Wednesday, October 05, 2011

LONG TRAIL HOME - Vickie McDonough - Free Book

This Texas Trails series is wonderful. I'm happy to welcome the third author in the team of authors, my friend, Vickie. How did you come up with the idea for this story?
For the third book in the Texas Trails series, I needed a story set in the mid to late 1860s. Any story in that time period would have to include a Civil War or reconstruction element, so I made my hero a returning soldier. I also wanted to pull in another aspect of Texas history. The Asylum for Blind Children in Austin caught my attention. Because it was evacuated during the war and even used as headquarters for one Captain George Armstrong Custer, I had to settle for a fictional facility, which I called The Wilcox School for Blind Children. My heroine is a pickpocket who ends up in Waco, where I set school.
If you were planning a party with Christian authors of contemporary fiction, what six people would you invite and why? 
My critique group buddies, because we always have fun when we’re together.

Now let’s do that for a party for Christian authors of historical fiction, what six people would you invite and why?
Tracie Peterson, DeeAnne Gist, Cathie Marie Hake, Liz Curtis Higgs, Robin Lee Hatcher & Kim Sawyer. Why? Because I’d love to pick the brains of these highly published authors. You can come too, Lena! We’ll have a blast.

We've been on a retreat with several of these authors, and it was a blast. 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?
This year the biggest problem I’ve had to deal with was very short deadlines. By the end of this year, I’ll have written five and a half long books. That’s more than I’m comfortable with, especially when you toss in the different stages of editing. I’m grateful for the contracts God has brought my way, don’t get me wrong, but I’d like to have more time to craft my stories and not have to rush to get the book written.

I know that feeling. I'mi writing the third book in about a year, and I had heart trouble in the middle of that, but I really love telling a good story. Tell us about the featured book.
Long Trail Home is the third book in the Texas Trails: A Morgan family series that I’m writing with authors Susan Page Davis and Darlene Franklin. Each of us are writing two books in the series, and Long Trail Home is my first one to write. Here’s a blurb:

A weary soldier returns from the War Between the States to discover his parents dead, his family farm in shambles, and his fiancée married. Riley Morgan takes a job at the Wilcox School for Blind Children and tries to make peace with God and himself. When a pretty, blind woman who cares for the children reaches through his scarred walls and touches his heart, he begins to find renewed faith and hope for the future. But when he discovers Annie feigned her blindness just to have a home, will his anger and hurt drive him away and ruin all chances for a future filled with love, faith, and family?

I was privileged to read the manuscript for an endorsement. It's a great story. Please give us the first page of the book.

Waco, Texas

     “That one right there—he’s your mark.”

            Annie Sheffield slipped past her daddy and peeked around the corner of the building. A handsome youth with wheat-colored hair stood in the dirt road in front of the mercantile, a shiny pocket watch dangling from his fingers on a silver chain. Annie squinted when a shaft of light reflected off the watch, and she blinked several times,  refocusing on her prey. A much younger boy with the same color hair reached for the watch, but the older boy lifted the treasure higher to safety.

            The older boy’s look was stern but gentle. “No, Timothy. Remember this watch was Grandpa’s. It’s very old, and we must be careful with it.”

            The younger boy’s face scrunched up but he nodded. Then the comely youth bent down and allowed Timothy to hold the shiny watch for a moment before he closed it and put it back in a small bag, a proud smile on his handsome face.

            Ducking back into the alley, Annie leaned against the wall in the early evening shadows. She glanced at her daddy. “Do I have to?”

            “You wanna eat, don’tcha? We need that watch.”

            “But that boy looks so proud of it.”

            Her father narrowed his gray eyes. “I’d be proud if’n it was mine.”

            Annie sighed. If her father possessed the watch, he’d just go hock it or gamble it away.

            “Go on with ya.” He flicked his thin index finger in the air, pointing toward the street. He tugged down on the ugly orange, green, and brown plaid vest that he always wore. “Skat!”

            Annie peered around the building again, taking a moment to judge how fast she’d have to run and where she could hide once she’d taken the watch. She’d come to hate being a pickpocket. Ever since she heard that street preacher several months back in Galveston hollering to a small crowd of spectators that stealing was breaking one of God’s special laws, it had nagged her worse than a swarm of mosquitoes. But she was hungry, and they had no money.

She studied the boy’s long legs. Could she outrun him? And what about his little friend?

Her daddy was an expert pickpocket. He could snitch a wallet and disappear into a crowd like a crow in a flock, but when it came to running away from a target, well, that’s where she came in.

The tall cowboy was probably only a few years older than her thirteen years. He motioned to the younger boy, and they hopped up on the boardwalk, and strolled toward her, completely unaware they were being spied on. He held one hand on the younger boy’s shoulder, as if wanting to keep him close. Now that they both faced her, she could see their resemblance. They had to be brothers. The big boy glanced at his watch bag, tucked it in his vest pocket, and gave it a loving pat.

            Annie jumped back. “He’s coming,” she whispered over her shoulder.

            Her father scowled. “I want that watch. Go!”

            He gave her a shove. She stumbled forward and turned.

The youth’s blue eyes widened. “Hey, look—”

            They collided—hard. Annie was knocked backwards, arms pumping, and her cap flew off. The youth grabbed her shoulders, and in a quick, smooth move that had taken Annie her whole life to master, she slipped his watch from his pocket and into hers. She ducked her head and stepped back. “Sorry,  mister.”

            Her apology was more for stealing his treasure than crashing into him. She spun around and ran, hating the baggy trousers her father made her wear so she’d look like a boy. Hating the life she was forced to live. Hating that the handsome youth would hate her.

(That’s a little bit more than the first page, but I needed a good stopping place)
(Note: This is an unedited version)

How can readers find you on the Internet? 
They can find me on my website:
I’m also on facebook. 

Thank you, Vickie, for this peek into the story.

Readers, here's a link to the book. By using it when you order, you help support this blog.
Long Trail Home (The Texas Trail Series)

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.


Robyn said...

What an opening page. A pick pocketing girl dressed like a boy--with a conscience. Can't wait to read what happens.

coolestmommy2000 at gmail dot com

wfnren said...

What a way to capture interest in your book, great first page!

I live in FL.


Patty said...

Can Annie be redeemed? What does the future hold for her? Can't wait to read more and find out!

Patty in SC

Marianne said...

Please enter my name in the drawing. Thanks for posting the giveaway.


from Peace River Country, Alberta

scottsgal said...

sounds wonderful - love that genre for books
cheryl in IL
msboatgal at

Rebecca said...

Thank you so much for the chance to win this. This looks like an amazing book. I would love to read this.

I am from Oklahoma

Charlotte Kay said...

Charlotte Kay, Ohio:

Thanks for considering me for this giveaway!
Blessings to you!

Lorna Faith said...

Your 1st page leaves me wondering what happens next?:) Would love to be entered for a chance to win:)

Lorna from Alberta

lornafaith at gmail dot com

Salena Stormo said...

Sign me up! I would love to win Vicki's new book!

Congrats Vicki! I know it will be a huge success!

Anonymous said...

I would be blessed to win a copy of this book.

angela from KY

Mama Cat said...

Incredible! Thank you for the opportunity to win - this series is on my "wish list"! Jeanie in Phoenix

Aizess said...

Oh my! Sounds so interesting. I would enjoy winning this. Please enter me in this giveaway!

I live in New York

Joanna Richmond said...

sounds like a interesting Book. I would Love to read it. enter me in the drawing. God Bless
Joanna Richmond.
Blanch, NC.

Abigail said...

Looks very interesting. Enter me in the drawing. I love books set in the west.
Thanks for the chance to win.
God Bless!
Abigail Richmond
Blanch, N.C.

Abigail said...

Just got "A Blue and Grey Christmas" by Vickie, Haven't read it yet though.

Sarah said...

It looks and sounds interesting!
Please enter me in the drawing.
Thanks for a chance to win.
My dad likes wester books and I do to.
God Bless!
Sarah Richmond

Nathanael Richmond said...

Looks interesting!
Please enter me in the drawing.
Would love to win.
Nathanael Richmond
Blanch, NC.
P.S. I love westerns.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, everyone, for your nice comments about Page 1. I'm traveling and just got online for the first time today, so I apologize for not responding sooner. I wish I could give a book to each of you.


Anonymous said...

It looks very interesting.
Please enter me in the drawing.
I would love to win.
Dennie Richmond
Blanch, NC

Cindy W. said...

I love Vickie's books. Enjoyed the interview and excerpt. Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy of Long Trail Home. Love the cover by the way!

I live in Indiana.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.


Kristie said...

I think all returning soldiers are heroes. I think of all those curremtly serving. They are very brave and inspirational. I'm from Ohio. kristiedonelson(at)gmail(dot)com Thank you.

Jo said...

Sounds very interesting. Please enter me.


Aly Logan said...

I love Vickie's writing and The Long Trail Home looks like another winner!

Ann Lee Miller
Gilbert AZ

Marianne said...

i love the idea of the returning soldier, instead of directly in the war. i would love to win this book. Thanks, Lena and Vickie

mitzi_wanham[at]yahoo[dot]com from Peace River Country, Alberta

Patricia said...

I have read book one of this series and I am fixing to read book two. Now all I need is to win book three and I will be ecstatic. I reviewed book one it was great.
I am a 61 yr old Texas country gal!

Patricia aka Mamaw

Sharon Richmond said...

Sounds like a great story! I love reading and would love to win this book. Thanks and God bless!
Sharon Richmond
Blanch, NC.

Courtney said...

I love Vickie McDonough's writing and by the sounds of the opening page, this book is going to be great!! Thanks for the chance to win!!

from WA state

Nancye said...

Sounds like a great book! Thanks for the chance.

Nancye in Kentucky

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net