Tuesday, September 02, 2014

OZARK WEDDING - Helen Gray - One Free Book

Welcome back, Helen. God has really been moving in your writing life. What do you see on the horizon?
I have two more series, one contemporary and one historical, currently under consideration with my editor. I’m looking forward to ACFW Conference and talking to some industry professionals before deciding whether to proceed with the series of books I have written in another genre.

Tell us a little about your family.
My husband and I recently celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary. Ken has been preaching for 54 years. We have three grown children. Our daughter is a college science instructor and lab coordinator. Our oldest son is a mailman, and our youngest son is a police officer.

James and I will celebrate our 50th in November. Has your writing changed your reading habits? If so, how?
I don’t do as much pleasure reading on a regular basis, because writing claims so much of my attention. I usually indulge in a reading binge between writing projects. Of course, research reading is ongoing.

What are you working on right now?
I’m revising the second book in the prairie series I have under consideration.  I’m also working on another series set in the Great Depression. And I have another contemporary series outlined.

What outside interests do you have?
I am a pianist and vocalist and play the trumpet. I am also an amateur ventriloquist.

How do you choose your settings for each book?
I tend to stick with settings I know well within my home state. (All but one historical series is set in Missouri.) They are usually areas where my husband has pastored.

If you could spend an evening with one historical person, who would it be and why?
The person I would most like to spend an evening with is still alive, but he’s elderly and feeble. Billy Graham has my utmost respect for the way he has preached the gospel all these years and maintained his integrity.

What is the one thing you wish you had known before you started writing novels?
I can’t narrow it down to just one. It’s more like the one thing I’m glad I did NOT know. If I had known how long it would take to achieve publication, I might have given up long ago.

What new lessons is the Lord teaching you right now?
I guess I would have to say to be more flexible. I have a tendency to have tunnel vision. Whatever project I’m working on is my total focus. Publication has forced me to put aside the current work-in-progress when other things have to be done—AFS’s, edits, blog posts, etc.

Please tell us in the comments what an AFS is. What are the three best things you can tell other authors to do to be successful?
Study the craft and publisher guidelines.
Be persistent and write regularly.
Attend writers’ conferences if you can.

Tell us about the featured book.
Ozark Wedding is the third and final book of my Ozark series. It is set in 1939 and is the story of the younger sister of the heroine from book two, Ozark Reunion. The story is set against the coming of electricity to the rural areas of Missouri.

Please give us the first page of the book.
Missouri, 1939
Irene Delaney wrote an arithmetic problem on the blackboard and turned to face the three students seated on the bench at the front of the one room school. “Martha, can you …”

Bang. Pop. Bang.

A hand flew to her chest, sending the chalk sailing to the rough pine floor. It shattered.

Children shrieked and ducked down in their desks, hands over their ears.

Another explosion rattled the door of the pot-bellied stove that occupied the center of the west wall. Eyes peered over desks at it.

Irene fought to control the short gasps of her rapid breath. Moments later the hammering of her heart slowed as her brain figured out that one of the students had put some kind of ammunition in the stove. And there could be little, if any, doubt as to which student had done it.

The students seemed to reach the same conclusion just as Irene did. All eyes turned toward Wesley Bozeman.
“Miss Delaney,” said eight-year-old Pansy Murdock.
“Yes, Pansy.”

“I saw Wesley put something in the stove.”
This was the last straw. Fear that had quickly turned to exasperation now became anger. Irene turned to face the lanky thirteen-year-old boy. He wore an expression of studied innocence, but it changed to defiance as her accusing stare bored into him.
“Little Miss Tattletale,” he mocked, aiming a glare at Pansy. “Always making up tales.”
“She may be a tattletale,” another student piped up, “but she tattles the truth.”
Irene drew a deep, steadying breath. “Wesley, you may stay after school to discuss this.”
Lord, please give me patience. Help me guard my tongue.
Too angry to deal with the perpetual troublemaker in front of the students, she strove for calmness and continued the lesson. “Okay, Martha, can you show us how to do this problem?” She indicated the blackboard.
“Yes, Ma’am.” The twelve-year-old went to the board and began to write.
Wesley shot out of his seat, nearly knocking the desk over, and made for the side of the room lined with coats hanging from hooks. He snagged his and went out the door, slamming it hard behind him.
Irene did a quick assessment. Going after Wesley would mean leaving the other students unsupervised, and she doubted she could catch him anyhow. He would go home, and that was fine with her. She directed her attention back to her students.

How can readers find you on the Internet?

Thank you, Helen, for sharing this new book with us.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Ozark Wedding -  Christianbook.com
Ozark Wedding (Heartsong Presents) - Amazon
Ozark Wedding (Heartsong Presents) - Kindle

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 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 the link:


Diana Gardner said...

Portsmouth, VA

Deanna Stevens said...

One room school, what a task that would have been to always be in control.. D Stevens from SE Nebraska... :)

Deanna Stevens said...

AND a very Happy 50th anniversary to Helen! dkstevens from SE NE

Jackie McNutt said...

Would love to read Helens book Ozark Wedding it looks like a very good story.
thank you from Ohio

Helen Gray said...

Deanna, as a former teacher I've always been fascinated by the one room schools. And thanks for the anniversary congrats.

Diana and Jackie, thanks for dropping by and commenting.

Anonymous said...

Would love to win. Angela in KY

Helen Gray said...

Angela, your name's in the draw.

Anonymous said...

Love to win this book! Shelia from Mississippi

Helen Gray said...

Shelia, you're in as well.

Helen Gray said...

I have a little story I'd like to share.

This book is about the coming of electricity to the rural areas. While writing it, we had an ice storm here in Missouri, and the top of an ice laden tree fell on our power lines. It pulled a big hold in the house and took out our electricity, cable, and phone. It was February and bitter cold. We were without power for eight days.

I wrote chapter 8 and half of chapter 9 by the light of an oil lamp, with the fireplace our only heat.

Helen Gray said...

hole, not hold

Deanna Stevens said...

we had no heat for 4 days once & was so thankful that we had a fireplace. No writing but sure did a lot of reading :) good story to share!
D Stevens from SE NE

Helen Gray said...

Thanks, Deanna. I didn't read much during that time. Couldn't see the fine print well enough. But I could scribble in a notebook. :)

Mary Preston said...

A wonderful first page thank you.

Mary P


Cindy W. said...

I would love to win Helen's book.

I live in Indiana.

Cindy W.

Jackie Smith said...

I would love to win Helen's book! I read her first and second and am anxious to read this one! I "met" her on a favorite blog of hers/mine and have followed her publication success...YAY.
Thanks for the giveaway!
Jackie Smith in GA

rubynreba said...

I always enjoy books about the Ozarks. Have made a couple of visits it and it is such a pretty place.
Beth from IA

Helen Gray said...

Thank you, Mary, Your name is in the draw.

Helen Gray said...

Cindy, your name is in as well.

Helen Gray said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Helen Gray said...

Jackie, glad you've read the first two and enjoyed them enough to want to finish the series. :)

You're entered.

Helen Gray said...

Beth, glad you like the Ozarks. I love it here.

Your name is in the draw.

Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me!!
Conway, SC.

apple blossom said...

I love heartsong books thanks for the chance to win

I live in ND

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

sm said...

I do like the church on the book cover. My husband is also a pastor. Love to win and read your book. sharon, CA wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com