Dear Indie | Fonts, Vectors, & Scams, Oh…snap!

Author A.C. Melody had done the legwork and taken a lot of the sting out of book formatting for indies! This one’s a keeper!



Hi Indies! I’m back, and I have links!

In my last post, I touched base on some of the issues we DIY’ers face when working with a small budget and little-to-no experience. Formatting an eBook, which has “Floating Text” vs. formatting a paperback with “Fixed Text” is not only different, but sometimes it can be more difficult. Getting things to stay where you want them isn’t quite as easy when nothing’s pinned down.

via Dear Indie | Fonts, Vectors, & Scams, Oh…snap!

#PromoTour “The Life and Times of Clyde Kennard” by Derek R. King

Title: The Life and Times of Clyde Kennard
Author: Derek R. King
Genre: US Civil Rights, African American, Black History
Release Date: October 13, 2018

In 1955, Clyde Kennard, a decorated army veteran, was forced to cut short the final year of his studies at the University of Chicago and return home to Mississippi due to family circumstances, where Kennard made the decision to complete his education. Yet still on the eve of the civil rights movement in America, Kennard’s decision would be one of the first serious attempts to integrate any public school at the college level in the state.

The Life and Times of Clyde Kennard tells the true story of Chicago University student Clyde Kennard’s efforts to complete his further education in his home state of Mississippi at Mississippi Southern College (now the University of Southern Mississippi) against the backdrop of the institutionalized social order of the times and the prevailing winds of change attempting to blow that social order away.
Author Derek R. King shares his extensive research into Kennard’s life, and he touches on the key events that shaped those times and the impact of the events on people involved on both sides of what was an extremely heated and emotive debate.
In the end, Clyde Kennard would take a nonconfrontational route to change, and as James Meredith’s admission to the University of Mississippi became more widely known at the time, Kennard became the forgotten man. But his story is an uplifting and inspiring story of perseverance, hardship, and committed determination to right wrongs, and it is a testament to the enduring legacy of the civil rights movement and its challenge to the status quo of injustice.

“Clyde Kennard’s story is one that should be told far and wide and given its rightful place alongside all other well-renowned heroes of the civil rights movement. Derek R. King has made a significant contribution to literature indeed.” – Literary Titan.

“I approached Derek King’s book on my client Clyde Kennard with scepticism. Could a white Scottish man be entrusted with the story of an unsung hero of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement?
Yes, King’s book is a revelation. Read it. Learn. Never forget.” Professor Steven A Drizin Clinical Professor of Law at the Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law in Chicago

“This book is a real page turner; it tells the story of one man’s efforts to enrol at college and the twists and turns that happened to him on the way and beyond.” Lilymay Amazon Reviewer

Return to Mississippi

Abandoning his degree course prematurely at the University of Chicago, as well as leaving the relative peace and security of Chicago to run the family farm in a segregated and volatile Mississippi, could not have been easy for Clyde. He remained determined to ensure this break from the routine of his studies was as short as possible and to avoid his previous years of study counting for naught. He hoped and planned to complete his degree course once the farm business was back on track, but Mississippi was a state in the grip of civil resistance and unrest with a determination to preserve segregation.

After returning to Eatonville, and still with his mother’s Baptist upbringing influence, he joined the Mary Magdalene Baptist Church in Hattiesburg, codirected their youth choir, and started the first Bible class for young people, becoming a Sunday school teacher in the process.

As a young girl, Gloria Peck was in Clyde’s Sunday school class and later remembered that he “taught his students with a firm but gentle hand, planning Christmas plays and delivering fruit baskets to every child in the area on the holidays.” 2 Viola Grant, who also worked with the youth choir, recalled that even his fellow church volunteers thought he was a bit of a “goody-goody.” 3 She added that in an effort to “corrupt” Clyde, a group of friends took him to the Embassy Club in Palmers Crossing. Although they knew Clyde did not drink, they ordered a bottle of wine and poured him a glass. But when they left at the end of the night, “that glass of wine was still there,” she said. “He was just a different sort of person.”

Clyde became good friends with his neighbor, the barrel-chested fifty-three-year-old Vernon Dahmer Sr., whose farm was only two miles from Clyde’s. Dahmer was an NAACP activist, and Clyde joined the NAACP, serving as president of the local NAACP Youth Council founded by Dahmer, who also acted as an adviser. It was through this involvement that Clyde met Medgar Evers, the NAACP’s field secretary in Mississippi, who traveled to Hattiesburg to assist in setting up an NAACP youth chapter. This was when Evers first became aware of Clyde’s NAACP youth work. There were many parallels between these two men. They were the same age, they’d grown up in rural farming families, they were World War II army veterans who had pursued further education on their return to the United States through the GI Bill, and neither was intimidated by white segregationists. 

Clyde also attended statewide NAACP meetings in Jackson, and as the pair’s relationship grew, Medgar developed an enormous respect for Clyde. “Clyde was like a brother to him,” recalled Joyce Ladner. 

Clyde mentored both Joyce and Dorie Ladner, fifteen-year-old sisters who were both members of the youth council and pupils at Earl Travillion High School. Clyde tutored Joyce in English and history, and on one occasion, he helped her write a speech on the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution. She recalled that Clyde “took his time” with Joyce and her sister, adding that “he was very patient.” 6 She graduated valedictorian of her high school, while her sister. Dorie graduated salutatorian. 

Clyde was serving on the Eatonville school board when the authorities decided to consolidate the Palmers Crossing and Eatonville Negro schools. He was incensed that the 125 black students from Eatonville had to travel eleven miles to attend classes at Palmers Crossing. To make matters worse, the Eatonville Negro students passed the all-white Eatonville school enroute to Palmers Crossing.

He joined others in circulating a petition to have the Eatonville schoolchildren attend the closest school, the all-white Eatonville school. Predictably, their petition was unsuccessful. In the segregationist world of Mississippi in 1955, regardless of the United States Supreme Court’s Brown decision, the public education system continued under the “separate but
equal” banner.

 After settling back in the Eatonville community, Clyde began to develop and expand the family farm, taking a loan to buy a plot of land in Eatonville and purchasing three thousand hens to start a chicken farm. In June, to supplement the farm’s income and earn additional funds to repay the loan, Clyde set up business as a “small gardening and handyman service,” purchasing “1 push mower, 4 power mowers, 1 wheel barrow and numerous assortment of gardening tools,” as well as a pickup truck a few months later. 

With a second source of income and the family farm set up to work in a way that would allow him to continue his studies, Clyde turned his attention to completing his degree course. Similar to the Eatonville school pupils, the nearest Negro college for Clyde was around ninety miles
away, at Jackson State College in Jackson; however, the nearest all-white college, Mississippi Southern College (MSC) in Hattiesburg, was only about five miles from the farm and around a fifteen-minute drive. With his commitments to his mother and the farm, Jackson State College, at ninety or so miles away, was not a practical option, as he wanted to finish his education close to home. To allow him to both complete his degree and run the farm, MSC was the obvious choice.

* * *

Mississippi Southern College (MSC) was approaching its fiftieth anniversary, and construction of a new library facility, at a cost of $855,000 to accommodate two hundred thousand volumes, had just been completed. 

At the time MSC was described by journalist Ronald A. Hollander as “white-columned, red bricked, broad walked and ivied, with lily pond and kissing bridge.” 9 MSC at the time was essentially a liberal arts school, and the intention of its alumni was its eventual status as a university.

The college marching band; the cheerleaders, named the Dixie Darlings; and the football and basketball teams were all white. The mascot was “Old Nat,” who rode on a horse called Son of Dixie. Old Nat took his name from former Confederate cavalry general Nathan Bedford Forrest,
who had tormented Union troops during the Civil War with lightning raids and from whom Forrest County itself took its name.

Social life at MSC was typical for the time, revolving around sports events and bus trips downtown to see the latest movies, but with curfew at 9:00 p.m. for freshmen girls. 

As with all public education in segregationist Mississippi, MSC was entirely dependent on the state for its funding; its president, William David McCain, was responsible to the state-appointed Board of Trustees of Institutions of Higher Learning; and by definition, MSC’s entire student
body of around 4,200 were white.

McCain, a former army general and “hardcore segregationist,” became the college’s president on August 18, 1955, promising to keep the campus “dusty or muddy with construction.” This driving ambition reflected the alumni’s desire to secure university status and for MSC to join the state’s other flagship schools, Ole Miss and Mississippi State University. The last thing McCain wanted under his presidency was adverse publicity from an integration attempt. Any question of threatening the whites-only tradition would adversely affect the pursuit of university status.

* * *

Clyde believed that common sense would prevail despite the political climate in Mississippi in the wake of the Brown decision and that integration would be achieved. He decided to enroll at MSC to complete his degree course while at the same time running the family farm. Unlike
Medgar Evers’s petitioners, Clyde’s enrollment was not motivated by the NAACP but simply his own desire to complete his degree course. “Clyde just wanted to finish school,” recalled Dorie Ladner. “He wasn’t trying to make a political statement.” 

While not motivated by the NAACP, as a member of its Forrest County chapter, he had discussed his intention to enroll with them. Far from any discouragement, local president J. C. Fairley and fellow member Joseph Otis actively encouraged Clyde to apply for admission. 

Derek R. King, is a poet, musician and published author. He lives in Scotland, enjoys the great outdoors, good malt whisky, art (particularly art nouveau, deco, impressionism, surrealist and contemporary periods) and photography.

You might spot him on a hill somewhere with his camera fist pumping and quietly muttering “Yes!” to himself if he captures a great image.
His poetry, which covers diverse topics, has been variously described as “emotive”, “raw”, “powerful” and “fun”, a collection of his work is being compiled.
His main work to date has been the award winning non-fiction Civil Rights era book, “The Life And Times Of Clyde Kennard”, which tells the true story of one man’s attempt to go to college in those challenging times.
Derek has written several short stories one of which, “Defying Convention“, is included in the recently published “Winter Chills” collection of short stories, which received a five-star review from literary Titan and their Gold book award this month.


#BookBlitz “Amber Waves of Grace” by Jessica Berg

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Grace coverContemporary Romance
Date Published: February 2020
Publisher: Red Adept Publishing
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After her father’s accident, Corrie Lancaster moves back to the family farm just in time to help with the harvest. With a bumper crop of wheat waiting, the farm’s only hired hand quits, leaving Corrie with no choice but to accept the help of her old boyfriend’s older brother, Aaron Tuttle. It seems like the perfect plan until Corrie realizes ex-flame Luke isn’t over her. But even with Luke’s apologies and attempts to rekindle their romance, Corrie can’t forget his past betrayal.
Between harvesting, keeping tabs on her younger siblings, and watching her parents’ marriage crumble, Corrie leans on Aaron for emotional support. Wading through jealousy was never on Corrie’s to-do list, but as she navigates the choppy waters, she finds herself falling for Aaron’s good looks and charming wit.
Just when Corrie thinks she has everything under control, a stranger seeking shelter comes to the farm, and an old nemesis returns for revenge. As destructive forces align against her, Corrie must decide which man’s love will bring her back to life and restore her faith in herself, her family, and her purpose.


Perched high in her Peterbilt semi-truck, Corrie Lancaster winced as the leather seat sucked at her tanned arms. She swiped at the sweat dripping down her nose. Didn’t matter. She loved harvest time. Consistent and efficient. Just what she liked.
Enclosed in the cab cocoon, she waited out the cloud of dust and chaff spewed out by the back end of the combine as it inched across the wheat field. She counted down the seconds until the last of the dust storm passed, then she opened the door and hopped down from the sweltering cab. Even a hot day felt like a fresh breeze after being trapped like that. Filling her nostrils with the smell of wheat and dirt, she shuffled through the stubble and knelt. With deft fingers, she moved aside the chaff and scoured the ground for wheat kernels.
Seeing only two, she exhaled. The old girl kept chugging along. If the 9600 John Deere combine could keep doing that for the next two thousand acres, they’d be set. With the years of drought and bad grain prices, the piggy bank had squealed its last a long time ago. A good harvest was the only hope for reviving it.
Corrie straightened, brushed her hands on her jeans, and readjusted her dark aviators as her gaze darted over the field she’d planted and cared for. Ambling to the semi to wait for the next load, she groaned when a familiar rusty-orange Ford F-350 tore into the field, wheels spitting up chaff in their wake. George, her hired man, slammed the door, the pickup shuddering with the force.
“Here we go again,” she mumbled, posting herself next to her semi, careful not to touch the black paint molten in the sun’s heat, and waited for the large oaf to close the distance. “George, what’s the rush?”
His tongue darted out and licked his chapped and peeling lips. His licentious gaze raked her while still communicating disdain. Quite a trick for someone with mush for brains. She hugged her arms around her chest.
“The rush?” George spat. “Rush is I quit.”
Her arms fell to her sides. “What?”
“You heard me.”
Corrie balled her hands into fists and kept herself from planting them in George’s overfed face. “You can’t quit.”
“I ain’t about to work for no woman for minimum wage. Especially a woman like you.”
Bright? Diligent? Caring and responsible? Words he probably didn’t know.
She narrowed her eyes. “Fine. Quit.”
“Or you could do what any reasonable woman would do. Sell the farm. To me.”
Corrie snapped her mouth shut on a nasty swear word. “When pigs fly.” She clambered up the semi steps and slammed the door.
Hot humid air and her heavy breathing filled the cab as George sped from the field, truck tires making a permanent rut. Corrie pawed at the window knob until the coolest breeze a ninety-five-degree day could muster blew through. Laying her head back against the headrest, she closed her eyes and, for the first time, longed to be back in Sioux Falls and ached for a juicy story to unfold to the readers of the Argus Leader. Impossible of course. Her family needed her.
She jumped in the seat and banged her knees on the steering wheel. She couldn’t remember praying for patience, but she made a mental note to remind God she didn’t need any more for a while.
“Nathan! You scared the living daylights out of me.” She quirked an eyebrow. His fifteen-year-old face resembled a Cheshire cat’s. “Did you scare me on purpose?”
“No.” Tinges of crimson crawled up his neck. “I swear on my ability to drive, I didn’t mean to.” His blue eyes radiated innocence, but he’d made her look like a fool before.
“If I even get a hint, a breath of a hint, that you did it on purpose, I’ll take Old Bertie away for two days.”
“How am I supposed to practice driving if you take the truck away?”
“You shouldn’t have sworn by it, then, should you?” She reached out and ruffled Nathan’s hair. Ignoring his scowl, she asked, “Why are you here, anyway? I thought you had a grain bin to clean.”
“The auger’s broken, and I couldn’t get ahold of George to fix it. I thought he’d be here with you.”
“George quit.” And all she wanted to do was find ways to exact revenge upon him. Ex-lax in his morning coffee? Too messy. A new mouse infestation in his pickup? Too mousy. “Losing” his last paycheck—
 “Corrie? Are you there?” Nathan waved a hand in front of her face.
“What do you want me to do?”
Go find the loser and run him over. No. That wouldn’t help. He would be only slightly less useful dead. “I’ll figure something out. Did you finish the rest of your chores?”
“Yeah. I was just about to finish cleaning out the grain bin when the stupid auger broke. Can I still go to the lake with my friends?”
His large boots thumped on the running board. Just this morning, he’d complained they were getting tight on him.
“Yeah, you can go.” Before he could hop down, she grabbed his arm. “Double-check with Mom and make sure you’re home by five to relieve Nikki. She’s been in that combine since eight.”
He beamed at her and walked away with a lanky stride caused by a six-foot frame and an arm span to match.
She hollered, “Why didn’t you just call over the radio?”
“Broken,” he yelled over his shoulder before he slammed the door to the old red manual pickup he’d learned to drive.
Rage exploded from deep inside. With a scream, Corrie scrunched up an empty Pepsi can, and pretending it was George’s head, she chucked it out of the truck cab. For all his horrible qualities, George had worked hard. And he didn’t earn minimum wage. He earned a dollar an hour more.
An approaching tractor’s purr drew her attention. Her cousin Joey bounced up and down as the John Deere inched closer. He lined the grain cart up to the semi and began dumping golden wheat kernels into the trailer. After several minutes, he pulled away and headed down the rough field to await another combine hopper.
She started the truck and drummed her fingers while it aired up. When the red light signified the truck was ready, she shifted into first, exited the field, and began the twenty-mile drive into Sandy. Metallica screamed through the truck’s speakers, and she bobbed her head to the vicious beat.
They would have to hire another person. A person crazy enough to work for a dollar an hour more than minimum wage.
* * * *
A full moon illuminated the well-kept Lancaster farmyard as Corrie pulled into the driveway. She hauled herself out of the pickup, every muscle in her body threatening mutiny.
“Well, Old Bertie, you did well today. I hope Nathan’s treating you right.” Giving a tap to the pickup’s hood, she chuckled. “I’ll have to remind him you’re three hundred thousand miles old.”
Trusting that Nathan had fed the dog, she rattled the doorknob on the barn to check the lock and trudged to the large two-story colonial-style farmhouse. Its brick façade with white windows and a red front door welcomed her home. She scratched the panicked idea of going back to Sioux Falls. As much as she enjoyed the city, she needed the country and its peaceful quiet and its meandering back roads.
She inhaled the cool summer air bursting with the scent of her mother’s pansies planted snugly in terra-cotta pots. She sank into a white wicker rocking chair. A plane’s red lights blinked in the starlit night, and a shooting star soared into the black abyss.
Nearer, farm equipment not being used in the field hunkered down in the tree belt, far past the reach of the single farm light on the barn roof. Most of it would have to wait until spring to be brought out and put to use. Corrie shook her head. Although perhaps idiotic and slightly neurotic, she couldn’t help feeling as if the planting equipment stewed in jealousy and dejection for most of the year. Maybe her parents had read her too many Corey Combine books. Apparently, they had thought she would be a boy and had chosen the name before she drew her first breath. Surprised but not beaten, her parents had ditched the spelling and kept the name. With a grunt, she heaved herself out of the rocking chair and tiptoed into the dark house. Nikki, Nathan, and her mother would have gone to bed hours ago.
One person, however, would still be up. After kicking off her shoes, Corrie walked into the living room. The fresh scent of furniture polish spoke of her mother’s Friday cleaning. The television glow illuminated vacuum tracks in the plush white carpeting. A solitary figure sat in a brown leather recliner.
“Hey, Dad.” She stooped and kissed the top of his head, noticing for the first time the lines and wrinkles edging his eyes, signs of aging he’d always hidden.
Jake responded with a slurred variation of her name and a wobbling smile. She muted the game show. He’d never liked game shows, and now the Game Show Network was the only thing on when he was in the house. The no-nonsense man she’d known all her life had died when a semitrailer slammed into his truck one icy December evening.
As she did every night, she sat by his slippered feet and told him about her day. The damage hadn’t touched the part of his brain that loved and lived off farming. Every day convinced her even more that his love of the land was nurtured not in his head but in his heart. Nothing could kill that.
“George quit today.” Corrie saved the worst news for last. Her father’s eyes met hers and reflected the anger he couldn’t formulate with words. Then a sliver of worry crept around the anger in his eyes. Wanting to reel the words back in and swallow them, she sighed. “Don’t worry, Dad. I’ll take care of it. I’ll find someone to replace George.”
The worry and anger didn’t leave his eyes. With a sigh, she got off the floor and laid her hands on his once broad shoulders. “Don’t stay up too late. Morning comes early on the Lancaster farm.” She pressed a kiss to his forehead and left him watching Deal or No Deal. He would be up for hours.
* * * *
Corriegroaned into her pillow and hid from the protruding fingers of sunlight soaking through her window shades. If only she could cover her head with her comforter and fall back into her wonderful dream about Middle Earth and hobbits, but she couldn’t afford the luxury. Not with a truck full of grain to take to the elevator. Not if she wanted to beat the line so she could get back and service the combine. Nikki could take care of the other morning chores, but the combine was Corrie’s baby. Nobody greased it except her.
Bacon and eggs sizzled as she entered the bright kitchen. The west wall, full of floor-to-ceiling windows, faced her mother’s garden. As a child, Corrie had loathed weeding and watering the garden. Now, a day in the garden would be a nice reprieve.
“Good morning, dear.” Corrie’s mother, Cynthia, greeted her with a smile.
“Good morning.” Corrie took the proffered tongs and flipped the bacon, careful to avoid the splattering grease. “How’s Dad this morning?”
“Fine.” Cynthia no longer cried when she talked about her husband. A steely reserve now crept into her eyes and flared whenever Jake was mentioned.
Corrie took the hint to shut up. After transferring the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate, she set the table. She watched closely as Cynthia stirred the scrambled eggs with a little more force than necessary. Corrie stopped herself from chewing on her bottom lip, a. A bad habit carried over from toddler-hood. She wanted to ask her mom about her dad, needed advice about the future of the farm, of them, but all was cut short when a herd of stampeding feet echoed down the stairs.
“You two make enough noise to scare the dead,” Corrie scolded as Nikki and Nathan scooted around the corner.
“We’re just hungry. That’s all.” Nathan nipped a piece of bacon. “Where’s Dad?”
Before Corrie could intercept the question, Cynthia spun around with a spatula covered in scrambled eggs and whipped the air with it. “Eat. Now.”
Nathan ducked his head. “Sorry. I just wanted…” Corrie’s hand squeezed his shoulder, stopping his comment.
Cynthia threw the spatula into the pan of eggs, tossed a potholder on the table, and slapped the pan down, egg shrapnel exploding over the table. She left the kitchen, and when the master bedroom door slammed shut, Nikki and Nathan jumped in their seats.
Several minutes of awkward silence, thicker than bacon grease, permeated the kitchen. The cheery yellow of the walls and crystal-clear glass of the white cupboard doors did nothing to stop the shadow of doubt lurking in every corner. No one mentioned the unspeakable but not improbable event they most feared.
Nikki exhaled. “Do you think they will… you know… get a divorce?”
Corrie shushed her and grabbed the salt and pepper. She no longer had an appetite, but it would be a while before a meal came her way. Forcing herself to swallow, she glanced at Nathan as he scraped at his full plate. “You need to eat, Nathan.”
“I’m not hungry.” He scooted back his chair and stalked out of the house. Nathan ran across the farmyard and into the barn, where he would most likely find solace in the soft fur of his miniature Australian shepherd, Bacon.
After the barn door slammed, Nikki turned back to her food. “So, do you think Mom will want a divorce?”
Corrie winced at the pain radiating from her seventeen-year-old sister’s eyes, the same glacier blue of their father’s. Nikki twirled her curly blond hair around her index finger, warming Corrie’s heart for a moment with memories of holding her baby sister, mesmerized by the tiny index finger creating equally tiny curls. Her chest swelled as she surveyed her sister, a combination of dirt and the most delicate of wildflowers struggling to soak in the last raindrops.
“I don’t know. I really don’t.” Corrie finished her orange juice. “I can’t imagine what Mom is going through right now. I don’t think I want to.” She started cleaning up. “We need to keep praying.”
“It’s not working.” Nikki swirled the rest of her scrambled eggs around on her plate.
Corrie abandoned her task of clearing off the table and sank beside her sister. “I know things are hard right now. Trust me, I feel the weight of all this. Sometimes, we can’t see where God wants us to go. And sometimes, instead of smoothing the mountain for us, he gives us the tools to climb that mountain, and only from there can we see the beauty and majesty of his plan.”
Nikki laid her head on Corrie’s shoulder. “I’ll keep trying. I’m just really tired.”
“Me too.” Corrie pressed a kiss to Nikki’s hair. “Tomorrow is Sunday. We can rest then. Until then, we’ve got work to do. I’ll take the truck into the elevator and meet you at the field later.” She headed for the door. “Don’t forget to pack a lunch. I don’t want to have to go to the café again.”
Nikki rolled her eyes. “One time and I’m branded for life.”
“Forget again, and I’ll brand ‘lunch’ on your forehead,” Corrie teased. She laughed at Nikki’s pouty face and rushed across the yard.
Nathan was busy gassing up Old Bertie and making sure the fuel tank on the back of it was full of diesel. Corrie slipped into the passenger side and waited until he finished turning off the tank.
He ambled over to the passenger door, opened it, and blinked in surprise. “You’re going to let me drive?”
She chuckled. “Don’t expect this every day.”
He sprinted around the front of the pickup, hopped in, and started the old girl up. Stomping on the clutch, he slammed the stick into low gear then let off the clutch while easing the gas pedal down. Old Bertie responded with a grunt and spasm but obeyed with jerking movements.
“Okay. Now let the clutch fully out. Good. Give her a little gas. You’re choking her. Okay. Now ease in the clutch again and shift to first.”
He complied, and soon the pickup was soaring down the road toward the field. She glanced at his profile and wondered when he’d grown up on her. Gone was the scrawny boy who cried every time he came across a dead bird or a hurt farm cat.
“Are you okay? You know, with what’s been going on and stuff?” Good grief. As a reporter, I should be able to ask a better question.But this wasn’t some stranger or some big news-breaking story. This was her brother, and his soft heart was breaking.
His pronounced Adam’s apple bobbed up and down. “I guess.”
“It’s just this morning you seemed… I don’t know…” The countryside whizzed by in a blur of color.
“I just miss Dad. I want him to be him again. You know?”
She nodded and bit the inside of her cheek to keep her tears in check. “Yeah. I do. But Dad will always be your dad. You have to know that. He still loves you, loves us, but he can’t show it like he used to. You have to have faith and believe he will get better. You never know. He might play football with you again or take you fishing.”
Nathan shrugged. “Sure. Maybe.”
In other words, conversation over. From the time he’d learned to walk, Nathan had been Dad’s sidekick. Now Jake hardly noticed his son.
Nathan brought the pickup to a jerking halt in the field, and she stepped out. “I’ve got to take this truckload in.” She poked her head through the open passenger window. “We’ll be okay.” Before he could reply, she jumped in the semi, started it, and after it aired up, drove into town.
After twenty miles of rolling cropland and pasture, she crested the hill into Sandy, South Dakota, a small town nestled against the Sandy River. At this time of year, it was more of a creek, but a river it would always be to the residents who’d grown up around its banks. She downshifted in the truck’s descent. Judging from the myriad trucks and cars, Corrie guessed Mabel must have cheese buttons as the café special. Corrie’s stomach rumbled. She could almost taste the cheese-and-onion mixture tucked deliciously in dough and cooked in cream.
The knife of memory slid and cut its way into her mind as she passed the VFW dance hall where she’d won her first dancing competition. Her father had been her dance partner for the waltz.
She blinked her stinging eyes. Amazing how one phone call could change a life forever. Like a tornado, it sucked her up, spun her around, and spit her out. If only he’d stayed home that snowy night nine months ago. He would be the one harvesting. He would be the one shouldering the farm’s responsibility.
Coming to the end of town, she turned right at the only stop sign on Main, pulled up behind a mile-long line of trucks, and inched up off the highway and onto the elevator’s graveled property.
“Good morning, Corrie.”
She beamed at the old man who hopped on the truck’s running board and stuck his head in her truck cab. “Good morning, Baxter.”
A proud working octogenarian, Baxter tipped his stained and dusty DeKalb seed cap. Upon close inspection, his crinkly face mirrored his life—full of happiness with a dash of adventure and a few sprinkles of sadness and loss. She loved to hear his stories even though she knew most of them by heart.
“You’re looking good.” He patted her arm with a veiny, rough hand.
Without a doubt, her wrinkle-free skin had grown new fissures over the past nine months, and baggy, dark circles sat like bloated toads under her eyes. No matter how many promises different shampoo brands boasted, her hair had lost its luster and hung limp in a ponytail every day. “You’re much too kind. But thank you. It’s nice to hear.”
“How are things holding up on the Lancaster farm, dearie?”
“Not so well.” She could never pretend with the old man. He was far too wise and knew far too much. “George quit yesterday.”
Baxter took off his cap and slapped it against his thigh. Dust flew. “That good for nothing…” He slammed his hat on his bald head. “That rat! Sorry to hear it, Corrie. If you need anything, please let me know.” He peered at her with wizened eyes. “I mean it, young lady. All you have to do is ask.” Someone inside the main building called for Baxter. With an apologetic pat on her head, he hopped off and ran to the weigh house.
“Spry old man,” she muttered as she shifted the truck from neutral into first gear for her turn on the scales. The red light turned green, and she eased onto the scales. She waited until the mechanical arm swung over from the weigh house and sucked grain into its proboscis and into the building. The red light flickered green, and she drove through the obstacle course of trucks and grain bins to the correct dumping site. She watched in her side mirror as elevator employees swarmed the truck’s hoppers like worker bees. Eventually, they signaled her to leave, and she waited in line again. Several smaller farm trucks waited ahead of her to go back on the scale. Ten minutes later, she stopped the truck on the scale until Baxter came out with her ticket telling her the bushels and moisture of the load she’d just dumped.
“Here you go, little miss. See you again soon for the same song and dance.”
Corrie laughed. “Save me a spot.” She glanced at her ticket before veering onto the highway. After doing some quick math, she gave a whoop. Eighty bushels an acre. “Praise the Lord!” That number was exactly what she needed to hear.
All day, she trucked back and forth between the quarter of land they were combining and the elevator. With all that time to think, she couldn’t figure out where she would get the extra help she needed. At eighty bushels an acre of wheat, she really needed extra help.

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About the Author

Jessica Berg, a child of the Dakotas and the prairie, grew up amongst hard-working men and women and learned at an early age to “put some effort into it.” Following that wise adage, she has put effort into teaching high school English for over a decade, being a mother to four children (she finds herself surprised at this number too), basking in the love of her husband of more than fifteen years and losing herself in the imaginary worlds she creates.

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RABT Book Tours & PR

#Teaser “Summer Princess (Dark Fae Book 1)” by Sloane Murphy

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Summer Princess, Dark Fae #1

by Sloane Murphy

releases FEBRUARY 20!

Available for PreOrder on all platforms –

She’s marked for a life she doesn’t want. He’s the one compelled to make her comply.

Emilia Daarke has fallen in love with the one person she should never have. After being caught by her father, she is thrust into a deadly game she must win, not just to save herself, but the ones she loves the most.

When Cade Vasara sees the girl he once loved, the one that got away, he’s torn between love and duty.

With betrayal and secrets running riot, and a ticking clock against them both, can they set aside their past, or will their present tear apart their world?

Buy Summer Princess to start the hauntingly dark adventure today!

Add to your Goodreads TBR list NOW:

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#Excerpt “From Here to Nashville” by Julie Stock

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Two worlds, 4,000 miles apart. Is their love strong enough to keep them together?

Rachel Hardy dreams of being a successful country music singer in Nashville’s Music City, four thousand miles away from her lonely life in Dorset. When Jackson Phillips, an independent record label owner, encourages her band to audition for a nationwide ‘Open Mic’ competition, she decides they have nothing to lose.

But when she starts to fall in love with Jackson, the stakes suddenly get higher and she finds herself with a great big dilemma on her hands. Should she abandon her dream and take the easy way out or should she leave the life she has always known behind and take a gamble on a man who has personal demons of his own?

Follow Rachel and Jackson as they learn to trust in love again to see whether their music really can unite them.




This extract is from the first chapter and is when Rachel first meets Jackson.

I turned slowly to find myself staring up into the most beautiful pair of brown eyes I’d ever seen. The gorgeous man who’d been watching me earlier now stood before me and my breath caught as I studied him close up. He towered over my petite frame, his soft, wavy, dark brown hair falling over his forehead, hands slung low in his pockets and cowboy boots peeking out from beneath his jeans.

‘Er, hi,’ I managed to stutter out, reminding myself to breathe.

‘Hey there,’ he drawled in the most luscious American accent. ‘I heard you singing and I wanted to find out more about who that fabulous voice belonged to.’ He smiled and as he did, I noticed the way his lips turned up invitingly at the corners.

‘Thank you. I’m glad you liked it,’ I replied, trying to appear calm and to bring my focus back to his eyes.

And then he chuckled. God, he knew how to make a chuckle sound sexy. He oozed confidence too, with his broad shoulders pulled back and his head held high.

‘You British, you’re so damn polite,’ he said, raising his eyebrows. ‘You sounded great up there.’

‘Yeah, the crowd had a great vibe tonight. I can’t quite believe it.’

‘Well, you have no reason not to; the proof’s all here. I loved your own song by the way. You have a real talent there.’


Author Bio Julie Stock

Julie Stock writes contemporary feel-good romance from around the world: novels, novellas and short stories. She published her debut novel, From Here to Nashville, in February 2015 and her second novel, The Vineyard in Alsace in March 2017. Over You (Sam’s Story) and Finding You (Jenna’s Story), her follow-up novellas to From Here to Nashville were published in 2018, making the From Here to You series complete. She has also published a boxed set of the From Here to You trilogy of books.

The Bistro by Watersmeet Bridge was published in August 2019, followed by Bittersweet, a collection of 12 Short Stories for Modern Life in September 2019.

Julie is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and The Society of Authors.

Julie is married and lives with her family in Bedfordshire in the UK.

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Win a signed paperback copy of From Here to Nashville, a bookmark and a guitar magnet (Open to UK Residents Only)


*Terms and Conditions – UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days, then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfillment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for dispatch or delivery of the prize.