Welcome to my stop on the Best of 2016 blog hop hosted by Book Hounds.net!
I've read a lot of books over the past year, some great, some good, and a few duds. I've also written and published a few books so I'm going to share both - my personal favorite written by another author published in 2016 and the novel I consider my "best" of the same year. Plus I'm giving away a $10 Amazon.com gift certificate so the winner can pick his or her choice from the two!
My pick for the Best of 2016 by another author is Duchess of Earl by JL Salter. It's a fun read and although it's not a Regency, it has Regency overtones. I truly enjoyed this book, a sweet and clean romance with a very realistic hero (named Earl) and a teacher who's a little confused after an accident. I recommend it highly!
Now for my favorite of the novels I authored that were published this year, it was a hard choice. Any time someone asks which is my "favorite" book I've written, it's a lot like someone asking which of my kids is my favorite. They all are, on both counts! But the novel I chose, Coal Black Blues (published October 2016) by Evernight Publishing, is my choice. Here's the cover, dedication (and explanation behind the story), the blurb, a very short excerpt, and links.
Please leave comments so I can choose one winner to receive the $10 Amazon gift card!
Last year, my daughters and I made a journey from Missouri to northern Virginia that took us through Kentucky, West Virginia, and a wide swath of Virginia. It was a first for them but I had traveled these roads before and I knew these places were home to some of our ancestors, our kinfolk. This novel was inspired by that trip, by my family and I dedicate Coal Black Blues to the granny women, the matriarchs and the ancestors. It’s for my great-grandmother, Grandmammy, who raised her brood in those mountains, for my Granny’s grandmother, Amanda, who stayed home on the land while her man went to war, and for all the pioneer women whose spirit survives in me and in my daughters.
BA death in the family and divorce brought Caroline Reaburn back to the mountains of West Virginia, to her hillbilly heritage and Coaltown. Prepared to start over in a familiar place, Caroline hadn’t expected her first love, Neil McCullough, to come back into her life and heart. Twenty years earlier, Caroline’s mother moved and took her daughter with her, breaking up the relationship and both their hearts. It’s obvious from the first time Caroline met Neil again that they still have a connection. But Neil’s got scars, inside and out, and he carries a lot of emotional baggage. There’s no doubt about the love they share but they have many obstacles to overcome, everything from Neil’s PTSD to illness and community tragedy. It’s a long, rocky road but if anyone can manage to find happiness, it’s Neil and Caroline.
Here’s an excerpt:
From the hardhat on his head to the boots that reached his knees, he wore miner’s gear, and from the black streaks across his face, Caroline figured he’d come straight from the mines. Twenty years had passed since she last saw him, but recognition was immediate. She knew those deep-gray eyes gazing her direction and those unruly black curls escaping beneath the hardhat.
“Neil McCullough,” she said when he halted a few feet away. “I thought you left these hills and never looked back.”
She couldn’t resist the jibe although she knew it wasn’t so. His local presence had loomed large even though they hadn’t met again until now.
His lips flexed into a grin, the old one she remembered all too well. “I might not have looked,” he drawled. “But I came back after a few years. You’re the one I thought took off for the city lights and gave up everything hillbilly. I was sorry to hear. I heard, too, you’re planning to stay. Is it true?”
Caroline’s breath caught and refused to release.
Oh, he looked fine, as handsome as ever if a little more world weary than he’d been at eighteen. His voice had deepened, too, but the sound of it echoed with enough familiarity to send a sharp pain through her heart. Caroline nodded as she struggled to make her tone level.
Book trailer here: