Thursday, July 30, 2009

LOVE'S RESCUE - Tammy Barley - Free Book

I love introducing you readers to debut authors. Welcome, Tammy. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.

Thank you for having me here, Lena, and hello to everyone visiting!

I wrote a few aspects of myself into the main character in Love’s Rescue, Jessica Hale. Jess gets her fierce determination from me (don’t you love it when people tell you that you “can’t” do something, just so you CAN do it and prove them wrong? =) ). From me she also gets her great love of horses, the need to feel the wind in her hair, and her enjoyment of simple pleasures. The rest comes from places you may find unexpected—from strangers I meet only in passing, whose actions or humor or caring or uniqueness memorably touches me.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

I danced down Hollywood Boulevard with a mime in a tux.

When did you first discover that you were a writer?

I always loved to write, but had never considered writing as a career. The real discovery came in a God moment. After I graduated high school I prayed one night, and asked Him what I was supposed to do with my life. I heard His voice beside me. “You’re supposed to be a writer.”

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.

Romance, suspense, historical (fiction and nonfiction), mystery, inspirational, romance, chick-lit, some paranormal, and biographies. Oh, and I love a great romance. =)

What other books have you written, whether published or not?

I have written devotional series for missionary wives and many other inspirational devotions, Christian plays for mentally handicapped adults, and another historical romance which involved time travel.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?

I’m mom to three young teens who all have lively, quirky humor, and I’m blessed with wonderful friends. When you surround yourself with good people and laughter, you can get through anything.

How do you choose your characters’ names?

Baby name books, historical records, and movie credits. Some key grips out there have no idea they have cowboys named after them.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?

Professionally, this book. It’s my first full-length novel to be published, and the dream of half a lifetime. Personally, that I’m raising three children who every day are a miracle.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?

An eagle. I’d love to fly over green forests and high mountains, warmed by the sun, surrounded by wind, and oh, the views I would see! Of course I’d need access to McDonald’s fries and Moose Tracks ice cream.

What is your favorite food?

Strawberries. That’s the job I want in heaven—to tend God’s berry fields (and be chief taster).

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?

Self editing. I had to learn to write in free-flow thought first and touch up later.

What advice would you give to an author just starting out?

Join a good writers’ group and a good critique group. Great information, great inspiration, great opportunities.

Tell us about the featured book?

The blurb by Whitaker House tells it nicely:

A Dividing Conflict
In 1863, the War Between the States is dividing more than just a nation. To escape the conflict, Jessica Hale and her family flee their Kentucky homestead and head for the Nevada Territory. Her brother, Ambrose, committed to the Confederates, rejoins the Kentucky militia and is disowned by his father. But the worst is yet to come.
A Heroic Kidnapper
When Unionists presume the family to be Confederate sympathizers, they set a devastating fire to their home. All alone and then “kidnapped” by cattleman Jake Bennett, Jessica is taken to a ranch deep in the Sierra Nevada wilderness. Can she overcome her resentment toward Jake for failing to save her family?
The Depths of Love
When Jake launches a plan to help Jessica’s brother escape from prison camp, she sees him for the honest, good-hearted Christian man that he is and now knows the depth of his love for her. Through the lingering smoke and smoldering ashes from her ruined home and murdered family, will Jessica see a future with Jake?

Please give us the first page of the book.

Carson City, Nevada Territory. April, 1860

She was going to lose him.

Jessica Hale pushed back the brown tendrils the wind whipped into her eyes, her fingers trembling. Further down the road her brother handed the last of his cases to the driver on top the stage, then tossed his hat through the coach window onto a seat with an air of resolve. He turned and strode toward her.

His long, wind-tossed sandy hair and mustache gleamed brightly in the morning sun, like gold coins intermittently hidden by shifting dust. His sky blue eyes—eyes that had always teased her, understood her and patiently guided her—now attempted to disguise unspoken regret as he smoothed a hand over each of the sorrel coach horses, and calmly took in the young town he was leaving behind. She knew better. He was going to miss this, the town and their parents. But his heart called him home. Ambrose was every inch a Kentucky gentleman. He always had been. Her throat tightened.


She couldn’t help but smile. Jessica. Like always, he spoke her name with that same flowing, deep timbre of the brook they had often played in as children.

“Now what is that smile for?”

“I love the sound of your voice.”

“You do?” Ambrose’s eyes sparkled at her in amusement. “You never told me that before.”

“Well now you know.” She loved the Southern lilt of it, loved the quiet honor he wore with the same ease that he wore his greatcoat. She took a deep, steadying breath. “Are your bags loaded, then?”

“They are.” Lightly he added, “The driver was kind enough to strap them down. With the rough going, I’ll get bounced out long before they will.”

Her smile faded. “Perhaps you should stay.”

I can hardly wait for my copy to get here. How can readers find you on the Internet?

I’m at Click on the Bookshelf page to view the book trailer and to enter a drawing to win a Western guest ranch vacation for two, or one of many other prizes, beginning July 7, 2009, the day the book releases.

Thank you, Tammy, for spending this time with us.

Readers, here's a link where you can order Love's Rescue:

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. 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.

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


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

LOVE FINDS YOU IN POETRY, TEXAS - Janice Hanna - Free Book

I'm pleased to have my friend Janice Thompson back on the blog with her first Summerside Press book. Welcome, Janice. What are some of the spiritual themes you like to write about?

I enjoy writing about flawed people. People who make mistakes. Lately, I’ve been writing about people who “get ahead of God.” I tend to do this a lot, and my characters do, too! I want readers to know that we’re all hopelessly flawed, but we have a God who loves us, in spite of our shortcomings. Readers will also notice another (major) theme in my stories, of late. I’ve been writing about weddings. . .a lot! Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that my four daughters, who are all in their late twenties, all got married over the past five years. (Writers are taught to write what we know. . .and I know weddings!)

What other books of yours are coming out soon?

I’m so excited to share the news about my upcoming Revell series: WEDDINGS BY BELLA. It’s pure romantic comedy—probably the funniest stuff I’ve ever written! The first book, FOOLS RUSH IN, is set to release next month! It’s a crazy, quirky story about an Italian wedding planner who has just taken over her family’s wedding facility. Bella (who is 29 and still single) is hosting her first themed wedding—a Boot Scoot’n Texas extravaganza. Only one problem. She doesn’t know anything about country western music and needs a deejay who does! The Lord provides exactly the right deejay, but there are a few bumps in the road to get him there!

The second book in the WEDDINGS BY BELLA series is titled SWINGING ON A STAR. In this story, Bella is coordinating a medieval/Renaissance wedding with a major Hollywood star as the best man. Talk about a paparazzi nightmare!

The third book is titled IT HAD TO BE YOU. In this final story, Bella is coordinating a 40th swing wedding, complete with a swing band. This series has been a blast to write, as you might imagine. Lots of room for antics! And perhaps you’ve already noticed that each book is actually a song title. Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin play a huge role in these stories. Folks who love good music, good food and great themed weddings will love the WEDDINGS BY BELLA series.

If you could spend an evening with one contemporary person (not a family member of yours), who would it be and why?

Lately, I’ve been really intrigued by Matthew West, the Christian singer. His song THE MOTIONS has stolen my heart. I think I would like to hang out with Matthew for a couple of hours and pick his brain. Ask him a few questions about how he came up with the song. Then ask him to pray with me about my work, so that I don’t ever find myself going through the motions in my writing life.

How long have you known that you wanted to be novelist?

I wrote my first book in 6th grade. No kidding! I’d read every Bobbsey Twins book and needed something else to read, so I used those characters to craft a story of my own. In high school I wrote a dramatic piece for a school production. Then, in college, my father and I wrote a screenplay, which was later made into a movie (Liar’s Moon). After that came several musical comedies for the stage.

I didn’t actually write my first “real” novel (DUTY TO DIE) until 1996. It was published in 2000. As you can see, my road to becoming a novelist was long and winding! If you don’t mind another plug here, DUTY TO DIE was based on the premise that the so-called “right” to die would eventually become the “duty” to die, if we weren’t careful. The book dealt at length with the “slippery slope” our country has been on since the 60’s. Never has this been more apparent than in recent weeks as our politicians contemplate the health reform bill. If your readers haven’t already read DUTY TO DIE, I would encourage them to pick up a copy (used) at amazon. It’s been out of print for years, but the story is hauntingly true to reality.

What can you tell authors who have been receiving only rejections from publishers?

Get used to it? Seriously, the rejection goes on and on, long after you have a book published. When you get your copy edits and the editor wants to pick apart your baby, it’s a form of rejection. When you get a letter from a person who didn’t like your published book, it’s a form of rejection. Rejection is a part of life. We have to learn to live with it and learn from it. Don’t let it weaken you. Make all of life’s rejections serve to make you stronger.

Such excellent advice. Tell us about the featured book?

I’m so excited to share about LOVE FINDS YOU IN POETRY, TEXAS (Summerside Press), which was written under the name Janice Hanna. (I should add that several of my books are now being written under my maiden name. I’m doing this as a tribute to my father, who passed away a couple of years ago.) This book, in many ways, represents my own journey as a writer. I conceived the idea for this historical romantic comedy in 2007 while I was in a wheelchair after a terrible accident. (Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? To write a comedy while going through a tragedy? But that’s how the Lord works in my life!)

The story is about a paid matchmaker in the tiny town of Poetry, Texas. For those who don’t know, Poetry is east of Dallas, near a town called Terrell. In 1904 only 200 people lived in Poetry (approximately).

My heroine, Belinda Bauer, works at the local mercantile with her aunt and cousin. She is hoping to “grow” her little town into a place of grandeur like nearby Dallas. To help God along in the process, she takes on the role of marriage broker (paid matchmaker), bringing countless women to the town to marry the men-folk. Only one problem. . .many (if not most) of her matches turn out to be mis-matches! Most of the women end up marrying the wrong men!

There’s one local man who’s particularly unhappy with her bumbling attempts: Georg, the town barber and her childhood friend. She just can’t seem to find his perfect match, though it’s not for lack of trying. Could it be that the Lord has someone else in mind for Georg? Someone who has been there all along, perhaps? In the end, Belinda learns some very “poetic” lessons about life, love and happiness. She also learns that the Lord didn’t really need her help, though He managed to take her bumbles and use them for His glory. (Can I get an amen?)

I had the time of my life writing this story. Many times, Belinda has to ask herself if she’s gotten ahead of the Lord. I know what that feels like, and I’m sure many readers can relate, as well. More than anything, I loved the light-hearted nature of the story. Those who know me know that I’m a light-hearted sort of girl. Perhaps it’s because I’ve faced so many challenges/obstacles in my own life. I need the humor to lift my spirits. And isn’t it wonderful how the Lord uses humor to heal us? He’s done that in my life so many times!

I'm intrigued. Please give us the first page of the book.

Poetry, Texas, 1904

“Belinda, I don’t want to hurt your feelings. Truly. But what in the world has possessed you? A marriage broker? Do you really think you’’re...”

Belinda Bauer felt heat rising to her cheeks as she waited for her cousin to finish the question.

“...q–qualified?” Greta said at last, looking more than a bit dubious.

After drawing in a deep breath, Belinda dove into her rehearsed speech. “One does not have to be married in order to arrange marriages,” she explained. “These days, a good match is simply a matter of business. And science.”

“Science?” Greta did not look convinced. “What is so scientific about falling in love and getting married?”

Belinda gave a brusque nod and continued on undeterred. “In a town such as this—filled with lumbermen and farmers—women are in short supply. Elsewhere, women bow their knees at night, clutch their hands together...”—here Belinda dramatically clasped her hands as if in prayer—“and plead with the Almighty for husbands.”

Greta paled. “Yes, but what does that have to do with you?”

“I will make it my job to reconcile the one with the other. With the Lord’s help, of course.” Belinda released her hands, triumphant.

Surely Greta would see the good in this. And, in time, so would the others in the little town. After all, her goal to civilize the quaint town of Poetry, Texas, was a fine one. Once the women started arriving, the place would begin to blossom, possibly rivaling nearby Terrell. Or maybe—Belinda’s excitement grew as she thought about it—maybe even Dallas. Yes, once proper ladies started arriving, the area would become quite citified.

“You make it sound so...simple.” Her cousin paused to tie an apron around her broad waist, just as she did every morning before Poetic Notions, the town’s mercantile, opened. “But if finding a mate is really as easy as you say, then why, with men surrounding us on every side, do you and I remain unattached?”

Belinda swallowed hard and then chose her words with great care as she reached to straighten several jars on a nearby shelf. “I cannot speak for you, of course.” She turned to grasp her cousin’s hand and gave it a sympathetic squeeze. “To be quite honest, I do not understand why some handsome fellow hasn’t marched in here and swept you away to a life of marital bliss. You, of all people, would make the perfect wife and mother.”

“Thank you.” Greta let out a little giggle, and her cheeks turned pink.

Belinda released a sigh as she contemplated her own situation. “But I do believe, after much prayer on the matter, that I can answer the question about myself.” She stood straight and tall, taking full advantage of her height. “I have come to the conclusion that I was born for a greater purpose.”

I can't wait for my copy to arrive. How can readers find you on the Internet?

Readers can find me at my website: There, they can learn about these books and many more!

I spend a lot of time on facebook, and readers can link up to me there at

My Shoutlife page is another place to connect:

My book review blog (Double Booked) can be found here:

Finally (and this probably won’t come as a great surprise) I write on the subject of wedding planning for The Examiner, an online newspaper. Readers can find my wedding-themed articles online at:

Thank you, Janice, for spending this time with us.

Readers, here's a link where you can order the book:

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. 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.

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

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Another Summerside Press novel. This one from the state where my brother lives. Welcome, Melanie. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.

That’s a great question but a tough one to answer because it’s often hard for me to know where I stop and my characters begin. Even though most of my characters don’t have my personality or a similar background, I strive to understand how they think and would respond in different situations. On the best writing days, with characters I’ve gotten to know well, I feel like I’m scribbling down the dialogue they dictate instead of creating it for them.

When did you first discover that you were a writer?

I’ve been a bit obsessive (some would say a lot obsessive) about writing since I was a child. I started journaling when I was seven and loved writing poetry and creating stories. In high school and college, I wrote articles and essays for the yearbook, school newspaper, and local newspaper (basically anyone that would publish my work). When I graduated, I pursued public relations as a career and spent almost a decade writing press releases in lieu of creative writing. I had always dreamed about writing fiction but intended to start when I was “older.”

Months before my thirtieth birthday it hit me that I was, in fact, “older,” and if I was going to pursue this dream, I had been better start soon. It took me years, and three completed manuscripts, to learn how to write fiction. Eight years after I started writing fiction, Together for Good was published.

It took me eight years for my first novel to sell, too. Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.

I’ll read pretty much anything that isn’t dark or depressing—especially when I’m writing a darker novel like The Black Cloister. I like suspenseful and compelling stories, and I love to learn new things as I read and be inspired to grow in my journey with Christ. Jan Karon’s Mitford series tops my list of favorite books because whenever I read one of her books, it makes me smile. Even though I’ve read this series four or five times, I still love the characters and want to keep turning the pages quickly to see what happens next.

What other books have you written, whether published or not?

The first novel I wrote was a historical novel called Remembering Rose. That one wasn’t published nor was my next one. It was my third novel, Together for Good, that found a home with a publisher, and I was elated because this was a story about adoption, a subject close to my heart. Together for Good was published in 2006 followed by Going for Broke the next year and then The Black Cloister in 2008. Love Finds You in Liberty, Indiana, comes out this year, and my next romantic suspense novel Crescent Hill (working title) is scheduled to be released in 2010.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?

When things get crazy around our house, one of our favorite sayings is, “Stop and breathe!” We all freeze and collectively breathe in and out until calm is restored. When I write, I try to block out the insanity a bit by not answering my phone or checking my email so I can focus on the story, but I have to say that not checking my email or Facebook is a hard habit for me to break. Some days email is a WHOLE lot more fun than writing a tough portion of my WIP (for that matter, scrubbing toilets is a lot more fun on those days…).

How do you choose your characters’ names?

Sometimes character names seem to find me. Other times I have to search for a name and change the name over and over again through the writing process until it seems to fit my character. In The Black Cloister, my main character Elise Friedman had a special name because she had been born into an abusive religious cult and her mother renamed her Elise to demonstrate that she had been dedicated to God. With the encouragement of my editor, we chose the last name of my main character in Love Finds You in Liberty, Indiana, to be “Brent” specifically to honor a runaway slave named Linda Brent who wrote the phenomenal book Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl.

What is your favorite food?

That’s not a tough question for me. :-) Cheese fondue.

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?

Making myself focus! I outline my books now so I know exactly where I am going in case I’m interrupted (like right now!) by a child pounding on my door or I’m not able to write for several days. I also chew way too much gum and drink mug after mug of decaf coffee and tea which for some strange reason helps me stay on task.

What advice would you give to an author just starting out?

A bestselling author once said she was a horrible writer but a fabulous re-writer. When I watched her interview, I was thinking and talking about writing all the time but not actually DOING much writing because I was terrified I would fail. And if I failed, I would be devastated…
Once I realized that my first draft would stink, I let go of my fears and began spewing random thoughts onto my computer. After I had my first draft on paper, I polished and reworked and rewrote until I had a coherent draft that I liked. Even though I get anxious each time I start a new book, I’m no longer scared of the process, and I would encourage new writers not to be scared of the process either. Write what’s in your heart and worry about editing (and publishing) it later.

What would you like to tell us about the featured book?

Love Finds You in Liberty, Indiana
, is a part of Summerside Press’s wonderful new line featuring the stories of small towns across the country, and this novel is about a Quaker woman who runs a station on the secretive Underground Railroad in 1850. When her work is threatened by a slave hunter searching for a runaway girl, she turns to an outspoken abolitionist named Daniel Stanton for help. The two of them risk everything to harbor runaways and aid them in their flight to liberty.

I’ve had a blast writing this book, but even more fun than writing it was going to Liberty and meeting the delightful people of this town. Several of them welcomed me into their home and let me crawl around in the secret spaces of their attics and cellars where the runaway slaves once hid.

How can readers find you on the Internet?

My website and blog is at, and I’d love to have the readers visit me at Facebook or

Thank you, Melanie, for spending this time with us.

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. 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.

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


Saturday, July 25, 2009

THE BLUE ENCHANTRESS - M. L. Tyndall - Free Book

I love having MaryLu on my blog, and I've been waiting for this book to release. Welcome, MaryLu. How did you come up with the idea for this story?

The Blue Enchantress is the 2nd book in my Charles Towne series which comprises three stories, each about a different sister in one family—all daughters of a British Admiral. The theme for the series comes from the parable of the seed and sower in Matthew 13 where Jesus describes 4 types of seeds and the soils they fall upon. Each sister and each book in the series deals with one type of these seeds.

In the first book, The Red Siren, the heroine Faith represents the seed that fell on the rocky soil which Jesus describes as someone who receives the Word of God but when problems occur and tragedy strikes, they quickly fall away.

In The Blue Enchantress, Hope represents the seed that falls on the thorny ground wherein the Word of God is choked out by the pleasures and concerns of this world.

To expound on that theme, however, I created in Hope a character who I believe many women can relate to in our culture today. She is young, beautiful and has discovered that she can use her beauty to attract attention from men. Unfortunately, because she had a difficult and unloving childhood and she has never experienced the love of God, she mistakes this shallow attention for love and ends up getting herself into a heap of trouble!

You're right. Many women today fall into the same trap. If you were planning a party with Christian authors of contemporary fiction, what six people would you invite and why?

Camy Tang because she’s quirky and funny and I love her writing style
Kristin Billerbeck because she’s real and she’s deep and I admire her very much
Brandilyn Collins because what’s a party without a little suspense?
Christine Lynxwiller because she’s one of the sweetest ladies I know
Randy Alcorn because I want to pick his brain about Heaven
James Scott Bell because he’s a humble guy who knows a great deal about writing

I would have to wangle an invitation to that party. Now let’s do that for a party for Christian authors of historical fiction, what six people would you invite and why?

Kaye Dacus because she’s one smart lady and a fantastic writer
Tamera Alexander because I love her books
Mary Connealy because not only is she an excellent author, but she makes me laugh.
Louise M. Gouge because she’s a dear friend
Laurie Alice Eakes because she’s a fascinating lady, a good friend, and an historical wizard.
You, my friend, because your generous spirit and great writing have always been an inspiration to me.

At least I wouldn't have to wangle an invitation to that one, and I'd love to spend time with all of those women, who I love. 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?

Me, got it made? Ha. But I guess I thought the same thing long ago. “If only I could get published, the chaotic pieces of the world will all fall into some semblance of meaningful order.”


For me, it’s only gotten more difficult. I feel intense pressure to make each book I write better than the last one. Then there are the sales numbers to deal with. If even one book doesn’t sell well, there’s a chance I could not receive another contract. And don’t get me started on reviews. People can be very cruel out there. So, I guess to answer your question, the most difficult problem I have at this time in my career is writing better and better books that will sell really well. But you know what? I’m happy for the stress because it has taught me to lean on God more each day and to realize that He is sovereign and that His lovingkindness is better than life, and even better than being a published author!

I totally agree with you. Now tell us about the featured book?

The Blue Enchantress is an adventure romance set in the Caribbean in 1718. It is story of a young girl who by her own foolish actions has gotten herself into a very dangerous situation. Here’s a brief paragraph about the story:

Searching for love and value, Hope Westcott throws herself at any man who looks her way. Betrayed by the nobleman she longed to marry, Hope is being auctioned off as a slave at a distant port when Nathaniel Mason comes to her rescue and sells one of his prized ships in order to save her. Determined to erase the stain of his mother’s past, and angry at his loss, Nathaniel wants nothing to do with the stubborn, wanton girl and procures passage for them on the first ship home. But will he be able to resist the provocative beauty, and what is he willing to give up to save her? And will Hope find the love she seeks in God or will she fall back into her sordid ways?

Please give us the first page of the book.

The Blue Enchantress Chapter 1

“Gentlemen, what will ye offer for this rare treasure of a lady?” The words crashed over Hope like bilge water. “Why, she’ll make any of ye a fine wife, a cook, a housemaid”—the man gave a lascivious chuckle—“whate’er ye desire.”

“How ’bout someone to warm me bed at night,” one man bellowed, and a cacophony of chortles gurgled through the air.

Hope slammed her eyes shut against the mob of men who pressed on three sides of the tall wooden platform, shoving one another to get a better peek at her. Something crawled over her foot and she pried her eyes open, keeping her face lowered. A black spider skittered away. Red scrapes and bruises marred her bare feet. When had she lost her satin shoes—the gold braided ones she’d worn to impress Lord Falkland? She couldn’t recall.

“What d’ye say? How much for this fine young lady?” The man grabbed a fistful of her hair and yanked her head back. Pain, like a dozen claws, pierced her skull. “She’s a handsome one, to be sure. And these golden locks.” He attempted to slide his fingers through her matted strands, but before becoming hopelessly entangled in them, he jerked his hand free, wrenching out a clump of her hair. Hope winced. “Have ye seen the likes of them?”

Ribald whistles and groans of agreement spewed over her.

“Two shillings,” one man yelled.

Hope dared to glance across the throng amassing before the auction block. A wild sea of lustful eyes sprayed over her. A band of men dressed in garments stained with dirt and sweat bunched toward the front, yelling out bids. Behind them, other men in velvet waistcoats leaned their heads together, no doubt to discuss the value of this recent offering, while studying her as if she were a prize horse. Slaves knelt in the dirt along the outskirts of the mob, waiting for their masters. Beyond them a row of wooden buildings stretched in either direction. Brazen women emerged from a tavern and draped themselves over the railings, watching Hope’s predicament with interest. On the street, ladies in modish gowns averted their eyes as they tugged the men on their arms from the sordid scene.

Hope lowered her head. This can’t be happening. I’m dreaming. I am still on the ship. Just a nightmare. Only a nightmare. Humiliation swept over her, and an ever-rising dread as the reality of her predicament blasted its way through her mind.

She swallowed hard and tried to drown out the grunts and salacious insults tossed her way by the bartering rabble. Perhaps if she couldn’t hear them, if she couldn’t see them, they would disappear and she would wake up back home, safe in Charles Towne, safe in her bedchamber, safe with her sisters, just like she was before she’d put her trust in a man who betrayed her.

“Egad, man. Two shillings, is it? For this beauty?” The auctioneer spit off to the side. The yellowish glob landed on Hope’s skirt. Her heart felt as though it had liquefied into an equally offensive blob and oozed down beside it.

How did I get here? In her terror, she could not remember. She raised her gaze to the auctioneer. Cold eyes, hard like marbles, met hers, and a sinister grin twisted his lips. He adjusted his tricorn to further shade his chubby face from the burning sun.

“She looks too feeble for any real work,” another man yelled.

The sounds of the crowd dimmed. The men’s fists forged into the air as if pushing through mud. Garbled laughter drained from their yellow-toothed mouths like molasses. Hope’s heart beat slower and she wished for death.

Intriguing. I can hardly wait for my copy to arrive. How can readers find you on the Internet?

My website:
My blog:

Thank you, MaryLu for spending this time with us.

Readers, here's a link where you can order the book:

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back in two weeks on Saturday to see if you won.

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


4 Winners This Week!!

Amee is the winner of Montana Rose by Mary Connealy.

Sharon 54220 won Through the Fire by Shawn Grady.

By Darkness Hid by JIll Williamson will go to Nicole O'Dell.

Wendy will get Critical Care by Candace Calvert.

In order for you to receive the book you won, you must send me your mailing address. You can click on View My Complete Profile to find a link to my email, or you may click Contact Me on my web site:

Thursday, July 23, 2009

JESUS TAKE THE WHEEL - Stuart Migdon - Free Book

About the Author: Stuart Migdon

Stuart Migdon was raised in Reformed Judaism. He married and became a father at the age of 18. With no money and no one to help, he quickly determined he had to take control of his own life. He developed a "don't quit" attitude and set out to beat the odds that were already stacking up against him. While working a full time job to support his family, he also managed to graduate college in four years, and to do it with high honors. That same stubborn persistence propelled him to become a CPA and later a successful insurance agent. With a commitment to hard work and excellence, Stuart continued to achieve every goal that he set for his life. However, all the success in the world could not fill the emptiness that was growing within him.

In 1991, things began to change. He came to know Jesus as His Messiah and felt a strong desire to live a life that would really be pleasing to God. A life that he somehow knew was radically different than the one he had been living. With every ounce of his being, he was now determined to live that life.

Since then, Stuart has become an avid student of the Bible. Over the last five years, his thirst for more has led him into a detailed study of God's Word, and specifically the lives of the Bible's two central figures, Jesus and Moses. During this time he also began to realize that what had been driving him in his own study was more than just a personal quest for knowledge, it was actually a calling from the Lord. As a result, he began a new adventure as an author, and in 2008 published his first book, Jesus Take the Wheel: 7 Keys to a Transformed Life with God.

Today, Stuart is a successful Christian businessman and serves as an elder and biblical counselor at Calvary Chapel Old Bridge in New Jersey. Stuart's growing understanding of his own need to let Jesus take the wheel of his life, has equipped him for the many situations he faces in ministry today. In every area, he challenges those he encounters to begin living a transformed life by letting Jesus have His rightful place behind the wheel of their lives.

Stuart and his wife Jeanne have two adult children, Jennifer and Jason, and one grandson.

An Interview with Stuart Migdon

According to your bio, you are a Messianic Jew. Tell us your conversion story.

I was raised in Reformed Judaism, made my Bar Mitzvah at age 13 and was even confirmed in my Reformed Temple, playing the role of God in the class play! When I was 18 my girlfriend Jeanne got pregnant and we got married and had our daughter Jennifer a short time later. Suddenly, in addition to going to college full time I was working 50-60 hours a week to support my family. Money was tight, we were very poor and life was a struggle. I had no time for religion in my life and only focused on finishing college in four years, becoming successful and making a lot of money so I would never have to be poor again.

My life was consumed with striving for success and eventually I became physically, emotionally and mentally exhausted. In my quest for success I decided to track down the leading salesman for an insurance company I worked with. I hounded Ron for months to meet with me and he finally agreed. During the meeting he told me many things he did for success but the last thing he told me is that he prayed before each sales appointment. I told him I thought that was strange and because of my answer he reached under his desk and handed me "the book" which he told me was the Bible written in fourth grade language for anyone to understand, I took the Bible and decided that I was going to read the Old Testament which I did just about every day for three years. I was searching for God and I didn't really even know it.

Even though the Bible Ron gave me had the New Testament in it I never considered opening it; I was Jewish and Jewish people did not read the New Testament. About three years later at the age of 33 I walked into a meeting with a prospect of mine, looking to sell him some disability insurance. As I walked into Sal's office I noticed a Bible on his desk and asked him why it was there. He told me that he was going to be leaving his job as the controller of a very successful company to become a full time minister. I told him that I couldn't believe that he would leave such a good job to do this and I also told him that I had been reading the Bible for the last three years.

Sal asked me some questions and then he asked me if I could ever believe that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah. That was 17 years ago but I can still remember my response word for word. I told Sal that it would be easier to believe that I was a female then to believe that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah! Sal was surprised by my answer and asked me if he could pray for me. I told him no but he insisted. After making him explain exactly what he was going to do and say, I agreed to let him pray for me. Before I left, Sal invited me to his ordination as a minister which was scheduled in a month and to my surprise I agreed to go. I somehow felt drawn to go and I was even looking forward to it. During the service for Sal's ordination, I heard the gospel message for the first time in my life and I felt an irresistible desire to repent of my sins and receive Jesus as my Lord. I left my house that evening to go to the ordination a Jew who knew nothing about Jesus and I came home a Jewish believer in Jesus!

Most people would assume that when you began your relationship with the Messiah that Jesus was automatically in charge of your life. Did you find this to be true, or was it a struggle to keep Jesus in the driver's seat?

In the first few years as a Jewish believer I was fascinated by Messianic prophesy and I studied these prophesies regularly. I really enjoyed reading a prediction about the future coming of the Messiah in the Old Testament and then reading about the fulfillment of this prophesy in the life of Jesus. This study was strengthening my faith which was my daily prayer to God. However, in reading the Bible every day I realized that God desired for me to live a certain life for Him and I wanted to learn more about what that life was.

Before knowing Jesus I had read many self help books about how to live a successful life but none of the advice made sense to me anymore. Although I was changed by Jesus instantly, I was slowly learning what He required from me, how He wanted me to live for Him. I had lived such a "me" centered life before knowing Jesus, always thinking about how things would affect my life, that there was a lot of changing that needed to take place. I was a control person and so giving Jesus the wheel of my life was a difficult process. Fortunately the Bible is filled with examples of how to let Jesus take control of your life and the joy that it brings when you do!

What have you found to be a Christian's biggest obstacle in allowing Jesus to take the wheel?

The biggest obstacle Christians have in letting Jesus take the wheel is pride. We say that we have no pride but our actions speak differently. We think that we can control our lives and when we need God we call out to Him for help. The world around us is so "me" centered that we can easily be indoctrinated into believing the lie that we are good enough and able to be in control. In order to begin to let Jesus take the wheel, we must understand what it means to live in our relationship with God with childlike humility, which is the opposite of pride. That's why the book, Jesus Take The Wheel begins with understanding childlike humility and why it's so important to God and how to live it every day in our relationship with Him.

Are there practical tips you can briefly share that help Christians keep Jesus at the wheel?

The most important thing to do in keeping Jesus at the wheel is to recognize whether He is truly there in the first place. We often think He is at the wheel of our lives but when probed, we find He is either in the back seat or in the trunk. One of the best indications of determining whether Jesus is at the wheel is to take a look at what you worry about. If you are worrying about your children, your job, your finances, your health, your spouse or anything else for that matter, chances are that Jesus is not fully at the wheel. Once you recognize that you need to move over and let Jesus drive, you are ready for the journey necessary to allow Him to remain at the wheel. This comes in changing life patterns and actions to no longer imitate anything of the world around us but instead to imitate Jesus. It's the journey to self denial that leads to total joy in Jesus.

How do you hope to reach Jewish people with the message of this book?

I am a Jewish believer in Jesus. The book, Jesus Take The Wheel is written for the Christian audience who is looking for a closer relationship with God and all the joy that brings. Therefore the book is not specifically designed for Jewish people who do not know the Lord. However my life as a Jew before knowing Jesus is depicted in the book and my new life as a Jewish believer reveals a changed man, only changed by the sacrifice of the Messiah, Jesus Himself. Christians that read this book will be encouraged to tell their Jewish friends about the Jewish Messiah and be able to introduce them to a Jewish believer by recommending they read the book. What's also interesting is that one of the focal biblical characters written about in the book is Moses, the Most revered Jew of all time!

How can the readers find you on the Internet?

Readers, here's a link where you can order the book:

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. 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.

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


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

MENU FOR ROMANCE & RANSOME'S HONOR - Kaye Dacus - 2 Free Books

I'm very happy to welcome Kaye back with her two newest releases. Kaye, why do you write the kind of books you do?

My heart is, as it has been for more than twenty years, focused on writing light-hearted romances. But not just any romances. I like writing characters who represent a growing segment of the population that seems to be increasingly left out in Christian circles: women in their late-twenties, thirties, and early-forties who have never been married and who want to be loved and accepted for who they are, not pigeon-holed into a category, labeled, or, as happens most often, shoved to the side and ignored/forgotten about by their churches, coworkers, or even friends and family. I'm writing to the women who, like me, expected to be married before they turned twenty-five (-six, -seven, -eight . . .), but who may find themselves now in their mid- to late-thirties or forties and have never even had a date or meaningful relationship.

I'm writing for them (me, actually) so we can hang on to the hope of finding a well-adjusted, loving, marriage-minded Christian man out there somewhere and having a "happily ever after" ending with him (with the optimism that he may be closer than we realize). I'm writing for the woman who, like me, feels most alone when she goes to church and sees all the married/engaged couples and families sitting together; who has to endure the family-focused activities, Bible studies, Sunday school lessons, and sermons (if you've never noticed, start keeping track of how often your pastor talks about families and/or marriage); who begins to feel it isn't just the church that has pushed her aside and forgotten about her, but that maybe God has too.

You should find a church like mine where singles are just as important as everyone else, and their needs are ministered to in dynamic ways. Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?

It would have to be a tie between the day I received my Master’s degree and the day I got “the call” about my first book contract. Having dropped out of college at age 21 and then going back part-time while working full-time at age 29, I worked extremely hard for six years to finish what I’d started earlier in life. So walking across the stage, getting “hooded” and receiving my degree was one of the most thrilling and satisfying events in my life. And then having my master’s thesis go on to become my first published novel (Stand-In Groom) was almost like an extension of that joy, though an excitement and thrill all of its own.

That is really something to be proud of, for sure. How has being published changed your life?

The volume of e-mail I receive has increased! Mostly business-related e-mails, whether from people wanting to interview me or to see if I’ll donate a signed book for a giveaway they’re doing or from the editors/marketing/publicity/sales staff at the two publishing houses for which I write, with the occasional “fan” letter from readers. I don’t know that I would say being published changed my life, but that God changed my life to accommodate my being published. You see, in July 2008, I learned I was being laid-off from my full-time job as an editor with Ideals Publications/Guideposts. That was just a couple of months after I signed the contracts for books two and three of the Brides of Bonneterre series with Barbour. With every other publishing house in Nashville laying people off, and my seeming inability to get an interview for any kind of job (even administrative/executive assistant jobs, which I’d done for more than thirteen years before becoming an editor), it seemed like God was telling me He was giving me the dream job I’d been saying for years I wanted: to be able to support myself by freelancing (editing/copywriting) and writing novels.

Of course, I’d assumed it would happen only after several years’ careful planning and saving. But I took the leap of faith He asked from me. And in November, I received the three-book contract from Harvest House for The Ransome Trilogy, showing me that even though I had to follow somewhat blindly, as long as I was faithful to listen to Him, He’d be faithful to provide. So, being published has been part of God’s plan to change my life, to give me my heart’s desire.

What are you reading right now?

I just finished reading Georgette Heyer’s novel The Convenient Marriage, a historical romance set in the last quarter of the 18th Century. Since I’m starting to write the second book in my historical trilogy, Ransome’s Crossing, I’m about to start re-reading all of Jane Austen’s novels (especially focusing on Persuasion) as well as chapters here and there from C.S. Forrester’s Hornblower novels, Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey/Maturin novels, and Alexander Kent’s Bolitho novels to glean tidbits of research from these three masterful authors’ novels set on sea and filled with wonderful bits of information about the Royal Navy and its officers and ships.

What is your current work in progress?

I’m currently writing the second book in The Ransome Trilogy for Harvest House, Ransome’s Crossing:

To get to her secret fiancé in Jamaica, Charlotte Ransome disguises herself as a midshipman and joins the crew of one of the ships in the convoy led by her brother William. First Lieutenant Ned Cochrane has only known his captain’s younger sister for a brief time, but is sure she’s the wife he’s been praying for—except he’s about to leave for the Caribbean for at least one year.

An attack on the convoy gains Ned the promotion to commander he has long dreaded—especially once he discovers one of his midshipmen is actually Charlotte Ransome in disguise. After seeking Julia’s advice, Ned decides to keep Charlotte’s secret… and hopes to win her love. Charlotte will soon discover that losing her heart to Ned is not the greatest danger she’ll face on this Atlantic crossing.

(Readers, Julia is the heroine in Ransome's Honor.) What would be your dream vacation?

I would love to be able to spend a month in England. Between visiting all the sites of literary significance I’ve always read about, I’d love to spend time in Portsmouth (where Ransome’s Honor is set) as well as London, Oxford, and Yorkshire, enjoying the different cultures that can be found across England. Then, I’d love to visit the McLellan ancestral home in Kirkudbright, Galloway, Scotland (my mother’s side of the family) and explore the beautiful cities and landscapes (and castles!) of Scotland to see the land my ancestors came from.

How do you choose your settings for each book?

For the Brides of Bonneterre series, I used a fictional setting I’d been working with for many years before I even had an inkling of the characters or stories contained in those three novels. I started developing Bonneterre, Louisiana, when I was in college at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, and I stuck with it once I figured out that with a fictional city, I could incorporate features of all the different places I’ve ever lived or visited—and in such a way that if I misplaced something, or left out a detail of a setting, no one but I would ever know.

If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?

I would love to sit down with British screenwriter Andrew Davies, who adapted several of Jane Austen’s novels (most notably the Colin Firth version of Pride and Prejudice) for the screen. I have so many questions I’d love to ask him about certain decisions he made when adding to or subtracting from the original source materials. Also, he has a wonderful way with getting to the heart and soul of the characters through dialogue, that I’d love to hear him expound upon how he writes it.

What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?

Is a Facebook addiction considered a hobby? :-) As anyone who reads the Friday posts on my blog could tell you—I love movies and television. It’s not a far cry from reading and writing, because it’s just another way of getting lost in a good story. But I’m such a visually oriented person that no matter how many times I’ve watched a movie, I’m always catching new details with each subsequent viewing. Also, it’s the way I come up with new characters—I have a special affinity for secondary/background characters, because it’s usually the character’s story that goes untold in a movie or TV series that intrigues me the most.

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?

I am my most difficult writing obstacle. Now that I don’t have to work outside the home every day (though I do still have to commit almost as many hours each week to freelance work to make ends meet), there shouldn’t be anything standing in my way of being able to write “all day” right?

Wrong. I’m a professional procrastinator and completely lazy to the core of my being. So I have to struggle against my natural inclination to sloth (there’s a reason why it’s one of the “Seven Deadly Sins”) and call upon something else that’s deep-seated in the core of my being: a sense of professionalism with a strong work ethic. I have to make myself realize that meeting my self-set goals for daily word counts or getting a draft finished so that I have plenty of time for revisions/edits before it’s due is not only important for me in my professional life, it’s important to my own sense of self-worth. Because if I blow off my own goals and deadlines, I’m telling myself I’m not important.

What advice would you give to a beginning author?

I always give beginning authors the same advice I was given when I first started on the path toward publication: above all else, GET YOUR FIRST DRAFT FINISHED. With each manuscript we write, we’re learning important lessons about the craft of writing. With each manuscript we finish, we’re learning more about ourselves and what we can accomplish. And never, ever, ever forget that the most important thing is your story. Don’t let the pursuit of the “craft of writing” become more important than your storytelling ability. Write from the heart; don’t worry about craft when you’re composing. That’s what the revision process is for. Be true to your story and don’t write it thinking about possible publication. Write it for you, first and foremost.

Tell us about the featured books.

Menu for Romance is the second book in the Brides of Bonneterre contemporary romance series with Barbour Publishing.

After eight years of unrequited love, Meredith Guidry decides it’s time to move on, to try to find someone who’ll love her in return. So she makes a prayerful New Year’s resolution to meet someone new and end her single status by year’s end. And when the handsome contractor she hires to finish remodeling her house asks her out, it looks like her prayer may have been answered. But dating the handsome contractor doesn’t seem to do anything to lessen Meredith’s feelings toward a certain chef she works with every day.

Executive Chef Major O’Hara has foresworn relationships, knowing he could never saddle the woman he loves with a family situation like his. When he’s offered the opportunity of a lifetime—to open his own restaurant—he must weigh his family responsibilities and feelings for Meredith with the desire to move forward in his career. Should he leave his comfortable job—and Meredith—for this once in a lifetime chance? And can he create a menu for romance to win Meredith back before he loses her forever? Will God serve up a solution before it’s too late?

The first chapter can be read here:

Ransome’s Honor is Book 1 of The Ransome Trilogy, a romantic historical adventure series set in 1814.

When young Julia Witherington doesn’t receive the proposal for marriage she expects from William Ransome, she determines to never forgive him. They go their separate ways—she returns to her family’s Caribbean plantation, and he returns to the Royal Navy.

Now, twelve years later, Julia is about to receive a substantial inheritance, including her beloved plantation. When unscrupulous relatives try to gain the inheritance by forcing her into a marriage, she turns to the only eligible man to whom her father, Admiral Sir Edward Witherington, will not object—his most trusted captain and the man who broke Julia’s heart, William Ransome. Julia offers William her thirty-thousand-pound dowry to feign marriage for one year, but then something she never imagined happens: She starts to fall in love with him again.

Can two people overcome their hurt, reconcile their conflicting desires, and find a way to be happy together? Duty and honor, faith and love are intertwined in this intriguing tale from the Regency era.

The first chapter can be read here:

And Harvest House created a trailer for it:

How can readers find you on the Internet?

Readers can find me at my website (, on my Author Page at Facebook (, and on Shoutlife (

Thank you, Kaye, for spending this time with us.

Readers, here are links where you can order each of the books:

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of one of the books. 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.

If you’re reading this on Feedblitz, Facebook, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment. Here’s a link:


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

PEARL GIRLS - Margaret McSweeney

Today's blog is a little different. Introducing a book compiled by Margaret McSweeney with stories by well-known authors. Many of the authors are my friends or write some of my favorite books.

Meet Margaret!

MARGARET McSWEENEY lives with her husband, David and two teenage daughters in the Chicago suburbs. After earning a master's degree in international business from the University of South Carolina, Margaret moved to New York City to work at a large bank where she met David. She became a vice president in the corporate finance division of a New York City bank and worked there from 1986-1993. Margaret is the editor of Pearl Girls, author of A Mother's Heart Knows and co-author of Go Back and Be Happy. Charity and community involvement are very important to Margaret. She has served on the board of directors for WINGS (Women in Need Growing Stronger) for over six years.

Margaret has been featured on Greg Wheatly's "Prime Time America," TLN's "Aspiring Women," and LeSea's "The Harvest Show." Margaret writes freelance articles for The Daily Herald, the largest suburban Chicago newspaper. Notable interviews include Wolfgang Puck, Thomas Kinkade, Susan Branch and Dr. John Gottman.

For more information please visit

Pearl Girls:

Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace

After experiencing the death of both parents, Margaret McSweeney recognized the importance of community like never before. Through these difficult times in her life, she learned how God uses the gritty circumstances to conform us to the stunning image of Christ.

McSweeney also realized that she was not at all alone. It is for this reason that she decided to compile essays into an inspiring book: Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit Experiencing Grace. Through this collection, readers will be encouraged by the heartfelt writings that deal with loss and hardship in a real and honest way. Respected authors such as Shaunti Feldhahn, Melody Carlson, Debbie Macomber, Robin Jones Gunn and others help remind every woman they are not alone and that no circumstance is beyond the grace of God.

McSweeney uses the metaphor of a pearl in order to better describe the situations that ail us all. When an oyster takes in a peice of sand in order to create its coveted masterpeice, it is initially painful to the soft flesh of the creature. But after the pain, appears a clean, white symbol of simplicity, purity, and endurance that any woman would be proud to wear. McSweeney believes that each woman is a pearl and together, form a necklace of great worth. In this book, readers will discover community and encouragement: women are alone in neither their pain nor victories in life.

To find out more about Margaret, Pearl Girls, or her books check out her website at or her blog at

Stay informed about new Pearl Girl projects and books -- sign up for the Pearl Girls Newsletter here.
Here's a link where you can order Pearl Girls:
Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. 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.
If you’re reading this on Feedblitz, Facebook, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment. Here’s a link:

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A GIFT OF GRACE - Amy Clipston - Free Book

This is Amy's first time on this blog. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.

That’s a tough one. Jessica, the teenage niece who has trouble fitting into the Amish community, is close to my heart since I remember the feeling of not fitting in during my school days.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

I’ve been known to be a bit of a goof. I guess it would be when I hopped up on one of those carousels in front of a Kmart to ride it along with my oldest son, who must’ve been two at the time. I was wearing a little backpack purse, and it was scraped along the concrete wall, causing it to tear. My son thought I was cool, and my mom and I had a good laugh about that. And yes, I replaced that purse.

When did you first discover that you were a writer?

I wrote silly stories and shared them with a friend in elementary school and then got into writing fan fiction that included my favorite television characters and athletes in junior high through college. Those “books” I only revealed to a few close friends. I began calling myself a writer after college when I finally joined a writer’s group and decided to pursue a career.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.

I love a variety. On my bookshelf, you’ll find everything from Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum and Motor Mouth series, NASCAR romance by Pamela Britton, inspirational novels by Robin Lee Hatcher and Karen Kingsbury, and many Amish inspirational books.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?

Some days my life is utter chaos. Aside from writing, I work full-time. I have two awesome little boys and a dear, sweet husband on dialysis and awaiting a second kidney transplant. Beyond that, I’m a volunteer with the National Kidney Foundation. Writing is my stress reliever. Once the boys are in bed, I relax and power-up my laptop while my hubby tinkers in the garage with his latest car project.

How do you choose your characters’ names?

For my first book, I compiled a list of common Amish names and picked my favorites. Also, a couple of my characters, including Rebecca and Lindsay, are named after characters in the very first novel I ever finished.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?

My husband’s kidney failure has taught me a lot about what’s truly important in life, and I’m an advocate for organ and blood donation. I’m proud of being a blood donor and for signing up as an organ donor. I’m not a match for my husband, and, if we’re unsuccessful in finding him a match, I’m on board to give a kidney through the paired donor program in order to get a kidney for him.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?

Hands down, a spoiled house cat. I have three -- Molly, Ashlee, and Jet. They have the most pampered lives! Their only stress occurs when the bowls are empty.

What is your favorite food?

Popcorn and Diet Coke!

Tell us a little about your journey to publication.

I was writing romances and signed with my fabulous agent, Mary Sue Seymour, in 2005. After writing seven of those novels (yes, I said seven!), through my deep faith, I felt a calling to move to inspirational. I’m half-German, and my father immigrated to the United States with his parents and siblings in 1929. He once told me that the Amish speak the same dialect as our relatives, so I feel a connection to them. I’ve always had a great respect and fascination with their faith and simple lives. I began reading other Amish authors, and I was moved to create my own series. Mary Sue sent out my proposal, and Zondervan picked me up two months later.

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?

While working on book #2 in my Kauffman Amish Bakery Series, I contracted a horrific case of Writer’s Block after quickly banging out 100 pages. I commiserated to Becky Philpott, my fantastic development editor, and she sent me a detailed spreadsheet, outlining the chapter number, scene number, point of view, date, time, setting, and event. While I’m not usually that detailed with my outline or synopsis, the spreadsheet forced me to map out the book, scene-by-scene. That exercise forced my muse to return from her vacation, and I plotted the remainder of the book. The spreadsheet was a living document, meaning it changed as the book unfolded, but it kept me on track and focused.

What advice would you give to others who are trying to get their first book published?

Surround yourself with other writers. Join a group, such as American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America, attend local chapter meetings and sign up for on-line discussion loops. You’ll learn more than you can imagine from other writers, both published and unpublished. Also, it may sound cliché, but don’t give up. Rejection is heart breaking, but you’ll become a stronger writer every time to send out a query.

Tell us about the featured book?

The Kauffman Amish Bakery Series centers on the fictional Older Amish Kauffman family, who live in Lancaster County, PA. In book one, A Gift of Grace, Rebecca Kauffman's tranquil Old Order Amish life is transformed when she suddenly has custody of her two teenage nieces after her "Englisch" sister and brother-in-law are killed in an automobile accident. Instant motherhood, after years of unsuccessful attempts to conceive a child of her own, is both a joy and a heartache. Rebecca struggles to give the teenage girls the guidance they need as well as fulfill her duties to Daniel as an Amish wife.

Rebellious Jessica is resistant to Amish ways and constantly in trouble with the community. Younger sister Lindsay is caught in the middle, and the strain between Rebecca and Daniel mounts as Jessica's rebellion escalates. Instead of the beautiful family life she dreamed of creating for her nieces, Rebecca feels as if her world is being torn apart by two different cultures, leaving her to question her place in the Amish community, her marriage, and her faith in God.

Please give us the first page of the book.

Rebecca Fisher Kauffman’s pulse fluttered as the large SUV rumbled down the narrow rural road past the rolling farmland and green pastures dotted by heifers. The cows chewed their cud and nodded their greeting as if welcoming her back. The serenity of the lush, open fields intersected only by clusters of white farmhouses filled her soul with a peace she hadn’t felt since she’d left last month.

Pushing the cool metal button on the door, she cracked the passenger window open and breathed in the sweet, warm, moist air, free of exhaust from overcrowded city roads. The SUV negotiated a sharp bend, and Rebecca’s heart skipped a beat when the three-story farmhouse came into view. A smile crept across her lips.


The whitewashed, three-story, clapboard house stood humbly near the entrance to her family’s forty acres. The newly painted white picket fence was a stark contrast to the house’s green tin roof, speckled with brown rust that told of its age. The green window shades were halfway up, and the windows were cracked open to allow the springtime air to cool the house naturally.

A sweeping porch welcomed visitors entering the front, and a white barn, almost the size of the house, sat behind it.

How can the readers find you on the Internet?

You can find me at:,, and You can also find me on Facebook.

Thank you, Amy, for spending this time with us.

Readers, here's a link where you can buy A Gift of Grace:

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. 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.

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


Saturday, July 18, 2009

I Love Announcing Winners!!!

NeedANap2 is the winner of Deadly Intent by Camy Tang.

Winter is the winner of Bluegrass Blessing by Allie Pleiter.

Embrace_ThirtyOne is the winner of Return to Love by Betsy St. Amant.

Debbie Cavitt is the winner of Cranberry Hearts from Lena Nelson Dooley (me).

Please contact me with your mailing address. You can click View My Complete Profile to find a link to my email, or you can go to my web site - - to Contact Me.

If you're on Facebook, I invite you to come to my Official Fan Page and become a Fan.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

CRITICAL CARE - Candace Calvert - Free Book

I'm thrilled to be featuring so many debut authors this year. Welcome, Candace. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.

You’ll probably find a bit of my DNA there. I was an ER nurse for three decades, so writing CRITICAL CARE was like re-entering a world of sirens, stat pages, coffee and adrenalin highs, pressure-relieving humor, baggy scrubs . . . and heart-wrenching tragedy. Only this time I sent heroine Claire Avery in my place. But I also let her drink my favorite coffee, dance the country western Two Step, and fall in love with a great guy. So that’s fair, right?
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

Hmm, my middle name is Quirky. It may be a three-way tie between skydiving, swimming with stingrays, and dancing the limbo aboard a jet-powered catamaran. Or maybe climbing onto that camel at the pyramids, singing with the Newfoundland country band . . .
You sound like a very fun person to be around. When did you first discover that you were a writer?

I wrote plays for kids in the neighborhood, then discovered diaries and fell in love with journaling. I have scrawled versions of everything from JFK’s assassination to the 1969 moonwalk, to dozens of broken hearts . . . and happy endings. In school I was that kid who thought essay assignments were a reward.
I always loved essay questions on tests. Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.

In fiction, I enjoy mystery, suspense, humor, women’s fiction--a wide range, from authors like John Grisham to Anne Rivers Siddons and so many in between. Sara Gruen completely draws me in. I want highly textured prose, well-developed characters, and terrific dialogue, fast-pacing . . . an overall story of hope. In non-fiction, I love Beth Moore’s humor, warmth and honesty. Her energy floors me.

What other books have you written, whether published or not?

Falling Forward was the book-of-my-heart first novel--valuable in many ways, but gathering dust; probably the best place for it. A romantic comedy, Cruise Control, garnered awards and editorial interest but has not been published. My three ABA quirky cruise mysteries, the Darcy Cavanaugh series, are still available. Those titles are Dressed to Keel, Aye Do or Die, and Mai Tai to Murder. Yes, I had fun with nautical terms.
Yes, you did. How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?

I start each day with a centering quiet time that includes Bible study and other devotional reading. I also believe in the health (and sanity) benefits of exercise and deep belly laughs. And after all those hectic years in ER, I seek childish delight in small blessings.

How do you choose your characters’ names?

I choose names by sound and how they "fit" with a certain character. Occasionally I’ll honor a friend by using a derivative of his/her name. I once auctioned off a "cameo appearance" in one of my cruise mysteries for local charities, welcoming generous neighbors "onboard" as passengers. But I didn’t kill them of course.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?

I’m most proud of my children, who’ve grown in character, compassion, and faith despite some daunting struggles; and of my long career as an ER nurse. Touching the lives of so many people was an incredible honor, and it’s my dream to continue that service through my CBA writing career.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?

A horse, absolutely. My big bay mare, Winter Winds. No creature had a bigger heart, a softer eye . . . or was more thoroughly spoiled. I wallpapered her barn. Seriously. Ralph Lauren, the polo print.
What is your favorite food?

Appetizers. I love little bites of gorgeous food: bleu cheese, crab, smoked salmon, fresh pears, strawberries. But popcorn’s good too--movie theatre stale and dripping with butter.

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?

Haven’t overcome it, but would be living a well-rounded life despite writing demands: time for exercise, play, my marriage, family, and spiritual journey. It’s tough because I’m a bit obsessive and goal oriented. Think: "Monk."
What advice would you give to an author just starting out?

Read a few good motivational and writing structure books (I love Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird and Bill Johnson’s A Story is a Promise); join groups like Faith Hope & Love (RWA) and ACFW for support, networking, instruction. Read the kinds of books you want to write. Then make writing a daily discipline. Most of all: enjoy the journey; that’s the biggest reward.
What would you like to tell us about the featured book?
My Tyndale publicist tags CRITICAL CARE "medical hope opera," and I think it fits perfectly with this generous quote from bestselling author Harry Kraus, MD: "Finally, a reason to turn off ER and Grey's Anatomy. Here is a realistic medical drama with heart. Candace Calvert gets it right with page-turning prose, a heart-warming love story, and hope."

Based in part upon my own experience as a peer counselor for Critical Incident Stress, CRITICAL CARE offers readers a chance to "scrub in" on the exciting world of emergency medicine, along with charismatic characters, pulse-pounding action, tender romance, humor, suspense--and a soul soothing prescription for hope.

From the back cover:
"Lord . . . heal my heart, move me forward."

After her brother dies in a trauma room, nurse Claire Avery can no longer face the ER. She’s determined to make a fresh start--new hospital, new career in nursing education--move forward, no turning back. But her plans fall apart when she’s called to offer stress counseling for medical staff after a heartbreaking day care center explosion. Worse, she’s forced back to the ER, where she clashes with Logan Caldwell, a doctor who believes touchy-feely counseling is a waste of time. He demands his staff be as tough as he is. Yet he finds himself drawn to this nurse educator . . . who just might teach him the true meaning of healing.
How can readers find you on the Internet?

Please visit my website @ I’m determined to give it the welcoming feel of a nurses’ lounge after a tough shift: cyber coffee, laughter, and heart-warming conversation. I’ll offer blog posts, medical tidbits, recipes, book excerpts and updates, research photos, contests, and more. Push aside that copy of Gray’s Anatomy and the discarded stethoscope, grab a cup of coffee, prop feet up your weary feet, and join me, please. We’re taking a break.

Thank you, Candace, for spending this time with us.

Readers, here's a link where you can order Critical Care:

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. 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.

If you’re reading this on Feedblitz, Facebook, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment. Here’s a link: