Thursday, September 6, 2012

End of Summer Bash: Party with Lynnette Bonner!

I'm pleased that today's guest is Lynnette Bonner, author of a Western romance series with plenty of characters to fall in love with and a lot of faith mixed in! You can read my review of High Desert Haven HERE. And you can keep reading to learn more about the next (third) book in the series, Fair Valley Refuge - and learn how you can enter the giveaway for an e-copy of the book!

Amber: Welcome, Lynnette! What’s one summer-themed song you would love to hear at an “end-of-summer” party?

Lynnette: When I was a junior in high school our class put on a Senior Banquet for the seniors. Our theme was a southern plantation and all our entertainment was set around that theme. One of the songs we sang was "Summertime." Here is a version on YouTube sung by Ella Fitzgerald:

I just love this song – maybe because it tells a bit of a story.

Amber: That's really cool - and how nice of you juniors to do that for the seniors! This is a rather swingin' version of the song. =)

If the heroine of Fair Valley Refuge was planning an “end-of-summer” party, what might it look like?

Lynnette: Well, she’d have to keep her 3 adopted children happy, so likely they’d go out to the field where Rocky set up a rope swing for them. There would be crispy fried chicken, thick syrupy baked beans, corn on the cob, fluffy biscuits, and wedges of warm golden apple pie drizzled with cream for dessert. The whole town would be invited and Hannah would bring all the orphans from the orphanage. Mr. Smyth from the bank would probably want to initiate a three-legged race, and Rocky would talk Victoria into participating, much to her own chagrin. But fun would be had by all.

Amber: Sounds like a great time! I would love to dig in to some of that chow. =)

Now for the hero of Fair Valley Refuge… What would he look forward to most about autumn?

Lynnette: Rocky loves his family, so his favorite thing about autumn is all the work days they’d do together to put up food for winter. There’s hog slaughtering day, with the children scampering about everywhere and Victoria’s face in a pretty flush from standing over the hot stove all day. Then there are the days that Ma and Brooke and Sharyah come over to put up quarts and quarts of berry preserves, while he and Sky work on winterizing the barn for the young foals that were born late spring. And of course Autumn means that night comes on sooner, giving him more time in the house of an evening with Victoria and the kids… he loves to hear Victoria read to the children.

Amber: Aww, he sounds like a good, hard-working man! (And the women sure work hard, too!)

Please share some more about Fair Valley Refuge. We’d love a brief snippet if you’d care to share one! 

Lynnette: Since my story begins in Summer, I’ll share [a part of] the first chapter with you here…

~ Excerpt from FVR ~ 

Shiloh, Oregon. April, 1887 

Victoria Snyder gasped and snatched the newspaper closer to her face. “Oh! Today of all days!” How had she missed seeing the ad until just now? 

Mama rushed into the dining room, her hair still in rag curls. ‘What is it, Victoria? I thought I heard you talking to someone?” 

Victoria schooled her features, carefully folded the paper and set it aside. Wedding planning. That’s what’s kept me from noticing it. The last thing Mama needed to worry about on her wedding day was a couple more needy children. “It’ll keep, Mama.” 

She stood and placed a kiss on Mama’s cheek, hoping the wild pounding of her heart could not be heard. In her own ears it sounded like the thunder of a wild stampede. Her mind rushed over today’s schedule. Would she make it to the train station on time? It would be tight, but she could make it. She had to make it. 

She patted Mama’s shoulders forcing her thoughts back to the present task. “You are going to be the most beautiful bride in Oregon today!” 

Mama chuckled. “Well, not with these things in my hair!” Come help me take them out, would you? My arms get dreadfully tired, trying to untie them all.” 

Victoria grinned, delighted by her mother’s excitement. She would think about getting to the train station, after the wedding. Right now she wanted to revel in Mama’s giddiness. “Dr. Martin will be happy to take you as his wife any way he can get you! I think you should walk down the aisle with all those rags in your hair, just to see if he really loves you, or not!” 

“Oh, Posh!” Mama waved away her joke with a flick of her wrist. 

Victoria covered her mouth as Mama grinned and rushed from the room in a flurry of frilled petticoats. She couldn’t stop a little giggle at the thought of Mama actually showing up at the church with all her rag curls still in. Wouldn’t that give Julia Nickerson something to talk about at the next quilting bee! 

Lifting the skirt of her new golden-yellow gown, she followed Mama to help her finish getting ready. Entering the room, she glanced around and smoothed a hand down the front of her dress. Everywhere she looked Mama’s touch was evident. From the colorful, hand-appliqu├ęd floral quilt they’d sewn the year Victoria turned thirteen, to the braided rugs they’d just finished last summer – everything in this room would be a reminder of Mama. She fiddled with the pendant at her throat, unanticipated dread threatening to rob her of today’s joy. After the wedding, Mama and Dr. Martin were going on a wedding tour to San Francisco, California. And when Mama got back she would move into Dr. Martin’s little home above his office. Mama’s trunks were already packed and waiting by the door. 

Mama caught her eye in the mirror. “I’ll just be across town, Ria.” 

Victoria forced a smile. “Of course you will. It’ll just be different. I’ll get used to it. And,” she shook her finger, “don’t think you are getting away from me, because I plan to visit you! Often!” 

Mama chuckled. “You’d better, or I will come after you with my rolling pin! Now,” she patted her hair and arched her dark eyebrows. 

Victoria stepped up behind her and deftly began pulling the rags from her hair. She glanced up and compared their reflections. They were about as different as any two women could be. Mama’s dark hair and coffee colored eyes graced a heart-shaped face with a smooth, clear complexion. It amazed her that anyone in this town actually believed she was Clarice Snyder’s daughter. Even Papa had been blessed with dark hair and bronze skin. 

Before Mama and Papa had moved to Shiloh they had lived in Nebraska. She could still vividly remember the taunts the children at school used to hurl at her. She swallowed and pressed away the memories. That was in the past. Still, she often wondered if she really did have vile blood running through her veins. Who were her people? Where had she come from? 

“What are you thinking, honey?” 

Victoria wrinkled her freckled nose at her red hair. “It’s amazing that anyone in this town believes I’m really your daughter.” 

Mama’s features softened. She reached up and patted Victoria’s hand, meeting her gaze in the mirror. “You are as much my daughter as anyone of my own flesh and blood could ever have been, darling. The day the Good Lord brought you to Papa and me was the best day of our lives, and don’t you be forgetting it. Just because I’m marrying again and moving over to the doctor’s house, doesn’t mean I don’t love you.” “I know.” 

Victoria made an effort to lift her shoulders and put a smile on her face. She would get through this. Mama certainly deserved this bit of happiness after all she’d been through. 

Mama spun around on the stool and captured Victoria’s hands. “Honey, I know I’ve told you this before, but I want to remind you again. You are special. Just because your parents gave you up, doesn’t mean the Lord doesn’t have great plans for you. I can’t tell you the number of times that I’ve thanked the Lord for sending you to Papa and me.” Tears pooled in her eyes. “When Jesus took Papa home, I thought I wouldn’t be able to bear it, and you were such a source of strength to me.” 

Victoria pressed a handkerchief into Mama’s hands, blinking back tears of her own. “Now, Mama. We can’t have you looking all puffy-eyed on your wedding day.” 

Mama chuckled and dabbed at her tears. “Honey, I just don’t want you to feel like I’m abandoning you.” 

Pulling her into a hug, Victoria rested her cheek atop the dark curls. “I know you aren’t. Things are just going to be different. It’ll just take a little while to adjust, is all. I’m so happy for you. And I’m really glad you are feeling so much better, lately. I don’t know what I would do if I lost you, too.” And that was the truth of it. 

Mama patted her arm. “I’m not planning on skipping through the pearly gates anytime soon, dear. I’m afraid you are stuck with me for a good long while yet.” 

Victoria chuckled. “Good! Now,” she set Mama away from her and spun her back towards the mirror, “we need to finish getting you ready. Sky Jordan said he would be here to get you at ten and it’s already a quarter past nine. We can’t have you late to your own wedding!” She removed the last few rags from Mama’s hair. 

Grinning, Mama clasped a pearl necklace about her throat. “Doc said he’d come for me himself, if I was even one minute late.” 

“I can see him doing it, too.” Victoria plucked the wedding dress off the bed and gestured for Mama to stand. Settling the gorgeous champagne satin over Mama’s head, Victoria fluffed and fussed with the skirt until it lay in disciplined pleats over the voluminous petticoats. Stepping back she admired the ecru lace and pearls that graced the fitted bodice of the gown. “Oh Mama! You are so beautiful! Here.” She gestured to the stool in front of the dressing table again and Mama sat. Victoria bent and began fastening the tiny satin-covered buttons that lined the back of the dress. 

Mama cleared her throat and fiddled with something on the dresser top. “Rocky got back home this week.” 

Victoria’s fingers stilled, her heart shying like a stung mare. Resuming the buttoning, she carefully kept any hint of emotion from her voice. “I heard.” 

“He stopped by Doc’s last night while Hannah and I were there. Doc asked him to walk me down the aisle. I was hoping he’d get back in time.” 

“Before she went back to the orphanage last night, Hannah told me he was shot trying to help Jason apprehend a criminal.” 

“Mmmm, but Doc says he’s going to be fine. It will just take a few weeks for him to fully recover the use of his arm.” 

Victoria fastened the last button and stood. Her lips pressed together, she reached for the brush and styled Mama’s hair for the beautiful pearl combs. Nothing she said would keep the morning peaceful. Mama loved Rocky and had been gently pressuring Victoria in his direction for years – ever since Victoria had innocently proclaimed on her thirteenth birthday that she thought she loved him. 

“Honey.” Mama waited until Victoria met her gaze in the mirror. “I would much rather have had the few years I had with Robert, than to have never known what it was like to love him at all. Only the Lord knows the future. Don’t rob yourself of happiness because you are afraid of what the future holds.” 

Victoria snugged the last comb into a wave of dark hair and rested the circlet of the veil on Mama’s head, then bent and kissed Mama’s warm cheek. “Alright, I promise not to rob myself of future happiness.” 

Mama arched a slim, dark brow. 

Victoria gave her a cheeky smile, knowing she hadn’t promised what Mama really wanted to hear. 

“Ria, you know good and well what I mean.” 

Victoria sighed. “Mama, Rocky has not so much as ever even hinted that he thinks of me as more than a friend. But if he does, I promise you I will seriously consider him.” 

A gleam of satisfaction leapt into Mama’s eyes and she nodded her acquiescence to Victoria’s promise. 

There. Now Mama could go through the day with a light heart. 

And it wasn’t like she was in any danger of having to follow through on her promise. Rocky was never going to pay attention to her in that way. So she would never have to worry about having a lawman for a husband – A lawman who could be killed in the line of duty anytime he went to work, or even stepped out his door to call in the dog. 

And that would definitely ensure her future happiness. 

~ End of Excerpt ~

(Note: You can read a longer excerpt from Fair Valley Refuge, as well as read excerpts from the first two books in the series, by clicking HERE!)

Amber: Great set-up for a conflict-ridden romance! And that's unique to have the heroine start out by helping her mother prepare for her wedding. Thanks for joining us today, Lynnette!

Readers, here's Lynnette's giveaway:

"I’m offering an electronic give-away of Fair Valley Refuge, so it is open internationally. I can give an .epub format, a PDF format, or a .mobi format. So the book can be read on pretty much any reading device a reader might have."

Awesome! So, if you would like a chance to win an e-copy of the book, leave a comment for Lynnette, including your name and e-mail address. All "End of Summer Bash" winners will be announced on Saturday, September 8th.

*This giveaway is open internationally.*

Tomorrow's guest writes about the American frontier with wonder and grace, and her latest cover has a color scheme perfect for the coming season. Our last interview and giveaway of the week are ones you don't want to miss!

(Music video from YouTube.)


Miranda said...

My God, the descriptions are so rich! And with emotion and sweet, endearing gestures between mother and daughter too! I certainly learned a thing or two and loved it!

I also love that it tells that family is made of the people God has given us, whether by blood or otherwise. And 'Pearly Gates', who thought heaven could be described that way. Great job Lynnette!

And yeah that summer chow has got me dreaming too! ;)


PDF please! :)

Anne Elisabeth Stengl said...

Heheh, great minds thought alike on "Summertime." Got to love Ella's rendition. :)

Your story sounds quirky and delightful, Lynnette!

Amber Holcomb said...

Good morning, ladies! :) Good to see you here!

MIRANDA: Thank you for your comment (and your contest entry!)! I'm sure a comment like that would brighten any author's day! :)

ANNE: I thought it was fun that two of you picked the same song! ;) And two others actually picked the same band... (More on that tomorrow.) So great minds must think alike, for sure!

Thanks for stopping by!


Lynnette Bonner said...

Miranda, thank you for the kind words. :)

Anne, Yes, I had to chuckle when I saw your song selection, too. It must be a great summer song! :)

Amanda, thanks so much for having me on the blog today to share with your readers.

Patricia PacJac Carroll said...

Sounds like a fun story, Lynette. Got me curious about the paper and what Victoria is going to get herself into. : )

Ladette said...

Lynette, I LOVE your NAME! :)

Sounds like a great book... I have the first one on Kindle, would love to win this one!! :)



Mrs Tina said...

I enjoyed the interview & the story excerpts. Sounds like a good story.
Please enter me in the contest.

Blessings, Tina Rice

Unknown said...

Sounds wonderful, Lynette. Suzanne D. Williams

Debbie Curto said...

Would love to win! I would buy the 2nd book .I have 1

Unknown said...

sounds like a great read. Thanks

karenk said...

this sounds like a beautiful story...thanks for the chance to read it, amber

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Lynnette Bonner said...

Thanks for all the encouraging words, everyone. :)

Laura Frantz said...

Lynnette, Great to see you here and learn more about FVR:) You write the kind of books I love with lots of angst and conflict and romance - hard to put down, indeed! A wonderful book to head into fall with!

Amanda Stanley said...

Hi Amber & Lynnette!! Amber, I'm so happy you had Lynnette here! Fun interview and great excerpt! :)

Lynnette, I read RMO back when it first came out and thought is was a beautiful book! Would love a chance to read FVR, especially after reading the excerpt and their fun ideas for celebrating the seasons! Thank you so much for the chance to win your book :)

Blessings to you both!!

Lynnette Bonner said...

Laura, Thank you. I've had my eye on your new Love's Reckoning too. :) I just love the cover on that one.

Amanda, I'm glad you enjoyed the first story. Thanks for dropping by. :)

Miranda said...

Lynnette : Welcome =) =)

Amber: Welcome =) =)

Melanie said...

Would love to read book three! I loved High Desert Haven! :)

frequentreader19 at gmail dot com
~Christian Bookshelf Reviews~

Anonymous said...

The cover of this book is gorgeous!! :) I have never read by Lynnette Bonner, but I would love to try her books!


Amber Holcomb said...

LYNNETTE: I just wanted to thank you again for being willing to be a part of the "bash" this week! :) It's been fun!

EVERYONE: Good luck in the drawing! I'm happy you stopped by!


Lynnette Bonner said...

Thanks so much for having me, Amber! :)