Tuesday, December 12, 2017

THE SECRET LIFE OF SARAH HOLLENBECK - Bethany Turner - One Free Book

Dear Readers, today I’m introducing you to a debut novelist. The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck is fresh, unique book. The cover looks like a chicklit book, and I don’t read many of those. I’m glad I checked it out to see if I would like it. The storyline drew me in, and the characters grabbed my heartstrings so I experienced what they did, right along with them. There are many humorous events and serious depths in the story. You won’t want to miss this one.

Bio: Bethany Turner is the director of administration for Rock Springs Church in Southwest Colorado. A former VP/operations manager of a commercial bank and a three-time cancer survivor (all before she turned 35), Bethany knows that when God has plans for your life, it doesn’t matter what anyone else has to say. She lives with her husband and their two sons in Colorado.

Welcome, Bethany. Tell us a little about The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck.
Sarah is the author of some bestselling romance books that are so provocative and steamy her name becomes synonymous with the genre. But when Sarah becomes a Christ follower, she must try and maneuver away from her scandalous reputation—easier said than done since the books are still selling like wildfire, and she’s being hounded for the film rights. Sarah is determined to start a new life in which she can actually spread good and light to the world, but of course the darkness of the past isn’t going to go away easily. Things get even more complicated when she begins falling in love with Ben Delaney, who happens to be her new pastor.

Why did you decide to write about an author?
Writing a book is not an insignificant thing for most people. It’s a labor of love, and in most cases authors put so much of themselves into the creation of their work. And then for that work to go on and become a cultural phenomenon—that’s a major thing! I was fascinated by the idea of an author putting in all of that blood, sweat, and tears only to undergo a heart-level change that turns the work and all it stands for into an obstacle for the author as she tries to live the life she believes God is calling her to live.

Do you see yourself in Sarah’s character? 
I do! In so many ways. For one thing, we can both be counted on to contribute an applicable film or television reference to every situation. And we both believe that almost all things worth knowing can be gleaned from The Sound of Music. But more seriously, although Sarah is a brand-new Christ follower and I accepted Jesus into my heart thirty years ago, we share many of the same struggles in our faith—most notably when it comes to letting go of our hard-won control and letting the Lord take the lead.

That was a hard thing for me, too, Bethany. What inspired the relationship between Sarah and her pastor? Are you a romantic?
As far as the world is concerned, Sarah’s and Ben’s careers are on opposite ends of the morality spectrum. I was intrigued by the possibilities that existed as they each attempted to understand the world the other had lived in—in Ben’s world, people don’t think Sarah is worthy of him; in Sarah’s world, it’s difficult for anyone to think their relationship isn’t either (a) illicit or (b) dull. I loved creating a relationship that is sexier than you might expect for the pastor and much more innocent and pure than anyone would see coming for the steamy romance novelist. And yes! I am absolutely a romantic! Too much Jane Austen throughout my life has seen to that. (Though is there really any such thing as too much Jane Austen?)

What was your favorite part of this book to write?
I feel okay saying this because my husband is aware of my feelings for my fictional characters . . . I fell madly, deeply in love with Ben Delaney, more than any other leading man I’ve ever written, and my favorite part of writing this book was watching Sarah fall in love with him as well. Sarah is such a goofball in so many ways, and she just couldn’t help but get herself into embarrassing situations and say embarrassing things she didn’t mean to say. So that was fun! But what really made it so great was helping Sarah realize that, with Ben, she didn’t have to be embarrassed. He gives her a confidence she’s not used to feeling, and it was very powerful for me to watch Sarah grow as a person and in her faith, there in the safe place Ben provided.

I loved that part, too. What lesson(s) do you hope readers will take away from reading your book?
One thing that was really important for me to communicate was that just because a man and a woman in a romantic relationship have chosen to put their faith and their relationships with the Lord above all else doesn’t mean it will always be easy to honor those beliefs and commitments. Ben and Sarah face temptation and find themselves in situations they should have tried harder to avoid. And I thought it was important that it be reflected every bit as much in Ben’s spiritual journey as it is in Sarah’s. Sarah’s faith is new, but Ben’s is not. Not only is he a longtime Christ follower . . . he’s a professional Christ follower! But he’s every bit as human and flawed as she is—and as we all are. I believe Christians do a disservice to our faith when we act as if we’ve got it all under control, rather than keeping our focus on the Savior who wants nothing more than for us to relinquish control to him.

In what way would you say your faith is worked into the book?
Sarah is in her mid-thirties when she becomes a Christian, and she really does feel as if she’s experiencing a rebirth—which makes it all the more jarring for her when her pre-salvation past doesn’t go away the moment she says, “Amen.” As I was writing Sarah’s story, the Lord was allowing me to experience a bit of a rebirth as well. He led me to give up the career I had devoted my entire adult life to, and in addition to putting wind in the sails of my career as an author, he guided me toward full-time vocational ministry. Though my faith is not nearly as new as Sarah’s, I feel like I was given the opportunity to fall in love with Jesus all over again, through Sarah’s eyes and my own.

This is your first published novel. What did you learn about the publishing process as you went along?
I learned that I don’t know half of what I thought I knew, but that’s okay because publishing is such a collaborative effort. Whatever I don’t know, someone else does! I also learned that you should never, ever complain (even to yourself) about the moments in the process when you have nothing to do—because before you know it, the whirlwind will take over! (I also learned that I love the whirlwind.)

What are you working on next?
I have another romantic comedy completed—this one about a woman whose entire life is set on a completely different course by a brief, relatively uneventful interaction with a stranger. Over the course of ten years, she works her way back toward the stranger who by then, she is convinced, is actually one of the most famous movie stars in the world.

How can readers connect with you? 
Through my website, www.seebethanywrite.com, readers can find all the various ways to connect, but I love Facebook and Instagram most of all! I’m @seebethanywrite pretty much across the board, so I’m quite easy to track down, and I’d love to connect!

Thank you so much, Bethany, for allowing me to share this wonderful book with my blog readers. I know they will love it as much as I did.

Readers, here are links to the book. 
The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck - Christianbook.com
The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck - Amazon paperback
The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck - Kindle

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. You must follow these instructions to be in the drawing. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory or country if outside North America. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Goodreads, Google+, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link:

Monday, December 11, 2017

IMPERFECT JUSTICE - Cara Putman - One Free Book

Bio: As a preteen Cara Putman watched lawyers change legislative opinions at an important legislative hearing in Nebraska. At that time, she wondered if people would give her words the same weight if she became an attorney. An honors graduate of the University of Nebraska Lincoln, George Mason University School of Law, and Krannert School of Management at Purdue University, Cara has turned her passion for words into award-winning stories that capture readers. Her legal experience makes its way into her stories where strong women confront real challenges.

An award-winning author of more than 25 books, Cara writes legal thrillers, WWII romances, and romantic suspense because she believes that no matter what happens hope is there, waiting for us to reach for it.

When she’s not writing, Cara is an over-educated attorney who lectures in law and communications at the Krannert School of Management at Purdue University and homeschools her children. She and her family live in Indiana, the land of seasons. You can read chapters for most of her books and connect with Cara at her website.

Welcome back, Cara. How did this book come about?  
When I envisioned the Hidden Justice series, I knew that each of the women in the cohort of four would get their own story, but I didn’t know exactly what those stories would be. Hayden’s Beyond Justice became based on juvenile immigration issues. Then I turned to Emilie, Hayden’s roommate and started thinking about issues I’m passionate about and would resonate with who she is. I was sitting in Siena at our apartment (I was teaching there for Purdue) and saw a headline about a domestic violence situation in Houston and my mind began to spin what ifs. Emilie’s story was born.

Tell us about the book’s cover and what makes it unique.
I adore this cover, but if you were looking for Imperfect Justice a couple months ago, you would have seen a different cover. While that one was good, this one sings. It captures the essence of Emilie running into court as she’s racing to save a young girl. It’s such a great fit for the character and story. It also has a great feel for the overall series.

Please explain and differentiate between what’s fact and fiction in the book.
One thing I’ve learned is that a book idea has to resonate with me for two years from idea to writing through editing into marketing. So all of my books have a hook in fact. The idea for the story started with a headline, but then I twisted it and changed who committed the violence. I’ve walked through domestic violence with close friends and relatives as well as with clients. This isn’t any of their stories. Instead, it’s meant to highlight the strength these victims demonstrate when they break free and what might keep them trapped.

How much research did you have to do for this book?
Because I’ve lived it, I didn’t have to do as much as I did for the book I just turned in. Having said that though, early readers have told me I captured the domestic violence situation perfectly – almost too perfectly. So this one didn’t have as much outside research as many of my books because I’d already done the research in real life.

What inspired and surprised you while you were writing the book?
What inspired me was the women themselves. This book is really a tribute to former clients and the women I know who have trusted me with their stories while they were walking HARD roads. I know many don't understand that journey and I wanted to be part of showing just how hard it can be to break free.

What do you hope the reader takes away from the story?
I hope readers experience the reality while also seeing that there is hope. There are so many people poised to help if you let them in. At the same time, I truly pray that those who aren’t in this situation receive understanding and compassion.

What is the next project you’re working on?
I just turned in the third book in the Hidden Justice series. I can’t wait for people to get to know Jaime better. And I’m eager to dive into Caroline’s story next. I’m also finishing a book for Guidepost and have another one to turn in right after Christmas. Lots of books percolating!

What do you do when you have to get away from the story for a while?
I think each book reaches a point where I have to step away to figure out where it goes next. When that happens I’ll either watch a movie, read a book by a writer I admire, or spend time with my family. If I can change my setting for a bit, that helps too.

Please give us the first page of the book.
Emilie Wesley glanced at her watch and frowned. In fifteen minutes her client would take a critical step toward freedom. It was a step that had taken weeks and months of preparation and not a little bit of counseling and backbone stiffening. Now all that work, time, and effort would culminate in a protective order. Emilie would step to the background, her role in helping Kaylene Adams alter her abusive present finished.

When she’d finally received the text saying her client was ready to file, Emilie had jumped into action. She wanted to make sure she got it filed before Kaylene changed her mind. Emilie knew from hard experience that could happen in a moment.

But before the judge would grant a protective order, Kaylene had to arrive in court.

Without her testimony, the motion was a complete no go.

Emilie stopped pacing and tapped the face of her watch, then pressed it to her ear. The steady tick tick let her know it was working. What wasn’t working was Kaylene’s promise to meet her forty-five minutes before the hearing at the Haven, the non-profit that served women who wanted to escape difficult domestic situations.

She had waited in her office as long as she could before calling Kaylene’s cell phone, a call that went directly to voicemail. She’d left a message and then told Taylor Adele, her paralegal, that she was headed to court. Maybe Kaylene had misunderstood where they were meeting. She could be a nervous wreck, waiting outside the courtroom for Emilie to arrive.

Emilie had almost convinced herself that was exactly what had happened until she reached the broad hallway outside the courtroom and couldn’t find her client. She pulled her cell phone from her briefcase and called Taylor.

“Any sign of Kaylene?”

“None.”

How can readers find you on the Internet?

Thank you, Cara, for sharing this new book with us. I love your legal suspense novels. My blog readers do, too.

Readers, here are links to the book.
Imperfect Justice - Christianbook.com
Imperfect Justice (Hidden Justice) - Amazon paperback
Imperfect Justice (Hidden Justice) - Kindle
Imperfect Justice - Audiobook

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. You must follow these instructions to be in the drawing. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory or country if outside North America. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Goodreads, Google+, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link:

Sunday, December 10, 2017

WINNERS!!!!!!

Tammy (IL) is the winner of Lady Jane Disappears by Joanna Davidson Politano.

Amada (NM) is the winner of Vanishing Point by Lisa Harris.

Edda (TX) is the winner of Saving Parker by Dan Walsh.

Janet E (FL) is the winner of Deadly Proof by Rachel Dylan.

Vivian (CO) is the winner of Texas Christmas Defender by Elizabeth Goddard.

Jane (TX) is the winner of The Gift by Shelley Shepard Gray.

If you won a book and you like it, please consider giving the author the courtesy of writing a review on Goodreads, Amazon.com, Christianbooks.com, Barnes and Noble, or other Internet sites. 

Also, tell your friends about the book ... and this blog. Thank you.

Congratulations
, everyone. If you won a print book, send me your mailing address:
Click the Contact Me link at the top of the blog, and send me an Email.


If you won an ebook, just let me know what email address it should be sent to.

When you contact me, please give the title and author of the book you won, so I won't have to look it up.


Remember, you have 4 weeks to claim your book.

Friday, December 08, 2017

REBECCA'S REDEMPTION - Lee Carver - One Free Book

Dear Readers, I’ve loved every one of Lee’s novels, especially those set in the Brazilian Amazon. I did a final read-through of Rebecca’s Redemption for Lee. It’s my favorite of the Brazilian novels. The multi-layered characters dealt with issues that will touch the lives of many readers. They drew me into their lives and kept me there long after I finished reading the book.

BIO:  Lee Carver lived in Sao Paulo for six years and then in the Brazilian Amazon for another six.  She and her husband served as volunteer missionaries with a Brazilian organization, formerly MAF-Brazil, in which he flew an amphibious ten-seat Cessna Caravan over jungle area half the size of the United States. Their home in Manaus was a free guesthouse for missionaries, pilots, mechanics, and medical volunteers. She went on missions, speaks the language, and knows the people whose story she tells.

Welcome Lee, you’ve been a guest on this blog several times before, for such diverse novels as Counterfeit—a European art world suspense—and Retreat to Shelter Creek—a schoolteacher’s life restart after divorce. During 2017, you self-published a trilogy set in Brazil, where you lived for twelve years. How did that come about?
A publisher specifically requested through my agent that I write a missionary romance novel with a foreign setting of 50,000 words—longer than a novella but short for a novel. Later, that request expanded to a series of three. Two weeks after I turned in the whole series, that publisher was sold out and the line discontinued. I was distraught. I’d put a year into the effort. Unable to sell the series to another publisher due to its unusual parameters, I decided to expand and deepen the novels and publish them myself. I’m a freelance editor, and I format and upload books for other people. I could do this.

So you did your own editing?
No author can read her own composition for the first time. That’s a mistake many independent authors make. This series has been proofed by professional editors, my critique group, and beta readers.

You wrote a traditionally published missionary romance set in Brazil, Love Takes Flight. Is this series similar to that one?
Katie’s Quest and Piper’s Passion also have missionary flight in their plots and handsome pilots as the love interests, but Rebecca’s Redemption is different from anything I’ve ever written before. Airplanes and pilots only provide transportation. The main characters are a nurse and doctor for a hospital deep in the Brazilian jungle. As the tagline states, “A nurse seeking redemption for past sins joins a doctor contending against the jungle. Both healers need healing.”
This novel has lots of internal conflict because it deals with issues such as guilt, the motivation for medical missions, and a possible distracting romantic interest. And sweet little girls, Mara and Keila, the daughters of Dr. Ed. Throw in the orchids, the monkeys, and a few tropical diseases, and you’ve got a genuine tale of the jungle.

Call to the Jungle

Book 3

Rebecca Singer once was the kind of nurse who partied all weekend and closed the bar with the last karaoke tune. Then she met the Lord and vowed to make up to Him for those wasted years by serving in the worst place in the world. She determined to earn her redemption in the Brazilian Amazon jungle.

Dr. Ed Pierce, a widower with two young daughters, operates a Christian hospital in the Brazilian Amazon. A lifelong believer, he struggles with the tragedy of losing his wife—his love, the mother of his children. When the mission board agrees to hire a nurse, he requests an American who can split her time between the hospital and home schooling his children.

Chapter One

The floatplane hit an air pocket and dropped suddenly toward the jungle. Rebecca Singer thought she’d die as a martyr for the Lord before arriving on the mission field. Riding beside the mission pilot in the small floatplane, she saw more than she wanted to see.

“Don’t be afraid.” His calm voice came through the headphones. “It’s just like riding over holes in a bumpy road.”

The smart khaki pants and shirt she’d worn, with prayers for safety stuffed in every pocket, wouldn’t impress the mission hospital administrator if this nausea worsened. Having never needed motion sickness medication before in her life, she came unprepared.

“We’re almost on top of the village now.” He nodded toward a break in the clouds. “We’ll descend there. It might get a little rough.”

A little rough? They’d been bouncing around like a roulette ball for three hours, which described her odds of arriving safely. Her first flight in a light plane, terminated by her first water landing, terrified her.

She clenched an armrest and placed the other hand on her stomach as the pilot, Kyle, pierced the cloud layer and descended sharply.“See that? There’s your new home.”

She peered out the window as the pilot dipped his wing for her to look down on the village. The maneuver gave her the absolute certainty that she’d fall out of the plane, like spilling from the top basket of a Ferris wheel. Below, sunlight flashed off tiny tin roofs, and ant-sized people scurried about. Only a few houses stood near a long wharf into the river, so the rest of the town must be covered by trees. A wide boat floated beside the wharf, and several people had gathered there. She strained to see if Dr. Pierce might be waiting for her arrival, but her line of sight changed before she could spot anyone who might be him.

“Now we’ll head upriver a mile or so to check that the landing area is clear . . .” He banked over the Madeira River. “Let me know if you see any boats or debris.”
He expected her to offer an opinion on safety of the landing? Like a copilot? Twisting to check out the river and jungle rising to meet her, she prayed this wouldn’t be the end of her budding career as a missionary nurse.

The motor sound decreased so much that she thought it had stalled. Her head whipped around to the pilot, whose calm smile seemed out of place. Then the floats dragged on the river, and a glistening wall of water sprayed up on both sides of the plane. It rocked, settled, then chugged toward the main wharf of downtown Arçelos, a medium-sized river town with a population edging toward ten thousand.

They hadn’t crashed. Spots danced in her vision for a moment. She was light-headed with relief. Then stifling heat blanketed the cockpit.

“Pop open your door for the prop breeze to cool us off.” Kyle’s instruction came as he opened his own. “Keep an eye out for kids, logs, or anything in the water.”

Rebecca pushed open her cockpit door, admitting steamy tropical air. She scanned the surface for any danger to the plane or others, realizing her inability to do anything if a threat appeared.
The plane drew closer to the center of the settlement and the pilot cut the engine. They drifted straight for the wharf while Kyle hopped out on the float and unclipped an oar from its holding place.

He pushed against the wood with the oar to break their drift and tossed a rope over a strong pillar. The prop had stopped entirely, so she opened the door wide and climbed with trembling legs down the three steps to the float. Kyle pulled the plane around by its tether to allow her to cross onto solid wood. Her legs shook so badly, she wasn’t sure she’d make it. She gripped the post for stability.

Pungent, wet wood and the odor of stale fish and tackle affronted her nose. On the other side of the wharf, villagers bartered with men on a market boat, what looked and smelled like dried fish for bags of rice. She didn’t understand the rumble of their arguments as the drama played out.

Kids swarmed the wharf, running down from town as fast as their legs could take them. “Tio Ky-lee, you came back!” Shirtless, barefoot little boys in shorts surrounded the pilot, who picked up one and swung him in a circle. The brown, wooly-haired kids laughed and, if she understood their Portuguese as well as their actions, they begged to fly in the airplane. Or maybe that they would fly like the airplane if he swung them. Her newly-acquired Portuguese often left her confused. They’d told her at language school that from this point forward, she would be immersed in Portuguese and rarely speak or hear English at all.

Kyle broke away for a moment to haul out Rebecca’s two duffle bags.

“Thanks so much for the ride.” She extended her hand for a farewell handshake. “Say hello to your lovely wife for me. I enjoyed the dinner in your home last night—”

In the moment her attention turned to the pilot, four larger boys had run down the wharf and grabbed her two duffels. “Where are they going with my bags?”

Kyle looked up and shouted something in Portuguese, but she didn’t grasp it.

She took off running behind them as they swooped away with everything she had packed to live in Arçelos. “Hey, guys, come back here.” Her yell in English got her nowhere. They didn’t look back or even pause. “Espera. Wait, you guys. You can’t take—please, don’t take my stuff.” Her plea ended in a whimper.

The boys reached the end of the walkway and climbed the cliff steps to town, not pausing until, at the top, they approached a red dirt road. Panting hard, they turned back with wide smiles. The largest stuck out his palm when she huffed up to them.

Oh. They were helping her, and now they wanted a tip. She looked back toward Kyle, who had been surrounded by villagers at the market boat. He looked and pointed toward her, and the back-slapping, happy group let him go.

Breathing hard, Rebecca swiped at her hair where it stuck to perspiration on her face. She zipped open her canvas purse, wondering how much she should give them. Despite her fear they were stealing everything she’d brought, they had done her a huge favor. Scrambling deep in the bag, she came up with four coins of a half-Real each. She had no idea of the proper amount to tip kids in a river village.

Judging by their shouts and smiles, she over-tipped. They ran off toward an open, grassy field where kids kicked at a ball that had no bounce. While studying the language in Campinas, she’d seen how poor children rolled up fabric scraps bound by string. Brazilians just had to play soccer.

Her attention turned to two girls tittering and pointing to the plane. Dr. Pierce had two daughters, but these girls looked Brazilian, barefoot and wearing tatty shorts and T-shirts. Then again, she didn’t know if his wife had been Brazilian or American. Without a mother to care for them, they might be running loose.

A beat-up truck rolled down the dirt road, more of a worn path, coming to a stop in front of her. The driver leaned across to the passenger-side window. “Senhorinha Hey-becca?”

She recognized the Brazilian pronunciation of her name. Surely this weathered, brown man wasn’t Dr. Pierce. He turned off the truck, opened its rattling door, and rushed around it. “A Infirmeira Hey-becca?” he asked around missing teeth, adding the title “the nurse” to her name. “The doctor Edu sent me for you. I take you to the hospital quick.”

Flexing wiry arm muscles, he loaded a duffle in the pickup bed and returned for the other. Dressed in worn, elastic-banded shorts and a weathered T-shirt, he opened the door for her. She balked, looking back toward the plane.

Kyle jogged her way, leading with a wide smile. “Ola, Samuel.”

“The doctor Edu, he needs her now. Is emergencia.”

“Okay, thanks for coming to meet her. Tell the doctor hello for me. I plan to return this way in three months.” He turned to Rebecca. “This is Dr. Ed’s helper. He’ll take care of you.”

“Thank you, Kyle. I appreciate the flight.” She especially appreciated arriving alive. She climbed into the truck, and Samuel did a tight U-turn. Then her greeting carriage chugged away as if it didn’t understand the concept of an emergency.

Just past the main settlement of crude, wooden houses stood a low, concrete block building that used to be white. Its bottom edge, stained by the splatter of red mud, appeared as if the structure had rusted from the ground up.

The driver crunched to a stop at the center door. “You go quick. I take your bags.”

A woman in a clean skirt and blouse, better dressed than those she’d seen on the street, motioned her to come in. “Dr. Edu is in surgery. A young boy has a ruptured appendix.” Her talking hands made a bursting motion from the region of her lower right abdomen. “He says you come assist him operate. I show you the gown.”

Rebecca hurried down a hallway behind the woman to a primitive scrub room. Its wide window looked into a surgical area, where one gowned man administered anesthetic at the head of a boy, and the back of another person bent at his side. The anesthesiologist nodded at her and said something to the surgeon.

With no time to shower or have a bite of lunch, she launched right into a dire situation. She relished the idea of being needed. The mission people said they had to have someone flexible who could adapt. She wanted to be that person.

After quickly slipping on disposable shoe covers and a gown, she started scrubbing. Doubts assailed her. The Dallas training hospital where she’d worked encouraged cross-training, but she hadn’t done any surgical nursing for a couple of years. No time to argue today. She popped on gloves and pushed the door with her shoulder to enter the surgical room, maintaining her hands above her waist for sterile technique.

“Good morning. Take the other side. I need some suction.” The surgeon didn’t look up to administer his terse greeting. “Welcome to Arçelos. How’s your Portuguese?”

She got into position and picked up the suction device. “Not as good as my English.” She didn’t want to kill this kid due to a language misunderstanding. The doctor had already cut away the distended appendix and was now cleaning up the abdomen. His moves, careful and sure, came from wide, thick hands. A glance at his upper body indicated solid shoulders.

From that point, he instructed her in Portuguese first and followed with English. In little time, they were ready to close. His shoulders relaxed. Naming the supplies he required, he looked up at her, and his incredibly crystal blue eyes shined beneath bushy eyebrows.

Distracted by the beauty of his eyes, she lost a beat in time. He motioned to the suture materials to one side.

“Oh. Right.” She hastened to prepare what he wanted and handed the specified items to him.

Conferring with the anesthesiologist, the surgeon checked the condition of the patient again. “I think he’ll be fine.” Still on the opposite side of the table, his mask in place, the surgeon held his stained, gloved hands above the abdomen while she bandaged the area. “I’m Ed Pierce, or ‘Dotor Edu’ locally. This is Marcos, a nurse with special training in anesthesiology.”

They nodded at each other and exchanged greetings.

He continued in English. “In our little shop here, you’ll go with the patient to recovery across the hall. Give me a minute, and I’ll join you there. Marcos will clean up after the surgery. Welcome aboard.” His eyes crinkled above his mask.

“Thank you, Doctor. It’s a pleasure to be here.” What a jump start to her arrival.

Together they transferred the boy to a gurney, and she rolled him away. Her mind filled with doubts and questions as she scoped out the rather basic work areas and the obvious lack of modern equipment. The general job description of “all-purpose nurse” hadn’t prepared her for emergency surgery. She would study up on her techniques—or better yet, learn how they did things here.

Her patient, maybe ten years old, had good color in his lips and nail beds. Few American boys his age had the muscle development of his arms. She rested a hand on his chest and prayed for his full recovery, one of the privileges she enjoyed since her conversion.

Glancing around the room, the size of a large coat closet, elation came over her. The hospital was even more primitive than she had imagined. She could earn a lot of Brownie Points with God for working in a place like this.

Thank you, Lee, for sharing your new book with my blog readers. I know they’ll love it as much as I do.

Readers, here’s a link to the book.
Rebecca's Redemption (Call to the Jungle Book 3)

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. You must follow these instructions to be in the drawing. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory or country if outside North America. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Goodreads, Google+, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link:

Thursday, December 07, 2017

SEEDS OF HOPE - Barbara Cameron - One Free Book

Bio:  Barbara Cameron loves writing stories about the Amish and is the author of four series including the new Harvest of Hope series for Gilead Publishing. Her books have appeared on Christian bestseller lists and been adapted into three HBO-Cinemax movies. Barbara loves visiting friends in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the setting for her Amish books.

Welcome back, Barbara. How did you come up with the idea for this story?  
I was thinking of the farm where my mom and her eight siblings grew up. The youngest son inherited the farm. I got to wondering what would happen if an Amish man got older and his son had left the community and he had no one to pass the farm down except for his very Englisch grandson . . . 

If you were planning a party with Christian authors of contemporary fiction, what six people would you invite and why? 
Ramona Richards, Barbara Scott, Debby Mayne, Cindy Woodsmall, Kathleen Fuller, and the late, very dear Sandie Bricker. I miss Sandie so much. She had such wit and wisdom and above all, loved God so much.

A very good group. I miss Sandie, too. Loved her so much. Now let’s do that for a party for Christian authors of historical fiction, what six people would you invite and why? 
I’m afraid my list would be shorter because I tend to read contemporary more than historical. But it would include you, Lena, because you were one of the first I read in this genre. Then Loree Lough and Suzanne Woods Fisher.

Thank you. I’d love to spend time with you, Loree, and Suzanne. Many times, people (and other authors) think you have it made with so many books published. What is your most difficult problem with writing at this time in your career? 
Some author once said you are only as good as your most recent book. So every book has to not only be good but I think better than your last. My most difficult problem right now is keeping myself from going back over the previous day’s work and getting bogged down in editing. I do best when I go straight through to the end and then revise. So I make lots of notes for the second (and third…) draft.

Tell us about the featured book.
From the back cover blurb: Miriam Troyer has had a secret crush on Mark Byler since they were teenagers. She knows they can never have a relationship:

Mark is a big-city attorney—an Englischer —and Miriam loves her quiet way of life in her Amish community. But when Mark unexpectedly shows up in Paradise, Pennsylvania, Miriam
realizes it’s going to get a lot harder to hide her feelings. Even though Mark always loved visiting his grandfather’s farm as a boy, he’s convinced the Amish life is not for him. But when he suddenly finds himself out of a job and without direction, Mark heads back to the farm just in time to help with the harvest. Coming for a visit and coming to stay, however, are two very different things. Everything changes when Mark sees that Miriam, the girl he remembers from his youth, has grown into the kind of faith-filled woman he wants in his future. Could life in this simple world be right for Mark after all? Has Miriam finally found her happily ever after? True love sprouts from seeds of hope. They live in completely different worlds. Can love bring them together?

Please give us the first page of the book. 
Miriam guided the horse-drawn buggy into the lane that led to John Byler’s home. She was lost in the beauty of the scene that unfolded before her. Wind ruffled the tall grasses about to be cut into hay. Livestock grazed in a pasture. The farmhouse itself was a rambling white wooden home that had been added on to by generations of Bylers as the family grew. The old house was the embodiment of Amish peace and tranquility.

John Byler sat on his front porch, his gray head bent as he wrote in a notebook.

How John loved writing letters, she thought fondly. She hated to interrupt him but when he glanced up and smiled at her she could tell he didn’t regard her dropping by as an unwelcome interruption.

And it wasn’t just because he knew she brought him some baked goods. He had become a good friend, someone who listened and encouraged and offered wise counsel. They were a generation apart but age had never made a difference in their friendship.

She waved her hand at him, called for him to stay where he was but he was already up and making his way to her. He was limping more than usual today. It had rained earlier and she knew his arthritis always acted up worse then. It had become more and more of a problem the last year or so. Still, he was determined to keep going each day and take care of his farm. “If you stop doing, you’ll stop being,” he’d say when she worried about him.

“It’s gut to see you, Miriam.”

“You, too, John.”

He reached for the handle of the basket in her hands.

“I’m not some frail maedel,” she told him. “I can carry this. I put it in the buggy.”

They had their usual tug-of-war which he won like always.

He grinned and laugh lines crinkled around his eyes, the color of faded denim. “We should help each other, shouldn’t we?”

“Ya,” said with a sigh and a smile. His gentle charm and courtesy reminded her of her grossdaadi who had passed years ago.

Both qualities had seemed to be lacking in the men she’d dated.

He set the basket on a small wooden table on the porch and waved a hand at one of the rocking chairs flanking it. “Do you have time to visit a bit?”

Now it was her turn to grin. “And when, I ask you, don’t I have time to visit with you? So, how was your day?”

“Gut.” He gestured at the pad of paper and pen on the table. “Just sitting here writing my grosssohn.”

She didn’t need to ask which one. John had only one. Only one sohn as well. Most Amish families had many kinner and thanked God for them. John had never complained that he hadn’t had a larger family with his fraa, long dead now. But he reveled in the times his grosssohn visited.

How can readers find you on the Internet?  
Just look me up as Barbara Cameron OR   Barbara Cameron Reader Page

Thank you, Barbara, for sharing this new book with use. It sounds really interesting. Because of my own book deadlines, I’m not reading as much fiction as I usually do. This is in my to-be-read-soon pile. And I know my blog readers will love it, too.

Readers, here are links to the book.
Seeds of Hope - Christianbook.com
Seeds of Hope (Harvest of Hope) - Amazon paperback
Seeds of Hope (Harvest of Hope Book 1) - Kindle

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. You must follow these instructions to be in the drawing. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory or country if outside North America. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Goodreads, Google+, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link:

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

CHRISTMAS AT GREY SAGE - Phyllis Clark Nichols - One Free Book

Dear Readers, Christmas at Grey Sage was the first Christmas book I read this year. I really liked it—relatable, authentic characters and heart-warming storyline. You don’t want to miss this one.

Bio: Phyllis Clark Nichols believes everyone could use a little more hope and light. Her character-driven Southern fiction explores profound human questions from within the simple lives of small town communities you just know you’ve visited before. With a love for nature, art, faith and ordinary people, she tells redemptive tales of loss and recovery, estrangement and connection, longing and fulfillment, often through surprisingly serendipitous events. Phyllis grew up in the deep shade of magnolia trees in South Georgia. Now she lives in the Texas Hill Country with her portrait-artist husband, where red birds and axis deer are her ever-ravenous neighbors. She is an English major and classically-trained musician, seminary graduate, concert artist, and co-founder of a national cable network for the health and disability-related programming. After retiring as a cable network executive, Phyllis began leading mission teams to orphanages in Guatemala and now serves on three non-profit boards where she works with others who are equally passionate about bringing hope and light to those who need it most.

Welcome, Phyllis. I’ve been on a mission trip to Guatemala. I love the people there. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
I suppose there is a bit of me in most of my major characters. Because I’m from the South, the Southern culture that is mine seeps into my characters. Music, art, good food, and a healthy faith seem to be important to a many of my major characters because those things are important to me. And honestly, I think I deal with some of my own personal flaws, issues, and hurts by writing them into my characters.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I have a very strong “should and ought” system, and quirky doesn’t fit into that often. However, the story that my husband likes to tell on me is about the day we went to Houston to interview former President George H.W. Bush. Our cable network was filming this interview about his role in the Americans With Disabilities Act. My assignment was to give President Bush the gift we brought for him and former First Lady, Barbara Bush. Our production crew was ready, the Secret Service had checked us all out, and they called for the President. He entered the room, shook my husband’s hand and, looked around to acknowledge the crew, and sat down. He rubbed his hands together and said, “Let’s get started.” Now remember, I had an assignment which I took very seriously. So, I stepped out from behind the production crew, and said, “Wait, just a minute, Sir.” In about three seconds, I was surrounded by Secret Service men as I stood there with a beautifully-wrapped gift box. The President was most gracious about it, laughed, and then sent for an autographed bookplate to go in the copy of Barbara Bush’s autobiography I had with me. My husband gently reminded me later, “You don’t tell the President of the United States to wait.” But I did.

When did you first discover that you were a writer?
Honestly, I can’t remember not writing and inhaling books. But the day I walked into the home of Mr. Thomas C. Chubb to interview him, I knew I wanted to be a writer. Mr. Chubb was a Dante scholar and lived on his plantation just south of my hometown. I was a senior in high school writing a paper, “A Comparative Study of Dante’s Inferno to Aeneas’s Descent into Hell in the Sixth Book of the Aeneid.” But when I spent time with Mr. Chubb in his library, I knew and began to verbalize that writing and books would always be my happy place. And especially after the written review he gave my paper, I just thought I actually could be a writer.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
With fiction, I prefer character-driven stories and gravitate toward those writers who write clean fiction and tell powerful stories through their multi-dimensional characters. A sense of place is always so important to me. In non-fiction, I enjoy books written by writers who are attempting to create paradigm shifts—especially in healthcare and studies about the brain and human personality. I keep a hymn book near for the pure poetry, and I read my Bible and some devotional material every morning.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
I just don’t run, run, run anymore. I sold the big house, down-sized by getting rid of “stuff” that tethered me, and I moved to the hills, literally. Life is quiet and peaceful here, and the view through my window on the world reminds me I should be thinking of eternal things. That’s not so easily done living in the city. I’m committed to my purpose in this season of my life, and that makes it a bit easier to say “no” to things that don’t help me do that.

How do you choose your characters’ names?
Sometimes the character reveals the name. Other times, the character reminds me of someone in my life experience, and I use that name. And honestly, I just query on websites with names-baby names, surnames, names associated with certain ethnicities. I also do name studies to find the meaning of certain names, especially those of major characters. I just know when the name is right.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
This was a very thought-provoking question and caused me to reflect on my spiritual life, my family life, and my professional life. There are several things of which I am proud, and many more of which I’m not, but there came a memory to me very quickly, so I’m going with it. Three years ago, I opened my computer one Sunday morning early to find an email from a former student from around thirty-five years ago. He had been searching for me and was inquiring if I was the one who had been his teacher. I remembered him well and immediately responded. Now a man in his mid-forties, he just wanted me to know that I had made a difference in his life, that I had made him feel he was worthy and could accomplish something with his life. He just wanted to say thank you. That started a wonderful email exchange that we have continued. I don’t have words for the way that made me feel. That was an accomplishment of which I’m proud – that I encouraged someone else and something I said made a difference in someone’s life.

I have experienced that joy. Actually, something like that is happening right now in my life. If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
Oh, I think I’d like to be a bird. I have the great desire to fly, and I love to sing. And who doesn’t like birds?

What is your favorite food?
I’m from the South, and you ask me my favorite food? I would have to say whatever I’m eating at the time. However, I do love sweet potatoes any way you prepare them and fried chicken (although I allow myself to eat it twice a year) and anything green. If I could only have one food for the rest of my life, it would be sweet potatoes. I probably know eighteen ways to prepare them, and they’re all good. I must tell you this—I do know my way around the kitchen, and all my family and friends enjoy putting their feet under my table.

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Making time. For years, I desired to write a book because I had a story to tell, but I was hard at work in the business world. There was no time. Even after I retired, it seemed my life was crowded with activity, good activity and service. But over a period of a few months of really pondering and praying, I realized that I was nearly sixty, and I began to ask myself how many more good years I might have. Nothing like dealing with your own mortality to clarify your thinking and clear your calendar for those things that should be priority. Writing is my priority and why I get up every day.

Tell us about the featured book?
CHRISTMAS AT GREY SAGE
Nestled in the snow-covered Sangre de Cristo Mountains near Santa Fe, the Grey Sage Inn is the perfect place for Lily’s Unlikely Christmas Party to spend a couple of days on their Christmas trip. There’s plenty to see in historic Santa Fe during the day, and the inn’s owners, Maude and Silas, are happy to spend their evenings hosting this year’s guests from across the country.

But an unusual snowstorm throws a wrench in the plans of these folks who were escaping Christmas at home. The sprawling inn becomes close quarters as the innkeepers and stranded guests discover this won’t be the Christmas they expected. Tension and fear mount as the storm worsens, and Silas, a retired doctor, is called away in the middle of the night to care for a neighbor. The snow and stress unlock tongues—and in the unexpected conversation that follows, secrets and pasts are revealed, and hearts are healed.

Amidst snowdrifts and fireside conversations of days gone by, the warmth of this Christmas brings renewed hope as these trapped strangers become friends—proof again that the joy, hope, peace, and love of Christmas can be experienced no matter where you are.

How can readers find you on the Internet?
Readers can find me on my website where I blog and post regularly: www.phyllisclarknichols.com
Also on Twitter @phylliscnichols
And my Facebook author page: Phyllis Clark Nichols

Thank you, Phyllis, for sharing this book with my readers and me.

Readers, here are links to the book.
Christmas at Grey Sage - Christianbook.com
Christmas at Grey Sage - Amazon paperback
Christmas at Grey Sage - Kindle

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. You must follow these instructions to be in the drawing. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory or country if outside North America. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Goodreads, Google+, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link: