Sunday, August 14, 2011

LONE STAR TRAIL - Darlene Franklin - Free Book

Welcome, Darlene. Why do you write the kind of books you do?
In part—because that is what I have sold!  Not to be all materialistic, but writing involves choices. When I started, I tried everything: nonfiction books and magazine articles, poetry, short stories . . . novels. 

I eventually discovered that fiction was my natural voice . . . and today, I stand a better chance of selling a book than a magazine article!

Of my novels, I first wrote contemporary then mystery then tried my hand at historical with the novella, Dressed in Scarlet. You were in that anthology with me, Lena: Snowbound Colorado Christmas. Once I got over my fear of writing historical novels (and sold a few), I discovered I love doing it. There are so many fascinating stories waiting to be told.

But within the historical romance genre, how do I choose? I often start with a setting in mind (such as Texas in the Texas Trails series, or Vermont in my Maple Notch series with Barbour). Then I do a little research into the history of the area until the nugget that intrigues me with its compelling drama. With Lone Star Trail, it was the large influx of Germans into Texas in the 1840s.

Yes, Darlene, I’ve loved writing novella collections with you. Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
With all due respect to my precious children, I would have to say the births of my grandchildren. God gave both of them to me after grievous losses: Jordan was born after my daughter died, and Isaiah was born after my mother died.

One of my friends says “being a grandparent is one thing that’s not overrated,” and I have to agree. Nothing like Grandma time to restore my spirits!

You’re not going to get an argument from me on that. I have four grandchildren and one great grand. They are such a joy.How has being published changed your life?
I now make my living by writing. I get to spend my days doing what I love best of all, even when it’s hard.

What are you reading right now?
I just finished Nick of Time, a “bugman” novel for Tim Downs. I’m also reading Though Waters Roar by Lynn Austin.

What is your current work in progress?
I just finished my last Heartsong novel (publication date uncertain), Pride’s Fall, a historical romance set in Mesa Verde, Colorado. Next up is A Bride’s Rogue in Roma, Texas. A straight-laced Victorian maiden inherits a steamboat—and its river rat captain.

That sounds interesting. What would be your dream vacation?
I am dreaming of a trip to Dodge City, Kansas, to research for another upcoming book, Calico Brides. I would love to make it to Hawaii some day . . . or go back to Colorado to visit with my friends.

How do you choose your settings for each book?
I’ve tried a variety of ways. I had a lot of fun looking at unusual place names when the Love Finds You series first started (I haven’t sold to them, yet, however). Working on Christmas novellas, I think, “What places get a lot of snow? (snowy covers sell Christmas stories) or “what states/places call I alliterate with ‘Merry Christmas’” That stood reasoning stands behind Christmas at Barncastle Inn, (Vermont, this year from Barbour) and Calico Brides, which started out life as Calico Kansas Christmas.

Other times, a state is suggested to me by the publisher (as in Barbour’s state-themed series). Chip MacGregor, my agent, suggested that Susan Page Davis, Vickie McDonough and I team up for a historical romance series set in Texas. Texas Trails is the result.

I’m very excited about this new series by the three of you, some of my favorite writing friends. I’ve been privileged to endorse some of the books, yours included. If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
I would love to meet Philip Yancey, whose books have made a tremendous difference in my life; or perhaps John Grisham, whom I admire for writing a clear Christian message in the secular market.

What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
I have become far too narrow-focused. I play piano for our church choir; I love music. I take part in a Spanish language group, that meets together to eat and chat in Spanish. Can you call grandchildren a hobby?!

Sure, why not? What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
Getting going. The first pages and chapters of every book are the hardest. Each day, opening up the program and writing is hard. Once I’m in it, I’m okay . . . but it is a constant challenge to make myself get to work.

How do I overcome it? Deadlines help. Accountability helps.

What advice would you give to a beginning author?
The two best things you can do are simple: read. . .and write. Read widely. Read bestsellers as well as classics. Read books you like, authors you admire. And write on a regular basis. Nothing will improve your skill as a writer than actually writing.

People occasionally will say I’m a gifted, or talented, writer. I don’t know about that. I know that I have been writing for twenty years . . . so I might be talented, but I’m not a “natural.”

If you have a passion for story, a willingness to work hard, and a hard skin to accept rejection . . . you probably have what it takes to become a published author.

Tell us about the featured book.
Lone Star Trail is the first book in a six-book series about the Morgan family, set in Texas in the 1840s. Jud Morgan runs the Running M Ranch near Victoria, Texas; he is immensely proud of his Texas roots. His father died in the war for independence from Mexico and then Comanches captured his youngest sister. He resists the arrival of the German immigrants (the Verein), since their aim is to create a “New Germany” on Texas soil.

Wande Fleischer is one of those German immigrants. Torn from her beloved native land, she faces disappointment on every side when her fiancé abandons her and she loses a sister to illness in the swamps of Carlshafen as soon as they arrive in Texas.

Can these two see past their differences to the love God has for them?

Please give us the first page of the book.

Near Victoria, Texas, December 1845
Wande Fleischer could hardly see the road in front of her through the slashing rain. Her shoes sank in the mud with each step; the hem of her dress became filthy. If the rain continued, her hair would be drenched; dirty as leaves in the fall instead of its usual bright blond. So far Texas—which was promoted by the Adelsverein back in Germany as the “land of milk and honey”—was anything but sweet. Her fingers curled into a fist that she longed to raise to the sky. But only a child would do that. Even her little sister, Alvie, the family songbird, hadn’t lifted her voice since they left the plain pine box at the port of Carlshafen only three days ago.

They could have made it to Victoria in one day, but Papa decided to take it easy for his wife’s sake. Wande looked forward to reaching the town, one of the oldest in all of Texas, which had an established German community. She was cheered by thoughts of a dry roof, pleasant conversation in the only language she knew, and a chance to rest her feet.

How can readers find you on the Internet?
I have an author’s page at where you can find all my books.
Also check out my website/blog at:

Thank you, Darlene, for this peek into the new series. We'll be seeing you with the release of your next book.

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.
angela from KY

Sheila said...

I enjoyed reading the post & I love reading historicals! From Arkansas

Michelle said...

Would love to read this one. Please enter me.

mchapman (at) windstream (dot) net


scottsgal said...

what a nice interview! Having gone to college in Texas I love reading novels based there
cheryl in IL
msboatgal at

Jubilee Reviews said...

Melanie from Ohio :)

Unknown said...

That was a great interview and the first page has me wanting to read more.

I am from Ohio.


Sarah said...

Sounds like a great read!

Sarah H

Darlene Franklin said...

Each one of your cmments left me smiling - father's family in Kentucky, seminary in Texas, now living in Oklahoma -- thank you all for stopping by!

Linda Goodnight said...

I love the unique premise of your new book, Darlene. The German immigrant angle is really interesting. You see to have a knack for finding those "nuggets" that make a book different.

Lacy J. Williams said...

Great post, Darlene! I enjoyed the interview!

Darlene Franklin said...

Linda, I've pondered that approach a lot lately. I just know it's what works for me . . .
And both Linda and Lacy, I hope to have copies of Lone Star Trail at our August meeting!

Debbie Lynne Costello said...

Darlene, I am so excited about this series. It sounds like so much fun. I know it is going to be a great success for the three of you. They did an awesome job picking out the three of you to write it. Congratulations!

Anonymous said...

please please please sign me up! I would love this book!

Roanna said...

I love the cover and the story sounds like a good one!

Roanna from Ohi

Rebecca said...

I would love to read this book. This looks amazing.

I am from Oklahoma.


Tamara said...

I loved this interview. It always helps to hear how successful writers get motivated or come up with a "site" or a storyline. I'm so intrigued by the blub about a straight-laced Victorian woman inheriting a steamboat AND the captain. What a GREAT storyline. I have never read Darlene Franklin. The cover of Lone Star Trail is just beautiful. And yes, grandchildren are definitely hobbies (time spent WITH SOMEONE SPECIAL, doing things that are fun: hobbies)! They're my favorite! Thank you again for this wonderful interview and for giving me a chance to "meet" Darlene Franklin!
tamarawrites (at) hotmail (dot) com

Darlene Franklin said...

The word for verification tonight is "kracli" which reminds me of my daughter's poem "Crackle Jackle" (about leaves in autumn, written when she was nine years old).

Tamara, always lovely to meet a new reader! And fellow grandmother and author (I assume, since you have "writes" in your email).

And thanks also to Debbie, Roanna, Rebecca, and Salena for stopping by.I see a couple of Oklahomans have signed up . . .I wonder how close we are to each other? I'm in OKC.

Darlene Franklin said...

Debbie? I had to laugh at your comment about "picking the three of us" to write the series. Our agent, Chip MacGregor, actually came up with the idea of team work on a series. He put together several writing teams for different projects. Since Susan, Vickie and I all have demonstrated a flare for writing western historicals, he put us together for the Texas series. We all thank the Lord (and Moody) for letting the series see the light of day . . .

Anne Payne said...

Darlene, I absolutely call my grandchildren my hobby, and I love to read historical books about immigrants...mine were from Ireland and Sweden. Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy of your book. It sounds great!

Anne, rural NC

Diana Flowers said...

I actually got a gorgeous postcard of this series in the mail and I would like to thank whoever is responsible! It truly whet my appetite! Please do enter me and thanks for the opportunity to win!


Unknown said...

Thanks, Lena and Darlene for the blogpost. i enjoy learning about authors new to me, and knowing abit about the background enhances the story to me! Thanks for the chance to win Lone Star Trail. mitzi_wanham[at]yahoo[dot com from Peace River Country, Alberta

Kristie said...

This is a period in history that I know nothing about. Sounds fascinating! I'm from Ohio. kristiedonelson(at)gmail(dot)com Thank you.

Unknown said...

Being a grandparent is pretty special. ;) Thanks gahome2mom/gmail/com

Krista said...

Sounds like a wonderful book. Please enter me.

Krista from Gresham, OR

Jo said...

Please enter me in the drawing.


Darlene Franklin said...

Anne, my grandmother's parents came from Ireland and Norway. They lived in Florida and died of TB. VERY romantic. I wish I knew more about their story!

Cindy W. said...

I love the cover of Lone Star Trail and would love to be entered to win a copy. Thank you for the chance.

Cindy W. from Indiana


Anonymous said...

Please enter me I would love to read the book!

I'm a subscriber by email.

Brenda from Michigan

dancealert at aol dot com

Anonymous said...

Ms. Franklin, This series sounds great...definitely a must read! I certainly don't think it's "materialistic" of you to write what you write. I think it's honest and kind of person!! Enjoy your grandbabies! Looking forward to my own someday, but enjoying the four gifts of my children first! :-)
Kelly Y. from Virginia

Coolestmommy said...

Wow--sounds like a terrific book. Please enter me to win.

coolestmommy2000 at gmail dto com

Unknown said...

I have enjoyed reading Darlene's books in the past. She has been an inspiration to my desire to write even while facing trials. I'd like to read this book. Thank you for this giveaway and the chance to win it.

Barb Shelton
barbjan10 at tx dot rr dot com

Abigail Mitchell said...

Looks interesting, Please enter me in the drawing.
Abigail Richmond
Blanch, N.C.

Darlene Franklin said...

Thanks for the words of encouragement! I hope you all get to read Lone Star Trail.

Judy said...

Loved the interview with Darlene. She is a new author to me and I am putting her name on my to be read list! I would love to win a copy of "Lone Star Trail". This book sounds so good!


Judy B from Indiana

Beth Reinke said...

Yay, the first book in a series of 6! I love historical romance, wagons west, etc. I'm in! :o)

Beth from PA

Mama Cat said...

I love reading historical romance - especially seeing the challenges of those who have moved to this country, and who have tried to live their faith. Texas has a great part in our history as a country, but I didn't realize that German immigrants went there. As someone whose ancestors came from Germany many generations ago and influenced some of the culture of Michigan, I am interested in learning more. Would love to read this book, and the series! Mama Cat - Jeanie from Phoenix

Michelle said...

Sounds awesome, especially since I'm in Texas!! books(at)bookwormfamily(dot)com

Sharon Richmond said...

Sounds very interesting. Please enter me in the drawing.
Sharon Richmond
Blanch, NC.

Patricia said...

This book, and series, looks like a great read - one that I look forward to! It would certainly be great to win the first of six!

Thank you for the chance at this Giveaway!

I live in Burlington, Ontario Canada. My email address is:

madley (AT) cogeco (DOT) ca

Thank you!

Susan H said...

I enjoyed the post. Sounds like a great book set in my home state. Susan from Fort Worth, TX.

apple blossom said...

Please include me in this giveaway thanks
I live in ND

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Katie Marie said...

Lone Star Trail sounds like a neat read. I've seen Darlene Franklin around a lot, but haven't yet read anything by her. Thanks for the chance to win!

Katie from Florida

sarahw said...

sounds like a great book. please enter my name in the draw. thanks