Thursday, September 25, 2008

Disrupting Harmony Available Soon

Harmony Solberg is happy with her quiet, orderly existence. Then Joseph Velasquez and his brood of noisy children, teenagers move next door, shattering her peace. Against her will, she’s drawn into the children’s lives. Soon she’s sewing Halloween costumes and helping out with the church’s fall harvest party. Harmony realizes that she’d rather have a loud, chaotic life with Joseph and family than go back to her lonely old life but Joseph doesn’t seem to think she’s cut out for it. Will she be able to convince him, with a few tricks and maybe a treat or two?

True Love Never Runs Smoothly

Hope was very nice about the whole thing, considering that Joseph just showed up on her doorstep with Harmony that evening. Her eyes grew big when she opened the door and saw her brother with an overnight bag in one hand. With his other hand, he was holding onto the arm of a clearly outraged Harmony.

“Can Harmony stay with you tonight?” he asked abruptly.

“Um…sure.” She took a step back and motioned them inside. “Come in. Oliver and I were just watching a movie.”

Harmony glared at Joseph. “You see, she’s busy. I’ll be fine at my house.”

“Ignore her,” Joseph ordered his sister. “She needs a place to stay for the night, and she won’t stay at my house.”

Hope’s mouth dropped open and her gaze went back and forth between them. She obviously wanted to say something but was at a loss.

Oliver stuck his head out of the living room and said, “Hi Joseph, Harmony.”

“I’m sorry to interrupt your evening, Oliver,” said Harmony, with a scorching glance at Joseph. “But I wasn’t given much choice.”

“Is…is there a problem at Harmony’s?” asked Hope, a bit timidly.

“Yes,” replied Joseph at exactly the same time that Harmony said “No.”

Hope and Oliver exchanged looks. “Which is it?” Oliver ventured.

Harmony’s eyes narrowed and she pointed at Joseph. “The only problem is that my bathroom no longer has a door.”

Joseph’s face darkened further, which Harmony thought a remarkable feat. “If you had come out when I asked you, I wouldn’t have had to take it off the hinges.”

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Back to School Time

Cora here. I've finally caught up on all my reading so I'm back to report on the happenings in Orchard Hill.

School started last week. Now every morning I see children walking by my house on their way to the bus stop on the corner. (By the way, Tommy Jenkins, I know you're the one that's been teasing the new boy. You'd better knock it off or I'll let your mother know.) These kids have a happy school to go to this year, I'm guessing, after all the romances its employees found this summer.

At the end of the last school year, our elementary school principal, Andrew Thomas finally realized he loved his secretary Faith Fielding. The whole town knew she'd been in love with him for years, but apparently this intelligent, educated man didn't know his own feelings until Faith threatened to quit. Now Faith's got a ring on her finger and a smile on her face. Andrew looks pretty happy, too. What would he have done if his daughter and Faith's son hadn't stepped in to give him a little nudge in the right direction?

Then there was an unexpected development between gym teacher Oliver Lawrence and school librarian Hope Velasquez. We were all convinced that Oliver couldn't stand Hope. Boy, were we wrong! Their courtship was a field day for the town gossips. (I don't go in for that sort of stuff myself, but I admit to taking a concerned interest in my neighbors and Faith lives across the street from me.) Although they had a rocky start, Oliver and Hope are happy together now. Their engagement announcement took everyone by surprise, especially Hope's brother Joseph. I don't think Joseph is convinced that Oliver is good enough for his sister. This situation may not be resolved yet!

And then there's speech therapist Sarah Rogers. She offered to help David Daniels with his niece Charity. The poor man's sister passed away and left him as guardian to Charity. He didn't have a clue about how to deal with children, never mind one that has a disability. Anyone could see that they made the perfect family - anyone but Sarah that is! David had quite a time convincing her that he loved her for herself and not because she was great with Charity. You should see the ring she's wearing now! That diamond is so big I'm surprised Sarah doesn't need a wheelbarrow to haul it around in. In most cases I'd say that was just plain showing off, but Sarah deserves it. She's such a sweet girl and she had such a hard start in life. David really wanted to show her how much she meant to him.

You can read the stories of all three couples in Kara Lynn Russell's stories - "Keeping Faith," "Enduring Hope," and "Accepting Charity." All are available at the Wild Rose Press.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Looking Forward in Orchard Hill

Accepting Charity is doing well - it's number one on The Wild Rose Press's inspirational bestseller list! It is number six in a nine story series. That means the final three are coming up yet. Those three revolve around events at the Orchard Hill Community Church and the three big holidays - Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Here's a little sneak peak:
#7 - Disrupting Harmony - Former television show host and expert homemaker Harmony Solberg is happy with her quiet, orderly existence. Then Joseph Velasquez and his brood of noisy children and teenagers move next door, shattering her peace. Against her will, she’s drawn into their lives. Soon she’s sewing Halloween costumes and helping out with the church’s Harvest Celebration. Harmony realizes that she’d rather have a loud, chaotic life with Joseph and family than go back to her picture-perfect, but lonely, old life. Then she receives an offer to host a new television show. Will she chose fame and fortune or home and family? You can read an excerpt from Disrupting Harmony at my website:

#8 - Losing Patience - Shaun Thiesen’s jealous nature and quick temper drove his wife Patience away. Since then he’s been through counseling with Pastor Isaac and gotten involved with the church. Now he’s just waiting for his second chance. When he learns Patience is visiting her parents for Thanksgiving, he thinks this may be it. In only a few precious days he has to win back his wife, and suddenly the stakes are raised when Patience tells him he’s going to be a father. Can Shaun show Patience they deserve a second chance? Losing Patience has a little different tone to it. It's a little more serious than the other stories but I'm really happy with how it turned out. I'll put up an excerpt on my website soon.

#9 - Finding Joy - Shy, timid Joy Harper, the organist for Orchard Hill Community Church has long been overlooked by Pastor Isaac. Then Pansy Parker announces she’s retiring and Joy is asked to fill in as secretary. With an unusually large number of weddings coming up and the Christmas holidays looming, Joy and Isaac put in a lot of hours together and he discovers a beautiful and caring woman beneath Joy’s reserved fa├žade. Can he convince her that the only gift he wants for Christmas is her heart? I believe this will wrap up the series nicely. Look for favorite characters from all the other Orchard Hill stories to make appearances.

Extra! - I'll also be putting out another free read about Ian and Lily from Considering Lily. In spite of Lily's gun shy attitude about relationships and marriage, they may just end up saying "I Do."

What comes after? I thought I'd be happy to see the end of Orchard Hill by the time I'd written all these stories. But I'm not. The characters have all become friends. (One good thing about being a writer. You're never lonely with all these people in your head to talk to.) I may have an idea for at least one more Orchard Hill story. As the saying goes "first comes love, then comes marriage..." We all know what comes after that!