Friday, June 2, 2017

Interview and #Giveaway with Karen Witemeyer

Can ya'll just stand up and scream with me? Serious fan-girling going on over here. We have the illustrious KAREN WITEMEYER here on the blog today, AND she's giving away a copy of her latest release!

Join me in welcoming Karen!

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Thank you so much for visiting us today here at the CCC blog! Can you tell us about your latest release and what inspired you to write the story?

The inspiration for Heart on the Line came way back in 2011 when I was doing research on telegraph communication for another book. I stumbled upon a novel written in 1879 by female telegraph operator Ella Cheever called Wired Love.

Apparently many operators were women in the late 19th century, and they were often identified as such by the delicacy of their “sounding” on the wires. The hero in Miss Thayer’s novel, Clem Stanwood, knows right away that the operator at the “B m” station is female.

Nattie Rogers is intrigued by the mysterious “C” at the “X n” station and seeks out conversations that soon turn flirtatious. These two telegraph operators fall in love over the wire without ever laying eyes on one another.

There is one scene about halfway through the book that served as my inspiration for Heart on the Line. A case of mistaken identity had scared Nattie off, but Mr. Stanwood arranges a visit to her boarding house, and while sitting amongst others in the parlor, he begins tapping out code with his pencil against a marble table top. Nattie recognizes her call name, takes up a pair of scissors, and drums out her answer. They carry on an entire conversation this way with no one else in the parlor suspecting their actions were anything more than idle tapping. Until, that is, Mr. Stanwood reveals himself to be the real “C”.

Nattie jumps to her feet and exclaims aloud, “What do you mean? It cannot be possible!”
Hysterical!

Of course, everyone else in the room thinks she’s lost her mind except the hero who crosses the room to take her hand.  Awww…

In Heart on the Line, I had a great deal of fun creating situations where my two telegraph operators communicated through coded tapping without anyone else being able to understand the significance of their private conversations. It just goes to show that you never know when a random research trail will lead to the perfect plot for a new book.

What is the primary spiritual theme of your book, and if that’s not applicable, what do you hope readers take away from reading your novel?

The theme verse for this novel is 1 Samuel 16:7 – For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. I've been a romance reader since my teen years, and I love swoon-worthy, alpha-male heroes. Yet I think the romance genre as a whole skews the ideal man a little too much in that direction. I have an 18-year old daughter away at college, and when I think of what I want her to look for in a potential mate, good looks and swagger doesn't make the top of the list. It's so much more important to look for deeper character traits like godliness, kindness, a sense of humor, and steadfast dedication even when times get tough. So in this story, I turn the usual romance ingredients on their heads. The hero prefers bicycles to horses, wears spectacles, and is a 19th century technology nerd (hmmm…rather like my husband, come to think of it). He doesn't match the fantasy my heroine has built up in her mind about the man on the other end of the telegraph wire, but she soon learns that looks can be deceiving, and a mad of godly character is one to be treasured.

How did you determine what names to give your characters?

Naming characters is one of my favorite things to do at the beginning of a book, though it is always difficult. To find a name that is historical yet also conveys the personality and arc of the character is a definite challenge. I love using biblical names, and in this story, both of my main characters have names from the Bible. Amos Bledsoe is my hero, a man often overlooked by the ladies of his acquaintance because he doesn't fit the mold of the typical western hero. It seemed appropriate to name him after a minor prophet and biblical book often overlooked as inconsequential when it truth it carries great significance. Grace Mallory is a shy woman who despises the spotlight. She's been hiding for nearly a year from the man who killed her father, using the women's colony of Harper's Station as a sanctuary from danger. Yet when danger finds her, the community extends grace to her by insisting she stay and let them help her defeat her enemy instead of sending her away to protect themselves. It is a picture of how the community of God rallies around each other to overcome our common enemy.

 What hobby do you enjoy in your “free” time (‘cause we know you have tons of free time!)

Free time? What's that? (Grin) One of my favorite activities is cross-stitching. I enjoy doing counted cross-stitch in the evenings while I watch a show or two on television with my husband. I've been stitching since high school and have many pieces on display around my house. I taught my daughter, and while she doesn't do large projects like I do, she still enjoys stitching small projects for gifts. I'm working on a set of medieval maidens right now that will be a gift to my daughter whenever I get them done (hopefully before another year goes by). One maiden is reading a book and the other is playing a flute. Both she and I played flute and are avid readers, so it just seemed like the perfect set of patterns. I've nearly finished the musician. It still needs backstitching and beads for the finishing touches. Then on to the reader.

Because Jaime has some darker elements to her split-time historical and contemporary romantic suspense coming out this year, she likes to ask weird questions. So, if you were to find yourself stranded in a creepy old house at night, who would you want with you to keep you company?

Definitely my husband. He's not a navy seal or anything, but when I'm afraid, no one can comfort me like he can. Besides he has a very sensible head on his shoulders, and I have every confidence that working together, we could overcome any creepy elements that house threw at us.

Anne, Erica, and Gabrielle both write sweet historical romances. How does romance influence your own writing?

I am as sappy as they come. I've been a romance addict for my entire adult life. Well, even from childhood, I suppose. All those wonderful Disney fairy tales. Can't forget those! In my own writing, there is always romance. I insist on happy endings and love the thrill of two people discovering the blessing of true love in their lives. One of my favorite romantic verses in the Bible is Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor; If either of them falls down, one can help the other up… Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. This is my pattern for writing romance. Two people bound by love are stronger than either one alone. They help each other overcome whatever obstacles are in their path. And most important, that cord of three strands. God must be at the core with the two lovers woven around Him. No one can put that relationship asunder.

And for some extra fun . . .

If you could pick one superhero to save you from impending doom, who would it be and why?

Captain America – He's just such a good guy. My favorite line from him: "There's only one God, ma'am, and I'm pretty sure he doesn't dress like that." Love it!

Name one significant heirloom or keepsake you have and why it’s important to you:

After my grandmother passed away, my cousin offer to set aside some things of hers if I would like some keepsakes. I immediately asked for her antique washstand. With my love of historical things, it just seemed the perfect piece to remember her by. I have an ewer and basin, shaving mug complete with brush and soap cake, as well as a few other items. It's one of my favorite pieces of furniture in my house.

We’d love you have you share a snippet from your novel to entice us and hook us! J Please share something below:

It was him. Mr. A. She'd recognize his quick touch at the key anywhere. So crisp and precise. A metronome couldn't create spaces any more rhythmic. She'd long admired his deft hand at the key. Setting her tea on the table, Grace slid into her office chair, a giddy tickle in her stomach despite her best efforts to maintain a sense of detachment.

Yes, Station Dn. I'm here.

Excellent! I worried I had waited too long to call. Dinner at my sister's took longer than expected.

I hope you didn't rush away on my account, Grace tapped.

I was eager to escape. Believe me.

What dastardly plague did they set upon you? Grace grinned to herself as she tapped out the words. Mr. A always seemed to have a humorous story to tell about his family, his life so wonderfully normal that whenever she listened to him, she managed to forget all about danger and unseen foes. For a few blessed minutes, she was simply a girl talking to a young man, no worries in sight.

I dare not tell you, for fear of spreading the contagion. It seems to strike the women around me with alarming regularity.

Intrigued, Grace leaned forward. Surely the distance between us will serve as adequate protection.

My mother and sister have both been afflicted for some time, I'm sorry to say, but tonight their symptoms worsened.

That sounds dire, indeed. Did you call a physician?

No point. There is only one cure to their ailment. And apparently I am the one who must distribute the healing dose.

Then you should do so at once, Grace replied, grinning as she reached for her tea. Mr. A never failed to entertain.

I would, of course, he said, but I find the key ingredient in the required elixir to be frustratingly elusive.

Can you not simply visit a druggist?

I'm afraid not. You see, the item I must find in order to cure this plague of interference is . . . a wife.

The tea Grace had just sipped spewed from her mouth to splatter over the table in front of her. Coughs spasmed in her throat.

A wife?

A strange fluttery sensation danced through her belly. So, he wasn't married. Why did that particular piece of knowledge please her so well? Her hand trembled as she reached for the key. She had to make some kind of response to that. But what exactly should she say?

I'm sure they only have your best interests at heart.

They do. But a twenty-eight year-old man doesn't really want his personal life dictated by his female relations.

Twenty-eight. A man in his prime. A man who was suddenly sharing more personal details with her than he ever had before.

Grace dabbed at the spilled tea with a handkerchief fetched from her skirt pocket, her mind spinning. Was he fishing for details in return? She wanted to reciprocate. It was what a friend would do. Yet she couldn't afford to say too much.

I can't claim as many years of experience dealing with meddling relations as you can, but a couple friends of mine have recently decided that marriage is not without its advantages. Thankfully, they have as yet avoided seeing me as a matchmaking prospect.

Grace yanked her hand from the telegraph key and made a fist, her heart pumping in a wild rhythm. Details cloaked in vagueness. Would he understand what she'd just revealed? The wire remained silent for an eternally long moment.

Count your blessings, he finally sent, his usually metronome-like precision stuttering slightly. Perhaps we could meet sometime to commiserate. I would—

Clear the line, a brash staccato tapping interrupted. I need to break in. This is an emergency.

Grace nearly jumped from her chair at the pounding intrusion. It exploded across the wire like cannon fire in a still forest.

Proceed, came the answer from Mr. A. Immediate. Meticulous. All hint of personal vulnerability gone.

Grace replied in kind, though she feared her touch on the key had yet to reassert its professional tone.

Hs. Dv station has a message to relay. Are you on the wire?

A message from the Denver station? Grace shivered even as she lurched forward to answer. Yes. This is Hs station. G on the wire. Go ahead.

Message relayed from R as follows: He knows where you are. Coming for you. Sorry.

Everything in Grace stilled. Numbness spread from her mind to her limbs and finally to her heart. Her day of reckoning had arrived. Chaucer Haversham had found her.

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WOW! I'm hooked! Are you??? :) Buy it here and don't forget to enter to win!!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

82 comments:

  1. I signed up for the newsletter! I'd love to read the book - the main sounds fascinating.

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    1. Thanks, Amy. I thought it was time to break away from the typical alpha male hero. Give those nice & nerdy guys some love. Since I'm married to one and raising a few myself. :-)

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  2. Karen, I'm so excited for this book! I am also signed up for the newsletter.

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    1. Wonderful! Thanks for signing up, Ashley.

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  3. I signed up!! I love all your books and would love to read this one

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  4. I've previously signed up for Karen's newsletter. She's celebrating a 25th wedding anniversary by the way! (You need to pick my suggestion of Niagra Falls or Macinaw Island for a weekend getaway) And Karen you need to get with Erica on the cross-stitch hobby. Y'all both do amazing work!
    I would so love to win this book. Sounds so interesting. I love any historical book that puts women in different type occupations. (Jody Hedlund Lighthouse series, Erica's where sheriff and school teacher swap jobs).

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    1. Oh. And the Verse you mentioned about two being better together..... I used that when I was pushing for my husband to propose! I bought him a nice Bible for his birthday and wrote that verse in the front! It took another year, however, to convince him...... 😩

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    2. Erica's a stitcher??? How did I not know this. That's awesome! We need to get together for a stitch and read party.

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    3. I love that verse, Gail. My hubby and I had it read at our wedding. Glad you nudged your man with it. He might have been a little slow to take the hint, but good things come to those who wait. :-)

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  5. I preordered the Kindle book MONTHS ago. Can't wait to crack it open next week. Well, click it open. ;)

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    1. Your my hero, Rhonda! Love those preorders. Hope you enjoy Amos and Grace's story!

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  6. Karen, I'd already signed up for your newsletter. I just love your books, the tension, the feeling. You bring love to life.
    Kari Trumbo

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  7. Really enjoyed reading this interview, Karen. I love your books - just added A Worthy Pursuit and Full Steam Ahead to my hard copy collection (I have them for kindle too!). I love the characters, the biblical worldview, the story, and the humor in your books. You have just the right amount without making anything feel ridiculous. Heart and humor. Thanks for sharing your gifts with us all!

    I cross stitch also, but not as much right now because of having a 4 month old. Beautiful job!

    And Captain America is my favorite too :).

    Hope you have a lovely day today!

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    1. Hi, Brianna. I love that you stitch, too. Yes, I remember how impossible it was to do that when the kids were little. I tried to stitch once they were down. Mainly because I created stitched names for each of them to hang on their walls and every child had to have a cross-stitch stocking for Christmas after arriving on the scene. But after a while I fizzled out and had to take a break for a couple years. I'm back at it now, though, and loving it!

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  8. I signed up for your newsletter. I'm a stitcher of a different needle. I crochet! A weekend in the mountains of north Arkansas would be a perfect getaway. They are beautiful. Brandon, Missouri has lots of shows and breathtaking scenery.

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    1. Another stitcher! Yay! I never learned to crochet, but I have a few friends who do, and it looks very relaxing. we are actually planning a writer's retreat in Branson next spring for a small group I get together with once a year. I've never been to Branson before, but it looks amazing!

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  9. I really enjoy reading your books and I just finished "No Other Will Do" which was fantastic! Looking forward to reading "Heart on the Line".

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  10. Thanks, Laurel! I'm so glad you are enjoying the Ladies of Harper's Station series!

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  11. That's so cool that you cross-stitch! I do too. I usually only do occasional big projects because the repetition bothers my wrists. I've done my husband's and my daughter's Christmas stockings, and I still need to do mine.

    I'm already an email subscriber, and I can't wait to read Heart on the Line! It sounds so exciting!

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    1. Yay for stitching! At Christmas time, my house is decked in it. From stockings to ornaments to wall hangings to the tree skirt. Ha! It's everywhere.

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  12. I just signed up for the newsletter - I'm surprised I wasn't already a recipient. I enjoy the humor in Karen's books!

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  13. What a wonderful interview! Glad I saw your author's page on Facebook...thanks for a chance at winning...blessings to All.

    Will sign up for newsletter.

    silhouetteinscale@yahoo.com

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    1. Glad you enjoyed the interview, Juanita. They gave me some really fun questions!

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  14. I dinged up. Love reading your books because they always have fun characters and the storyline is full of surprises.

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  15. What a fun blog post! I can't wait to read this book. Karen, that's neat that you cross stitch. I'm not sure I'd have the patience for it, but I greatly admire that skill. My mom used to do it all the time when I was a kid. We have something she made hanging up in our living room now.

    I was already signed up for your newsletter :-)

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    1. What can I say? I've always been one of those kids who loved following directions. I almost feel like I'm breaking a sacred rule if I decide to change a color scheme in a cross-stitch pattern or something wild and crazy like that. Ha!

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  16. Oops, I left my fan girl gushing on the newsletter comments but I will repeat it here. ☺️
    I just love your books. LOVE. Smart women, heroic men who pursue a woman's heart, faith lessons, humor. I gobble each new release like a kid given free reign in a candy store. Then I re-read and re-read and re-read (really! It's like visiting old friends.) to my heart's content. I'm looking forward to Grace and Amos's story. Thank you for hours of happy escape. 💖

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    1. Re-reading is about the best compliment an author can receive. Thanks, Melanie. :-)

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  17. Last Christmas I wasn't familiar with Karen Witemeyer. Now I've read all of your books, (most of them twice) and anxiously await the next one! I enjoy the humor as well as the Texas settings, since, you know, it's MY state! ~One of your newest fans :)

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    1. Wow! That's awesome. So glad we "found each other" Ms Jones. :-)

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    2. Me too! So far, my favorite book of yours has been "To Win Her Heart" I love the fact that the hero has an imperfection he strives to overcome!

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    3. Yes, Levi was pretty special. I still carry a torch for him. 😉

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  18. I'm signed up for your newsletter! I love your humor and wit in your books. It's one thing I always look forward to when I pick up one to read!

    I also love the unconventional hero angle. If I was to only look at the outward appearance, my husband wouldn't have been my first choice. But God knew what I needed! He's warm, loving, a strong Godly leader, full of humor, a great comforter and I can rely on him at all times. He has a heart of gold and I'm blessed to be married to him for the last 20 years. :-) I dated a couple of guys as a young woman who were my ideal physical type...tall and beyond handsome. They ended up being ugly inside! So you can't always judge a book by it's cover.

    I love the sound of this new book!! And I have no doubt that it's going to be just as good as the rest of your writing! What a fun history tidbit you shared about telegraph romances. I can see how one could carry on without anyone noticing, lol! Thanks for the fun author interview and giveaway chance.

    I'm heading over to my libraries website to request they purchase a paperback :-) I think everyone should read this, don't you?

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    1. Trixi - Our husbands sound like perfect matches. I could describe Wes the same way. We celebrate 25 years on Monday. Wouldn't trade him for anything. (Be sure to read the dedication page. ;-))

      And thank you so much for requesting a copy at your library. That is wonderful!

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  20. I love your books! Thanks for a chance to win this one!

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    1. Thank YOU for being such a loyal reader, Janelle.

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  21. I signed up for the newsletter, in case I am not already on there. And one of the things I love most about Karen's books is her sense of humor. I would love to win this book. I was blessed to read the first book in the series, and can't wait to read this one.

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    1. Thanks, Aimee. I love to laugh. I'm glad I've been able to make you smile.

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  22. Looking forward to reading this book.

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  23. Been loving her books since I first picked up Short Straw Bride!

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  24. I was already signed up for the newsletter. I love the characters and their interactions. I also love the spiritual aspect.

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    1. Thanks so much for signing up, Adrienne.

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  25. I signed up for the newsletter. I love her books for the humor.
    Thereadmaster@me.com

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  26. All signed up! :) Can't wait for the new release!!!

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  27. I'm signed up for Karen's newsletter. I've read all of Karen's books except maybe for a novella. I'm looking forward to reading Heart on the Line. I love her books because of the adventure, strong women characters, humor, and wonderful heroes. Also the romance, of course! Thanks for the chance to win this new book.

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    1. Thanks for being such a loyal reader, Pam. Gotta get you that missing novella. 😉

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  28. I will scream and fangirl with you!
    I signed up for Karen's Newsletter, though I might have done so before. I LOVE Karen's books, I have all of them on my Kindle and thanks to a special person who gave me an audible.com subscription, I several on audible too. I love that all of her female characters have a mind of their own. Of course I love the romance too. My book budget is in the negative column right now. I would love to win this book in any format.

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    1. Thanks, Andrea. Gotta keep those gals with their own minds. 😊

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  29. Ok Karen, not only did I request "Love on the Line" but also "None Other Will Do" since they are book one and two :-) I really hope my library does indeed purchase them. I'll let you know via FB or contact via your website!

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    1. Oops...that's No Other Will Do...sorry!

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  30. I am signed up for your newsletter and I love your blog! All the little extras you put in there are just so fun! I think my favorite thing I've read from there thus far was when you gave us the epilogue from a Tailor made bride. I can't wait for this book!

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    1. So glad you enjoyed that epilogue, Sireena.

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  31. Thanks for this fun interview, Karen! Now I'm even more excited to read Heart on the Line! Even before I've read it I've fallen in love with the characters just from their descriptions. That's what I love about your books,wonderful three dimensional characters in exciting situations. There's never anything cliche about your stories!!

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  32. Oops! Forgot to mention I signed up for your newsletter! :) Thanks for your giveaway!

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  33. I just history and romance in books, and this book looks great

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    1. I'm an historical romance nerd all the way, Rebecca. Hope you give Amos and Grace a try.

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  34. I am already a subscriber. I have followed her new releases ever since reading her first book - I really enjoy her historical fiction, particularly with the home/TX setting. Enjoyed the interview!

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    1. Thanks for being such a loyal reader, Cathy!

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  35. Hi Karen, I signed up for your newsletter and got a confirm email ~ (thought I was already signed but am now for sure!) Blessings to you and appreciate your fun writings with a message (no pun intended, lol). Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House

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    1. Thanks, Kathleen! And I love puns, intended or not. 😉

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  36. I'm signed up for Karen's e-mail. I like the heroines in Karen's books as well as her covers - they always look so pretty!

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    1. I've been blessed with really great cover designers. So glad you like them, too, Elizabeth.

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  37. I'm already subscribed to the newsletter and love all of your books! I love the realism of the characters and their emotions!

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  38. I signed up for Karen's newsletter. I've not yet had the pleasure of reading her books. Thank you for the chance.

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    1. Thanks, Caryl. I hope you'll give them a try. 😀

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  39. I love that you are a cross-stitcher, too! :) I learned when I was in my teens, and really enjoy it.

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    1. Me, too! My best friend and I started st the same time. She doesn't stitch any more, but it stuck with me. I even worked in a needle craft store the summer after my junior year in high school worked with an older lady who taught me some great tricks. As a matter or fact, that maiden I've been working on was just finished yesterday. Time to start the next one!

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  40. I have several of Ms Witemeyer books on my keeper shelf...would love to add this one. I've signed up for her newsletter.

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  41. I may have already been signed up, but I did again just in case!

    I love Karen's books because of the humor in them.

    I did cross stitch in my younger days but haven't picked any up for years. I do still have some of my supplies, even after two moves.

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Hey friend! Please leave a comment, no lurking allowed ;)