Monday, March 02, 2015

DANDELIONS FOR DINNER - Valerie Comer - One Free Ebook

Welcome back, Valerie. God has really been moving in your writing life. What do you see on the horizon?
Lena, I'm so excited about what's happening for me in writing and publishing. Dandelions for Dinner is the fourth book in the Farm Fresh Romance series, and I plan to write two more this year. Plum Upside Down is planned for release in the summer, and the final book in the series in late 2015 or early 2016.

I'm also writing and releasing five Riverbend Romance novellas this year. The first, Secretly Yours, is already out, and Pinky Promise is in final edits for an April release. I'm nearly finished writing the third one. Yes, I'm keeping busy!

Tell us a little about your family.
My husband and I live on a small farm in Western Canada, and we have two adult kids. Our son, daughter-in-law, and their two-year-old daughter live in a modular home on our farm. We love seeing them nearly every day. Our daughter, son-in-law, and their two daughters (ages five and three) live about 90 miles away, and we see them about twice a month.

My daughter is also my cover designer and illustrator. It's a delight to me to see her follow her artistic passions and grow a home-based-business of her own. It's also fun to have someone to talk shop with in a closely related, but not exactly the same, industry.

Has your writing changed your reading habits? If so, how?
It took years to level out my reading after I started writing. Now I set aside time for fiction every night before bed. Good thing I prefer Christian contemporary romance, because that’s a genre that doesn't tend to keep me awake as suspense would do! I love reading what my peers are writing—and what readers are gobbling up.

What are you working on right now?
I'm "this" close to having completed the first draft of the third Riverbend Romance novella. I'd hoped to have it finished in February, but life got away… and it wasn't just that February was a short month! I've also gotten a good start on the fifth Farm Fresh Romance, Plum Upside Down, and that will fill my writing hours for most of the next three months. I'll also be editing and releasing two novellas during that time.

What outside interests do you have?
In 2015, my writing career is my major focus. My husband and I always plant a vegetable garden, but we'll be scaling back this spring. We're looking forward to a three-week vacation on Vancouver Island in June, where I'll be doing research for my next series while we comb the beaches, fill up on seafood, and relax to the sound of the surf.

This spring I'm co-leading an Alpha group in my church and finding it challenging and exhilarating to watch people grapple with the big questions of Christianity. It's a wow experience for me as well as them.

How do you choose your settings for each book?
The Farm Fresh series all takes place on (fictional) Green Acres Farm in (fictional) northern Idaho, so that setting chose me several years ago. But to be a viable setting for one of my stories, a place (fictional or real) needs to have interesting things going on in local foods and sustainability. This has been a major part of my stories since the first Farm Fresh Romance, Raspberries and Vinegar (now free in e-book everywhere), and I don't see my focus shifting away. These are the unique aspects of my life that God has prompted me to share in story form, and I'm enjoying the process of looking at the assorted related topics from many angles.

What is the one thing you wish you had known before you started writing novels?
How much a part of me it would become. Sometimes I regret not starting to follow this dream earlier. Now I can't imagine life without my fictional characters and worlds. They've brought me so much joy and creative satisfaction.

What new lessons is the Lord teaching you right now?
To take nothing for granted. I've had a few health issues in the last few months that counter-balance the success I'm seeing as an author. My health—my very life—is a gift from God. Each day, I thank Him for the new readers He's brought my way and ask Him to use the words He's given me to bless and/or challenge. Each day, I thank Him for imagination and the power of story. I'm awed to be in this position. Every day is an adventure.

It most certainly is. What are the three best things you can tell other authors to do to be successful?
Being an indie author/publisher is more rewarding than I ever imagined it could be. Don't be afraid to dip your toes into indie waters. You may find yourself happily swimming like a dolphin!

Write in series. I'm seeing strong sell-through from book to book. Once readers get to know a group of characters and a setting, they want to follow them around for a while. I changed my plans mid-stream from a three-book series to six. Dandelions for Dinner is the fourth Farm Fresh Romance novel, and readers are definitely picking up steam.

Grow your newsletter list. This is the best way to maintain your readership. I wrote a short story last fall and offered it to my email list. The story stands as 2.5 in my series. I figure that if someone has read the first two books in the Farm Fresh Romance series and is looking for more, they're ripe for my email list. My list has grown by over one hundred readers per month since adding the short story as bait for my list at the end of every book. Sure, some get the free story then unsubscribe. That's okay. The vast majority stick around and eagerly await news of the next release.

Tell us about the featured book?
Dandelions for Dinner

She hates him. He loves her not.

Men are weeds. Allison Hart doesn't need them in her carefully tended life, though her friends at Green Acres seem happy with their guys. Why can't Allison open her heart to anyone but her young nephew? Then again, he'll be a man one day, too. If only the irritating contractor in charge of building her home and farm school wasn't the boy's favorite person.

Fireworks with Brent Callahan's newest client shift from antagonism to the rocky possibility of a relationship. When he comes face to face with a history he'd much rather forget, he realizes hiding his failures isn't the best option for finding forgiveness, let alone love.

Can a little boy help weed out the past before it chokes their future together?

Please give us the first page of the book.
Allison Hart had perfected the art of staring out the window and checking her watch simultaneously. The contractor said he’d be here by ten, and it was now quarter after. If guys could be on time driving in Portland city traffic, how hard could it be on northern Idaho’s rural roads?

Waiting. Who had time for it? She tapped her foot and crossed her arms, not that there was anyone to see her. No one who lived at Green Acres was home today except her, which suited Allison just fine. She’d arrived at the communal farm three days earlier, and she’d already experienced about all the togetherness she could handle.

The rumble of a vehicle grew louder, and a white pickup with the emblem of Timber Framing Plus emblazoned on the side turned into the driveway.

Finally. Allison strode for the door, buttoning her cardigan against the cold March day as she went.

The contractor slammed the truck door and turned toward her, hard hat in hand.

Wait a minute. This wasn’t Patrick at all. This guy had a shock of black hair — unlike Patrick’s thinning salt-and-pepper — to say nothing of those dark brown eyes, slightly angled. Skin that on anyone else might look tanned but combined with the rest definitely tagged him of Asian descent.

Japanese? Thai? Didn’t matter. He could be Martian for all the difference it made. The biggest problem was, he wasn’t Patrick.

The guy tucked his hard hat under his arm and stretched out his hand. “Hi, I’m Brent Callahan from Timber Framing Plus.”

An Irish name? Unexpected.

“Allison Hart.”

He had a strong grip, like he knew what he was doing, even though he didn’t have the other man’s years of experience.

“Where’s Patrick?”

“Back in the office. He sent me out to check the footings.”

The wind had built up speed crossing the Galena Valley to get to her. Would it slam straight into the mountain beside the farm and come to an abrupt halt or find some other direction in which to continue? Either way, she should’ve worn something without the big holes in her bulky cardigan. She wrapped both arms around herself in an attempt to stay warm. “I was under the impression he was coming himself. I have a list of questions for him.”

Brent grinned. “Nothing I can’t answer, I’m sure. I’ve worked for him since high school.”

Her eyebrows shot up. When was that, last week?

“Ten years, ma’am.” He winked, set the hard hat on his head, and turned toward the construction site, where the perimeter of the new farm school lay outlined in concrete.

Ten years? That made the guy something like twenty-eight. He sure didn’t look it. Allison hurried after him. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to doubt your experience. I just expected Patrick. It’s his business, after all.”

Brent turned to face her, dark eyes unreadable. “Timber Framing Plus is a large company. We work on more than one project at a time. Patrick oversees them all, but that doesn’t mean he and his two best friends put into place every piece of wood that makes each structure.”

“But he said…” Allison’s words trailed away as she tried to recall the exact words in their discussion.

“What did he say, ma’am?”

Her temper flared. “My name is Allison, not ma’am.” It was a temptation to make him call her Ms. Hart so he’d remember which of them was the real boss on this site. Ma’am made her think of someone old with an unsavory reputation.

How can readers find you on the Internet?
The best place to find me is at my website, I have links there to various social media sites. Interested readers are invited to join my email list and receive “Peppermint Kisses,” a free Farm Fresh Romance short story.

Thanks so much for inviting me over again, Lena. It's always a joy to share my novel adventures with your readers. 

Thank you, Valerie, for sharing this new book with us. I want to schedule the other 2015 books on my blog. I've saved you dates for books 4 and 5 in the Farm Fresh Romance series, but I don't have the novellas on my schedule.

Readers, here is a link to the book. By using it when you order, you help support this blog.
Dandelions for Dinner (A Farm Fresh Romance Book 4)

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The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

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Valerie Comer said...

Thanks so much for inviting me back, Lena! I love sharing my stories with your readers. Dandelions for Dinner releases tomorrow. My early readers have been sharing their reviews with me, and I'm excited to see the love for the series increasing as the books release.

Kimberly said...

Nice interview. :) I'm currently reading your book Secretly Yours. Congratulations on another new release. Since we were asked to share, I'm in Oregon.

Valerie Comer said...

I hope you're enjoying Secretly Yours, Kimberly!

Linda Kish said...

Sounds good. I'd like to read more of it.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Valerie Comer said...

Thanks, Linda! :)

KayM said...

I really enjoyed the first page and I'm anxious to get started on the series. Thank you for offering a copy of Dandelions for Dinner.

Valerie Comer said...

The first book in the series, Raspberries and Vinegar, is free on all ebook platforms, Kay. You can get started while you wait to see if you won. :)

Anonymous said...

Can't wait to read!
J.C. -Indiana-

Mary Preston said...

I loved meeting the characters in the first page thank you.

Anne Payne said...

I love to read a series! Following a set of characters through several books is much more satisfying to me -- it's an investment in their lives, and in the life of the author. I'm always sad to see a series end.

Your Farm Fresh Romance series is delightful so far. I would very much like to read Dandelions for Dinner.

Anne, rural NC

Patty said...

This Farm Fresh Romance series sounds fun! Thanks for the interview and chance to win.

Patty in SC

Valerie Comer said...

Thank you, JC, Mary, Anne, and Patty. I appreciate your interest in Dandelions for Dinner. :)

Anonymous said...

Valrie Comer is a new author to me, but I will certainly be looking for her first novel in this series. Thank you for her interview. Judy Cooper, Louisiana.

Valerie Comer said...

Thanks, Judy! I hope you enjoy Raspberries and Vinegar!