Tag Archive | Susan M Baganz

Spatzle Speaks: Christmas Novel and Two Novellas (Book Reviews)

CHRISTMAS NOVEL

A CHRISTMAS KIND OF PERFECT

Christine Schimpf has written a sweet Door County Christmas novel, A Christmas Kind of Perfect,  featuring none other than a best-selling author.  Lila never expected to become a successful writer nor anticipated the heavy cost that her career would bring as she lives her life in New York. Summoned back home to Door County she’s faced with all the good things she left behind, including Conrad.

Conrad regrets not going after Lila and seeing of they could somehow make their relationship work. Now she’s back but he’s already moved on to a new woman who is expecting an engagement ring this Christmas. Meeting Lila again throws him into confusion. Could he possible sacrifice more for the new woman in life or is it possible that he could rekindle a romance with Lila? And if he did, would she abandon him again?

As sparks fly along with the snow, can Lila and Conrad find their way back to a love they left behind years ago and discover a Christmas miracle? A lovely look at the holidays in the beautiful Door County peninsula of Wisconsin.

CHRISTMAS EXTRAVAGANZA NOVELLAS

GABRIEL’S GIFT 

Gabriel’s Gift is a sweet Christmas Regency Romance by my mom. Last week she released two new novels that were Gothic romances. Let me make it clear that this is not part of that series and this instead is a sweet tale.

Gabriel has moved to his first job as a minister and unexpectedly finds the girl he longed to marry but had lost track of.

Matilda is shocked to find her childhood friend is now pastoring their local church. But the dreams she once had of a future wtih him died when her father took  his life. She is not worthy enough to be the wife of a minister. Finding an abandoned baby in  the church however awakens longings and fears within her about her future.

Gabriel seeks to challenge his new congregation to a vital faith as they celebrate Advent and the coming Christ. All the while he longs to court Matilda but first needs to minister to her heart with the greatest gift of all: God’s grace and the love He showed us all through the birth of a humble child.

THE CHRISTMAS LIST

This is a sweet holiday novel by Dixie Jarchow, called The Christmas List

Mandy likes to make lists for everything and even has one for choosing a husband. Her goal is keep structure in her life and avoid suprises. This is how she believes she can be truly happy.

Max is spontaneous and loves sculpting. He’s never made a list in his life believing that God is ultimately in control anyway.

When Max finds he has more work than he can handle, he hires Mandy to take care of the paperwork for his business. Yet when love comes calling, she struggles to keep her own emotional accounts in balance, especially around Max.

Somehow they both need to learn from each other: that a little structure can be good, and that maybe God’s list is better than any either of them could come up with. A story about opposites attracting and how can use our strengths to help each other while smoothing out our rough edges, and all with a holiday twist.

I give all three of these stories five bones, because holiday reads are always fun and I’m a dog, I don’t have thumbs.

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that’s how we roll.

 

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Spatlze Speaks: Black Friday and Black Diamond Gothic Regencies (Book Reviews)

There must be some odd coincidence that the Black Diamond Gothic Regency series by my mom, would release on Black Friday with a special bonus! Now, as a dog can I just say I find it clever that the author, who happens to be my mom, put an animal in each of these books as a supporting role? In the first three there features a parrot, a dog, and a talking crow! I won’t tell you which appears where, you’ll have to read them to find out.

THE BARON’S BLUNDER

First of all let’s just remember that  The Baron’s Blunder which released last year, re-releases today for FREE and with a new cover and fresh revisions. How cool is that? The story is a prequel to the series and introduces us to the evil Black Diamond who becomes a nemesis to Lord Marcus Remington’s friends and family.

The Honorable Henrietta Allendale, sister to Lord Remington, is unbeknownst to her brother acting as a spy for the War Office at Whitehall. When she runs into Lord Charles Percy she suspects something is off with the man who introduces himself originally as “Mr.” Percy instead. And she didn’t need him to save them from a highwayman. She was perfectly capable of dispatching the criminal herself.

As the couple verbally spar she shows her abilities and uncovers his lie. Can she trust a man who would deceive her so, even though it was to avoid a title-seeking debutant of which she was most definitely not. But something about the handsome lord intrigues her.

Lord Percy was adverse to marriage until he met Miss Allendale. But courtship must take a back seat to keeping her alive from the minions of the Black Diamond who now have her as their target simply because she was seen with him. Can he save her and win her heart at the same time? Or will they all lose the greatest treasure of all, love?

THE VIRTUOUS VISCOUNT

The first full-length novel in The Black Diamond Gothic Regency series is The Virtuous Viscount.  Lord Marcus Remington has decided it is time to find a wife. He didn’t expect her to be in the wreckage of a carriage in the middle of a spring storm, but rescuing Miss Josephine Storm challenges his heart and very character of the man known as the Virtuous Viscount. But when the injured young woman weighs heavy on the viscount’s mind, convention goes out the window.

As Miss Josephine Storm recovers her physical health, her heart is in even more danger. When The Black Diamond’s plot to take over Britain puts Marcus and his friends in the criminal’s cross-hairs, Josie’s life is threatened. Marcus must chance losing her good favor and risk his virtuous reputation in order to save her life. Can Josie believe in the man she thought she knew when the facts say otherwise?

 

LORD PHILLIP’S FOLLY

The second full-length novel in The Black Diamond Gothic Regency series also releases today! Lord Phillip’s Folly features the first of Lord Remington’s friends to find himself faced with the challenges of love and courtship.

No good deed goes unpunished.Lord Phillip Westcombe is a younger son and sufficiently independent. He has no need upset his tidy life with the messiness of love, but when he comes to the rescue of the lovely Lady Elizabeth Follett, and the two are found in a compromising position, his life takes an unexpected turn. Barely knowing each other, they are forced to wed.

Embarking on a new life they must learn to trust God as they face an evil which threatens their lives and the security of the British Empire. Will the minions of the Black Diamond–the bounder who owns the soul of Elizabeth’s father–succeed in their evil plans? Will Phillip and Elizabeth’s new love and faith survive the test that awaits them? Or will they all fall to the Black Diamond?

I strongly recommend all three of these books and there are three more to come in 2018! Sir Michael’s Mayhem, Lord Harrow’s Heart, and The Captain’s Conquest. And all feature an animal as part of the supporting cast including a ferret, a kitten, and a sheep? Yes! All these books get five bones because I’m biased and these books are by my mom!

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that’s how we roll.

Spatzle Speaks: Bratwurst & Bridges (Book Review)

My mom loves to write books and she write the rough draft of this one two years ago. She even asked for prayer for when she wrote it. I had to bark to get her attention so make sure I could get outside. Bratwurst & Bridges was a consuming story.

What surprises me is how much of my mom is in this story – her heart. I don’t think she even realized just how much of her is in there. But as her dog, I know.

Pastor Dan’s wife died, and along with losing his best friend, and partner in life, he lost his chance to be a father. His wife had and he had lost several babies due to miscarriages and they had just begun to consider adoption. But now she was gone. A year later, he still grieved but had buried himself in ministry. Finally his boss, Senior Pastor Andrew, forced Dan on a leave of absence to get help and focus on his grief.

It’s not easy for a helper to get help. It takes courage. Could Dan do this? Or would he quit and walk away from ministry?

He’d sold his house and associated memories and moved into a new apartment. A single mom with two rambunctious children lives across the hall. Skye knows about God but doesn’t believe He would be interested in her, but since the handsome pastor has moved across the hall, she finds that her art has changed and she starts to ask him questions.

Zumba, skiing and true love? Can a single mom help a grieving pastor heal? Guess you’ll have to read it to find out! I give it five bones because it’s an awesome story and the way she weaves grief and new life and love together is wonderful. Not that I’m biased because the author is my mom…

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that’s how we roll.

What’s With Your Crazy Titles?

I am often asked why the books in my Orchard Hill series are titled so oddly. It’s a great question! Figured this was a good time to answer it.

PestoandPotholes2I wrote a book and titled it Pesto & Potholes because it was a metaphor for the journey my character was going to take. The pothole was her emotional pain from an abusive past. Getting out is a rocky process but takes help. The pesto was because Tony was an Italian chef and that is a favorite sauce in our home. So a savory and sweet romance was born. The ninjas were added because someone challenged me to put them in so, I did!

SalsaandSpeedbumps copy (2)Then a Facebook friend suggested my next book be called Salsa & Speed Bumps. I figured “Why not?” Challenge accepted. I took Renata’s roommate from Pesto & Potholes and gave her a bumpy journey with an unexpected pregnancy due to date rape and the challenge ripple effects of that. Even the unfair judgments of those in her church toward her and her new boyfriend, Roberto, became speed bumps on their way to happiness. Robbie, my Hispanic hero added some spice to the story.

FetaandFreewaysCover copyThe challenge was on to continue with a food theme combined with some road-related term. Book three became Feta & Freeways. I wanted to write a story based on a band I’m a fan of, Burlap to Cashmere. I was inspired by their journey. Since the band has Greek roots, I gave that to my character, Nikolos. Burlap to Cashmere is based out in the New York area – but my guys are from Wisconsin. Freeways – they take a journey – emotionally and spiritually as the band travels around the United States.

Not all titles will continue to be ethnically related, however. Johnny is Niko’s cousin and bandmate in Feta & Freeways. Book four is Root Beer & Roadblocks, due to release February 2017. Sprecher root beer is made in Wisconsin and features in the story. While Johnny is Greek, Katie is Irish in her background. I went with a more American theme. Johnny faces several roadblocks to his happiness.

Up after that will be Pastor Dan Wink’s story. He has a Germanic heritage and since Bratwurst is a Wisconsin specialty, that book is called Bratwurst & Bridges. He becomes the bridge to help his neighbor, Skye (Irish) come to know Christ as she becomes the bridge that brings him back to life from his complicated grief.

Book number six is Donuts & Detours. No ethnicity at all. She’s a baker and he’s a mechanic/tow-truck driver and there are a few detours on their way to their happily-ever-after, including a hidden identity. But we all keep secrets, don’t we?

I hope to write Truffles & Traffic this November, because someone has begged for me to have a title with truffles in it! I guess those will have to be a part of any party or giveaway for that book! The basis of the story is based on a real-life romance I watched happen eons ago. Names and careers are changed to protect the lovebirds.

Food continues to play a role in all the stories as does the ongoing challenge to use road terms for metaphors for the journey my characters take. 

I’m open to suggestions for future titles. Since this series takes place in the northwest suburbs of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, only traffic or food that can be found there can apply.

Here are some possibilities – so feel free to weigh in on what you, as a reader, would like to see next:

Cream Puffs & Crossroads (cream puffs are a Wisconsin State Fair specialty!)

Ramen & Roadkill (I put this here as a joke but I do have some friends begging me to write this!)

Lattes and Lanes or Espresso & Expressway  or Coffee & Concrete (similar concepts but which one???)

Pickles & Pavement  (seriously, someone suggested this!) Perhaps Panini’s & Pavement?

Apples & Alleys 

Jellybeans & Junctions

Rocky Road & Round-a-bouts 

Go ahead and be creative! Remember – Salsa & Speedbumps was birthed out of a challenge to write it. As will be Truffles & Traffic. Maybe your choice will be the title of a future story too!

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Feta & Freeways is up for a Goodreads giveaway starting Tuesday, October 4th. The giveaway includes a print copy of the novel along with a compact disc of Burlap to Cashmere’s self-titled album which was the soundtrack I listened to as I wrote the book! It’s hard to get physical copies of music anymore so this was a rare find and I’m sharing it with TWO lucky winners.

Spatzle Speaks: The Baron’s Blunder (Book Review)


THE Baron's BlunderMy mom, Susan M. Baganz, wrote a book as part of the Love is . . . series with Prism Book Group.
Now, generally I like mom’s writing but she went and put a bird in a book? What was she thinking? We have a bird in our home but Quincy the Quaker parrot  just makes messes. And his talk? Utter nonsense.

The Baron’s Blunder illustrates the passage from 1 Corinthians 13, “Love does not rejoice in evil but rejoices in the truth.” While this is part of the Love is . . . series it is also a prequel for mom’s Regency Romances, the first of which will  be available Spring 2017. The Virtuous Viscount at least has a dog. ‘Nuff said.

Lord Charles Percy is wealthy, titled and single. All that Jane Austen would say makes him in desperate need of a wife. Charles isn’t really interested in that. He’s got secret work he does for the British government. (shhh. He’s a spy!). And he seems to have developed a penchant for capturing ne’r-do-wells who would rob coaches.

That’s how he meets the beautiful Honorable Henrietta Allendale, sister to Viscount Remington. She’s a little older than your normal debutante and sees no need for a husband. She’s a bit strong-willed and unbeknownst to anyone, she’s also, gasp! A spy!

Well, he rescues her when she didn’t really need rescuing. He lies. She suspects. She rescues him and then he rescues her but at the expense of . . . well, let’s just say while both start out refusing marriage, one changes their mind.

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that's how we roll.

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that’s how we roll.

There’s a lot packed into this novella and it’s a delightful romp filled with wit, adventure and love. So go buy it so mom can afford to purchase me more bully rings. Oh, wait. Maybe you shouldn’t. She might choose to get my hair cut instead and I hate going to the groomers. I’ll give it five bones anyway because she’s my mom and I love her. And in spite of a bird being this story, I know she loves me best.

5 bones for blog

Spatzle Speaks: Salsa and Speed Bumps (Book Review)

SalsaandSpeedbumps copy (2)Mom said I shouldn’t be reviewing her book. But I insisted (as did some of my fans). Mom wrote a cool book called Salsa & Speed Bumps and it’s pretty good even if there is no dog in it.

But Stephanie would like a dog. There’s a scene in there where they talk about it. I guess that’s close enough since her apartment won’t allow them to have one. *sigh* What’s up with human’s and those kinds of restrictions anyway? We’re man’s best friend, aren’t we? I’m Mom’s best friend and her biggest fan.

Here’s the “puppy” scene. It’s my favorite: 

 “Christmas is just around the corner.”
   “Really? I hadn’t noticed.”
    “Come on, Mom and Dad didn’t do too bad getting a tree up and decorated.”
    “They did a fine job. Much better than I could have managed with my bulging belly getting in the way.”
   “I happen to be fond of your bulging belly. Reminds me of Santa Claus.”
   “Very funny.” She snuggled up to Robbie’s side. “If you had a wish for Christmas, what would it be?”
   “That forty years from now, I would be as in love with you as I am today.”
   Stephanie smiled. “I like that.”
   “Did you have Christmas wish?”
   “Mine isn’t big enough.”
   “What was it?”
   “You’ll laugh at me.”
   “Come on, I want to know.”
   “I want a puppy.”
   “A puppy.”
   “Yes, a puppy.”
   “We may need to wait a while for that one. Dogs aren’t allowed on our lease.”
   “I know, but you asked. Wishes don’t have to be realistic.”
   “No, they don’t. But how about I lick your face and pant in your ear. Will that do in the meantime?”
   Stephanie grinned and gave her husband a kiss, “Oh, that’ll do.”

If you read Pesto & Potholes, you’ll recognize Stephanie as Renata’s roommate. But Renata has moved on and now Stephanie is facing a big challenge. New life. New love. New battles.

Roberto is a cute lawyer. He has blue eyes. I have one brown and one blue eye. Why couldn’t Mom write a character like that? Maybe someday? Anyway, he’s a stand-up guy trying to do the right thing and not letting Stephanie’s challenge keep him from seeking a relationship with her. He’s got his own issues anyway although looking at him one would never know that. But Mom struggles to with some things that most would never know about (Except me. I am after all her best friend).

As the two of them date they both face challenges along the way. I gotta say that there’s a little more “heat” and adventure in this book than in Pesto & Potholes. Spicy salsa really isn’t my thing but I do like the chips. Nacho cheese is fine too. But I digress. Are there ninjas? Yeah, but not like in Pesto & Potholes. Mom assures me this is the last book they show up in. There are several more in this series and Feta & Freeways is up next (I like cheese).

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that's how we roll.

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that’s how we roll.

I appreciate how Mom wove faith into this and it’s fun seeing the down side as well as the blessings of being part of a church and how that hindered and helped Stephanie and Roberto. Mom said it’s so easy, even as a Christian to judge on outward appearances and that sometimes she’s ashamed to admit she does that too. Ooops. That’s probably supposed to be confidential. 

Mom writes historical fiction and she said that there is a phrase in the book that dates back to the early 1800’s and she wants to know if readers can find it. She said it’s in there three times! Guess she got confused what century she was writing for.

I give my mom five bones and lots of kisses for this book. She’s worked very hard on it. No stars, because I’m a dog.

5 bones for blog

 

Love’s Christmas Novellas (Book Reviews)

I should have had this post of up weeks ago but seemed to be deficient in remembering how to enter my blog (in spite of my notes to the contrary. Holiday ditziness? I apologize for that but it is still possible for you to get these books in time for Christmas – definitely on your e-reader (.99 each!) or to get the print copies. Because of this delay I’m not waiting to post this on Friday as I normally would!

I have to confess that with these compilations – I’ve not had a chance to read EVERY novella but since they come from Prism Book Group I’m confident they are great stories!

Love’s Christmas PAST

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FRAGILE BLESSINGS (Susan M. Baganz)

Is it vain for me to promote my own novella first? I wrote this because I was intrigued with pioneer life and set it in my home state of Wisconsin out where my grandparents were raised and lived. I’ve always been fascinated with way people deal with death and in our day and age we expect so much of modern medicine. But back then? They didn’t have the answers . . . so how would one young couple cope? The story took me places I didn’t expect as Grant and Lily live through unexpected tragedy and blessings. I hope you’ll enjoy their journey to love and hope as much as I did writing it.

A MEDIEVAL CHRISTMAS (Rachel A. James)

Tales of old with noble (and not so honorable) knights and ladies of grace and beauty. Set at Christmas-time this story explores the journey of young Nola as she faces the consequences of believing the pretty lies of a nobleman who turns out to be a skunk. When the solution is not as noble as she would prefer and out of a desperate desire to save her family from scandal, Ms. James takes Lady Nola on a journey fraught with danger, wonder and a chance for love if she’s brave enough to accept it.

CHRISTMAS BELLS (Jewell Tweedt)

This is the one story I’ve not yet read but look forward to perhaps during Christmas break. Ms. Tweedt tells a tale of a widow, Connie Rose Simonson, who manages two cafe’s on the frontier and seeking the perfect Christmas for her son. Dr. James Connor has poured out himself in caring for the citizens of an influenza ravaged town. From the description of her story it sounds like heavenly intervention helps these two lonely souls find love. I’m looking forward to reading it!

 

Love’s Christmas PRESENT 

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LOVE AGAIN (Paula Mowery)

Ms. Mowery has a gift for sweet romances and this novella is no exception. Ben Jacobsen has suffered the loss of his wife which meant abandoning his military career to care for his two young children. He moves back in with his parent’s in Myrtle Beach to start life afresh with his in-laws seeking to defeat him at every turn.

Jenna Campbell has moved to the same town to work as a Children’s minister. Coming off a dysfunctional relationship with a guy, she’s not really interested in romance. But something about helping the young widower with his children might have her changing her mind.

But could Ben love again without betraying the memory of his deceased wife?

BACKWARDS CHRISTMAS (Brooke Williams)

Brooke Williams writes a tale filled with humor and adventure. Noelle Richards lives in South Pole, Alaska and enjoys all the holiday festivities of the Backwards Christmas the town celebrates.

Chris Furst has disdain for the holiday. As a sled-dog trainer he loves two things: his dogs and Noelle Richards. The one thing he’s not in love with is CHristmas and the reason for the season. Jesus.

When Chris finds his life in danger though, the tables turn and he’s the one in need of rescue and Noelle and Christ are his only hopes. Maybe love can redeem the holiday for him after all.

ALL’S FAIR IN LOVE & ARSON (Sharon McGregor)

I can hardly wait to read this novella by Sharon McGregor. It sounds like a fun romantic suspense! Bella comes home to care for her injured mother, run her mom’s shop and apparently also needs to take on her mom’s role in the Christmas theater production, a musical o less! The theme is a well-known mystery that seems more bizarre as the days progress. Add in a serial arsonist and the fact that her high school sweetheart, Jake, is now police chief and the holiday is going to be like nothing she or this town had ever seen before.

These books are all fabulous gifts – for you or for someone you love who enjoys reading. So order quickly and snuggle up over the holiday, with your favorite hot beverage, the lights on the tree and a fuzzy blanket and enjoy these novellas filled with warmth, romance and adventure. I know that’s what I’ll be doing!

Merry Christmas!