Vita is the next step in human evolution.

The daughter of two prominent scientists, Vita is content to live in the spotlight. After all, it affords her a lifestyle most only dream of: living in a Lunar Colony, luxurious gifts, and her unique ability to project her consciousness onto different planes without the aid of injections.
Succeeding where others have failed has a price. A growing population of Shells – people whose minds have shattered from the stress of experimentation – shows just how ruthless the Director can be in pursuit of his goal.

When Vita makes a startling breakthrough, the ambitious Director takes over her development, and he wants to see just how far she can go. It’s up to Vita’s young Processor, James, to catch her before she breaks.

But he’s keeping a dangerous secret.
Someone is playing games with her.

A game where the loser ends up shattered.
Vita must make the choice:
Continue risking her life for a cause she doesn’t believe in
or make an unprecedented escape?

You can find Before I Shatter on Goodreads

You can buy Before I Shatter on Amazon

Before I Shatter full wrap

Excerpt:
“Vita!” James is panicked, shaking my shoulders, when my eyes begin to crack open. The bright light violates my pupils, and I slam my eyes shut again. My head is pounding.
“Stop shaking her, boy. We don’t know what damage that could cause.” I relax a bit as my body takes in the grandfatherly voice of wisdom. James’s hands release me. “She’s coming around. Give her a moment.”
I moan, raising an arm to cover my closed eyes. “I’m fine.”
“She could pave a road with those words.” The Old One’s voice gets farther away.
Before I can even wonder what that means, the light mercifully wanes, and I dare to peek out from under my arm. I begin to piece together where I am. The tiny white room. Lying on my monitoring station.
A visibly shaken James is sitting next to me, tears threatening to spill out of his eyes, face ashen.
“Hey,” I coax. “It’s okay. Nothing to be worried about.”
James shakes his head and looks down. A sniffle seems to actually compose him, and he looks up at me. “Vita, I’m so sorry. If I would have known, I would have warned you.”
Still hazy, I recall my experience in the meadow with the solider boy. Before speaking, I resolve to never let myself be that helpless again. Starting right now. Just like James said, I will be the one doing the breaking. Well, maybe not right now. After I recover from whatever this is.
“Warned me about what?”
“The dazers,” he practically whispers, but I still hear the George’s tongue cluck from the computer station. His disapproval is thick. “You passed out on the steps. I couldn’t wake you up. When I brought you here, I thought you were dead.”
“Yes, the drugs caused your heart to race,” the wizard explains, less emotionally. His eyes never leave the tablet in his hands. “Your heart didn’t care for that so it shut down…for a bit.”
“It shut down?” I echo as panic begins to rise from my toes.
“Only for a moment.” His hand waves dismissively. “Everything’s fine.” The Old One smirks, finally looking up at me as he turns my own words around on me.
“I died?”
“For a second.” George holds up two fingers very close together in an attempt to keep us positive.
Whoosh. “I came as soon as I heard.” Long brown hair whirls through the room. Mom busies herself snatching the tablet and replacing James at the side of my bed. She grasps my hand, leans in, and begins examining my eyes. I have no idea what they look like, but her fear and disgust focus across the room. “George, thank the stars you are still here! How could this have happened? I’m not even sure what this means.” She shakes the tablet at him, the data revealing itself to me shortly. “Where was she? Who was with her?”
James makes a move to step forward and the Old One stops him. “She was just doing as I instructed. Taking time off. Meeting new people. Trying out a party. I’m sorry. I didn’t know she would be confronted with…substances.”
Mom visibly calms down. I guess maybe she couldn’t be too angry with the man who had just saved her daughter’s life? She lays the tablet down gently. “What can I do for her?”
“Nothing, I’m afraid. The drugs have to work their way through her system. She won’t be able to start training until they are flushed out. Her new friends just may have bought her enough time to completely restore before the next round.”
My eyelids feel as though they are made of lead. My hand is nestled between stronger ones. I fight to stay awake behind the fading light.
“What will we ever do without you?” My mother’s whisper floats across the room to me.
His firm response slices through the darkness closing in around me. “The director has plans but so do we. Stick to the plan. Thanks to your husband’s—ex-husband’s—news story, she’s about ready to enter a world where everyone knows her and what she can do. She needs you two more than ever.”
I didn’t know then that when I awoke, it would be to a new world. A world without George, without visits from my dad, and without panic attacks. A world where I was a celebrity, a scientific wonder, and no longer alone. Never mind that I put my life at risk each time I pushed one the boundaries of human capability. I lived by the words I was never meant to hear:
“Vita’s never going to be broken. She’s going to be the one doing the breaking. She’s stronger than any of us will ever know.”

Mandy PetersonAbout the Author:
Mandy Peterson grew up all over Nebraska and eventually settled down there with a family of her own: husband, daughter, and son.

When she isn’t writing about herself in third person, Mandy the high school librarian can be found digging through young adult and new adult lit. An avid reader of all genres (but she secretly told me she loves sci-fi the most), you will usually see her with her nose in a book or face to her Kindle app, iced or blended coffee drink in hand. A former roller girl and roller derby referee, she can also be found watching roller derby online or dragging her family behind her to cheer on teams in person all over their great state.

You can find and contact Mandy here:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
Amazon
Newsletter

Giveaway
There is a cover reveal wide giveaway for the cover reveal of Before I Shatter. One winner will win a 10$ Amazon Gift Card.

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:
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IN DEFENSE OF LATE BLOOMERS

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I love reading stories of people who found success later in life. They prove that there is no expiration date on a person’s dreams.

I’m not one of those writers who can say they always wanted to become a published author. When I was younger, I loved to read but never thought about writing my own stories. The worlds I created lived in my head. I was happy letting them stay there.

Over the years, I’ve tried many creative pursuits and enjoyed them all, but I never felt such a earth tipping love as when I started to write. All those crazy ideas I dreamt up finally had an outlet. Through hard work and hundreds of hours in front of the computer, I found success. My first book, HOME FIELD, will be traditionally published this summer. Book two, TRUE HORIZON, is next.

Last week, I celebrated my 44th birthday. I didn’t start writing until after I’d turned 40. I am a late bloomer and proud of it!

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