Friday, July 15, 2022

Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway: Thumb Fire Desire by Carol Nickles

Welcome to my stop on the virtual book tour for Thumb Fire Desire by Carol Nickles. This book tour was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. On my stop, I have an excerpt from the book as well as a lovely guest post about second chance romance tropes from the author. There's also the tour wide giveaway for a chance to win a $50 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card. Be sure to visit the other stops on the tour for more content. Enjoy!
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Title: Thumb Fire Desire
Author: Carol Nickles
Publication Date: June 22nd 2022
Print Length: 385 pages
Genre: Historical Romance
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In the Spring of 1881, indigent seamstress Ginny Dahlke arrives in one of the earliest Polish American settlements-Parisville, Michigan.
 
Deemed charmless and awkward by her mean-spirited sister-in-law, Ginny disparages her chance of securing love. But sought-after widowed farmer Peter Nickles is enamored by Ginny's perseverance, her pioneer spirit and, her inclusive acceptance of the indigenous peoples of Michigan.
 
The seductiveness of a buxom heiress, a twisted story of an old-country betrothal, and the largest natural disaster in Michigan's history-The Great Thumb Fire of September 5, 1881, challenge their fledgling attraction and ultimate committal.

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EXCERPT:
The northbound Dove was a day late. Now Tom’s worry expanded beyond land and fixed on friends he knew who traveled the lake, no doubt in danger from the disorienting darkness created from the inferno on land. How would the Dove crew find the docks? Could the fires of hell fall upon an innocent ship and swallow it in flames just as it had to the boats docked onshore? What could he do to guide them in or know their fate? But Tom had little time to worry about his sailor friends. The land drifters, the bedraggled, and their dead kept appearing at his door. Each brought with them a different story of horror and grief.

Marie handed a toddler one of the ragdolls she had made to sell.

The child clutched the toy to her smoky clothing, sat on the floor at Marie’s feet, and rocked. Her mother offered Marie a wan smile and returned her attention to an infant suckling her breast.

“Taraski,” one of the survivors called after him. “Look outside at your new farm.”

In addition to the stranded, homeless, battered humans making their way to his store, a pathetic collection of chickens, pigs, sheep, horses, and cows, with hair, fur, and feathers singed away, hobbled to Tom’s property. Tom looked on in horror. Many of the animals walked on burned-away hooves or feet. Steeling himself once more that day, he returned to the back of his store for guns and a barrel of ammunition.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Carol Nickles is the sixth generation of a German textile aficionado family. In 1881, her great-great-great-grandfather founded Yale Woolen Mill—the longest-lasting of Michigan’s once twenty-nine woolen mills. Carol earned a Master’s degree in Historic Clothing & Textiles at Michigan State University. Her thesis is a narrative of the Yale Woolen Mill. She held faculty positions at both Utah and Michigan State universities. She lives in West Michigan and enjoys spinning a tale, weaving a story, and threading a luring hook.

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GUEST POST:
In each of my novels, second chance is front and center.

Romance novels are required to end on a happy note. Writing second chance is a grand opportunity to turn sorrow into joy. It is magic that doesn’t always mirror real life. But reading romance guarantees you’ll feel good by the time you finish reading the book. And boy, do I enjoy making folks feel joy.

In Thumb Fire Desire, the slowly introduced backstory of widowed farmer Peter Nickles initiates readers to the ever-present sorrow trailing him in the wake of his wife’s death.

Grief is involved in second chance. And it affords a rich trope. The character affected is bound to behave in an unusual pattern. He kicks the dog. He sucks down a liter of tequila. He goes without brushing his teeth for weeks on end. He donates large sums of money to gorilla research. He may experience a heightened sense of sight, touch, hearing, smell, and awareness.

In Thumb Fire Desire, Peter Nickles suffers perplexing dreams—a heightened paranormal awareness. Here is an excerpt:

She came to him. In sleepy wonder, he sensed his heart swelling. His chest expanded, busting loose suffocating shackles of heartache. She pranced barefoot, and Lord, she was naked. She glided on tiptoe, her satiny tresses swinging free, alternately baring her breasts and camouflaging them. She threw open the cellar door and disappeared.

Peter leaned over the stairway, starstruck and mute, his heart hammering.

Franny disappeared into the dark cave.

Crash-crash-crash.

Peter stretched his boot and fanned the toe along the floor, feeling his way down the stairs. A light, glittering and red-hot, impaled his eyes and suspended his steps.

Crash-crash-crash.

Glass shards bit his face and fell into his breast pocket.

“Tomatoes,” she screamed.

Crash.

“Beets,” she hollered. “I hate beets. Red, they stained my fingers red.”

Crash.

“Sauerkraut, yuck. Caraway seeds scattering everywhere. I hate sauerkraut, but Peter, Peter craves it, and so do maggots.”

Crash-crash-crash.

Peter awoke. Moonlight pricked his forehead. A ring of sweat wet the collar of his nightshirt, and below the garment’s pocket, his chest stung.

In second-chance trope, the grief-mired character experiences a myriad of reawakened feelings. Despair is dismissed. Hopeful dreams gain ground. Spring is fresher than it ever was. Food is tastier. Touch is relished. All of this revitalization offers building poetic sentences for the lyrical writer, which I strive to be.

Here is an excerpt.

He eased his hands into the everyday work, and he took to whistling a tune—the same ditty James McGrarry had sung—the same one that had set Marianna Gugsak’s feet dancing. Peter had other plans for the shingle earnings. First, he would cultivate more rye and alfalfa, and lately, he had considered raising sheep and even adding a crop of flax. The last two additions would please Ginny since both yielded fibers to develop into textiles.

What would five dollars allow me to buy Ginny? Fancy ribbons for her hair? A brush and comb set? A silver thimble? His breath calmed. His chest went light. Exhaling heavily, he lifted the floorboard in the barn, extracted the heavy tin, and popped the lid. He culled his fingers through the coins and listened in satisfaction to the clank, clank, clank, clank thuds. If he married again, it wouldn’t be out of greed. If he married again, it would be for love.

Second-chance implies characters more seasoned with relationships. Hence, they are more complicated and less predictable when it comes to love. Are they hardened against love? Are they content with their memories? Are they seeking a new lease on life? Can they love anew? Will they feel guilty about their last partner?

Complicated characters are more fun to write. They show up with their own backstories, unfolding drama, and the mystery of how things will all work out. Cheers to the Second-Chance Trope!
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GIVEAWAY:
Carol Nickles will be awarding a $50 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter. Good luck!

(All the Ups and Downs is not responsible for this giveaway, its entries, or the prize. Goddess Fish Promotions and the author assume all responsibility over this giveaway.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

122 comments:

  1. Lovely post! Thanks for hosting me!

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    1. You're very welcome! Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment. =)

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  2. congrats on the tour, this sounds amazing

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    1. Thank you for hopping on the tour. I think readers are pleased. Three 5 star Amazon reviews so far!

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  3. This sounds like an interesting book and I also like the cover.

    abfantom at yahoo dot com

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    1. Thank you. It was very fulfilling to write. I am amazed at how many people were unaware of this event - including me!

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  4. I liked the excerpt. Sounds like a good read.

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  5. Thank you Rita! This manuscript was in edits for 17 months after I got the contract. I am so happy to finally see it in print!

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  6. I want to learn about the Great Fire, Thank you

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    1. It is a pretty remarkable event - still considered the most significant natural disaster in Michigan's history. It definitely changed the course of history. Thank you for your interest!

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  7. Sounds like a book I would enjoy.

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    1. Thank you Sherry. I think it's a book that will appeal to many people on different levels - history of course, Polish American culture, culture of indigenous peoples of Michigan, farming and agriculture history, horses, plants, machinery, food, religion and much more! Thank you for stopping in today! Keep following the tour for more opportunities to win the $50 Amazon Gift Card!

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  8. I enjoyed the excerpt. Sounds like a great book.

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    1. Thanks Peg. I enjoyed incorporating authentic bird calls and tree names and horses, etc. It felt like taking a long walk in nature.

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  9. Good book for Summer reading.
    Thanks for the contest.

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    1. You're welcome! Thank you for stopping by the tour! Thumb Fire Desire takes place in the summer of 1881 so for that matter alone, it is a great summer read!

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  10. Replies
    1. Happy Friday to you! And happy weekend! I hope you are enjoying a riveting book!

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  11. David HollingsworthJuly 15, 2022 at 6:03 PM

    What inspires you to write books?

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    1. Hi David, I like that writing has so many challenging levels - pushing out a rough draft, then playing with pieces like a puzzle to make sure everything is in the right place, the polishing edits, the galleys, the nail-biting signing off and then all the efforts to market. That is a great question. What inspires you?

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  12. I enjoy reading historical romance. Sounds like a great book!

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    1. Thank you so much Susan! Most readers are telling me it's difficult to set Thumb Fire Desire aside once you open the cover. I wanted to tell this true story through a deep point of view. What did it feel like to sit on a fence rail and fall in love? What did the fire sound like? What bird sounds rent the air in the fire's aftermath?

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  13. Happy Friday! I love the cover, synopsis and excerpt, this sounds like an excellent story. Thank you for sharing your guest post and book details, I have enjoyed reading about you and your work and I am looking forward to reading Thumb Fire Desire

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    1. Hello Bea! Nice to see you! You are so kind to stop by and follow me. I hope to see you on the next stops! Have a great weekend!

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  14. As a woman with a Polish background, I would love to read this. Sounds very interesting. I love novels that are based in the past.

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    1. I have so much affection for Polish culture. My mother-in-law, of Polish culture was so fiercely protective of her family and her cooking was extraordinary. She is one of the people I dedicated the book to and in fact, the main female character in Thumb Fire Desire is named after her! Trust me, Stephanie, there is much detail regarding Polish culture in the book.

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  15. I enjoyed reading the guest post and the excerpt and I am looking forward to reading Thumb Fire Desire! Thanks for sharing it with me and have a fabulous TGIF!

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    1. Hi Stormy! So nice to see you on this blog! I appreciate your kind comments and hope to see you on the next stops! You have a wonderful weekend!

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  16. My daughter would enjoy this book

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    1. Thank you! It's really fun sharing books with family and friends.

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  17. Thanks Dale! So kind of you to stop by! This book took several years to write and it spent 17 months in edits once a contract was written, so I think I've given it a pretty good shot!

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    1. Hi Deb, So kind of you to stop by! I really tried to make it interesting. My editor expects suspense and sensory items on every page. I think it's a great model. I hope you read Thumb Fire Desire!

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    1. Thank you Thomas! I am grateful you stopped by on the Virtual Book Tour. I hope you have a chance to enjoy nature and a good book on your weekend!

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  20. I think everything about this book is wonderful - genre title and cover!
    Thank you for sharing it.

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    1. Thank you! Don't you just love summer? People everywhere on vacation with books in their hands! Yay! You are so thoughtful to stop by the blog and I really appreciate it! You have a wonderful weekend too and I hope it includes a good book!

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  22. Thank you for those inspiring comments, Barbara. Writing is a lonely job and then when the book releases, writers are thrown into a whirlwind of meeting nice people like you! What a great reward!

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  23. Looks like a cool book to read. I like reading a little of everything to keep things fresh.

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    1. Hi Wally! Me too! A book I'm reading now is Wolf Island, a memoir from L. David Mech on his adventures in research in the gray-wolf, elk prey-predator relationship on Isle Royale in Lake Superior. So poetically written too. I am a sucker for and a seeker of beautiful sentences. I know you'll find a lot of interesting facts in Thumb Fire Desire. Thanks for stopping by!

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  24. I enjoyed the excerpt. Thank you for the giveaway!

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    1. Hi Debbi! I really appreciate you stopping by the tour! I'm meeting such wonderful book-loving people. Glad you enjoyed the excerpt! And glad you registered for the giveaway! Good luck!

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  25. I have just recently gotten into Historical Romance and this one sounds great! Love the cover! Added to my TBR!

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    1. Really appreciate your interest Mick. Thumb Fire Desire was truly inspiring to write. I learned so much and I was really thrilled to give this story personal voice. I know you will really enjoy it!

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  26. I'm originally from Michigan and I really like reading historical fiction set in my home state. Would really like to read the book.

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  27. Thank you dianne! Funny thing, I got a Masters degree from Michigan State University with a minor in U.S./Michigan History and I never knew about the Great Thumb Fire of 1881 until I read a book called the Fiery Trial. 282 people died. It was and still is considered the most significant natural disaster in the state. And there were so many converging historical stories - the hardest hit village in the fire was a tiny village - Parisville - which happens to be the first Polish American settlement in Michigan - Anyway, so many coincidences - a treasure trove for a researcher and story teller. And to make it emotional, I added romantic elements. I know you will like the book and want to share it. As of today I have four reviews on Amazon - all of them are 5 star. Thank you so much for stopping by the tour! Where in Michigan are you from?

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  28. David HollingsworthJuly 16, 2022 at 9:44 PM

    Happy Saturday!

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    1. Thank you for stopping by the tour David. Happy Saturday and happy reading to you!

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  29. Do you listen to music when you write?

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    1. I listen to music whenever and wherever I can! When writing I like slow, smooth jazz or lilting island music or doo wop 50s. Engaging the senses while writing reminds me to engage the senses in my writing! Great question!

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    1. Thanks Nancy! I think the cover artist really did a great job depicting the hot, dry summer that preceded the September 5, 1881 Great Thumb Fire!

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  31. The excerpt is interesting. Thank you for sharing it.

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    1. Thank you! Picking excerpts to share is really fun! The work is done! Glad you enjoyed it!

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  32. thanks this sounds like an amazing book

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  33. Thank you for your kind comment! Writing is a solo journey and I'm a social person, so it is really fun to get reader input! I appreciate it!!!

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  34. And to you, Thomas! Hope you have a good book and a hammock today!

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  35. David HollingsworthJuly 17, 2022 at 5:43 PM

    Happy Sunday!

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  36. And to you, David! Keep cool! Keep calm! Keep creative!

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  37. Thumb Fire Desire by author Carol Nickles sounds like it tells a fascinating story.

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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    1. Thanks Nancy! I tried to include a variety of interesting things - horses, plants, agriculture, fashion, sports, foods, customs, Polish culture, Michigan indigenous culture, and of course history!

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  38. Where is your favorite place to write?

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  39. In my geat room at home with natural light on three sides and views of gorgeous trees

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    1. It sure is! Just like the summer of 1881 leading up to the Great Thumb Fire of 1881!

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  41. I just love your excerpt and I would love to read your book.

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  42. Thanks Bridgett. That excerpt is pretty poignant as it occurs in the fresh aftermath of the Great Thumb Fire of 1881. What a terrible tragedy it was. Thanks for stopping by. Readers tell me it is difficult to put the book down.

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  43. Thanks for the great excerpt. The book sounds fantastic. Great cover.

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    1. Thanks Pippirose! Good to see you! It's really gratifying that you stop by and check on the posts! I appreciate it!

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    1. Hello Thomas! Thanks for hopping on the tour. This was a fun post to write!

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  45. I really enjoyed the guest post!

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    1. Hi Glenda! Nice to see you! I hope you have a stack of great books for the rest of the summer!

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  46. David HollingsworthJuly 18, 2022 at 8:05 PM

    Happy Monday!

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    1. Hi David! Thanks for stopping by and nice to see you! I appreciate your interest!

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  47. Are you glad when a book is finished?

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    1. Definitely! But I still think of my characters!

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  48. I love all this book sound and love the cover

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  49. Do you have any advice for new writers?

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    1. Sensory item besides sight and suspense on every page

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  50. What time did you get up this morning?

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  51. This sounds like an interesting book that blends fact with fiction.

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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  52. David HollingsworthJuly 19, 2022 at 9:44 PM

    Happy Tuesday!

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  53. Have you started another book yet?

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    1. Holiday Romance novella under contract and now in galley stage. Next novel in edits!

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  54. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

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  55. how many books have you written

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  56. I count my Master's thesis as the first publication. Thumb Fire Desire is my first novel. I have a contracted novella in galley stage right now and a new novel in edits!

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    1. Hey, thanks Bridgett! I had limited input but I was pleased with the results. I specified bright colors and Diana came through with that!

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    1. Hello Thomas! Nice of you to stop by. Hope your summer is going well. It has been lovely in Michigan.

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  59. I enjoy reading Historical Romances. I like the cover.

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    1. Hi Susan. Historical is such a great dive into knowledge. I really enjoy uncovering little known facts and share them with new generations.

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  60. David HollingsworthJuly 20, 2022 at 9:19 PM

    Hope you're keeping cool.

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    1. Doing well on that score, David. Michigan is surrounded and filled with numerous cooling lakes! How about you?

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  61. hope you are enjoying the summer

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  62. David HollingsworthJuly 21, 2022 at 8:37 PM

    I wish this heat would go away. Don't you?

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  63. What author do you most admire?

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  64. My daughter would enjoy this book

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  65. Congrats on your release! I like the cover.

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  66. Gorgeous Cover! Did you have to do much historical research when you worked on this book?

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  67. Thank you for the opportunity! It is very generous of you.

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  68. I enjoy historical romances and this one sounds good. Thank you for the introduction.

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  69. Great excerpt from the book!

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  70. David HollingsworthJuly 22, 2022 at 6:14 PM

    Happy Friday!

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