Wednesday, August 11, 2010

SEASIDE ROMANCE - Tamela Hancock Murray, Darlene Franklin, Lynette Sowell - 2 Free Books

I've been looking forward to featuring this book on the blog. All three of the authors are good friends of mine. Welcome, Tamela, I love your new picture. Did you enjoy working with the other authors in the collection?

Darlene, Lynette, and I have been friends for a long time. Since each novel stands alone and the stories aren’t interconnected, we didn’t work closely together on this particular collection. However, I am thrilled that my work is appearing in this collection with their stories!

I understand you have in-laws living in New England. Can you tell us about the region?

My husband was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. His father served as a minister for many years and they lived all over the region. We have visited my husband’s immediate and extended family often. The New England countryside is lovely, and of course their history is rich. My in-laws currently live in Connecticut near the Noah Webster House Museum, and we can easily reach the Mark Twain House and Museum as well.

New England is a special area, a wonderful region to visit when the opportunity arises. As you might imagine since they have a grand reputation for autumn leaves, I recommend a fall visit. If you go in winter, you’ll find plenty of snow. Lots of people love skiing in New Hampshire. Usually summers are mild, but they are having a hot one at present. Spring brings lush greenery to the region thanks to the generous snowfalls God sends in winter.

What do you like most about this collection?

I like that it centers in a region where Christian romances don’t often take place. Each couple in the set is special. I enjoyed writing mine, because it really is a Cinderella story. And who doesn’t love those?

I love Cinderella stories, too. What book are you currently writing?

Since I am a full-time literary agent with Hartline Literary, I write fiction very seldom at present. Perhaps I might be persuaded to write a novella in the future, but as of now, I have no novel brewing.

Tell us a little about your family.

I live in Northern Virginia with my hero, who doesn’t miss the harsh New England winters. Our teenager is still at home, and we are enjoying these precious last years with her before she strikes out on her own. Our eldest daughter will soon be returning to the U.S. from teaching English at an enrichment school. We look forward to seeing her.

What is the first page of your story in the collection?

Providence, RI

Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. Proverbs 31:10


Five-year-old Becca Hanham could not go home until she sold enough lucifers to buy bread. She pulled a ragged shawl around her tiny shoulders, but the motion did little to ward off the cold of a December evening in Providence. Standing by the White Horse Tavern, she heard piano music, laughter, and singing from within. No wonder each night Daddy escaped to the light and warmth of such a place. At home, Mommy always looked sad and Becca’s brothers and sisters filled their cramped rented rooms with yelling and crying. Still, Becca yearned to go back. Whistling in the night that hid secret dangers, wind bit her bare legs.

She peered down the familiar street of Providence, hoping for customers. At the first cross street, a tall man wearing a top hat and unblemished outer coat walked alongside a woman donned in a fur-trimmed cape. Looking into each other’s eyes, they laughed and talked as they approached.

“What would it be like to be so happy?” Becca wondered.

Soon the couple drew close enough to hear her. “Lucifers, sir?” Her hand shivered as she held the matches out to him.

He shook his head.

Knowing better than to pose her question to the lady, Becca set her gaze on the street and returned the lucifers to the small reed basket hanging from the crook of her arm.

“The poor little thing,” she heard the woman mutter as they kept strolling. “Oh, Thomas, can’t you buy some to help her? Your servants tend many fireplaces at your estate.”

“You are too kindhearted, Elizabeth. If I bought goods from every street urchin, I’d soon be living alongside them. And so would you, after we’re wed. You wouldn’t want that, would you?” Even his thick topcoat didn’t hide a shudder.

The woman glimpsed back at Becca. “No, I suppose not.”

The first time Becca heard similar observations, she felt a bite deeper than the cold, but since then she had grown too resilient to let such comments bother her. Why should anyone want to change places with her? A quick look at her reflection in a dark window confirmed that a washed face and clean clothes couldn’t conceal her ragamuffin status.

Another couple, this time appearing to be mother and son, approached. She held out her wares and offered them for sale, but they kept their gazes from touching her.

The little girl fought discouragement. “If I can sell but a few more, I’ll have enough money. Oh, it is so cold! Father in Heaven, please send me a buyer soon.” She peered at the matches in her basket. If only there were a fireplace with blazing logs nearby. Then she could keep warm. But the nearest fireplace burned in the tavern, and children weren’t welcome there.

Where can the readers find you on the Internet?

I can be found at  and also . Hartline Literary has a blog at

Lena, thank you for this interview. I really appreciate your love and support concerning my career.

And I love having you on my blog. I can hardly wait to see you in Indianapolis in about a month.
And now we welcome, Darlene Franklin. Darlene and I have worked on several projects together. What contribution did your story make to the collection?

Beacon of Love is the first story in the collection, and the earliest historically.

Did you enjoy working with the other authors in the collection?

Yes. Our three manuscripts were due during a time that I was recuperating from knee surgery. I turned my manuscript in, and Tamela and Lynette picked up the ball and ran with it. Good co-authors and friends!

Did it take a lot of interaction?

Our stories each stand alone, so we didn’t need a lot of interaction.

Have you ever been to Rhode Island?

I’ve passed through there once or twice. Does that count? I have lived on Maine’s rocky coast, and I drew on that experience to describe the dangers the citizens of the island of Capernaum faced at sea.

How was the setting chosen?

We knew we wanted to write about Rhode Island for the Heartsong state series. I decided on my specific setting when I learned about the destruction of the Point Judith lighthouse during the Great Gale of 1815. Lighthouses! Hurricanes! Story ideas began dancing in my head.

What do you like most about this collection?

Rhode Island is the tiniest state in the Union, yet it is full of fascinating history. We could have written the entire series about the hurricane (flood waters reached the capitol city, Providence), but Lynette especially wanted to write about the gilded era in Newport.

What book are you currently writing?

I just finished the rough draft of my third Vermont book, Love’s Raid, inspired by the northernmost battle of the Civil War, St. Albans’ Raid. When robbers strike the bank in nearby Maple Notch, is it the work of Confederate soldiers—or a copycat crime? I’ll be editing the manuscript between now and first of next month, but I’ve set aside this week to develop two book proposals.

Tell us a little about your family.

Do I start with the losses (father, mother, and daughter) over the past two years, or with the birth of my grandchildren?! I moved to Oklahoma to be near my son; I love being a grandma to three beautiful girls and a baby boy on his way in September.

I also recently heard from a distant cousin that I didn’t know existed ... and learned I have a large number of “Sparks cousins” across the country. I look forward to getting to know them.

What is the first page of your story in the collection?

Waves taller than a man and blacker than midnight curled over Sam’s head and foamed white at the crest like a mad dog’s mouth, ready to devour anything in their path. One small wooden boat could not survive such a storm.

Papa knelt in the stern, holding his hand over his eyebrows as if to clear his vision of the rain that obliterated the shore near Capernaum.

Turn back. Sam wanted to shout the words, but no sound came out of his mouth.

“We’ve seen worse.” Papa placed his hand on Sam’s shoulder. “Join me on the oars.”

Sam sat next to Papa on the seat, hundreds of dead cod soaking his shoes, his oil coat, and his very skin with their smell. Why had Papa ever given up his farm for the sea? Because fish were abundant and New England summers short, that was why.

“Pull, son.” Sam strained at the oars. His puny, fourteen-year-old shoulders could not Papa’s. He wished he could drink an elixir of sea water that would grow him into a giant in an instant—a giant who could power the boat, walk through the ocean if need be to get them to safety.

But he remained his normal, gangly self, his body not yet accustomed to his newfound height, hands more acquainted with the quill of the schoolroom than a fishing boat’s oars. Nevertheless, he pulled with all his might.

Sam shut out everything except cycling the oars, dipping them in and out of the water, riding up the waves before crashing back into the sea. He couldn’t tell if they had rowed for ten minutes or an hour, if they were approaching the shore or riding out further into the sea. The storm colored the sky a constant gray, whether twilight or deepest night. Lightning spun through the clouds, stirring up the wind. Thunder cracked across the pounding waves. At the top of the next wave, lightning gave him a glimpse of the shore.

The treacherous, rocky shore that every sailor must avoid lay only yards from their little boat.

“No, Papa, no!”

Where can the readers find you on the Internet?

They can find me at my blog ( ), which includes monthly book giveaways. I also contribute to http:/ .

Thank you, Darlene, for visiting with us again.
Now we welcome Lynette Sowell. What contribution did your story make to the collection?

All That Glitters is set in the Gilded Age of Newport, Rhode Island, among the mansions built by the barons of the Industrial Revolution, with names like Vanderbilt and Astor. It was quite addicting to research the Gilded Age, and especially fun to read The New York Times from 1895.

I also discovered a heroine who had all the material things she needed or could ever dream of, but her choices were very, very limited. My heroine, Francesca, faces her first summer “out” in society. With her scheming mother, the attentions of a French count, and an old friend’s return to Newport, it turns out to be a very eventful summer.

Did you enjoy working with the other authors in the collection?

I certainly did. I’ve known Darlene and Tamela for years. Not only are they talented authors, but they’re wonderful to work with. Preparing this book proposal was a joy, and even more so when we found out we’d sold the collection.

 Did it take a lot of interaction?

Not as much as in some collections, but I liked having the others’ input as we crafted our proposals. Our novels might be set in the same state, but our three heroines all lead very different lives. From a lighthouse keeper’s daughter, to a Providence housemaid, to a Gilded Age debutante, our heroines each face unique challenges of life, love, and faith.

Have you ever been to Rhode Island?

Yes, most of my family lives in New England, and my sisters are big fans of Newport, where my novel is set. The Newport mansions always have fascinated me, and the lives that their owners led.

I had a friend who went there when her husband had to go for business. She loved the mansions. How was the setting chosen?

For me, Newport was a natural choice with its mansions and unique history. I really enjoyed researching the historic homes and the families who lived in them during the summertime.

What do you like most about this collection?

Even though all three novels are set in Rhode Island, this collection has three very different stories in three very different settings, with three strong heroines. I think each book captures the flavor of Rhode Island as well.

What book are you currently writing?

I’m preparing another historical proposal, this time set in either Texas or Wyoming. I still have to work out a few kinks in that, but the characters have really captured my attention. The heroine is also a privileged young woman like my heroine in All That Glitters, but not quite as wealthy, and the hero is a bounty hunter. So far my working title is The Schoolmarm’s Impostor.

Tell us a little about your family.

I live in Central Texas with my husband of fifteen years. Our kids are both raised and have moved out on their own within the past year, so my husband and I have been getting used to the empty nest. It’s been an adjustment, but we’re learning to enjoy it.

I loved it when the last child got married. James and I enjoyed the freedom in the house, but all but one of my kids and grandkids live in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, so we see them often. What is the first page of your story in the collection?

Paris, May 1895

"Miss, I simply cannot do this.” Francesca Wallingford’s maid frowned at her hands, clad in Francesca’s second pair of silk gloves. “All will know I am not—”

“Nonsense.” Francesca glanced out the carriage window at the Paris evening. The gaslights beckoned them, and the party awaited. Stuffy, pretentious, and thoroughly uninteresting. Until they arrived, of course. “Elizabeth, you shall remember your lessons and be the pride of my heart this evening. Imagine, they will wonder who this most charmante mademoiselle is who appeared suddenly this season along with Miss Francesca Wallingford. And we shall laugh at them all later.”

“If I am discovered. . .” Elizabeth touched her throat.

“That will not happen. I assure you that your natural grace will be evident; and not everyone speaks French, so your limitations there should only prove the more engaging.” At last, the carriage drew near to the grand house where the latest in a series of balls would keep them dancing and frolicking like so many peacocks until dawn peeked through the tall windows of the ballroom. But tonight, Francesca would find a measure of interest in watching Elizabeth’s venture into society.

Elizabeth’s hair had never known the heat of an iron, much as the young woman had spent hours helping curl Francesca’s own tresses. And Francesca had no skill in curling hair, yet somehow she had managed to curl Elizabeth’s hair into a passable style. Although Francesca’s robin’s egg blue gown—of last season—had been too long for Elizabeth’s more diminutive frame, the two of them had managed to shorten the gown and transform it into this year’s fashion. No one would be the wiser, especially since Mother remained at home with yet another headache.

“Your mother will not approve,” Elizabeth said as if in response to Francesca’s pondering.

“Ah, but she knows my brother and his wife will be present this evening, and it is not scandalous in the least for me to travel with my maid.” She tried not to wince at the mention of Elizabeth’s true station in the Wallingford household.

Where can the readers find you on the Internet?

I have a web site,, but readers are also welcome to find me on Facebook where I enjoy commenting on writing and life in general. I love hearing from readers!

Thank you for coming by, Lynette. I loved the first page of your book.
Readers, here's a link to the book. By using it when you order, you'll 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.


Katrina said...

Exactly the time of book I enjoy...would love to win!

Patsy said...

Book sounds great. Count me in on the giveaway.

Coolestmommy said...

I enjoyed meeting all three of you authors through the interviews. Sounds like a great read.

coolestmommy2000 at gmail dot com

Unknown said...

Please enter me! The book sounds so good! :)
Thanks and God Bless!

ceemee said...

Lovely books to enjoy!

Jennifer said...

The books sound like I would enjoy them. Hope to win!

Darlene Franklin said...

Thanks, Lena, for having us as your guests!

grannyvon said...

I would love to win this books. All the author interviews were very intresting. I can't wait to read the books. Thanks for the chance to win them.

karenk said...

please count me in...thanks :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Merry said...

I'd love to win Seaside Romance, it sounds like a lovely trio of stories.

Unknown said...

I would love to win a copy of "Seaside Romance" Please include my name in the drawing. Thanks!


Tamela Hancock Murray said...

I'm so thrilled with this excellent interview. Lena, you always ask wonderful questions. Thank you, readers, for stopping by. All of us appreciate you!

Bakersdozen said...

Thanks so much for the interviews and excerpts. I would love to win. vidomich(at)yahoo(dot)com

Lynette Sowell said...

Thanks for stopping by, everyone. I really enjoyed hearing the answers to Darlene's and Tamela's questions. :)
Happy Reading!

Cindy W. said...

I love the cover art for Seaside Romance and the books sound wonderful. I would love to be entered into your giveaway. Thank you for the chance to win a copy.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.


Darlene Franklin said...

Too bad we can't all take a trip to the seashore together! Thanks to everyone for stopping by.

Linda Kish said...

I'd love a chance to win this book.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Beth Shriver said...

I've wondered how authors can work together on a single book so this was interesting for me. Sounds like a great read:)

apple blossom said...

please include me in this book drawing. thanks
ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Carol M said...

Please enter me! Thank you!
mittens0831 at aol dot com

kristen said...

Sounds fun! Please enter me:)

Martha W. Rogers said...

This sounds like a wonderful read. I've been in Rhode Island several times to visit family and loved this small state. Would really like to win this book by three of my favorite people.

Linda Cacaci said...

Hi, everyone!
This sounds like such a great read. Please enter me in the contest.

Unknown said...

Please enter me in this giveaway. Thanks!

Kameko said...

I adore the cover of this book - is is just beautiful! All of the stories sound fascinating and I would love to win a copy of the book.

I thoroughly enjoyed each author's interview & thank you Lena for presenting them along with the book.

Blessings to all~

Shonda said...

I would love to win this book. said...

Please enter me!

dancealert at aol dot com

A J Hawke said...

All three books in SEASIDE ROMANCE sounds delightful.

Please enter me in the draw.

A J Hawke
ajhawkeauthor at aol dot com

Darlene Franklin said...

It's always fun to meet readers when I do an interview. Thanks to all of you for stopping by!

Pain SUX said...

Looks great! Wonderful interviews! Please enter me.


misskallie2000 said...

These sound awesome. I would love to win. Thanks for the opportunity to enter.

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

Carole said...

I've always enjoyed romance collections and I love a New England setting. Thanks for a great interview and chance to win Seaside Romance.

cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

MaureenT said...

My Dad was from Children we would spend every vacation there!
I would love to read this book!

rubynreba said...

Seaside romance sounds so dreamy! Thanks for the chance.

Judylynn said...

I would love to win this book! Thanks.


wmmahaney said...

This sounds like a book I would enjoy.

Molly said...

Please count me!

Sarah said...

Please enter me in the drawing. I would love to read this book.