Skip to main content

Year of the Dog serial novel, chapter 22

I’m posting a Humorous Christian Romantic Suspense serial novel here on my blog! Year of the Dog is a (second) prequel to my Warubozu Spa Chronicles series. Year of the Dog serial novel by Camy Tang Mari Mutou, a professional dog trainer, is having a bad year. While renovating her new dog kenneling and training facility, she needs to move in with her disapproving family, who have always made her feel inadequate—according to them, a job requiring her to be covered in dog hair and slobber is an embarrassment to the family. She convinces her ex-boyfriend to take her dog for a few months … but discovers that his brother is the irate security expert whose car she accidentally rear-ended a few weeks earlier. Ashwin Keitou has enough problems. His aunt has just shown up on his doorstep, expecting to move in with him, and he can’t say no because he owes her everything—after his mother walked out on them, Auntie Nell took in Ashwin and his brother and raised them in a loving Chri

Missy Tippens guest blog and giveaway

Today I have a special blog guest, my friend Missy Tippens! I also just found out that her book, A House Full of Hope, is a RITA finalist! It came out in February last year, but still has new paperback copies available, or you could order a used paperback copy on Amazon, or buy it as an ebook (Kindle, Nookbook, Kobobooks, iTunes).

Missy Tippens, a pastor’s wife and mom of three from near Atlanta, Georgia, made her first sale to Love Inspired in 2007. Her books have since been nominated for the Booksellers Best, ACFW Carol Award, Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, Beacon Contest and a 2013 RT Reviewer’s Choice Award. A House Full of Hope has recently been named a Romance Writers of America RITA® Finalist. New from Love Inspired, Georgia Sweethearts is an April 2013 release. Visit Missy at

Trying to Be Camy
By Missy Tippens

(Camy LOL)

A few years ago, I attended a brainstorming retreat with Camy and several other writers. On this retreat, we spent group time talking out our books, trying to come up with ideas for the plots. We also spent time working individually.

I was fascinated to watch Camy work. She would type like crazy. Then put down her computer and knit for a while as she thought through her next scene. Then all of a sudden, she would toss aside her knitting and began to type like crazy, her fingers flying across the keyboard. I was inspired to try something creative to help me while I was in “think mode.”

But it wasn’t until years later when I began writing a book that involved a yarn shop that I finally picked up knitting needles and gave it a try.

Actually, I had tried knitting about 25 years ago. Even bought gorgeous yarn and decided to knit my new husband a sweater for Christmas. But, alas, a sweater is a tough project for a newbie! I ended up completing one sleeve—and gave it to him, wrapped up with a booklet titled “101 Things to Do With a Sleeve.” Then I ditched knitting and went back to cross-stitch. :)

When I came up with the story idea for my book Georgia Sweethearts, I decided to join a new knitting group at my church. I borrowed needles and yarn and practiced the basic steps that first week. And I found I loved it! But I was nowhere near able to whip out a pair of socks while thinking of my story’s plot. I had to keep counting stitches and thinking through each move I made. I found I couldn’t even watch TV while knitting. It took too much concentration.

So these days, I just pick up my knitting on occasion for fun. The scarf I started over a year ago in that class at church? Well, here’s a photo. It’s still not completed! I wonder if I’ll ever finish a piece. I think I’m going to have to find something else to do while I’m mulling over my stories. Any suggestions?

Georgia Sweethearts
Missy Tippens

A Pattern For Love

After inheriting her great-aunt's failing yarn shop, Lilly Barnes is determined to make it a success. All she wants is stability, something she doesn't think possible in the small town of Corinthia, Georgia. Then Pastor Daniel Foreman rents space in her store to hold meetings for his growing congregation, and this proves to be her lifeline. At first Lilly wants nothing to do with Daniel's big dreams, but she soon finds herself starting to share his goals. Yet trouble between her customers and his congregation make them both doubt the path they're on. That is, until practical Lilly shows him that love is a risk worth taking.

Excerpt of chapter one:

The third time Lillianne Barnes dropped the knitting needle—along with two stitches—should have been a clue. But she kept clacking the needles and wrapping the yarn like Great-Aunt Talitha had taught her, trying to make the soft blue yarn into something…anything. She glanced at the supposedly simple, "no-fail" directions. No fail for everyone else, maybe. But not for her.

Lilly chewed her lip as she tried one more time to carefully slip the loop of yarn to complete the transfer of the stitch from one needle to the other. It went where it was supposed to go, but the last two uneven loops followed prematurely and began to unravel.

She'd left her perfectly good job as manager of women's clothing at a highend department store—secure, enjoyable, with benefits—for this…mess?

With a growl, she tossed the whole bundle aside. "I give up. I cannot knit."

"Must be a problem if you work in a yarn shop."

She yelped, then jumped up, the metal folding chair scraping the floor behind her. A man built like a professional athlete stood in the doorway watching her with a bemused expression. His dark blond hair, playful blue eyes and crooked smile made her suck in a breath and hold it. Still, gorgeous or not, Mr. Six-Foot-Plus and his big, broad shoulders had barged in, ignoring the sign out front.

She exhaled long and loud, as if she found his presence annoying, though in reality, she was more frustrated by her clash with the knitting needles than by the handsome intruder. "I'm sorry, we're closed for the day."

He held up his hands palms forward. "I apologize for scaring you. I'm not here to buy anything." He stepped farther into the room, his rugged jacket and muscular build out of place next to the softest of baby yarns. "My name is Daniel Foreman. I'm Ann Sealy's grandson."

Ann, Aunt Talitha's good friend. The ache of loss once again settled in Lilly's chest, squeezing like a fist.

Lilly left the circle of folding chairs in the corner and walked behind the counter, trying to remember if she'd seen this man at the funeral. But that whole week was still a blur.

She busied her hands straightening receipts, anything to keep from giving in to the tears stinging her eyes. "Your grandmother was very kind to help my great-aunt in her last days."

"I've met Jenna. So you must be Lilly, the other niece who inherited this place." His friendly expression gentled as he moved to the counter. "I'm sorry for your loss. Miss Talitha was a kind, generous woman."

"Thank you." A fresh wave of grief battered her already-tender heart. Talitha Barnes had been both kind and generous. But more than that, she'd been the only family Lilly and her sister, Jenna, could ever count on. Their aunt's longdistance love had been the one constant throughout their unstable childhood.

"I heard you lived in Louisville before moving here to Georgia. Has coming to as small a town as Corinthia been a shock?"

"A bit. But everyone's been really nice."

"So how's business?"

"A little slow today." And the day before. And the day before that. At his look of sympathy, she escaped to the corner seating area and picked up her knitting, pulling out the remaining stitches and starting over.

She wouldn't share the fact that The Yarn Barn was in terrible financial shape. That she'd only sold three measly skeins of yarn earlier that day—from the bargain bin.

Or that Aunt Talitha had requested Lilly and Jenna run the store one full year before selling the business.

Once again, her heart raced—this time in anxiety—making her face tingle and her hands go numb. Not helpful when working with pointy needles.

"So you don't knit, huh?" The sparkle returned to his eyes, teasing her, pushing away his look of sympathy…and with it, a little of her grief and panic.

As she fought for slow, even breaths, she glanced at the bins full of colorful yarn, at the shiny new computer on the sales counter, at the rack of pattern books—anywhere but in his eyes. Then she forced herself to meet his smile with her own. "Can't knit. Or crochet. I'm a total klutz when it comes to anything craftoriented."

A laugh burst out of him, deep and rumbling, warming her, tempting her to relax, to quit worrying so much.

This time, she couldn't look away from those playful blue eyes. She joined in the laughter. "Ironic, huh? Please don't advertise my ineptitude."

"I guess it wouldn't be good for business."

As their gazes locked and held, something passed between them. A kind of connection, or attraction.

She shook off the ridiculous notion. A good-looking man comes in, and she acts like an idiot, imagining things.

She stuffed her ugly, uneven knitting into the canvas tote bag to practice that night at home—Jenna's home—and concentrated on the positive. Another day passed. One day closer to fulfilling the stipulation of her aunt's will.

He turned and stared toward the back wall where she'd displayed some of her photos. "Nice. Who took these?"

"They're mine. I majored in photojournalism. Ended up in retail." When she returned to Kentucky, she planned to remedy that. To finally risk trying the career she'd always wanted.

"Sounds like an interesting story." He moved closer to inspect one—her favorite, of an elderly woman in Appala-chia looking up from a quilt she was working on, laughing. A woman who'd reminded Lilly of Aunt Talitha.

He tilted his head a little to the left. Then he took a step back but kept examining the photo. "You really captured the spirit of the woman in this one."

She swallowed, touched that he'd shown interest. "Thanks."

For a few seconds, he glanced away as if embarrassed. But then, squaring his shoulders, he said, "So is this a place for knitters to hang out?" He sat in one of six rickety folding chairs, dwarfing it, as he checked out the room.

Expecting the chair to buckle at any moment, she watched his expression fall into a slight frown as he inspected the hinges on the chair. She agreed with the sad state of some of the equipment, but they didn't have the money to do anything about it. "What can I help you with, Daniel?"

He quit his perusal and stood. "I'm sorry to bother you after hours. But I've come by to check on the agreement to rent the basement of your building."

Rent downstairs? "What agreement?"

His brows drew downward. "Didn't Talitha mention she'd agreed to let our church rent the space?"

What had her aunt been thinking? "Well, actually…no. Please fill me in."

"I'm pastor of a fairly new church, and we've outgrown our meeting space."

"A pastor?" The man certainly didn't look like he spent his day behind a desk. Or a pulpit.

He confirmed it with a nod. "In her last weeks, Talitha wasn't doing well, and the shop was struggling. So my grandmother suggested she rent us the basement as a solution for everyone."

"Aunt Talitha agreed?"

"She did. Told me we could have the space if we wanted it. I was hoping to take a look around. If it's suitable, we're ready to move in."

"We can't finish the basement right now. Plus, when we do, I plan to offer classes." In the unlikely event she mastered knitting. "I'll need the space."

The pleasant look he'd maintained since entering the shop gave way to a flicker of impatience. But then he masked it. "If our church grows quickly enough, we wouldn't be in your way for long. I don't have anything in writing, but I hope you'll consider honoring Talitha's verbal offer." He pulled a business card out of his pocket and gave it to her. "Give me a call any time." He backed away and waved, once again the epitome of charm. "I'll let you get back to your, uh, knitting?"

Ha-ha. He thought he was so funny. She narrowed her eyes at him. "I'll have you know, I used to know how." No need to admit she'd never been more than proficient.

His crooked smile morphed into a full-fledged grin that sent her heart rate off the charts. A grin she'd find seriously attractive, if it weren't coupled with the fact he was proving to be a complication to her plans for boosting business at the shop, a complication who seemed to think he was a comedian, no less.

"My apologies for underestimating your talent." The teasing look in his eyes said otherwise. "I look forward to seeing your needlework, Lilly. Soon." He gave a jaunty salute as he turned and left the shop.

She tried to suck in a full, stuttering breath to tell him he didn't need to bother coming back. But of course, he'd already shut the door behind him.

She thought about his joke and had to laugh. She'd be a fool to let him get under her skin just because he was so attractive and they'd shared a moment. Besides, it wasn't Daniel's fault she was inept at all things crafty. It wasn't his fault the store was struggling.

And even though she'd like to blame him, it wasn't his fault she found it difficult to resist his charm.

No, she needed to look into his claim. What if Aunt Talitha had made the promise?

The thought sent her heart to racing once again. She'd recently moved to town. Had just joined Jenna in running the business. At the moment, income wasn't keeping pace with outgo. And they still hadn't been able to reach the shop's accountant to learn more about the financials. Now they might have to add landlord duties, as well?

They knew nothing about leasing property. And they'd first have to finish off the basement, which they couldn't afford.

She wished she could simply claim new owner, new policies. Especially since he and Talitha hadn't put anything in writing. But her conscience said she needed to investigate further. Just one more thing to add to the mile-long list of tasks for the business.

She couldn't bear to see her aunt's beloved shop fail. It was the least she could do for the only family member to show her and Jenna love. She looked around the room at the diverse colors and textures. Bins of soft acrylics, rougher wools, knobby blends. All strange and new to her. New like her life in this small Georgia town that Aunt Talitha had loved. Lilly had a promise to fulfill.

Now, back to the first item on the list. To make a go of it, she did need to learn—relearn—to knit and crochet. A huge sigh escaped as she picked up her tote bag of yarn to practice that night. With her skill level, she wasn't worthy of the luxurious fluff of sky-blue yarn.

Blue the exact shade of Daniel's eyes.

She pushed away the thought like a pesky fly. She would love to avoid Daniel at all costs.

But the stack of bills behind the counter reminded her that she better find a way to make the shop profitable—and soon. Or else, agreement or not, she'd be forced to accept his offer.

Daniel chuckled as he reflected on the meeting. With cheeks flushing, her chin raised high, Lilly Barnes had proven she was a spitfire. Had scorched him with one flash of those big hazel eyes. Eyes that had warned him away.

His laughter died on his lips. So why had he felt that pull between them? Even after her clear hesitation over the idea of renting to them, he'd felt the sizzle of attraction. Had enjoyed the good-natured banter about her knitting.

He had to remember she was still grieving. He shouldn't force the issue, but he would have to figure out a way to convince Lilly to rent to him. They didn't have any other affordable leads.

When he pulled in his grandmother's driveway and saw his dad's car, he glanced at the clock on the dash. Why did his father have to be here the one night he'd come in late?

Determined to hold his tongue throughout dinner, he hurried up the driveway and around to the back.

Light from the kitchen spilled out onto the back porch, soothing some of Daniel's tension. He loved this place. Had spent a lot of summers here after his mother had died, after his dad had further buried himself in work. Though his dad had tried to ease the burden on family members by shipping Daniel from relative to relative, time with GranAnn had been his favorite.

Ever since, the white clapboard house with the homey kitchen had been a haven. When she'd asked him to live with her while he started the church in Corinthia, he'd jumped at the chance.

He stepped inside the kitchen door, the aroma of freshly baked bread like a hug from the woman herself.

"Oh, good. I'm glad you made it, baby." Gran's light blue eyes lacked their usual spark, and her normally easy smile seemed strained, as if begging him to behave and play nice. She patted his back and directed his attention toward the table. "Look who's joined us." Once again, GranAnn was trying to force them to spend time together. Something Daniel had tried to do in the past and had failed.

Blake Foreman, a carbon copy of Daniel except for his graying temples and faint wrinkles, sat straight as a goalpost, looking down his disapproving nose. "You're late."

"I apologize," Daniel forced out.

Semiretired, Blake had moved to Corinthia a couple months before Daniel. "Seems you could have called to let your grandmother know you were delayed." Blue eyes a shade deeper than Daniel's narrowed, issuing a challenge.

Anytime the two of them got together, they were like two dogs circling each other, readying for a fight. Animosity sizzled in the air, something he wanted to reach out and seize, to try to understand. But tonight he didn't have the energy for the struggle.

He pulled away his attention from his dad. "I'm sorry I didn't make it earlier, GranAnn. I had a late counseling session, then got delayed over at the yarn shop with Lilly Barnes."

"Oh, good, I'm glad you two met." With a relieved, happy grin, she motioned for him to sit. "I kept your plate warm."

Only then did he notice they'd already finished eating. Man, when he messed up, he messed up good.

GranAnn bustled around the kitchen with her familiar floral apron around her waist, pouring syrupy sweet iced tea from the same brown glass pitcher she'd had when he was child.

Blake leaned back and crossed his arms. "Who's this Lilly Barnes?"

Daniel was tempted to tell him it was none of his concern. Instead, he opted to break down and ask for help.

As if he would ever get involved in something important to me.

He swallowed back his bitterness. The church had to come first. "Lilly and her sister, Jenna, inherited the yarn shop at the edge of town. The former owner had agreed to rent the basement to our church since we need a bigger space. Apparently Lilly knew nothing about the arrangement."

"Oh, it's the perfect space," GranAnn added. "I'm sure Lilly and Jenna will be glad to rent it to you." She pulled his plate out of the oven with a dish towel to keep from burning herself and set the meat loaf and mashed potatoes on the place mat in front of him.

Print books: (Large Print)
Barnes and Noble
Barnes and Noble (Large Print) (Large Print) (Large Print) (Large Print)



Popular Posts

Bethany House Publishers Cover Survey Invitation

Captain's Log, Supplemental I just got this from Bethany House Publishers: Hello Reader, We at Bethany House Publishers appreciate our readers opinions about the books we publish. Occasionally, we seek your input about upcoming products. Currently, we are conducting a survey about the cover image for an upcoming novel. For your time, we are offering a giveaway in conjunction with this survey. You will be able to choose from ten recent Bethany House novels, and there will be ten winners. Winners will be notified within two weeks. Click here to take the survey, which should take about 10 minutes to complete. Thank you for your participation, and feel free to forward this email on to your friends or link the survey on your website. The survey will be available through Monday, September 17. Thanks for your time and your opinions. We value your feedback. Sincerely, Jim Hart Internet Marketing Manager Bethany House Publishers

Year of the Dog serial novel

About Year of the Dog : A month or two ago, I remembered an old manuscript I had completed but which hadn’t sold. It was a contemporary romance meant for Zondervan, titled Year of the Dog . The book had gone into the pipeline and I even got another title ( Bad Dog ) and a cover for it, but eventually my editor at the time decided she didn’t want to publish it, for various reasons. She instead requested a romantic suspense, and so I cannibalized some of the characters from Year of the Dog and thrust them into the next book I wrote, which was Protection for Hire . Honestly, I didn’t take a lot from Year of the Dog to put in Protection for Hire , aside from character names and a few relationship ties. I was originally thinking I’d post Year of the Dog as-is on my blog as a free read, but then it occurred to me that I could revamp it into a romantic suspense and change the setting to Hawaii. It would work out perfectly as (yet another) prequel to the Warubozu series and introduc

Grace Livingston Hill romances free to read online

I wanted to update my old post on Grace Livingston Hill romances because now there are tons more options for you to be able to read her books for free online! I’m a huge Grace Livingston Hill fan. Granted, not all her books resonate with me, but there are a few that I absolutely love, like The Enchanted Barn and Crimson Roses . And the best part is that she wrote over 100 books and I haven’t yet read them all! When I have time, I like to dive into a new GLH novel. I like the fact that most of them are romances, and I especially appreciate that they all have strong Christian themes. Occasionally the Christian content is a little heavy-handed for my taste, but it’s so interesting to see what the Christian faith was like in the early part of the 20th century. These books are often Cinderella-type stories or A Little Princess (Frances Hodgson Burnett) type stories, which I love. And the best part is that they’re all set in the early 1900s, so the time period is absolutely fasci

Clean & Christian Romance Book Sale

I’m participating in this promo. Click on the graphic to check out all the Christian suspense books available and stuff your eBook reader! Clean & Christian Romance Book Sale

No Cold Bums toilet seat cover

Captain's Log, Stardate 08.22.2008 I actually wrote out my pattern! I was getting a lot of hits on my infamous toilet seat cover , and I wanted to make a new one with “improvements,” so I paid attention and wrote things down as I made the new one. This was originally based off the Potty Mouth toilet cover , but I altered it to fit over the seat instead of the lid. Yarn: any worsted weight yarn, about 120 yards (this is a really tight number, I used exactly 118 yards. My suggestion is to make sure you have about 130 yards.) I suggest using acrylic yarn because you’re going to be washing this often. Needle: I used US 8, but you can use whatever needle size is recommended by the yarn you’re using. Gauge: Not that important. Mine was 4 sts/1 inch in garter stitch. 6 buttons (I used some leftover shell buttons I had in my stash) tapestry needle Crochet hook (optional) Cover: Using a provisional cast on, cast on 12 stitches. Work in garter st until liner measures

Cupid's Library Escape

Sign up for these authors’ newsletters and get free books! Click on the graphic to check out all the free books. You might find a new favorite author! Cupid's Library Escape

Cleo’s Drawstring Purse knitting pattern w/ @KnitPicks CotLin

Kari Trumbo is one of the twelve authors who participated with me in the Christian Contemporary Romance anthology, Save the Date . Kari’s novella in the anthology is titled January Hope . In celebration, I wrote a knitting pattern for the lace drawstring purse used by Kari’s heroine, Cleo. (In case you missed it, here are the links for my interview with Kari part 1 and part 2 . Tomorrow I’ll post an excerpt of one of Kari’s other books, Better Than First .) This is a pretty and practical little bag used by the heroine Cleo in Kari Trumbo’s novella, January Hope . Knit in a cotton/linen blend yarn, it’s just large enough for a cell phone and a small wallet. In the book, Cleo’s bag was a coral shade, but the bag I knit here is a chocolate brown color. The lace pattern is the Double Rose Leaf stitch pattern originally published on page 195 in The Lady's Assistant, volume 2 by Mrs. Jane Gaugain, published in 1847. ( You can download a scanned .pdf of the book from Archive.

Cover Reveals!

Here are the covers to my next books! Spinster will be the 7th volume in my Lady Wynwood’s Spies series. I don’t yet have a release date because I’m still writing it and it’s taking a bit longer than I had anticipated, but within the next few months, I’m pretty sure. This is the cover for Lissa and the Spy, a novella I’m writing that will be in Once Upon a Courtship , a multi-author box set releasing in October this year. You can preorder Once Upon a Courtship now for only 99 cents! And then click here for how you can get additional free Christian romance ebooks! When the box set is unpublished in January 2025, I’ll release Lissa and the Spy as a separate ebook. I’m thinking that I might make it only available to my newsletter subscribers, and if that’s the case, be sure to subscribe to my newsletter so you can download it for free. But that wouldn’t be until spring of next year. In the meantime, preorder Once Upon a Courtship!

Writing Progress - Sushi and Suspicions

I’ve been working on Sushi and Suspicions , a Christian contemporary romantic suspense which will be releasing in June in the multi-author box set Summer Suspicions . Trouble follows Liv on her vacation to Hawaii when she is framed for the theft of an antique rifle. Only a handsome investigator can help clear her name ... and maybe give her a reason to stay in the islands. If you want to read a snippet of what I wrote last week, check out my last newsletter !

Year of the Dog serial novel, chapter 22

I’m posting a Humorous Christian Romantic Suspense serial novel here on my blog! Year of the Dog is a (second) prequel to my Warubozu Spa Chronicles series. Year of the Dog serial novel by Camy Tang Mari Mutou, a professional dog trainer, is having a bad year. While renovating her new dog kenneling and training facility, she needs to move in with her disapproving family, who have always made her feel inadequate—according to them, a job requiring her to be covered in dog hair and slobber is an embarrassment to the family. She convinces her ex-boyfriend to take her dog for a few months … but discovers that his brother is the irate security expert whose car she accidentally rear-ended a few weeks earlier. Ashwin Keitou has enough problems. His aunt has just shown up on his doorstep, expecting to move in with him, and he can’t say no because he owes her everything—after his mother walked out on them, Auntie Nell took in Ashwin and his brother and raised them in a loving Chri