Sunday, August 22, 2010

CHRISTMAS MAIL-ORDER BRIDES - Susan Page Davis, Vickie McDonough, Therese Stenzel, Carrie Turansky - 3 Free Books

Since my Love Finds You in Golden, New Mexico, is a mail-order bride story, I've been looking forward to featuring this novella team. Welcome, Susan, Vickie, Therese, and Carrie. I'm going to interview you one at a time starting with Susan.

How did your story for the collection come about?

I think Vickie came up with this one, so I’ll let her or one of the others answer this.

How do you celebrate Thanksgiving?

Traditionally, we’ve had a large, extended-family get-together, first at my parents’ and later at one of my sisters’ houses or my house. Now we’ve moved a long distance from my siblings. Our parents are both gone, so I’m not sure what we’ll do this year. Probably start our own traditions.

Which is your favorite holiday, Thanksgiving or Christmas?

Christmas. I love the nativity story and all of the buildup, and also the contemplation and loving gestures that come out of that.

How do you celebrate Christmas?

This year we will probably gather as many of our children and grandchildren as can come to our house. We do gifts under the tree and stockings. I hope we’ll be involved in some church programs and outreach. It’s also a time to make contact with old friends.

Tell us about your family.

Jim and I have six children and six grandchildren. Three of our children are married, and they are far flung. The two youngest are teens living at home, and the other single gal lives and works in another state.

What is your current Work In Progress?

I am finishing up Love Finds You in Prince Edward Island, set in 1860, for Summerside Press. It’s a romance set against the royal tour of Prince Albert Edward, who was Queen Victoria’s son and later became King Edward VII. His visit to Prince Edward Island stirred up things among the islanders, you can be sure.

How can my readers find you on the Internet?

Visit my Web site at:

Thanks, Susan. Now we'll talk to Vickie. How did your story for the collection come about?

If I’m remembering right, I had a novella from a prior collection that had been rejected. I really felt was a good story and I wanted give it a second chance. I also had an idea about a mail-order brides novella collection and started recruiting a team. I’m delighted that three of my friends decided to join me in this collection.

My story idea was originally for a Shotgun Wedding proposal, but it was rejected since all of Barbour’s novella collections must center around Christmas now. I reworked my story to make it fit. Here’s a blurb about my novella:

THE PRODIGAL GROOM by Vickie McDonough

Jolie Addams is 18 and must leave the orphanage she grew up in. The headmaster has arranged for her to work for a lecherous benefactor. Frantic, she decides to become a mail-order bride to escape what she fears would be a dreadful existence. But on the way to Nevada, her stage is robbed. She and a wounded passenger are stranded. They are rescued the next day, but Jolie’s intended refuses to marry her after she spent the night alone with Clay Jackson. She and Clay are forced to marry at the end of a shotgun. Is it possible a relationship can blossom and love can grow from such an awful beginning?

I was one of the people in that shotgun wedding proposal. I guess I should get my story back out. How do you celebrate Thanksgiving?

We always invite in a turkey to dinner. Now, I’m not confessing if that’s a bird or one of my boys. :-) I cook my actual turkey—not my kids—in one of those oven bags, and it’s fast and simple. The turkey comes out perfect each time. With luck, all four of our boys will be home, my oldest brings his wife and daughter. My mom is usually there, and sometimes my mother-in-law and my husband’s brother. My husband Robert gives a special blessing and then we have a great time around the table and usually go around and tell what we’ve been thankful for over the past year. It’s a special time since it’s hard to get our four boys together now that they’re grown. Afterwards, we clean up and collapse on the couch for a while and talk (the men usually sleep) and later, the guys usually gather around the table for a game of Shanghai Rummy. It was my dad’s favorite card game, and it’s almost like a tribute to him when the kids play. And I can tell you, having a four-year-old again sure makes the holidays more fun.

Yeah, my great grandson just turned three, so he's a lot of fun at holidays. Which is your favorite holiday, Thanksgiving or Christmas?

I really dread all the shopping involved with Christmas, but it’s still my favorite holiday. I enjoy all the lights decorating houses and the Christmas songs on the radio and TV, especially the Christ-centered ones. Every year I have a wrap-a-thon. The past few years since I’ve been busy with writing deadlines, I’ve recruited my husband and boys to help. They even wrap their own presents sometimes and don’t even know it because I’ve put them in generic boxes. :-) Sure saves me a lot of time. I know Christmas has become very commercialized, but the truth is, it’s the celebration of Christ’s birth. Without Him we wouldn’t have Christmas. We wouldn’t have salvation.

On a side note, I’m on a personal campaign to change the abbreviation of X-mas to t-mas (looks better when hand-written). I know there are times you need to abbreviate the word “Christmas” but I refuse to do so by X-ing out Christ. So I use a small “t” which resembles a cross instead. I hope y’all will join me in putting Christ back in Christmas.

How do you celebrate Christmas?

Christmas is a time of family for us. I like giving lots of presents when I can, granted these include necessaries like socks and undies. We use a very pretty artificial tree so that we can have our house decorated for a long while. We normally set up the tree the weekend after Thanksgiving, and I spend that week getting the other decorations out. We no longer fill the kids’ stocking but we still hang them on the mantel. I have all kinds of snowmen decorations and ones of Baby Jesus, and the whole nativity scene. We go to church and sometimes visit other churches that are having special concerts or Christmas plays and enjoy the lovely Christmas songs which remind us of the importance of Christ’s birth.

Tell us about your family.

Boys R Us – That was my tagline a number of years. My husband, Robert, and I will have been married 35 years in October. We have four sons ranging in age from 32 to 19. Our oldest son, Brian, is married to Meridith, and they have the world’s most precocious four-year-old daughter, Hailey. Next comes Adam, who is a computer geek, then Eric, who is a licensed masseuse and a soldier in the National Guard. Prayers are appreciated for him as he leaves in October for his third tour of duty. He’ll be working in a post office in Egypt as part of the National Peacekeeping Force. Last comes Sean, our youngest. He’s a math lover and is preparing to start his second year of college where he’s studying to be an electrical engineer. It’s been fun learning about personality types as I learn more about writing. Two of my sons are super strong Alpha males and two are Betas. The two Alphas tend to hang together more with each other as do my two Betas. Kind of fun to watch all their interactions and different personality quirks. Now that I’m learning body language, it’s even more interesting. :-)

That's another perk of being an author. What is your current Work In Progress?

 I’m finishing up that last book in my Texas Boardinghouse Brides series. It’s called Finally A Bride. For those who are following the series, this book will be about Jack, grown up. She still gets into trouble but a trouble of a different sort. Also, there a couple of folks who return to Lookout and cause all kinds of problems.

Second Chance Brides, book two in this series, releases September 1st. I know there are some people eager to read it and see what happens to the mail-order brides leftover from the Bride contest in book one.

Yes, we have Second Chance Brides scheduled on this blog. I can hardly wait to read it. How can my readers find you on the Internet?  (my webpage)  (I’m a monthly contributor here)
I’m also on Facebook, Twitter, Good Reads, and LinkedIn

Thanks so much for inviting us to visit your blog, Lena!

My pleasure, Vickie. Now we're going to talk to Therese. How did your story for the collection come about?

I read a lot of stories of mail-order brides in the old west. The reality of two strangers marrying was amazing, and I wondered about the secrets they brought into the marriage.

How do you celebrate Thanksgiving?

We go out to eat. Cooking all day in the kitchen while everyone else is relaxing and enjoying their “holiday” is no fun for me.

Which is your favorite holiday, Thanksgiving or Christmas?


How do you celebrate Christmas?

I love to decorate for the holidays. I love to do Christmas cards. I love to buy gifts. I do cook for Christmas :-)

Tell us about your family.

I’m married to Neal and I have three kids, Jonathan, Benjamin, and Olivia.

What is your current Work In Progress?

A Regency historical set in a tiny hamlet in England.

You always did like to write Regencies, didn't you? How can my readers find you on the Internet?

Now we'll visit with Carrie. How did your story for the collection come about?

I believe Vickie McDonough and Susan Page Davis came up with the idea of mail-order brides traveling out west on the Transcontinental Railroad to meet their future husbands. We all did some research and chose a different state for our setting that was on the path of the railroad in the 1880’s. As we brainstormed and shared ideas, the stories developed and came together.

How do you celebrate Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. We celebrate with a special meal at our home and include as many family members as we can round up. I order a turkey from a local grower and prepare some other traditional dishes such as green beans with almonds, mashed potatoes, homemade rolls, and pumpkin cheesecake squares. One fun tradition we enjoy is making seven-layer salad that is decorated on top with a unique design each year. We use red, green, and yellow pepper cut up like mosaics pieces to create the design. Sometimes the pattern relates to an event that year or is just an artistic design.

Which is your favorite holiday, Thanksgiving or Christmas?

Christmas is also very special at our house. Our church holds a Christmas Eve candlelight service and then has a very festive buffet afterward. This is a special time with many friends and family returning home and sharing in the celebration.

How do you celebrate Christmas?

We enjoy that time with our church family on Christmas Eve, then we are up early on Christmas morning to open stockings and have a special breakfast that always includes my homemade cinnamon rolls. We open gifts after that, call all our family members who live in other states, and then have dinner with some dear family friends. Often we will watch a holiday movie or play games together in the evening. Scrabble is one of our favorites.

I'd love to come for the cinnamon rolls and Scrabble. Tell us about your family.

I am blessed with a wonderful family. Scott and I have been married for over thirty years. We have five young adult children. The oldest two are married. My oldest son and his wife have three children ages 6, 4, and 5 months, and they are a delight! All our kids were homeschooled for a number of years, and we also spent a year in Kenya as missionaries. Those two things had a big impact on our family. My oldest son and his wife are in ministry in Kauai, and my oldest daughter and her husband work in Africa at a small mission hospital. Our younger son is in the Marines, and our two youngest daughters work full-time and live at home.

What is your current Work In Progress?

I am currently working on a proposal for HER HEART’S SONG, the first in a new series for Steeple Hill Love Inspired. It is about a young woman who dreams of playing her flute in a symphony orchestra, but her plans are on hold while she helps her widowed grandmother manage her Christian bookstore. Then a charming photographer comes into her life, and she must decide if she will cling to her old dream or embrace a new one with him.

Sounds like a book I'd want to read. Let me know when you have a pub date. How can my readers find you on the Internet?

Please stop by my website: . I have info on all my books including my newest Love Inspired novel SEEKING HIS LOVE, which comes out 9/28/10. You’ll also find some fun photos, recipes, help for aspiring authors, reviews, and other interviews.

Thanks, Lena!!

And special thanks to all of you for stopping by the blog.

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

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 6 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

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


Cindy W. said...

Oh, I love Christmas stories and this book of novellas sounds like a dream to me. I also love the cover art on this book. I would love to win a copy so thank you for giving me a chance to win a copy.

Many blessings,
Cindy W.


Oldone008 said...

I would love to win a copy please. :-)

Patsy said...

These books sound really good. Love reading about Christmas time. It reminds me of snuggling up with a book on a cold winter day. Thanks for giving away copies. Would love to read them.

scottsgal said...

Please count me in! I'm already scouting Christmas books to have on hand to read this season! This one is now on it.
msboatgal at

Merry said...

I love mail-order brides, so this sounds wonderful to me. Please include me, thanks!

karenk said...

please count me in...thanks :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Susan Page Davis said...

Hello, ladies! I loved writing my story for this collection, especially since I got to write about Amelia Mayberry, the woman running the Matrimonial Society. She brought happiness to a lot of people!

wmmahaney said...

I love Christmas books and these sound great.

Carrie Turansky said...

Hi Friends,
Thanks for your comments! We all enjoyed writing a story that includes Christmas celebrations. In my novella, A Trusting Heart, the heroine is originally from Sweden and she brings some fun Swedish Christmas traditions with her when she travels to Wyoming as a mail-order bride. Hope you win a copy or purchase a copy. I think you will enjoy it!

Stop by my website for more info about how they celebrated Christmas in the 1880s.


Bakersdozen said...

I just purchased my first two books from Susan Page Davies and have heard of the other authors. I would love to read this book. vidomich(at)yahoo(dot)com

Ellen said...

I enjoy Carrie Turansky's writing immensely. Sure would like to win this book!

rubynreba said...

Love to be entered for this great giveaway.

Vickie McDonough said...

Lena, Thanks so much for hosting us this week! We appreciate it.

Also, thanks to everyone who's commented. This is an interesting Christmas collection, because you get to see four different areas of the western frontier, plus four mail-order bride stories, that are all connected by Mrs. Mayberry's Matriomonial Society. Hope you get a chance to pick up a copy.


My favorite holiday is Thankgiving which I enjoy with all the family. I love to read about mail order bride.


Katrina said...

I just love that the holidays are around the corner....would love to read this one!

Katie G. said...

Please enter me! I have always liked reading about mail-order brides. :)

God bless!

~katie G.

jenmmcclure said...

I enjoy reading these kinds of books. Thanks for the chance to read them.

EllyBean said...

This would be the perfect time to start reading some great Christmas books! Thanks for the chance to win!

erinlowmaster at gmail dot com

lotus82 said...

Wow...three great authors, wouldn't this be a treat to win?? Thanks for the opportunity.


barbjan10 said...

Lena, I enjoyed your charming interview with these lovely ladies. This is a wonderful book, I'm sure, with the combined efforts of different sweet Christmas stories. I look forward to reading them all and I'm already in the Christmas spirit. Please add my name to the giveaway and thanks ladies for offering it. I hope I win...and I always share my books, so they get around to friends and family to enjoy.

Merry Christmas,
Barb Shelton
barbjan10 at tx dot rr dot com

cheryl c said...

This would be the perfect book for me to read because I love Christmas stories AND mail-order bride stories. Thanks so much for a chance to win a copy.
castings at mindspring dot com

Ausjenny said...

Oh please enter me I have loved the look of this book from when I first heard about it from Susan, I love christmas novellas.
Thanks for the cool interviews also.

Brenda said...

Would love to read the book, love stories about mail order brides!!

dancealert at aol dot com

Robyn said...

This sounds like three great novellas in one book.

coolestmommy2000 at gmail dot com

Theresa N. said...

I love reading Christmas stories. It's my most favorite time of the year.
Theresa N

Susan Page Davis said...

When my author copies arrived and I saw how beautiful they looked "in person," it put me right in the Christmas spirit.

Simply Stacie said...

Please count me in.

misskallie2000 said...

I adore Christmas Stories and this book sounds like a wonderful Christmas book to read. Combine the Christmas stories with Mail Order Brides and you have a winner. I love the cover.
Ladies, thanks for the great interview and stopping by to chat with us.

Lena, thanks for hosting this giveaway and the opportunity to enter.

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

Debra's Reading Corner! said...

I love Christmas Stories!! "Christmas Mail-Order Brides" is one of the books on my list, to buy for the upcoming holiday season:) Thanks for a chance to win a copy!


Cherie J said...

Wonderful interview! I love Christmas stories and this sounds like a great collection of stories to get you in the mood. Please enter me in the drawing. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Please enter me.

ebeandebe at gmail dot com

grannyvon said...

It is close to 100 degrees today at my house, its hard to think about Christmas. Let me win it and maybe it will "kool" me off! Thanks for the chance to win.

Nancye said...

This sounds like a great book! Thanks for the chance.

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

K said...

Yay! Christmas season AND mail-order brides! Two of my favourite things to read about! :)

apple blossom said...

cool please include me in this drawing. thanks

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

A J Hawke said...

There is something intriguing with the concept of a mail-order bride. And then add in Christmas and you can't go wrong.

Please enter me.

A J Hawke

Maureen said...

I really enjoy reading Christian Fictional Christmas stories, and adore Mail Order Brides. Will be reading this one!!
Thank You!

Judylynn said...

I'd love to win this book. Please enter me! Thank you.


peachykath said...

I love christmas stories, can't wait to read this one. I've already added it to my list of christmas books to get this year. Please enter me in the drawing for this book.