Saturday, May 7, 2016

Victoria Bylin Book List

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Interview with Victoria Bylin
What is the strangest real life situation that is in one of your stories?
This story involves California condors and a package of hot dogs. To get the visual, you need to know that condors are three feet tall with nine-foot wing spans. They’re endangered and sightings of them are rare.

Back in 1993, my family and I lived in the area of Southern California native to condors. As part of the effort to reintroduce the species to the wild, scientists released four of the birds bred in captivity. Condors are curious creatures, and a couple of them landed on the deck of a local resident. Being a good host, he broke out a package of hot dogs and fed them. I used this story in Until I Found You, which includes a secondary story line about condors and the effort to save the species.

When did you start writing?
I’ve written as long as I can remember. In elementary school, I was enamored with colorful Flair pens and plain white paper. In college I graduated to journaling in spiral notebooks. Next came editing a newsletter for a 3,000 member property owners association. And finally, novel writing . . . I wrote the first sentence of the book that became West of Heaven in January 1999. That year I made a resolution to finish a book-length work of fiction, good or bad. It was pretty bad at that point and didn't sell, but two rewrites later, it turned into my second sale.

Do you enjoy reading your own stories?
I recently read three of my old Harlequin Historicals (West of Heaven, Abbie’s Outlaw, and Midnight Marriage). My writing has changed a lot, so it was kind of scary. I have to admit, I enjoyed all three books more than I expected. Of course I knew the basics, but I’d forgotten some of the nuances. There’s something to be said for the exuberance of a new writer, before we learn all the tricks and rules.

Favorite book or character you have written?
I will always love John Leaf in Abbie’s Outlaw, but Nick Sheridan in Until I Found You is a close second. Both men have troubled pasts, and they’re both determined to do right by the women they love. For Nick, that means sticking to his pledge of “no dating for a year.” Kate, the heroine, needs time to find a faith of her own, and Nick is determined to give her that respect ... except he’s falling in love with her. And she feels the same way. Let the romance begin!

Do you ever forget that the characters are not real?
My oldest son once said, “I get it, Mom. It’s like your characters are your friends.” Well said! While working on a book, I spend a lot of them with these people. They may be imaginary, but they’re real to me!

Do you write about places you have lived?
My family and I spent eight years in a small town in the Los Padres National Forest. I loved living there and used it as the basis for Meadows, the fictional town in Until I Found You. It made research super easy. I’ve driven the twisting mountain roads, seen the cliffs, and felt fear of swerving and nearly going over a 200-foot drop. Knowing the setting so well allowed me to add all sorts of detail, things like sliding on acorns on a deck, how a fire burns in wood stove, what a condor looks like in flight. The only downside was feeling homesick for California. We live in Kentucky now, and I’m using it indirectly in the my current manuscript
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From Bethany House
Book 1: Until I Found You
Amazon
Kate Darby's mantra is to enjoy life one day at a time. She enjoys her work and living in the city. When Leona Darby, her grandmother, becomes ill Kate heads to the small mountain town of Meadows to take care of her and help run the small newspaper her grandfather started. She suddenly finds her life having more twists and turns than the mountain highways.

Nick Sheridan isn't proud of his past. He had a bestseller book about his old life, his hedonistic life. One night on Mount Abel had changed all of that. He became a Christian and promised God he would stay date-free for one year. He still struggled to lose all those old habits. His struggle became a bit harder when Leona's beautiful granddaughter came to town.

Leona Darby was ready to die, but she was still needed on earth. She had to tell Kate about the condors. One morning while she poured her heart out to God in prayer, she told Him she would do whatever it would take to help Kate, she had no clue God would take it so literally.

A page turner. I could not put this book down until the end. It was so true life. The struggles of leaving old lives behind, of giving up control of one's life to an unseen God, of having the right people around you to help guide you. Or, to follow the wrong people. The questions of why God allows bad things happen. Learning to depend and trust God even when life isn't full of roses, because there will always still be thorns. 
Book 2: Together With You
Amazon
Carly Mason is a long way from home in more ways than being in LA instead of her small town in Kentucky. She ran away from her past but it seems to have caught up to her when an Adam Alert sounds in the mall she works at. The small girl changes everything for her.

Dr. Ryan Tremaine is at the end of the rope. He's trying to make up for all his past failures...and failing at it. He has his special needs daughter and two teenage sons and he's just not sure how to be the father they need, but he's trying. And then he finds the perfect woman to help Penny, he just has to make her see she's perfect for the job.

I loved this story. I never stopped to think about Fetal Alcohol Syndrome before. This story brings the preventable syndrome to life through Penny and those who care for her. It also shows the struggles between two people unevenly yoked in faith. I felt the characters came to life and it was enjoyable watching the changes in them.
**Received from Bethany House Publishing for an honest review
Someone Like You
In college, Zeke Monroe had a strong faith. He'd been raised in a Christian home and his father expected Zeke to follow in his steps and become a pastor. Only he got a little bit shaky on that pedestal and fell.

In college, Julia Dare believed in living life where you were. Love today could be gone tomorrow. She liked Zeke and even joined the campus Bible group. When her dad died, she no longer wanted to hear about God. And she was done with Zeke preaching at her.

Six years later. Julia is a Christian, thanks to seeds Zeke planted. Zeke has lost his faith. They find each other unexpectedly when Julia is looking at the resort he runs for a client in her business Dare to Dream. Old embers are still there, but their secrets could douse them out for good.

This story is so real life and a real page turner. As with all of this author's books, I really loved it. There are some really great secondary characters. And Ladybug...
**Received through Bethany House on behalf or the author for an honest review
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The Women of Swan's Nest Series
Book 1: The Maverick Preacher
Amazon
Once upon a time, he was one of Boston's most righteous ministers. Now Joshua Blue is guilt-stricken man scouring the West to find the sister he drove away with his pride. When the trail leads him to Denver, a beautiful boardinghouse owner might be the key to unlocking past secrets...

By sheer determination, Adelaide Clark has raised her young son alone. When Joshua arrives at her door, Adie fears he'll tear her family apart. As she gets to know the charming preacher, however, she sees he's come to make amends for past wrongs. Soon his strong faith sparks Adie's long-buried hope for a future with a God sent partner at her side.
Book 2: Wyoming Lawman
Pearl Oliver had been raped by a banker she was to marry. The rape resulted in a pregnancy.
In The Maverick Preacher we see where she and her father, a Pastor who had been insisting Pearl marry the man who raped her, had finally come to he senses and they made amends.

In Wyoming Lawman we find Pearl, Tobias and her son, Toby, coming to Cheyenne Wyoming to live with her cousin and hopefully to work at Miss Marlowes School for girls.

Matt Wiley and his daughter, Sarah, meet Pearl on her first day. Pearl reminds Matt of the wife who left him over a year ago and even though he wants to avoid her, he feels drawn to her.
There is much danger lurking as well though.
Book 3: The Outlaw's Return
The Outlaw's Return is book 3 in The Women of Swan's Nest Series after The Maverick Preacher & Wyoming Lawman. It is an excellent series and worth starting with the first book.

It seems one can never run faster than their past. Mary Larue has a beautiful voice and she enjoyed her life singing on stage and all was well until Jonah Taylor Quinn walked into it, and than out of it. The disaster he left in the wake of his leaving caused her to leave Abilene and move around until she found a home in Denver at the Swan's Nest, a home for woman with no where to go. Mary's life has changed now. She has her siblings to take care of, she owns a restaurant and she uses her voice to sing praises to the Lord at church on Sunday instead of receiving the praise herself.

J.T. Quinn was listening to the voice of an angel, he had finally found his Mary, and lost her. If he could have rescued her from a brothel he may have had a chance but finding her singing in a church he knew there was nothing he could offer her, he was not good enough for her. He had changed. No more gambling, drinking or women. And he had Fancy Girl, the dog he rescued that caused a riff between him and Griff Lassen, a mean outlaw. He was just going to leave now. Without Mary he did not see much of a future besides going back to the bottle. When JT seen Roy was in town and that he wanted Mary, he decided to stay. He knew Roy and did not trust him. He could protect Mary. JT started to try and show Mary he changed. It would take more than he knew to gain her trust.

Mary was hiding her past from everyone and now he found her. She wanted her sister Gertie's respect and if she found out about her past relationship with JT she would lose that. Gertie was already rebellious at seventeen. And Augustus, at twelve, was shy and stammered. She needed the life she had created here, not the past. Roy, the theater owner, new of her past but promised to keep it secret.

Victoria's characters will grab your heart. Jonah had a tough life as a kid and grew up being a gunslinger. He realizes he needs Mary two years after walking out on her. Not that he wants marriage but he figures he can buy her a saloon to sing in. Mary tries to hide her past sins but as always the truth is what will truly set her free from the past.

Book 4: Marrying the Major
Western Historical meets Regency.
What an ending to The Women of Swan's Nest. Caroline & Bessie Bradley are the last two unmarried women from the group. Bessie is happy as a nurse and is content being single. Caroline had a short but loving marriage seven years before, Charles had died and she gave up her dreams of family and a home of her own. Caroline has taken the job as a governess for a Wyoming rancher who was ill and may be dying and Bessie will be his nurse.



Major Tristan Willougby-Smith had lost his wife, Molly, to malaria in the West Indies and now he was battling the illness as well. He formed a plan for if he died. His good friend, Jon Tate, would be Freddie and Dora's guardian and he would marry Miss Caroline Bradley, the new governess, that would keep them safe from his family in England, as the third born son he was useless to his father. Once Tristan meets Caroline he wishes he were a healthy man as he finds her beautiful.



Life changes quickly. Tristan receives a letter that both his brothers are dead. It puts him next in line to be a Duke. Freddie will become important as well with Tristan so ill. The next surprise comes when he finds his father is in Cheyenne is coming to see him. He never had his father's love. Andrew, his oldest brother, had taken the woman Tristan wanted to marry as his wife. Tristan had left to join the British army and had not been back in fifteen years.



To protect Freddie from his father, Jon suggested Tristan marry Caroline. She agreed it would help her take the children if the malaria took his life. So they went to the Judge and were married, in name only.



His father arrives with Louisa, Andrew's widow, in tow hoping to use her to lure Tristan back to England. We see the battles between Tristan and his hardened father. The Duke starts manipulating Freddie with compliments and making him feel he is above people, like the commoner Caroline. This book shows the responsibilities of those with titles and of being the heir to them. Caroline is challenged, can she love Tristan enough to take on the role of Duchess and become someone she is not? Can their love withstand the pressures of his father and a visiting Duchess during a week long house party?



All the familiar faces from Swan's Nest come for a visit in this book as well. And even Bessie finds love.
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Multi-Author Series
After the Storm: The Foundling Years: Kansas Courtship
Zeb Garrison has been looking for a new Dr for High Plains, Kansas since a year ago when Pete Benjamin's wife died in childbirth along with his son. Dr Dempsey was 82 years old and being run ragged.

He awaited Dr N. Mitchell's arrival hoping this 5th Dr to be interviewed would not be another quack like the previous four, the worst being one they nick named Dr Gruesome.

Dr Nora Mitchell had 14 disappointing refusals already and she was concerned it this would be the 15th. Men just seemed to refuse to believe a woman could be a physician. She would be bold and do her best to fight for the position though. 

This is such a great ending to the After The Storm: The Foundling Years series.

We see what happened to the missing twins from the first book. 

Will Cassandra choose Clint the cowboy or Percy the attorney as her beau?'

This is a multi-author series. This is the 3rd book of After the Storm- The Foundling Years. The previous two are:
High Plain Brides by Valerie Hansen
Heartland Wedding by Renee Ryan
After The Storm Series precedes these books. I read all nine books and it is a great series. If you like series I suggest reading these first:
Healing the Boss's Heart by Valerie Hansen
Marrying Minister Right by Annie Jones
Rekindled Hearts by Brenda Minton
The Matchmaking Pact by Carolyne Aarsen
A Family for Thanksgiving by Patricia Davids
Jingle Bell Babies by Kathryn Springer
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Midas, New Mexico Series
Book 1:West of Heaven
Amazon
Another fantastic read by Victoria. If you are prone to tears, keep the Kleenex nearby. Jayne Elizabeth McKinney Dawson was married for barely a week before she became a widow. On top of that she finds out he was not who he said he was and their was a good chance his murderer would not come after her as well. The surly rancher who found Hank's body did not appreciate that she wanted to wait until after he was buried before leaving his ranch, especially with a storm coming up, but she was a strong willed woman. A woman who indeed did get stranded on Ethan Trent's ranch.

Ethan was one of the walking dead. He no longer took care of himself or his ranch. He lost everything that meant something. When the stubborn woman returns to see her husband buried, he ends up stuck with her. And after awhile he don't mind. Something about Jayne brings life back to Ethan and when he learns of the danger she's in he wants to protect her as well. He just don't have room in his heart to love again. Can these two people find a future even while holding on to their pasts?

Along with the danger and suspense of the story there is also humor. We meet Reverend John Leaf who is unlike any Pastor and his story is in book 2.
**Sexual situations within marriage
Book 2: Abbie's Outlaw
Amazon
Our hero in this book is a man with a dark past, real dark. John Horatio Leaf lived a life that some described as John having been to hell and back. Thanks to a prison stay and Silas Jones he was now known as Reverend John Leaf. He preached like he lived and as he saw life. When he receives a letter from a young girl saying she believed he was her father, his world came down around him. His father, Isaac Leaf, was pure evil and John did not want to pass those genes on to any child. He chose the single life as well in case his past ever caught up to him, especially Ben Gantry. When Abigail Moore Windsor comes to town and is looking for her runaway daughter, the one and same who sent him a letter, his world comes down even further.  He had met Abbie when he was twenty-one and never really forgot her.
Abbie and he son, Robbie, came to Midas hoping to find Susanna there already. Instead she learns that she may have gone to Bitterroot, Wyoming and John had enemies of the worst kind there. Her father had pushed her to marry Robert Windsor when they found out she was with child and she has just lived the worst fourteen years ever. If she cried at Robert's funeral...they would have been happy tears. Seeing John brought up old feelings quickly. She just hoped he could be a loving father to their daughter. She had been treated badly all her life by Robert and her father, Judge Lawton Moore. The longer Abbie is around Midas with Johnny, the more she remembers that seventeen year old girl and how she felt about him back then, and maybe still. Only fourteen years of cruel treatment had turned her into a broken woman. Can these two people find the love from long ago and break through their pasts that hold them both prisoners?
Susanna's story is in the 3rd book: Midnight Marriage.
**Sexual situations within marriage.
Book 3: Midnight Marriage
Amazon

Rafe LaCroix may look like one of the bad guys but he's pretty soft underneath. That's how he ended up with young Nick in his care, and is now kidnapping a doctor to help the boy. Nick took a bullet in the leg that the Benton's had meant for him. He went for old Doc Randall and found a woman asleep in the bed, she's the new doctor and he needs her help. Taking this woman ends up shaking Rafe's world. As they work to save Nick's leg, fight off the Benton gang, and to top it off she ends up being the daughter of a man Rafe don't want to be on the wrong side of...John Leaf, gunman turned preacher.

Dr. Susanna Leaf was going to just settle for widower Timothy Duke, if he ever made a move towards her. After a kiss from Rafe LaCroix, settling didn't sound so great without a spark. Rafe tries to look tough but Susanna see's the same lost feeling in his eyes that she experienced as the young girl who never seemed to fit in. If only Rafe could stop running from his past and face the future but he don't. And running away from his past may have him running to something even worse.

We meet Susanna in the previous book, Abbie's Outlaw. Where she finds out at age fourteen that the cruel man she thought was her father, was not and she goes in search of her real dad. I really enjoyed this series and loved the humor in this book when John Leaf comes back to town at the wrong time.
**Sexual situations.
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Anthology's
Stay for Christmas: A Son is Given
The couple from Victoria's first book, Of Men and Angels, have fallen on desperate times. The Reverend William Merritt's accident while drinking cost them their second baby. While he's fighting his alcoholism, his wife, Katherine, has just about given up the fight to save their marriage. What will it take to persuade her over the holidays to forgive him and start anew?
The Magic of Christmas: The Christmas Dove
Dylan McCall had considered Maddie Cutleronce a princess. Her father a Lord with British blood and wealth and Dylan from a family with a bad reputation, and Maddie snubbed him as well. He had tried the unhappy princess when she was running off with Brodie, a no good gambler, but she did not listen. Now here she was back in town with a baby. When no one from her father's house came for her, Dylan offered his help and humble home. Great Christmas story.
In a Mother's Arms: Home Again
When her trouble making son vandalizes the town church, Cassie O'Rourke comes face-to-face with town sheriff—and former love-- Gabe Wyatt. The honorable lawman offers to help tame her wild child, if he can come courting. For the love of her son, dare she entrust her heart to this man once more? 
Another excellent story. The busy bodies in this town do not make it easy on Cassie but then they never do.
Brides of the West
Josie's Wedding Dress by Victoria Bylin
Ty Donner is returning to Rock Creek, Wyoming after five long years. He made a decision back then that cost him everything. Most of all the love of his life, Josie Bright. He wanted to check on how she was doing and prayed she would forgive him and then maybe he could move on in life.

Josie had lived in bitterness the past five years. She had made her wedding dress stitch by stitch just to be stood up by the altar. Now she was about to lose her ranch, her father and brother were dead and her mom was mostly blind. To top it off, Ty has returned and she needed him to help save her ranch. Could she forgive Ty and ever trust him again and would she turn back to God after turning her back on Him as well?

I enjoyed this story and all of the books Victoria has written. Imperfect characters in need of redemption. 
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Stand Alone Books
Of Men and Angels
Amazon
This was a great read and slightly different. It had the good, the bad and the ugly. Life and death, mistakes in life that could not be fixed and other's that could.
Jackson Jake Malone was a man who was selfish and didn't think much beyond the moment. His brother, Gabe, had raised him from the age of eight but they were mostly at odds with each other. After his last mistake he did not know if he was a wanted man. Hung over and beat up he heard an angel singing in the desert. He did not care about others but something pulled him towards the angel. There was one woman giving birth and before long his angel held a baby and the other woman had died. For some reason he felt he needed to protect them. Jake brings them to Grand Junction and ends up staying to work for his angel's father's peach orchard.

Alexandra Merritt was heading back to Grand Junction after ten years in Philadelphia. Her father was having heart issues and she had to get home. After many delays she was already a month later then she planned. After a stagecoach accident that left her alone with the very pregnant Charlotte Smith she soon found herself delivering a baby. When she looked up she thought she saw the angel of death watching her but he ended up being her hero. Charlotte didn't make it and she had to get home along with a baby boy in her care. Jake brings her home and that is just the beginning.
**Sexual situations and some language.

The Bounty Hunter's Bride
Daniela Baxter has left Wisconsin and come to Castle Rock, Colorado to marry Patrick Morgan and become a mother for his three young girls, Emma, Ellie and Esther. She arrives to be greeted by a scruffy dirty man who tells her Patrick is dead. She still wants to be a mother to the girls but it seems this scruffy man is Beau Morgan, Patrick's older brother. He is the one named in the will as the girls guardian. The girls instantly take to Dani and she loves them but will it be enough to prove she can raise the girls and run a dairy farm?

Beau Morgan stopped to see his brother as he was chasing down Clay Johnson, only Patrick is dead and he is now the caretaker of three girls and a small dairy farm. When Dani comes knocking on the door and stirring up his plans, he almost wishes he could be a different man. But he's a man with one mission: vengeance. Clay Johsnon killed his wife Lucy five years ago and Beau cannot have peace until Clay is dead. Will Beau choose his hate for Clay over a possible love for Dani and his three nieces?
Victoria also gives us Clay's view of things which adds a great point of view. We also meet Pastor Joshua Blue and his wife Adie. In a later series, Swan's Nest, we see their story in book 1, The Maverick Preacher. This book is fiction and yet so many truths are in it.
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7 comments:

  1. Yea, I'm the first comment! Vikki, you know I love your books! I so enjoy your characters and stories! I have been looking forward to this new venture that you are undertaking! Can't wait until April to see what you are up to now! The new book looks fabulous and I know, coming from you, that it will be wonderful! Good luck in this new direction! I'm pulling for you!
    Valri Western

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  2. I have never read your books before but I see a few that seem really interesting. I will have to check them out.

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  3. Nice interview, Vicki. You have so many wonderful books out in the world! I look forward to reading your latest, "Until I Found You" in May. Sounds like a great story! :)

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  4. I'll have to add all these books to my wish list. They all seem great! Thanks for the interview and giveaway!
    tscmshupe [at] pemtel [dot] net

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  5. Laura AKA Loves 2 Read RomanceJanuary 14, 2014 at 7:34 PM

    I love the sound of all these books. I will have to get the rest of the Swan Nest series as I only have read Wyoming Lawman.

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  6. Wonderful interview. I have added 4 of your books to my TBR list. Thanks for stopping by Judy's party.

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  7. I've only read WEST OF HEAVEN. I will look for more of her books!

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