Thursday, July 21, 2011

FROM ASHES TO HONOR - Loree Lough - Free Book

Loree is another dear friend of mine. Welcome, Loree. Why did you become an author?
Like so many other teenage girls, I earned my spending money by babysitting other people's kids. (Keeping an eye on my 4 younger siblings was considered earning my keep. Bet you never heard that before! ) I developed a talent for keeping even the most unruly kids in line by telling what one neighbor boy called "funny and weird stories."

Flash forward (quite a few ) years, to when my husband's job took us to Richmond, VA, requiring me to give up my job here in Baltimore. Once we'd settled in, I needed something to occupy my daytime hours, and answered an ad for "someone to write a neighbor column." It didn't pay, but what better way to introduce the kids to people their age and learn my way around town! Soon, the editor assigned other stories (and I got paid for those!), and once editors at area publications read them, they called with assignments, too. Within 6 months, I was a bona fide freelance writer.

And then my husband's job brought us back to Baltimore. I showed my 100+ article "clip book" to editors here, and picked up where I'd left off. Years later, I began to notice a disturbing trend: Editorial changes made to articles' facts to appease advertisers. I figured if I was going to write fiction, I might as well admit it…and pen a novel.

The result was my first book for Barbour's Heartsong Presents line, Pocketful of Promises, which won "Readers' Choice Best Contemporary" award in 1994. It didn't take long for me to figure out that the Lord didn't bless me with a talent for telling stories just to entertain rowdy young'uns!

If you weren’t an author, what would be your dream job?
I believe it'd be a hoot to tend the trees, plants, and flowers at area malls. Think of it: Getting paid to (literally) smell the roses, and walk around with dirt on the knees of my jeans!

If you could have lived at another time in history, what would it be and why?
When people ask what famous person, living or dead, I'd like to meet, I always say Thomas Jefferson. I think being an eyewitness of sorts to what the Founding Fathers intended for this great nation of ours would have been well worth the trade-off of modern conveniences. (But just between you and me? Of them all, I'd miss the Internet most!)

What place in the United States have you not visited that you would like to?
I'd like to spend a few nights in a tent at Yellowstone so that I could stare into the expansive inky sky, listening to the wolves howl as they did hundreds of years ago.

How about a foreign country you hope to visit?
Wow. That's a real dilemma: I'm half Italian, and would love to return to "the land of my people," but I'd like to go back to Ireland, too….

What lesson has the Lord taught you recently?
The importance of “forgive and forget.”

Tell us about the featured book.
This story was inspired by 9/11, a date that will remain in Americans' minds and hearts forever. I kept praying for a way to thank those brave men and women who risked—and in some cases, gave—their lives to save others. And then one night, the Lord woke me at 3 a.m. with the idea for the First Responders series. (Each novel features a different type of first responder; in the first, the hero was a NY cop who, after much tragedy and trauma, leaves the City and becomes and EMT in Baltimore.) I've given my word to donate 25% of my proceeds from the books to several very worthy organizations (Soldiers' Angels, Special Operations Warrior Foundation, Wounded Warriors, etc.), so I have more reason than ever before to hope this series will be a success. 

Please give us the first page of the book.

From Ashes to Honor


New York City
8:40 a.m.
September 11, 2001

            Like every morning, the sweet scents of cinnamon and mocha mixed with drug store aftershave and pricey cologne. And, like every morning, Austin ordered a large black coffee with a shot of espresso.
A strange vibration rumbled above the whir of blenders that busily whipped milk into froth for cappuccinos and lattes. A New York City trash truck, or a collision in the street, he wondered as his cell phone chirped. It only took a quick glance at the caller i.d. block to inspire a low groan.
Eddy smirked. “Your brother?”
“Third time this week.”
“Sheesh. And it’s only Tuesday.”
Becky, the counter girl, held out one hand. “That’ll be a buck fifty, cutie pie.”
Austin handed her two singles and told her to keep the change.
“Let me guess,” Eddy said, “he wants you to get a safer job, one with a more predictable schedule, so you can spend more time with your mom.”
“Bingo. All I can say is, thank God for unlimited minutes. The two messages he left yesterday?” Austin pocketed the phone and cut loose with a two-note whistle. “To call ‘em long is an understatement.”
“You know what they say about paybacks ….”
“What ….”
“Well, all I can say is, rambling messages must be in the Finley DNA.”
“Bite me,” Austin said, grinning as Becky handed him his coffee.
“No, seriously, Finley.” He looked left and right and waved Austin closer, as if preparing to divulge a state secret. “Listen up, dude … there was a big story about birth order on the news this morning.” He shrugged. “This stuff with Avery? It’s all ‘cause he sees you as his baby brother.”
“Aw, gimme a break. He ‘s five stinkin’ minutes older than me.”
“Hmpf. Big difference, five minutes. Made him ju-u-ust older and wiser enough to become a hot shot Wall Street investment banker.” He gave Austin the once-over, from close-cropped blond hair to spit-polished black shoes. “And develop the opinion that he needs to watch over you. Y’know, since you’re only one of many tiny little cogs that make the City’s gears—“
Austin chuckled. “Yeah, well, you can both bite me.”
Becky wiggled a forefinger at Eddy. “Your turn, honey pot.”
He leaned a forearm on the counter and frowned. “Holey moley, Beckster, you gotta quit partyin’ all night, ‘cause shoo-eee and wowza, dudette, you are some kinda green around the gills this mornin’!”
 She blew a baseball-sized purple bubble and popped it with her front teeth. “Y’know, Eddy, some days it’s hard to believe you found a woman willing to marry you.”
Eddy snickered, then ordered decaf with double cream, pretending not to hear as Austin and the rest of his cop pals agreed with Becky. The good-natured taunting came to a halt when a second rumble shook the windows and rattled the mugs, stacked pyramid fashion on glass shelves behind the counter. For a blink in time, the West Street Coffee Shop fell completely quiet. Then a chorus of buzzing cell phones, radio bleeps, and the sputtering of dispatchers summoning all available personnel to The World Trade Center ended the eerie silence.
Amid the clamor of cops and firefighters charging into the street, Austin disregarded a second call from his twin. Tossing Eddy the keys to their cruiser, he growled “You drive for a change. I’m afraid I’ll take my bad mood out on some ‘Got my license in a gumball machine’ sightseer at Battery Park.”
Siren blaring and lights flashing, they peeled away from the curb. “Smart decision,” he said, honking and shaking a fist at the slow-moving taxi that blocked him from the destination, just half a mile away.
Emergency vehicles, city busses, cabs and limos joined the rows of cars and delivery vans that rolled to a dead stop. “What’s the holdup?” Eddy demanded. “Can’t those clowns see that the light is green?”
“I hate these stupid tests. It’d make a lot more sense for the big shots at city hall do stuff like this when the roads aren’t clogged with traffic.” Austin shook his head. “But no-o-o, we’ve gotta put on a good show for the tourists, y’know.”
“Guess we can’t complain about getting paid to sit on our duffs.”
“Yeah? Well, I can complain … about these exhaust fumes, for starters.”
The radio buzzed and hummed with steady static, and Austin beat a fist on the dash. “Oh. Great. Now this piece of junk decides to die, leaving us clueless about what’s going on at WTC.”
“I hate to break it to ya, pard, but you were clueless before we—“ Eddy draped his upper body over the steering wheel and looked up. “What. Is. That?”
Squinting, Austin scrubbed the inside of the windshield with the heel of his hand. “Turn on the defogger, genius.”
But the murk was outside. Fierce, roiling white smoke stained the blue early-autumn sky. “I have a feeling this is no ordinary test,” he said grimly. “We’d better hot-foot it the rest of the way.”
“You’re right. Ain’t like we’re gonna block traffic ….”
Side by side, the partners jogged toward the Towers, and the closer they got, the harder it became to see through the smog.
“Must be one heckuva fire to make a mess like this.”
In his pocket, Austin’s cell phone buzzed, and he ignored it for the third time in five minutes. When he got hold of his twin later … man, was Avery gonna get a piece of his mind ....

Wow! I really want to read this book. How can readers find you on the Internet?
Before I answer that, I'd like to take a moment to thank you, Lena, for yet again providing encouragement to your fellow authors through your well-loved blog! You are truly earning feathers for your angel wings, dear lady, every time you perform this generous and loving gesture!

Readers can find me in all the usual places (Facebook, Twitter, Shoutlife), and of course there's my blog ( I've written a monthly column for the popular Christian Fiction Online Magazine called "Loree's Lough Down." (Original, aren't I? LOL) I'm preparing to update and revamp my web site ( and would love to get some feedback from all of you! Feel free to visit, have a look around, then drop me a note while you're there to let me know what changes you'd like to see! (And if I take you up on your suggestion, I'll show my gratitude by sending you a free book!)

So wonderful to have you back on my blog, Loree. We'll have to do this again.

Readers, here's a link to the book. By using it when you order, you help support this blog.

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 4 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.


Patsy said...

Oh Loree, your book sounds really good. I know it will be a great read. Like you I would also like to visit Yellowstone. I've seen pictures of it and it looks beautiful.
From: Mississippi

Jo said...

Wow, this book really sounds great and would love to read it. Please enter me.


Margie Vawter said...

I've always loved Loree's books, and I'm excited to see this new series from her. It sounds like a book I'd love to read! And review, of course. :)

Anonymous said...

Please enter me in the drawing. Thank You!!!!!

angela from KY

SHARLENE said...

I love Loree!!!! I'll tell you what, this is going to be a great series! Can't wait to read it. Please enter me in the contest!


Kari Linder said...

Looks so good!
Thanks for the chance to win! I'd love a copy!
Kari in ORegon

Linda Kish said...

I would love to win a copy of this book.


lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Salena Stormo said...

The book sounds great. Congrats! I can't wait to read it. Yellowstone is gorgeous. I was there... oh ...well a long time ago but I want to go back! :)

Loree Lough said...

You are all just TOO SWEET! I'm sitting here now, surrounded by stacks and stacks of envelopes, all full of books I've promised to people (who have won drawings or contests, or offered to review, influence or endorse a book). I can hardly wait to add one of YOUR names to an envelope that has THIS book inside it!

So is it smoldering hot outside where you guys live? Here, it's 100 degrees...before the heat index is figured in! You won't see me sticking MY big bulbous nose out the door today, nosiree! LOL

Looking forward to talking with y'all again later today. Meanwhile, stay cool and hydrated. (This message brought to you by your Auntie Loree. )


Lorna Faith said...

sounds like an awesome book:) Would love to be entered for a chance to read your book Loree!

Lorna from Alberta

lornafaith at gmail dot com

Phillip said...

Great blog very good information

Marianne said...

Thanks Lena and Loree for another great interview and post. i would love to win this. Thanks for the chance. mitzi_wanham [at]yahoo[dot]com from Peace River Country, Alberta

Cyndi said...

Looks like a great book! Looking forward to checking it out!

Jordan said...

This book looks awesome! I would love a chance to read it!

Jordan in SC

Bonnie D said...

Sounds great! I really appreciated the story of how the author came to write this book. I would love to read it.

dancealert said...

I would love to win a copy of this book. I'm a follower and a subsscriber. I posted this to my blog:

Brenda from Michigan
dancealert at aol dot com

Krista said...

Sounds like a wonderful book! Thanks for the chance to win this!

Krista from Gresham, OR

Sarah said...

Would love to win!

Sarah H

Michelle said...

Sounds like a wonderful book. It's been on my wish list for awhile. Please enter me.

mchapman (at) windstream (dot) net

Cyndi said...

Oops! Forgot to tell you that I'm an Alabama girl! :)

Emily said...

Oh, I can't wait to read your book! Looks really great!



Debbie said...

Thanks for the giveaway, Loree! September 11 is something that pulls at my heart every day! Thanks!


Bay Shore

John said...




Anne Payne said...

this sounds like a wonderful book. thank you for the opportunity to win a copy.

anne, rural nc

Robyn said...

Wow! What an inspirational series. I can't wait to read it.

I just got back from Yellowstone. You have to go! Worth the trip.

coolestmommy2000 at gmail dot com

apple blossom said...

Oh, please include me in this giveaway thanks
I live in ND

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Kristie said...

I have never read any of your books. Sounds like a good one to start with. I'm from Ohio. kristiedonelson(at)gmail(dot)com Thank you.

Elyssa said...

This looks like such a great book! Please enter me! I'm from NY =)


Jenny said...

Please enter me!!!



Ira said...

Awesome giveaway! Can't wait to read this book!



The Jesus Freak said...

Great giveaway!!!



Bakersdozen said...

I would love to read this. Loree is such a wonderful author. I live in S. CA.

Merry said...

From Ashes to Honor sounds awesome. I love NYC and the spirit of the people who live there... please add me!
Merry in TX

peachykath said...

I work as an EMT and when 911 occured I was working with the state of Calfornia as a wildland firefighter and it just crushed everyone. I would love to read this story and have added it to my wish list on amazon just in case. Please enter me in the drawing. Thank you.

Katherine from Northern California