Welcome Guest – Karen Kirst!!!

Isn’t it funny how seemingly random things can be linked to childhood memories? Every time I eat a summer ripe tomato, I’m reminded of my best friend, Angela. She lived in a house on the lake, and after a full day of sun and water, we worked up quite the appetite. I can still picture us in her kitchen, maybe ten or eleven years old, eating fresh-from-the-garden tomatoes like they were apples. My dear friend is gone now, but I have a whole host of sweet memories to remind me of our time together.

I was in a bookstore the other day and came across a toy called Fashion Plates. Instantly, I was taken back to long road trips in my parents’ station wagon. We were allowed to ride in the open space in the back, and I whiled away the miles assembling various outfits and tracing my crayons over the paper to create pictures. I almost bought it, even though I don’t have daughters. I wanted to buy it simply for nostalgia’s sake.

This month marks the end of Love Inspired Historical. While I’m sad about it, I have many of my favorite authors’ books on my keeper shelf. And I have cards, letters and emails from readers that I will keep and treasure in years to come.

What about you? Do you have certain songs, objects or places that remind you of your childhood? I’d love to hear about it.

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Karen is giving away one print copy of Romancing the Runaway Bride to only lucky reader. Be sure to leave a comment to be entered!

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Romancing the Runaway Bride
by Karen Kirst

Click to buy on Amazon

Though she came west in her wedding dress, Deborah Frazier isn’t looking for a groom. She fled St. Louis to escape marrying a man she didn’t love. In Cowboy Creek, she’s found shelter, friends and a job. All that’s now in jeopardy, thanks to a handsome newcomer.

Undercover Pinkerton agent Adam Halloway is hunting for his family’s greatest enemy. The pretty baker at the boardinghouse is certainly hiding something—but is she an accomplice to a criminal? As eviden

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Karen Kirst was born and raised in East Tennessee near the Great Smoky Mountains. She attended the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, where she received a B.A. in Speech Communication. A lifelong lover of books, it wasn’t until after college that she had the grand idea to write one herself. The pursuit of her dream would take longer than she first anticipated…years, in fact. In the fall of 2010, she got the happy news that Harlequin Love Inspired Historicals wanted to publish her manuscript-a true blessing from God. Now she divides her time between being a wife, homeschooling mom, and romance writer. She and her husband, along with their three boys, recently said goodbye to military life and are thrilled to be back home in Tennessee.

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Guest Blogger
Updated: June 14, 2018 — 8:13 am

31 Comments

  1. Welcome Karen- it’s funny how smells will bring back a memory. Every time I smell banana pudding I remember a time when my brother and I were young. I was in the 7th or 8th grade and my brother was in 2nd or 3rd grade. One day when we arrived home there was this beautiful homemade banana pudding setting on the kitchen bar with a note beside it that said in huge letters. “DO NOT EAT!!” Which was strange to us as she always had us a snack ready for us after school.
    I looked at my brother who looked like he had just lost his best friend, this was his most favorite dessert.
    Below the “DO NOT EAT” was a small arrow indicating to turn the note over. When I flipped it, Mom had written, “EAT ONLY IF YOUR HUNGRY!!!!
    My brothers face lit up like it was Christmas.
    Thanks for visiting the P & P and sharing your book.

    1. Hi Tonya,
      What a neat memory that you and your brother share. And how nice of your mom to make after school snacks like banana pudding!

    2. What a cute story!

  2. I grew up an Army brat and Virginia always beings back amazing memories. We lived there the longest.

    1. Hi Debra,
      I was a Marine wife for almost eight years, and the military base/town where we lived in NC holds strong sentimental ties. Lots of wonderful times and also hardships. I am looking forward to going back this summer to visit.

  3. There is nothing like a fresh tomato and I can’t wait for mine to come on. There is a lot of things that bring back memories for me such as songs and things.

    1. Songs are powerful, aren’t they? There are some from the 1950s and 60s that my mom doesn’t like to listen to because they make her sad. But they can bring back happy memories, too. Like songs played at weddings.

  4. I have similar memories of eating tomatoes like apples fresh from our garden growing up. I also used to eat raw green beans(!), as well cucumbers and peppers. Overall, I love my memories of my parents and I working together in our garden together, and then the freezing and canning of it all for the winter.

    I’m dismayed and heartbroken about Harlequin’s decision to end the Love Inspired line. Just so you know, I’ve really enjoyed your books–Smokey Mountain Matches and the Cowboy Creek books. I just received this, your latest book, part of the Return to Cowboy Creek series, in the mail and am really looking forward to reading it. (So don’t enter me in the contest since I already have it.)

    Just so you know, I am a fan and have read many of your books, so I hope you’ll come back to P&P to let us know were we can find you next, okay? Thank you again for all of the lovely books you’ve written.

    1. P.S. Thank your husband for me for his service! and thank you too.

    2. Thank you, Eliza. It’s wonderful to hear that you’ve enjoyed my books. I have switched to Love Inspired Suspense, and my first one, Explosive Reunion, releases in January 2019. I would like to write historical romance again, so I may look into self-publishing in the future.
      It sounds like you have fond memories of your parents. My son once ate raw okra. I can’t imagine it tasted good. lol

  5. I still have my fashion plates set! My girls love it. Lilacs always bring back memories on the farm for me. Certain smells take me back in time, too.

    1. Those fashion plates helped keep boredom at bay on long road trips! I’m glad they are still available.

  6. I remember my mother taking a salt shaker to the garden, where she kept a concrete block to sit on, and watching her eat tomatoes just like apples right from the garden.

    There are many songs and scents that remind me of my TN childhood. I grew up in middle TN. (Go Vols!) Sweet memories for sure.

    1. Oh, what a neat memory of your mom. I went to UT Knoxville. Folks “bleed” orange around here. lol

  7. Welcome to Petticoats and Pistols, Karen! I grew up in the military and have three sons! So much in common! Like others have said, smells and fragrances take me back to my childhood. The one that I remember most was the night-blooming jasmine outside my bedroom window. Miss that so much now that I am in the Midwest, but there are other fragrances here, (like Lilacs) that capture me delightfully.

    Write a contemporary western LI suspense and come back to talk about it!

    1. Hi Kathryn,
      You must have gotten to see a lot of places growing up in the military. We wound up staying in the same spot, which was unusual.
      Great idea! I might do that. I’m focusing on military heroes right now. 🙂

  8. Welcome Karen

  9. There are things that remind me of my grandparents… TV Shows, scents, etc… wonderful memories.

  10. My 4 year old granddaughter and I were at a Dollar General Store recently and I told her she could have one $1 item. She picked out a fashion doll and some clothing that were all on a magnetic 8×10 sheet. The clothes stuck to the doll and we’re interchangeable. This took me back to my days of paper dolls. I think they were probably $1 also because my family didn’t have a lot of extra spending money. They were in a large book or perhaps pamphlet would describe it better and many of them were patterned after famous movie stars. The clothes were paper also and they had tabs to fit them on to the doll figure. I loved those paper dolls and they gave me great joy. Isabella and I have both enjoyed her “paper dolls”. Proof that Mamaws don’t completely grow up!
    Blessings!
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

    1. Hi Connie,
      I also remember playing with paper dolls with the tabs. I suppose some toys continue to be popular with kids. They just change a little with the times.

  11. I have read every single one of your Love Inspired Historical books and will greatly miss them. I am grateful that you will continue writing for Love Inspired, and look forward to reading your Suspense books though.

    1. Thank you for the kind words and support, Cindy.

  12. Welcome back to East Tennessee. It is a lovely area drawing many who are transplants to settle down. Many of us will be sad to see the Love Inspired line discontinued. I enjoy many different types of books including inspirationals. I have one daughter who will only read inspirationals so I can always share them with her.
    I always helped my grandmother and my aunt and uncle with their gardens. To me there has always been nothing better than the first crop of green beans (we picked ours today), first asparagus picking, and first tomatoes from the garden. I remember sharing them as a child. Since marrying, we have had a garden almost every year depending where we were stationed. We always look forward to the first crop of vegetables. Steamed asparagus and green beans, and sliced tomatoes on toast with mayo, salt and pepper are treats we savor. We enjoyed the asparagus and will have those green beans tomorrow. I will remember how good it was to sit in my grandmother’s kitchen eating fresh beans with butter, salt, and pepper. The tomatoes and memories will be a bit longer of a wait, but worth it.

    1. Thanks, Patricia. It’s been wonderful being home again. I missed the mountains even though I lived at the beach. lol

  13. Hi, Karen! Love your books. Thanks for the giveaway.

  14. Smells are always memory triggers for so many of us. Roses, baking bread or cornbread reminds me of my Grandmother. The smell of skin-so-soft, old Avon perfumes and lotions reminds me of my Nanny. The smell of cow poop, leather, horses, cattle reminds me of my father. The smell of a dairy reminds me of my hometown/county-Erath County/Stephenville Texas as well as the many feedlots I grew up around. Mexican food cooking reminds me of my years in El Paso, Texas. So many memories are triggered by smells.

    1. These are awesome examples, Stephanie. Thanks for sharing.

  15. I have plastic cat that belonged to my sister. It makes a squeeky sound that drove me crazy. I am glad I have this to remember her with.

  16. I love stories about Pinkerton agents and almost any other topic Love Inspired Historicals puts out. This sounds like a delightful read and I can’t wait to read it.

  17. Thank you for the chance I would love to win a paperback

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