Category Archives: books

Expecting Santa!

Tis the season for stockings being hung by the fire, cookies baking in the oven, and books with Christmas themes being opened. This season I am re-releasing a book I wrote years ago and recently updated. It was originally published under the title Open in Nine Months, but the original title was Expecting Santa.

All Sam McCall wants for Christmas is a traditional holiday for his five-year-old daughter, Lacey. The last person he expects to find when he moves to a cozy town in Colorado is the woman who broke his heart: Joy Chase. Joy’s hiding a secret under her grandfather’s Santa suit. When Sam learns she’s carrying his baby, he has to win Joy’s heart fast. But can they learn to trust again? Can Santa deliver a Christmas miracle?

Open in Nine Months (Expecting Santa) is a touching, emotional story, a perfect way to put yourself in the holiday.” Judy Christenberry, best selling author

Leanna Wilson (Ellis) has penned a warm romance with good characterization.
RT Book Reviews

Here’s the brand new cover, and the inside is all updated too! It’s available as a Kindle ebook and also in paperback! Merry Christmas, y’all!


My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys

It was a cold night in the Texas Panhandle, and I was a little girl going to the rodeo with my family. This was not a slicked up rodeo but a nitty-gritty rodeo out in the country with real cowboys, some of which were my older cousins. I remember sitting on one of my cousins’ laps. She already had children of her own but she helped warm me up on that chilly night as we watched the cowboys rope steers and ride bulls.

strongsilentcowboyMaybe that’s where my love of cowboys began. Because most of my cousins were many years older than me, I didn’t know them well and simply watched and admired them. My dad also raised me on John Wayne movies. My favorite movie growing up was True Grit. Just the opening song could get my blood pulsing.

As I grew up, I fell in love with country music. One day, I was driving around Dallas, to and from work, listening to Rodeo by Garth Brooks when a character came to me. He was wearing chaps and boots and he had a slight stutter. I immediately fell in love with Kirk and had to write his story, Strong, Silent Cowboy, which became my very first published book.

So began my writing career, which started with writing about cowboys. I love cowboys’ strength, ingenuity, traditions, and love for nature. I love that they are real men, with a bit of swagger, but also a touch of humility. They know God created the land and bow their heads to pray. I’m proud that I know real cowboys, and I’m blessed to have been able to write about them.

christmasinjulyChristmas in July was my second published book and a sequel to my first. This book features not only a cowboy but also a cowgirl–a barrel racer. These girls have courage and big hearts. Geena, a young widow, has more than her share but she also has a wall around her heart that the right cowboy is going to have to jump.


Finally, my latest release, For the Love of Cody, is actually a re-release of my 5th book. It garnered the National Readers’ Choice Award when it was published. Since then, it went out of print but I gained the rights back to it and recently brought it out as a Kindle ebook. But now, it’s also available in paperback! You can click on the titles of my books to find out more about them.

So for a long while, my heroes have always been cowboys. Next year, I’m publishing a brand new cowboy story! Hope you’ll hang around until it’s ready.

So what about you? Do you love cowboys? Country music? Western movies?

Contest: For a copy of the paperback For the Love of Cody. At the end of this week, I’ll draw a name from those who leave a comment below for a winner.

Right at Home in a Bookshop

So many places to go…so little time! If you’ve visited my blog or Facebook page, then you probably know that I love to travel. But I also love to take a bit of home with me along in my suitcase. And a bit of home to me consists of BOOKS! Of course I love books and my home is full of them. Way too many books to fit on my bookshelves. So when I travel, I carefully choose two or three…or five books to take with me. Yes, I also have the requisite e-reader, but I still love books. Actual books with pages and covers. Besides, if I’m flying anywhere, I have to have a book for the beginning and end of the flight when the airline makes you turn off all electrical devices.

Anywhere I travel, I have to also buy books. I know, I have a serious problem. Is there a rehab place for bookaholics? I usually buy books about a location or if I visit a art museum then I might need (yes, need) a book about all the wonderful art.

There is something about traveling and finding a bookshop, that makes me feel suddenly right at home. This summer when we visited Paris, I was anxious to visit the famous Shakespeare & Co. bookshop.

This bookshop has quite a history in Paris. It sits on the Left Bank. The original shop was opened by Sylvia Beach in the 1920s and was frequented by luminary writers such as Ezra Pound, Ernest Hemingway, and James Joyce. It closed during the Nazi occupation in 1940. However, a second shop was opened in the 1950s and renamed Shakespeare & Co. in tribute to Sylvia Beach.

The day we visited it was raining and crowded but oh it was so much fun to be there with so many books, which are really old friends. Most of the books are in English, and the shelves are crammed full of so many titles. Tables with new releases made me sigh with longing. Tables with classics made me smile with pleasure. Upstairs, someone played the piano. This typewriter sat in front of a window.

When you buy a book at Shakespeare & Co., they will stamp the inside cover of your book with a lovely stamp. It makes a nice souvenir. Of course, we bought several.

What is your favorite bookshop to visit, far or near? Do you travel with books or with an e-reader?

The Adventure of Motherhood

Mother’s Day is special day, not only does it give me a chance to show my mother I love her, but as a mother myself it gives me the chance to remember about my precious babies being born. The day I had my first child, my life changed forever. What an adventure it has been. Bringing my first baby home from the hospital, my husband and I were worried about how long it would take my mom to arrive. We had a few hours on our own, and we didn’t know what to do. What if the baby cried? What would we do? What would he need? We were so clueless. We had so much to learn.

This is a picture of my amazing mom!

Now all these 15 years later, we are still pretty clueless. Of course, we’ve learned a few things along the way, had a few missteps, made lots of mistakes, but oh the joy and blessings we’ve enjoyed! Our children are no longer in the diaper stage, and let me just say that seems so much simpler now than it did then, because our children are full-fledged teenagers. My mother used to say, “Little kids have little problems. Big kids…” Well, you know where that statement is going, don’t you? It’s true. Life is so much more complicated than it was when I was a teenager (just a few short years ago–or more like a thousand!) Still, I love these days. I love remembering when my children were small, and I love enjoying the wonderful discussions we have now and watching them pursue their dreams.

This is my amazing daughter on stage!

This is my amazing son fencing!

This day, also gives me a chance to think about some wonderful mothers I’ve met along the way. They influenced me as I watched them mothering their own children. My friend, Betty, was an amazing mother to watch. We were in the same critique group. She was a very hands-on mom, and I have loved watching as her family grew and her children have become amazing adults. My cousin, Fleta, is another woman I watched mother her children through the years. I have emulated both of these women in many ways. Fleta’s children have grown up into wonderful adults too.

My husband and I are still in the middle of our parenting years with a lot more of our journey ahead of us. We are still learning and growing as our children mature. We’ll take it day-by-day–or as I used to do when my children were babies–nap-by-nap. Along the way, I’ve had the privilege of writing a few books. Looking back down the years, I realized how many of my books have to do with mothers. All sorts of mothers! What a joy it has been to write about these women.

In Christmas in July, Geena is a single mother, barely getting by. I loved writing about her because she was quite spunky. It’s not easy being a single mom, and I highly respect the moms (and dads) who are traveling this journey alone. Please know you are not alone. There are many around you willing and eager to help and encourage and pray for you.

Elvis Takes a Back Seat was another story about a women and friendships and an unwed mother-to-be, who made hard decisions. Life doesn’t always hand us a vase of roses, and this book is about friendships and love and simply caring for others.

Lookin’ Back, Texas was about a mother/daughter relationship with a slightly crazy mother and how her grown daughter dealt with the crazy antics. This story was a lot of fun to write. In spite of the unusual circumstances, the depth in this story still touches my heart in profound ways. And no, my own mother is not this way. Thankfully!

Ruby’s Slippers was about a woman missing her mother and finding her own way in life. She realizes after trying to walk in her mother’s shoes that they don’t fit and she must find her own life.

Once in a Blue Moon was also about the loss of a mother and finding the truth in the past to bring healing. Mothers effect us in profound ways, even when they are no longer there.

Facelift was about the mother-in-law. Thankfully, my own mother-in-law was not this way, but I sure did have fun writing about this one. But again, the humor of the situations only mined the depth of emotions as I dug for answers and solutions.

Finally, one of the books in my Plain Fear series, Forbidden, deals with a mother-to-be and what measures she will go to in order to protect her unborn child.

To all the mother’s out there: Happy Mother’s Day!

In celebration of this wonderful day, leave a comment and I’ll give away one of these books (the winner’s choice). I’ll draw a winner May 15th!

Welcome, Julie Carobini! She’s here to talk about her latest book, FADE TO BLUE! That is a gorgeous cover!

1. Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

Sure! I write seaside stories filled with faith, flip flops, and waves of grace. My family and I make our home on California’s central coast, and I’ve written five novels plus hundreds of published articles on everything from parenting, to team building in the workplace, to Christian surf dudes on a mission.

2. How did you become interested in writing?

My father wrote magazine articles on the side, including interviews with entertainers such as Fred Astaire and Fred MacMurray. Always loved that! I too became an article writer almost twenty years ago, but I always yearned to create fiction. I wrote two novels that did not sell, but as they say, third time’s a charm, and my debut novel, Chocolate Beach, released in 2007 (re-released with recipes in 2011 as an eBook). By that time, I had a renewed faith in God as well as a redefined focus on the kinds of stories he was leading me to write.

3. What compelled you to write a book on this subject?

Ever since the inception of the Otter Bay Novels with Sweet Waters, I’ve wanted to set a book with the famed Hearst Castle as its backdrop. So much intrigue and mystery about that real castle on the hill and its eccentric, yet astute owner. Of course, novels are more than their location. So after writing the 2nd of these stand-alone novels, A Shore Thing, even I longed to know what happened next for the big-hearted, single mom from that story. Fade to Blue satisfies that curiosity … 🙂

4.What is the main theme or point that you want readers to understand from reading your book? Are there any other themes present in the book?

Writing this story was much like holding a seashell, constantly turning it over in my hand. Though they’re often tossed into the sea with nary a glance, seashells are intricately beautiful—even when broken. The more I examined the shattered life of Suz—the heroine of Fade to Blue—the more beauty I found. Only the One who restores our souls can make that happen.

5. Are there some specific lessons you hope readers will learn and apply to their lives after reading your book?

I hope readers get lost in the story and the beautiful setting, that they revel in God’s creation as much as I did while writing it. I also hope they experience the Good Shepherd’s gentle leading (Psalm 23), and fall in the love with the concepts of forgiveness, sacrifice, and grace—as much as they do the breathtaking locale.

6. What makes your book different than any other books similar to yours that are in circulation today?

Although I’ve been compared to some amazing writers—something that humbles me—I also know that God made each one of us uniquely. I knew you even before you were conceived. Jeremiah 1:4-5. One unique aspect of my books is the focus on God’s creation of the sea and everything in it. My characters have loved dolphins, sea lions, otters—even giant, glowing sea anemones. But they take that admiration a step further by drawing closer to the God who made such beauty.

7. How does the book intertwine with God’s call on your life and how you are currently serving Him?

This story reminds me not to dwell on the past, but to prayerfully, joyfully–and “hope”fully–move forward. Such lessons there! Suz Mitchell made mistakes in her past—so have I—yet healing brokenness and restoring souls is God’s business. Praise him for that!

8. Do you have a favorite Scripture verse?

I have more than one favorite, but this one’s been spinning in my mind again lately: Psalm 19:14 NIV, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.”

9. When you are not writing, what do you like to do? Do you have any hobbies?

I love to comb the beach, to jog the sand with Charlie the Dog, and take coffee
breaks with my husband — so adore that man!

10. As we close, is there anything else you would like to add?

Just that I hope people reading this are encouraged to follow their heart’s desires with the Good Shepherd as their guide. God took all the lows and highs in my life and created something new with them. Although I’d always wanted to write, I had no inkling that I’d be writing beach-themed novels one day. I just kept praying and writing and seeking until an idea popped into my head. I followed that idea, and now find myself talking about my fifth novel filled with “waves of grace.” Be encouraged!



Barnes & Noble:

Tiffany Amber Stockton and Roxie!

This week, I’d like to welcome author, Tiffany Amber Stockton (writing as Amber Stockton) and Roxie to my blog. So let’s get started!

LE: Hi, Tiffany! Welcome! Thanks for stopping by and answering a few questions for us. What is your favorite kind of a pet? Why?

TAS: A dog, primarily because they are so loyal, interactive, companionable and somewhat easy to train. I love their dispositions.

LE: How many pets do you have today?

TAS: As of last week, 2. We’ve had a dog since a few months after my husband and I got married, but a little over a week ago, we added a Beta fish to our family. ☺

LE: Ah, we had a Beta fish named Bob for a while. Have you ever rescued an animal?

TAS: Yes, the dog we have was rescued from the Humane Society. My husband picked her, and he made a fantastic choice! Every dog I ever had was rescued. Each and every one was a true delight and holds a special place in my heart.

LE: Do you ever incorporate animals into your novels?

TAS: When I can. Usually, they provide comic relief or become emotional support for one of my characters. But they are always portrayed in a positive light.

LE: What was your favorite character animal?

TAS: That’s easy. The horse, Braedon, that belonged to the heroine in my first novel. Not only was he an excellent work horse, but he knew my heroine inside and out, and he provided her with a listening ear when she needed it, as well as comfort and encouragement at just the right time. He truly had a personality all his own.

LE: Has one of your own pets been the inspiration for a pet/character in a novel?

TAS: Not yet, but I have some ideas and look forward to when I can utilize her.

LE: What is the funniest thing you’ve seen one of your animals do?

TAS: I’m guessing you mean one of my pets, as opposed to an animal in one of my books, so that would be eating the remains of an ice cream carton while the carton is stuck on her nose. ☺

LE: LOL! I assume that was your dog, not the Beta fish. ☺ Is there a secret that only our pet knows?

TAS: No, but only because I don’t keep any secrets from my husband.

LE: What is your pet’s pet peeve about you?

TAS: Probably that I don’t allow her to become a lap dog, like she’d prefer. But she’s a border collie and far too big for that.

LE: My lab is a lap dog, as is my labradoodle. It’s funny how they want to be close to us. What is your pet peeve about your pet?

TAS: Her need to be involved in everything so much. I do love pets, but there comes a time when they need to not be in your face.

LE: Thank you, Tiffany, for taking the time to be with us! Now, I’d love to ask your pet a few questions. Don’t forget to give your sweet pet a treat afterwards. ☺

LE: What would be the title of your autobiography?

R: Waggin’ It.

LE: If you were to write a novel, would your friend inspire one of the characters?

R: Definitely! She sometimes gets down on the floor on all 4’s and romps around with this little version of her. She also goes nose to nose with me and our favorite game is soccer when she’s cooking in the kitchen. I nose my ball to her and she kicks it toward me, then I block it.

LE: I bet that’s fun! What’s your favorite movie?

R: Any western that has cattle and horses, because I love to herd.

LE: Oh, of course! I bet you love John Wayne. What musical instrument would you like to play?

R: Drums, because my tail bangs a lot of things, and I’d love to be able to see what I’m striking all the time.

LE: LOL! I bet you have good waggin’ rhythm. My lab does too! What do you think about cats? Dogs?

R: Cats are a lot of fun to chase, especially when I can scare them up a tree or under a car.

LE: Where do you sleep at night?

R: In my own special chair, unless the weather is nice enough, and then I sleep on the deck on a comfy pillow bed.

LE: That sounds nice. What do you do when your friend is writing?

R: I either lie at her feet by her chair, or I sit and rest my head on her arm or lap. Until I hear another dog or people outside, and then I have to go investigate.

LE: What is your idea of bliss?

R: An open field full of other dogs to play with, or squirrels to chase. If there are horses and cattle, though, that’s great too!

LE: What is Tiffany’s idea of bliss?

R: She loves to sit outside and stare at these jagged things off in the distance. At certain times of year, they have white caps on them. I’m not sure what the appeal is, unless we actually drive to them and I can run up and down the hiking paths.

LE: Thank you so much, Roxie, for being with us today! You take care of your friend now, ya hear?

R: Oh, I will. She takes great care of me, so I want to do the same.

LE: And y’all don’t forget to pick up Tiffany’s latest book, Liberty’s Promise, (author name: Amber Stockton) so she can buy lots of treats for sweet Roxie…and that Beta fish.