Saturday, November 24, 2018

Saturday Snippet: She's An American, Just Like We Are

To commemorate Pearl Harbor Day, 
this week's Saturday Snippet comes from 
I Am An American 
by Robyn Hobusch Echols
          Hugh took action first by jumping from his seat. He paced the floor, his fists clenched. He turned to his father, his yell revealing his anguished feelings. “Those dirty Japs! Those dirty, dirty Japs! How dare they come in and bomb our harbor like that. I mean, we didn’t do anything to them. Our ships and our people were just minding their own business and then those Japs send in all those planes and torpedoes and shoot the place up. Why? Because they want war? Well, you heard our president. They got war.”
          Carl spoke calmly, hoping to settle Hugh down. “I know it’s bad, Hugh. I don’t know what brought things on, but yelling like this won’t help. It’s only upsetting your mother and sister. Please sit back down.”
          “Yeah? Well, maybe they should be upset. Look at your own daughter, being friends with that Jap girl. She’s the enemy and now her people have bombed Pearl Harbor.”
          Flo sat up straight, her mouth agape in shock at Hugh’s accusation. She quickly found her voice. “Hugh, that’s not fair. Ellen was born here. She’s an American, just like we are. She and her family have nothing to do with Japan going to war with us.”

          As a bit of explanation, the prologue to this story makes it clear that Hugh’s statement, “…we didn’t do anything to them” expresses the naivety to the majority of the American populace at the time. The Unites States government had taken several economic and political actions antagonistic to Japan prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor. Retaliation by Japan was not completely unexpected in the higher circles of government.

I Am An American is also part of the anthology, Pearl Harbor & More: Stories of WWII. Now it is available as a single. From now until the evening of November 27, it is on promotion and available for free. To read the book description and find the purchase link, please CLICK HERE.

Along with I Am An American, two other books of mine, Kizzie’s Kisses and Millwright’s Daughter are being featured on the Thanksgiving Weekend Bookpalooza for 99 cents each. Buy for yourself, or gift ebooks to your friends and family. 

In addition to being able to choose from a nice selection of sweet/clean ebooks in several genres, there is a sign-up for a chance to win a grand prize of 21 print books and a $50.00 Amazon gift card. Be sure to Register to Win. To find details, PLEASE CLICK HERE.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Saturday Snippet: Find Out Why He Likes Thanksgiving So Much

The following snippet is from 
Family Secrets


      “So you’re not afraid of opening Pandora’s Box?” Kaylee asked.
     “I don’t see it as Pandora’s Box. I see it as—well, not like a treasure chest—more like a strong box with important information inside that can be of great value if only I can unlock it.”
     “And your grandpa is the key, no?” said Lupe.
     “No…” Jennie hesitated. “He’s the lock. He’s the one who keeps everyone from talking about it so it stays hidden away.”
     “So, what’s the key?” asked Kaylee.
     “I think it’s more of a case of who is the key?” said Donna.
     The room grew silent as everyone looked at Jennie.
     “I guess I’m hoping I’m the key,” Jennie said. “That’s one of the reasons I decided to come tonight. I need all the help I can get to learn how to help Grandpa Mike open up so he will tell us what happened.”
     “We have enjoyed having you join us tonight,” said Opal.
     “Thanks, and I appreciate all your help. I’m going to study these hand-outs and look up all the online sites so I can be as prepared as possible. Wish me luck on Thanksgiving Day, will you? That is the one holiday my mom’s side of the family always spends together. Even though he sometimes gets quiet and grumpy after dinner, it seems to be Grandpa Mike’s favorite holiday.”
     “Really!” said Kaylee. “I think Christmas is most people’s favorite holiday. I know it’s mine, hands down.”
     “Grandpa Mike says we can visit other sides of the family any other holiday, but Thanksgiving belongs to him. It’s really important to him to spend it with as many of the family as possible. I just hope that since it’s his favorite holiday, he will be in a good mood and agree to talk to me.”
     “We will be pulling for you one hundred percent, Jennie,” assured Sandy. “We can hardly wait until next month when you tell us how things worked out.”
     “Yeah, and find out why he likes Thanksgiving so much while you’re at it,” said Kaylee.

     By rights, I should have celebrated the last Thanksgiving Day of my life in Vietnam. That should have been my last time eating turkey and dressing and pumpkin pie and everything that goes with it. 
You may read the full book description for Family Secrets and find the purchase link by CLICKING HERE.
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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Book Tour & Review: My Hands Hold My Story

For fans of A Knight of Silence and Read My Lips comes a YA historical western full of grit and heart...

In 1874, Ivy Steele's deafness is more than a handicap. It's a disease. Surrounded by a family that doesn't understand her, she's learned to cope and find solace where she can. Then, the unexpected happens. Her aunt dies, and her uncle sends her away to rejoin her father's family in Montana.

Left to fend for herself, after the companion hired to escort her abandons her, sixteen-year-old Ivy faces continual hardship and danger. Several men see an unaccompanied Ivy as a flower ripe for the picking, and things only get worse when masked men hold up their stagecoach.

Barely scraping through, Ivy makes it to Montana with her nerves shaken and what little money she has in her boot. Expecting a peaceful if not affectionate welcome, Ivy finds herself in greater hardship than she's ever known.

Surrounded by a stepfamily that hates her, and flung into a life where hearing is vital, Ivy finds solace in a handsome cowboy named Remy. But things with her new family are not what they seem. And Ivy is about to find out that the danger she faced on the journey west, has followed her to Montana...

Bethany Swafford dazzles with her stunning young adult debut, introducing a strong heroine, the hardships of frontier life, shocking twists, and a slow-burning romance that will leave you wanting more.

Third place winner of the 2018 Rosemary Award

For as long as she can remember, Bethany Swafford has loved reading books. That love of words extended to writing as she grew older and when it became more difficult to find a ‘clean’ book, she determined to write her own. Among her favorite authors is Jane Austen, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Georgette Heyer.

When she doesn’t have pen to paper (or fingertips to laptop keyboard), she can generally be found with a book in hand. In her spare time, Bethany reviews books for a book site called More Than A Review.

This was one of the most engaging and thoughtful stories I’ve read in a long time. Told in first person and set in the decade following the Civil War, this young adult story about a sixteen year-old deaf girl revealed the uncertainties, misconceptions and trials those with limited or no hearing face, especially during that time.

Forced from a school for the deaf after her aunt’s death, Ivy makes the treacherous trip to Montana. To join her father and brother, all her family left after a fever that took her hearing along with the lives of her mother and younger sibling. She arrives to find her father remarried to a difficult woman who knew nothing about her existence. At first, no one wants her there, she does not want to be there, but she is helpless to do anything other than make her way in a dysfunctional family that resents her. Even though her education is evident and she demonstrates her many skills, she is perceived to be less-valuable. The attitude towards her is such that because she is not wanted, she should be grateful to be treated like a slave and take what she can get.

Communication is a problem. Although she can speak, because she cannot hear, Ivy cannot gauge her volume or pitch. She had come from a school that taught her signing to communicate, but the family makes no effort to learn signing. She can read lips, but the family tends to turn their backs or hide their faces behind their hands to hide what they say. She can read and write, but it is a slow means of communicating. Much of the time she must deduce what is said through body language, snatches of lip-read words, and facial expressions—challenges the hearing-impaired no doubt struggle with today.

I loved how the author portrayed her characters as Ivy gradually learned how to deal with her family. She eventually won several of them over, including her natural brother who, as a child, was her confidant and playmate. She also learned to stand up for herself. There is also a sweet, budding romance in the works, even as Ivy’s step-mother does her best to foist Ivy off in marriage to a man Ivy easily identified as unsavory.

The story ended too soon for me. I can highly recommend it to adult readers as well as youth.

To view our blog schedule and follow along with this tour visit our Official Event page 

Monday, November 12, 2018


You can now purchase my novella, Millwright's Daughter, as a single. CLICK HERE to access the purchase link.

Millwright's Daughter has been part of the anthology, Under a Mulberry Moon, since July. If you have already read Under a Mulberry Moon, you have probably already read Millwright's Daughter. For the time being, you may still purchase the anthology and enjoy Millwright's Daughter as one of nine stories.

However, Under a Mulberry Moon is scheduled to be unpublished and the full rights to the stories will revert to the authors at that time. When that happens, I will be writing two more books in this series, Kerr's Ferry Mill -- one to cover the time before the Great Flood that wiped out the first mill, and one after as California enters the age of electricity.

Here is an excerpt from Millwright's Daughter

hoebe’s steps slowed as she spotted her husband talking to a man, probably a customer, just outside the mill office door. She waited several feet away and studied her husband with his tall, barrel-chested form and shoulders still wide in spite of now being middle-aged. Unlike her mousy brown hair that had started to grow gray hairs all over, gray streaked the temples of his otherwise dark hair, adding to his distinguished appearance rather than making him appear old.
            Phoebe watched the two men shake hands. She did not recall having seen before the young stranger with his light brown hair and eyes about the same color. Judging from his collarless work shirt of plaid homespun woven of different shades of brown and madder red and the medium-brimmed slouch hat he wore, she now guessed him to be a laborer looking for a job.  From the smiles and nods, she guessed her husband and the stranger had come to an agreement. She noticed the shine on the seat of his pants as she watched him climb into the bench of a freight wagon pulled by two mules.
            As the young man raised his hand in farewell, Phoebe, her hand in her pocket, took that as a sign she could approach her husband without interrupting his business. Even as he turned his blue-grey eyes to study her—the eyes a Wells trait which had been passed down to Lydia and Joey as well as Eliza, while poor Julie had inherited her own non-descript hazel eyes—his   expression changed from a smile to a scowl at the sight of her. In spite of his demeanor telling her he did not welcome her presence, she approached with confidence. She knew he would want what she brought him.
            “Get everything you need from town? No one gave you trouble about putting it on the account, did they?”
            Phoebe shook her head. She nodded towards the departing wagon. “Who was that?”
            Joseph assumed a smug expression. “New man to help haul flour to the railroad. Ol’ Jensen said he’s raising his prices as of the first of the month. Kit Halsey said he’ll do the job for the same price per sack I’ve been paying. When I gave him a quote, I shaved a few cents off what I usually pay, and the kid didn’t know the difference.”
            “I see.” Phoebe understood more than her husband thought her capable of. He not only drove a hard bargain, he would take advantage when he could get away with it. However, she knew now was not the time to comment about it. She pulled the two letters out of her pocket and handed them to Joseph. “One is from Eliza’s grandmother.”

Mill office and at one time the Superintendent's residence-Knight's Ferry