Sunday, May 08, 2011

AN ACCIDENTAL FAMILY - Loree Lough - 2 Free Books

Tell us about your salvation experience.

As a young couple, Larry and I were like so many of our peers: Deeply in love, but young, naïve, and struggling, financially. And, like so many others, step-parenting was an added strain: Larry had won custody of his little girl, and was still struggling to make things work with his ex, who did everything in her power to make those first few years as unbearable as possible! Then, just when I thought I'd exhausted every ounce of patience, a friend invited me to her church. When her minister said "You aren't responsible for what others do to you, but you are responsible for how you react to it," I understood why I'd felt such a powerful urge to say yes to that invitation. Everything he said that night spoke to me, right where I was in that moment. I joined the small parade of parishioners who went forward that night, and acknowledged how truly weak and powerless I am without my loving Savior. I'll never forget the rush of warmth, peace and joy that filled me. And today, when life threatens to overwhelm me, I only need to remember that on May 5, 1979, 8:25 p.m.—because I was washed clean by the blood of Jesus—to renew that sense of calm. 

There's nothing else in the world like that feeling. You’re planning a writing retreat where you can only have four other authors. Who would they be and why?

I'd invite Jesus, the author of my salvation, and my husband, who wrote love and acceptance onto my heart. Finally, my daughters would just have to be there, as gentle reminders that I am what and who I am because of the gift of their love. In the midst of a circle like that, how can I help create stories that will bring glory to God!

Do you have a speaking ministry? If so, tell us about that.

One of my greatest joys as an author is sharing learned-the-hard-way lessons about the craft and the industry. There weren't many mentors when I started out—especially not for writers of Christian fiction, so I feel it's important to support authors who are answering that all-important call. Several years ago, a serious health situation forced me to close the Leading Edge Writers Studio, founded at the request of former students who felt that occasional need to revisit the how-to lessons. I genuinely miss seeing that "Ah-ha! Now I get it!" light go on in students' eyes, so I rarely pass up an opportunity to lead a workshop or seminar!

What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you and how did you handle it?

Goodness, there have been so many "Uh-oh!" moments in my life that I'm hard-pressed to name just one! The thing that stands out in my mind at the moment took place many years ago, during my "sing for my supper" years, when I made a point to visit VA hospitals in the cities I visited to perform for wounded Vietnam veterans. (Yes, I’m that old!) I remember one young soldier, paralyzed from the waist down, who was smoking a cigarette that was attached to a tube. Overwhelmed with sadness that his young life had been so dramatically changed because he went into battle to fight for my freedom, I tried to lighten the atmosphere with a joke. "Those things will kill you, you know," I said. (I know, I know. Feel free to join me in blaming my clumsy stupidity on my age—barely 19 at the time.) The soldier raised one eyebrow, which was just about the only thing he could move and stared at me for a long moment. And then he said, "What are you gonna sing for me today?" I grinned and said, "How about Amazing Grace. Maybe I'll develop a little social grace by the time I sing the last bar!" He laughed so hard that the cigarette nearly fell from his lips. I don't think you'll be surprised at what I said: "See? I told you those things could kill you!"

People are always telling me that they’d like to write a book someday. I’m sure they do to you, too. What would you tell someone who came up to you and said that?

Oh, if I had a dollar for every time someone said that…! I love to see their different reactions when I say "Go for it!" Those who weren't serious reflect wide-eyed fear, if only for a moment; the ones who are serious light up like the big Christmas tree in Times Square, and I can almost hear them thinking: A published author thinks I have a chance.... Most will never start "the books of their hearts." Of those who do, very few will finish—once they realize how much work takes place before we type "Once upon a time…."

Tell us about the featured book.

An Accidental Family is the 3rd and final novel in my "Accidental Blessings" series for Love Inspired. In the first two books (A. Hero and A. Mom), I featured two of the four daughters, raised single-handedly by widowed Texas rancher, Lamont London. In this book, Dad gets a second chance at love in a suspenseful, heart-tugging story that puts trust, faith, and unresolved issues to the ultimate test.

I love second-chance-at-love stories. My Never Say Never is one. Please give us the first page of the book.

Lamont had never felt more alone in his life.

Strange, since the church bulged with longtime friends, family and neighbors, here by invitation to witness his youngest daughter's wedding.

They stood at the back of the church, just the two of them, waiting arm and arm for their cue to march toward the altar. Lily smiled up at him through the gauzy mist of her veil. "I love Max like crazy, Daddy," she said, tears shimmering in her big green eyes, "but you'll always be my best guy."

He wanted to tell her how beautiful she looked, that he was proud of the woman she'd become, that her mama would have been proud, too. But a sob caught in his throat, so he patted her tiny, white-gloved hand and ground his molars together as those first strains of "The Wedding March" came through the closed chapel doors.

The roses and lilies of the valley in her bouquet began to quake, and he tried again to come up with something, anything that might calm and comfort her. But now the choking sob had made its way to his brain, making him feel just plain stupid as he continued patting her hand.

The doors opened, and a couple hundred parishioners turned simultaneously in their pews, smiling and craning their necks to get that first glimpse of the bride and her dad. Evidently, his hearing wasn't bad for a guy in his fifties, because despite the window-rattling crescendo of the music, he could make out "Isn't she pretty?" and "He's so handsome in a tux" rushing down the aisle like an ocean wave.

Next thing he knew, Lamont found himself at the altar, lifting her veil, kissing her forehead…and handing her over to the man who'd take care of his Lily from this day forth.

"Who gives this woman?" the preacher asked.

They'd practiced this, just last night, but Lamont didn't want to spout the two simple, one-syllable words they had assigned him. "She's not a woman," he wanted to shout instead, "she's my baby girl!"

But after his mechanical "I do," he walked woodenly to his seat and sat tugging at the stiff collar of his tuxedo's white shirt, trying to pay attention as Lily recited her vows and exchanged rings with Max, trying not to blubber like a toddler when the bride and groom shared their first kiss as man and wife.

When they faced the congregation, Lily looked at him and sent a silent reminder: "You'll always be my best guy, Daddy…."

It put a lump in his throat and tears in his eyes, and Lamont tried to hide it by lifting his chin. But Lily saw, and knowing what it meant, blew him a kiss, the way she had since she was a toddler. And, as always, he pretended to catch it and tuck it into his pocket.

"Ladies and gentlemen," the pastor droned, "I give you Mr. and Mrs. Maxwell Sheridan."

All in attendance stood and applauded, including Lamont—though his heart wasn't in it. Because this was it. The end. Tonight, he'd go home to that big house, empty save the constant companionship of his ever-faithful mutt, Obnoxious.

How can readers find you on the Internet?
Facebook, Twitter, and Shoutlife

Thank you, Lena, for this wonderful interview! Prepare yourself for an eye-popping hug at ACFW!

Loree, I'm looking forward to it.

Readers, leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (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 6 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

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



Loree Lough said...

Hello and a very happy Mothers' Day to all of you! (My sweet hubby and granddaughter fixed breakfast this morning, and later, he'll grill burgers and dogs and we'll gobble 'em up on (get this!) PAPER PLATES! And I blessed, or what!

Looking forward to hearing your comments about "An Accidental Family" and sending a signed copy to one lucky Lena Fan! (See, I'm doubly-blessed, just to know this fantastic lady!)

Now I'm off to fold a load of towels. (Mothers' Day or not, life marches on, right! LOL)

Here's hoping that, wherever you are, it's beautiful and sunny--if only in your heart!


Lynette Sowell said...

I enjoyed this interview a lot. Even though I've interviewed Loree before, I learned some new things here. The book sounds terrific (of course). ~~Lynette from *T*E*X*A*S*

holdenj said...

What a great book to highlight today. Looks like a great series, thanks for the info and chance to win!
Julie from MN

Marianne said...

i have been enjoying Loree Lough's books, and would love to win this one. Thanks for the interview and chance to win, Lena and Loree. mitzi_wanham[at]yahoo[dot]com
from Peace River Country, Alberta

Loree Lough said...

So happy to see all of you here! The weather in Baltimore is perfect for a Mothers' Day cookout, and I'm hoping the sun is shining where you are, too.

I'm going to sweeten this pot a tad by offering a SECOND free book to two "posters" here at Lena's fantastic blog.

Lena will let us know who those two are, and when she does, you can email me your name and address and I'll get the book right out to you!

Meanwhile, happy posting, m'dears!

Talk to you shortly...
Loree (who, ironically, is short! hehe)

Cindy W. said...

What a great interview. I loved the opening of An Accidental Family. It touched my heart so much that I'm shedding a few tears as I write this. It took me back to my wedding but my Dad had passed away & my brother stood in for him. Thank you for stirring up some feelings within me. If a book can do that then it's definitely one that I want to read. Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy.

I live in Indiana.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.


Loree Lough said...

Well, the fun and festivities have ended here at Grandmom's house on this sunny Mothers' Day. Hope it was fun and festive for all of you, too!

And for those whose moms are smiling down from Paradise, big hugs to you. I know you're missing those ladies who were angels, even before they earned their wings!

Blessings all,

P.S. Check out my Facebook page; I've posted a photo of the beautiful (and yummy) birthday cake my daughter baked for me--from scratch--as we celebrated that occasion with Mothers' Day!

Linda Kish said...

I would love to read this book.


lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Pam K. said...

I recently read on the Seekerville blog about how to "write guy." I think Loree has done a great job of getting inside Lamont's head and relaying that to the readers.
I would enjoy reading this book and would be very pleased to win it.
Happy Mother's Day!


Patsy said...

I love all the Love Inspired books. I know this one will be great! Looking forward to reading it.


Anne Payne said...

Well...I teared up just reading the excerpt! Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy.

Anne, rural NC

Judy K said...

I just loved the interview with Loree. Her testimony was very touching to me. Thank you Loree for being one of the many fine Christian writers. We know that we can read a good Christian romance and not worry about junk entering our thoughts. I would very much like to win the 2 free books you are giving away. Thanks for the chance and God Bless!
Judy K from IN

Anonymous said...

I would love to win a copy of this book. Angela

apple blossom said...

please add me to this giveaway thanks
I live in ND

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Charity said...

OOO!! I am really excited about this book:) Loree is a wonderful author!!
Thanks for entering me from IL.


Robyn said...

Lamont seems so lonely--I'm glad to hear he will have a happy ending.

Thanks for the chance to win and Happy Mother's Day to you, too.

coolestmommy2000 at gmail dot com

Kari Linder said...

Oh I'd love to win a copy of this book! Thanks for the chance to win!
Kari in Oregon

Abigail said...

Looks interesting, Enter me in the contest.
Abigail Richmond
Blanch, N.C.

Merry said...

What a sweet start to an awesome sounding book! I have two children marring this year, so wedding stories catch my eye. Please include me in the drawing. Thanks.
Merry in TX

kylady717 said...

Wow, this sound like a great book...I'd love to win a copy.

Mona G./Ohio

Loree Lough said...

Wow, ladies! Y'all have been busy, posting, haven't you!

Good to hear you enjoyed a happy Mothers' Day, and Merry? I know exactly what you're going daughters got married within 18 months of one another. WHOOEEEE that took some serious planning (and SAVING!).

I can hardly wait to see which two names Lena pulls out of her Author Hat!

Blessings to you!

Angela C./Ohio said...

Please enter my name for this contest, would love to win this book,

Shirley Thompson said...

I am entering to win this book, I would love to have it. Thanks

Illinois :)

Emma said...

Great interview.This book sound wonderful.Please enter me in the giveaway.Thanks for the giveaway.

Bakersdozen said...

I would love to win this. I will definitely add it to my wish list. I live in S. California.

Jo said...

This sounds like such a great book. Would love to be entered.