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Happy Monday, readers,

Midnight on the MississippiWithout further ado, here are the 10 winners of a signed copy of Midnight on the Mississippi from my newsletter contest. Thanks to everyone who either signed up this time, or remains a faithful subscriber of my twice-a-year newsletter.  Those books will be mailed out tomorrow. Don’t forget, book two of the Secrets of the South Mysteries, What Happened on Beale Street releases in February.

My 10 winners: Debbie Light, Rev. Warreenactor, Linda Miller, Stacey Barbalace, Shawna Pemberton, Justin Cheeren, Donna M. Forker, Blake’s Momma, Kimi Crane, and Wag Pam. I have sent each of you an email.What Happened on Beale Street

 

 

I hope everyone is having a lovely summer. The weather is downright gorgeous is Ohio, and I am loving it!! ~ Mary Ellis

Happy Wednesday, readers,

No-River-Too-Wide-thumbAs an author I’m often asked what I’m reading. The truth is most writers don’t have as much reading time as they would like. But I just finished a women’s fiction novel that knocked my socks off. No River Too Wide deals with the serious issue of spousal abuse with wisdom, professional expertise, and compassion. I was impressed with how Emilie Richards tackled a sensitive issue that lurks in every community with grace. Her characters leapt off the page and won’t be forgotten for some time to come.

Here’s a blurb about No River Too Wide: Some betrayals are like rivers, so deep, so wide, they can’t be crossed. But–for those with enough courage–forgiveness, redemption and love may be found on the other side. On the night her home is consumed by fire, Janine Stoddard finally escapes from her abusive husband, a step that she knows may lead to her death if he finds her. While she is reluctant to involve her estranged daughter, she can’t resist a chance to see Harmony and baby Lottie in Asheville, North Carolina, before she disappears forever. Harmony’s friend Taylor Martin realizes how much the reunited mother and daughter yearn to stay together, and she sees in Jan a chance to continue her own mother’s legacy of helping women in need of a fresh start. She opens her home, even as she’s opening her heart to another newcomer, Adam Pryor. But enigmatic Adam has a secret that could destroy Taylor’s trust–and cost Jan her hard-won freedom.

Emilie-at-Biltmore-with-rock-ledge-behind-200x132Here’s a little bit about the author: Emilie Richards is the author of seventy plus novels which have been published in more than twenty-one countries and sixteen languages. Her most recent novel is The Color of Light, a July 2015 trade paperback and hardcover release, which is the fourth novel in the Goddesses Anonymous series. Emilie has won the RITA from Romance Writers of America, and multiple awards from RT Book Reviews, including one for career achievement. She regularly appears on bestseller lists, and ten of her books have been made into television movies in Germany. Emilie lives in Sarasota with her husband in the winter and Chautauqua, New York in summer.

If you’re in the mood for a great summer read, you won’t forget No River Too Wide any time soon. It is available from Mira Books in print and electronic versions wherever books are sold.

I hope you’re having a great week and stay cool, readers!  ~ Mary

Happy Friday, readers,

Midnight on the MississippiThe weekend is almost upon us and I have exciting news to share. The very first of my Secrets of the South mysteries is shipping into warehouses as we speak. Midnight on the Mississippi was a labor of love for me and I’m thrilled with the final product from my publisher, Harvest House. I am often asked at library events, on email and via Facebook why have you changed to writing romantic suspense. The answer is simple…I must write the stories that intrigue me, and during my many trips to New Orleans, this is the story of my heart. Here’s some other common questions about Midnight on the Mississippi:

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St. Louis Cathedral

What can you tell us about the setting of this novel? The book is set in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana, and also in the swamps and bayous out in Lafayette and Terrebonne Parishes, about two hours away. The French Quarter is an ancient portion of the city along the Mississippi River, rich in history and architecture of a variety of cultures and traditions. It practically drips with mystery and intrigue, making it the perfect setting for romantic suspense.

Who are the main characters, and what is at stake for them in this story?

Hunter Galen is a securities broker who suspects his business partner is embezzling their clients’ money, but he’s reluctant to jeopardize their friendship. After his partner turns up dead, Hunter realizes his unwillingness to confront a problem may have cost James his life. Nicki Price is a newly-minted PI who intends to solve the stockbroker’s murder and establish herself in the career she adores. As she ferrets out fraud and deception at Galen-Nowak Investments she butts heads with Hunter’s fiancée, Ashley Menard, who recognizes exactly what a threat Nicki is. As Hunter and Nicki encounter sophisticated shell games, blackmail, and death threats, danger swirls around them like the mysterious dark water of the bayou.

Which of the characters surprised you the most in this story, and how so? Without giving away too much of the story, it was the murderer who surprised me the most. While writing the book, I had a completely different villain in mind! But by the time I reached the end, I devised a far more satisfying conclusion to my “whodunnit.” I hope readers will be as surprised as I was.

How did the writing of this story impact you as a person or as an author? I visited New Orleans about half a dozen times to research this book before Hurricane Katrina and about a half dozen times afterward. That horrendous storm in 2005 changed both the landscape and the lives of the residents forever. Each time I return to this beautiful area of the US, I’m reminded of how resilient, brave, and generous the human spirit can be.

I’ll be sharing more photos from my research trips down the line, but here’s a link to read the first chapter.

https://www.harvesthousepublishers.com/data/files/excerpts/9780736961691_exc.pdf

Midnight on the Mississippi is on pre-sale right now in trade paperback at a great price. Here’s the link: http://www.christianbook.com/1-midnight-on-the-mississippi/mary-ellis/9780736961691/pd/961690?event=Fiction

Electronic versions in all formats will be available on August 1st if not before.

I hope you enjoy the first chapter, readers, and have a spectacular summer weekend.  ~ Mary

The Last HeiressLast week I completed a reader’s interview from a hero’s perspective, using my dashing hero from The Last Heiress. I had so much fun with this, I decided to answer questions from my heroine’s (Amanda Dunn’s) perspective. I hope you enjoy!

Has anything significant happened in your life in the past two weeks?

I recently landed in North Carolina during the American Civil War. I’m supposed to restore shipments of cotton to my family’s textile mills and repair the riff with my sister. Abigail happens to be married to a slave-owner, a practice I refuse to tolerate. I find myself at odds with my host and hostess at every turn. Everything seems to have become significant lately. 

Your most embarrassing moment?

Thus far my protected and insulated life in England has produced few embarrassments. Since arriving in Wilmington, I’ve had plenty. Look no further than the next question…. 

What is your first reaction when you meet a handsome gentleman?

Usually I blush, and this time was no exception. After all this is the nineteenth century. Then I engage the gentleman in witty or intelligent conversation. However, since I’m a fish out-of-water here, especially with a war going on, I can’t find any common ground. So I don’t think I’ve impressed this young man in the least. 

What happened the last time you spoke to a large group of people?

I had to address the Wilmington business leaders to request a lift of trade restrictions to Great Britain. The session did not go well, needless to say. Southern gentlemen do not take kindly to women conducting business. 

What are your hobbies?

Well-born ladies during the Victorian Era had few acceptable hobbies. I read, do needlepoint, and take long walks in the garden in fair weather. I’m enjoying my stay in North Carolina where conventions have been relaxed due to the Civil War. 

Siblings? How many? Do you get along?

I had a brother who unfortunately was killed at our textile mill, making me next in line to inherit my father’s company. I also have a twin sister. We used to get along just fine until she eloped with an American.

Any current romantic interests?

I have fallen in love with Nathaniel Cooper who charmed me the moment I entered his store. He’s not what my family would consider acceptable for a mate, yet I can’t imagine my life without him. 

Where were you born? What other significant happenings surrounded this event?

I was born in Manchester, England. My identical twin, Abigail, was born minutes after me. Physically, we look exactly the same. However, philosophically we become complete opposites.

What is your worst fear?

My worst fear is that I will fail at the enormous task I’ve been given due to my father’s illness. Women of my class didn’t dabble in business during the 1860’s. I do wish to make my father—and myself—proud.

When’s the last time you had a really good meal? Courtesy of whom?

The last good meal I had since landing on the shores of America was cooked by my new beau! Nathaniel might be a shopkeeper of humble means, but he has won my heart based on his skills in the kitchen alone!

Are there any hardheaded people in your life right now? What’s the issue?

I am living in my sister’s home. Abigail is married to an American cotton broker and slave-owner. I am vehemently opposed to slavery, an institution that England abolished during the last century. Jackson Henthorne and I barely speak to each other which places my twin sister smack-dab in the middle.

Here we are, readers, Friday already! I wish you a lovely weekend with plenty of good reading.

And for my readers in Texas…I’m praying that the rains stop soon.

best regards, Mary

Happy Wednesday, readers!

First, without further ado…BN 100 you are the winner of Island Refuge by Kimberly Rose Johnson. Thanks to everyone who entered my drawing last week for a copy of Kimberly’s latest book! I will contact you via email regarding how to claim your prize.

The Last HeiressA few weeks ago, another blogger had me complete a questionnaire from a hero’s perspective. I used my dashing hero from The Last Heiress. I had so much fun with this, I decided to share the “interview” here. I hope you enjoy!

My name is Nathaniel Cooper, and I walked across the entire state of North Carolina to the coastal town of Wilmington to begin a new life during the Civil War.

What do you do for fun? I take the beach road out of town to the seacoast. I love to watch the vast, blue sea and dream of sailing one day.

What do you put off doing because you dread it? I dread meeting the family of the woman I love. I fear they will find me unworthy of her.

What are you afraid of most in life? That I won’t be there when those I love need me most.

What do you want out of life? I want to leave the bustling city, find a plot of land to build a cottage, and buy a fishing trawler. Maybe God will send me a woman who could be happy as a fisherman’s wife.

What is the most important thing to you? That we live each day by God’s law, not by the laws set down by man.

Do you read books? If so, what is your favorite type of book? I read all kinds of books, but I love to read the new poets and transcendentalists of Concord, MA, such as Alcott, Thoreau, and Hawthorne. I don’t always agree with them, but it does give you something to think about.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? That I would not jump to conclusions based solely on a man’s clothing, background, or bank account.

Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet? As a shopkeeper living in the city and sleeping in a rented loft, I have no pet. But I would love to provide pets of every sort for my children someday.

If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why? I would return to the mountains of my childhood in western Carolina. I would love to change how life turned out for my parents.

Nice to meet you, Nathaniel! Next week, I’ll share my “interview” with the love of his life, Amanda.

In the meantime, readers, I hope you’re having an absolutely lovely spring!2014-04-29 13.38.30

best regards ~ Mary

 

Today I’m pleased to welcome Kimberly Rose Johnson back to Home Thoughts. Kimberly has a new book just released and she’s giving away a free Kindle copy to one lucky reader who leaves her a comment. First, here’s a summary of what you’ll find inside Island Refuge:Island Refuge cover 25080381

Five-Star-Chef Zoe Griffin walked away from her dream job. Did she make a mistake?  Her engagement off, Zoe Griffin retreats to tiny Wildflower Island in the Puget Sound. Hiding out as a cook and maid at a shabby bed-and-breakfast seems crazy for a chef who’s used to running her own five-star kitchen. And just as she starts to feel at home, her klutzy mishaps make Zoe fear her handsome new boss will fire her.  Dr. Nick Jackson is done with medicine, and owning a B&B is as far from doctoring as he can get. He needs help, but his only employee’s mistakes give him doubts. As Zoe lets her defenses down, Nick begins to see a competent and caring woman. One whose wounds are as deep as his own. But as they fall for each other, Nick and Zoe must learn the hardest lesson of all—to forgive. Only then can they heal the past and embrace the future . . . together.  Sounds good, no? Here’s a little info about Kimberly:

KimberlyAuthor Bio  Kimberly Rose Johnson, soon to be empty-nester, lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and their yellow lab. Island Refuge is her sixth published book and the first in a series of three. Kimberly enjoys long walks, chocolate, and mochas, not necessarily in that order.

What are you working on now? I am currently finishing up Island Dreams the second book in the Wildflower B&B Romance series. Island Dreams will release sometime in August. I don’t have an exact date yet. :) If you’d like to sign up for my newsletter to keep up to date on my book releases you may do so at http://kimberlyrjohnson.com/

Where can readers find you? https://www.facebook.com/KimberlyRoseJohnson https://twitter.com/kimberlyrosejoh

How can readers buy Island Refuge?  http://amzn.to/1FmLqqd

Readers, to be entered in the drawing for a free electronic (Kindle) copy of Island Refuge, please answer this question: In Island Refuge Zoe and Nick both leave their pasts behind for a fresh start. Have you ever pulled up stakes and started over?

That’s it, readers! Be sure to leave a comment to be entered in the drawing. I will pick the winner in one week!! Have a great week of reading. ~ Mary

Happy Monday, readers,

I hope spring has sprung where you are. It has certainly come to Ohio. I have plenty of wildflowers2014-04-29 13.38.30 blooming in my woods along with my magnolia trees.

Congrats to Lorraine A. ~ You’re the lucky winner of Laura Hilton’s book, The Postcard. I have contacted Lorraine privately for a mailing address, but thanks to everyone who dropped Laura a comment last week.  I was tickled to see so people still love Amish fiction. Speaking of which, one of my favorite books, A Marriage for Meghan, is still priced at $1.99 at CBD in print. Such a bargain if you happened to have missed that one. A Marriage for MeghanHere’s the link:

http://www.christianbook.com/a-marriage-for-meghan-wayne-county/mary-ellis/9780736930109/pd/930109?event=EBRN

Have a great week, readers. ~  Mary

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