Gail's Book Nook

Friday, September 30, 2016

Looking Out the Window: Texas-Brides Mail-Order Style—Five of Them. Meet the Midwest Christian Romance Authors. Read Excerpts and Find Links for Free Books Below

A Warm Welcome to the Midwest Christian Romance Authors

Mildred Colvin, Jamie Adams, Linda Cushman and Regina Tittel

Introducing Their Texas Brides Mail-Order Style Series

See links for free books from some of their earlier selections on Amazon and a Smashwords code for free copies of Mail- Order Shotgun Wedding. Each author shares an excerpt below.

Introducing the Group

Midwest Christian Romance Authors is a group of four women who live in the Midwest and write, encourage, and edit each other’s work. Three of us met for the first time in Mammoth Spring, Arkansas when we toured the beautiful historic Frisco depot and grounds for the railroad. As a result, we each wrote a novella called In Mammoth Spring, AR.

A year later, three of us, although not the same three, met in Warsaw, Missouri, at the Truman Lake Visitor Center located on Kaysinger Bason. Later, all four wrote another series that became a sequel to our first series, In Warsaw, MO.

Since that beginning, our MCRA group has written a third series, moving to the wide open grazing lands near the fictitious town of Mesquite Gulch, Texas, in 1890. Texas Brides Mail-Order Style has five books, each ending with true love.

And, yes, we have another series in the works now. Twelve novellas will come out each month during 2017 called Birthstone Brides. Each bride receives her birthstone in some form of jewelry from the man she will marry. You’ll love this series and want to read all the stories.

Meet the Authors and Read about Their Books

Mildred Colvin, wife, mother, and grandmother to three beautiful girls wrote book one, Mail-Order Shotgun Wedding, in the Texas Brides Mail-Order Style series. She has been writing stories for publication since 2001 when Barbour Publishing accepted a book she co-authored with her sister. Currently she has written almost forty books now available through both traditional and Indie publishing.

About Book One in the Mail-Order Style Texas Series, Mail-Order Shotgun Wedding

Able Logan is shocked to learn of his father’s impending death, but what’s this mail-order bride notion he’s come up with? He and his brothers have to be married by Christmas or lose their inheritance? Able wants no part of it—until he touches a delicate hand,

looks into sky-blue eyes, and his heart jolts in a way he never expected.
Faith White is thrilled to be going to Texas where she and her younger sister will be close as they each marry a Logan brother. Security and family are all she’s ever wanted until Able Logan touches her hand and sends a smile to her heart. But is Able’s attentiveness a ploy to please his father or could he truly love her? The answer is torn from them both when they are accused of wrong doing and forced into a shot-gun wedding!

Buy on Amazon

Jamie Adams has been making up stories since grade school. An avid reader since childhood, she loves to create places for the characters she dreams up in her head to live and play. Getting to write alongside talented writers like the Midwest Christian Romance Author sisters has been one of the highlights of her writing journey. Jamie’s contribution to Texas Brides Mail-Order Style is
Corralling the Cowboy’s Heart.

About Book Two in the Mail-Order Style Texas Series, Corralling the Cowboy's Heart

Not ready to settle down, Joshua Logan does his best to avoid contact with any of the mail-order brides his father ordered for him and his brothers. Ever the obedient son, for the first time in his life he goes against his father’s wishes, and suffers the consequences. Will his blunder cost him the one true desire of his heart?

Shy and happy to keep to herself, Temperance White must come out of her shell if she hopes to find a husband. Her elder sister is the first to marry and now it’s her turn. Neither Joshua nor his brother seems interested in marriage. Unaware that sending for a bride wasn’t their idea, she believes she’s undesirable and doomed to be a spinster. Unfortunately, her heart refuses to accept the inevitable.

Buy on Amazon

Linda Cushman wrote the third book, A Bride by Christmas, and feels very blessed to be part of this group of talented writers who make up Midwest Christian Romance Authors. She’s always been a dreamer, but didn’t start putting her stories on paper until

Writing fiction is her favorite hobby, but she can’t find enough time to devote to it. The mail-order bride stories were fun, and she’s now looking forward to working on the Birthstone Bride series, which is the next project for our group. Each month of  one novella will be published to complete a set of twelve. Each heroine will receive her birthstone in a piece of jewelry given to her by her future husband.

About Book Three in the Mail-Order Style Texas Series, A Bride by Christmas

Zack Logan has plans for his life. A herd of cattle, fast horses, and races every weekend keep him satisfied. His father’s ultimatum to be married by Christmas or lose his inheritance hobbles his dreams. He schemes to avoid a trip to the altar even after his father sends for a mail-order bride. When two beautiful ladies arrive, he resolves to marry neither of them.

With a prayer on her lips and faith in her heart, Ida Mae McAllister leaves the orphanage in Chicago. Texas will be her promised land, an escape from poverty. Her most cherished dream is to find a man waiting for her in Mesquite Gulch, a husband who will love her. When her beautiful friend appears, Ida’s hopes vanish. With the refined blonde to compete with, Zack will never notice a freckle-faced girl from the slums.

Buy on Amazon

Regina Tittel is a writer, homeschooler, and love-struck wife. She enjoys adding bits and pieces from my life in my books, while her heroes always seem to walk away with one or two of her husband’s admirable attributes. She wrote the fourth book, The Substitute Groom, and says writing with the MCRA’s has been a lot of fun, and she hopes our efforts provide you with hours of enjoyment and something to take away.

About  Book Four in the Mail-Order Style Texas Series, The Substitute Groom

Lily Dixon lives a comfortable, although lonely, life in Chicago. When the benefactress from her youth persuades her to travel to the great state of Texas to become the wife of Zack Logan, she agrees. However, a childhood friend has arrived with the same intentions. Determined to win the hand of the wealthy rancher, Lily struggles with her decision. Does she pursue what could be a loveless marriage, or does she take a chance on a penniless ranch hand?

Buy on Amazon

About Book Five in the Mail-Order Style Texas Series, December Love

Since we only have four authors, we all pitched in and wrote December Love, the fifth book. It's about our older couple.

At last, Will Logan can sit back and wait for the grandchildren to come. If he doesn’t die first. Even after successfully finding mail-order brides for his sons, Will continues to have chest pains, and his sister is talking of going back home to Ft. Worth and her husband. But if she does that, he and Florence will be alone on the ranch and Florence will also have to leave. If his heart pains don’t kill him, he’ll for sure die from losing the city woman he’s fallen in love with, yet all he can seem to do is stick his foot in his mouth when he tries to talk to her.

Florence Foster has accomplished more than what she came to Texas for. Her goal was to help four young ladies find husbands, and she’s done that and made an unexpected connection with her secret daughter as well. Her work is finished and she needs to return to Chicago, but how can she if her heart remains in Texas with Will?

Buy on Amazon


Book One - Mail-Order Shotgun Wedding by Mildred Colvin

September 21, 1890, Mesquite Gulch, Texas

“I’m dying.”

“What?” Able Logan jerked up his head as his two younger brothers echoed his shock. Surely, he hadn’t heard right. “Would you repeat what you just said, Dad?”
“It’s my heart, but that isn’t why you’re here.” Able’s father placed a hand over the middle of his chest as if covering the pain. “I have until Christmas, maybe a few weeks more. I’ve come to terms with this. You can too.” He looked toward his older sister, Mabel Harris then turned to his lawyer and long-time friend, Wade Durham, as if seeking their support.

A blurry cloud of unreality closed in on Able the same as four years ago when Mom got sick. Now it was Dad, only Able didn’t want to believe it. How could this happen? Sure Dad was getting older, but he wasn’t that old. His next birthday he’d turn fifty—if he lived that long. Pain sliced through Able’s heart.

“They should be here tomorrow.”

“Who?” Someone was coming? Able shook his head, trying to free himself from the dark shadow holding him in its grip. He blinked and met the steady gaze of his younger brothers, Josh and Zack. They looked as dazed as he felt. He turned back to his dad.

“Have you been to a doctor?”

A crease formed between Dad’s eyes. “Yes, I have. Doc Brown gave me a thorough examination. I don’t want you boys to worry about me. I wouldn’t have told you except I hoped you’d understand how important it is.”

“What is?”

“Making good matches. I just told you. The ladies will arrive on tomorrow’s stage. I’ll expect you to pick them up shortly after noon.”

“Ladies?” Nothing seemed real. “This isn’t a good time for company, Dad.”

“I wouldn’t call the brides company.” Aunt Mabel spoke up. “They’ll be living here until you boys are married then they’ll move into your houses with you. I understand an escort will come with them, an older lady.”

“Brides!” Zack jumped up. “I don’t intend to get married anytime soon.”

“Marriage sure isn’t in my immediate plans, either.” Josh folded his arms and scowled. “Seems we should be more concerned about your health, Dad.”

Able sucked in a breath. He’d missed something.

“Calm down, boys.” Wade held up a sheaf of papers clutched in his hand. “Let me explain the terms of your father’s new will so you’ll understand.”

Able leaned forward. Out of the corner of his eyes, he saw Josh take a similar position while Zack slumped back in his chair.

“Because of your father’s serious health condition, coupled with concern over your shenanigans in town each weekend,” Wade looked through thick glasses at each of them, “which often keeps you from God’s house on Sunday morning, your father has come to the best solution possible. Marriage to a good woman will help his sons settle down and become responsible ranchers.”

Zack sputtered, Able opened his mouth to protest, and Josh shook his head, but none of them managed an intelligible word.

Book Two - Corralling the Cowboy’s Heart by Jamie Adams

“Hey, Zack, look who decided to show.” Josh reined in his mount and whipped off his Stetson as he hopped off. He brushed damp hair from his brow before replacing the dust covered hat.
“Well, if it isn’t the old married man himself.” Zack dropped down from the fence housing the livery stable’s new additions. Today’s horse auction was to be held at noon. The event had been on the town calendar for weeks. Zack insisted they get there early to check out the stock. No one knew horse flesh like the youngest Logan boy.

“You two are a real hoot.” Able quipped as he dismounted. His eyes sparkled with a sense of contentment Josh hadn’t seen on any Logan in years. “Either one of you finally wise up and ask Temperance White to marry you?”

Josh squared his shoulders as he waited for Zack to respond. After taking her for a ride last night, he believed he could easily fall in love with her. He didn’t have any right to expect a respectable woman like Tempe to want anything to do with him, but he couldn’t help wishing.

“Like I said from the start, I’m not interested in settling down.” Zack puffed out his chest.
His younger brother’s answer sent a jolt of relief through Josh’s heart. Tempe was both pretty and sweet, but Zack needed a woman who could hold her own. Put him in his place when need be.
“Mark my words, Zack,” Able laughed deeply, his words filled with wisdom. “One day you’ll find a woman who’ll tame you and you’ll be thankful she did.”

Book Three - A Bride by Christmas by Linda Cushman

A smile split Zack’s face, and his heart swelled with pride, and something else. Was it love? Ida had spirit. Enough spirit to be the wife of a rancher who was just starting out with his own spread. He took her hands in his. “Ida, will you marry me? I know this is sudden, but please marry me.”

She pulled her hands free and walked back to the edge of the canyon, her gaze on the horses below. The rain had reached them, and now blew in sheets. Zack moved to Ida’s side, where she stood with her head bowed.

“See the stallion,” she pointed. “He never stops trying to find a way out. There isn’t an escape for him, and soon his spirit will be broken.”

Zack’s gaze traveled to the gallant red horse. He was standing near the gate, head drooping almost to the ground.

“You’d be trapped, Zack. Your father is forcing you to do something that’s against your nature.” Ida turned tear-filled eyes toward him. Rain dripped unheeded from her hair and face. “He’s just bluffing about withholding your inheritance. Don’t ruin your life. Don’t be his marionette.”

Zack watched the defeated stallion. Was she right? Why did his heart ache like it would break? Was it for himself or the horse?

“So you won’t marry me?”


Book Four - The Substitute Groom by Regina Tittel

Rex stepped to Lily’s side and drew a breath, catching hints of honey and vanilla. His eyes trailed from her soft featured face to her golden brown strands. “Why don’t you go riding with me?”


“If you’re going to live out here, you need to learn to ride.”

“I’m not Ida.”

“Of course you’re not.” Her blue eyes clouded over, revealing the depth of her vulnerability. “How about after lunch. I’ll meet you at the barn.”

“Don’t you have a fence to fix or cattle to move? Surely there’s more for a foreman to do than teach helpless women how to ride.”

He enjoyed her teasing and the fact she hadn’t refused him, yet. His eyes dropped to her lips and his blood warmed. In an effort to control the rush of feelings, he centered his attention back on her hair.
“What are you looking at?”

He fought the desire to loosen her bun and feel its softness. Get a grip, Rex, she’s not for you. The self-correction did little good. “Why do all you women wear your hair up?”

As though he’d made her self-conscious, Lily reached back and smoothed her hair. Rex tugged her wrist down. “Don’t worry, there’s never a hair out of place.”

She rubbed her wrist where his fingers had been. Did she feel the same shock as he had? “This is the style … what’s expected.” She stalled then seemed to give into curiosity. “Why?”

“God gave you that pretty crown. You shouldn’t hide it.”

A small laugh slipped past her lips as she shook her head and moved toward the house. “And you should concentrate more on the ranch.”

Book Five - December Love - a collaboration of all four authors

Other than the occasional outburst of voices coming from the front of the building, it was quiet in the back section of the jailhouse. The cells were cleaner than Florence imagined. Not that she’d ever put any thought into the cleaning rituals that went into running such a place. Without any chairs to sit on she gave in and took a seat on the cot. Apparently a thin mattress covered by a rough blanket was meant to serve as both bed and settee.

Alone and afraid, she released a deep sigh and buried her face in the palm of her hands. Her strong resolve to stand up for herself had unraveled faster than a ball of yarn left to a litter of kittens. She’d really messed up this time and in front of Will of all people.

Free Books

Abandoned Hearts by Regina Tittel on Amazon

Mildred Colvin: This Child Is Mine at Amazon here

and Cora’s Deception at Amazon here

Mail-Order Shotgun Wedding Free on Smashwords with the following code 

For a free copy of Mail-Order Shotgun Wedding, click here. Then be sure to enter the coupon code so it’s free using this info:
Promotional price: $0.00
Coupon Code: DN94N
Expires: October 15, 2016

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Looking Out the Window: Gay Lewis Talks About Sarah and the Double Wedding Woes, the Latest in Her Series of Sarah Books about a Bumbling, Match-Making Angel. She Will Give Away an e-Book.

A Warm Welcome to Gay Lewis 

To enter to win the eBook of Sarah and the Double Wedding Woes leave a comment and an email address below.  

Hi Gay, first, tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a retired interior designer, a current pastor’s wife, and mother to grown children. Two daughters live near me in Texas, and one moved to Kentucky. I live in a small town west of Houston but drive to the city for shopping. My driving record scares everyone, including me. As I write this, my husband is in the garage trying to repair my latest scrape with the side of our garage. I told him a few minutes ago that I’d leave the car outside from now on and let him park inside for me. Scraping the garage is a habit and I hate leaving scars on the fender. He patiently buffs them out. Sigh. I’ve done this several times.

Good luck with the car and the garage. When it comes to cars, you're a writer, right? Many writers were avid readers as children. How about you? If so, what did you read?

I grew up in Texas and hated heat. As a child, I stayed indoors with a book, magazine, anything I could get my hands on. I read the Louise May Alcott books many times over. I also loved Nancy Drew. Today the books I chose are usually romance or paranormal. I just finished Saint Odd: An Odd Thomas Novel by Dean Koontz. This was the last in the Odd Thomas series and I’m upset that Mr. Koontz ended the series. Odd Thomas was a hoot.
Ahh, that's sounds like fun. Let's talk about your writing. Who do you write for, and what other jobs have you held or do you hold besides writing?

 I write for Prism Book Group, The Texas Hill Country and a new online magazine called God’s Web.  Now and then, I return to the décor arena. A client called me recently and hired me for a home design update. I confess I enjoyed the décor request immensely. I worked in the interior design field for years and sometimes miss it.  I don’t do much of that anymore, but on that appointment, I found that I haven’t lost my touch.

As a pastor’s wife, I work a lot at church. No salary with this job, but I’ve always enjoyed sharing my husband’s ministry. Our church gets two for the price of one. I’ve been a writer for years, but I wrote for religious periodicals. I’ve also produced a travel series. I now write fantasy, romance, and sometimes add a bit of mystery to my stories. When the idea of a bumbling, dyslexic angel  who does goofy things came to mind, I had to write about her mishaps as she tries to help humans. Some of the things that happen to Sarah I’ve endured myself.

Sarah's such a fun character. How did you begin a writing career?

I’ve always written since I was a child with a toy typewriter. I wrote plays for the neighborhood, then as a teen, I wrote them for church. After I married a minister, opportunities for inspirational periodicals kept coming, but I’ve always wanted to write novels.  The day finally arrived for retirement and I began with Women’s Fiction—I wrote two. One of those books will see the light of day next year, and I’m totally excited about it. The name of the book is Choices, and it’s the first one I wrote. Over the years, I’ve rewritten it, and written it…and again written it. Chuckle, chuckle, sigh. The story was good, but the writing needed help. Authors continue to learn about their craft, and the later versions are better. Choices is a dark subject about physical abuse with study questions at the end. My Sarah Series is a lot more fun and it’s light reading. Sarah makes people laugh out loud, but Choices will make the reader cry.

Other than Sarah who is your favorite character in your books and why?

I love the Commander. He gives Sarah assignments at the start of each book and reviews her at the end. He is not God, but the Commander is a servant of the Lord, but like God, he is kind, gentle, and loving. He often must correct Sarah, but he always does it in a generous and humorous way.

Tell us about your latest book, Sarah and the Double Wedding Woes.

Sarah must unite two widows, Bonnie, the mother and Jessica, the daughter, at the same time.  These ladies live together, along with Mackenzie, Jessica’s daughter. The three generations of women are bonded into a tight family, but all three are falling in love. Mackenzie will wait to marry until she finishes college, but Sarah’s mission is to find men for the other two. After guys are found, Sarah must then convince the females to live apart from each other with a new husband. Each woman fears the other will be lonely and neither will break up the household—no matter how much love for a man is involved.  Sarah is terrified. Her mission is to create two simultaneous weddings, and she just might goof them both up on this mission.

What sort of hindrances does Sarah face on this mission?

Finding a love candidate for Bonnie, the matriarch of the family is a challenge. Where should an angel look for a respectable, eligible bachelor? In the following scene, she tries church and manages to embarrass the pastor.

Men in the choir sat in a row next to each other. Perhaps their wives were gathered in those female groups she’d noticed earlier, but then again, maybe not. Sarah lifted her brows and snapped her fingers as a new thought came. An unmarried dude might be in the choir loft. She should wander up to the loft and check the fingers on their left hands. If married, they’d wear a wedding band, wouldn’t they? She knew of men who hid rings when they wanted to step out on a wife, but surely they didn’t do such a thing in a place of worship. Or did they? Nah. Sarah shook her head, unable to fathom such a thing.

Zooming like a politician to a potential voter, Sarah rocketed down the row of prospects. As she whizzed by each man, the wind velocity caused their robe stoles to fly up. One by one, the decorative cloth hit a male face. The visual effect resembled that of a football wave in a crowded stadium. A stole flew up, hit the individual in the nose and then returned to its place. The next one in succession did the same. One man sneezed. Another coughed. The audience laughed.

The men rotated heads to look at each other with quizzical looks. One shrugged and another scratched his ear. The pastor turned to see what caused the hilarity.

“What are ya’ll doing back there?” The preacher’s tone indicated genuine interest.

“Didn’t you feel that gust of wind?” A man spoke from the middle of the row.

“In here?” The pastor furrowed his brow.

“We felt the Spirit. Maybe we’re about to experience another Pentecost.” The choir member’s voice carried all the way to the rear of the auditorium.

The pastor shook his head. “Not in my church.”

The audience roared again.

The pastor’s face turned from pink to purple. “Uh…ah…um…that’s not what I meant. I hope we do have a revival of the Spirit in here—just wasn’t expecting it today.”

More laughter.

Sarah directed her eyes upward and mouthed “Sorry.” Other than disruption, that little escapade failed to bring results. Maybe she’d approached this investigation the wrong way…perhaps she should consider age and eliminate a few choices. Now—who among these men fit the sixty-year-old prospect she hoped to find?

Two men looked to be near the correct phase of life.

Slipping down, she inspected their hands. One wore a wedding band and the other didn’t. The candidate without a wedding band was handsome—tall with salt-and-pepper hair.

Hmm, he could be the one. But then again, maybe not. Perhaps she should follow the dude home, find out his name, and see how he spent his time.

Connect with Gay

At Prism Book Group

Watch video trailers and follow Gay's blog
Check out Gay on Amazon
Facebook and on Twitter @GayNLewis2.

Sarah has her own Facebook page. Follow Sarah on Facebook@ Sarah Wingspand

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Looking Out the Window: Michelle Griep Talks About Her New Book, Out Of The frying Pan. Shares a Yummy Recipe

A Warm Welcome to Michelle Griep

Out of the Frying Pan, what a cute title! How appropriate that 

Michelle shares a recipe. She also gives us a favorite Bible verse

Zula’s Siren Cinnamon Muffins

I love to cook, so getting into character for my latest co-authored release, Out of the Frying Pan, was particularly fun.

Main character Zula Hopkins is renowned for her sweet culinary skills at the Sunset Paradise Retirement Community. These muffins are her go-to recipe for attracting male suitors—and it’s the first thing she whips up to garner the attention of Detective Jared Flynn for her niece KC. Here’s the recipe . . .

Siren Cinnamon Muffins

2 cups flour
¾ cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
¾ cup buttermilk
¼ cup melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 large egg
8 ounces sour cream
2/3 cup cinnamon chips
Streusel: 1 package instant cinnamon oatmeal

1. Preheat oven to 375 and grease your muffin tins.
2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, soda, and salt in a bowl. Make a well in center of mixture.
3. Dump the rest of the ingredients (except for the instant oatmeal) into the well and stir until mixed. The batter will be rather thick.
4. Fill muffin tins 2/3 full then sprinkle the instant oatmeal over the top.
5. Bake at 375 for 18 minutes.

I’m not going to lie. These bad boys are slightly addicting. This recipe makes about 15 muffins so you’ll probably want to double it because they are some kind of good!

Yum. They sound delicious!

Here’s some food for your soul as well . . . One of my favorite Bible verses is Nahum 1:7.

“The Lord is good. A stronghold in the day of trouble. And He knows those who trust in Him.”

Muffins and God’s Word . . . it doesn’t get much better than that.

About Out of the Frying Pan

Murder in Paradise whips life into a froth for Fern and Zula Hopkins. When the retirement center’s chef is found dead, the two ladies get folded in with the case. Their zany attempts to track down the killer land them in hot water with Detective Jared Flynn. Should he be concerned about their safety—or the criminal’s?

But there are deadly ingredients none of them expect. Drugs. Extortion. International cartels. And worst of all…broken hearts, especially when the Hopkins sisters’ niece KC arrives on the scene.

Life at Sunset Paradise Retirement Village will never be the same.

Buy on Amazon


Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She resides in the frozen tundra of Minnesota, where she teaches history and writing classes for a local high school co-op. Her latest release is Out of the Frying Pan, but historical romance is her usual haunt. The Captive Heart releases in October. Follow her escapades at or or stalk her on Facebook Twitter, or Pinterest