Review and Giveaway The Nutcracker’s Suite

The Nutcracker's Suite

About the Book

Book: The Nutcracker’s Suite

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: Christian Christmas Historical Mystery, Fairytale retelling

Release date: November 26, 2021

Nutcracker

“Time to dance, sugarplum.”

A painter at the Meyer’s Toys factory, Clarice Stahl, knows something is
strange about the way so many men come and go through Mr. Meyer’s
office, especially one in particular.

Then murder strikes a little too close to home and uncorks a barrel of
secrets.

When mob king, Mario Topo’s, enforcer goes missing the race is on to
prove he’s behind the murder. Police and mobsters alike are after Milo
Natale, and he who finds Milo first might determine the enforcer’s fate.

A race through the city, a new friend… or more… a new life in the
offing. Milo and Clarice must find who killed Topo’s man and why before
the police arrest him for murder or Topo’s men bump him and Clarice off,
too.

This next book in the Ever After Mysteries combines “The Nutcracker
Suite” with a murder mystery set in the heart of 1920s Rockland.

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

Oh, ah! How I love a good mystery. This one is just in time for Christmas. Not your usual nutcracker. I love the lingo of the 1920s mixed with the Chicago mob and a goy factory. Powerful. Heads literally crack in this installment of Ever After Mysteries.

This author never fails to pull me into her novels. In this one I wander in and out of sinister hallways, alleys, and hotels into more mysterious trouble then I knew existed. Well, I did know from history lessons. Placing characters in the 1920s, Chicago, mobs, and guns results in a race for answers before more heads roll. You’ll have to read to find out who-dun-it. I can’t tell you or my head might be the victim of the nutcracker.

Bravo Chautona Havig!

About the Author

media-headshot-sm-240x300

Author of the bestselling Aggie and Past Forward series, Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her at chautona.com and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.

More from Chautona

Here Are Several Fun Facts & a Secret about The Nutcracker’s Suite

You’d think that while writing a book based on the fairy tale of The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, I’d have heard “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” in my head as I wrote. Well, I guess for a brief moment I did, because at some point, someone actually says that. “Dance, sugar plum!”

But Tchaikovsky isn’t who played in my head as I wrote. Over and over, word after word, my fingers did their bourres and glissades across my keyboard to one, rather unexpected song. “Ballerina” (I prefer the version sung by Buddy Clark. You can listen HERE.)

However, there are so many elements of the original ballet’s story in mine. I thought I’d share a few of them.

Let’s talk about the cast of characters.

Clarice Stahl is our “leading lady.” It’s kind of obvious where I got her name since the original character was Clara Stahlbaum.

Clarice works for Mr. Dieter Meyer, the owner of Meyer’s Toys. He gives her the job of painting nutcrackers. So, it’s not too difficult to see the connection to Uncle Drosselmeyer who gives Clara the nutcracker, no?

All of 1925 Rockland is in the clutches of mob king, Mario Topo. For those not fluent in Italian, can you guess what “topo” is in that language? Remember… he’s the mob “king.” 😉

But I think my favorite name of all is Emiliano (I call him Milo) Natale (Christmas in Italian… just sayin’) who is known as “the nutcracker.” He’s an enforcer for Mr. Topo, and that means he squeezes people until they crack and do what Topo wants. Let’s hope he repents!

Yes, I had a boatload of fun coming up with this stuff! How’d you guess?

I have a secret to confess about this book. I’m writing this post when I’m only about a quarter of the way done. I went to get the synopsis for this tour and went, “oops!” You see, I forgot that I’d planned to make Milo going missing a big part of the plot.

Guess who has to flex? I’d better get back to it. They need to figure out who killed our victim… and why. And before Clarice is next!

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 26

Blogging With Carol, November 26

Texas Book-aholic, November 27

For the Love of Literature, November 28

By the Book, November 28

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, November 29

Inklings and notions, November 29

For Him and My Family, November 30

Rachael’s Inkwell, November 30

deb’s Book Review, December 1

Bizwings Blog, December 1

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 2

Genesis 5020, December 2

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, December 3

Simple Harvest Reads, December 3 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Connie’s History Classroom, December 4

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, December 4

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, December 5

Connect in Fiction, December 5

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, December 6

Mary Hake, December 6

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, December 7

Through the fire blogs, December 7

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 8

Lots of Helpers, December 8

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, December 9 (Author Interview)

Back Porch Reads, December 9

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away to three winners one Prize box each including a paperback of The Nutcracker’s Suite, themed goodies, and a $10 Amazon Gift Card in each!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/13cfb/the-nutcracker-s-suite-celebration-tour-giveaway

Does this seem like a book you would like to read?

Review and Giveaway Flipping Hearts

About the Book

When a hurricane rips through Hooper Island, a tidal wave of TV crews follows and upsets the locals.

Brooks Crawforth agreed to volunteer crews helping to clean up and repair things on the island, not a whole home and garden series on the total renovation of several houses and a bit of cleanup on the side. He’s furious, and the show host is spitting nails at the person who blew it in the first place.

His and his father’s jobs are in jeopardy, the islanders are about to kill him, and that crazy show host blames him for her assistant’s last-minute, “you’ve-got-to-sign-this-now-or-we-can’t-come” contract.

One more thing. Did she have to be so cute?

He’s got even more trouble, though. Islanders are starting to blame Mallory Barrows for the invasion. Not only that, there are rumors of dismantling the association and allowing tourism on the islands. How’s he supposed to fix this mess?

They can’t stand each other, but if they can manage to flip off the enemy switch and flip on some cooperation, maybe their hearts’ll get flipped, too.

This “enemies to romance” novel introduces the next island in the Independence Islands Series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.

The Independence Islands Series: beach reads aren’t just for summer anymore.

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

Back to the islands with my friends, gathering after a storm with Bailey bringing a storm of trouble and baggage. As she unloads her crew and equipment, somehow her emotions, quirks, and fears combined with someone’s vindictive actions dump mayhem on the islanders.

As in our lives, some projects are born doomed. Do we pursue them or admit defeat? Who controls our decisions? It’s hard to let others in to help, yet God sends those people alongside us for a reason. At times, it takes adjustment and trust on our part to let them anywhere close to the real issues.

If you haven’t read any of the Independence Islands series, start today! These characters have become close friends of mine. Enjoy the journey, soaking up mystery and romance.

About the Author

Author of the bestselling Aggie and Past Forward series, Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her at chautona.com and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.

More from Chautona

How I Almost Missed This Important Life Lesson

He annoyed her. The guy was bossy, demanding, rude, and unwilling to admit fault—mostly. Truth be told, she was pretty much the same. Two people with similar faults. The relationship would never happen.

Now what was I supposed to do?

Without any idea how I’d take two near enemies and turn them into a couple, I kept writing the primary story—the one that was supposed to bring them together. The one that would have driven me far, far away from a guy like Brooks.

Right about the time I thought about that is when Bailey had her revelation. “He likes me.”

I nearly did a spit take. I mean, where did that come from? Why would he like someone who hadn’t bothered to be likeable?

And still the story unfolded. “Life or death” moment? Check. Unintentional sharing of attraction and heart. Check. Still confused author as these characters draw closer and closer… check, check!

It took until after the story’s climax for me to realize that Brooks really did like Bailey for who she was—and vice versa. Only after all that tension diffused and their distrust had been smashed to smithereens were Bailey and Brooks able to examine everything. Only after that was I able to realize a truth I hadn’t expected to learn.

People fall in love with people they argue with.

People in love argue. See, my husband and I don’t do that. We don’t argue. Ever. Do we agree on every little thing? No. We just don’t argue about it.

Look, it’s not like I’ve never written people who argue. I do. But Never have I looked at a fictional relationship, seen that it would produce the kind fireworks that Bailey and Brooks will, and thought, “Oh, they’re perfect for each other.”

Because see… if I were Bailey, I’d run. Fast. Conflict is a natural part of life and relationships, and I’m not so naïve as to think it’ll never occur. But entering a relationship knowing it’ll be a regular occurrence? Unthinkable!

So as I pondered all this during those last pages of the book, something hit me.

Jesus enters a rocky relationship with us. Willingly.

Don’t believe me? Think about it. Jesus knew, before He ever spoke light into existence, that His bride would blame Him for… pretty much everything. He knew she’d get him brutally murdered. He knew she’d rail at Him, spit at Him, abandon Him, cheat on Him, and even after forgiveness… she’d do it all over again the next day.

Even knowing all that… He still whispers to our hearts, “Be Mine. I love you.”

If that’s not the most beautiful, unbelievable, amazing thing, I don’t know what is.

It’s probably one of the most important life lessons I’ll ever learn. People choose to be in relationships with people they know they’ll argue with—people who will hurt them, annoy them, demand things of them. And the greatest example of One who does it so beautifully is Jesus. Because see… Jesus entered that relationship with me, knowing I’d be that person. Humbling, yeah. Important life lesson? Most definitely.

Blog Stops

lakesidelivingsite, August 23

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 23

Texas Book-aholic, August 24

CarpeDiem, August 24

Lots of Helpers, August 25

Inklings and notions, August 25

For Him and My Family, August 26

Connect in Fiction, August 26

deb’s Book Review, August 27

Livin’ Lit, August 27

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 28

Blogging With Carol, August 28

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, August 29

Simple Harvest Reads, August 29 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, August 30

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, August 30

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, August 31

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, August 31

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, September 1

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, September 1

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 2

Splashes of Joy, September 2

Blossoms and Blessings, September 3

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, September 3

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, September 4 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, September 4

She Lives To Read, September 5

Kayem Reads, September 5

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away the grand prize package of $50 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/11422/flipping-hearts-celebration-tour-giveaway

Review and Giveaway The Last Gasp

The Last Gasp

About the Book

Book:  The Last Gasp

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: ChristianHistorical Mystery, Fairytale retelling

Release date: July 6, 2021

1-The Last Gasp

At the pinnacle of his Hollywood career, Garrison Prince’s reign ends tonight.

As plain old Gary Prinz, he can pursue his Bible education, buy a bungalow in Pasadena, acquire a few chickens, and marry the girl of his dreams. He just never imagined trading the silver screen for a pulpit would wreak such havoc.

A cigarillo girl, Lucinda Ashton spends her days with her boyfriend, Gary, and her evenings selling candy and “gaspers” to the Hollywood elite at the Taj Mahal Theater.

However, when gunshots ring out just as intermission begins, Lucinda finds herself smack-dab in the middle of a brouhaha that leaves three dead, and no one has a clue why.

All the police know is that the evidence points to Lucinda as the killer and Gary as the intended target.

Four new friends, one young orphan, and a potluck of clues that don’t seem to fit anywhere leave the police baffled, Lucinda in fear for her freedom, and Gary ready to trade in his acting shoes for gumshoes if it’ll save his “Cinda.”

The first book in the Ever After Mysteries combining beloved fairy tales and mysteries, The Last Gasp. This Cinderella retelling blends a murder with enough crime and story clues to keep you on the edge of your seat.

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

A new who-dun-it fairy tale series. The twisting and turning left me guessing with anticipation. Complete with a shoe, a prince, and Cinda, this retelling captivated my attention with the author’s superb imagination and detective skills.

The setting is the 1920s, Beverly Hills with the newness of the moving pictures and the promise of new film inventions on the horizon. Money and glamor surrounded the industry and the stars. Enough for murder and mystery? Bang. Bang. Bang. You’ll have to read this riveting novel and throw your guess onto the stage to mingle with others. Will you be correct? Was I? No spoilers here.

Bravo, Chautona!

About the Author

media-headshot-sm

Author of the bestselling Aggie and Past Forward series, Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her at chautona.com and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.

More from Chautona

What Beautiful, Unexpected Parallel Did I Find Writing this Mystery?

I bought it at Pic-n-Save when I was eleven—an 8.5×11 paperback book of traditional fairy tales. I learned another side of the age-old stories that you don’t see from Disney. Rapunzel? Yeah. That was the story about the queen who was craving rampion (a salad vegetable) so much that she promised to give up her child for it. Rampion—Rapunzel. It’s a thing.

It’s also where I learned Cinderella’s name as “Aschenputtel.” Look, those Brothers Grimm were… well, they were German and that should explain everything. “Puttel” just sings of German, doesn’t it? That tale was also a bit gruesome. The one sister cut off her big toe to make the shoe fit because her mother said, “You won’t have to walk anywhere if you’re a queen. Who needs it!” So the idiotic girl did. Same for the other sister and her heel. Seriously, didn’t she learn from her older sister?

Oh, and it’s the one where mother and stepsisters get their eyes picked out by birds. It reminded me of Proverbs 30:17. “The eye that mocks a father and scorns a mother, the ravens of the valley will pick it out, and the young eagles will eat it.”

Talk about bringing Scripture to life for kids there. *Gulp*

True confession, our kids used to sing that verse to the tune of “All Hail the Pow’r of Jesus’ Name.” You should have heard the lusty voices of our children in our Grand Marquis station wagon (may the wonderful beast rest in peace) singing, “The ravens shall pick out his eyes and eeee-agles eeee-eeaat the saaaammmme!”

I digress.

Cinderella—I mean, Aschenputtel—really wasn’t my favorite story, though. I liked other stories from other books. Like the Ten Brothers—a Chinese folk tale. You know. Fairy tale.

Know which fairy tale I liked even less than Cinderella?

The Little Mermaid. Seriously, I didn’t like the original (Sorry Mr. Andersen… I just didn’t), and I can’t stand Disney’s. But when we first began planning the Ever After Mysteries, I knew which one I wanted to do. The Little Mermaid had everything going for it. Houdini and a water tank. Can’t you just see it? It would have been great. But a friend asked who was writing about the “cigarillo girl” (as I mention in THIS post), and well… the rest is history. Or at least, it’s set back in history.

But there’s one truth I discovered as I wrote this mystery.

Mystery… that’s a good word for this truth, actually. Cinderella is a beautiful picture of Jesus as our prince. We can be His bride and put on the shoe He has fashioned only to fit us, or we can try to snatch it up and make it suit our wills and hold our overgrown egos (work with me here). He takes us out of our ragged, dirty lives and brings us home… to Him. To His Father.

Is there anything more beautiful? I don’t think so.

In The Last Gasp, Gary knows Cinda long before she knows him—truly knows him. He loves her just as she is. Is it a perfect retelling of the beauty of Christ’s love for his church? Not hardly. It wasn’t intended to demonstrate that relationship at all. But there are tiny nuances that do. And that’s pretty cool.

Blog Stops

Rebecca Tews, August 2

For Him and My Family, August 2

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 3

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, August 3 (Author Interview)

Lots of Helpers, August 4

Inklings and notions, August 4

deb’s Book Review, August 5

CarpeDiem, August 5

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 6

Connect in Fiction, August 6

Texas Book-aholic, August 7

Blogging With Carol, August 7

She Lives To Read, August 8

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, August 8

Connie’s History Classroom, August 9

Simple Harvest Reads, August 9 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, August 10

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, August 10

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, August 11

The Meanderings of a Bookworm , August 11

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 12

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, August 12

Splashes of Joy, August 13

Mary Hake, August 13

For the Love of Literature, August 14

Back Porch Reads, August 14

Through the Fire Blogs, August 15

Mamma loves books, August 15

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away the grand prize package of copy of the book and a $50 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/11420/the-last-gasp-celebration-tour-giveaway

Podcast about Revolutionary Faith

https://becausefictionpodcast.com/episode-63-historical-and-historical-romance-author-chats

Well, I did this! My first podcast ever and this one was painless with Chautona Havig on Because Fiction. As you listen please have your “grace” mode on since I am way far from a professional. Enjoy!

My interview is the last one. Here is a snippet: https://www.dropbox.com/s/qd8ugzmqp1tssme/Episode_63_gray.mp4?dl=0

And here is the link to the Blog. Please leave your comments. I will admit it was fun to chat about my journey.

https://chautona.com/because-fiction-63

Review and Giveaway Bookers on the Rocks

About the Book

Book:  Bookers on the Rocks

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance

If it ain’t broke, why’s she so intent on fixing it?

Tessa Booker hates romance.

For twenty-five years, Tessa Booker has insisted that romance is something Hollywood cooked up to sell books and movies. Yes, she knows the word existed before movies.  She doesn’t care. That’s her story, and she’s sticking to it.

So when Ross gets a gentle nudge from Mallory Barrows to look into what Tessa’s doing every day while he’s at work, he discovers a romance in the works–one that sounds a little too “ripped from the pages” of his life!

Who is this woman, and what has she done with his wife? 

Armed with advice from 101 Ways to Romance Your Wife and a copy of the manuscript he printed while she was napping, he’s determined to figure out what’s up with his wife… and if maybe a little romance wouldn’t be a good thing after all.

In a twist of the “on the rocks trope,” this book introduces the next island in the Independence Islands Series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.

The Independence Islands Series: beach reads aren’t just for summer anymore.

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

This book is full of wisdom and truth. How often along the journey of marriage (and relationships) so we neglect the one most important to us? I’m throwing myself right into the mixture. The oh-so human element trickles into every aspect of our closest relationships.

This journey with Ross and Tess sparks a hope for better solutions. Even in an idyllic island home, negative vibes find root. I’ve taken the lessons here and put them into practice. I don’t have to implement the entire “101” list to see a difference. I’ve enjoyed this couple with real struggles. Perhaps, the read and journey can put a little spark in your relationship. And the lessons work for other relationships too. Enjoy the adventure. Beware it might hit close to home!

About the Author

Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her at chautona.com and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.

More from Chautona

Who Needs Romance? My Marriage Is Great as It Is!

Writing a book about a couple who are in love, devoted to each other, and don’t have marriage problems is… challenging. Let’s face it. Most books about married couples, especially ones “on the rocks,” are going to have fights, an affair (at least of the emotional variety), or some big thing threatening to send them straight to divorce court.

Mine doesn’t.

In fact, Bookers on the Rocks shows what happens when couples become too comfortable in their routines—so comfortable, in fact, that they become blind to each other’s needs. If you asked Tessa Booker if anything is wrong in her marriage, she’d say no. If you asked her if she wanted anything different, she’d say no. The age old, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality.

Still, if you look at stories in Scripture, you see deep love and even romance in some places. Elkanah, who loved his wife enough to say, “Am I not more to you than ten sons?” Jacob who worked fourteen years to marry the woman he loved. Solomon and his love for the Shulamite woman. While the first two do not make me squirm, Solomon does. That book… oh, that book.

What I think Song of Solomon does is remind us of the Lord’s wooing of His people and how invested the Shulamite woman was in being delighted in her beloved—in all of him. If that isn’t a picture of how we should devote ourselves to our Lord, I don’t know what is.

In Bookers on the Rocks, I explore the possibility that those of us who aren’t naturally romantic might just be missing a vital ingredient in our marriages. A body can look and feel perfectly healthy for years—even decades. But if some essential nutrient is missing in a person’s diet, eventually that body will show it in some way. A lack of calcium can create brittle bones. No one sees the problem until a slight stumble turns into a nasty break.

Did it change how I view my marriage? No… not yet. Then again, yes it did, too. I’m more… aware of what is going on in my marriage these days. I doubt candlelight and roses will ever become a thing in our relationship, but translating what romance might mean and look like to my husband has become something I do think about from time to time. That probably means more Wienerschnitzel and less broccoli, but hey. He did a lot of dishes, dinner, and diapers (my perfect three Ds of romance) when our kids were small. I can endure a hot dog or three thousand, right?

Blog Stops

For Him and My Family, February 20

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, February 20

CarpeDiem, February 20

deb’s Book Review, February 21

Connect in Fiction, February 21

Locks, Hooks and Books, February 22

Blogging With Carol, February 22

Blossoms and Blessings, February 23

Godly Book Reviews, February 23

Pause for Tales, February 23

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10740/bookers-on-the-rocks-celebration-tour-giveaway

I needed an island read during our cold snap! What are you reading?

My Fall TBR Stack

Fall has arrived and there are so many good books to read. When I share my To Be Read selection, those are the print novels. I also have eBooks that I constantly read.

So, here I go with a Christmas one by multiple authors. A Joyful Christmas contains six historical stories written by Cynthia Hickey, Liz Johnson, Vickie McDonough, Liz Tolsma, Carrie Turansky, and Erica Vetsch.

Speaking of Erica Vetsch, The Lost Lieutenant is next, set in England in 1813. The cover draws me to want to read it as well as the Regency background. Finally, I’m excited about reading Book Three of Jody Hedlund’s Lost Princesses novels—Hereafter. Princesses, kings, and warriors. And of course, love!

Recently I read a book by Rebekah Jones and enjoyed it. I ordered Grandmother’s Letters, a Small Town Mysteries, knowing it will be just as good as the other one. Book Two of Rachel Skatvold’s Ladies of Ardena, Lady Reagan’s Quest, continues the drama of evil kings and princes verses the good souls of the land.

Another Christmas story, Christmas at Whitefriars (novella), by Elizabeth Camden will surely get me in the Christmas spirit in an English Castle in 1912. Coastliners, by a new to me author, Joanne Harris, intrigued me with the heroine leaving Paris for her home on a small island.

Everything I read by Carrie Fancett Pagels is entertaining and inspiring. Her new novel, Dogwood Plantation, places the characters in 1812, Virginia.

Chautona Having is sure to weave an interesting tale (every time) with Allerednic. The subtitle explains it well: A Regency Cinderella Tale…in Reverse.

 

Happy reading. Perhaps you will pick up one of these and join me. Have you read anything by one of these authors?

Review and Giveaway Dual Power of Convenience

Dual Power of Convenience FB Banner

Tour Page on Celebrate Lit

About the Book

Book:  Dual Power of Convenience

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre:  Christian Contemporary Romance

Release Date: July 28, 2020

When Richard Danforth inherits the family estate on Dual Power of Convenience-sm (3)Weathermen Island, he doesn’t have time to deal with it—especially not from halfway across the globe. He’s too busy working to become the world’s newest billionaire and avoiding the women who would detract him from his goals.

Enter Lyla Santana. Fresh out of Oxford University with a degree in antiques and a relationship that nearly killed her to leave, she’s eager for the isolation and treasure trove that is Danforth Hall. Lyla also is determined to avoid men at all costs. Forever.

It was supposed to be a match made on paper. With him halfway across the globe, they’d never have to see each other again.

So, what’s Richard doing on Merriweather just weeks after the wedding? And how will his arrival test Lyla’s faith, not to mention stretch their so-called relationship?

In a twist on billionaire romance and marriage of convenience, this “Merriweather book” kicks off a new series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.

The Independence Island Series: beach reads aren’t just for summer anymore.

 

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

My Review

Chautona Havig has done it again–taken me on a journey to a fictional world where I fall in love with the characters, and where I don’t want the story to end. At least with this fantastic, inspiring series, I know I’ll return to Merriweather Island again soon.

The concept of a paper marriage is bizarre, but once I really think about it, I can see how individuals could exist and even prosper under it. A contract. Boundaries. Convenience. Purpose. But what happens when other things enter in the mix? Things paper boundaries cannot control. Emotions. Dreams. Pressure. Human desires. Shared interests. Plans. Family. Past Struggles. Changes. Age.

God has a plan for humans to share their lives with Him first, then with others. Read Dual Power of Convenience and open your mind to what Lyla and Richard created. What would you do?

About the Author

Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into media-headshot-smimaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her on the web and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.

 

More from Chautona

Did I Really Agree to Write a Romance Series?

When my fledgling little idea for a single book transformed into a series that then transformed into a SERIES, I kind of missed the part where I agreed (and likely suggested, if truth be told), that the books should be contemporary romance.

I mean, beach reads.  Romance.  Duh.

There’s just one problem?  I rarely write a straight-up romance.  And if I do, it’s usually a short novella in a collection—often at Christmas.

Why?

Isn’t it obvious?

Despite nine kids and being married for almost thirty-two years, I am THE most unromantic woman on the planet. No habla amor.  Or something like that.

So there I was, toodling down the 395 (a treacherous bit of road between my house and the publisher’s) when all of what I’d agreed to exploded in my brain.  I’m still scraping brain matter off the windshield and trying to stuff it back in. I need every last one of those “little gray cells,” thank-you-very-much!

Romance.  My heart sank.  Boy meets girl.  They like each other.  They fight.  They get back together.  They live happily ever after.

It’s a thing, folks.  A formula.  And if you deviate, true romance readers get annoyed.  What was I going to do?  I didn’t want to write romance.  Not really. I had ideas.  The prequel book had been all about trying to bring a young woman back to the Lord.  That’s more my speed, okay?

The wheels began churning.

The ones in my head, I mean.  The tires still rolled along the ground. Fortunately, my cranial explosion hadn’t caused an accident or anything.  Just in case you were curious.

I considered making each one loosely related to a fairy tale retelling.  I’d have a Cinderella story, a Beauty and the Beast, a… nope. That made it that far and I just couldn’t.  The minute we got to Sleeping Beauty, I’d have my readers in comas.  No. Thanks.

Next came Rom-com.  We’d make it funny.  All the stuff that happens in beach romances gone wrong.  Why not?  We live once!

I was yawning before the thought finished forming.

Right about then, I think, is when I wondered what kind of tropes I needed to consider.

See, romance tropes are a thing.  I even talk about them on my podcast.  The tingling sensation that comes when a good idea is brewing happened.  A grin formed.

Tropes. I’d play with tropes.  I’d take all those familiar things and twist them somehow.  Why not?  It would be fun.

And it was.

Right about then is probably when I began recording my ideas.  Creosote and sage whizzed past at breakneck speeds (let me dream.  I’m not a speed demon, but c’mon… for the sake of poetic license and all?). And the ideas whizzed faster (no license needed.  They really did).

Book 1.  Marriage of convenience.  I mean, those are always fun, right?  So why on earth would someone need to get married?

Every idea I came up with has been done… and done again.

That’s when I upped the stakes. Authors do that, you know. We come up with a way to torment our characters, and then we say, “Okay, now how can I make this worse?  Nope, I need it even worse.  Oh, and…” Bam!  The story goes from interesting to can’t-put-it-down.  All because we’re not afraid to be cruel to non-existent people. Score!

How’d I do it with this one? I added in another trope. One I personally just can’t “get.”  People love the things, and I’ve got no idea why.  But it answered my first question of why someone might need a marriage of convenience or… as my gal puts it… “a paper marriage.”

My guy became the world’s newest billionaire.

Yep, you read that right. I wrote a “billionaire romance.”  Sort of.  Now, if I could figure out how on earth I’d take two people on opposite sides of the world and get them together.

*insert hands rubbing together in fiendish delight*

Oh, yeah.  I did it.  And even more than that, I love it.  I made my characters do some stupid things. I really did (you know, like how two Christians didn’t even pray about their marriage decision?  Like how they didn’t even ask if the other person was saved?  Why should they?  They’ll never see each other again… they said.  Ha!  The Lord had other ideas.  Sorta.  This is fiction, right?  Oops! I suddenly feel like that crazy Kathy Morningside in Miss Congeniality).

From Adelanto to Kramer Jct., I planned out that first book—Dual Power of Convenience.

(the title gives away that reason for marrying, no?  Also, links may be affiliate links that provide a small commission at no extra expense to you.)

It was almost too easy.

Then I started playing with the next ones, and the series became a reality to me.

– Dual Power of Conveniencewhen a woman too afraid of men goes to work for a man who is too busy making money to want anything to do with that whole marriage and family thing.

– Bookers on the Rocks— This couple’s marriage is on the rocks (that’s the trope, of course), and neither of them has a clue. They’ve been married for twenty-five years, neither is having an affair, no one wants a divorce, life is good, so why is it on the rocks?  You’ll see…

– Directing Hearts— The Crawforths got tricked into allowing a reality matchmaking show film on their islands. Brooks Crawforth tangles with the director until their verbal battles turn into a different kind—a battle for their hearts (enemies to “lovers”)

– Just a Memory— In this one, Mallory Barrows (who makes appearances in all of the books) comes across an old journal that tells a story she’d never heard. It’s the old Patti Paige song “Go On with the Wedding” but over forty years later!  Mallory knows something that might just create a (here comes the trope) second chance at romance.

Printed on Her Heart— After being instrumental in so many couples’ relationships, it’s Mallory’s turn in this dual-trope story.  In this one, we get a mashup of friends to more and love at first sight.  Can’t wait to share it.  Squee!

Okay, that’s the deal.  Yes, I really did agree to write a romance series.

And yes, it probably was my idea.

I might deny it to my dying day, but it is also a whole lot of fun… so far.

Blog Stops

Cultivating us, August 13

Connect in Fiction, August 13

Livin’ Lit, August 13

Read Review Rejoice, August 14

Quiet Workings, August 14

Blossoms and Blessings, August 14

Just Your Average reviews, August 15

Rebekah Reads, August 15

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, August 15

Lis Loves Reading, August 16

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, August 16

Splashes of Joy, August 16

Pause for Tales, August 17

Captive Dreams Window, August 17

Spoken from the Heart, August 17

Lots of Helpers, August 18

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, August 18

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book (winner’s choice of eBook or paperback format)!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/ff14/dual-power-of-convenience-celebration-tour-giveaway

Enter the giveaway above. Leave a comment here too.

Review and Giveaway A Very Austen Romance

a very austen romance FB banner

Tour page on Celebrate Lit

About the Book

Title: A Very Austen Romance

Authors: Robin Helm, Laura Hile, Wendi Sotis, Barbara Cornthwaite, Chautona Havig, Mandy H. Cook

Genre: Historical Romance

Release Date: June, 2020

A Very Austen Romance features a delightful medley of A Very Austen Romance - Ebook finalnovellas, each set in Jane Austen’s Regency world. Your friends from Pride and PrejudiceEmma, and Sense and Sensibility, enjoy new adventures in this lovely collection of stories by Robin Helm, Laura Hile, Wendi Sotis, Barbara Cornthwaite, Mandy Cook, and Chautona Havig.

Be treated to prequels, spin-offs, and sequels of Austen’s novels, along with original and supporting characters in starring roles. If historical romance is your preference, you’ll love these well-crafted stories written by beloved authors in the genre.

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

My Review

I’ve now read all three of these Austen Anthologies! Honestly, I could read ten of them and then start over. I enjoy reading six short novels with six different takes on Austen characters. Sometimes I’m laughing at the wit and antics of the characters performing at the author’s whim. Yet again, I cry at the true losses and challenges of being a woman in the 1800s.

Old favorites are back such as Elizabeth and Darcy. How much trouble they continue to find! I love Margaret Dashwood all grown up. I’m so glad Kitty Bennett has her own tale. I thought she’d never grow up. The imaginations of these authors continue to surprise and entertain me.

Thank you, ladies, for your expertise in the Austen arena. With these new twists on the Austen classics, our favorite characters will never die.

 

About the Authors

Robin Helm‘s books reflect her love of music, as well as her fascination with the paranormal and science fiction.

Previously published works include The Guardian Trilogy: Guardian, SoulFire, and Legacy; the Yours by Design series: Accidentally YoursSincerely Yours, and Forever YoursUnderstanding Elizabeth;  More to Love; and Lawfully Innocent. Ms. Helm also contributed stories to A Very Austen Christmas and A Very Austen Valentine.

She plans to publish Maestro in 2020.

Her life in (usually) sunny, small town South Carolina is busy, but affords time for writing, reading, teaching piano, and playing games on her phone. (Would you believe she’s an elder in a war game?)

 

Readers are loving Laura Hile‘s joyous Regency novels. Her signature style—with intertwined plots, cliffhangers, laugh-out-loud humor, and romance—keeps them coming back for more.

The comedy Laura comes by as a teacher. There’s never a dull moment with teen students!

Laura lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and a collection of antique clocks.

Her fiction is for everyone, even teens.

 

Wendi Sotis lives on Long Island, NY, with her husband and triplets. While searching for Pride and Prejudice from Darcy’s point of view, she became thoroughly enamored with Jane Austen Fan Fiction or JAFF. In early 2010, she dreamed of an idea for a story and hasn’t stopped writing since: PromisesDreams and ExpectationsAll Hallows EveThe Keys for LoveSafekeeping (with just a dash of Austen); The Gypsy BlessingFoundation of Love (The Gypsy Blessing 2); and A Lesson Hard Learned.

The Marriage Pact, and some of Wendi’s works-in-progress, have branched away from JAFF to Regency Romance (the Loving an Aldridge Series) and Contemporary Romantic Mysteries (the Implicated series). Wendi will also continue bringing Darcy and Elizabeth together again and again in an unusual manner.

 

Barbara Cornthwaite lives in the middle of Ireland with her husband and children. She taught college English before “retiring” to do something she loves far more; her days are now filled with homeschooling her six children, trying to keep the house tidy (a losing battle), and trying to stay warm in the damp Irish climate (also a losing battle). She is surrounded by medieval castles, picturesque flocks of sheep, and ancient stone monuments. These things are unappreciated by her children, who are more impressed by traffic jams, skyscrapers, and hot weather.

 Mandy Cook was an RN for over ten years, half of which she served in the Navy, living in far-flung places, enjoying experiencing the world while following her calling. Just before she and her handsome Marine were both deployed to different places, they married. They now have three children, ages five and younger.

She previously published The Gifted, using her nursing experience to lend accuracy to her story about an ER nurse who is handed a gift that changes her life forever. Adversity, and a long history of secrets, constantly battle against her natural instinct for truth and justice, but will the truth be worth the dare?

Mandy also contributed a story to A Very Austen Valentine: Austen Anthologies, Book 1.

 

Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her on the web and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.

 

 

Giveaway

To celebrate their tour, the A Very Austen authors are giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/f5be/a-very-austen-romance-celebration-tour-giveaway

Please comment here about what you think about this anthology.

“H” Happies

IMG_6192My library is still an amazing place. At times, I just run my fingers along the covers, remembering the happy times with the books and authors. This week I’m sharing my “H” shelf with you. Please compare and tell me your favorite “H” authors.

Kristin Hannah presents the great challenge of relationships during a very difficult time in WWII in The Nightingale. I always learn so much from her novels.  Rachel Hauck earns a place on the shelf with How to Catch a Prince. Who doesn’t like a royal story?

Christmas on Breakers Point by Chautona Havig introduces a fun, entertaining multi-author series. I always learn new vocabulary and facts in Havig’s work. Jody Hedlund’s Newton and Polly is an inspiring novel of amazing grace. The novels I’m reading now by Hedlund are about princesses.

Anyone for mystery and suspense? Kristen Heitzmann never fails to add a bit of intrigue and The Still of Night is no exception. Robin Helm weaves a lovely tale of Elizabeth and Darcy in More to Love. I devour any of her Austen retellings.

Ah, then there is Ernest Hemingway’s The Complete Short Stories. My MA is in English, so he definitely has a place in my library. Liz Curtis Higgs’ Whence Came a Prince takes an Old Testament beloved story and sets a rendition of it in 1790 Scotland. I’ve read all her books!

A long time ago, I was introduced to Christian fiction with books like Three From Galilee by Marjorie Holmes. To me, she was a pioneer in this genre. Another author, Angela Elwell Hunt, takes Old Testament characters on an extended journey with her imagination in Brothers. The Biblical characters come to life.

IMG_6206I’ve followed Kristi Ann Hunter since her debut. The Haven Manor Book 1, A Defense of Honor, is a tribute to her ability to offer hope to the hopeless.

Please tell me if you have additional “H” authors or if one of your favorites is here. 

Review and Giveaway–Oh, Gracious!

oh, gracious banner

Tour page on Celebrate Lit

About the Book

Book:  Oh, Gracious!

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre:  Christian fiction, contemporary Romance, woman’s fiction

Release Date: March 31, 2020

Life is too short to settle for just anyone.
Grace gave her whole heart to Jesus, but now he wants a part of it.

All she ever wanted was to be a homemaker.

Sure, she has a degree in physics.  Yes, she could have a lucrative job in Rockland, but Grace Buscher enjoys her life as a single homemaker. As they say, it’s her choice.

As a successful business owner, a handsome guy, and heir to a small fortune, it’s no wonder Nolan Burke is one of Rockland’s most eligible bachelors. The problem is, he hasn’t met anyone who isn’t looking for a “trophy husband.”

Don’t family-centered women exist anymore?

Grace isn’t exactly eye candy. Nolan is a bit blind. So when an “accidental meeting” forges an unlikely friendship, it becomes obvious to everyone that it’s likely to become more.

But is Grace ready to give up the life she loves for the man she loves?

Find out in this completely updated, revised, and improved version of Chautona Havig’s first novel, Noble Pursuits.

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

Each one of Chautona’s books challenges me to look inward at my life and choices. I loved investing in the lives of Nolan and Grace in this one. Even though Grace has many characteristics different from me, I admire her gumption and goals. My personally could not risk so much for life choices, at least not the same choices. Grace is so unique with the way she reacts to situations. She challenges me to consider a simpler lifestyle and what it would take to achieve it. It reminds me of our world today with the stay at home mandate. Simple life and simple choices. Grace would fit right in with few changes.

Nolan loves “her quirky little ways”—his words, not mine. A person’s value needs to be seen through the eyes of Jesus not the world. Nolan seeks to follow his list for a perfect wife and finds someone the world would not have picked for him. It reminds me that God made us each so different with our quirks, flaws, talents. He never wanted us to be cookie cutter copies of each other. Size, color, height, wealth, education—each makes an individual unique.

As I read more from this author, I admire how she can present a subject—homemaker, poverty, homeschooling—and have others not criticize or demean the personal choices. It’s important to accept those choices in others.

Have fun with this one! I did.

About the Author

Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into Havig_Chautona (1)imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her at chautona.com and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.

 

More from Chautona

Wow, My Beloved First Book Was a Hot Mess

On my blog, I sometimes answer readers’ questions, and one of the earliest ones was, “Since you zip out your books so fast, do you ever later wish you had done something differently with them?”

My answer today is the same as back then—usually.  No.  Yes, I sometimes regret not being able to tell a supporting character’s story because the book has given away that person’s past and/or future.  Still, most of the time, I tell the story as I want it.

But in that post about “regrets,” I said that as I learn, I definitely wish to improve sentences here, and others there.  I did this already with Argosy Junction, the second book that I published. The first two or three books were experiments where I made many serious mistakes.  Took bad advice. Didn’t know the right things to research. All the mistake-ness.

Total transparency here. I chose Argosy Junction to revise first because I made fewer mistakes on it.  Still lots, but not as many as my first book, Noble Pursuits.

Bad editing advice, horrible cover design (twice), and just basic writing craft stuff that I didn’t know when I started this whole journey all culminated in a book I both loved (the story) and hated (the final result). Many reviewers said the same thing, too.  That poor book has the worst reviews of all of my books combined.

And for good reason.

But it’s a good story—one I love, as I said—and it has some strong fans.  Some readers were able to look past the problems and see the heart of what I tried to do with it.  And that was a beautiful thing.  Those readers, actually, are the ones I’ve rewritten this book for.

Yes, I rewrote Noble Pursuits. While every sentence isn’t completely rewritten, enough are that I considered it a new book, not just a revised one.

A few readers have panicked to see the title changed, the story rewritten. They’ve asked if I took out this or even that.  I took out and added nothing that 99.9% of readers would ever notice. And it’s a better book for it.

am updating the original Noble Pursuits file with the new text.  I’m doing this in hopes that those who already own that book can go into their digital content on Amazon and get the updated version.  I don’t know if it will work, but I pray it does.

Meanwhile, for those who’ve asked why they can’t buy the first book on my Suggested Reading Order list,  well… now you can!

Oh, Gracious! has been a long time coming, but she’s here with a new title, rewritten content, and even a lovely new cover by the brilliantly talented Perry Elizabeth. It took what seems like forever to settle on a title, but we finally did. Why we chose Oh, Gracious! however, is a story for another day.

Blog Stops

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 1

The Collaborative Press, May 1

Connect in Fiction, May 2

Spoken from the Heart, May 2

Read Review Rejoice, May 2

She Lives To Read, May 3

Books I’ve Read, May 3

Emily Yager, May 4

Captive Dreams Window, May 4

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, May 5

Back Porch Reads, May 5

Lots of Helpers, May 6

As He Leads is Joy, May 6

Artistic Nobody, May 7 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Pause for Tales, May 7

Giveaway

 

To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away the grand prize package of one paperback copy of each of the 3 fully revised novels: Oh, Gracious, Argosy Junction, and Thirty Days Hath…!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/f8f7/oh-gracious-celebration-tour-giveaway

What do you think of the book so far?