Thursday, August 21, 2008

Accepting Charity is released!

"Accepting Charity" is now available from The Wild Rose Press. The sixth story in this series is the only one that doesn't feature the heroine's name in the title. So who's Charity, you ask? She's an adorable three year old whose mother has recently passed away. Her uncle, the hero of our story, is her new guardian. Only he doesn't know a lot about children in general, and he certainly doesn't know anything about raising a child who has special needs.

Charity has verbal developmental dyspraxia, which makes speaking very difficult for her. You can find out more about developmental dyspraxia in this Wikipedia article, which has links to more scholarly sites if you are not a Wikipedia person.

The inspiration for Charity was a beautiful little girl that I had the pleasure of knowing a few years ago when I worked as an aide in an early childhood classroom. She was bright, sweet, helpful, and very loving. But it was difficult for her to get more than one or two words out at a time. Fortunately there are programs such as Birth to Three and Early Childhood that can get children like Charity help when they are very little. These special needs kids work very hard but they have the hope of a bright future ahead of them, thanks to devoted teachers and therapists.

"Accepting Charity" is dedicated to one of those teachers. She was my daughter's birth to three teacher and also became one of my best friends. She always went above and beyond the call of duty for her students and their families. So here I'm formally saying "Thank you Theresa! We love you!"


Monday, August 18, 2008

Interview with Author Sarita Leone

People have been telling me I need more variety on my blog here. What do they expect? Orchard Hill is a small town. It's not like there's that much to report. At least that I can make public on the internet, but if you ever stop by for coffee...

Anyway, to satisfy those critics, I've invited author Sarita Leone to tell us a little about herself and her work. Welcome Sarita.

Thank you so much for having me here, Cora. I'm thrilled to have this opportunity to chat with you!

Sarita, Tell us a little about yourself.

I don't know how else to say this so I'm just going to come out with it: I'm a very ordinary woman. Wonderfully blessed, incredibly happy, but really very ordinary. I've been married to the same amazing man for many years. We live in an old farmhouse in the middle of nowhere. Our days are spent puttering around the house and grounds. In my spare time I sew, work on needlecrafts, draw and read. Together my husband and I garden, hike and go rowing in the summer and in the winter we eat the fruits of our summer gardening endeavors, snowshoe and play a lot of chess. And I write every morning before the day "officially" begins. Like I said, I am pretty typical. I could be anyone, anywhere. Nothing spectacular here. Just an average woman leading a very satisfying life, and feeling very fortunate to be doing so.

I understand there's a ghost in your upcoming release Legal Tender. Can you tell us a little about her?

Granny Walker is a wise-cracking, advice-giving ghost who just won't move gracefully to the hereafter. She's passed on in an unfortunate manner, leaving a will that has so many stipulations to it she feels her granddaughter may still need her around—so she stays. Granny dispenses advice right and left about her farm and the way it should be run but mostly she comments on Lindy's love life. You see, in Granny's heart she just wants Lindy to be she tries to "nudge" her granddaughter toward finding true love and contentment.

Lindy, your heroine in Legal Tender is a city girl who's stuck in the country. What adjustments does she have to make?

Poor Lindy! She has to give up so much to fulfill the stipulations of Granny's will! She moves from the city to the farm and stays put while her sometimes boyfriend takes the dream trip to Europe they'd been planning. As if that's not enough, Lindy's got to learn the ins and outs of running a successful strawberry and apple operation. She's gone from taking the subway to driving a tractor, but she's managed to do it gracefully. Lindy's one of the strongest heroines I've written so far.

Legal Tender is a mystery. What does Lindy need to find out?

So many things, really. There's a cloud surrounding Granny's death that needs to be dispelled. Also, her cousin Jenna has an agenda for the farm which she must unravel. And maybe the most important mystery for Lindy to deal with is the one that we all deal with at one time or another...the search for self. Lindy makes some big changes, takes quite a few leaps of faith, but she's still faced with serious issues. She's got to decide who she is, where she's going, and what she wants. And she must discover the mystery of her own heart—something that isn't always easy, even when the heart in question is one's own.

Your book is also a romance. Give us the scoop on that.

One of the stipulations in Granny Walker's will is that Lindy will marry within two years. So Lindy--with an other-worldly push from her grandmother—sets about finding true love. She's got to fulfill the legal obligation but, more importantly, she must satisfy the demands of her heart. Lindy is determined to find romance and love or forfeit her inheritance. Even with three men vying for her attention Lindy takes her time deciding whether or not any of the men she's got feelings for are "Mr. Right."

When and where can I buy this book?

Legal Tender will be released from Whiskey Creek Press on September 1st.

Signed copies are available for pre-order through my blog, From the Heart. The email address for pre-orders is

September 1st! I can't wait that long. What other books do you have out?

Snowdance, my first book, is the story of a woman's life, told by the nearly 100-year-old woman herself. Elinor Montoya is one of those ladies who lives an extraordinary life—ordinarily—and tells about it, through letters and reminiscences on a snowy afternoon.

Vineyard Mambo is a cozy romantic mystery. When a body is found in the quiet little town of Milton Falls, librarian Anna Romeo decides that murder and mayhem won't do—not in her town. She sets out to discover who's killing people, setting fires and causing so much disruption that the annual Zucchini Festival may be postponed. Anna loves the festival, and her friends and neighbors, and won't rest until order is restored. This is the first Anna Romeo mystery. I have a feeling Anna and her brilliant cat, Merlot, may make more appearances on the bookshelf.

Sniffing Sand is the first in a series of romantic mysteries set on the small island of Chincoteague, Virginia. When Nina's husband leaves her alone in their new, gorgeous beach house, she has to decide how she's going to pick up the pieces of her chaotic life and move forward. She seems to be doing that—until a body turns up on the beach, practically outside her back door! With the help of a handsome police chief and her best friend since childhood, Nina learns that sometimes even the most shocking events in life can be turned into something good. It's a story of overcoming and uncovering, island-style. The second book in this series, Sandswept, releases in December.

Cora, thank you so much for having me here. I've enjoyed this visit more than I can say!

Me too, Sarita. If you're ever in Orchard Hill stop by and we'll have coffee. Then I'll give you the scoop on what I can't print on my blog!

For more information on Sarita Leone and her work visit her website - - or her wonderful blog - From the Heart

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

5 Star Review for Accepting Charity

Manic Readers gave "Accepting Charity" a 5 star review. Thank you Valerie for a great review!

Scroll down to Monday's entry for an excerpt from "Accepting Charity." This story will be released next Wednesday from The Wild Rose Press.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Accepting Charity coming Soon

It's time for the next Orchard Hill story to be released and so Kara Lynn sent me an excerpt to post. This is a really good one. That Sarah deserves a great guy like David. And little Charity deserves to have great parents like her uncle and his new wife-to-be. I've heard tell that they staged a fake engagement to fool that lady that wanted to take Charity away from David. Who knows? However it started, it sure is real now.

Sarah reached for the door handle, but before she opened it, David spoke again. “One
more thing.”


“What about physical stuff.”

“What do you mean?”

“You know, engaged people hold hands and hug and…”

“And kiss.” Sarah groaned. “How did everything get so out of control?”

David knew he was treading on dangerous ground, but he couldn’t seem to stop himself. “Maybe we should practice?”


“Yeah. I think we should try a practice kiss, so the first time we have to kiss in public, it won’t be so awkward.”

“Why would we have to kiss in public?”

“Because that’s what people who are in love do, Sarah. I’m not saying we have to put on an exhibition, but we should at least kiss each other hello and good-bye.”

Sarah looked doubtful. “I suppose.”

“So I think we should practice.”


“How about right here, right now.”

“Are you serious?”

“Totally. Trust me, this is the best thing to do. We’ll just get it over with and then the next time won’t be so awkward.”

Sarah considered. “Maybe you’re right.”

“I know I am.” He reached across the seat and took Sarah in his arms.

She giggled nervously. “This is ridiculous.”

“Usually I get to kiss a girl before she laughs at me.”

“I’m not laughing at you. Just the situation.”

“Enough talk. How about some action?” he teased.

David’s only intention had been to steal a simple kiss, but the moment his lips touched hers, he knew nothing would ever be simple between them. Instead of letting go, he pulled her even closer. She felt perfect in his arms. The world faded away, and he was aware of nothing but Sarah. He felt her heart beating against his chest, her form filling his arms, her lips moving against his. The word ‘home’ drifted
into his mind.


Maybe that's a good place to leave off. Is it just me or is it getting hot in here? Anyway, come back soon to hear about Sarita Leone's latest release Legal Tender.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Back to School Reading Tips from Hope

Hi Everyone,
Cora asked me to fill in for her today. It seems she downloaded a few too many new ebooks and doesn't have time to do the blog today. I thought this might be a great opportunity for me to talk about reading.

As a school librarian, I get questions all the time on what kids should be reading. I don't have a specific list of titles that your child should read, but I have a few ideas I'd like to express.

First of all, everyone can be a reader. If your child is not reading there's a reason. He or she is not enjoying it! No one is going to read because it is good for them. But they will read if they find it fun or interesting.

The same book doesn't fit every child, just as the same pair of shoes wouldn't fit every child. There a wide range of differences in a child's ability, attention span, and preferred learning style. Fortunately there's also a wide range of options in how we read these days. Traditional print media is very important, but if your child isn't enjoying it, you may need to let them try something else for a while. Using alternate formats doesn't stop a child from reading print books. It is more likely to encourage it than anything else. So feel free to let your children try:
1. Audio Books
2. Graphic Novels
3. Ebooks
4. Magazines
5. Print books in non-traditional format. There are many nonfiction books out now that feature great illustrations and photos and have information broken up into bite-size chunks. A hybrid of novel and comic book has appeared recently in such works as Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney.
5. DVDs - No, DVDs don't count as reading, but you could use them to springboard your child's interest in reading the book the movie was based on, or offer watching the DVD as a reward for reading the book.

My final suggestion - take your kids to the library and see all of what there is to offer. There's a type of book out there for everyone that will make reading enjoyable for them and librarians are excellent at figuring this sort of thing out. How about planning a trip with your child right now?

Hope Velasquez