Prejudice Meets Pride book release

Prejudice Meets Pride
Prejudice Meets Pride by Rachael Anderson
After years of pinching pennies and struggling to get through art school, Emma Makie’s hard work finally pays off with the offer of a dream job. But when tragedy strikes, she has no choice but to make a cross-country move to Colorado Springs to take temporary custody of her two nieces. She has no money, no job prospects, and no idea how to be a mother to two little girls, but she isn’t about to let that stop her. Nor is she about to accept the help of Kevin Grantham, her handsome new neighbor, who seems to think she’s incapable of doing anything on her own.
Fun, compelling, and romantic, Prejudice Meets Pride is the story of a guy who thinks he has it all figured out and a girl who isn’t afraid to show him that he doesn’t. It’s about learning what it means to trust, figuring out how to give and to take, and realizing that not everyone gets to pick the person they fall in love with. Sometimes, love picks them.

RachaelAuthor Rachael Anderson
USA Today bestselling author Rachael Anderson is the mother of four and is pretty good at breaking up fights, or at least sending guilty parties to their rooms. She can’t sing, doesn’t dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating.
$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway
Open Internationally
Ends 3/31/14
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Inspired Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

April's North Texas Romance Writers of America President's Letter

Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.
I'm going to tell you an ugly story about myself.

In my childhood it was a common occurrence to have strange kids show up in our backyard. My dad had refurbished our garage into a beautiful Chiropractic clinic, which meant that the kids of his patients could go out back to play while their parents were getting their spines cracked.

When I was around 13, my friends and I went out back to jump on the trampoline. There were these girls around our age just sitting there, staring blankly, not talking.

We tried to talk to them but they wouldn't say a word.

Here's the ugly part. Since they wouldn't talk to us, and well, were beyond weird, we started making fun of them, saying things like "why you so sad?" in baby voices. We were brats. The 3 girls never responded.

When we went inside, my mom stopped us at the door and began telling us how those poor girls just an hour before had been bike riding and saw their friend hit and dragged behind a car, instantly killed.

I've never felt more worthless than I did at that moment.

It's been close to four decades but I still remember that sharp lurch of shame. It taught me two things:

First, I never wanted to be responsible for hurting anyone like that again.
Second, I don't know a damn thing about what is going on inside another person.

Fast forward. The day I first walked into La Hacienda Ranch where the North Texas Romance Writers of America group meets, I had a chronically ill child, mounting medical bills, stupid job I hated, overwhelmed husband, and I just wanted a place I could leave that behind for a few hours. I didn't share anything about my personal life with anyone. I just wanted to be treated like a normal person.

I tell you this because you never never know what that writer smiling and sitting next to you is dealing with. Some of us will tell anybody who wants to listen. Others, like myself, keep it quiet. At North Texas, we have members dealing with divorce, with ailing parents, ailing spouses, health, emotional, or mental issues at home, cancer scares and cancer realities. We have members worried about their children, worried about finances, struggling with inadequacies when everyone around them seems successful.

We have members who have lost their spark for writing and want it back. We have members who are so hopeful their faces shine with it. We have members who have been rejected, rejected, rejected and manage to climb back up that hill.

We have members that for them our meetings are their only few hours a month where they get to feel like a normal person.

I am so inspired and impressed by you. At your sincere willingness to encourage each other. To support each other. You're truly happy for each other's successes and sad when things don't go a writer's way. I love that about North Texas. This group has unknowingly gotten me through some of the worst times of my life. I'm proud to call you friends. Keep it up for each other. Continue to be supportive and encouraging.

Let us always be hopeful and helpful.
May we continue to be kind to each other.
And when we fail in that, because we sometimes will, being human and all that, cultivate forgiveness and allow us a chance to do better. Because like I said, we don't know what is going on inside another person or what they are struggling with.

I love you guys, truly, and am honored to be counted among you.

Love a good ghost story: Hawthorne

Hawthorne cover photoHawthorne by Sarah Ballance
After a terrifying encounter with the unexplained, it takes ten years and the news of her grandmother’s passing for Emma Grace Hawthorne to return to her childhood home. She seeks peace in saying a proper goodbye, but what she finds is an old love, a sordid family history, and a wrong only she can right.
Living in the shadow of Hawthorne Manor, Noah Garrett has never forgotten about Emma Grace. In a house full of secrets, his search for missing documents reveals a truth that can cost him everything. What he finds gave Emma the freedom to walk away from the mansion, her heart free and clear, but at what price to Noah?

Praise for Hawthorne
“This is a marvelous ghost story. The mystery, the suspense, the eeriness – all collaborate to weave a spell-binding tale . . . The story seamlessly flows to a shocking ending that is utterly brilliant.” — Coffee Time Romance
“When I finished it, honestly, all I could do was sit there – a little awestruck.” — Kick Back & Review
Hawthorne will be FREE on Amazon from April 10th to 14th 
Excerpt from Hawthorne
Noah closed in on the convertible, giving the nearby grounds a cursory look. The lawn was meticulous, the beds overflowing with sprays of purple garden phlox which trailed around the bend in the road and disappeared. A riot of white and rust-red irises backed the smaller purple flowers, their leaves deep green and glossy. Overhead, Spanish moss swayed only occasionally atop a maze of live oak, more likely a result of a passing swarm of insects than an actual air current. The land was still. If there were tourists snapping photos of the historic plantation — or doing anything else — he didn’t see them. But someone had been there. The car was certainly real, even if that too-familiar scream had been a figment of his imagination.
Wasn’t it always?
Resigned to another night alone with his memories, Noah pivoted.
And found himself nose to nose with Emma Grace.
Astounded, he opened his mouth, then closed it. He wanted to reach for her, but his arms refused the notion; they hung uselessly by his sides, the effort futile. His mouth wasn’t much on cooperation, either. Finally, he found his tongue. “Em—”
Her expression cut him off. Green eyes wide, skin pale, her small frame shaking, she spoke. “I saw her, Noah. She’s back.” The words, nearly soundless, seemed to catch in the thick air. Lingering. Threatening.
And ripping the heart from his chest.
sarah ballance
Author Sarah Ballance
Sarah and her husband of what he calls “many long, long years” live on the mid-Atlantic coast with their six young children, all of whom are perfectly adorable when they’re asleep. She never dreamed of becoming an author, but as a homeschooling mom, she often jokes she writes fiction because if she wants anyone to listen to her, she has to make them up. (As it turns out, her characters aren’t much better than the kids). When not buried under piles of laundry, she may be found adrift in the Atlantic (preferably on a boat) or seeking that ever-elusive perfect writing spot where not even the kids can find her.
She loves creating unforgettable stories while putting her characters through an unkind amount of torture—a hobby that has nothing to do with living with six children. (Really.) Though she adores nail-biting mystery and edge-of-your-seat thrillers, Sarah writes in many genres including contemporary and ghostly paranormal romance. Her ever-growing roster of releases may be found at
BookBlast Giveaway  $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 4/30/14
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Death Hovers Close this Week

Mary Autrey and my boysIt's been one of those weeks, well two weeks really, that Death has been a constant presence and in my mind.

It began with my mother-in-law softly slipping away at age 85. She had been suffering from dementia,
sometimes unable to remember where she was or even how old she was without a reminder. She had been a vibrant intelligent force to be reckoned with so slipping into dementia was difficult on my husband and his siblings. She's been in California for the last five years and when my husband saw her last a little over a year ago, he said he knew then it would be the final time he saw his mother.

Then on one of my writer loops we heard about how a fellow author's sixteen-year-old son was killed in a car accident on his way to school. My heart wrenches. I can't begin to imagine watching my child walk out the door and in what had to be less than fifteen minutes later, being gone. There aren't even any words for that kind of emotion.And fear. It's too sudden, it's just too sudden. And he's so young. I don't personally know this writer, but gosh, I sorrow and grieve with her.

The romance writing community is a tight compassionate group so a memorial fund has already been set up for their family's behalf. However it is already closed. I am inserting links to her books in case anyone would like to contribute in that way by simply buying one of her books. And since most child riders on life insurance policies top off at $10k yet the average burial costs are around $20k at the low end, believe me I know, extra book sales help. Jackie Barbosa on Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Also this week I learned that my dear friend Steve "Peach" Wahlquist lost his wife to cancer.  I've actually never met her either, but knowing the kind of man Peach is and the way he speaks about her, she was someone amazing.

Yesterday we received word that the four-year-old daughter of a sweet family at our church was home from Cooks Childrens Medical Center with hospice care as her lungs are failing and will live only a few more days. I was assigned to be this mother's visiting teacher a couple of years ago. In our church, we're assigned to go visit each other and make sure everyone is taken care of, whether they need help help or just someone to talk to. It's a way of everybody taking care of each other. Anyway, she was assigned to me and my friend Laurie and I have to tell you I was scared the first time we went to her home. I knew she had a terminally ill child and after losing my own child I didn't think I was emotionally stable enough to be any kind of help to her. I imagined myself losing it and just blubbering and being zero help or strength for her at all. I've never prayed so hard before a visit in my life.

Miraculously I didn't break down. I'm not sure I was any help to her either any time we visited. Mostly we gave her a place to talk. I actually was kind of quiet, observing who she is and her strength in dealing with what she has to deal with in keeping her child alive, literally, on a daily basis. I remember being that way, having the strength and fortitude to just keep going even when you're beyond exhausted because there wasn't anything else to do. But from the other side of it, I also knew where this was going, how everything will change. Right now they are waiting for their precious girl to die. Cataloging every breath, the soft feel of her skin and hair, the way she smells as though they'll be able to hold onto those senses forever. Everything's surreal yet strikingly sharp and clear at the same time.

I'm not the same person I was before Chase's death. I'm not strong anymore, not like I had to be before. To be honest, it caught me off-guard how even the strength of my faith changed and the emotional ability to deal with the tiniest things is different. I don't know how my friend will be. I know everyone grieves differently, but I do know that she won't be the same as she is now.   It's hard thinking about what their family is going through today and not being able to do anything for them until afterwards. Our entire church community is waiting and grieving with them, feeling a bit helpless when we so badly want to help.

Kyle and Chase Autrey at the Dallas LDS Temple
And while death is so close this week, my thoughts were also turned toward my own children. In our faith, going to the temple and receiving instruction and sealing families together for all time and eternity is important to us. Before a young man or woman goes on a mission, they go to the temple for the first time and receive what we call an endowment, a gift from God so to speak. We also do these things by proxy for our dead. I'm not going to go into all of what that means to us here, but here's a link that shows pictures of inside our temples and a little bit more about it.

We waited until Kyle went to the temple to also go through for Chase on the same day. Again, I wasn't sure I was emotionally ready to handle it even after 3 years. If he had lived, Chase would be 18 and  ready to go on his own mission and go to the temple for himself. It's fitting that my boys went to the temple together, even if Chase was only there in spirit. My husband stood in as a proxy for Chase which was also right.

My heart sorrows today. All these deaths are so different. Some were old and suffering, some young and suffering, and Jackie's son so unexpected. If I've learned anything it is that grief and mourning and hurt and how someone deals with it, isn't something that can be compared or even judged with how it it dealt with. You simply hurt with the person going through it and comfort whoever stands in the most need of comfort at the moment you are there with them. That's all we can do really.