Meet the Author: Rachelle Paige Campbell

My guest today is Rachelle Paige Campbell, author of Her One in a Million, a Christian romance. Rachelle, thank you for joining me today. Let’s start with you telling us a little bit about yourself.

I write contemporary romance novels filled with heart and hope. I believe love and laughter can change lives, and every story needs a happily ever after. I earned my masters’ degree in Fine and Decorative Arts from the Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London. I love to include Art History elements in my novels so I have an excuse to research. This book was a great opportunity for that!

What is Her One in a Million about?

While renovating a historic mansion, Samantha Holt discovers three hidden vases. If she sells the pottery with her family’s auction business, she can bring in a commission for her parents and help get funds for the mansion’s restoration. She calls an expert from Chicago, Zach Reynolds, for his opinion and is shocked that he wants to take the pieces back to the city. They both need the pottery for professional reasons, but the situation is complicated by their growing admiration and feelings for each other.

That’s a great story, Rachelle. Now for some questions about you:

Are you a night owl or morning person?

I am a morning person through and through! I love to get up and get going every day. My kids are early risers, too. This was an added complication for getting words in when they were little. Now that they are both in school, however, it’s perfect. After they are out the door, I can focus on my projects for a few hours and get a lot of dedicated time for writing in during the week.

Do you reward yourself when a book is finished? If so, what is your favorite treat?

I don’t always reward myself when a book is finished because sometimes I don’t have time or opportunity. But my favorite treat is a nice manicure. It’s lovely to get a hand massage and a new coat of nail polish after my fingers have been hard at work typing a story.

Were there any surprises that came up as you wrote your story?

I love historical romance and historical fiction. I have read a lot of both and really enjoy the genre. When I first started writing, I attempted a Regency era novel but the book fell flat. My writer voice is too modern. I had fun on this project creating a historical journal. I finally had a chance to incorporate a tribute to the genre but in a way that was genuine to the story. It was a wonderful surprise to me as I started crafting the novel.

Who was the first person you allowed to read your completed book?

The first people to read any of my completed books are my writing friends. Known as the Panera Supper Club, from the pre-Covid days when we would meet at Panera and write, I am blessed to be part of a very supportive group of incredibly talented, hard-working, and kind authors. We write different genres but are cheerleaders for each other’s work.

What book or author has inspired you the most?

I loved the Anne of Green Gables books so much as a kid. I continue to be inspired by Anne. I think I’ve been trying to be Anne Shirley my entire life. What I’ve always loved most is that she makes mistakes, takes responsibility, and learns from the experience.

What’s next for you as an author?

The fourth book in the Home to Harmony series is coming! I’m not sure when, yet, but it’s a Christmas book and ties the series together in an unexpected way. I’m really excited to share it with readers. I have loved writing these books and am so appreciative of the positive response.

Thank you for being my guest today, Rachelle. Before we go, where can readers find out more about you and your books?

Bookbub: https://bit.ly/3jKH9s0

Amazon Author Page: https://amzn.to/3KRvKCy

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rachellepaigebooks/

Newsletter: eepurl.com/dEjzZz

Website: https://rachellepaigecampbell.com/

Buy links:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3U9lqep

Barnes & Noble: https://bit.ly/3U7d6f7

Kobo: https://bit.ly/3qB2yr1

Apple iBooks: https://apple.co/3BF8xl7

Advertisement

Friday Feature: Substitute Family

Recently I published an updated version of my full-length Christian romance, Substitute Family. This was previously published under the title, No Longer a Substitute. If you read the first version, you will find this one almost completely different. The characters and story line are the same, but it has been revised and updated throughout the whole book, with a surprise ending.

Even if you haven’t read the previous version, I think you will enjoy this one. Substitute Family is a story about adorable twin toddlers and their widowed father, and the nanny who steps into their lives and falls for all of them.

About the book:

Kindergarten teacher Emily Riley volunteers to babysit her late cousin’s twin toddlers for the summer. She doesn’t count on falling in love with their daddy, Garret.

When Garret transfers across country for a three-month trial period to set up a new office, he decides to leave the twins behind until he gets settled. Emily takes a leave of absence from her teaching job to become the 24/7 nanny while he is gone.

Garret decides not to tell his new employees that he is a widowed father of two. At first he calls home every week, but then a month goes by without a phone call, and he won’t return Emily’s messages.

She worries that Garret might like his freedom so much that he will decide to leave the twins, and Emily, behind permanently.

This book is available for purchase on Amazon as a Kindle book or in paperback.

From the Vault: Unconditional Love

Before planning my own wedding, I had no idea of the details and decisions we would need to make. A wedding dress and veil, rings, registries, invitations, musicians, and…cake napkins? We didn’t have a lot of time or money to work with. We had to sacrifice some of the things we wanted to save money.

One of the things we saved money on was our wedding cake. There were two people we knew who did wedding cakes as a side business and neither of them could make ours. One suggested we make our own cake. So we decided to. Since it was a February wedding and close to Valentine’s Day, we went with a heart-shaped cake.

Or rather, several of them. Different flavors included chocolate, carrot cake and cherry chip cake. We, meaning my fiancé Pat and I, mixed up the batter and baked the heart-shaped cakes in my mom’s kitchen. We coated the baked cakes with an icing glaze to keep them moist.

My sister iced and decorated the cake and added some sugared hearts that a friend helped her make. A friend gave us a musical figurine that we used as a cake topper. It wasn’t perfect, but it was pretty, and uniquely ours.

We had way too much cake left over. I think we were eating it for weeks. We put the top layer in the freezer for our one-year anniversary, but we didn’t eat it when that day came. The thought of eating one-year-old cake, even though it had been preserved by freezing it, didn’t appeal to us.

We didn’t just have cake left over. We also ended up with about 50 unused cake napkins. We packed them away and planned to take them out on our 25th anniversary , when we would have family and friends gather to celebrate.

However, we didn’t make it to our 25th anniversary. Not because we fell out of love, but because a tragic work accident took Pat’s life after just 20 years of marriage.

1 Corinthians 13 is known as the Love Chapter. It is incorporated into many wedding ceremonies. I don’t remember if it was read at ours, because my head was in the clouds that day.

…Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

These verses speak of unconditional love. Pat loved me unconditionally. He was my rock, my biggest supporter, provider and protector. I miss him, but God is healing my grief. I’m learning to stand on my own two feet, with the love and support of family and friends.

Our “Happy Ever After” was cut short, but I’m grateful for the twenty years we had together.

Friday Feature: Christmas Novellas

Today I’m featuring author Katy Eeten’s three Christmas novellas. They are unrelated to each other, but each is a heartwarming holiday story. You can find out more about the books in the details below:

Wrong Turn Christmas (Anaiah Press 2021)

April is desperate to eliminate her dad’s cancer bills so her family can enjoy the holidays. But, on her way to get legal assistance, she ends up at the wrong house. There, she finds a warm and caring soul… but a boyfriend won’t solve her family’s financial issues.

Jake is surprised to find a beautiful woman on his doorstep asking for help. It’s a case of mistaken identity, but after spending just a little time with April, he knows they are perfect for each other—even if she does have bad taste in football teams. Except April is facing an uphill battle, and he believes he has nothing of real value to offer. Or does he?

One wrong turn might just end up turning a Christmas crisis into a Christmas miracle.

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/Wrong-Turn-Christmas-Anaiah-Romance-ebook/dp/B09L4J3PDZ/

First Class Christmas (Pelican Book Group, 2020)

When Mandy Brockman flies home from her friend’s destination wedding, her heart is on empty at the thought of spending Christmas alone. It doesn’t help that her ex is on the plane, seemingly unaffected by their breakup. But the kind-hearted man seated next to her seems to have it all together—and he’s handsome to boot. She knows her emotional healing won’t come in the form of another guy, but will the source of this man’s peace and joy help Mandy find the Christmas she’s looking for?

CJ Hawkins is captivated by the beautiful, feisty woman he meets on his flight. The only thing is, she’s fresh out of a relationship, and he has no interest in being anyone’s rebound. But the more he learns about Mandy, the more he’s drawn to her unique mixture of compassion and spunk.

Can he figure out how to make their relationship take off before this First Class Christmas is grounded forever?

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/First-Class-Christmas-Holiday-Extravaganza-ebook/dp/B08KSJHMW4/

Christmas In Meadow Creek (Anaiah Press, 2018)

Sarah Laughlin left her big-city life and dead-end relationship behind for a fresh start as a fourth-grade teacher in the small, Wisconsin town of Meadow Creek. And it feels like home, too, despite the persistent troublemaker in her class and the lack of familiar faces. But the holidays are going to be lonely this year. Until she meets firefighter Lincoln Thompson. Suddenly, the hope of spending Christmas with someone she cares about is within reach.

Lincoln loves his home town of Meadow Creek, but ever since his long-time girlfriend left him for a better life in the city, he wonders if he’ll ever find love in this small town where everyone knows everyone. Then he meets Sarah during her class’s field trip to his firehouse, and a spark is lit. But when they discover that Sarah’s troublemaking student is none other than Lincoln’s beloved nephew, their newfound relationship is put to the test. Can they navigate through the complexities of family dynamics to find a love that will last?

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Meadow-Anaiah-Romance-Novella/dp/1947327305/

May I have this Dance Chapter 7

Chapter Seven

Brooke

When Brooke told her kids that she hired a babysitter for Friday night, Devon argued that he could stay by himself and watch Brinley.

            “I don’t want some teenager to watch us.”

            “She won’t bother you, Devon. But it will be good for Brinley to have some company. And you’re responsible, but you are not mature enough to take care of Brinley.”

            “What is there to take care of? She is just going to watch princess movies and play with her ponies.”

            “I can see the two of you getting into an argument and Brinley throwing a tantrum.”
            “She does that all the time. I’m used to it.”

            “No more arguing about it. I’m going to ask one of the neighbor girls to watch you.”

After securing a babysitter, Brooke went through everything in her closet trying to find something suitable to wear. She had not purchased anything new since Carl passed away. She had worked up until the accident, and it was business casual at the office. So she had some casual dresses, blouses and slacks to choose from. But they were a little outdated, and nothing looked just right. 

            She held some of the outfits up to her and looked in the mirror. It was then she realized that she hadn’t had a haircut all summer. She had worn it up for the reunion. It was the second week of August and the temperature was hot and humid. She decided to wear her hair up for their date.

            Finally, she decided on a flowered cotton dress. It was sleeveless, but the V-neck was modest. She accessorized with a colored bead necklace and matching earrings.

            “Mom, you look beautiful!” Brinley exclaimed when she walked into the living room.

Devon looked up and his jaw dropped open. “Who are you going out with again?”

            “An old friend from high school,” she said casually. “I told you that. His name is Chase, and he has a boy your age and a girl Brinley’s age. His mom is a friend of Grandma’s.”

            “Will we meet him?” Brinley asked with excitement.

            “I think you will.” She figured Chase was old-fashioned enough that he would come in and meet her kids before taking her on a date. At least, she expected him to.

            She was not disappointed. At six o’clock there was a knock on the front door. She went to open it, and Brinley beat her to it. The door flew open and Chase stood there, tall and handsome. He had chosen to go clean-shaven tonight. At the reunion he had worn a trim beard. She had liked the look. But she had to admit, he looked even more handsome tonight, if possible. He had a bouquet of pink and white roses in his hands.

            “Come on in, Chase. This is my daughter, Brinley.”

“Hi, Brinley. It’s nice to meet you.”

“You brought my mom flowers?”

Chase turned a shade of red. His eyes met Brooke’s. He held out the flowers, and she took them from him.

“I wasn’t sure what would be appropriate.”

“Any flowers are always appropriate. Thank you. I’ll find something to put these in.”

She found a vase under the sink, filled it with water and arranged the flowers in it. She could hear Brinley talking to Chase. She was asking him about his daughter and what her name was. Brooke carried the vase into the living room and set it on the coffee table. It had been a long time since she had received fresh flowers. She was thrilled with his thoughtfulness.

Devon came downstairs.

Brooke put her arm around Devon’s shoulder. He stiffened and she removed it. She hadn’t meant to embarrass him. “This is Devon.”

            “Hi, Devon. It’s nice to meet you.”

            “Are you a stranger?” Brinley asked.

            “I’m not a stranger to your mom. We went to school together.”

            “A long time ago,” Devon muttered.

            Chase laughed. “That makes us sound ancient.”

            There was another knock, and Brinley opened the door to let their babysitter in.

            “Hello, Daelyn,” Brooke greeted the teenager. “There’s a pizza in the freezer, and I bought chips and pop.”

            “Mom only buys chips and pop when it’s a celebration,” Brinley said.

            Brooke blushed as Chase looked at her and grinned.

Chase

A celebration, huh? He couldn’t help feeling a little bit like celebrating, himself. One week ago he had not dreamed of dating again. And to date Brooke had never crossed his mind. He didn’t even really know her. But that was the purpose of the date, right? To get to know her. She fascinated him, and he was looking forward to learning more about her.

            She looked great. She had on a flowery dress with bright colors, and matching beads and dangling earrings. She had worn her hair up like she had at the reunion. He liked it that way, but it made him imagine what it would be like to take it all down.

            He looked away from her and addressed the babysitter. “I have a pizza ordered that will be delivered around six-thirty. It’s already paid for including the tip, all you have to do is accept it.”

            “We don’t get pizza delivered,” Brinley said.

            That was a shocker. “You don’t order pizza delivery?”

            Brooke looked embarrassed. “I don’t really trust someone to come to the house when I’m not here.”

            “Even the pizza delivery guy?”

            She blushed, but nodded.

“Do you want me to cancel it?” He checked his phone. “There’s still time, I think.”

“Would you mind? I appreciate the gesture, but I’m not comfortable with the idea.”

He didn’t tell her that he knew the owners of the pizza parlor and their delivery people were trustworthy. He had to respect her decision, even if he thought it more than a little odd. This was a small town. But then, he remembered, she had lived in Detroit for several years. Maybe she had forgotten how little crime there was in their town.

He stepped outside and called to cancel the pizza. “It’s already in the oven,” the employee told him. “What should we do with it?”
            “Why don’t you treat yourselves to it tonight? Eat it on your break or split it up and take it home with you.”

            “Awesome! Thanks!”

Brooke stepped outside and shut the door behind her. “I don’t see your pickup.”

            “I brought my mom’s SUV.” He glanced at her skirt and heels. “I wasn’t sure what you were wearing. You look great, by the way.”

            She blushed, and he wondered how long it had been since someone had told her that. By someone, he meant a man. He wondered if she had dated at all since her husband passed away. But he wasn’t going to ask her that, not yet, anyway. Maybe she would mention it.

            He opened her door, and when she was comfortably seated, he went around and got in behind the wheel. He realized his heart was pounding nervously. So far, he thought he had done all right, but now they were alone together. He didn’t know if he could carry on conversation like he had been practicing in his head. He wished he had that cool confidence he’d had in high school. Lisa’s betrayal had killed that, leaving him insecure about his effect on women.

            “Thank you for understanding about the pizza,” she said.

            “Is it because you lived in the city?”

            “Yes, I don’t trust someone to come to the door.”

            “You don’t have to worry about crime here. At least, there hasn’t been a robbery by a pizza delivery person that I know of.”

            He wondered if she was offended by his remark, but then he saw the smile. It started in her eyes, then slowly the corners of her mouth turned up.

            “There were a couple of robberies in town a few years ago,” he admitted. “Some kids broke into a few of the businesses and made out with a little cash and alcohol.”

            “I remember my mom telling me about that. It was pretty hard to believe, but I guess there are some troubled teens no matter where you live.”

            “I’m hoping to avoid that with my kids. With Josh. He’s already started with an attitude. They say is normal at his age.”

            “Devon has, also. Just like tonight. He didn’t want a babysitter, but I know he and Brinley still fight. I don’t trust them to stay home alone and not get into an argument.” Her eyes met his, with a shy smile. “I didn’t want any phone calls while we were eating dinner.”

            “What grade is Devon in?”
            “He starts seventh this year.”

            “So does Josh. And Maddie will be in third.”

            “So will Brinley. It’s kind of funny, isn’t it, that our kids are the same ages?”

            His eyes met hers. “Our lives have kind of paralleled each other’s, haven’t they?”

            “I didn’t realize how much until we talked the other night. My mom has mentioned something like that a couple of times.”

            “My mom has brought up your name a couple of times,” Chase said. “I never realized that we had so much in common, I guess.”

            “Do you think they were trying to play matchmaker?”

            He shrugged. “I don’t think my mom would. She knew I took it pretty hard when Lisa passed away. I haven’t been ready to think about dating, and I think she knew it.”

            “Then it just naturally came about.”

            “I think that’s pretty cool, don’t you? I mean, there you were, looking gorgeous, and I wanted to dance with you.” She blushed at his compliment. Then he added, “I can’t believe I was brave enough to ask, after you shot down both Ben and Nate.”

            “Nate’s reputation preceded him.”

            “Yeah, he has a reputation. He hasn’t changed much since high school, unfortunately.”

            “Megan said he cheated on his first wife.”

            Chase’s jaw tightened. “He denies it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he did.”

            “I consider Ben a friend. He went to Michigan State at the same time I did. He took his studies pretty seriously. I know he met his wife there. They invited Carl and I to their wedding.”

            “Did you go?”

            “We did. His wife is nice, and I didn’t feel comfortable dancing with a married man. Even though he said his wife told him it was all right to dance, as long as he danced with me.”

            “I see he danced with Barbara.”

            “He did, and after we left, he kept drinking. When she danced with him again later, he got a little handsy, I guess.”

Handsy.

His mouth stretched into a grin. The idea of getting “handsy” with Brooke had crossed his mind a few times when they were dancing. He’d felt too mature to hit on her at the class reunion. But he had imagined what it would be like to embrace Brooke somewhere in private, and she had very kissable lips.

            He pulled into the parking lot of the popular chain restaurant. It was busy. They didn’t take reservations, and he worried that they would have to wait a long time for a table. As he held the door open for her, she brushed his shoulder as she passed him. He could smell her flowery perfume.

            He was surprised when she took out her cell phone and checked it. “I want to see if Devon had texted. I gave the babysitter instructions to call, but sometimes he texts me with silly questions.”

            “My mom would call if there was any trouble, but Josh would text. I bought him a cell phone for his twelfth birthday.”

            “That’s when I bought one for Devon. When is Josh’s birthday?”

            “June.”

            “Devon’s is in December. He came during a blizzard, and Carl had a hard time getting out of the driveway and to the hospital.”

            “I didn’t realize you would get a lot of snow in Detroit.”

            “Oh, it comes in heavy sometimes. It doesn’t take long for them to plow the streets, but that was the middle of the night.”

            “How do you feel about winter?”

            The hostess approached them. “Your table is ready.”

            After they were seated, Brooke picked up the menu and started looking at it. Realizing Chase had asked her a question, she said, “I like winter, but I’m not much of a sports person. In high school, I ice skated and skied some.”

            “I haven’t skied for a long time, but it might be kind of fun to try it again I have a couple of snowmobiles and I take Josh out on the trails. My brother goes out with us most of the time.”

“Devon has never been on a snowmobile. I guess I haven’t since high school. Megan’s family had them and she took me out on it a few times.”           

            “Maybe we can go out on the trails this winter.” She looked surprised, and he wondered if he was crazy for suggesting it. “You must think I am crazy. It’s August, and I’m already talking about taking you snowmobiling.”

            “I don’t think you are crazy. I think you are very nice to offer.”

            Nice? That wasn’t quite the impression he was going for.

Come back next week for Chapter 8 of

May I have this Dance.