Dora Hiers's Blog

April 22, 2015

Purchase LinkThe cover story:Come for a visit to Walker Island where you'll find stunning Pacific Northwest ocean views, men too intriguing to resist...and five close-knit sisters who are each about to find their one true love. 

After four years on the Seattle mainland, when Hanna Walker returns to Walker Island to make a documentary about the infamous Peterson-Walker feud from the early 1950s, she's shocked to realize that passions still run high. Especially when it comes to Joel Peterson, the one man who is totally off-limits...but that she's never been able to stop dreaming about. 

The last thing Joel wants is for Hanna to dredge up the past, but when he realizes she's determined to follow through with her documentary no matter what, he knows he has no choice but to join her. But despite vowing to hold back his growing feelings for her, as Joel works with Hanna to unravel the mystery of what really happened between their two families, he soon begins to see that love is an unstoppable force...and that sometimes two people are meant to be. 
My takeaway:After living four years in Seattle, Hanna Walker returns to her home, Walker Island, to film a documentary, a piece on the 1950’s Peterson-Walker feud and the truth behind Poppy’s suicide that would guarantee her a spot in the graduate program. But Joel Peterson, the only remaining Peterson on the island, isn’t keen on Hanna dredging up the past and vows to preserve his family’s dignity. After all, it’s his duty, same as operating his family’s shipping company, and just as uncomfortable and tight as the tie clamped around his neck.
While Joel and Hanna slide easily into romance, other islanders and family members continue to add fuel to the decades-old feud.
Shame,” she muttered as the two of them went past."What’s that?” Hanna asked, not understanding.The look the woman gave her was actually a little frightening in its intensity. “I wasn’t talking to you, girl.” She turned her narrowed gaze to Joel. “Don’t you have any shame, walking around with a Walker? What would your father think? What would your grandfather think?”
In my fictional visit to Walker Island, I could almost feel the wind whipping my hair, the sand tickling my toes and the salt kissing my cheeks. I felt like I got to know the rest of the Walker clan, the four sisters who make up the other books in the series, and grandmother, Ava. The setting was a major part of this book, just as valuable as the characters.
While I haven’t read any Bella Andre books, I enjoyed this “sweet” romance by Lucy Kevin. It was a departure from my normal inspy books, but when I read the blurb, I decided to take a chance and I’m glad I did. Be My Love was all about family and how they take care of and protect each other from life’s hurts. It’s about events from our pasts and how they aren’t always as they seem, and a strong love that overcomes bitterness and hurts that have festered for decades.
I appreciate that this book didn't contain any steamy love scenes, but I would’ve preferred a dash of sizzle to go along with the sweet on this side of the bedroom door. Overall, I enjoyed Be My Love enough that I plan to read the rest of the series.Disclaimer: I received this book free on Amazon. This review is my opinion, and I didn't receive any compensation.
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Published on April 22, 2015 02:30

April 18, 2015

For this edition of Excited about Eating we visited Passage to India, located in the Campus Station Shopping Center in the University area of Charlotte. Now, I have to admit, I normally don’t eat at Indian restaurants because I have heard the food is very spicy. But today we were up for trying something different.
We were in luck. Instead of choosing just one dish, we were able to experience multiple items from their lunch buffet, and many of them were very good. My favorite was the Chilli Fish, fresh tilapia marinated with spices, fried and tossed with bell pepper and onions. The fish was lightly battered and perfectly cooked. Dora here. Tilapia typically isn't a fish I'd choose, but I really liked this dish. Not too fishy and great flavor.
Another favorite was the Tandoori Chicken, marinated in yogurt, ginger, garlic & fresh spices and grilled in a clay oven. This dish was outstanding with the ginger and garlic shining through and the chicken carried a smokey favor. The Goat Curry, baby goat cooked in onion, tomato, and ginger gravy was great over the Basmati rice.

My wife’s favorite was the Chicken Tikka Masala, boneless chicken breast marinated in ginger, garlic, yogurt & spices and grilled in a charcoal clay oven. Dora here. The Chicken Tikka Masala was moist and tender, and sported just the right amount of heat. Unlike the Chicken Biryani which lit my mouth on fire! One taste of the Biryani and I was begging to switch my iced tea to diet coke. lol. And I really liked the Gulab Jamun, sugar-soaked balls shaped like doughnut holes, and that's what they tasted like: dense, sweet doughnuts. Ernie wasn't a fan.  

For dessert, we had the Mango Custard, made with fresh fruits. Not too sweet but just the right amount of fruit in a creamy milk sauce. Dora here. The mango custard was light and refreshing, not too heavy after eating from a buffet. And that's another thing. Normally, buffets leave me stuffed and bloated, but neither of us felt that way when we finished eating.
Overall, this experience was enjoyable and I would eat Indian food again. I would rate this restaurant 4 forks out of 5 for a family friendly restaurant that serves great food.

Passage to India on Urbanspoon
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Published on April 18, 2015 01:30 • 1 view

April 17, 2015

This bonus edition of Excited about Eating takes us to Cheddar’s Restaurant in the University area of Charlotte. This casual family restaurant, founded in Arlington, Texas boasts that they want to “be a great restaurant that serves quality food fresh from the kitchen in a friendly, comfortable atmosphere at a fair price.” I believe they accomplish this. Cheddars - interiorFor lunch I chose the Homemade Chicken Pot Pie served with a fresh Caesar salad. The Pot Pie was full of chunky chicken, potatoes and vegies, and a tasty cream sauce. The crust was flaky, golden brown, and just the right thickness.
Homemade Chicken Pot PieDora here. Candy pecans, honey lime dressing and a finger-licking-buttery croissant jazzed up an ordinary salad to over-the-top for me, and I could drink a gallon of their unsweet tea.
Grilled Chicken Pecan SaladI would rate this restaurant five forks out of five for a family friendly restaurant serving outstanding food. 

Cheddar's Casual Cafe on Urbanspoon
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Published on April 17, 2015 00:30 • 1 view

April 15, 2015

Lifestyle, May 1, 2015Meet Tate and Shelby Malone, owners of Beaver Pond’s newest and funkiest art boutique, From Junk to TreasureBy James Collins
Recently, I met with Tate and Shelby in the most eclectic art boutique Beaver Pond has ever seen. What most people would consider junk or toss in the trash, Shelby Malone revives and repurposes into unusual art pieces. Clothes, plastic bottles, aluminum cans, pallets, you name it. They’re all here.
Shelby and Tate sat across from me, practically sharing the same space on a revitalized couch. His arm was draped across the back of the couch and his fingers toyed with the tips of her apricot hair. Newlyweds of just a few weeks. Meet Tate and Shelby Malone…
“So tell me. Where did you two first connect?”
A slow grin slides across Tate’s face, and Shelby’s face sports a bright pink hue.
This I can’t wait to hear.
“The men’s restroom,” Tate replies.
OK. That was rather unexpected.
“I tend to be rather clumsy. Tate came to my rescue that time—”
He laughs.
“Well, lots of times actually,” she amends. “Growing up, my parents joked that their insurance company always required extra coverage for me.”
“You both work at Beaver Pond High School, right?”
“Yes. Shelby decided to keep teaching full-time, and I’m a guidance counselor.”
“Did you grow up wanting to be a counselor?”
“Not exactly,” Tate’s jaw clenches.
“He had a wonderful role model. Just like he is to the students in Beaver Pond.” Shelby casts an adoring look at her husband.
“You rose above the homeless statistics to graduate from a top-rate college.” I skim my research notes for the counselor’s name. “Mr. Harris, wasn’t it?”
Tate stiffens. His thick eyebrows narrow. “Yes.”
Shelby pats his thigh in a comforting gesture, and he visibly relaxes back against the couch.
“Was it love at first sight?”
“Yes!” Shelby nodded, as if her ‘yes’ wasn’t emphatic enough. “But, not so for Tate. He took a little convincing.”
“That’s not quite—”
“How so?” I ask, interrupting Tate.
“For starters, he’d given up dating.”
“Not into the bar scene?”
Grimacing, he shakes his head.
“It’s tough when the ones who are supposed to love us let us down, isn’t it?” Compassion warms her face. She turns to her husband, her knuckles skimming his whiskered jaw. “His parents’ abandonment created this emotional barricade. He worried about losing the people he loved, and he mistakenly assumed his disadvantaged upbringing would keep me from loving him. As if I cared about material things.”
“That seems rather obvious.” I glance rather pointedly around the space filled with recycled treasures.
“Her parents actually bought a store for her! How could I compete with that?” Tate asks, brandishing a palm.
“I could see how that might present a problem. So what happened with that?”
“They only put down a deposit to hold it. They didn’t actually buy it. Besides, it was in Promise Lake. I told them my heart was here, in Beaver Pond. With Tate.”
“You did?” Tate’s words come out soft, as if only meant for her, but his deep voice carries.
She nods. “I had to show him that I wasn’t going anywhere and that thingsweren’t important. He was.” Although her words indicate she’s speaking to me, her head is turned towards Tate.
Tate smiles, kisses the top of Shelby’s head.
Thick lashes shutter over ivory cheeks, but only for a few seconds before she focuses on me. “He lived through horror, but he never gave up. He’s the kind of man teenagers can look up to because he gives 100%. He taught me that dreams don’t always come wrapped in shiny packages like we expect. Sometimes you just need to let them go, and then they come back to you, a hundred times better than what you imagined. He’ll make a wonderful daddy someday.”
Tate’s chest puffs up, and a clump travels down his throat. “And Shelby…she saw into my soul and reinvigorated my wounded spirit much like she does with her art. Where everybody else sees junk, she sees treasure.”

And there you have it, folks. The real deal. Tate and Shelby Malone, owners of From Junk to Treasure.
**** Available 5/1 by Subscription
to Pure Amore
Did you enjoy meeting Tate and Shelby? Friends, I'm so excited to share May's Pure Amore release, When Hope Rises, with you!

Art teacher Shelby Coltman transforms junk into treasure and longs for a place to showcase her creations. She’s thrilled when her friend volunteers to room with her. Shelby can finally buy a storefront. Unfortunately, Kennedi’s brother can't seem to let go.

Abandoned as a teenager, guidance counselor Tate Malone has become surrogate and over-protective father to his sister. Life is great until Shelby Coltman wheedles his impressionable sister into sharing an apartment. Raised in wealth, the beautiful Shelby could never understand poverty or rejection, and Tate doesn't appreciate her uprooting his sister.

When Shelby hands over her savings to a homeless student, will God obliterate Tate's fears and deliver all of Shelby’s dreams...when hope rises?
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Published on April 15, 2015 04:19 • 3 views

April 14, 2015

Not long ago, I shared that I was a Bible hoarder. If you missed that post, you can read it here. But, just as I suspected, now I'm reading scripture with fresh eyes.

You all probably remember the story of how Jacob stole his twin brother's blessing and birthright? Then, when Esau threatened to kill him, Jacob fled to live with his uncle for over two decades while he worked off the wages for two brides. When God instructed Jacob to venture back to his homeland, the land God had promised to give him, his brother came to meet with 400 men. Naturally Jacob was terrified. I'm not sure I'd have worked up the courage to get that far. What about you?

Jacob prayed and split his family into groups, sending the servants loaded with gifts for Esau well ahead of him and his precious wives and children. As always, the fact that Jacob spent the night wrestling with God made me pause. Was this a real wrestling match or an all night prayer meeting, wrestling with fear and guilt over what he'd done to his brother? Whatever, Jacob left that morning with a limp. And all for what? Because he refused to surrender God's blessing. Ironic, isn't it? The very thing that sparked his rapid departure in the first place...stealing his brother's blessing.

Jacob expected a battle, but his brother greeted him with a kiss. Surprise, surprise.

But isn't that always the case where God is concerned? He divided the Red Sea, fed thousands with a little boy's lunch, called a man from the grave, and yet somehow I forget how mighty God is, that He makes miracles from my messes, and that He is more than able to restore broken relationships.

If only I'd ask...

And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for. ~1 John 5:14-15
My takeaway from Jacob's experience...

Obedience rewards. Although Jacob must have quaked in his sandals when God instructed him to go back to his homeland, he obeyed. The reward was a restored relationship with his twin, but he also became Israel, a founder of nations and kings.

Persistent prayer pays off.  Frightened, Jacob prayed for God's protection and recalled God's promise that He'd make his "descendants like the sand of the sea." (Gen 32:12 NIV) And then again when he wrestled with God all night, persevering until God blessed him.

Don't make hasty decisions.  Jacob remained where he was for the night to pray and regroup.

Expect favor. Our God is bigger and mightier than any problem I might face, and when I ask Him for help, His response is to bless.

Oh, and my old Bible? I moved it to my desk. All those highlights and notes make for a fabulous research reference. :)
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Published on April 14, 2015 00:30 • 3 views

April 11, 2015

This edition of Excited about Eating takes us to to Krazy Fish in the Plaza Midwood neighborhood. We arrived a little before noon on Good Friday and waited a few minutes to be greeted and seated. The first thing we noticed was the eclectic interior combined with junk art throughout the restaurant, and the musty smell was a turn off. InteriorAt the waiter’s suggestion, we shared the Neptune Platter which included fried fish, shrimp, calamari, scallops, and vegetables and also served with Krazy slaw, Mac n Cheese (our choice) and cornbread. Nuoc Cham (at least, that's what we think it was?) and wasabi tartar dipping sauces were provided. Neptune Platter

I don't believe there is any way one person could have eaten this entire meal. It was huge. The fish was tender, the calamari crispy, and the fried vegetables were perfectly cooked with just the right amount of bite, the highlight of the dish. The two negatives of this dish were the Krazy slaw and the cornbread. The slaw had an unidentifiable spice and a "pickled" flavor which made it almost uneatable and the cornbread was very dry. Dora here. I'm not a huge fan of seafood in general, so it takes a lot to win me over. For me, the fish was a bit too fishy, and nothing on the plate really stood out or invited me to come back. Maybe I might've liked the grilled platter more.I would rate this establishment 3 forks out of 5 for a family friendly restaurant serving good food. Krazy Fish on Urbanspoon
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Published on April 11, 2015 01:30 • 6 views

April 8, 2015

With the exception of promoting blog posts, I've been somewhat MIA on social media these days. I blame it on marketing for four releases this year. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. :)

When I received my promotional copies for When Hope Rises, I realized that I pumped the bulk of my efforts into my Harmon Heritage series and Rori's Healing, which releases on June 5th. But When Hope Rises releases on May 1st as part of Pelican's Pure Amore subscription. What does that mean?
It means I have five pdf copies of When Hope Rises to give away

Pelican Pure Amore's May releaseArt teacher Shelby Coltman transforms junk into treasure and longs for a place to showcase her creations. She’s thrilled when her friend volunteers to room with her. Shelby can finally buy a storefront. Unfortunately, Kennedi’s brother can't seem to let go.
Abandoned as a teenager, guidance counselor Tate Malone has become surrogate and over-protective father to his sister. Life is great until Shelby Coltman wheedles his impressionable sister into sharing an apartment. Raised in wealth, the beautiful Shelby could never understand poverty or rejection, and Tate doesn't appreciate her uprooting his sister.
When Shelby hands over her savings to a homeless student, will God obliterate Tate's fears and deliver all of Shelby’s dreams...when hope rises?
Want one? Here's your chance!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Published on April 08, 2015 21:30 • 2 views

April 7, 2015

So you’re browsing the bookstore and a gorgeous cover screams at you to pick it up. You don’t recognize the author’s name, but intrigued by the back cover blurb, you buy it and hustle home. Settling back in your recliner with a steaming cup of tea, you dig into the pages, quickly becoming immersed in the plot and enjoying where the story’s taking you…until you find yourself peering through the bedroom door.
What do you do? Do you keep reading or slam the cover down on the book? Do you read more books by that author or publisher? And what do you do with the book? Hide it from your kids? Donate it to the library? Toss it in the recycling bin?
Pelican Book Group recently launched a new imprint, Pure Amore. Pure…as in undefiled, wholesome. As in romances you can trust won’t propel you through the bedroom door. Books you can feel safe leaving out on the table in plain sight, without fear that your preteen might skim the pages.
Topping out at 45k words, these petite gems feature heroes and heroines between 21-33 years of age, one or both sexually pure, and Christians from page one. No preaching, no conversion scenes, no controversy, no judgment. Just two flawed characters trying to hold tight to ideals the world no longer values.
I’m thrilled that two of my books, When Love Triumphs and When Hope Rises are included in this line. How could I resist the opportunity to create stories with hunky heroes who just might need a little shove from a feisty heroine to overcome their fears?
Take Tanner Random , from When Love Triumphs, for example. After years of being a Navy SEAL, he’s back in Promise Lake to care for his abandoned niece. He hopes Winter will recognize that he’s not the same guy she rejected years ago, that he buried his old ways along with his best SEAL bud. But even if she does, he has his niece to care for now…and an alcoholic father who rarely leaves his chair or strays far from a bottle of whiskey. Does the same gene course through his blood?
Or Tate Malone , a guidance counselor in When Hope Rises. Growing up, Tate lugged buckets of water home from a nearby park for bathing and cooking, and studied by candlelight. His parents had moving down to an art, knowing the exact number of rent payments they could skip before being evicted. Then, just before his junior year, they moved again…without telling him. He gave up dating after his last girlfriend called him a freak for refusing to be intimate. When Shelby seeks his help for a student, he’s forced to confront his insecurity...would she abandon him, too?  We each have fears and flaws, experiences and struggles, hopes and dreams. We bring all of that with us into our relationships. We love, we laugh, we argue, we fall every way.
Sure. We mess up. But that’s not the end of the story. The end is so much better, sweeter. There’s…Grace. Forgiveness. Restoration. Hope. Love. And perfect lovecovers it all. That’s why I write, and that’s what I hope readers will take away from all my stories.
Pure Amore…available by subscription, a book delivered to your mailbox or inbox every month for an entire year.
It’s your turn. Do you prefer romances where the bedroom door is closed? Why or why not?

Blurb for When Love Triumphs: Police Officer Winter Evan and Navy SEAL Tanner Random are wrong for each other. Winter fears the water. Tanner skims through seas for a living. So four years ago, Winter convinced herself she’d be better off not worrying about his months at sea and his increased cajoling for physical intimacy.
But when she walked away, she lost a giant chunk of her heart.
Now Tanner’s back in town to care for his abandoned niece. No longer a SEAL, he’s sticking to the safety of the North Carolina mountains as a paramedic. Should Winter risk losing her heart all over again? Will God help them build what started years ago into something solid and secure? When love triumphs...
Blurb for When Hope Rises: Art teacher Shelby Coltman transforms junk into treasure and longs for a place to showcase her creations. She’s thrilled when her friend volunteers to room with her. Shelby can finally buy a storefront. Unfortunately, Kennedi’s brother can't seem to let go.
Abandoned as a teenager, guidance counselor Tate Malone has become surrogate and over-protective father to his sister. Life is great until Shelby Coltman wheedles his impressionable sister into sharing an apartment. Raised in wealth, the beautiful Shelby could never understand poverty or rejection, and Tate doesn't appreciate her uprooting his sister.
When Shelby hands over her savings to a homeless student, will God obliterate Tate's fears and deliver all of Shelby’s dreams...when hope rises?
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Published on April 07, 2015 00:30 • 4 views

April 4, 2015

This edition of “Excited about Eating” takes us to Pineville to Machu Picchu, Peruvian Cuisine, named after the ancient Inca City near Cusco, Peru. Now I can truly say, I have never had Peruvian food, but I am always up for trying something new and my wife was in an adventurous mood. Dora here. Haha! Machu PicchuJust inside, we noticed pictures of some of the menu items on the wall and a picture page was included with the menu. This was especially helpful for us to understand the menu. Dora here. I noticed something else. The pungent aroma of seafood. And the interior is quite dim.
 I chose the Arroz Con Mariscos which consisted of yellow rice cooked with an assortment of seafood, mixed vegetables and spices. This dish was very good, not too spicy but very moist and tasty, and packed with perfectly cooked seafood. It would have been great if they reduced the massive portion size and included one of the interesting side items from the menu like fried plantains or yucca. Arroz Con MariscosDora ordered Bisteck Apanado, lightly breaded deep-fried steak served with white rice and French fries. The star of this dish was the deep-fried steak, which had the right amount of breading, juicy, and so good. It was strange that this dish was served with both white rice and French fries. Dora here. This steak reminded me of Palomilla steak, my favorite dish from when we lived in Tampa. Tender and tasty, and I’d definitely order it again! Bistec ApanadoWe opted for dessert instead of an appetizer this trip. At our waiter’s recommendation, we chose Alfajores, two shortbread cookies with Dulce de leche in the middle sprinkled with powdered sugar. A nice way to end the meal, just the right amount of crunch and not sweet. The dessert case was full of them, so obviously they sell a bunch. AlfajoresI would rate this establishment 4 forks out of 5 for a family friendly restaurant serving great food.
Have you tried Peruvian food? What's your favorite dish? Machu Picchu Restaurant on Urbanspoon
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Published on April 04, 2015 03:00 • 3 views

April 2, 2015

Still stinging from the publicity surrounding her father's death, social phobic Rori Harmon prefers the solitude of her animal sanctuary, accepting that marriage isn’t in her future. Racecar Driver Graham Decker refuses to be wrangled into a relationship by another money-hungry female. On a philanthropy mission, he arrives just in time to assist Rori with a llama birthing, but his appearance thrusts her into the media spotlight again. Has Graham found a woman who doesn't care how deep his wallet extends? Has Rori finally met a man who will stick around when times get tough? Is healing for a hurting heart finally within Rori's reach?
Did I snag your attention? Hope so! :) Rori's Healing is a sweet romance with a dash of sizzle and a sprinkling of faith. I'm looking for a few bloggers to help spread the exciting news about its upcoming release with a review, feature, character or author interview, or guest post. 

Rori’s Healing releases on June 5, 2015, with Pelican Book Group, and is the first in the Harmon Heritage series about three siblings who struggle to heal and love after their celebrity father’s tragic suicide. 

Would you be interested in reviewing and/or featuring Rori’s Healing on your blog? I only have a handful of pdf's left for review and/or giveaways, so don't wait! Email Dora(at)DoraHiers(dot)com. 

Aren't you thankful that Jesus conquered the grave? Wishing you a blessed Easter!
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Published on April 02, 2015 06:52 • 3 views