Tag Archives: Judith Keim

A Summer of Surprises Blitz

A Summer of Surprises banner

A Summer of Surprises cover

Romance, Women’s Fiction

A Seashell Cottage Book

Release Date: June 23, 2020

Publisher: Wild Quail Publsihing

 

photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png

 

Jill Conroy is tricked by her sister into becoming the housekeeper and cook
for the summer at Seashell Cottage where Greg Campbell and his nephew,
Brody, have been hired to do maintenance projects on the house. Annoyed at
first, Jill soon realizes how wonderful it is to be away from her home in
New York and the memories of her deceased, emotionally abusive
husband.

Soon the magic of the beach heals Jill enough for her to decide to move to
Florida permanently to make a new life for herself. Her part-time work at a
summer camp and the promise of a new job as a third-grade teacher in the
fall make it seem as if her future is set. But a visit from her sister,
followed by her mother, reveals secrets that surprise them all. Jill learns
to accept the idea of love not only from Brody but from his daughter, Kacy,
as the summer brings even more surprises.

 

 

Other Books in the Seashell Cottage Series:

A Christmas Star cover

A Christmas Star

A Seashell Cottage Book

Publisher: Wild Quail Publsihing

Published: November 2018

 

Two years ago, Noelle North’s then-fiancé left her waiting at
the church on Christmas—her wedding day and birthday. Now, she knows
she cannot endure another holiday season at home in Boston. At the urging of
four women at the assisted-living community where she serves as health
director, Noelle decides to rent Seashell Cottage on the Gulf Coast of
Florida for the holidays. She meets Silas Bellingham, the cutest
seven-year-old boy she’s ever seen, and his great-grandmother, Althea.
Noelle discovers Althea’s caretaker has been abusing her and goes into
action, ending up with the temporary care of both Althea and Silas. Becoming
part of the Bellingham household has an entirely different series of
challenges when it comes to Althea’s grandsons, Jake and Brett, who
are having problems of their own with hotels to run and their parents
missing in a plane crash. But after sparring with her, Silas’ father,
Jake, realizes Noelle is just what he and his family need, and when she
finds the perfect Christmas star for Silas, they both know he’s
right.

 

 Purchase on Amazon

 

 

Change of Heart cover

Change of Heart

A Seashell Cottage Book

Publisher: Wild Quail Publsihing

Published: June 2019

 

Emerson “Em” Jordan always wanted a Valentine’s Day
wedding. But after being dumped by her boyfriend, she spends the holiday at
Seashell Cottage on the Gulf Coast of Florida with Devin Gerard, a family
friend who has no interest in her or any other woman and is instead
concentrating on his pediatric medical practice and continuing medical
missions in Costa Rica.

Em, who’s always wanted a large family, doesn’t mind his
disinterest. At thirty-two, she’s decided she doesn’t need a
husband to have a child or to adopt one. First, she’s going to fulfill
her dream of setting up her own landscape design business in upstate New
York and has promised to continue to help run her grandmother’s flower
shop.

It isn’t until Em and Devin become friends that Em realizes she might
want more than friendship from him. But with his work in Miami and Costa
Rica and her busy life in New York, it’s out of the question until
something happens that changes everything, even a couple of hearts.

 

 Purchase from Amazon

 

 

 

 

A Summer of Surprises phone, tablet, paperback

 

Excerpt

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

Jillian Conroy listened to her sister, Cristal’s, voice on her
cellphone and took a deep breath.  A call from her sister was always a
surprise.

“So, start all over again, Cristal, and tell me exactly what it is
you want me to do.”

“It’s easy, Jill. My friend, Hope Thomason, now owns the
Seashell Cottage on the Gulf Coast of Florida, and she just needs someone to
live at the cottage for the summer while we do our European tour, the one
we’ve been talking about for years.”

“That’s it?” It didn’t sound like something
difficult. In fact, it sounded like a great way to escape the memories of
the past, thought Jill. School would be out in another week, and she
didn’t have any exciting plans for her summer break from teaching.
Maybe some extended time on the Gulf Coast would do her good. But every time
she tried to do something for her sister, it cost her emotionally, and
often, financially. A requested lunch date would end up with Jill paying for
it. What was supposed to be a fun event of shopping turned into a nightmare
when Cristal pouted that the dress Jill bought was the one she wanted. Their
relationship had always bordered on the toxic.

“There’s one more thing. A friend of Hope’s family, Greg
Campbell, is an older man who’s agreed to do some work on the cottage.
He’s staying in one of the guest rooms for a few weeks until the work
is done.”

“An older man, you say?”

“Yes. He and Hope’s father are friends. They’re the same
age.”

Jill let out a sigh of relief. Too many friends had been pushing her to
start dating again. She had no interest in doing so. Not after Jay’s
death two years ago.

“Think about it. I’ll call you tonight for your answer.”
Cristal cut off the call before Jill could ask any more questions.

 Jill sat in a chair and stared out the window of the kitchen inside
the small bungalow she called home in Ellenton, a small town in upstate New
York. She should’ve sold it months ago. The memories she held of her
life in the house weren’t pleasant. She’d thought by clearing
Jay’s things out of the house following his automobile accident,
she’d be able to chase away the unhappiness she’d known with
him.  But now the space just seemed empty. And lonely.

Her thoughts settled on her sister. Three years older than she, Cristal was
the beauty of the family. Their mother had declared to anyone who would
listen that Cristal got her beautiful features, naturally blonde hair, and
bright blue eyes from a relative of hers, while Jillian looked like the
Davis side of the family. The comparison was painful. Without the highlights
she had to add every few months, Jillian’s hair was a dishwater tan.
Her hazel eyes held no trace of blue. Worst of all, Cristal’s tall,
willowy figure seemed to taunt Jill’s shorter, curvy shape. It was a
bad match-up all around. If it weren’t so much like a well-known
storybook scenario, it would be almost comical.

Restless, Jill got up and paced the kitchen. It wasn’t their
different looks that had made her relationship with Cristal so difficult. It
was Cristal’s tendency to manipulate others in order to get her own
way. Jill knew how foolish it was to keep old wounds stored inside, but
every once in a while, one poked through the shell she kept around herself.
How could she forget that Cristal stole her date in college, the one guy
she’d dreamed would be hers forever? It was just one of the ways
Cristal had hurt her through the years. A snort of disgust left Jill’s
mouth. She might not have even paid attention to Jay except Cristal thought
he was a hottie. How was that for stupid rivalry?

Before she could go any deeper with that thought, the phone rang. Jill knew
who it was before she even checked Caller ID. Her mother, Valerie Davis, had
a nose for trouble. No doubt Cristal had phoned her for support.

“Hello, Mom,” Jill said without enthusiasm.

“Hi, honey. Cristal called to tell me that she’s arranged for
you to have a very nice summer break. She’s so thoughtful that
way.”

“She asked me to do her a favor so she and her friend can travel to
Europe,” Jill said calmly, still uncertain as to whether she should go
ahead with the idea or even what it entailed. 

“Well, if you don’t do it, I’m sure they can find someone
else to stay at the cottage. It sounds lovely. You should be grateful to
Cristal for thinking of you,” chided her mother. “A whole summer
to relax.”

It would be useless to argue. “Maybe you’re right,” said
Jill. “I could use the break to get away.” The idea suddenly
appealed to her. This change in her normal routine might give her the
opportunity to think things through, make some major decisions about her
life, give her a fresh start. God knew she’d been in an emotional rut
even before Jay had been killed.

“Splendid,” her mother said with satisfaction. “I’m
glad you’ll help your sister out. It would mean so much to her. She
and Hope have been planning this summer tour for a long time, and poor
Cristal has been working very hard.”

“You mean as a hostess at the club in Miami?”

“Now, Jillian, she does the best she can, and with her looks, she
doesn’t need to spend her time teaching school.”

“Oh? Because I teach school …” Jill stopped herself. She
didn’t like the person she became when dealing with her family. Only
her father had accepted her for who she was, and he’d died several
years ago.

“I didn’t mean that the way it sounded, Jillian,” her
mother said with a note of apology.

“Look, I have to go,” Jill said. “I’ll let you know
what I decide.”

“Please do. I care about both of you and hope that someday you girls
will get along.”

Jill sighed. “Goodbye, Mom.” Though the day was ruined by the
familiar routine with her mother, the idea of escaping to a place far away
became tantalizing.

Later, while looking up information online about the Seashell Cottage, Jill
filled with excitement. The pictures of it were lovely. It was not simply a
cottage; it was a beautiful, three-bedroom, three-bath house that sat
overlooking a wide, sandy beach. The house even had a screened-in
pool.

Before she could change her mind or overwork the thought that something
must be wrong if her sister was involved, Jill punched in Cristal’s
cell number and, when prompted, left a message.

“Hi, Cristal. Jill here. I’ve decided to stay at Seashell
Cottage for the summer so you and Hope can travel. At the end of next week,
when school is out, I’ll drive down to Florida. I should be there by
June 8th and can stay until late August. Let me know if those dates work
with you and Hope.” Hating confrontation, she paused and took a deep
breath. “And, Cristal, thanks for thinking of me.”

That evening Cristal called. The noise of music and partying in the
background made it difficult to hear, but the message did get through that
Cristal was thrilled Jill would stay at the cottage. “You’ll
see. This summer is going to be good for you, Jilly. For both of us,
really.”

“I hope so,” said Jill honestly. She was more than ready for a
change.

About the Author

Judith Keim enjoyed her childhood and young-adult years in Elmira, New
York, and now makes her home in Boise, Idaho, with her husband and their two
dachshunds, Winston and Wally, and other members of her family.

While growing up, she was drawn to the idea of writing stories from a young
age. Books were always present, being read, ready to go back to the library,
or about to be discovered. All in her family shared information from the
books in general conversation, giving them a wealth of knowledge and vivid
imaginations.

A hybrid author who both has a publisher and self-publishes, Ms. Keim
writes heart-warming novels about women who face unexpected challenges, meet
them with strength, and find love and happiness along the way. Her
best-selling books are based, in part, on many of the places she’s lived or
visited and on the interesting people she’s met, creating believable
characters and realistic settings her many loyal readers love. Ms. Keim
loves to hear from her readers and appreciates their enthusiasm for her
stories.

 

Contact Links

Website

Twitter

Facebook

BookBub

Promo Link

 

Purchase Links

Amazon

B&N

iBooks

Kobo

RABT Book Tours & PR

1 Comment

Filed under BOOKS

Home at Last Release Blitz

Home at Last banner

Home at Last cover 

Chandler Hill Inn Series, Book 3
Romance, Women’s Fiction
Date Published: April 13, 2020
Publisher: Wild Quail Publishing LLC
 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png
Louise “Lulu” Kingsley is thrilled to discover after years of wishing for a sibling, Cami Chandler is her half-sister. When Cami invites her to live with her at Chandler Hill, Lulu jumps at the chance to leave behind all the heartache in her recent life. Not the spoiled little rich girl the media would like everyone to think, Lulu digs into marketing for the inn and winery, feeling more comfortable there than she ever did in California with her political father. Better yet, her mother is becoming a stronger, happier person and shares the idea of becoming part of a new family. Even though Lulu is aware that Miguel Lopez is the kind of guy who represents everything she’s trying to forget, she’s attracted to him. Following a heartbreaking situation, she steps away from their relationship. Lulu settles in at Chandler Hill, coping the best way she knows—by working hard. But when Cami’s beloved grandfather, Rafe, has a stroke, Lulu realizes life is short and knows she must make things right with Miguel, and learns that home is where your heart leads you.
Other Books in the Chandler Hill Inn Series:
Coming Home Chandler Hill Inn Series, Book 2
Coming Home
Chandler Hill Inn Series, Book 2
Release Date: October 8, 2019
Camilla “Cami” Chandler comes home from France to take over the Chandler Hill Inn and Winery for her recently-deceased grandmother, Lettie, as she’d always promised. Determined to succeed in this new venture, she finds herself in trouble from the beginning when she discovers most of her grandmother’s estate intended for maintaining the inn’s business expenses was lost in a Ponzi scheme. She forges ahead to provide her guests with wonderful experiences and to produce the best wines in Willamette Valley. After being ditched by her French boyfriend, she decides that being friends with Drew Farley is the safest way to proceed. He loves grape growing and winemaking as much as she does and isn’t looking for anything beyond friendship.
When a bride planning a wedding at the inn tells Cami that she looks exactly like her best friend, life becomes even more complicated. Never having known even the name of her father, Cami searches for a connection and comes to realize how complicated love and family can be.
Going Home Chandler Hill Inn Series, Book 1

 

Going Home
Chandler Hill Inn Series, Book 1
Release Date: February 13, 2019
In 1970, Violet Hawkins’ only wish at eighteen is to escape her life in the Dayton, Ohio, foster-care system and make her way to the west coast to enjoy a mellow life and find the love she’s been missing all her life. She makes it to San Francisco, but soon learns she needs a job if she’s to live properly. A kind, young man named Kenton Chandler offers her a sandwich and a job at his father’s inn and vineyards. With nothing to lose, Lettie takes him up on his offer and begins a whole new life in the Willamette Valley, Oregon. She immediately falls in love with the land and is fascinated with the idea of growing grapes in order to make wines. She, Kenton, and Rafe Lopez become friends as she learns about running the small inn on the property.
At the same time she marries Kenton, a stroke kills his father. And then before she can tell Kenton she’s pregnant, he dies in an automobile accident. Heartbroken and burdened with the gift of the Chandler Hill Inn and Winery, she’s left with the task of making them a success. Struggling to raise a child alone while working to grow the business, Lettie makes a shocking discovery that changes everything.
Home at Last  tablet, phone, paperback
Excerpt
 
CHAPTER ONE
          Louise “Lulu” Kingsley sat on the deck of Camilla Chandler’s home and wondered how she could be so lucky to live in a place like Willamette Valley, Oregon. The journey to reach this point was more than painful—it had almost destroyed her. But, here at Chandler Hill, she felt she might have found her true home at last.
          Staring out at the rolling hills and the rows of grapevines devoid of their fruit after the harvest, she saw the goodness of the land, its beauty and, most of all, the comforting prospect of more harvests to come. She thought of this continuity of life as a renewal of her own.
If Cami hadn’t offered her a place to stay and a job in an entirely new location, Lulu wasn’t sure she could have survived the last year of family scandal and misfortune. For anyone who didn’t know much about her, they’d think her life was a privileged, easy one as the daughter of a rich, powerful man who’d one day wanted to run for president of the United States. But the man who tied her to her newly discovered half-sister was a man of too many appetites, and his actions had hurt others, including her fragile mother and her.
The understanding shown by the half-sister she’d never known growing up meant the world to her. Cami came from a long line of kind, generous Chandler and Lopez families. Living and working at the Chandler Hill Inn and Winery was more than an ordinary existence. For Lulu, it meant finding a loving place in the world, one she’d desperately needed.          
          “I thought I’d find you here,” said Cami, stepping onto the deck and standing behind her. “I love to sit here and gaze out at the land. It’s very peaceful toward the end of the day and, as always, I think of Nonnee. My grandmother’s love of the land was the foundation for everything that’s been done here with both the inn and the winery.”
          Lulu turned around in her rocking chair and smiled up at Cami. Not much older than she, Cami’s big heart matched her usual smile. Though Cami wasn’t as tall as Lulu and had totally opposite coloring, their facial features were astonishingly alike. Among other things, they shared a tiny quirk—misshapen earlobes, a genetic inheritance from their father. Lulu wished she had strawberry-blond curls like Cami and her grandmother, Lettie Chandler, but Lulu’s hair was straight and dark. 
          Cami took a seat in a chair next to her. “Gwen is very pleased to have you assist her at The Barn. I explained it was only temporary, that you’d agreed to handle our marketing program. But with the holiday season not that far away, I realize both she and I will need your help until after the new year.”
          “I love being part of the staff,” said Lulu, meaning it.
Cami gave her a tender smile. “Sweetie, you’re much more than one of the staff; you’re family. We intend to use your marketing and sales skills here at the inn and the other two wineries now associated with Chandler Hill.”
          A warmth filled Lulu. Being part of a real, healthy family was such a gift. An only child after the death of her younger, ten-year-old brother, Teddy, she’d always longed for siblings. Cami’s grandfather, Rafe, was a wonderful man who’d been very kind to her. They’d formed a bond over the fact that her father and Lettie and Rafe’s daughter, Autumn, had met and fallen in love, producing Cami. The rest of Cami’s family consisted of a whole group of people who weren’t related by blood, but were still a close-knit group.
About the Author

 

Judith Keim enjoyed her childhood and young-adult years in Elmira, New York, and now makes her home in Boise, Idaho, with her husband and their two dachshunds, Winston and Wally, and other members of her family.
While growing up, she was drawn to the idea of writing stories from a young age. Books were always present, being read, ready to go back to the library, or about to be discovered. All in her family shared information from the books in general conversation, giving them a wealth of knowledge and vivid imaginations.
A hybrid author who both has a publisher and self-publishes, Ms. Keim writes heart-warming novels about women who face unexpected challenges, meet them with strength, and find love and happiness along the way. Her best-selling books are based, in part, on many of the places she’s lived or visited and on the interesting people she’s met, creating believable characters and realistic settings her many loyal readers love. Ms. Keim loves to hear from her readers and appreciates their enthusiasm for her stories.
Contact Links
Purchase Links
RABT Book Tours & PR

1 Comment

Filed under BOOKS

Coming Home Release Blitz

Coming Home banner

 photo Coming Home_zpsxhb3rajx.jpg

Chandler Hill Inn Series, Book 2
Romance, Women’s Fiction
Publisher: Wild Quail Publishing
Release Date: October 8, 2019
 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png
Camilla “Cami” Chandler comes home from France to take over the Chandler Hill Inn and Winery for her recently-deceased grandmother, Lettie, as she’d always promised. Determined to succeed in this new venture, she finds herself in trouble from the beginning when she discovers most of her grandmother’s estate intended for maintaining the inn’s business expenses was lost in a Ponzi scheme. She forges ahead to provide her guests with wonderful experiences and to produce the best wines in Willamette Valley. After being ditched by her French boyfriend, she decides that being friends with Drew Farley is the safest way to proceed. He loves grape growing and winemaking as much as she does and isn’t looking for anything beyond friendship.
When a bride planning a wedding at the inn tells Cami that she looks exactly like her best friend, life becomes even more complicated. Never having known even the name of her father, Cami searches for a connection and comes to realize how complicated love and family can be.
 photo Coming Home set_zpseldbt5j8.jpg
Other Books in the Chandler Hill Inn Series:
 photo Going Home_zpstm89eirn.jpg
Going Home
Chandler Hill Inn Series, Book 1
Publisher: Wild Quail Publishing
Release Date: February 13, 2019
In 1970, Violet Hawkins’ only wish at eighteen is to escape her life in the Dayton, Ohio, foster-care system and make her way to the west coast to enjoy a mellow life and find the love she’s been missing all her life. She makes it to San Francisco, but soon learns she needs a job if she’s to live properly. A kind, young man named Kenton Chandler offers her a sandwich and a job at his father’s inn and vineyards. With nothing to lose, Lettie takes him up on his offer and begins a whole new life in the Willamette Valley, Oregon. She immediately falls in love with the land and is fascinated with the idea of growing grapes in order to make wines. She, Kenton, and Rafe Lopez become friends as she learns about running the small inn on the property.
At the same time she marries Kenton, a stroke kills his father. And then before she can tell Kenton she’s pregnant, he dies in an automobile accident. Heartbroken and burdened with the gift of the Chandler Hill Inn and Winery, she’s left with the task of making them a success. Struggling to raise a child alone while working to grow the business, Lettie makes a shocking discovery that changes everything.
 photo Coming Home print tablet and phone_zps4ecnoeny.jpg
About the Author

 photo Coming Home Author Judith Keim_zpsrw05ayts.jpg

Judith Keim enjoyed her childhood and young-adult years in Elmira, New York, and now makes her home in Boise, Idaho, with her husband and their two dachshunds, Winston and Wally, and other members of her family.
While growing up, she was drawn to the idea of writing stories from a young age. Books were always present, being read, ready to go back to the library, or about to be discovered. All in her family shared information from the books in general conversation, giving them a wealth of knowledge and vivid imaginations.
A hybrid author who both has a publisher and self-publishes, Ms. Keim writes heart-warming novels about women who face unexpected challenges, meet them with strength, and find love and happiness along the way. Her best-selling books are based, in part, on many of the places she’s lived or visited and on the interesting people she’s met, creating believable characters and realistic settings her many loyal readers love. Ms. Keim loves to hear from her readers and appreciates their enthusiasm for her stories.
Contact Links
Purchase Links
Kobo  
iBooks  
 
RABT Book Tours & PR

2 Comments

Filed under BOOKS

Change of Heart Blitz

Change of Heart banner

 photo Change of Heart_zpsqdbmn7ym.jpg

Romance,
Women’s Fiction
A
Seashell Cottage Book
Publisher:
Wild Quail Publishing
Release
Date:
June 11, 2019
 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png
Emerson
“Em” Jordan always wanted a Valentine’s Day wedding. But after being dumped by
her boyfriend, she spends the holiday at Seashell Cottage on the Gulf Coast of
Florida with Devin Gerard, a family friend who has no interest in her or any
other woman and is instead concentrating on his pediatric medical practice and
continuing medical missions in Costa Rica.
Em,
who’s always wanted a large family, doesn’t mind his disinterest. At thirty-two,
she’s decided she doesn’t need a husband to have a child or to adopt one.
First, she’s going to fulfill her dream of setting up her own landscape design
business in upstate New York and has promised to continue to help run her
grandmother’s flower shop.
It
isn’t until Em and Devin become friends that Em realizes she might want more
than friendship from him. But with his work in Miami and Costa Rica and her
busy life in New York, it’s out of the question until something happens that
changes everything, even a couple of hearts.
 
Excerpt
Emerson
“Em” Jordan closed her eyes as the sound of the music enveloped her in a cloud
of happiness. She was taking part in her sister’s wedding at a resort along the
Gulf Coast of Florida, but in her mind, it might as well be her own
celebration. The dreamy man holding her hadn’t proposed yet, but she was pretty
sure he soon would. She’d dropped all kinds of hints about a Valentine
engagement and a wedding a year later on Valentine’s Day. It had been a dream of
hers from the time she was a girl.
In
a burst of noise, the image of dancing disappeared. Em sat bolt upright in bed
and stared out her bedroom window. Through the glass she saw a colorful display
of fireworks, and then she heard another loud bang.
Em
lowered her head into her hands and sobbed as she recalled what had happened
earlier that evening. The Fourth of July picnic turned into a disaster when her
boyfriend, Jared King, had announced he needed to talk to her about something
important. When she saw his serious expression and how he was shuffling his
feet, a nervous habit of his, her stomach did a somersault. She’d watched her
family and friends head out to walk the four blocks to the town park to watch
the fireworks and wished she could run after them.
As
he studied her, Jared took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “ Like I said,
we need to talk. I can’t do this any longer. I love you, Em, I do, but I’m not
in love with you. It’s time to call it quits.”
She
lifted a hand to her cheek as if he’d slapped her and reeled away from him.
“You’re breaking up with me? Like this?”
He
sighed. “It’s not working. And it’s not going to.”
Shocked,
she stared at him wide eyed, certain she was about to throw up. She staggered
over to one of the picnic tables set up in her parents’ backyard and plopped
down on the bench beside it. Bending over, Em put her head between her legs
hoping to stop the world around her from spinning.
“Are
you all right?” Jared asked, standing a safe distance from her.
Anger
straightened her. “I’m not all right, Jared King! You just broke my heart! I’m
not sure I’ll ever be all right again!”
“I’m
sorry, Em. I really am.” He’d simply turned and walked away, leaving her to
clutch her body, too weak to run after him, her dreams scattered around her
like crushed blossoms.
###
For
the next few weeks, Em managed to continue working at the family’s flower shop,
but, in truth, she barely functioned. Jagged edges of her broken heart kept
poking her insides, taking away her breath, stealing the cheerfulness she
usually wore like a comfortable old sweater to protect her. Not even the sweet
smell of freesia in the flower shop could chase away the pain of Jared’s words.
It was a good thing that Jared lived in New York City, an hour away. She
couldn’t bear to see him.
She
returned to her task of putting together a basket of summer wild flowers. She
loved making things look as natural as possible, and woven baskets were good
containers for the colorful blooms.
“How
are you coming with the Williams order?” her grandmother, Julia Jordan, asked
as she entered the work area.
“Almost
done,” Em said, standing back to appraise the placement of flowers.
“Looks
wonderful, sweetheart.” After the death of her husband many years ago, her
grandmother had opened the flower shop she’d named Rainbow’s End in their
small, upstate town of Ellenton, New York. In her late sixties, Julia was still
an attractive woman with gray hair cut in a bob, sparkling eyes, and a face
that reflected beauty enhanced by her inner peace. Em smiled. Of all the people
in the family, her grandmother understood her best. Two optimists who came
together. Didn’t the name of her flower shop say it all?
Later,
as Em was putting together a bouquet for a husband to send as a surprise to his
wife, she couldn’t hold back the question that had been gnawing at her insides.
“Gran, Jared told me he loved me, but he wasn’t in love with me.” It still hurt
to say the words.
Her
grandmother’s blue-eyed gaze, so like her own, rested on her thoughtfully. “He
wasn’t the right man. Don’t worry. You have time.”
“But,
Gran, I’ll be thirty-two next spring! And every man I meet ends up being wrong
for me. First, there was Garrett. He turned out to be gay, for heaven’s sake.”
Gran
clucked her tongue. “The opera singer in New York was the hardest for me to
imagine your marrying. Imagine him already married to a concert pianist on
tour!”
“Yeah,
that was another bad time. He’d told me he was lonely. I thought it was because
he was living so far away from family. I didn’t imagine him having a wife.
Neither he nor news releases ever mentioned it.”
Gran
placed a hand on Em’s shoulder. “I’m so glad you agreed to come back to
Ellenton to live. The trouble with you, Emerson, is you want to believe only
the best in everybody in every aspect of your life. That makes you a special
person, but one who is bound to get hurt.”
“I
know everyone teases me about being a Pollyanna, but I’d prefer to live happily
rather than face doom and gloom all the time.”
Gran
drew her into a hug. “Maybe it’s time for you to have a change of heart, become
a little more careful, more realistic. Nothing too drastic, mind you.”
Em
laid the red rose in her hand on the workbench. “Are you saying it’s time for
me to grow up?”
“In
a way,” she said kindly, brushing Em’s long, blond hair away from her face.
“You and I, we’re two of a kind. We dream of what could be without seeing
things as they really are. Who knew my husband would die at a young age,
leaving me with a young son to raise and no money?”
“I’m
glad you decided to open a flower shop. I love it.” Em drew a shaky breath.
“But, Gran, I hope you understand I can’t go through Valentine’s Day working
here. That’s when Jared was supposed to propose to me.”
“No
worries. I already figured that out. Besides, my neighbor, Marilyn, needs to
find a job. I promised I’d hire her on a part-time basis, thinking if she
worked out, I’d bring her on board full-time before the holidays. That will
give you a chance to start thinking about opening the landscape design business
you’ve been talking about.”
Relief
sprinted through Em. She’d never want to hurt her grandmother, but no way, no
how could she endure making beautiful bouquets, lovely nosegays, or single-rose
love letters of her own design for others during the romantic time of
Valentine’s Day.
About
the Author

 photo Change of Heart Author Judith Keim_zpsi6bdolbw.jpg

Judith
Keim enjoyed her childhood and young-adult years in Elmira, New York, and now
makes her home in Boise, Idaho, with her husband and their two dachshunds,
Winston and Wally, and other members of her family.
While
growing up, she was drawn to the idea of writing stories from a young age.
Books were always present, being read, ready to go back to the library, or
about to be discovered. All in her family shared information from the books in
general conversation, giving them a wealth of knowledge and vivid imaginations.
A
hybrid author who both has a publisher and self-publishes, Ms. Keim writes
heart-warming novels about women who face unexpected challenges, meet them with
strength, and find love and happiness along the way. Her best-selling books are
based, in part, on many of the places she’s lived or visited and on the
interesting people she’s met, creating believable characters and realistic
settings her many loyal readers love. Ms. Keim loves to hear from her readers
and appreciates their enthusiasm for her stories.
 Contact Links
Purchase
Links
Kobo  

 

RABT Book Tours & PR

3 Comments

Filed under BOOKS

Going Home – Blitz

Going Home banner

 photo unnamed_zpsiwdpbvkn.jpg

Chandler Hill Inn Series, Book 1
Women’s Fiction
Date Published:February 13, 2019
Publisher: Wild Quail Publishing
 
 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png
In 1970, Violet Hawkins’ only wish at eighteen is to escape her life in the Dayton, Ohio, foster-care system and make her way to the west coast to enjoy a mellow life and find the love she’s been missing all her life. She makes it to San Francisco, but soon learns she needs a job if she’s to live properly. A kind, young man named Kenton Chandler offers her a sandwich and a job at his father’s inn and vineyards. With nothing to lose, Lettie takes him up on his offer and begins a whole new life in the Willamette Valley, Oregon. She immediately falls in love with the land and is fascinated with the idea of growing grapes in order to make wines. She, Kenton, and Rafe Lopez become friends as she learns about running the small inn on the property.
At the same time she marries Kenton, a stroke kills his father. And then before she can tell Kenton she’s pregnant, he dies in an automobile accident. Heartbroken and burdened with the gift of the Chandler Hill Inn and Winery, she’s left with the task of making them a success. Struggling to raise a child alone while working to grow the business, Lettie makes a shocking discovery that changes everything.
 photo unnamed 1_zpswesmfpqo.jpg
Excerpt
CHAPTER ONE
Some people’s lives unfold in the most unusual ways.
In 1970, the only things Violet Hawkins wanted for her eighteenth birthday were to escape the Dayton, Ohio, foster-care system in which she’d been raised and to make her way to San Francisco. There, she hoped to enjoy a mellow lifestyle and find the love that had always been absent in her life.
                Though she made it to San Francisco easily enough, she soon discovered she couldn’t afford a clean, safe place in which to settle down. At first, it hadn’t seemed to matter. Caught up in the excitement and freedom of living in a large city where free love and openness to so many things reigned, she almost forgot about eating and sleeping. One couch, one futon was as good as any other as long as grass or other drugs were available, and others didn’t mind giving her a place to sleep. But after spending four months there, the dollars she’d carefully saved, which had seemed so many in Dayton, were nothing but a mere pittance in a city where decent living was too expensive for her. She took to wandering the streets with her backpack until she came upon a friendly group willing to give her a sleeping space inside or a bite to eat.
                One June day, feeling discouraged, she’d just sunk down onto the steps outside a row house when a young man emerged.  
                He smiled down at her. “Tired?”
                She was more than tired. She was exhausted and hungry. “Looking for work. I need to eat.”
                He gave her a long, steady, blue-eyed look. “What’s your name?”
                “Violet Hawkins. But call me Lettie.”
                His eyebrows shot up. “With all that red hair, no flowery name for you?”
                She shook her head. She’d always hated both her hair and her name. The red in her hair was a faded color, almost pink, and the name Violet indicated a delicate flower. She’d never had the luxury of being the least bit frail. 
                He sat down beside her and studied her. “You don’t look like the hippie type. What are you doing in a place like this?”
                “On my eighteenth birthday, I left Dayton, Ohio, to come here. It sounded like a great plan—all this freedom.”
                “How long have you been here?”
                “Four months. I thought it would be different. I don’t know … easier, maybe.”
                He got to his feet. “How about I fix you a sandwich, and then I’ll tell you about a job, if you want it. It’s at a vineyard in Oregon. I’m heading there later today.”         
                Her glance slid over his well-built body, rugged facial features, and clean, shoulder-length, light-brown hair. He didn’t fit into the usual crowd she’d been with, which made her cautious. “Who are you? And why would you do this for me?”
                “Kenton Chandler.” His lips curved into the same warm smile he’d given her earlier. “I’m heading to Oregon, and, frankly, I could use the company. Keeps me from falling asleep.”
                “Yeah? And what is this vineyard?”
                He shrugged. “A couple of years ago, my dad bought a small inn with 75 acres in the Willamette Valley south of Portland. He’s planted most of the land with grapes. He doesn’t know that much about making wine and wants me to learn. That’s why I’m in San Francisco. I’ve been working at a vineyard in Napa Valley just north of here, learning the ropes.” He grinned. “Or maybe I should say, learning the vines.”
                “What kind of sandwich?” she asked, warming toward him and his wacky humor. Her stomach rumbled loud enough for them both to hear it. 
“How does ham and Swiss sound?” he said, giving her a knowing look.    
“Okay.” Lettie didn’t want him to think she couldn’t manage on her own. That was dangerous. She’d learned it the hard way, fighting off a guy who thought he could have her just because he gave her a puff of weed. She’d been careful ever since to stay away from situations and guys like that.
“Well?” He waved her toward the door.
Lettie checked to see if others were within hearing range if she needed them. Plenty of people were hanging around nearby. Thinking it was safe, Lettie climbed the stairs behind Kenton. He didn’t know about the knife tucked into one of the pockets of her jeans.
Inside, she found the same kind of contrast between this clean house and others she’d been in. It wasn’t sparkling clean, but it was tidier than most.
He led her into the kitchen. “Sit down. It’ll only take me a minute to make your sandwich.” He handed her a glass of water. “Mustard? Mayo?”
“Both,” she replied primly, sitting down at a small pine table in the eating area of the room.
She sat quietly, becoming uncomfortable with the idea that he was waiting on her. She wasn’t used to such a gesture. She was usually the one waiting on others both in her foster home and at the church where she’d spent hours each week attending services and events with her foster family. Thinking of them now, a shiver raced across her shoulders like a frightened centipede. It had been her experience that supposedly outstanding members of a church weren’t always kind to those they’d taken into foster care primarily for the money.
“Ready!” said Kenton, jarring her out of thoughts of the past. He placed a plate with the sandwich in front of her and took a seat opposite her.
She lifted the sandwich to her face and inhaled the aroma of the ham. Keeping her eyes on Kenton, she bit into the bread, savoring the taste of fresh food.
He beamed at her with satisfaction when she quickly took another bite.
“Who lives here? Lettie asked.
“A friend of mine,” said Kenton. His gaze remained on her. “You don’t look eighteen.”
She swallowed, and her breath puffed out with dismay. “But I am.”
“And you’re not into drugs and all the free-love stuff everyone talks about?”
Lettie shook her head.  “Not really. I tried weed a couple of times, but it wasn’t for me.” Her strict upbringing had had a greater influence on her than she’d thought.
“Good. Like I said, if you want to ride to Oregon with me, there’s a job waiting for you at the Chandler Hill Inn. We’re looking for help. It would be a lot better than walking the streets of Haight-Ashbury. Safer too.”
She narrowed her eyes at him. “And if I don’t like it?”
He shrugged. “You can leave. One of the staff recently left for L.A. That’s why my father called me to ask if I knew anyone who could come and work there. You’re my only choice.”
Lettie’s heart pounded with hope. Acting as nonchalant as she could, she said, “Sounds like something I’d like to try.”
###
The ride to Oregon was mostly quiet as an easy camaraderie continued between them. Kenton answered any questions she had about him, the inn, and the way he thought about things. Lettie was surprised to learn he hadn’t joined in a lot of the anti-war protests. 
“My best friend died in ’Nam. He believed in serving our country. I want to honor him,” he said to Lettie.
“A boy in my high school was drafted. His parents weren’t happy about it.”  
                “Well, if I’m drafted, I’m going,” Kenton said. “I don’t want to, but I will. I don’t really have a choice.”
                As they talked, they agreed that John Wayne was great in the movie True Grit.
“And I love the Beatles,” said Lettie.
“Yeah, me too. Too bad they just broke up.”
“And what about the new group, The Jackson 5?” Lettie said.
“They’re great.  And I like Simon and Garfunkel and their music too.”
At one point, Lettie turned to Kenton. “Sometimes you seem so serious, like an old man. How old are you, anyway?”
                He gave her a sheepish look. “Twenty-two.”
                They shared a laugh, and in that moment, Lettie knew she’d found a person with whom she could be herself.
###
                Lettie woke to someone shaking her shoulder. She stared into the blue-gray eyes of a stranger and stiffened.
“Lettie, we’re here,” said a male voice.
As she came fully awake, she realized Kenton was talking to her.
“Here at Chandler Hill?” she asked, rubbing the sleep from her eyes.
She looked out through the windshield of the Ford Pinto and gaped at the huge, white-clapboard house sitting on the top of a knoll like a queen overlooking her realm.
Lettie scrambled out of the car and stood gazing at the clean lines of the two-story building. Across the front, four windows offset by green shutters were lined up with identical windows below. Beneath a small, protective, curved roof, glass panels bracketed a wide front door, welcoming guests. To one side, a two-story wing had been added to the house.
Green, leafy bushes offset by an assortment of colorful flowers she didn’t recognize softened the front of the building. As she walked closer, she realized between the main house and the addition a small, stone patio and private garden had been installed.
“Come on in,” said Kenton. “There’s a beautiful view from the back porch.”
Feeling as if she were Alice in a different kind of Wonderland, Lettie entered the house. As she tiptoed behind Kenton, her gaze darted from the polished surfaces of furniture to gilt-edged mirrors to a massive floral bouquet sitting on a large dining-room table. It all seemed so grand.
Kenton led her to a wide porch lining the back of the house. Observing the rolling land before her and, in the distance, the hills crouching in deepening colors of green, Lettie’s breath caught. The sun was rising, spreading a gold topping on the hills like icing on cake.
“Nice, huh?”
Lettie smiled and answered, “I’ve never seen anything so beautiful, so peaceful.”
At the sound of footsteps behind her, she whirled around.
A tall, gray-haired man with striking features similar to Kenton’s said, “Welcome home, son.”
They shook hands, and then the older gentleman turned to her. “And who is this?”
Shy, she stared at the man who seemed so familiar to her.
Kenton nudged Lettie.
Minding her manners, Lettie held out her hand as she’d been taught. “Lettie Hawkins. I’ve come for a job.” A niggling feeling kept her eyes on him longer than necessary. When she could no longer stop herself, she blurted, “Aren’t you Rex Chandler, the movie star?”
He smiled. “Yes, I am. But I’ve changed professions.”
Lettie held back a chuckle of delight. A friend’s mother had privately adored him.
“Why don’t the two of you come into the kitchen,” said Rex. “Mrs. Morley will want to talk to Lettie, and I need to talk to you, Kenton.”
As Lettie followed the men into the kitchen, a woman hurried toward them, crying, “Kenton! Kenton! You’re home at last!”
Laughing, Kenton allowed the woman to hug him. “You’d think I’ve been gone a year, Mrs. Morley.”
“You almost were,” she said, smiling and pinching his cheek. “And look at you! More handsome than ever.”
Looking as if he couldn’t wait for her to focus her attention elsewhere, Kenton said, “Mrs. Morley, I’d like you to meet Lettie Hawkins. She’s here for a job.”
Mrs. Morley’s gaze settled on Lettie. “So, you like to work?”
“She likes to eat,” said Kenton, bringing a smile to Mrs. Morley’s full face.
“By the looks of it, Lettie, you could use more food,” said Mrs. Morley. “Let’s you and I talk about what kind of jobs you could do around here. I’m short-handed at the moment.”
Kenton and Rex left the kitchen.
Mrs. Morley waved Lettie over to a desk in a small alcove in the kitchen. After lowering her considerable bulk into a chair, Mrs. Morley faced her. Her green eyes exuded kindness as she studied Lettie. Her gray-streaked brown hair was pulled back from her face and banded together in a ponytail, giving Lettie a good look at her pleasing features.  
“Have a seat, dear.”
 Lettie sat in the chair indicated for her and clutched her hands. After seeing the small inn and the beautiful countryside, she desperately wanted the job.
“Where are you from, Lettie? And why in the world do you want to work here in the country? I’d think a pretty, young girl like you would want to be in a city having fun.” 
Lettie paused, unsure how to answer her. She’d thought she’d like living in the city, being free to do whatever she wanted. But after four months of doing just that, the excitement had worn off. She liked to know where she was going to sleep at night and when she’d next eat.
 “Maybe I’m just a country girl at heart,” she answered lamely. Her two best friends at home would scoff at her, but right now, that’s how she felt.
“Well, that’s what you’ll be if you stay on. A lot of activity is taking place around here, what with people buying up turkey farms and the like, turning them into vineyards, but it is country. I hope it always will be.” She leaned forward. “Know anything about cooking? Cleaning?”
“Yes,” said Lettie. “I used to do both in my foster home. I was the oldest of eight kids there.”
“Eight? My land, that’s a lot of kids to take in,” said Mrs. Morley.
“It’s a lot of money,” Lettie said, unable to hide her disgust. “That’s why they did it.”
“I see,” said Mrs. Morley, studying her. “So how long have you been on your own?”
“Four months,” she replied. “I was in San Francisco when I met Kenton.”
“Such a good, young man. I’ve known him for a while now,” Mrs. Morley sighed with affection. “You’re lucky he found you. Why don’t we start in housekeeping, see how it goes, and then maybe you can give me a hand in the kitchen.”
“Okay,” Lettie said, jumping to her feet. “Where should I put my things? I need to get them from the car.”
Mrs. Morley gave her an approving look. “I like your eagerness. Let me show you to your room and then I’ll give you a tour.”
The north half of the front of the house consisted of a large, paneled dining room she’d seen earlier. The long mahogany table that sat in the middle of the room held seats for twelve. A summer flower arrangement consisted of pink roses and pink hydrangeas interspersed with white daisies and sat in a cut-glass vase in the middle of the table. Along one wall, above a service counter, an open cupboard made of dark wood stored coffee mugs, extra wine goblets, and water glasses. A coffee maker and a burner holding a pot of hot water sat on the marble counter. A bowl of sugar, a pitcher of cream, and a dish of lemon slices were displayed nearby. At the other end of the counter, a large plate of homemade, chocolate-chip cookies invited guests to take one.
“How many guests do you usually have?” Lettie asked.
“We have six guest rooms, so we have as many as twelve people for the breakfast we serve. During the day, people come and go on their own, tasting wine at nearby vineyards or sightseeing. We offer a simple dinner to those not wishing to travel to restaurants at night.” A look of pride crossed Mrs. Morley’s face. “Sometimes my husband, Pat, grills out, or Rita Lopez cooks up Mexican food. Guests like these homestyle meals. In fact, we’re becoming known for them.”
Lettie’s mouth watered. It all sounded so good.
Mrs. Morley led her to a sideboard, opened its drawers, and gave her a smile. “Let’s see how well you polish silver.”
Later, after being shown how, Lettie was working on the silverware when Kenton walked into the kitchen.
“Well? Are you going to stay?” he asked.
“Yes,” Lettie said with determination. The whole time she’d been cleaning the silver she’d been able to gaze at the rolling hills outside. This, she’d decided, is where she wanted to be. It felt so right.
About the Author

 photo unnamed 2_zpslvnzyu1t.jpg

Judith Keim was born and raised in Elmira, New York, and now makes her home in Idaho with her husband and their two dachshunds, Winston and Wally, and other members of her family.
Growing up, books were always present being read, ready to go back to the library, or about to be discovered. Information from the books was shared in general conversation, giving all of us in the family wealth of knowledge and a lot of imagination. Perhaps that is why I was drawn to the idea of writing stories early on. I particularly love to write novels about women who face unexpected challenges and meet them with strength.
A hybrid author who both has a publisher and who self-publishes, Ms. Keim writes heart-warming stories of strong women who face challenges and find love and happiness along the way. Her books are based, in part, on many of the places she’s lived or visited and on the interesting people she’s met, creating believable characters and realistic settings her many, loyal readers love.
Contact Links
Purchase Links
RABT Book Tours & PR

2 Comments

Filed under BOOKS