“On with the Show” with Linda Carroll-Bradd

casualPlease help me welcome Linda Carroll-Bradd to my blog today.

Thanks for visiting, Linda. First, can you tell us a little about yourself?

As a young girl, I was often found lying on my bed reading about fascinating characters having exciting adventures in places far away and in other time periods. In later years, I read and then started writing romances and achieved my first publication–a confession magazine story. Married with 4 adult children and 2 granddaughters, I now am a fulltime freelance editor and author of heartwarming contemporary and historical stories with a touch of humor from my home in the southern California mountains.

Linda, you sound like me, although I was a lot older before I started writing. Coming home is something we can all identify with, so take it away!

One of the themes explored in my Thanksgiving-themed novella, On With The Show, is that of coming home. To me, this is a theme that can occur at different stages in an individual’s life, each with separate circumstances. So many variations are possible, and each has the potential for adding tension and drama to the story line.

In this sweet romance, I created a character who left behind her small Texas hometown for the big city life in Houston to pursue college and then her career in fashion design. Years spent establishing her name and style have left Franzi Mueller with little time for a social life. She understood the sacrifice the first couple of years after college but six years of only the occasional night spent in a man’s company are starting to wear on her. Seems like everyone around her is having more fun than she is. On top of that, she’s become too aware of supplier difficulties, tighter deadlines, and a particular new, more enthusiastic designer who has her eye on Franzi’s job.

For the past decade, Franzi has sequestered herself on the family’s sheep farm during her week-long visit. Her excuse is the need to assist her mother and aunt with the preparations for the musical show the ladies perform at the local veterans’ hospital on the holiday. But she’s really avoiding Dietz Reinhardt, the high school boyfriend she left behind. Part of her is rampantly curious about him, but the other part doesn’t want to confront what his life may have become…without her. Up to this point, she’s avoided seeing him, even if she’s not really proud of that fact.

One aspect of coming home, even if for a weekend, is that you have to adjust to other people’s schedules and submit yourself, and subsequently, your life, to scrutiny. On the train ride to central Texas, Franzi anticipates the rest and relaxation she normally enjoys on the farm. And what a haven of peace the land and animals mean to her. Freedom Valley is where her family has lived for decades, generations, and will always be her true home. When she’s there, this is the greatest place on earth.

Franzi is used to living on her own (well, sharing an apartment with a roommate), making decisions worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, tracking trends emerging from the fashion centers around the globe. She’s used to being in control. This trip, Franzi’s preferences aren’t of prime importance. Her mother has jumped into the role of matchmaker and pushes Franzi and Dietz together at every opportunity.

Also, when you go back to the family home, you go back to being under your parents’ roof. Either in your old room or on the fold-out couch in the den, you are in the same place where all your young dreams were wished and imagined. You can’t help but reflect on how similar or different those dreams might be. You also are put face-to-face with your personal history and your parents’ expectations—whether they are the type of parents who voice these expectations or not.

A tough element of coming home is the question rolling around in her mind: was leaving this small town a mistake? Do my professional achievements outweigh what I may have gained personally? Because she’d started the trip disgruntled with her career, she immediately spots all the good aspects of life in Freedom Valley.

Exploring this theme pits the character against herself in that she questions where she is in life and has to take a hard look at her choices. At six years into a career, is she at the place where she’d thought she’d be after year three? Friends from high school are married and starting families. Will that happen for her? At some point in our lives, we all grapple with the act of coming home and I hope I’ve provided a relatable face to this universal situation.

Here’s a peek at the story:


Every Thanksgiving, Franzi Mueller returns to her hometown, Freedom Valley, to help with a musical show put on at the veteran’s hospital. After a decade of living in Houston, Franzi starts feeling nostalgic for the sense of community of her small Texas town. Too bad Mama has decided to play matchmaker and keeps pushing together Franzi and her ex-high school beau, Dietz Reinhardt. Local hardware store owner Dietz can see that her big city clothing designer job has worn Franzi down and he’s doing what he can to ease her load. Circumstances throw them together at every turn, and every glance and each touch ignites the old sparks. Can Franzi find what her creative spirit needs in Freedom Valley? Is time running out on this second chance for Dietz to win over her heart?


An excerpt from the book

“Closing in five minutes.”

That deep voice she remembered so well. A quick glance told her not much had changed in the store’s decor. A little bit of everything and not much of anything. She forced a smile and strode to the wooden counter on the platform that stood half a foot higher than the floor. The man who’d spoken had his back to the door, a broad back that stretched the black t-shirt imprinted with Reinhardt’s Hardware, family owned since 1854. A fact the Reinhardt family was immensely proud of, but the crux of the reason she and Dietz had gone their separate ways. “Hello, Dietz.”

“Franziska Mueller…to what do I owe this pleasure?”

The smile on his lips didn’t reach his blue eyes. A fact she knew was totally her fault. “I just came in on the westbound train for my Thanksgiving visit and nobody was there to meet me. Erich Bruno happened by and he was driving me out to the ranch when he had to respond to a call.” Again, she sounded pathetic. Inside her coat pockets, both hands drew into fists. God, facing him one-on-one was harder than she’d thought it would be. “Can I use your phone?”

“Pay phone’s outside the door.”

Her body tightened. “What is with this town and pay phones?” She paced a couple steps and back. “Normally, I’d use my cell but the battery needs charging. I don’t have coins for a call.” Could she sound any more unprepared for life?

“So, you’re askin’ for a favor?” A black eyebrow arched over crystal blue eyes and he leaned an elbow on the counter. “Is that what I’m hearing?”

ON WITH THE SHOW is available here:
All Romance
Barnes & Noble

You can learn more about Linda and her books here:

Anyone leaving a comment on Margery’s blog today will be entered into a drawing for a copy of On With The Show, your choice of format.

Thanks so much for spending this time with me, Linda. Best of luck with ON WITH THE SHOW!

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