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Monday, March 9, 2015

Harvest of Blessings by Charlotte Hubbard ♥ Book Tour & GIVEAWAY ♥ (Amish Inspirational Romance)

The tranquil little town of Willow Ridge is facing a startling challenge. Wealthy Nora Glick Landwehr is determined to make it her home again—and put her past to rest. Cast out by her own family, Nora can’t reconcile with Old Amish ways or her strict father. But she’ll do anything to help her community embrace the future . . . and make amends to the daughter she had to give up. So, she certainly has no time for her reckless new neighbor Luke Hooley. They disagree about almost everything. And how can she trust him if he always seems to believe the worst about her? Somehow, though, his unexpected support and passionate heart are helping her find her own way in faith. And Nora will discover that even in the face of insidious lies and unyielding judgment, God creates unexpected chances for forgiveness—and love.
What is the best thing that has happened to you since being published?

Gee, I have to think about that one, because we’re spanning a 25-year period since my first book came out—and 2013 marked the 30th year since I first sold stories to magazines like True Confessions! It’s gratifying indeed to have survived that long in this crazy, unpredictable publishing business, even though I’ve never hit any of the major bestseller lists.
I will say, however, that it was a wonderful thing when not one but two major publishing houses invited me to write these Amish series for them. Usually, when you’re not a big name, you have to write up proposals on spec and submit them, hoping an editor somewhere will be interested. This wave of fascination with the Amish culture has created quite a demand for stories about them, and for once, I was in the right time and place with the right writing style. Now that I’m bringing this Cedar Creek series to an end with EMMA BLOOMS AT LAST, I’ve gone to contract for more books in my Charlotte Hubbard Seasons of the Heart series, which will spin the world of Willow Ridge into yet another new series. I’ll be writing full time, back-to-back books through the end of 2016 and some of these books won’t come out until 2017.
While I understand the advantages of all the self-publishing that can be done now, I feel truly honored to be writing these Amish books for three of the most respected editors in the business, and to be working with an agent who has been such a compassionate, hard-working partner in my career. I couldn’t have come this far without their help and appreciation of my work.

Describe the biggest struggle in your life (that you feel comfortable sharing with us).

After Mom died, sixteen years ago now, my dad became even more cantankerous, impossible to please, and difficult to deal with. Always had to make a scene at restaurants and talk everyone down until he got his way. Always had to be right. As years went by, let’s just say some difficult secrets were revealed (one of them an illegitimate daughter) and after he died a couple of years ago, his sister and I came to the difficult realization that Dad had been a pathological liar all his life. I have since done more research and learned that Dad was a sociopath—and that one person in 25 are born this way, with no conscience and no empathy toward the people in their lives (often those in their families, to whom they are closest) who are most hurt by their words and deeds.
While it was true he missed my mom desperately, some of the surprises that came out of the woodwork after she died were pretty startling. But once we saw the lifelong pattern of his hurtful actions and tall tales, we could at least conclude that he wasn’t picking on us or Mom, personally—he told everyone these stories, and he told everyone different stories. He lied about anything and everything, out of habit.
Suffice it to say, I don’t miss dealing with his behavior. I’ve come to realize that there are a lot of men in the world with this sort of personality, and my heart goes out to the families they put through the wringer. Nuff said!

Nora’s hand found the inside of Luke’s elbow. His skin felt smooth and warm beneath the short sleeve of his tan cotton shirt. His eyes were the deep green of the shaded cedar trees along the road, and the intensity of his gaze unnerved her. “Um, maybe before we get to Willow Ridge, we could . . .”

“Shall I pull over?”

Nora’s breath escaped her as she nodded. She felt like a nervous girl on her first date. Her heart hammered as Luke brought his horse to a halt on the side of the road. He just kept looking at her, waiting for her to make the first move. Nora was once again impressed by Luke’s control, because even as desire danced in his eyes, his hands remained on his lap.

When she reached for him, Luke pulled her close and kissed her for several long, lovely moments. His soft sighs mingled with hers as he explored her mouth. When she eased away, Nora knew she’d followed a path from which there was no retreat. No turning back.

“Wow,” Luke murmured as he caught his breath. “Wow.”

“You got that right,” she murmured. “This is the first time I’ve ever been kissed in a buggy—which sounds odd, considering the reason Dat sent me away. But before Borntreger took what he wanted, I’d led a very sheltered, good-girl life.”

“Maybe I can re-introduce you to Plain dating,” Luke replied as he took the lines in his hands again. “The basics between a man and a woman don’t require a car or cell phones or electricity, after all.”

Nora grinned, for it seemed they had generated their own type of electricity—and it was very different from what she’d known with Tanner Landwehr.

“Will you need a ride to pick up your painted van?”

“No, the Stutzman brothers offered to deliver it, to be sure everything drives the way it should after they’ve checked it over,” she replied. “Poor planning on my part, eh?”

Luke wrapped his hand around hers as the horse clip-clopped along the blacktop again. “The best parts about getting to know someone usually don’t follow a plan. Although I’ll confess that I accomplished everything on my agenda today. And I liked it. A lot.”

Nora smiled. Who could’ve imagined that cool, self-assured Luke Hooley would admit such a thing in a way that seemed so guileless? So sweet and open.

When the mill came into view, Luke kissed her once more, gently guiding her chin with his finger. He drove her to the front door of her house, and as Nora got out of the buggy she felt so giddy she wasn’t sure what she said to him. When she entered her front room, the fabric hangings stacked on her couch reminded her that she had a million things to do to get ready for her store’s opening, but she went straight upstairs. She changed into a cape dress and pulled her hair into a bun with a kapp over it. In the bathroom, she washed off her makeup.

Grabbing the wardrobe boxes she’d used for her move to Willow Ridge, she went to her closet and quickly took out every pencil skirt, silk blouse, and pair of tailored slacks, plus all the sundresses and suits and high-dollar shoes and purses that went with them. She bagged her jewelry and colorful scarves, and yanked her tee shirts, jeans, and shorts from her dresser drawers. Waves of emotion rolled through her as she recalled the occasions when she’d worn some of this stylish clothing, but before she lost her resolve, Nora sealed the boxes shut with packing tape. She would haul this stuff to the thrift store in Morning Star as soon as her van arrived.

She felt purged. Clean. Her English wardrobe represented a life she felt good about leaving behind, even though she’d known some shining moments and had gained a world of experience that would never leave her. But it was time to move forward, even if that meant stepping back in time to the simpler life she’d known as a girl.

Nora looked in the mirror and smiled. The woman gazing back at her belonged in Willow Ridge. No matter what her father thought of her, she had come home. To stay.
♥ Click on the image to learn more ♥

Drawing upon her experiences in Jamesport, the largest Old Order Amish community west of the Mississippi, longtime Missourian Charlotte Hubbard writes of simpler times and a faith-based lifestyle in her Seasons of the Heart series. Like her heroine, Miriam Lantz Hooley, Charlotte considers it her personal mission to feed people. Faith and family, farming and food preservation are hallmarks of her lifestyle. She’s a deacon, a dedicated church musician and choir member, and when she’s not writing, she loves to try new recipes, crochet, and sew. Charlotte now lives in Minnesota with her husband and their border collie.
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  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. It's an intriguing premise!

    Trix, vitajex(at)Aol(Dot)com

  3. I enjoyed both the interview and the excerpt.

    Juana Esparza

  4. i loved the excerpt

  5. I really liked reading the interview. I enjoy getting to know more about an author.

  6. Oh my goodness. This is wonderful I love Charlotte Hubbard's books. I have not read this series yet, but I have read the other ones. The books she writes are peaceful and so enjoyable. would love to read this one.

  7. Congrats on 25 years of published works! I enjoyed the interview and excerpt.

  8. I like the excerpt! Thanks for the giveaway. :)

  9. The interview and excerpt were both great..sounds like an interesting book!

  10. Charlotte HubbardMarch 10, 2015 at 2:26 PM

    Thanks so much for featuring my books on your blog site, and thanks to everyone who took the time to comment and enter the drawing! I was on the road home from a book signing and couldn't respond--but I appreciate you being here!

  11. I enjoyed reading about the author-thanks!

  12. Enjoyed the Synopsis & Interview!
    Thx for an awesome giveaway.... Today is my Bday so I'd luv to win the GC$ to be able to afford to get something for myself !!

  13. Thank you for sharing your personal thoughts with us

  14. Enjoyed reading the interview today

  15. I love the excerpt. Sounds like a great book

  16. I liked the excerpt!



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