April Book News

April showers 2020

 

 

Q. What do April Showers bring?

A. Long days to curl up with a good book!

 

 

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**************NOW AVAILABLE ON KINDLE************

all too human book cover 2In 1905, Rebecca Bryan, the first woman to practice law in Kalispell, Montana, is sent by her uncle/ senior partner to a remote hunting lodge near the Canadian border. She’s to find the missing will of his deceased longtime love, the wealthy artist, Lucinda Cale. 

After a broken coach wheel forces her to set out in the winter forest at night, she meets Lucinda’s compelling son, Bretton. Next morning he takes her to Eagle Mountain where she meets the rest of the dysfunctional Cale family. There Rebecca also discovers Lucinda’s hidden diaries which tell of a naive bride’s victimization that hardened her into a manipulative, murderous matriarch. Lucinda’s estate is large. Each heir is desperate. Those involved reveal themselves to be All Too Human.

All Too Human  by Karen Wills was released September 18, 2019 by Five Star Cengage. Now available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, & Five Star Cengage.

Midwest Book Review calls “‘All Too Human’ a simply riveting page-turner of a read from cover to cover. ‘All Too Human’ showcases author Karen Wills’ genuine flair for originality and a distinctively reader engaging narrative storytelling style that will make her deftly crafted and thoroughly entertaining novel an immediate and popular addition to both personal reading lists and community library collections.”

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For more books by Karen Wills     including information on her other or upcoming historical novels or to arrange a book signing or interview visit karenwills.com

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The seven-part young adult crossover saga, “The Peaks at the Edge of the World” by M.F. ErlerPhoto.cropped looks into the future of faith in a world that is beginning to fall apart.  The members of the Parker and Sullien families share their lives with each other across time and space, in a feature called the GAP.  Each time one of them crosses this passage (similar to a wormhole) a side-effect is caused in the other’s world.   The Peaks Saga relates these effects and brings each of them to the Final Battle, where the fate of our entire galaxy hangs in the balance. Book 1 – Finding the Light: Young Jael’s family is being torn apart by the Galactic System.  Can he find someone to help rescue his sister Martina, before it’s too late? Book 2 – Searching for Maia: Jael and Martina flee their home planet with a GAP-crosser named Jon.  As they search the galaxy for a safe haven, they begin to wonder if there is any rescue out there. Book 3 – Mountaintops and Valleys: The three searchers have found planet earth, but is it really the mysterious Maia they were told to search for?  Nothing seems to fit what they expected, and soon threats are beginning to pull them apart. Book 4 – When the World Grows Cold: Twenty-five years have passed on Earth, in both the 21st and 31st Centuries.  Ginna and Martina, once connected across the GAP, now have daughters of their own, but they have taken very different paths. Book 5 – The Fountain and the Desertfountain and desert: The next generation is searching for what only the True Fountain in the Desert can supply.  Celestia, daughter of Martina, is determined to take three friends there by Crossing the GAP.  But something goes terribly wrong. Book 6 – Beyond the World: beyond the worldA new dark force is rising, forcing Celestia and her family to flee Earth.  When they discover a portal to a parallel universe, their hopes rise that they can escape.  But is there true safety in this strange new world? Book 7 -Where All Worlds End: The powers of darkness are now personified as a terrifying red dragon, which must be defeated for the galaxy to survive.  All of the GAP-crossers must work together to do this, but who is the traitor among them?

ALL OF APRIL EACH BOOK WILL BE .99 CENTS ON KINDLE

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LESLIE BUDEWITZ:  Delighted to share the cover of THE SOLACE OF BAY LEAVES, the fifth Spice Shop mystery, out this July from Seventh St. Books, in paper, e-book and audio.  From the cover: 

Pepper Reece never expected to find solace in bay leaves. 

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But when her life fell apart at forty and she bought the venerable-but-rundown Spice Shop in Seattle’s Pike Place Market, her days took a tasty turn. Now she’s savoring the prospect of a flavorful fall and a busy holiday cooking season, until danger bubbles to the surface …

Between managing her shop, worrying about her staff, and navigating a delicious new relationship, Pepper’s firing on all burners. But when her childhood friend Maddie is shot and gravely wounded, the incident is quickly tied to an unsolved murder that left another close friend a widow.

Convinced that the secret to both crimes lies in the history of a once-beloved building, Pepper uses her local-girl contacts and her talent for asking questions to unearth startling links between the past and present—links that suggest her childhood friend may not have been the Golden Girl she appeared to be. Pepper is forced to face her own regrets and unsavory emotions, if she wants to save Maddie’s life—and her own.

As we’re all being reminded, books are a comfort during difficult times. I hope you have a stack of good reads close at hand, and that you’ll take a moment to order a book from an independent bookseller — we need them more than ever! If you do, pop over to my Facebook Author page and tell me what you ordered and the bookseller; when this crisis is over and libraries and bookstores are open again, I’ll choose a reader to win a book of mine or a bookseller gift card. 

Be safe. 

EVELYN AND LLOYD: A LOVE STORY

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By Karen Wills

 

Reading the letters, I came to understand just how difficult the long hardships and separations caused by WWII really were. Dad, a teacher, became a gunnery officer on a ship in the South Pacific. Mom stayed on the Big West Oilfield with her parents in their little house. My grandparents had one bedroom, while Mom and my two-year-old brother and eventually, I, shared the other.

The letters reveal little running jokes, stories about new and old friends, and earnest concerns of a young couple managing ration books and occasional train trips to be together on a shoestring budget. Their longing and loneliness come through. Here’s Dad:

Dearest One,

       I “writ” you one letter today. What am I doing writing again? Could it be love?

Mom wrote of how brokenhearted she felt after seeing him off at the Shelby Depot after his too-brief leave. She held up until, at the café, someone put the song “Together” on the jukebox.

They weathered the war and their years apart. All of it became part of our family lore. Their letters, though, were their story alone. Here’s a piece of Dad’s last letter before coming home:

     “Well, Honey, we have written a lot of letters, haven’t we? Your letters helped out immeasurably. You have been grand throughout this whole business, Sweetheart, and I can hardly wait to get back with you, and I hope to God that we won’t have to be separated again.”

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  They never were.
Originally published February 14, 2014

Happy New Year, Siberia

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By Karen Wills

I spent four years teaching Inupiaq Eskimo children in Wales, Alaska. Wales is a subsistence village of 150 people located on the tip of the Seward Peninsula. On a clear day, my husband and I and the villagers could see Russia, some 56 miles away, specifically the low, somber mountains of Siberia where the infamous gulags once threatened political dissidents and others. 

          In between us lay the Diomede Islands, Little Diomede owned by the United States and home to Inupiaq relatives of those living in Wales. A couple miles from it is Big Diomede which has a Russian military base. Our villagers used to have relatives on Big Diomede, too, but they were relocated to Siberia when the base was established. Now there is no communication between these native families of our two nations.

            I’m amazed that any human beings survived the brutality of those prison labor camps. The weather alone could kill you. I viewed the forbidding lands across the Bering Strait and wondered about those living there now, dealing with a climate that’s both politically and meteorologically oppressive. 

We could do nothing for them, but every New Years Eve, we all went to a high point at the end of the village and set off spectacular fireworks. fireworks blog 1 6 2020We hoped that distant relatives in Siberia could see them. I felt the difference between us those nights. A little of the Fourth of July entered my heart. Our freedoms should be protected and celebrated at home as well as communicated to places where human rights are still a distant dream, seen from afar.

 

Previously published January 5, 2014

     Karen Wills Author

Worthy to be Remembered

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By Karen Wills

For many years, when our extended family gathered for Thanksgiving dinner, I elicited groans, especially from the younger crowd, by insisting no one eat until I read a section of William Bradford’s account of the Pilgrims’ first winter in what he called, “the desert wilderness.” I did so because I felt, and still do, that we should acknowledge not just the Puritans’ capacity to give thanks, but their character and endurance. 

     William Bradford, who sailed on the Mayflower and became the second governor of Plymouth Plantation, began a journal in 1620. He did much more than merely document events; he showed the fiber of his companions. Here, in part, is his account of the misery of their first winter in America.

     “So as there died sometimes two or three a day in the foresaid time, that of one hundred and odd persons, scarce fifty remained. And of these, in times of most distress, there was but six or seven sound persons who to their great commendations, be it spoken, spared no pains night nor day, but with abundance of toil and hazard to their own health, fetched them wood, made them fires, dressed them meat, made their beds, washed their loathsome clothes, clothed and unclothed them…all this willingly and cheerfully, without any grudging in the least, a rare example and worthy to be remembered. Two of these were Mister William Brewster…and Miles Standish, their captain and military commander… And what I have said of these I may say of many others who died in this general visitation, and others yet living, that whilst they had health, yea, or any strength continuing, they were not wanting to any that had need of them. And I doubt not but their recompense is with the Lord.”

Thank you, William Bradford.

     What historical figure or figures are you thankful for?

     

 

Almost Pioneers

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Contributed by Karen Wills

My mother, Evelyn Wills, wrote the following true account of her family’s move from their farm in North Dakota to Montana during the Great Depression. I’m so glad she left this memory, and I’m so proud of my grandparents. They exemplified Hemingway’s definition of  courage as “grace under pressure.”  

This first appeared in The Montana Journal January-February 1997.

Almost Pioneers 

Our western North Dakota farm family was hard hit by the Great Depression. Dad could repair any kind of machinery, but neighbors who needed him couldn’t pay. When my ten-year-old sister fell ill with appendicitis, my parents sold the kitchen table and chairs to pay doctor bills.

Then, in 1928 when I was nine, my oldest uncle left Tolley, North Dakota, in desperation. Miraculously, he found work with the Big West Oil Company on the high plains near Shelby, Montana. He sent word of the oil boom, and my parents decided to follow him west.

Dad cut down the sides of our Model T so the front seat could be folded back into a bed for the four of us on the 400-mile journey. He had $11.00. Of course, this was long before credit cards, and our bank had closed its doors.

My mother suffered from a fierce migraine during every mile on the dusty, rutted road to the unknown West. But my sister and I, dressed in knickers sewn by a neighboring farm woman as a good-bye gift, loved the adventure.montana here we come  We had crayons and paper and considered signs fair game for additional coloring. At night we camped with other displaced travelers, cooking suppers over little fires whose colors matched the blazing sunsets reflected in the broad Missouri River.

Unfortunately, when the time came to sleep, the curtains lowered over the Model T’s windows did a poor job of keeping away thirsty mosquitoes.

Our faithful auto did succeed at a tortoise-and-hare act as we were passed several times on the trip by a man in a shiny new touring car. He’d race ahead, stop for unknown reasons, then hurry on, passing us again. When we arrived in time to share the same campground for the third night in a row, the frustrated driver finally walked over, kicked our tire and sputtered, “What the hell kind of car is this?”

At the Big West Camp, a line of buildings on the vast prairie, the Company provided our own place—a former cook house. I remember the big stove. 

By the time blooming cactus and other wild flowers softened the fields next spring, we had moved to a normal house, but drilling for oil was so close that my mother didn’t hang out the wash for fear it would be splattered from a gusher. kitties in a basket

On hot days, we took needlework outside to the shade of the company coal house, where a cool breeze always seemed to rise from the foundation.

The Company promoted Dad, and the strain of poverty vanished. Pictures of Mama taken then show a sort of time reversal. She appears younger in each new photograph.

By having the faith and courage to pack their children into a Model T and venture west from one sort of country to another during the drought-ridden depression, my parents achieved a secure living. However, for the rest of his life, Dad kept his savings under the mattress.