Tuesday, July 19, 2011

LIVVIE'S SONG - Sharlene MacLaren - Free Book

I just love featuring this author and friend on my blog. Welcome, Shar. Since you’re being published regularly, what new avenues will your future books take? 
Since I am what you’d call a “seat-of-the-pants” writer, is it all right for me to answer with, ‘I have no idea!’?  Sorry for starting on a facetious note, but I seem to live my life in a constant state of anticipation, a “What’s next, God?” mode.  As for story ideas, they are forever swirling around in my head, begging to be set free on the computer screen.  Will I ever run out of them?  No time soon as far as I can tell. 

What conferences will you be attending this year? Will you be a speaker at any of them? I will be attending the ACFW conference in St. Louis in September.
 Presently, I am not scheduled to speak at any writers’ events, but I am speaking at some upcoming community events as well as a women’s retreat.

If you were in charge of planning the panel discussion at a writing conference, what topic would the panel cover, and who would you ask to be on the panel, and why?
I think I’d love a discussion on “How to Breathe Life Into Your Characters.”  My panel would consist of writers who I believe do an excellent job at writing stories with characters that engage.  Here’s my list: Julie Lessman, Loree Lough, Kim Vogel Sawyer, Tracie Peterson, and, hmm, I’d love to invite Lena Nelson Dooley! There are countless others, but these are the names that first jumped out at me. 

That would be a fun and interesting panel. Thanks for including me. How important is it to you to be active in writing organizations?
I think it’s essential to every author to stay active in organizations.  It is one way to stay current with writing trends.  We all reach that point of needing a battery charge, too, and retreats and conferences provide a wonderful opportunity for growth. 

Where in the community or your church do you volunteer?
As a vocalist, I’ve always been passionate about music, so I stay active in choir and worship teams.  I love the privilege of leading people into a spirit of worship.  Such an honor!  My husband and I are also involved in small group Bible studies, and, of course, whenever I get the chance I love speaking at libraries and other community organizations about my writing journey.       

Who are the five people who have made the most impact on your life, and how?
I don’t know if I can narrow it to five (grins), but I’ll try.  First, Mom and Dad were such stable forces in my life, very in love with each other and the Lord and encouraging me from a very young age to give my heart to Jesus and then to love His Word. They taught me so much by mere example.  Second, my wonderful, loving, understanding, and Godly husband, Cecil.  Over the course of our 36 years together, I have fallen more in love than I ever thought possible! Third, my darling daughters for unwittingly “teaching” me the meaning of depthless love.  Fourth, countless Sunday school teachers, pastors, and college professors.  (Oh, my goodness, I’ve broken the rule and gone way over five!  I think I’ll just stop there.)

If you could write the inscription on your tombstone, what would it be?
“She lived her life with abundant joy in the Lord!”   

Tell us about the featured book.
Here is the back cover blurb for Livvie’s Song: Life is far from a breeze for Olivia Beckman, owner of Livvie's Kitchen, a favorite of locals in Wabash, Indiana. The widowed mother of two is struggling to make ends meet–no simple feat, especially when her cook turns in his resignation. Yet, she's determined to pull through on her own, just as she did when God failed to save her beloved Frank. Newly released from a ten–year prison sentence, Will Taylor is ready for a fresh start. With harmonica in hand–the only possession he values, aside from his Bible–he makes his way to Wabash, where a late–night meal at Livvie's Kitchen turns into a job opportunity when the outgoing cook learns about his restaurant experience. What he doesn't know is that the "restaurant" was a prison cafeteria. But Will became a new man behind bars, thanks to a Christian friend, and he credits God's providence with landing him a job he loves. Soon, he cooks and bakes his way into the stomachs of his customers–and the heart of his employer. Both are hesitant, though, still healing from past hurts. A recipe for love between them will require sharing secrets, braving dangers, and believing God for a bright future.

Please share the first page with us.
Here you go:

Smoke rings rose and circled the heads of Charley Arnold and Roy Scott as they sat in Livvie’s Kitchen, each partaking of steaming coffee, roast beef and gravy, and conversation, every so often guffawing at one or the other’s blather, neither caring much who heard them since the place buzzed with midday talk.  Folks liked coming to Livvie’s Kitchen to fill their stomachs, but getting their ears full could be just as satisfying.  Behind the counter, utensils banged against metal, and pots and pans sizzled and boiled with steam and smoke.  Joe Stewart, the cook, hollered, “Order’s up!” to which Olivia Beckman, the restaurant’s 31-year-old proprietress, slapped down two hamburger platters in front of Mr. and Mrs. Waters and delivered a hasty smile.  With a twist of her body, her knee-length, cotton floral skirt flared.  She mopped her brow and blew several strawberry blond strands of damp hair off her face then hustled to the counter.  “You boys put out those disgusting nicotine sticks,” she scolded on the run.  “How many times do I have to tell you I don’t allow smoking in my establishment?  I don’t even have ashtrays.”
 “Aw, Livvie, how you expect us to enjoy a proper cup of coffee without a cigarette? ‘Sides, ar’ saucers work fine for ashtrays,” Charlie whined to her back.

“Saucers are not ashtrays,” said old Mrs. Garner who sat in the booth behind the men, craning her long, skinny neck to train her owl eyes on them, her lips pinched in a tight frown.  Mr. Garner had nothing to say, of course.  He rarely did, just let her do the talking, as usual, and sipped wordlessly on his tomato soup.

Livvie snatched the order form from the counter and gave it a glance, lifted two more plates, one with macaroni and cheese and a roll and the other a chicken drumstick with mashed potatoes, then whirled back around, eyeing both men with firmness.  “I expect you to follow my rules, boys”—she traipsed past them—“or go find yourselves another eatery where the smoke’s as thick as cow dung.”

 Where can my readers find you on the Internet? 

Thanks so much for giving me this opportunity to share with your readers, Lena.  Here is my contact info:
email: smac@chartermi.net

What a pleasure, Sharlene. You'll have to come again.

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. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

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

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

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


Anonymous said...

Please enter me in the drawing. Thank You!
angela from KY

Judy said...

I love that Sharlene is so Christ centered and very active in music at her church.

"Livvie's Song" sounds lie a great read. I'd love to win a copy.

Judy from Indiana

Patsy said...

This book sounds really good. It will be interesting to see what happens in Will's life. Looking forward to this one.
From: Mississippi

Marianne said...

Thankyou Lena and Sharlene for a glimpse into your writing world. i like the interview and giveaway. Thanks for the chance to read a new author. mitzi_wanham{at}yahoo[dot]com from Peace River Country, Alberta

Hustlelusion said...

HI, Thank for the review articles, I will too buy it from amazon.

SHARLENE said...

Hi, all you wonderful readers of Lena's blog. Thanks so much for checking out my interview and then leaving a comment! Hope y'all are not melting in this summer heat. Lena lives in the "MELTING POT" of America - Texas. Here in Michigan we're experiencing a heat wave of mid-90s, hot for we Michiganders! Not complainin' though; winter will be upon us waaaay too soon!

Love and Hugs to ALL of you!!!

Jan said...

Shar lives in Spring Lake--just across the bridge from Grand Haven. If that's not a reason to like someone, I don't know what is!! :)

Linda said...

I love Sharlene and would love to win one on her books!

Taleah said...

I'd love to win! I live in Michigan! (And I know Shar... she DOES live her life with incredible JOY!)

Heidi said...

Hello Lena and Sharlene.. please enter me into the drawing as well. I love to read and Sharlene is one of my favorite authors.

Heidi from Fruitport, MI

Sherry said...

Hi Shar and Lena ~

I LOVE Shar's books! Great interview. How fun it would be to win Livvie's Song and share it with my church library. Please enter me. While most of the US is experiencing a heat wave, we've been enjoying 70's weather here in central CA. Okay, I won't rub it in. Come to the Mt H writer's conference. I'd love to see both of you there! :)

Sherry Kyle

Little Lady said...

I'd love to the entered for this drawing! Sharlene MacLaren is one of my favorite authors! :)

Love from Michigan


Nise' said...

Shar, you do live your life with incredible joy! You are a blessing to all my friend. Can't wait to read your new book.

Cyndi said...

Great interview! I've read all her other books... lookin' forward to this one!

Anonymous said...

Livvie's Song looks awesome! Congrats!

srstormo at yahoo dot com

sarahw said...

i love Sharlene MacLaren and this books seems awesome!!! please enter my name in the draw. thans,
sarahw-Mt.Lake, MN
sarahwoll at hotmail dot com

scottsgal said...

I like your motto! Sounds like a great read
cheryl in IL
msboatgal at aol.com

Laurie said...

I have read all of Sharlene's books and have loved them all, can't wait to read Livvie's Song.
I would love to win a copy.

Laurie from Michigan

Linda Kish said...

I would love to read this book.


lkish77123 at gmail dot com

SHARLENE said...

How exciting to read a bunch more comments! You guys are all wonderful. Thanks for stopping by. Shoot, I wish you could all win a signed copy!!!

robinorr2 said...

Please enter me in the drawing. I would love to win this book! Thanks so much.

Robin from New Hampshire

It's hot here too in the 90's, may hit 100 this week....groan!

CatMom said...

I LOVE Shar's books (AND Shar!!). This was a great interview (and not just because Sharlene MacLaren is one of my "Top 4" Very Favorite authors!) - Thanks, Lena! ~ When I met Shar at my very first ACFW conference, she asked me to sit at her table at the Banquet. I was thrilled and honored, and now consider her a dear friend (even if she DOES tease me about my Southern accent *grin*). ~ No need to enter me in the drawing, as I plan to purchase a copy of this book! ~ Blessings from Georgia, Patti Jo Moore :)

SHARLENE said...

Patti Jo, you southern belle, you! Love you, dearest!

Thanks again, everybody. I'm having so much fun checking back here.

Carol N Wong said...

I am living in melting Texas too, every day is a 100. I grew up in Indiana so I know Wabash, Indiana, would love to read your book.


Anonymous said...

Love Sharlene! she is a real down to earth person.Her new book sounds fantastic! Sharlene is so graphic with her writing (on this first page) I almost felt like I was there. We have to get Sharlene's books in down-under Australian Christian bookshops. (Word & Koorong specifically.) Iknow...we can get them on line..not the same as going and picking them out for retail therapy LoL...thanks Shar!

Lorna Faith said...

Sounds like an excellent book...love the first page Sharlene:) Love that your book is around two people who share a love of food. I do too...except ever since I got out of the hospital I have a very limited diet...however I still like reading about the tasty foods I used to enjoy:)
I would love to be entered for a chance to win ...please enter my name in the drawing.

Lorna from Alberta
lornafaith at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

This book looks like a lovely read. Thank you for the chance to win!
Kelly from Virginia

SHARLENE said...

Lorna, so sorry to hear you don't have that great an appetite right now. I hope it comes back because food is one of the many joys of life, isn't it. May the Lord bring rapid healing...

Anyone who's interested, Livvie's Song contains several of my mother's beloved recipes at the back of the book.

Love to ALL!

Mozi Esmé said...

I'd love to read this!

Jane from Oregon

Nancee, Grand Rapids, MI said...

Shar & I are a couple of great online friends who've never met. I was reading all of her books when one of my daughters met her in her church last fall. Now another daughter & her husband attend that same church. I'm looking forward to meeting Shar in person for the first time on Saturday, and I'd love to win a copy of Livvie's Song." Shar writes everything as if it were the opening of a fabulous story. She can take her dog out at night and come back inside and describe a scenario like no other. God is her focus in life and her family is her joy. Her wonderful imagination combined with factual information and the creation of Christian characters and their detailed thoughts and feelings keep me tied to my chair till the wee hours of the morning to see which direction her story will take. I have read and loved every one of Shar's books, and not only is she a fabulous Christian and author, but a new friend to be cherished.

rbooth43 said...

My mother-in-law was a waitress in a restaurant for years, so I saw how hard the job is, I even helped her out at times. They were the good old days because the restaurant was a drive-in like Arnold's on Happy Days and most of the small town of Oxford, NC hung out there in the 60's.
I would love to read LIVVIE"S SONG!


PoppaK said...

I know this is mostly a lady thing or
place, However, I am a large (literally) Fan of Ms.Sharlene's, so
allow me this one invasion.
God bless you all.

Merry said...

What a lovely inscription for your tombstone, a testimony to your love for the Lord! I'd love to be entered for Livvie's Song.
Merry in TX

Miss Mona/Oh said...

Wow! Sharlene,this will be some book, looking forward to reading it....I also raised (2) children by myself....wasn't easy, but I am so proud of them today.....one is a Nurse and one is a Policeman....God has been good to me....would love to win this one.....Thanks

Ms. Mona

Jo said...

I love the cover of this book and really would love to read it. Please enter me

Jo from Southern Arizona

SHARLENE said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SHARLENE said...

Oh, my stars, I love every one of you for stopping by Lena's blog. Your comments have all touched a chord of emotion in my heart. Thanks so much for stopping by to leave them. Poppa, I had to smile at yours. You're funny - and so sweet! Thanks for your special words, Nancee, and, Rebecca, would I have loved to visit your mom-in-law's restaurant! "Happy Days" was such a great show, wasn't it?

Thanks again, everybody! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!!!

Abigail said...

Looks very interesting, Please enter me in the contest.

Courtney said...

This sounds really great and the cover looks gorgeous!! Please enter me!

Courtney from WA state

Krista said...

This sounds like a wonderful book. Please enter me!

Krista from Gresham, OR

Emma said...

"Livvie's Song" sound wonderful.Please enter me in the giveaway.Thanks for the giveaway. great interview.PA

Anonymous said...

Please enter me I would love to read this. I'm a subscriber and a follower by gfc. I posted this to my blog: http://dancealertreads.blogspot.com/2011/07/christian-writers-world-characters-who_6658.html

Brenda from Michigan

dancealert at aol dot com

Megan said...

My children are 4 and 6, and people always talk about their joy! I pray that the joy of the Lord is always alive and strong in them! What a great way to be remembered!!
I often pray Psalm 51:15 for others "Restore to me (them) the joy of your salvation and uphold me (them) with a willing spirit." Joy is such a great gift from God!!

Megan said...

The Lord taught me a beautiful truth about my identity in Him after lying about my past twice in a matter of months. He convicted me to go back to those lied to and confess, apologize, and tell the whole truth. It was a humbling experience, but through it, He taught me that He knows everything about me. He loves me and nothing did or will change that love. I can stand strong in His love and though others may judge--I am a beloved, chosen, accepted daughter of the King!! Praise Him!! What would we be without Him!!

Kari Linder said...

What a great story! I love the cover.
Thanks for the chance to win!
Kari in Oregon

Judy Cooper said...

We have been enjoying a HOT summer too here in Louisiana. A good reason to stay in the cool and read a good book. Looking forward to reading Livvie's Song. It would be nice to win it. Judy C. in Louisiana

Sarah said...

Would love to win!

Sarah H

Marsha from NY said...

I enjoy all of Sharlene's books. It's so hard to put them down! I would love to win "Livvie's Song" but will definitely buy it if I don't!

Cyndi said...

Oops! I forgot to say that I'm from Alabama! LOVE her books!

wmmahaney said...

This book sounds wonderful. I love that she is so involved in the music ministry. I love being able to share in leading in worship at our church.

Wendy M
Grand Rapids, MI

apple blossom said...

love to be included in this giveaway thanks
I live in ND

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Robyn said...

Sounds like a lesson we could all learn! Redemption and forgetting the past are hard lessons for me to stick to. I look forward to seeing how it all plays out in this book.

coolestmommy2000 at gmail dot com

Kristie said...

Writer's associations seem very important to you. I'm from Ohio. kristiedonelson(at)gmail(dot)com Thank you.

Bakersdozen said...

This books sounds like an interesting redemption story. I live in S. CA.

peachykath said...

I grew up near Wabash, Indiana. I love reading stories from home. Sounds like a good book. Please enter me in the drawing. Thank you.

Katherine from Northern California

froglee said...

I would love to win this book. Since it was centered around where I had worked for 8 years as a waitress & it is still there today. Rock City Cafe. I could tell so many stories about the place & the people.