Monday, December 03, 2012

MEET ME UNDER THE MISTLETOE - JoAnn Durgin - One Free Book

Tell us about your salvation experience.
Although I grew up in church, it wasn’t until I went away to summer camp when I was 13 that I finally acknowledged the need for the Savior in my life. I can still envision the beautiful face of Letha, my camp counselor. We sat together on the front step of our cabin one night—just the two of us—and she shared how the Lord had worked in her life. In one of those sweet, quiet moments I’ll never forget, it started me thinking how I wanted what she had: the love of Jesus guiding her life. Letha’s words made a strong impression on me. I remember the next night vividly: the cool evening breeze in the heartland of Indiana, the soft glow of lanterns and the uplifting praise music and words of scripture flowing over me and through me, filling me with love and hope, touching me in a way I’d never experienced before. I prayed that night and asked Jesus to come live in my heart. Letha was glowing as she embraced me with pure joy in a huge bear hug I’ll never forget.

You’re planning a writing retreat where you can only have four other authors. Who would they be and why?
Christine Lindsay because we were separated at birth and she’s my Irish “sis,” Elaine Marie Cooper because of her infectious smile and lovely spirit, Julie Lessman because she’s such an encouragement, and Beth Vogt because she’s funny and is such a joy to be around. All of these ladies are talented writers, spirited, funny, and loving. We share a passion for the Lord and telling stories which glorify Him, and each woman is a beautiful example of serving the Lord in so many wonderful ways.

Do you have a speaking ministry? If so, tell us about that.
Nothing on a regular basis at the current time, although I’d love it. Actually, I did more public speaking as a pastor’s wife when we lived near Boston. Funny thing, though, how I used to be nervous as a kid when giving speeches in school. I remember being so petrified of giving oral reports that I’d memorize my speech and find a focal point somewhere on the back wall of the classroom. I can still recall parts of a speech on Egyptian hieroglyphics. Interesting how the mind works, isn’t it?

What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you and how did you handle it?
Oh, I cringe just thinking about it. I learned a hard lesson with a colossal e-mail snafu a few years ago. A close friend forwarded an e-mail sent to her by someone else. I opened the attachment, read it and then responded with my heartfelt reaction. Mind you, I was truthful and didn’t say anything I didn’t believe, but it certainly wasn’t something I wanted the other person to read. Within minutes, I had a response from the original sender saying, “JoAnn, I think you sent this to the wrong person.” Can you say humiliation? I was absolutely mortified. What could I do? I apologized and asked for forgiveness, but—sadly enough—never heard another word about it. I’ve seen this person a few times since, though, and we’re civil, but I pray in time I’ll be forgiven. Sometimes you just have to let it go and know you’ve done everything you can.

People are always telling me that they’d like to write a book someday. I’m sure they do to you, too. What would you tell someone who came up to you and said that?
I encourage them to sit down and write anything—journal, article, devotion, story or whatever they feel compelled and led to say. So many people talk about writing but never take the necessary steps. That’s just the beginning (determination and commitment also have a lot to do with it), but it has to be a driving passion to write, and not driven by the quest for money, attention or anything else. In the case of Christian writers, it’s a desire to share the love and hope to be found in a relationship with Christ and share that with others. My writing is a ministry, and I’m honored and privileged to share my faith with others through my characters and their stories. I recently met one of my readers for dinner in Lake Charles, LA, and she brought along her friend who’s interested in writing Christian romance. I encouraged her to enter a story in an upcoming anthology of short romance fiction, but the deadline was looming very close. I’m absolutely thrilled this woman submitted a story and now she’ll have her first publishing credit in this same anthology! And that’s how it’s done.

Tell us about the featured book.
I had so much fun with Meet Me Under the Mistletoe, and I like to think it shines through in my writing. This is my first novella, and my purpose was twofold: (1) I’ve always adored heartwarming Christmas stories; and (2) I wanted to prove to myself and others that I can write shorter books. Infusing a certain level of depth, emotion and spiritual truths in all my books is important, but it can be more of a challenge in shorter works. Meet Me Under the Mistletoe also has a simultaneous “senior” romance happening, and I love that aspect about it. In another of those fabulous “God” things, I spent almost four hours one summer evening—quite unexpectedly—with the captain and sergeant in my local firehouse.

Because my hero in this book, Jake Marston, is a small-town Iowa firefighter, listening to real-life stories gave me a unique insight into the hearts and minds of these selfless heroes. They truly are the backbone of our great country, and I have all the respect in the world for them and all our public servants. Not many individuals—men and women—are so brave as to be willing to lose their lives in a heartbeat, in order to help someone else. Incorporating some of the sentiments the captain and sergeant expressed that night enriched my book and I hope it will help resonate with readers.

Please give us the first page of the book.
Where will you end up?

Applying pressure to the stuffed bear’s eye, Jake counted under his breath and waited for the glue to set. The guys in the firehouse would tease him if they knew, but he always said a prayer for the kid who’d get one of these fix-it projects. This teddy bear, like most of the dolls, animals, or toys from Starlight’s Christmas drive, had been “gently” loved—another way of saying the previous owner held no special affinity for it. Satisfied the plastic eye was secure, Jake relaxed his grip and placed the bear on the shelf next to the train set, model car, and sock monkey he’d repaired, painted, or patched. His shoulders ached from hunching over the desk the past couple of hours, but it was worth it.

The doorbell rang, loud in the quiet of the century-old family home. Darting a quick glance at his watch, Jake grimaced at the pain radiating through his lower back as he rose to his feet—a none-too-subtle reminder of his on-the-job fall a couple of weeks ago. Not enough to warrant short-term disability but sufficient to give him plenty of grief. His heating pad was his constant companion when he climbed into bed every night. Maybe he should get a dog. The affection, plus the added warmth, sure would be nice. A big, furry canine would be the perfect, loyal companion. Merry Christmas to me.

After hobbling through the foyer, Jake switched on the outside light and took a quick peek through the beveled glass oval on the front door. The oversized Christmas bulbs strung along the bottom of the porch roof formed a cornucopia of vibrant color, an iridescent halo, behind Dylan’s head. Jake couldn’t resist his grin as he opened the door. “To what do I owe this honor, Sergeant Sinclair?”

“Sorry I didn’t call, buddy, but I didn’t want to give you the opportunity to turn me down.” Dylan waved a hand to a far corner of the covered porch. “I brought my sister for reinforcement. Julia, come meet Captain Jake Marston, Starlight’s resident wounded hero.”

He squinted in the dim light, wondering why Dylan felt the need to introduce him that way. Dressed in a red flannel shirt, jeans and heavy socks, Jake shivered when a gust of bitter wind blew the door open wider. “Come on inside and get warm,” he said loud enough for Julia to hear.

After reattaching a drooping section of bulbs, she turned. “All better now.”

“She’s used to saying that,” Dylan said. “Julia’s a pediatric nurse over in Cedar Rapids.”

“I also know how to keep impertinent patients in line, and you remind me of some of them. Be good, brother.” Shoving her mitten-covered hands in the pockets of her down jacket, she walked across the porch in their direction.

This is Julia? For whatever reason, Jake’s mental picture of Dylan’s kid sister was stuck way in the past—a gawky teenager with a mouth full of metal. That preconceived image paid her no justice whatsoever. Taller than most women, she was slender without being skinny. A white cap covered her head but dark, wispy bangs escaped, tousled by the wind. Even in the dim light, her eyes were bright. Could be a reflection of the porch light, but no…there was definite sparkle.

“It’s nice to finally meet you, Julia. Thanks for…taking care of my bulbs.” Jake ignored Dylan’s smirk of amusement at that inane comment. He could handle talking to kids, but women proved a daunting challenge. Great. He’d already wedged his size twelve foot in his mouth. If they taught a class at the church—or sponsored a support group—for clueless single men on how to hold a conversation with a woman, he’d be the first to sign up. His bumbling and often idiotic statements would make him the star pupil, or at least a living, breathing example of what not to say when it came to social graces.

Sounds wonderful. I can't wait for my copy to arrive. How can readers find you on the Internet?
Please visit my website at I’m also on Facebook and have a new “Author JoAnn Durgin” page there. I put off creating one for a while, but now I’m so glad I did!

Thank you, JoAnn, for sharing your life and book with us today.

Readers, here’s a link to the book. By using it when you order, you help support this blog.
Meet Me Under the Mistletoe (Christmas Holiday Extravaganza)

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.


pol said...

Thanks for sharing about this author-new to me. I love to read Christmas stories and this sounds like a good read. I have always liked to find some mistletoe at Christmastime high in the treetops.
Merry Christmas...

Paula O(
a Ga reader

Anonymous said...

I loved reading JoAnn's interview. Please enter me in your book giveaway.
Janet E.

Patty said...

Thanks for the interview and chance to win. I am not familiar with Joann's writing.

Patty in SC

Unknown said...

i LOVE reading about small town heros (my bro was a volunteer firefighter for our town)and it being a shorter story makes it perfect to hand over to a friend of mine! Thanks so much for the great interview and chance to win, Lena and JoAnn

marianne from northern Alberta


Lyndie Blevins said...

Thanks for the opportunity to get this book.
Lyndie Blevins

Duncanville Tx

Anonymous said...

would love to win. Angel from KY

scottsgal said...

I love reading feel good Christmas stories - sounds wonderful
cheryl in IL
msboatgal at

Wendy Newcomb said...

This sounds like a wonderful Christmas story, thank you for hosting this giveaway.

Wendy from FL.


Jackie Tessnair said...

Would love to win this book.Thanks...Jackie Tessnair from N.C.

Mary Preston said...

MEET ME UNDER THE MISTLETOE looks like a heart warming story if the first page is any indication. Wonderful!!

Mary P


Anonymous said...

This book sounds enchanting. Thank you for sharing. Blessings, Susan Fryman New Mexico

JoAnn Durgin said...

Hi everyone, and thanks so much for leaving your comments. Please forgive me for not getting on here yesterday, but...well, it was my birthday and I ended up swamped at work and then went out to dinner with my family last night. I hope you'll all have the opportunity to read Meet Me Under the Mistletoe. It's currently selling at the unbelievably low price of only 79 cents (you read that right!) for the electronic version at the Christian Book Distributors ( website right now! You can download it to an e-reader or to your desktop. Now, that's a lot of story for a very low price. Many blessings to all at this very special time of the year.

Patsy said...

Would love to read "Meet Me Under the Mistletoe".

from South Miss.


Jo said...

Thank you for the enjoyable interview. I enjoy reading Christmas stories.

Jo from Southern Arizona

Elaine Marie Cooper said...

Dearest JoAnn! I am so honored that you would choose me as one of the authors to go on a writing retreat! Back Atcha! I'd love to spend some time in sweet fellowship—I'd sit right next to you in hopes that your writer's inspiration might be contagious. ;-) You are one of the best! Can't wait to jump into "Meet Me..." You always have such a witty style in your writing and your short blurb has hooked me already! BEST WISHES on this latest release!

Cynthia Lovely said...

How exciting that you have a Christmas book out! Congrats! I always enjoy new Christmas stories...

Unknown said...

Sign me up to win this book. The title is definitely going on my TBR pile.

Ginger in AL

Nancee said...

I'd love to win a copy of this book. Thanks for a wonderful interview and review. Another friend of mine has been raving about JoAnn's books.

Sarah Rebekah Richmond said...

Enter me!!

Kandra said...

Thanks for your salvation testimony! Put me in the drawing, please!
Kandra in Tennessee

Sharon Richmond said...

Enter me this book looks great!!
Sharon Richmond

JoAnn Durgin said...

Hi, it's me again! Thanks so much for your comments and interest in my Christmas story. I wish all of you could win the copy. I always enjoy being a guest on Lena's blog because she asks some of the best questions. Many blessings and wishing you joy at Christmas and always!

Unknown said...

JoAnn thanks for the honesty in the interview. Loved hearing your testimony - not too unlike mine :)

Don't include me in the book giveaway as I already own it and have read it! Such a sweet Christmas treat! I loved getting to know Jake and Julia this Christmas season.

Elaine - San Antonio, NM

Linda Kish said...

I would love to win a copy of this book.


lkish77123 at gmail dot com

apple blossom said...

thanks for the chance to win

live in ND

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Anonymous said...

Title draws me in for MEET ME UNDER THE MISTLETOE. I love Christmas fiction. sharon, san diego

Lane Hill House said...

I would like to win Meet Me Under the Mistletoe! Kathleen ~ Missouri

rubynreba said...

It's the that wonderful time of the year when reading a heartwarming Christmas story all cuddled up in a blanket makes a perfect day! Thanks!
Beth from Iowa

Faith's Nana said...

Not familiar with this author, but would love to read her book...thanks, Faith's Nana/Oh

Lourdes said...

Really good interview. Thank you for a chance to win.

Lourdes in Long Island, NY

Merry said...

Cute beginning, I'd love to win Meet Me Under the Mistletoe.
Merry in TX

Shopgirl said...

This sounds so fun! I love him already! I'm in MN.

Hannah said...

I would love to win!
Hannah P

JoAnn Durgin said...

Thanks so much for the interest in my Christmas story, ladies. Each one of your comments has encouraged my heart. It's part of the Pelican Group/White Rose Holiday Extravaganza for 2012, and I'd encourage you to check out all the wonderful novellas available. Even better, they're only $1.00 for the ebooks on Amazon, CBD and the Pelican Group website through Christmas Eve!! That's a whole lot of fun Christmas love stories. Please check them out. Blessings to all of you.