Category: Small Towne USA

Author Interview | Speaking with Lauraine Henderson on behalf of her novel “Building A Life”

Posted Friday, 20 July, 2018 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts, I have a special post for you today!

As you might have noticed, I’ve been reading offline a bit more this month than in the past – this is because I’ve been re-building my stamina to read print books, whilst happily off-setting my time spent in print with #AudioReads as a way to continue to offset my chronic migraines which truly affected my health and well being this past Spring [2018]. As a result, this July – my posts have been on the leaner side, whilst I’ve continued to micro-blog my reading adventures via my feeds on Twitter!

I previously disclosed I am participating in an INSPY self-directed reading challenge this month, where I have had the pleasure of JOY following in my Mum’s footsteps whilst we both are nearly tag-teaming our readings of the #LoveINSPIRED Suspense series! The authors I’ve read thus far and feel are wicked good for stirring my heart with their suspenseful pen are Laura Scott & Lenora Worth! Next in line is Elizabeth Goddard, as I’ve heard so many lovely things about her series from Mum, she makes you itch to get inside them yourself!

As I was pulling together which blog tours I wanted to join this Summer, I saw this INSPY novel was going on tour – I decided to switch things up a bit – hosting an interview & a behind-the-scenes insight post to compliment the convo!

I’ve been a hybrid reader of both mainstream & INSPY Lit my entire life, as I find literature rather remarkable for how brilliantly diverse the stories are to be found to cross our readerly path! INSPY Contemporary is definitely the one I am eager to discover even though the Historicals will always have a sweet spot in my soul as I’m a girl wicked addicted to reading Historical Romances and Historical Fiction narratives! (as well you all know – if you’ve spent time here on Jorie Loves A Story!)

I hope you will enjoy your visit today – learning more about the writer’s (Ms Henderson’s) writing process, a few insights into her story (‘Building A Life’) and perhaps, you’ll pick up a new read you hadn’t found previously! I appreciate your visitations and I appreciate your patience as I re-strengthen my health – I’ll be blogging a bit more regularly soon, as with each story I’ve been reading or listening, I’ve found my way ‘back’ into the niche of stories I love most to read! I feel thankful I could take the time to heal & find a new rhythm of reading which works best for me.

May your #SummerReads be as thrilling as mine have been!

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Author Interview | Speaking with Lauraine Henderson on behalf of her novel “Building A Life”Building A Life
by Lauraine Henderson

Sara Castleton resolved to make better choices now that there was a new life growing inside her. When her husband, Peter, plowed through that stop sign and left this world, he left a mess behind. Picking up the pieces of her shattered life and finishing the house Peter started could be the answer to her future, but she needed help.

When Nicholas Bradford was asked to step into Sara’s unfinished house project, he reluctantly agreed. He didn’t always see eye-to-eye with Peter’s friends and business associates, but one look at his pregnant widow and Nick couldn’t say no.

Before they know it, they aren’t just building a house, they’re Building a Life.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-0998310817

Genres: Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Women's Fiction


on 19th April, 2018

Pages: 234

Published By: Books You Can Trust Publishing (@BOOKSYOUTRUST)

10 Behind the Scenes Facts about the Book

1. My husband, a builder by trade, built two houses for us during the writing and revision process of this book. To make sure I had the facts right, I would sometimes stop him in the middle of working on our house to clarify details.

2. Nick’s two soccer goals in the book were taken directly from my son’s high school soccer experience as a center forward. Nick’s love of the game beyond high school and college stemmed from my husband’s experience playing on a city league when we were dating.

3. Nick’s neglected drafting table in his home office was a salute to my late father-in-law who was a professional draftsman before the days of computer aided drafting programs.

4. Brenda’s house that screamed with bright light was originally supposed to be a house that was immersed in darkness. I had stayed with some friends who lived with the drapes drawn, the blinds closed, and the TV room dark like a theater and found it terribly oppressing. I thought it played well into her dark nature, but I was afraid this friend would see themselves in the book if they read it and changed it to the opposite. I felt it still worked well, showing Brenda as a woman who lived in fear of the dark instead of embracing it.

5. Nick getting beat up was a complete surprise until the day I wrote the scene. In my notes and outline, there was no mention of Nick being attacked. When the story headed that direction, I followed along, interested in seeing where it would go. I was impressed by how well it fit into the story.

6. I didn’t dwell on the many opportunities for complications during the birth of Sara’s baby, but the part where she held Nick’s hand and squeezed it so hard she almost broke his fingers happened for real during the birth of my second child. It was my first natural delivery and my husband shook out his hand and offered two fingers for me to squeeze instead so I would hurt him. It’s amazing how much strength a woman delivering a baby has!

7. Nick and Josh’s experience with the welcoming attitude of people in the LDS church when they were investigating various churches was much like every ward I’ve ever visited or moved into. I wanted to show the openness that the church demonstrates to people who are new.

8. When Sara described Nick’s maneuvering in the trusses as a slow dance, it was exactly how I feel watching my husband when he sets trusses on a house. When the crane operator knows what they’re doing, it can be as smooth as I made it sound and just as riveting.

9. The name of Peter’s friend, Mitch, was just a name when I started writing the book. During the course of revision, I met someone named Mitch who turned out to be the boyfriend of the daughter of people who were living with us. (another story). While I was describing the storyline to the mom of the daughter (to pass the time while we painted the house), Mitch (the boyfriend) joined us. I immediately apologized for the name and explained that the Mitch in the story wasn’t a good guy. He reassured me it was okay and kind of liked the idea that his namesake was the bad guy.

10. Nick’s smile is a direct correlation to Josh Turner’s smile on the cover of his album Haywire. It’s a breathtaking sight to behold and truly swoon-worthy! (Or you can watch the video of Josh’s song Firecracker for more of that Hollywood smile.)

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Posted Friday, 20 July, 2018 by jorielov in 21st Century, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Contemporary Romance, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Modern Day, Romance Fiction, Singing Librarian Book Tours, Small Towne USA, Sweet Romance, Women's Fiction

Blog Book Tour | “The Last Summer” by Brandy Bruce A Contemporary Realistic INSPY story which takes you through the emotional tides of finding yourself and your faith in the darker days of your life.

Posted Monday, 16 July, 2018 by jorielov , , 2 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I have been hosting blog tours with Cedar Fort Publishing and Media for several years now, wherein their new blog tour publicist (Ms Sydney Anderson) also runs her own publicity touring company: Singing Librarian Book Tours (or SLB Tours for short!). I happily joined her team of book bloggers as a hostess in late Spring, 2018 wherein my first tours with her as a hostess begin Summer, 2018. I appreciate reading INSPY literature and was happy to find these are most of the stories she is showcasing through SLB Tours! Most of her authors are published through Cedar Fort, though she does work with authors who are either Self-Published or Indie published through different publishers as well.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Last Summer” direct from the author Brandy Bruce in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why ‘The Last Summer’ appealed to me to read this Summer:

I’ve been keenly interested in seeking out more Contemporary INSPY novelists, especially since I realised how much I appreciate reading the collective works of Brenda S. Anderson and Kellie Coates Gilbert – it would be nice to keep expanding my list of #mustread INSPY novelists who have a passion for writing the kinds of stories I am most interested in seeking out to read! This is how I came to find The Last Summer – as it was one of the last novels going on tour before SLB Tours took their hiatus ahead of the Autumn.

As I was reading about the premise, something ‘clicked’ and it seemed like the kind of novel you’d want to read in the height of Summer! Not to mention the fact, since it’s Southern Contemporary Lit, I could appreciate it a bit more as this is one of my niche of preferred interest when it comes to where a Contemporary story can be set! From the Carolinas to Texas, I am definitely a girl who appreciates the Southern hemisphere in Contemporary stories! It started with Sheryl Woods and grew from there – as the Sweet Magnolias were quite the close-knit bunch themselves!

I appreciate finding stories about how friends live their lives together – similar to why I appreciated the long-running tv serial: Friends which was an institution whilst I was in high school! The irony of course is I’m now the age of most of the ‘friends’ on that series as I’m about to exit my thirties and exchange them for my forties! Who knew!?

Today’s INSPY market is full of changes – new publishers are focusing on giving authors more chances to tell their stories and the writers themselves are giving all of us more to chew on than what traditionally we might find in an INSPY novel, too! I find it a wicked good time to be reading as an INSPY reader, as you get a hearty array of realistic story-lines from strong voices who are curating a new wave of where INSPY can take us all. This is partially why I was excited about participating in the #SummerReading challenge for July, as it helped me re-align my intentions of reading more INSPY stories!

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Blog Book Tour | “The Last Summer” by Brandy Bruce A Contemporary Realistic INSPY story which takes you through the emotional tides of finding yourself and your faith in the darker days of your life.The Last Summer
by Brandy Bruce
Source: Direct from Author via SLB Tours

For twenty-something Sara Witherspoon and her group of friends, a perfect Southern summer includes lake-house getaways wedding planning, outdoor concerts, and a dash of romance. But for these seven friends who love each other like family, this year, summer rolls in with changes for everyone.

Sara's longtime crush, Luke, has been her best friend for as long as she has been a part of the group. When Luke begins seriously dating another of their friends, Sara's forced to deal with her hurt and jealousy, while outwardly try to support them both.

While Sara comes to terms with her own heart and her friends' relationships, an unexpected handsome pilot from North Carolina and an old flame are thrown into the mix. Knowing her heart suddenly becomes much more complicated.

But as time unfolds and friendships begin to unravel, Sara and the others are presented with the reality of what a season of change does to old friendships and new love interests.

Does growing older mean growing apart?

The Last Summer by Brandy Bruce,
published by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.
Used by permission.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781946016195

Also by this author: Cover Reveal: After the Rain, After the Rain

Also in this series: After the Rain


Genres: Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Southern Lit, Women's Fiction


Published by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas

on 7th June, 2017

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 234

Published By: Bling Romance
an imprint of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas (@LPCTweets)

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

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About Brandy Bruce

Brandy Bruce

Brandy Bruce is a mom, a wife, a book editor, an author, and someone who really loves dessert. She’s the author of the award-winning novel The Last Summer, Looks Like Love, and The Romano Family Collection. Brandy, her husband, and their children make their home in Colorado.

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Posted Monday, 16 July, 2018 by jorielov in 21st Century, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Coming-Of Age, Contemporary Romance, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction | Non-Fiction, Life Shift, Modern Day, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, Singing Librarian Book Tours, Singletons & Commitment, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA, Star-Crossed Lovers, Sweet Romance, Texas, Women's Fiction

Author Interview | Discussing the world within the Voyages of Jake Flynn series with R.J. Wood

Posted Sunday, 24 June, 2018 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

Conversations with the Bookish badge created by Jorie in Canva

Good morning, dear hearts! Today, I have a special treat for you, as I had the chance to interview the author of a new Upper Middle Grade / Young Adult Fantasy series wherein I get to re-visit the concept of Space Pirates and flying ships once more! As you might recall, I happened to love the pirates I found on the Rim, in the audiobook ‘Rimrider’ whilst when it comes to flying ships in space, outside of The Clan Chronicles – there have been quite a few recently which have tempted me into their chapters! I love how we can bend what is plausible in Speculative Lit and take ordinary ships which were meant for the waters of Earth and re-position them into orbit where they find a new way of being useful as transportation in the Cosmos!

Ahead of the conversation, I have with Mr Wood, is an extract from the latest installment of the series ‘Beyond the Moon’, which touches on part of the background of the series wherein the origins of Jake Flynn and his parents but also, the legacy he has within him as he’s given a talent few can claim as their own. This is part of what is extraordinary about the series, as his particular gift is what helps ignite the ships themselves to be able to fly as you will learn more in my interview! For now, enjoy this extract!

Extract from ‘Beyond the Moon’ by R.J. Wood

the second novel in the Voyages of Jake Flynn; used with permission of the author

“Tychus was the last known of his people,” Jayron said. “He disappeared a dozen years ago after the Ithirian fleet perished. The rest of his people were killed or worse by your people on Celestra.” Starla made no visible reaction.

“It seems Tychus and his wife survived, went to Earth, and had a son there,” she said. “Furthermore, I am sure you are aware of the rift amongst my people; the rebellion between those who did not support the actions taken against the humans and those who did. Otto and I are among the first.”

“This is all preposterous,” Daegus said. “How can we believe anything a Celestrian has to say?” With that, the councilors began to argue the possibilities amongst themselves. Their voices rose quickly and in intensity, all except for Kilian. The old one sat there and quietly stared at Jake with an expression of curiosity. Finally, he sat up and spoke something that was drowned out by the others. He tried to repeat himself louder, but still he could not be heard over the discord. At last, he reached over Richard, grabbed a black iron mallet on the table, and slapped it down hard several times until the room grew quiet.

“I said, CAN HE CHANNEL?” The old man finished and began to pant.

Jake stepped forward and held up his hands. A moment later the glow of his aura filled the room. The humans all stared at him and one of them caught their breath. Kilian then spoke in whispered tones as if reciting a poem,

“Born and raised on distant star.
Searcher bound both near and far…”

He trailed off, but Starla picked it up and continued.

“What he seeks he does not know,
until he lets his family grow.

Against the tide he must stride.
A mighty ship he will ride.
Guided true by faithful hands
chasing dreams to far-off lands,

Through the torrents to the core,
where ancient evil stirs once more.
To keep a dark queen at bay,
A gift of love must win the day.

Single light in starless night,
burning hot and shining bright.
Time will come when he must stand.
The fate of all held in his hand.”

When she finished all eyes were upon Jake and there was silence.
“Yes,” Starla said after a pause, “he is the one this prophesy speaks of. Jake is the Justicar and he needs your help.”

I was thankful Mr Wood went into quite a few details surrounding both the light energy and the propulsion of the ships but also, gave a bit of a hinting towards the heart of the series itself as it revolves through Jake Flynn! I almost wish some of this back-story had been included in the first novel ‘Destiny’s Gambit’ as I found how the author describe his world in this conversation would have benefited the story. As you truly get a firm understanding of what he is attempting to achieve in the series (in regards to scope) but also, it gives you a keen insight which I think would have tempered the confusion I had initially trying to sort out the world-building.

This is a very imaginative series and one which I think would interest all readers, irregardless of age, due the cross-components of where elemental magic, old world ships and adventurous Quests intersect to give us something to chew on about personal destiny, chosen families and the will to seek answers for questions which tug at our souls. I look forward to reading your thoughts in the threads below this conversation and I hope you find it as wicked lovely as I did in receiving the author’s responses!

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The voyages of Jake Flynn series:

Destiny's Gambit by R.J. WoodBeyond the Moon by R.J. Wood

Destiny’s Gambit | book one | see also Review

Beyond the Moon | Book Two | synopsis

I do enjoy a wicked good transmorphication – there is a cheeky good one in Destiny’s Gambit, which takes place during a rescue attempt aboard a pirate ship! What impressed me the most is how honest it was to happen – as this was a stirring of the back-story on behalf of Jake and his parents, or rather even, his ‘kind’. There is an old order of magic in this realm which can be channelled and re-directed at will, which makes it wicked awesome! I also liked how most of the magic involves light energy and the transference of this energy in order for things to work.

There is also elemental magic present which makes for interesting scenes but what truly captured me was the teamwork and evolving partnership between Jake, Starla, Otto and Jehn. They were forging a new path together, seeking to get away from their mutual enemies and sorting out the details of their personal discoveries of each other along the way. As most of this story takes place aboard ship, I was awaiting the conflict to begin – where two ships or more would be pitted against each other. When the time finally came, I found the battle was stalled a bit too easily but further what interested me is how there are portals which act as hyperspace jaunts for the ships – where you can literally move yourself through this part of the universe in a faster way than normal space.

I truly loved the symbolism and the analogies threading through Destiny’s Gambit as well as the spirituality which was hugged softly into the background. There are a lot of life affirming lessons being shared through the adventures of Jake Flynn – including how to handle fear, uncertainty, ambiguous loss (of his parents) and to grow out of the courage you never knew you had within you. It’s a story about a boy coming of age after finding out everything he thought he know about himself and his origins was only part of the true story. Once he was in-flight away from Earth, it wasn’t just his origins which were calling him home but it was his truer nature and the destiny which was awaiting for his arrival to become revealled.

-quoted from my review of Destiny’s Gambit

Genres: Sci-Fantasy | Steampunk | Space Pirates

Young Adult | Magic | Adventure

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Posted Sunday, 24 June, 2018 by jorielov in Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Family Life, Fantasy Fiction, Indie Author, Literature for Boys, Lola's Blog Tours, Nautical Fiction, Science Fantasy, Self-Published Author, Small Towne USA, Urban Fantasy, Washington, West Coast USA, YA Fantasy