Tag Archive | Tennessee

Thanks, HOLT Medallion readers!

Sometimes success sneaks up and blindsides you when you least expect it. That happened to me recently when I received a phone call telling me two of my books had placed first in their categories in the 2014 HOLT Medallion contest. The HOLT is sponsored by the Virginia Romance Writers, a chapter of the Romance Writers of America. Other winners and finalists can be viewed on this link: http://www.virginiaromancewriters.com/Contests/holtwinners.html

The really exciting feature of the HOLT, for me at least, is that it is judged by readers—some 250 across the nation. I’ve entered the HOLT in the past and some of my books have been named Award of Merit winners, meaning they ranked in the top five or six. But I knew the competition was stiff, and I didn’t really expect to come in first, especially for two books in the same year.

forgotten christmas web copy 3So which of my books won? (Only books published in 2013 were eligible to be entered in the 2014 contest.) One of my Barbourville series, The Forgotten Christmas Tree, won in the short contemporary category. I am delighted to know that readers enjoyed this story of a woman down on her luck who travels to Barbourville as a last resort. With her sister’s young son in tow, she is desperate to find some way to provide him with a Christmas tree, something she forgot the year before. I thoroughly enjoyed writing about this young woman’s struggles and successes, and I’m glad to know that readers enjoyed the story too.

cupcake-web-copyMy second winning book also centers around a holiday, Valentine’s Day. My Cupcake, My Love—which placed first in the romance novella category—is set in a fictional mountain town near the Great Smoky Mountains. The heroine owns a bakery and with Valentine’s Day coming soon, she’s busy working on goodies appropriate for the holiday. Her routine is interrupted by a former classmate, a successful novelist, who has recently returned to the area with his six-year-old daughter. The two clash over cupcakes, and it’s all Cupid can do to get them together by Valentine’s Day. 🙂

There’s nothing more rewarding to writers than to know that readers enjoy their work, and my most sincere congratulations go to all the winners and finalists in this year’s contest.

And special thanks go to the many readers who took their time to read and judge the entries in the 2014 HOLT Medallion. This contest would not be possible without you! Thank you so much!

Latest Barbourville book released

The excitement of releasing a new book never seems to grow old. At least that’s been my experience. And I certainly felt the same this past week when I released the sixth book in the Barbourville series.

Set in a small town in Tennessee, At Home in Barbourville (The Barbourville Series) features one of the secondary characters who first appeared in The Forgotten Christmas Tree. In that book, Steve Travis was happily selling Christmas trees on his father’s tree farm. Jump forward about three months and we find Steve sitting in an attorney’s office waiting for the reading of his great-aunt Gertie’s will. To his and everyone else’s surprise, Miss Gertie named as a major beneficiary the girl Steve once loved, the girl who, some five years earlier, had told him to “leave her the hell alone” and then moved away from town. Now, in order for Rani to claim her inheritance, she has to agree to work with Steve for the summer by creating a nursery to sell plants to the citizens of the town and county.

Steve figures he should be relieved when Rani decides to turn down the inheritance. Instead he’s angry. Here’s an excerpt:

Steve relaxed his grip on the shearing knife and stepped back to examine the Fraser fir he’d just finished shaping. Not that he really needed to be doing this work today. His dad said that shearing was best left until later in the year, but he’d needed to do something physical to work off some of his anger.

Although why he should be angry was beyond him. Okay, so Rani wasn’t interested in coming back to Barbourville, even to claim an inheritance that most people would give their eye teeth for. He should be thrilled. His dad could buy the property and keep it in the family.

But what had Aunt Gertie been thinking with that nursery business plan she’d concocted? Sure, he’d given some thought to growing vegetable plants and annuals in the greenhouse they used for growing poinsettias, but he’d never mentioned that to Aunt Gertie. He’d never mentioned it to anyone, as a matter of fact.

The sudden gust of wind sweeping between the rows of firs carried with it a scattering of snow flurries, reminding Steve that the heat of his anger couldn’t compete with the fury of Mother Nature. He turned the collar of his jacket up and headed back toward the house where he’d lived his entire life. Mom would be in the kitchen working on supper and his dad would likely be watching the early news. They’d both be wondering why he hadn’t come inside yet.

Hunching his shoulders against another wind gust, he’d barely taken two steps when his cell phone sounded. He ducked between two of the largest firs to get out of the wind while he ran his hand into his jacket pocket and pulled out the phone.

Caller ID told him only the number, but the area code was one he didn’t recognize. Prepared to hang up quickly if some telemarketer had stumbled upon his number, he answered in a brusque tone. “Yes?”

A moment of silence. Then, “Steve?”

His stomach rocked. “Yes. Who is this?” He asked the question although he knew the answer. That was one voice he’d never forget.

“Adrienne. I mean, Rani. Do you have a minute?”

“Sure.” He huddled between the two trees, shielding the phone from the wind with his body. “What’s up?”

Even if you are not a follower of the Barbourville series, At Home in Barbourville is a book that can be read as a stand-alone and is especially appropriate for people who are looking for books without graphic sex or books that can be recommended for young people.

Note: The excerpt above is copyrighted by Carolynn Carey and cannot be reproduced in whole or in part without permission of the author, Carolynn Carey.

Forgotten Christmas Tree on sale until Dec. 28

forgotten christmas web copy 3Just a quick note: My fifth Barbourville book, The Forgotten Christmas Tree, is on sale for 99 cents until December 28. Then it will go up to $1.99 for a couple of days, then to $2.99, and finally back to its original price of $3.99. Even if you’re not in the mood for more Christmas reading, buy it for your Kindle at this special price and save it until Christmas of 2014. 🙂

Barbourville Christmas Book Is Now Available

Just in time for Christmas reading, The Forgotten Christmas Tree, the newest in my Barbourville series, is available as an e-book on Amazon. Following is a bit about the book and its characters.

Abby Grant grieves because she failed to fulfill her father’s dying wish—that she take care of her identical twin sister and their mother. Now her sister has gone her own way, their mother is dead, and Abby’s left to fend for herself and her five-year-old nephew Blaine—and she’s failing again. Homeless and almost broke, she travels to Barbourville, Tennessee, looking for a clue as to the identity of Blaine’s father. What she finds is a man who holds her responsible for the death of his best friend and a place that she longs to call home, both for Blaine and for herself.

forgotten christmas web copy 3After Jim Markman lost his best friend to an IED in Iraq, he returns home to Barbourville, hoping to heal his spirit in the peacefulness of the quiet mountain town. Then she arrives—the woman who jilted Anthony, causing him to drop out of college and join the Army. Except she claims to be Abby Grant—not Annie, the female he blames for Anthony’s death. Although he first tells Abby to get out of town, he’s soon eager for her to stay, at first because he hopes to determine if the boy she has in tow might be Anthony’s son and later because he can’t imagine going on without her.

As Jim and Abby get caught up in Barbourville’s many Christmas festivities, can they also make peace with their pasts and learn to embrace the promise of their future?

I hope you enjoy this addition to the Barbourville series.

The sheriff’s Special Baked Beans recipe

As I contemplated sharing recipes on my blog, I felt a disclaimer was in order. I am not a chef. I am not even an especially talented cook. But I do know what tastes good to me. That’s why I’ve referred to some old family recipes throughout my Barbourville series, and now I’d like to share them with my readers.

ASummerSentenceThe Special Baked Beans recipe I’m sharing today is one that my mother cut out of a newspaper many years ago. It’s easy and delicious and has become a specialty of my husband, who never allows me to make the recipe these days because he thinks he can make it better (and he’s right, darn it).

This recipe is also a specialty of Sheriff Daniel McCray in my first Barbourville book, A Summer Sentence. That book was published in 2005 by Avalon books (now Montlake). I hadn’t intended it to be the first in a series when I wrote it, but three brothers (triplets) appeared in my book and each demanded his own story. (Characters are pushy that way sometimes. ;-)) But they were still secondary characters when the sheriff made his special baked beans for a Barbourville luncheon. My mother, my husband, the sheriff, and I are all pleased to share the recipe with you. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

2 cans pork and beans
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup brown sugar
4 slices bacon, fried crisp and crumbled
2 Tablespoons bacon fat
2 Tablespoons minced onion (dried minced onion works fine)
2 teaspoons dry mustard
Fry bacon and drain, reserving 2 tablespoons bacon fat. Brown minced onion in bacon fat. Mix all together. Bake in 350-degree oven for 30 minutes or until warm.


Print version of Dreaming of Dayton is available

I’m pleased that Dreaming of Dayton is now available as a print book for those who prefer paperback books to electronic. The paperback is currently on sale for $8.07 as opposed to the list price of $8.99. (Note, too, that the introductory price of 99 cents for the electronic version of Dreaming of Dayton has expired, but it is still available at a very reasonable $2.99.)

dayton-web-copyAs most of us are aware, the rise of electronic books has been phenomenal in recent years, and I’m one of the converts, although I still enjoy holding a paperback from time to time. At the same time, it’s great to be able to download a book to your device and be able to start reading a new book any time of the day or night.

What’s your position on reading electronic books? Are you, too, a convert, or do you prefer always to hold the printed product in your hand? In any case, it’s an interesting time we live in.

Dreaming of Dayton available as an e-book

I’m pleased to announce that Dreaming of Dayton is now available as an electronic book and will soon be available as a paperback from Amazon.

dayton-web-copyFurthermore, for the first few days, it will be available for the Kindle for the reduced price of 99 cents. If you’re interested, this would be a great time to download it.

Enjoy! 🙂

Dreaming of Dayton (The Barbourville Series)