Welcome to my little bit of cyber-space. It is my prayer that all who enter here may be richly blessed by the God of all grace. All praise to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Guest blog by Lena Nelson Dooley and giveaway

Blog Post About My Christmas Ebooks


Lena Nelson Dooley

I’m very excited about the three Christmas ebooks I’ve uploaded to Kindle recently.

The newest is 24 Christmases. This book was 24 years in the making.
In 1985, as I was preparing to order Christmas cards from a Christian supplier, God told me that He had given me the gift of writing, and I should use it to bless people at Christmas. That year, I wrote my first Christmas story. The story of Mary as a dramatic monologue.

Five other monologues—of people who were involved with that event so long ago—followed. Joseph … the innkeeper … Mary’s mother … the youngest shepherd … the servant of a wise man.

The next story was a romance. One year I wrote a modern Christmas fable. Another year, I wrote a short play that was used to take Christmas to two local malls. Other stories contained different perspectives, but one focus—the impact that first Christmas has had on mankind through the ages.

Unfortunately, there were a few scattered years when I didn’t write a Christmas story. Life interfered with my plans

James and I have friends spread across several countries around the world. Many of them have contacted me to tell me how much the stories mean to them. They anxiously await their copy of the Christmas story and make it part of their family’s celebration. What a blessing that is to me.

I pray these stories will bless you as much as you have blessed me.

The picture on the cover of this book was taken in my den a year or two ago.

The other 2 Christmas ebooks are novellas.

Christmas Confusion
Lori Compton, mayor of Mistletoe, needs ideas for ways to prop up the sagging economy. After having her heart broken by the former pastor, she doesn’t want to spend time with the new pastor. Rev. Russell Brown has plenty of ideas, even one that includes his spending the rest of his life with the beautiful mayor. Will Lori be able to move beyond her hurts and recognize God’s intentions for the future of the town – and for her own future?

The Best Medicine
When Thomas Stanton shows up at the holiday party of Rose Fletcher’s best friend, his appearance reminds Rose of the infatuation she felt for him when he worked on her father’s ranch. Although her heart wants to continue those long ago feelings, her mind reminds her that he doesn’t share her faith in God. Thomas can’t understand why Rose seems so standoffish. Will it take God’s intervention to show these two people just what He has planned all along?

I am offering one free copy of The Best Medicine to a winner chosen from those leaving comments on the blog. Please tell us where you live as well, at least what state or province.

You can find the books by going to my Kindle store page: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=lena+nelson+dooley

Friday, December 07, 2012

Great Christmas Read by MaryAnn Diorio--A Christmas Homecoming

Today I would like to introduce you to a long-time friend of mine who just had her first Christmas fiction book published.

Dr. MaryAnn Diorio is passionate about writing compelling fiction that deals with the deepest issues of the human heart.  An award-wining, widely published author of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry, she is Online Adjunct Professor of Fiction Writing at Regent University. MaryAnn makes her home with her awesome husband Dom in New Jersey. They are the blessed parents of two grown daughters and a wonderful son-in-law.  MaryAnn loves oil painting, reading, walking, and playing the piano.

And to introduce her novella, A Christmas Homecoming, I will share with you the back cover copy:

When Sonia Pettit’s teenage daughter suddenly disappears for seven long years, Sonia faces losing her mind, her husband, and her son as she struggles to forgive her wayward daughter and trust God for her return.

I started this book one evening and finished it the next morning by lunch because I couldn't wait to find out how it would end! Although the beginning of the story is filled with quite a bit of drama and angst, I was pleased to find a happy ending since that is the kind of books I love to read and write. This heart-warming story overflows with forgiveness--both giving and receiving it.

Think of it as a Hallmark movie with so much conflict you are not sure how the author can pull it all together that then culminates with an ending so happy your eyes are filled with tears of joy. And all wrapped up in a nice holiday package on Christmas Day.

If that sounds like the kind of book you'd love to read this Christmas season, please go to the following places and get an e-book copy for yourself and also order some as gifts for others :


AMAZON
http://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Homecoming-Holiday-Extravaganza-ebook/dp/B00


CHRISTIAN BOOK DISTRIBUTORS

http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/product?item_no=34827EB&item_com

HARBOURLIGHT BOOKS

http://www.pelicanbookgroup.com/ec/a-christmas-homecoming


Purchase Link for Print Version:
The print copy is $12.99 plus $3.00 shipping. New Jersey

residents have to add $0.91 sales tax.
Write to:
maryann@maryanndiorio.com and place "Print Copy" in subject line.

For regular mail orders, please send check made out to MaryAnn Diorio Books

or Credit Card Information (number, expiration date, three-digit CVV code,

and Zip Code) to:


MaryAnn Diorio Books
PO Box 1185
Merchantville, NJ

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Article by Staci Stallings and Special giveaway today

NOTE to my readers: This is an article I needed to read. Hope it blesses you as it did me. Rose

Being a Magi by Staci Stallings

A long time ago I read a book that said, “There is a reason you notice the things you notice. They come into your sight to tell you something.” (paraphrase) I took that to heart and began actively noticing. That is, I notice when I notice something. Rather than going through life oblivious to the signs God is putting in my path, I either actively seek them or at least I get it with only a couple of occurrences

Much like the man in the flood who was standing on his porch as a boat went by. The people in the boat told him he could come with them. He shook his head. “God will save me if He wants to save me.” Several hours past, and now he was hanging onto an upstairs window. A second boat came by. The people in it said, “Come on with us!” But the man replied, “No, I love God, and if He wants to save me, He will.”

Hours past, and it grew dark. A Coast Guard boat with a search light found the man clinging to his chimney. “Come on! Get on!” they yelled. But the man refused. “I love God, and if He wants to save me, He will.” An hour later the man appeared at the Pearly Gates.

St. Peter looked at him incredulously. “What are you doing here?” The man shrugged. “I guess it was my time. God didn’t save me.” To which St. Peter said, “That’s weird. We sent three boats!”

After I heard this story, I once heard Oprah Winfrey say something similar. She said (paraphrase), “To get your attention, God will send a breath. Then He will send a pebble, then a brick, then a boulder, then the whole house will come crashing down!”

Let me just say, for myself, I prefer to catch what God’s telling me at the first boat, the breath, or at most the pebble. So, I am very conscious of the messages God sends to me. And they are everywhere!

In music, books, the Bible, conversations, on billboards, in magazines, sometimes even in dreams. Recently I’ve been preparing a project that is very close to my heart for which God has given many signs and messages since it was first conceived. For this one project I have received messages ranging from videos depicting the story, songs, email messages, and even a tour bus following me down the road!

The ultimate (so far) message was that just before I mailed the project in, I was praying over it in the Post Office, and my oldest daughter said, “Look, Mom.” When I opened my eyes, she was holding a piece of paper about five inches from me in my direct line of sight. It said, “Your talents will be recognized and suitably rewarded.” I just started laughing because I get signs and messages, but most of the time they take at least a little bit of interpretation.

As I was recounting these events to my sister, she laughed. “You are such a Magi.” To which I said the only logical thing, “Huh?”

She went on to explain. “The Magi were astronomers. They spent their time looking for signs in the sky, signs of a new king, signs of a shift on the earth begun in the heavens. That’s what you do!”

I’d never thought of it quite like that, but I’ve got to say, it’s great fun to be a Magi. You should try it sometime.

Copyright Staci Stallings 2006

Special note: The book Staci talks about in this piece, Cowboy, is Free on Kindle Dec. 4 & 5. Hope you enjoy it!

Timothy Ashton Raines is at the top of his game and the end of his rope until one night, he walks away from everything...


Available today as a free download from Amazon!

http://www.amazon.com/Cowboy-The-Harmony-Series-ebook/dp/B0049B2E82/ref=cm_cr_pr_sims_t



Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Spotlight on Staci Stallings with an added Surprise!

Staci Stallings is running a special today and tomorrow--Dec. 4th and 5th so be sure to read below and check it out.


Staci Stallings, the author of this article, is a #1 Best Selling Contemporary Christian Romance author and the founder of Grace & Faith Author Connection. Staci has a special surprise for you today and tomorrow only...

FREE ON KINDLE TWO DAYS ONLY!

December 4 & 5:
Cowboy
"One of the most gripping contemporary romances I've read in the past three years."
--Michelle Sutton, Amazon Top 1,000 Reviewer

Timothy Ashton Raines is at the top of his game and the end of his rope until one night, he walks away from everything...

Available today as a free download from Amazon!

http://www.amazon.com/Cowboy-The-Harmony-Series-ebook/dp/B0049B2E82/ref=cm_cr_pr_sims_t

Now for our spotlight interview of Staci about her book.

Spotlight on Cowboy


by: Best Selling Christian Romance Author, Staci Stallings

Title: Cowboy
Author: Staci Stallings
ISBN: ASIN: B0049B2E82
Page count: 324
Genre: Christian Romance

Please, tell us about your book:
"Cowboy is a grace-filled story about the power of giving everything to God and how a simple act of compassion can change lives forever." Life has done its best to knock Beth McCasland to the ground, and the truth is: it’s done a pretty good job of keeping her there. Stuck in a minimum-wage job with a young daughter counting on her, Beth does her best to stay standing under the weight of it all because she knows God is on her side. Then one night she gets the chance to be an angel to another of life’s weary travelers. For once hope has never looked so real.

How long did it take to write the book?
I wrote "Cowboy" in 1998 in about five months.

What inspired you to write the book?
I had a dream one night, which is where I get many of my ideas. In the dream, I was in the company of a famous country music star, but it wasn't like I was in awe of him. Instead, there was this great sadness that permeated everything about him. When I tried to ask what was wrong, he was very reluctant to tell me as everyone else just wanted him to "go on with life." However, the sadness and depression felt so heavy around him that I knew he was in serious trouble emotionally, so I persisted. That's when the story of "Cowboy" began to be written.

Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?
The thing I researched the most was venues for Asthon to sing in different cities. I'm not much of a traveler, nor have I been to many concerts. So the details on that aspect were difficult. Also, he travels so much in this book. I basically had to plan a country music tour--venues, time schedules, etc. so that it made sense as the reader traveled with him. Also, obviously, I couldn't use songs that had already been written, so I had to write all of the songs featured in this book--which ended up being about seven. That was a challenge, but a fun one!

So you are a songwriter too! What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?
In our world today, hope is an increasingly rare commodity. So many people are hanging on by such a small thread--and that's even many whom we all see as "successful." In one scene Ashton says, "It's amazing how much the top looks like the bottom when you have no one to share it with." I think that's what I want readers to see. #1 that they are not alone if they feel lonely and as if hope is for everyone else but has passed them by. And #2, that the greatest thing we can give someone else is the gift of hope and love.

Where can we go to buy your book?
Cowboy is FREE on Kindle Dec. 4 & 5
http://www.amazon.com/Cowboy-The-Harmony-Series-ebook/dp/B0049B2E82/ref=la_B005IDM6IS_1_6_title_1_kin?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1353605476&sr=1-6

Excerpt from book:

The burden of fatigue and heartbreak he’d been carrying for months pulled Ashton's gaze to the table just as the bells at the door jingled. Although he never looked up, he heard the waitress slide from the booth.

“Finish your breakfast.” She pointed to his plate. “If you need someone to listen, all you have to do is ask.”

And with that she left his booth to go help the other customers.

Let others help, he thought sarcastically. Yeah, right.

He couldn’t trust anyone with this pain. He couldn’t let them in. Besides, they didn’t want to listen—not really. They wanted him to say everything was fine and keep going as though nothing in the world had happened. They wanted him to be Ashton Raines, superstar, and as far as what happened to the real Ashton Raines, they couldn’t care less.

Loneliness descended on him again, and his whole body slumped toward the table with the weight of it. It was becoming more and more difficult to keep himself upright. All he wanted to do was lie down and go to sleep forever.

If he could just think of one friend. One real person he could call, one real person he could talk to.

“If you need someone to listen, I’m here,” he heard her words again in the depths of his soul, and he looked up to see if she was actually standing there. But she was across the restaurant helping someone else.

“I can’t tell her.” He shook his head and clutched the top of his cap, rolling it down around his face at the absurdity of the very thought. “I don’t even know her.”

Then his gaze lit on the all-but empty plate in front of him. She had given him a meal and asked for nothing in return. She had shared a piece of her heart with him and expected nothing. It was by far the greatest act of kindness he’d experienced in a long time. He looked down at the empty coffee cup, closed his eyes, and raised it off the table. “Miss, could I get a refill?”

Author Bio:
A stay-at-home mom with a husband, three kids and a writing addiction on the side, Staci Stallings has numerous titles for readers to choose from. Not content to stay in one genre and write it to death, Staci’s stories run the gamut from young adult to adult, from motivational and inspirational to full-out Christian and back again. Every title is a new adventure! That’s what keeps Staci writing and you reading.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Book contest winner and new giveaway

The winner of my book Christmas Belles of Georgia is Cindy Martin so the book will be on its way to her as soon as she responds to my email with her mailing addy. And for anyone who doesn't have the book, it is still available on cbd.com and amazon.com.

The new giveaway for January is Just Hand over the Chocolate and No One will Get Hurt by Karen Scalf Linamen. Anyone with a US mailing addy who leaves a contact email in a post on any blog [post during the month of December will be eligible, so come back to comment often.

Although I primarily give away fiction books since I am primarily a fiction writer, I decided this book would be great to share with someone who like many of us (myself included) go on a diet in January. Here's a little blurb from the backcover to whet your appetite without adding any pounds: "Does chocolate call your name when you feel stressed, ovewhelmed, or a little down? If it does, then you need Karen Linamen's fifteen low-calorie ways to lift your spirits and pull you out of the dumps."

Interview with Anita Higman and giveaway of A Merry Little Christmas

We're starting the month of Dec. off with an interview with Anita Higman, the author of A Merry Little Christmas, a fun Christmas read. If you scroll down to my last blog post, you can read my review of this delightful book. And Anita is doing a giveaway to one of the commenters on this post by Dec. 7th so be sure to leave a comment and to leave some way to contact you. The winner will be announced on Dec. 8th.
Welcome, Anita. Thanks for getting us in the holiday spirit with this interview and giveaway. What inspired you to incorporate Jim Crow laws and segregation into your book?
Even though A Merry Little Christmas is really a love story, I felt it needed some additional conflict, and some of the racial struggles of the 60s seemed to be the right choice for this particular plot. I grew up in the 60s, and I was always interested in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. In some ways I feel I’ve waited my whole life to write this book. It came easily to me in that it’s been percolating in my imagination for a long time, but it was also hard to write because I had to consider more deeply the injustices of that era. Even though it sounds like a clichĂ©, A Merry Little Christmas truly was the book of my heart.

The farm scenes seem pretty realistic. Did you grow up in the country?
I did. While the small towns in the book are totally fictitious I did grow up on a wheat, cattle, pig, and chicken farm in Western Oklahoma, and it was pretty much identical to the one in the novel. If the farm scenes seem realistic it’s because I got to know farm life quite well before I moved off to college at eighteen.

Franny and Charlie come from very different backgrounds, but are both looking for something very different from the way they've grown up. Do you think as humans, we all just have a "grass is always greener on the other side" mentality?
Yes, that is a human frailty that is easy to succumb to, and I’ve been guilty of it as well. But God is good about reminding me that he’s placed me on my own unique life-road, and it may have little to do with anyone else’s journey. Besides, in many cases when we get a closer look at someone else’s “lush green grass” it usually turns out to be turf.

Do you think that sometimes we don't pray for what we want because we are afraid of getting what we pray for?
Perhaps that’s true, which would explain why Franny is equally nervous and excited about the sudden answer to her prayers.

Was there a reason you added the themes of Christmas and music to the story?
My editor asked me to add those elements, and it was a blessing, since Christmas is my favorite time of year, and I love music. Also, female readers in general love novels that are set during the holidays, and I’m hoping the music adds a cozy feel to the overall Christmas theme.

What is your favorite Christmas song?
“The Holly and the Ivy.” The song has a melancholy feel to it, but it’s also beautifully sweet. I love the “Currier and Ives” style pictures my imagination conjures up when I’m listening to it.
What is your favorite Christmas tradition?
I love to have my gal friends over for brunch around Christmastime. I have been collecting tea dishes for many years, and so when I do a brunch, I go all out. Women are usually in a service mode most of their lives so when they come to my house I want them to feel wonderfully pampered. And by the time they leave, I hope their hearts are a little merrier and they feel we’ve celebrated Christmas well!

Is Franny's character based on any "real life" person?
Franny is like me in some ways, but she has a lot more courage than I have and more laughter in her heart. So, really, I want to be Franny when I grow up.
Does the song "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" have a special significance to you?
The song makes me swoon it’s so romantic and lovely. It makes me think of being snowed-in with the man I love. Of course, that scene also needs a mountain cabin with a crackling fire and two mugs of wassail.

You have written everything from romance to suspense/thrillers to nonfiction. What is your favorite genre to write?
I love inspirational romance. There’s just nothing else like it for writing and reading. It naturally makes you want to curl up on an overstuffed couch and read the day away.







Thursday, November 29, 2012

Book Review of A Merry Little Christmas by Anita Higman

Reading A Merry Little Christmas by Anita Higman will put you in the holiday mood for sure! From the cover to the characters to the happy ending, this book delivers a cozy Christmas setting with a sweet story all tied up with a big red bow.

In a few short months, Franny Martin's life changes from one of solitude on the farm she inherited when her parents died, to an unhappy short stint in Oklahoma City, then back to the farm where she is no longer lonely.

The cause of this change is due to her meeting Charlie Landau, a man who has all the things money can buy, but none of the sweet life Anita experienced growing up.

What starts out as a simple romance soon builds into a story with twists and turns and mysteries not revealed til almost the end, making this a page-turner. Treat yourself to an early Christmas present by buying yourself a copy of this joyful book. And while you are at it, purchase a copy or two for a friend who likes Christmas stories. You'll both be glad you did!

And for a chance to win a copy of this book, check back on December 1st for a post by the author along with the opportunity to leave a comment to be in the drawing for this book.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Book Review of Kim Vogel Sawyer's When Hope Blossoms

Kim Vogel Sawyer's books always give us hope, and with the title When Hope Blossoms, I knew this one would be no exception.

After the death of her husband, Amy Knackstedt is forced by a shadow over her husband's death to move from the Old Mennonite community she has lived in most of her life to a new town in the same state (Kansas) where another Mennonite group is forming a community. She is accompanied by her three very unique children. They move into a house next door to a former Mennonite who helps the family, but wants nothing to do with their religion.

Unlike many of Kim's books this story is contemporary which gives Amy a chance to live out her plain Mennonite lifestyle while using a machine to stitch parts of her quilt and to market her quilts with the help of a computer!

There are several very touching scenes with the children, and with Tim Roper, the neighbor who befriends them. The mystery of her husband's death hangs over Amy until almost the end of the book. Even that mystery ends with hope for a new life in their new home.

Another great inspiring read by Kim Vogel Sawyer. And if you have never read any of her books, I suggest you check them all out!

This book was provided by the publisher for review purposes, but this review is totally from my heart.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Book Review of The Reunion by Dan Walsh

 Dan Walsh's book The Reunion is an excellent one to review this week of Veteran's Day and the month before Christmas because this story of a Viet Nam vet who quietly helps out others culminates in a happy ending around Christmastime.

Aaron Miller, a decorated war hero, lives in obscurity as a handyman at a trailer park in Florida until he saves the life of one of the occupants. I love how the author interweaves Aaron's story with a love story involving Aaron's long-lost daughter and the man sent to find the war hero. It reminds me of how God is the "Author" of our lives and is working and planning all along how our stories will end.

I have read all of Walsh's books, and they just keep getting better and better! Buy yourself a copy of this heart-warming story and pick up a few copies as Christmas presents for friends and family, too.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Book drawing winner and chance to win my Christmas book!

The winner of Murder at Tapestry Court by Amy Barkman is Shannon Vannatter, so I will mail the book as soon as I hear back from her. Since the next book drawing will run until Dec. 1st, and will be sent out in time to read for Christmas, and since I still have copies of my book Christmas Belles of Georgia, I will be sending a copy of it to one of our commenters with a US address this  month. So, if you didn't get the book last year, you have another chance! Make sure you leave a way for me to contact you for your mailing address.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Shannon Vannatter and book giveaway--Rodeo Ashes

Welcome back to Shannon Vannatter! And she is giving away a copy of her latest book to one commenter, so be sure to leave a comment with your email so she can contact you on Nov. 1st if you are the winner.

Now, let's catch up with Shannon and her newest book. Please tell us about your favorite book as a child and your favorite book as an adult. Can you see a connection between those books?

Fun question. My favorite book was a Little Golden book, Baby Farm Animals. It had such cute pictures. As an adult, I can’t just pick one. I love Denise Hunter and Christine Lynxwiler books. They’re Inspirational romance, but there are horses and dogs in some of them.

I also love Denise H. and Christine L books. What is your favorite Scripture? Do you also have a favorite Scripture that encourages you in your writing?
“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;” Colossians 3:23
If you could go to any place in the world to research/write a book, what setting would you choose?
Somewhere on the ocean. Arkansas is landlocked. We have lakes and rivers, but I’ve only been the ocean once and I loved it.

The ocean is my favorite place to vacation, too. The sound of the waves is so soothing and the vastness is so awe-inspiring!
I often wonder if I would write if I had to do it the old-fashioned way without computers and spell-checks and email. Is there anything about technology that you don't like? Or anything about it that you feel enhances your writing?
I’ll put it this way, I realized the story in my head was a book three years before I got a computer. I had a typewriter, but I’m not that great of a typist. I didn’t start writing until I got a computer.

The only thing I don’t like about technology is when my laptop has a virus and just suddenly won’t come on when I have a deadline. Luckily, a guy I went to high school with works on computers. He gave me a loaner while he fixed mine.

As a writer how have you had to grow and stretch out of your comfort zone?
When I started writing, I always heard write what you know. If I’d stuck with that, I wouldn’t have many books to write. I’ve had to research and learn about new things. I really don’t like sitting at my computer for research. A whole day can blow by without much progress. I love research trips though. There’s nothing like going there, but it’s much more expensive that way.

What advice would you give to a beginning writer that you wish someone had given you?
ACFW. I didn’t discover the group or conference until I’d been writing for 5 years. Without ACFW, I might not be published yet.

I agree wholeheartedly with Shannon on the importance of joining ACFW if you want to learn to write better and have hopes of publication! I think I had written for a couple years before joining ACFW then joined and learned how much I didn't know!
Do you want to add anything about your book such as where to order it?
Rodeo Ashes is available at Walmart, Kmart, & Meijers. All of the Heartsong Presents titles will be there for a test run. If they sell well, it becomes permanent. Everybody—help out an author—go buy HP titles. Under $5.00 for a book. What more can you ask for. You can also order online at christianbook.com, barnesandnoble.com, & amazon.com.

Back-cover blurb for Rodeo Ashes: It’s never too late to start over.


Lacie Gentry, a young widow and mom, is struggling with the aftermath of her husband’s tragic death. When she bumps into former classmate Quinn Remington, her future is undecided. She accepts a job teaching kids to ride at Quinn’s neighboring ranch, hoping to revitalize her life with an old pastime but soon sees in Quinn a chance to move forward with new love. . .if she’s ready.

It’s been years since Quinn has seen lovely Lacie Gentry—the girl he always admired in high school but never came close to dating. By the time they met, Lacie was engaged to rodeo star Mel Gentry then happily married. Now Lacie’s closer than ever. The attraction is still there, but so is a secret that might end any chance of romance.

Can they rise from the rodeo ashes?


Author Bio: Central Arkansas author, Shannon Taylor Vannatter is a stay-at-home mom/pastor’s wife. Her debut novel won the 2011 Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award. She’s had 6 books released since 2010 with three more to come. Find her books at christianbook.com, amazon.com, barbourbooks.com, and readerservice.com. Her latest title, Rodeo Ashes will be available at Walmart, Kmart, and Meijers in Oct. Learn more at http://shannonvannatter.com/ and  http://shannonvannatter.com/blog/.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Book drawing winner and chance to win Murder at Tapestry Court by Amy Barkman

This past month's winner of What the Wind Picked Up is Karen K. Be sure to leave a comment and contact info on any post the month of October if you have a US mailing addy and would like to win a copy of Murder at Tapestry Court by fellow Kentucky author, Amy Barkman.

I was an endorser for this novel, so will tease you with what I wrote about this Agatha Christie-like mystery: Murder at Tapestry Court is a place you want to visit and never leave. This cozy mystery has multiple characters and clues to keep you reading in an attempt to piece it all together before the heroine does. All wrapped up in a spiritual message of letting God speak to us and heal our souls." Sound good? Then leave a comment with info and you will be eligible for the drawing on November 1st.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Travelogue interrupted for a story by my granddaughter, Danielle

This story was written by my now 11 year old granddaughter when she was only nine. Shows a lot of imagination! Enjoy!

Legends of the Cloudy Mountains

Book One—The Beginning of the Sky

Chapter One

Once upon a time, long, long ago, when heaven was made, there was a big chaos going on in heaven. God wanted His people to be protected, so He made another heaven in the clouds above earth. This heaven was called Persulia.

And God passed down the word, “If anyone can find one child and any of his friends to come to Persulia to save the universe, they will be the new rulers of the whole kingdom.

Many years had passed when a girl named Ella and her four friends, Katie, Susan, Jima, and Carly, had a sleepover at Ella’s house. That night they built a tent in Ella’s room.

Ella was just sitting there. Susan was talking about new shoes at the mall. Jima was telling them about a cool restaurant. Carly was listening to them. Then Katie began to talk about a world in the sky that whoever saved the universe would be the new rulers of that world.

“But that is just a fantasy,” said Katie.

Then Ella spoke out and said, “I believe.”

Ten minutes later, a flashing light from the sky showed up. The friends looked out the window to see it.

“It’s a shooting star,” said Katie.

“No, it’s a plane,” said Susan.

“Don’t be silly. A plane cannot catch on fire,” said Jima.

While Ella’s friends were talking about the light in the sky, Ella was shocked as she saw it heading toward her mother’s garden. Then, she ran down the steps, grabbed her robe, put on her slippers, got a flashlight, and went outside.

She ran as fast as she could straight through the garden and got to the other side. Then the lights hit the ground. (Kaboom!)

Then Ella found a hole where the lights hit. She saw a paper in the hole that said, PLEASE SAVE OUR WORLD. SIGN HERE.

Ella signed it. Then the paper disappeared.

Katie ran outside to get Ella. She said, “Your mom wants you back inside.”

So Ella went back inside. They all went to sleep.

Then the next morning it was time for school.



Chapter Two

Ella woke up first and she saw an old man in her room. He was shorter than Katie.

The man said, “You are the chosen one. Come with me.”

“I’m sorry, but are you lost?” said Ella.

“No, I am not. You need to come with me to Persulia.”

“No, I can not. I am going to school today so please leave.”

He pounded his cane on the floor. “But you were chosen.”

But I am chosen to go to school.”

Then the man disappeared, and Ella’s friends woke up and got ready for school.

Ella got her lunch and backpack and arrived at the bus before the others so the man would not meet her in her front yard. Then the others got there and wondered what was going on with Ella.

As the got on the bus, the busdriver saw something rumbling in Ella’s backpack. The backpack opened, and the old man popped out and said, “My name is Mr. Burns. I need to take you to Persulia. Now come with me.”

But Ella shook her head and said, “Be gone, little man. I’ve got school.” Mr. Burns disappeared into her backpack.

So the bus arrived at the school, and all the students got off the bus.

When Ella got to the classroom, the teacher passed out a test. Then Ella crumpled it and threw it behind her back. So, the teacher gave her another one. Ella did the same thing.

“What is wrong with you?” said the teacher.

Ella spoke in a weird voice. “Citizens of Virginia, I came here to announce for Ella Clartburn to come with me to Persulia to reveal her destiny.”

The class stared at her with eyes popped open and their mouths hanging down. Next, they saw Ella slapping herself. Then she did it again.

Ella floated up in the air and hit the ceiling and flapped all around with twists and turns. Then she grabbed the flagpole and flopped up and down.

As she was doing that, the teacher hollered, “Come down, Ella.”

Ella’s face was turning green. She said, “I’m getting sick.” Then she bonked her head on the board and fell down. She looked at her backpack and saw Mr. Burns waving a wand around. She got so mad that she went to the back of the room and zipped the backpack closed.

Mr. Burns cried out, “Come to Persulia.”

Ella said, “What is Persulia? Some sort of vacation island?”

Nothing else happened the rest of the day. After school, Ella was walking toward her mom’s car and she saw rainbow stairs heading toward the clouds. “I’ve had enough of this. Just get away from me,” said Ella.

“Not until you say yes,” said Mr. Burns.

Ella closed her mouth, popped her cheeks and closed her eyes. Then she said, “YES!”

So Mr. Burns disappeared to somewhere, but she didn’t know where.

To be continued…

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Winner and new book contest to win What the Wind Picked Up

The winner of Love Finds You in Prince Edward Island by Susan Page Davis is Sandy Nadeau. I know she will love reading this fictionalized account of a real visit to the Island by Prince Edward in 1860!

And this month's giveaway is a great book by ChiLibris called What the Wind Picked Up. To prove that a single idea can launch a thousand stories, 21 published authors wrote vastly different stories with the same first line and last line plus a noted landmark and a couple other requirements. Karen Ball even wrote hers from the POV of a dog! And the book ends with writing tips from ChiLibris members, so fiction and non-fiction in one book!

This book is also autographed by some of the authors. Anyone with a US mailing addy who leaves a comment during the month of September with their contact info will be entered in the drawing for this book which will take place on Oct. 1st. Happy reading, everyone!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tuesday Travelogue--Day 4 in Nova Scotia


We started out our day at the Linsmore Sheep Farm and Wool Shop in River John. Very interesting, and we ladies got to purchase many warm, handmade gifts in the shop. I bought a lovely shawl for myself and for my husband a stadium seat to use when he sits on bleachers at soccer games. Then we spent the rest of the day in the Pictou area, starting out at the Northumberland Fisheries Museum where we saw this very rare blue lobster--some say 1 in 2-3,000,000 million!

For lunch my husband and I decided to eat at a Thai Restaurant we saw along the street.--we love Cashew Chicken Stir Fry! While being served, my husband heard someone speaking Thai (he served two tours in Thailand during the Viet Nam War era), so he asked the waitress to go back and tell the person "Sa wa de cu!" (which means hello, good day, etc.) Soon we heard this loud talking behind the door, and the waitress came back out front and said one of the Thai women wanted to meet the one who spoke her language. So she did and we took this picture with her--a very international experience to meet someone from Thailand while we were visiting Nova Scotia!

We also took this picture of the Thai restaurant while across the street from it while touring the Hector Quay (pronounced "key"). The Hector Quay was a replica of the boats those from England crossed the Atlantic Ocean on. It seemed very small and cramped quarters for those who took from 7-10 weeks to make the crossing.

Then we had a long trip to Cheticamp where we will take up next time!


Friday, August 24, 2012

Friday Book Review--Song of my Heart by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Kim Vogel Sawyer is one of my favorite authors. You can always count on her for a great gentle romantic story and real-to-life characters. This book is all that and more! Besides the charming heroine and steadfast hero, we also have many other quirky characters including twin sisters and their scoundrel brother.

Sadie Wagner follows her cousin to Goldtree, Kansas for a job opportunity to help out her family after her stepdad is injured. Thad McKane accepts the job of sheriff in Goldtree to earn money to go to school to become a minister in hopes of overcoming the stigma of his drunken father.

Sadie and Thad are attracted to each other, although there is someone else interested in the pretty Sadie romantically. Plus another man who threatens Sadie with losing her job and income to send back home if she won't go along with his illegal activities. What will happen to her family if she doesn't acquiesce to his dealings? What will happen to Sadie if she does go along?

As with all Kim's romances, Song of my Heart does have a happy ending, but there are times when you wonder how she will get her characters there! A very enjoyable read I highly recommend!

This book was sent by the author and publisher, but the thoughts are all my own.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tuesday Travelogue--Day 3 in Nova Scotia

On Friday, July 20th we started out at the Fox Hill Cheese House, another family owned business where we learned the cheese making process and got to sample many kinds of cheese, plus delicious ice cream!

Then we travelled to Hall's Harbour Lobster Pond and Restaurant where most of the group had a gigantic lobster dinner. And we learned how to tell the sex of a lobster and got to see this gigantic (and ancient) lobster.

Next we toured the Sainte-Famille Winery and sampled several varieties, although as usual, I could not stand the taste of any of them!

Our last stop that day was the Mount Uniacke Estate, a beautiful country estate built between 1813-1815 that gave us an idea of the life of the gentry in those days. The grounds were beautiful and green.





I don't have any other pictures from those sites, so thought I would share this one I took at a gas station we passed. It looked cheaper than back home at first, but since this is $1.32 a liter, that translates into about $5.00 a gallon in the US.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tuesday Travelogue--Day Two in Nova Scotia

I told you we were on a farm tour, and this day was definitely filled with farms of all sorts! We started off at the New Ross Farm Museum where we spent a couple hours learning about farming in the mid 1800's style in NS. Very interesting and informative! This farm is still being worked with oxen as it would have been during that time period, and we ate biscuits and jelly prepared the old-fashioned way in Rosebank Cottage, built in 1817.  And learned how they made staves and barrels for storing and shipping.

Also got to see an operating blacksmith shop where they shoe 30 teams of oxen each year. And several of our group rode in wagons pulled by oxen. And I got to act like a schoolteacher in a one room school house the children attended back then.

After lunch we went to the Balsam Christmas Tree Farm, a family owned operation that ships trees all across the area and has a huge following of local customers who come out to cut down their own tree each year. And the family even has sent a big tree to Boston for their annual tree lighting ceremony.

Next was Dill's Pumpkin Farm where the world's largest pumpkin was grown--1818.5 pounds! And where hockey began. Then dinner at a neat restaurant named Cocoa Pesto in Windsor where we spent the night. Can you see why I gained two pounds while on this trip?

Hope you will come back to visit next Tuesday to see where we went and what we ate next!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Book Review, Titanic:Legacy of Betrayal by Kathleen E. Kovach and Paula Moldenhauer

Product DetailsI have over 100 e-books on my computer Kindle because I am still one of those readers/writers who would rather read a book I can hold in my hands! I know--I am showing my age! This is only the third book on Kindle I have finished, but I couldn't help myself! I couldn't wait to find out the story inside the story, so let me begin there.

The prologue of the story takes place in 1925 in the point of view of one of the wealthy survivors of the sinking of the Titanic which happened 100 years ago this year. We meet Olive Stanford who speaks of a secret she must share before she dies.

Then the modern-day story opens in the present with Ember Keaton-Jones receiving a phone call from a lawyer who tells her she must open a safety deposit box on Friday, April 13, 2012, on the centennial anniversary of the Titanic's sinking. Ember has to forego an important career-building real estate deal that day to open the box at a specific time or the contents of the box will be given to a museum as per the will. She can't give up the contents of the box--it may contain money or jewels or a secret that could embarrass her and her family name!

Next we meet Jeff Dawson, a young man who has lost his job and is living in his sister's basement and helping his dad at his antique shop until he can find another job. He and Amber meet when she comes into the shop to find a way to listen to the secret from the past contained in the safety deposit box in hopes they will reveal the family secret of her great-grandfather who was listed as a survivor of the Titanic only to never be heard from again. Was this the start of the family curse of all the women being deserted by the men of the family?

There are many more ins and outs to the story which switches from present to past with each listening of the voice from the past, but I want you to get to read it yourself for the enjoyment of this funny, heart-warming, romantic story of Jeff and Ember and their quirky families. And of course you have to find out the secret! So go to Amazon and order the book on kindle or paperback. You'll be glad you did!

Although this e-copy was sent to me by the authors who are friends, this review reflects my honest thoughts on this great read!

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Tuesday Travelogue--from KY to Halifax, Nova Scotia and surrounding areas

My husband and I returned last week from a farm tour of some of  the Maritime Provinces of Canada--Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. Our first stop was at Peggy's Cove on the Bluenose Coast of Nova Scotia where we walked up to this lighthouse and my adventurous husband climbed out on these rocks.

Then we drove past the site where Flight 111 went down in the bay, then on to Mahone Bay for lunch and a tour of the Settler's Museum there. Next on to Ludenburg where we toured the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic. Our last stop of the day before dinner and hotel in Bridgewater was the Wile Carding Mill where we learned the steps in carding and spinning wool. My husband spun the longest piece of wool! Here are some members of our group spinning.

Hope you'll return next Tuesday for points of interest on the second day of our Canadian journey. And if you leave a comment any time this month with email contact info, you might win a copy of Love Finds you in Prince Edward Island, Canada by Susan Page Davis. Drawing to be held on September 1st.

Monday, August 06, 2012

And the winner of Cecelia Dowdy's book Milk Money is...

... Karen K. Cecelia will be contacting her for the mailing info. Thanks to all who entered and to Cecelia for the generous giveaway!

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Book Winner and New Contest!

The winner of A Wedding Song in Lexington, KY by Jennifer Johnson is Kay Gervais. And the drawing on September 1st will be for a copy of Love Finds you in Prince Edward Island, Canada by another KY author--Susan Page Davis. The reason I am giving away this book this month is that I just read it last month while touring Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia, so plan to blog about my trip and share some pictures of sites there and thought this book would be a great tie-in for those blogs.

Here's what the back cover of this book says: "In the summer of 1860, Prince Edward Island is astir as its citizens eagerly anticipate their first visit from a member of the British royal family. Molly Orland is too poor to be invited to the ball in honor of the young Prince of Wales, but she and several other local young women are pleased when they're hired as extra staff in the house where he will be a guest. The she meets Peter Stark, understeward for the royal party. Peter is attracted to the beauty of the island--and to Molly, whom he's determined to shield from the antics of the playboy prince. When they discover a long-buried secret that could bring shame to Peter's royal employer, will he remain a loyal servant--or help Molly and her family get the justice they deserve?" If you love historicals I know you will love this story, and you will learn some interesting info about Prince Edward Island in the process!

So all those with USA mailing addresses who leave a comment and an email addy for contact info during the month of August will be entered. I hope you will come back often this month to read about my adventures in Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. Each time you leave a comment will garner you another entry in the drawing.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Interview and book giveaway with Cecelia Dowdy

Happy Monday morning, everyone! I am so happy to have my former critique partner, Cecelia Dowdy, join us for an interview this morning. In fact, I helped critique these two books she is now bringing out as e-books, so I can assure you that you will enjoy them. And Cecilia has also offered to send a paperback copy of Milk Money to one person drawn from all those who leave a comment and their email info so she can contact you for your mailing info. We will give a week for all the entries to come in, so this giveaway closes next Sunday night with a winner posted on Monday morning.

Welcome, Cecelia! Tell us about your favorite book as a child and your favorite book as an adult. Can you see a connection between those books?

Actually, I've never had a favorite book as a child or as an adult. I have favorite genres and authors, but, not just one book. As a child, I was a big fan of the Nancy Drew mystery stories. I also loved reading The Boxcar Children series as well as classics like Heidi and The Secret Garden. I also was a huge fan of Laura Ingalls Wilder books. I read the entire Little House series at least a few times! As an adult, I've loved reading a lot of romance and women's fiction and I also read some suspense. If the story hooks me, then I'll read it, no matter what genre it is. I have noticed that I'm not a huge fan of fantasy and sci-fi. Occasionally, I'll read that type of story, but, not very often.

Cecelia, we are so much alike in our reading preferences both now and as children. What is your favorite Scripture? Do you also have a favorite Scripture that encourages you in your writing?
Favorite Scripture:
John 3:16: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

I don't have a favorite scripture to encourage me in my writing. However, I find myself thinking about the Bible in general when I write. I think about how the Apostle Paul started the early Christian church. I think about the healings done in the name of Jesus in the New Testament. When I think of these things, for some reason, I feel encouraged in my writing, if that makes any sense. I guess I feel this way because those instances mentioned above remind me of the fact that the power of our Lord is truly awesome and amazing. Just remembering that helps me to get through my scene/book/writing.

If you could go to any place in the world to research/write a book, what setting would you choose?
I would definitely choose a tropical place. Which one? Not sure. I've traveled around the world (I used to work for a travel agency and was able to get free airline tickets and reduced/free hotel rooms). When I used to travel, I became acquainted with places that I'd never been. I found that I loved hot tropical places with nice beaches, beautiful clear blue water, water so clear that you can see the fish swimming around you! :-)

Another way we are so alike! I often wonder if I would write if I had to do it the old-fashioned way without computers and spell-checks and email. Is there anything about technology that you don't like? Or anything about it that you feel enhances your writing?
Technology enhances my writing very much!! I can't imagine writing a book in long-hand! I can type quickly, therefore, allowing me to write quickly, and I can then edit what I've written. Plus, I can change the story as needed. It's not as easy to do all of that when you're forced to re-write/re-type every page that needs to be changed.

I've even met people, non-writers, who are under the impression that I write a book in long-hand and then type it up on my computer! No, I'm not kidding. Some say they don't type fast enough and would have to write a book in long hand if they were a writer. I tell them they'd learn to type pretty quickly if they were writing a book for publication.

The only downfall to technology is, I'd think that writers may be lest apt to meet, face-to-face, as regularly as they did before the computer age? Now, everybody talks through email, chatting, social media, etc. I'm wondering if critique and writers group meetings are more or less prominent than before the days of the internet? It'd be interesting to research that statistic.

If I had to write the old-fashioned way, I'd do it. If computers and the internet were never invented, then, I'm sure I'd be writing everyday in long hand, before typing up the pages on a typewriter! When I first started writing, I didn't own a computer (this was about 18 years ago). I started writing in longhand after work - I'd go to the library to do this. Then go into work extremely early the following morning to type. Needless to say, I didn't do this for very long. I purchased a used computer so that I could type up my stories instead of writing them longhand.

What advice would you give to a beginning writer that you wish someone had given you?
Join a professional writers group as soon as you decide you want to be traditionally published! Also, find a good critique group or hire a good editor before submitting your work to publishers. It took me a few years before I stumbled onto a critique group and another several years before I sought out freelance editorial services on my own.

Do you want to add anything about your book such as how to order it?
I'd like to talk a little bit about the settings in both of my e-books. One is set on a dairy farm. I'm not really sure why I chose that setting. I've had readers to tell me that reading my writing makes them hungry, so, it's possible that I chose the dairy farm because it's food related. I just thought it'd be cool to have a story set on a small family dairy farm. I am acquainted with some people in my hometown who used to run their own dairy farm and they were extremely helpful with the research that I did for this novel.

My other e-book is partially set on a cruise ship. I used to travel a lot since I worked for a travel agency. I've gone on several cruises and loved all of them! The food is fantastic, plus they have awesome activities and socializing, plus, you get to stop at all those neat tropical places! Since I've enjoyed cruising so much, it just seemed natural to use that setting for my novel!

So, here are the descriptions for both of my e-books:

Milk Money is a heartwarming Christian romance that is set on a dairy farm. Here is the purchase link:

http://www.amazon.com/Milk-Money-ebook/dp/B007AV2KUU/ref=la_B001H6IYL8_1_6_title_1_kin?ie=UTF8&qid=1341083728&sr=1-6

When you access this link, you can read a sample of the story on Amazon.

Here's a summary the story:
Running a dairy farm is a big job, but doing it alone is almost impossible.

When her dad dies, Emily must work hard to save the family farm, but she manages. Until the day the CPA pulls in her drive and announces he’s there to do an audit on the place.

Franklin Reese is appalled at the lack of interest the Cooper women have in the financial end of their livelihood, but he dives in, determined to help them learn. The further he looks into Mr. Cooper’s dealings, however, the more uncomfortable he becomes.

Can he uncover the truth of the situation and still earn the love of the amazing Emily Cooper? Will Franklin's addiction to alcohol keep them apart, even after the farm is taken care of? Only God can heal hurting hearts and repair broken lives. Will these two let Him in?

My second e-book is entitled First Mates. First Mates is sweet Christian romance that is partially set on a cruise ship. Here is the purchase link:

When you access this link, you can read a sample of the story on Amazon.
http://www.amazon.com/First-Mates-ebook/dp/B004R1QARU/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1300232033&sr=8-3

Here's a summary of the story:
A cruise around the Caribbean offered just what Rainy Jackson needed to get over her faithless ex-fiancé--sun, swimming and solitude. As the heat sank into her bones, she began to feel interest in the world again...and in handsome fellow passenger Winston Michaels.

Winston had also hoped for time alone to reflect. But finding a friend in faith in the lovely Rainy Jackson helped him to deal with his twin sister’s death without relying on unhealthy means such as alcohol to deaden the pain. And Winston's outlook brightened further when dates back home in Miami brought him and Rainy even closer. Would Rainy be the one to share Winston's life voyage?

Friday, July 20, 2012

Guest blog and giveaway of The Gifted by Ann Gabhart

Welcome back to my friend and fellow KY author, Ann Gabhart. And all who leave a comment on this post by next Friday, with contact info, will be entered in a drawing to win a copy of The Gifted, her latest book based in Shakertown, KY. A delightful read by a very gifted and generous writer!

What is Your Gift? by Ann H. Gabhart

“We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.” Romans 12:6 (NIV)

The Shakers were very receptive to gifts of the spirit in their societies. One of their best known songs was “Tis a Gift to Be Simple.” That was the gift all Shaker believers were expected to seek to possess. Being simple meant they wouldn’t be distracted from the Shaker way of “hands to work and hearts to God.”

Of course, their idea of the distractions to avoid are what made them so different from the “world” they tried to block from the borders of their villages. They believed the family unit of mother, father, and children caused too much stress and conflict and thus, hindered proper worshipful living. That’s why they chose celibacy and kept the sexes strictly divided with all members living as brother and sister. Many other rules were handed down as well to keep their members in union one with another such as stepping with the right foot first each time they climbed a stairway or praying silently at specified times or pulling out their chair for sitting at the table with the same hand at the same time. They practiced orderly marching dances, but they also embraced gifts of whirling and gifts of song. The gift of sweeping where they swept away sin with imaginary brooms was so common that they wrote sweeping songs for worship.

But what happened when a Shaker sister or brother had a gift that was not embraced by the Ministry as a good and proper gift? That’s the dilemma of Jessamine Brady in The Gifted. Her “gifts” of imagination and curiosity continually land her in trouble in the Shaker village. She loves her sisters at Harmony Hill, but she’s always peering past the village borders wanting to know more. Her fingers itch to write down fanciful stories that have no place in a Shaker sister’s life. One of the things Jessamine must discover in the story is whether her gifts are a blessing from God or if they arise out of sinful worldly desires.

What is your gift? Or gifts? You certainly aren’t limited to one talent or gift by the Giver of all good gifts. But I’ve met people who didn’t believe they possessed any gifts that could be used for the Lord. That’s human thinking. The Lord hasn’t limited us that way. Paul in Romans 12 lists many gifts: prophesy, teaching, serving, encouraging, contributing, leading, showing mercy. Think of all the ways those gifts can be broken down and expanded. We may not all be preachers or we may not be able to teach, but who among us can’t encourage with a smile or kind word? Perhaps we can’t be the one who leads the church, but surely we can all show mercy even as we embrace God’s mercy to us.

Like Jessamine in my story, I do think I have been blessed with a gift for words. For that, I’m thankful because I love writing down stories. But not everybody has a gift of words. It would be a strange world if we all shared the same gift. Many have gifts of music or of art. No less important are those who have a gift for kindness. Some may have the gift of loving the unlovely. Others the less celebrated gifts of serving their churches and families by cooking nourishing meals or cleaning or praying for others. Spiritual gifts can be for teaching and spreading the Good News, but the gifts of seeing and meeting people’s needs are every bit as valuable. So celebrate your gifts and offer them up to the Lord with joy.

“Life is a gift, and it offers us the privilege, opportunity, and responsibility to give something back by becoming more.” ~Anthony Robbins

Ann H. Gabhart bio

Living just thirty miles from a restored Shaker village in Kentucky, Ann H. Gabhart has walked the same paths her character might have walked in generations past. Her thorough research provides a colorful backdrop for her Shaker novels. Ann is the author of several bestselling novels, including The Outsider, The Believer, The Seeker, The Blessed, and Angel Sister. The Gifted is the fifth book set in her Shaker village of Harmony Hill.
Ann lives on a farm with her husband, Darrell. They have three children, three in-law children, and nine grandchildren. To find out more about Ann or her books visit www.annhgabhart.com. Check out her blog, One Writer’s Journal, www.annhgabhart.blogspot.com or follow her on Facebook, www.facebook.com/AnnGabhart , Twitter (user name annhgabhart) or Pinterest, http://pinterest.com/annhgabhart/.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Guestblog by Tracy Krauss on her newest novel, Wind over Marshdale

WIND OVER MARSHDALE by Tracy Krauss


Cover blurb: Marshdale. Just a small farming community where nothing special happens. A perfect place to start over… or get lost. There is definitely more to this prairie town than meets the eye. Once the meeting place of aboriginal tribes for miles around, some say the land itself was cursed because of the people’s sin. But its history goes farther back than even indigenous oral history can trace and there is still a direct descendant who has been handed the truth, like it or not. Exactly what ties does the land have to the medicine of the ancients? Is it cursed, or is it all superstition?

Wind Over Marshdale is the story of the struggles within a small prairie town when hidden evil and ancient medicine resurface. Caught in the crossfire, new teacher Rachel Bosworth finds herself in love with two men at once. First, there is Thomas Lone Wolf, a Cree man whose blood lines run back to the days of ancient medicine but who has chosen to live as a Christian and faces prejudice from every side as he tries to expose the truth. Then there is Con McKinley, local farmer who has to face some demons of his own. Add to the mix a wayward minister seeking anonymity in the obscurity of the town; eccentric twin sisters – one heavily involved in the occult and the other a fundamentalist zealot; and a host of other ‘characters’ whose lives weave together unexpectedly for the final climax. This suspenseful story is one of human frailty - prejudice, cowardice, jealousy, and greed – magnified by powerful spiritual forces that have remained hidden for centuries, only to be broken in triumph by grace.

Link to an excerpt: http://tracykrauss.yolasite.com/wind-over-marshdale-first-chapters.php
Other links:

Website: http://www.blogger.com/goog_1539099981

Blog: http://www.tracykraussexpressionexpress.com/

FB: http://tinyurl.com/Tracy-Krauss-Author-Fanpage

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/TracyKrausswrtr

Amazon: http://www.kraussamazon.com/

Purchase links:

Publisher : Astraea press http://www.blogger.com/goog_1539099993

Amazon - http://www.blogger.com/goog_1539099996

Barnes and Noble - http://www.blogger.com/goog_1539099999

Endorsements: (All endorsements were given with the permission of the authors and may be used in the publication of WIND OVER MARSHDALE as the publisher sees fit.)

Tracy Krauss has a deep talent. Her novel PLAY IT AGAIN was an extremely well written edgy story. The characters were well described and quickly took up residence in my mind and heart. I am looking forward to more from her. - Tom Blubaugh, Author of Night of the Cossack Tracy Krauss typifies all that is good in modern Christian authorship. She is consistently there for her readers and elevates her every effort. - Joyce Godwin Grubbs, Author From the Grassroots

Tracy’s characters are raw and real; her plots edgy and electric.- Lisa Lickel, award winning author of Meander Scar, A Summer in Oakville, The Map Quilt and other inspirational novels.

An engaging storyteller, Tracy Krauss isn't afraid to tell it like it is. I've been inspired by her realistic take on a number of scenarios she has written about. - Michelle Sutton, author of more than a dozen inspirational novels Tracy Krauss paints vivid pictures of real-life scenery and situations while upholding a very real, redemptive theme. - Teric Darken, author of several suspense thrillers Short bio:

Tracy Krauss is an author, artist, playwright, director, worship leader, and teacher. Originally from a small prairie town, she received her Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Saskatchewan. She has lived in many places in northern Canada with her husband, a pastor, and their children. They currently live in Tumbler Ridge, British Columbia, Canada where she pursues all of her creative interests.

Published works include four romantic suspense novels: AND THE BEAT GOES ON, where archaeological evidence for creation comes at a heavy cost; MY MOTHER THE MAN-EATER, the story of a ‘cougar’ who takes on more than she bargained for; PLAY IT AGAIN, about an unlikely match during the 1980s rock n’ roll scene; and WIND OVER MARSHDALE, where strong spiritual forces rock a seemingly peaceful prairie town. She also has several stage plays in print. Visit her website for more details. http://www.tracykrauss.com/

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Interview with Tracy Krauss, author of Wind over Marshdale

Tracy has visited here before, and I am happy to welcome her again with an excerpt from her latest novel: Wind over Marshdale. If you enjoy reading Frank Peretti like I do, then I think you will love this story. Read the first chapter below and see for yourself!
Q: Who is Tracy Krauss?
A: Besides an author, I am an artist, drama director, worship leader and teacher. I’m all about the creative process, so everything I do has that bent to it. When I’m ‘making’ something – be it a painting, directing my vision for a play on the stage, playing an instrument, or writing a book – I feel energized. Sometimes I tend to burn myself out because I don’t rest much, but I like to be busy and I love all my creative pursuits, so it’s hard to drop anything.

I currently live in beautiful Tumbler Ridge, British Columbia, Canada, known for its many waterfalls. However, my husband and I have moved around a lot in our nearly thirty years of marriage, and many of the places we’ve lived have been in the far north. Places like Churchill, Manitoba - the ‘polar bear capital of the world’; the Yukon, which is next door to Alaska; and the North West Territories – all north of the 60th parallel. This has given me lots of fodder for my stories.

Q: When did you start writing?
A: I first started writing when my eldest was just a baby. I could hardly wait for her to go down for her nap so that I could pound away at my mother’s old typewriter. That was more than a quarter century ago. Four kids, plus homeschooling for nine years, plus going back to work as a public school teacher full time, and I finally signed my first contract in 2008. (This was after many, many rejections and a lot of hard work revising, querying, and revising some more.) My first book AND THE BEAT GOES ON released in 2009, followed by MY MOTHER THE MAN-EATER in 2010, PLAY IT AGAIN in 2011, and now, WIND OVER MARSHDALE in 2012. I’ve also had five plays published or contracted in that time with various play publishing houses.

Q: What authors have inspired your own writing?
A: Frank Peretti is still my favourite author. To me he is a groundbreaker. He’s tackled subjects that were previously considered taboo within Christian circles in such a compelling and thought provoking way that his writing is almost revered as truth. For instance, THIS PRESENT DARKNESS has almost become a manual on spiritual warfare, even though it’s fiction. I try to include some of this ‘edge’ in my own writing. Francine Rivers is another that comes to mind. She has written about some pretty controversial topics as well, and her characters are always believable; they aren’t perfect in other words. Again, this is what I strive for with my characters.

Q: Tell us about your current novel.
A: WIND OVER MARSHDALE takes place in a small prairie town where, on the surface, everything seems quaint and happy. Underneath there are some serious issues, especially with racism, sexual promiscuity, and the occult. Thomas Lone Wolf is a Cree man on a mission to build a heritage site near the town based on some ancient archaeological evidence. He and his children aren’t prepared for the level of prejudice they begin to face. Rachel Bosworth is the new Kindergarten teacher, fresh from the big city and running away from a hurtful past. Con McKinley is a local farmer, who also happens to be single and good looking. A love triangle of sorts develops, with the two men unwitting participants. As well, eccentric twin sisters bombard the town; one with her legalistic religious views and the other as a practicing witch. The local pastor has little effect trying to keep his parishioners in line since he is involved in some unsavoury business of his own. The lives of these and many other unusual characters weave together into a surprising climax. Beneath it all is a thread linking everyone’s problems to the spirit realm; an ancient curse from the past that must be dealt with once and for all.

Q: What’s next?
A: I have two more finished novels and several works in progress. I’m just in the process of polishing up CZECH OUT, about a hockey player who defects to North America during the cold war, and THREE STRAND CORD, a romantic mystery about three friends. Once they’re ready for submission I’ll be pitching them to my agent. I’m also always pitching plays as well, since I write most of my own material for my drama troupe. Finally, I’m publishing an illustrated children’s book. I just finished all the artwork and it should be ready fairly soon.

Blurb:
Marshdale. Just a small farming community where nothing special happens. A perfect place to start over… or get lost. There is definitely more to this prairie town than meets the eye. Once the meeting place of aboriginal tribes for miles around, some say the land itself was cursed because of the people’s sin. But its history goes farther back than even indigenous oral history can trace and there is still a direct descendant who has been handed the truth, like it or not. Exactly what ties does the land have to the medicine of the ancients? Is it cursed, or is it all superstition?

Wind Over Marshdale is the story of the struggles within a small prairie town when hidden evil and ancient medicine resurface. Caught in the crossfire, new teacher Rachel Bosworth finds herself in love with two men at once. First, there is Thomas Lone Wolf, a Cree man whose blood lines run back to the days of ancient medicine but who has chosen to live as a Christian and faces prejudice from every side as he tries to expose the truth. Then there is Con McKinley, local farmer who has to face some demons of his own. Add to the mix a wayward minister seeking anonymity in the obscurity of the town; eccentric twin sisters – one heavily involved in the occult and the other a fundamentalist zealot; and a host of other ‘characters’ whose lives weave together unexpectedly for the final climax. This suspenseful story is one of human frailty - prejudice, cowardice, jealousy, and greed – magnified by powerful spiritual forces that have remained hidden for centuries, only to be broken in triumph by grace.

Purchase links:
Publisher : Astraea press
http://www.blogger.com/goog_24024181

Amazon - http://www.amazon.com/Wind-Over-Marshdale-ebook/dp/B008ARYQPA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1339803471&sr=8-1&keywords=wind+over+marshdale

Barnes and Noble - http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wind-over-marshdale-tracy-krauss/1111512160?ean=2940014767682

Bio:
Tracy Krauss is an author, artist, playwright, director, worship leader, and teacher. Originally from a small prairie town, she received her Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Saskatchewan. She has lived in many places in northern Canada with her husband, a pastor, and their children. They currently live in Tumbler Ridge, BC.

Published works include four romantic suspense novels: AND THE BEAT GOES ON, where archeological evidence for creation comes at a heavy cost; MY MOTHER THE MAN-EATER, the story of a ‘cougar’ who takes on more than she bargained for; PLAY IT AGAIN, about an unlikely match during the 1980s rock n’ roll scene; and WIND OVER MARSHDALE, where strong spiritual forces rock a seemingly peaceful prairie town. She also has several stage plays in print. Visit her website for more details. http://www.tracykrauss.com/

Excerpt
WIND OVER MARSHDALE
By Tracy Krauss

Chapter One

A whispered breath skimmed across the long prairie grass like a
giant invisible hand stroking the fur of a silken feline. The screech of an
eagle echoed through the valley as it dipped and glided above the river. The
rounded slopes of the bank rose above the swiftly flowing water while
small clumps of trees clustered nearby but for the most part the land
stretched uninterrupted toward the horizon.

In the distance, a faint rumbling could be heard. It began to shake
the earth as it drew nearer. A cloud of dust accompanied the approaching
mass. Hooves pounded. Nostrils dilated. Eyes reddened with fear. The
musky stench of sweat mixed with the heat and dust.

The huge beasts moved en masse toward the precipice. Thousands
of shaggy heads bobbed in unison as the herd of bison stampeded forward.
As if in slow motion, they continued on, up and over the sharp bank of the
river into the ravine below. One by one, they hurtled forward, oblivious to
the fate that awaited them, as they toppled headlong to their deaths.

Thomas shot up in bed, panting. The T-shirt he wore clung
to his body with sweat. It was not the first time the dream had
come to wake him.

He took a deep breath, disentangled himself from the sheets,
and rose to get a drink of water. No point going back to bed now.
He wouldn’t sleep anyway. He padded down the narrow hallway,
passing the half closed doorways that sheltered his sleeping
children. Ducking to avoid hitting his head as he entered the tiny
kitchen, he paused for a moment to look at the expanse of
landscape beyond the window. Mostly flat, with a rise of gently
rolling hills in the distance, it was clothed with a carpet of rippling
grass except for the odd patch of dry fallow. Just like in the dream.

The early morning sunrise was just beginning to filter in,
reaching to shed some light in the shadowed corners of the room.
Thomas had managed to rent a house near the outskirts of town.
Correction. It wasn’t exactly a house. The realtor called it a “double
wide.” Okay, it was a trailer, but it was the only property for rent in
Marshdale at the moment. At least, that was what the realtor had
said. It wasn’t the nicest place—rather dingy if truth be told—and it
was farther from school than Thomas would have liked, but it was
still within walking distance. Better than the overcrowded and
dilapidated homes he’d been used to as a child.

But that was another time. Another life.

He was here now, for better or for worse, and the people of
Marshdale would just have to accept it. He was Thomas Lone Wolf,
proud of his Cree ancestry, and determined to do something about
it. As a community liaison, he’d worked with dozens of indigenous
groups all over the western provinces trying to set up business
propositions. This time was different, though. It was personal.

With practiced fingers he undid his nighttime braid and
shook out his hair, which fell well past his shoulders. Even at forty,
there was no sign of graying or hair loss. It was straight, coarse and
black, just like his ancestors’ - he was the perfect picture of a Cree
warrior.

Now that he was awake, he allowed himself to replay the
dream in his mind - at least the parts that he could remember. Like
most dreams, the initial clarity soon faded after just a few waking
moments. There were buffalo - always buffalo. And they seemed
bent on suicide, careening to their deaths before he could stop them
somehow.

He was going to start writing it down. The theme was too
familiar; the mixture of fear and power too real. Some people said
you dreamt in black and white. Thomas wasn’t sure about that. He
knew there was blood in his dream - and lots of it. The redness of it
stood out in stark contrast to the muted prairie landscape. And the
stench. That unmistakable metallic scent filled his nostrils to such a
degree that he could almost swear he still smelled it. Almost. But
that was ridiculous and he pushed the memory of the coagulating
stains out of his mind.

With a sigh he turned back to the cupboards and started
readying the coffee. It would soon be time to wake the children and
get ready for work himself. Another grueling day of lobbying for
something that should be rightfully his to begin with. Reality didn’t
stop for dreams.
****
Rachel Bosworth pulled her car over to the side of the road;
gravel crunching under her tires, and came to a rolling stop. She
put the car in park, pulled the emergency brake into place with a
jerk, and stepped out of the confined, yellow compact. She inhaled
a deep lungful of the late summer air, surveying the picture of
pastoral serenity below.

Marshdale. This was to be her new home. Surrounded by a
patchwork of gold and brown earth, it was an oasis of clustered
houses and well established trees cocooned in a desert of wide
open prairie landscape. Stretched out to the horizon, the summer
sky met with rounded hills.

“Not very big,” Rachel’s friend Sherri noted, joining her on
the outside of the vehicle. “You sure you’re going to manage way
out here all by yourself?”

“I think it’s perfect,” Rachel said with a satisfied smile. “Just
the change I needed.”
“Just the escape, you mean,” Sherri teased.

“Maybe.” Rachel turned to her friend. “Come on, Sherri. I’m
feeling scared enough as it is. This is a big move for me. Besides,
you’re the one who convinced me to move out west in the first
place.”

“Yeah, I know. But I meant for you to move to Regina with
Dan and me, not out to some backwoods hole in the wall. They
probably don’t even have cell service, for Pete’s sake!”

"It can’t be as bad as that. The hiring committee said
Marshdale was a totally modern town with all the basic amenities.”

“Yeah? Let’s hope so,” Sherri quipped, shading her eyes
with her hand as she surveyed the town below them.

“Come on, Sherri. You’re my best friend. I need you to be
excited for me. Tell me I made a good decision and that I won’t
regret it,” Rachel begged.

“You’re right, kiddo.” Sherri put on her most encouraging
smile. “It will be nice to see you more often, even if it is a two-hour
drive.”

Rachel nodded. “What’s a two-hour drive compared to
thousands of miles all the way back to Toronto?”

“Who knows? Maybe you’ll meet some cute farmer and end
up getting married or something.” Sherri shrugged.

“Not interested in men right now, remember? I am here to
become the best kindergarten teacher Marshdale has ever seen.”

“Sorry. That was insensitive of me. I know you’re still
hurting over Rotten Ronny.”

“Who?” Rachel asked, raising a brow.

“That’s the spirit!” Sherri laughed. “Who needs men,
anyway?”

“Better not let Dan hear you talking like that,” Rachel
warned with a chuckle of her own. “Come on. Let’s get going. I can
hardly wait to get my stuff unpacked.”

“I can’t believe you brought so little stuff with you,” Sherri
observed, climbing into the passenger seat.

“I wanted to start fresh.” Rachel put the small standard
vehicle in gear and rolled forward. “Besides, moving a whole lot of
furniture and stuff seemed pointless. I’ve rented this really nice
little basement suite. It’s fully furnished. And that’s what you’re
here for, remember? I need your expert advice on what stuff I need
to buy in the city before school starts next week.”

“Now, shopping is one thing I’m very good at.”

“I know.” Rachel nodded with a grin. “It’s why I brought
you along.”

“Thanks. I thought it was for the company.”
“Of course. That too.” Rachel laughed. She sobered quickly
and glanced over at her friend. “Thanks, Sherri. For everything.”

“What are you talking about?” Sherri waved a dismissive
hand. “I’d be some friend if I didn’t come to your rescue when
called.”

“I mean about Ronald. I don’t know how I would have
coped without you there.”

“I know, kid.” Sherri gave Rachel’s hand a squeeze. “That’s
what friends are for. Besides, I’ll expect pay back someday, you
know.”

They were nearing the outskirts of the village. A large
carved sign by the side of the road read, “Welcome to Marshdale.”

“I bet people live more freely here,” Rachel stated. “It’s what
I’m hoping for. The simple life.”

“People have problems wherever they go,” Sherri noted. “It
may look all peaceful right now, but I bet they have their share of
troubles, just like everybody else.”

“Yeah, like what? No cell service?” Rachel asked, the corner
of her mouth turning up.

“Now that would be tragic.”

I know my life isn’t suddenly going to become a bed of
roses,” Rachel admitted. “But it just seems to me that country
living - the slower pace - has to do something to calm people.
Make them less artificial and - you know - less selfish.”

“We can only hope,” Sherri shrugged. “Now come on,
girlfriend. Let’s find that basement suite of yours. If we’re going to
unpack, make a list, and get back to the city before dark, we better
get a move on.”

“Roger that.” Rachel nodded, glancing at the hand-­-- sketched
map that was on the dash. She made a left hand turn at the first
intersection.
****
The interior of the church was cool, quiet and dim. Just the
way Pastor Todd Bryant liked it. He sat on one of the upholstered
chairs in the sanctuary, allowing the viscosity of stillness to envelop
him like a silky smooth liquid.

Sometimes he wished he could stay in here forever, without
having to go out there. The recently refurbished sanctuary was a
peaceful place compared to the world just outside its double oak
doors. When he had come here just a year ago, he knew the
Marshdale Community Church would be a place of refuge; a place
to rest and strengthen his own weary spirit. A place to hide.

Modern and well kept, the Community Church had the
appearance of comfortable affluence - a testament to God’s favor.
The folks who attended were proud of their commitment to the
Lord’s work in Marshdale and God had blessed them with material
prosperity. They required little actual input from the pastor. Just
keep the ship running smoothly, as instructed by the board, and
everything should be just fine.

Perfect. His less than amiable departure from his last church
had left him feeling just a bit shell-shocked. He needed a place to
hide out for a while. As long as he followed the program…
****
Another soul sat alone, waiting. The room was dark, the
slatted shades drawn over the open window. The only light came
from three candles burning in their resting places on the pentagram
table top. The air was rich with the heady scent of incense
smoldering in the small, intricately designed brass burner. The
woman breathed deeply. Empty the mind. Allow the inner self to
emerge…

A sudden breeze whipped into the room, announcing its
entrance with a slap of the wooden slats on the window frame. It
caressed the chimes hanging nearby before darting to tease the
three flames into a flickering dance.
She smiled. Yes. There was so much to share, to enrich the
lives in this town. There were many paths to enlightenment, but
ultimately they all ended one way. It was up to her to release this
narrow-minded and stiff-necked people to accept that.