Tuesday, September 09, 2014

A GRAND TETON SLEIGH RIDE - Elizabeth Goddard and Lynette Sowell - One Free Book

Dear Readers, both of these ladies are long-time friends of mine. We’ve grown in our writing together, and I’m so glad I’ve known them so long and so well.

Bio: Elizabeth Goddard is an award-winning author of over twenty novels, including the romantic mystery, The Camera Never Lies—winner of the prestigious Carol Award in 2011. After acquiring her computer science degree, she worked at a software firm before eventually retiring to raise her four children and become a professional writer. In addition to writing, she home schools her children and serves with her husband in ministry.

Welcome back, Elizabeth. How did your stories for the collection come about?
Lynette and I have been talking about writing a story set in Jackson Hole for a few years, actually. I’ve visited the region often, first as a child on many family vacations, and then again for many wedding anniversaries. For several years, my husband and I would go skiing at Teton Village for our anniversary. We’d stay with his aunt and uncle who lived in a cabin. Settings are usually the inspiration for my stories, so I knew I needed to write something set in Jackson Hole. Writing a novella collection with Lynette seemed like a fun idea to me. At first we submitted a contemporary collection, but then our editor suggested a generational. It didn’t take much for us to come up with stories filled with the rich history of the region.

What are you reading right now?
I’m reading A WOMAN OF FORTUNE by Kellie Coates Gilbert, TRAPPED by Irene Hannon, The Bible (which should go without saying! LOL) THRILL RIDE: 8 Pulse-Pounding Novels by several Christian fiction authors.

What other books have you had published?
I have over twenty novels and novellas published with Barbour, Heartsong Presents, and Love Inspired Suspense.

What is the hardest thing about writing a part of a novella collection?
Obviously, getting all the facts straight. Making sure that the few things connect within the stories remain the same. But Lynette and I are close writing buddies, so we were able to easily work together.

How did collaborating with this team impact you?
More than anything it was satisfaction in knowing that something we’d talked about doing together for years finally got published—an achievement for us, if you will.

How do you choose your characters’ names?
Admittedly, I used to go to great lengths to research what names mean, and though sometimes I still do, it’s mostly a random selection for me. I’ll read through a list of names anywhere I can find it—phone books or the list of the cast and crew at the end of a movie, until I find a name that goes with the character I have in my head. When I meet someone with an interesting name I’ll mentally file that away.

Please give a peek into the collection.
This region of the country is rich with history and I enjoyed researching to write my first historical.

Sam sat astride his spunky palomino, Ace, and watched Ann atop Gracie, a gentle brown mare, as she stared across the Snake River, the Tetons looming majestic, distinct peaks pointing to the sky.

“I see snow up there?”
“Could have snowed in the summer, but likely it’s just old snow from previous winters that never melted, or a glacier. You can get a good close look at the middle peak glacier from one of the mountain trails.”
He wasn’t sure he’d be able to take her there, but he’d take things slowly. Gauge her abilities before he took her out into the Wyoming wilderness. Today he’d brought her to the Snake River that flowed from Jackson Lake through the valley on its journey west, where it would empty into the Columbia River.

“I might not be here to greet the winter snow, but I certainly came at the right time. The colors are beautiful.”
Cottonwoods grew up and down the riverbank, and Aspen peppered the hillsides. Leaves were already turning brilliant gold and orange. Add to that the evergreens, making the forest and mountain range look like a canvas that God Himself had painted.

The autumn colors never failed to fill Sam with awe, the same awe he now saw on Ann’s face. He smiled to himself. The sun had brought just enough color to her cheeks that his gaze lingered on Ann longer than he had a right. Dressed in the clothes more fitting for their endeavor, thanks to their shopping excursion, Ann’s appearance had transformed.
What surprised him was that he couldn’t decide which Ann he liked better—he actually missed seeing her in her pretty dress. But maybe he’d get that chance again. Besides, she’d hired him to do a job. He had no business thinking about how he liked the way she looked in her dresses or in her shirt and breeches. No business whatsoever.

Her long sigh drifted to him on the cool breeze. “What’s wrong?” he asked.
“I have a collection of photographs of the Tetons back home taken by a local resident, Hank Crandall. Ever hear of him?” she asked.

“A course. Everyone knows him. Takes photographs of the dudes in their drugstore cowboy clown suits, too,” he said. “Makes a good living that way.”

There’d been plenty of photographers come to capture the beauty, Ann wouldn’t be the first. But he’d keep that to himself. Likely she knew already.
“But those photographs could never do these peaks justice,” she said. “I could sit here all day and look at the mountains.”

Sam thought he could sit here all day, too, but Ann had drawn his attention from the lofty peaks before them. He forced his thoughts to the business at hand.

“Best get over that because if I guide you to unseen territory, it’s going to take time to get there and back.” He figured they’d need to prepare for a longer packing trip at some point, as well. Places that would tickle her photographer fancy. Places that even other photographers hadn’t seen. But there was no getting in and out in one day.

In fact, the possibilities were endless. She could stay a year and never see everything worth seeing. But she had a month, and that was it. Planned to leave before it started snowing, she’d said.

That was a shame. Nothing more beautiful than Jackson’s Hole in the winter. Sam found himself thinking once again about driving her around in the old Covington horse-drawn sleigh. Unbidden thoughts, those.

“Might as well get to work.” She climbed down from Gracie, speaking a few soft words to the mare.

True to her word, she was relatively experienced with horses. Sam liked her soft-spoken ways with Gracie, too.

“I know I’m not the first to photograph the mountains from this angle, but this is a good place to start.” She began unpacking her camera from the saddle bags. “But I want my own pictures. Maybe I can bring out something not already captured by others.”

All photographer-talk to Sam. “Might as well,” he said. He slid from the saddle to join her.

She looked at the top of the box camera. “Can you help me with the tripod?”

Sam set to work. “That’s some sort of camera you got there.”

“Isn’t it spiffy? It’s a Rolleiflex Twin Lens Reflex. It just came out this year. Daddy got me one as soon as it was available. I can work much faster and it’s not as heavy.” Ann talked on about her camera, explaining the new improvements.

She was passionate about her photography. It warmed Sam that she was able to do what she loved. Her camera positioned to photograph the Tetons, Ann stood back.

“Want to see?” Her eyes shimmered with contagious excitement.


“Look down through the viewfinder, like this, see?” She showed him where to look then stood back, but not nearly far enough. He looked through the window of her camera and into her world, and saw the mountains he’d seen every day of his life made more special because of Ann.

Far too aware of her proximity, he cleared his throat and pulled away from the camera.

“Well?” Her face was expectant.

“It looks like the mountains.”

“Is that all?” Disappointment laced her voice.

“No. . .well. . .” Unsure what to say, Sam peered through her camera again.

His mother had charged him with preparing a dark room for her. He’d set the trunk filled with the equipment and chemicals she’d brought with her in the small closet across the hall from his room. At that moment, he’d known that she was serious about her work.

“I’m sure you’re a talented photographer,” he said, “and I can’t wait to see your photographs.”

She beamed. “Sam Covington, you have no idea what you’re in for.”

He chuckled. Sam had the strong feeling that Ann was entirely correct—he didn’t know what he was in for, where she was concerned.

What did you want the reader to take away from your story?
My stories are meant to let the reader experience a place, and to leave with that happy and satisfied feeling.

Are you a member of American Christian Fiction Writers? If so, why?
Yes. I credit ACFW for getting me going in writing, and for keeping me going.

What is the best piece of advice you received as an author?
To never give up.

Where can my readers find you on the Internet?
My website, of course, and please don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter to receive the latest book news!


Now we're welcoming Lynette Sowell.

How did your stories for the collection come about?
Beth and I have bounced ideas off each other and brainstormed together for years, and we'd always said it would be fun to work a project together. We talked about writing something set in Jackson Hole, but our schedules and timing never meshed. Finally, last summer we put together a contemporary set, with the common thread being a special sleigh built by a Wyoming pioneer, Zebulon Covington. Our editor suggested we make it a generational collection, and my character, Zeb Covington, stepped right up and said, “Let me tell you about how I won the heart of Belle Murray.”

What are you reading right now?
The Healing Quilt, by Wanda Brunstetter—I'm enjoying her view of the Amish-Mennonite village of Pinecraft, in Sarasota, Florida, where my current series is also set.

What other books have you had published?
This is my 21st title, my second title this year. In May, the first book in my Seasons of Pinecraft series released, an Amish romance set in Florida called A Season of Change. Book two, A Path Made Plain, releases in November.

What is the hardest thing about writing a part of a novella collection?
Beth and I had a lot of back and forth with the stories—the family tree, the local setting, and where we had put the Covington ranch, keeping the area's historical facts accurate as the stories progressed. It was hard, but fun when it all came together.

How did collaborating with this team impact you?
Beth and I have also discussed writing a standalone novel together. This confirmed for me that we'll be able to do it by bringing out each other's strengths as writers and yet not stepping on each other's toes. I'm looking forward to it, but again, we'll have to get our schedules coordinated.

How do you choose your characters’ names?
Sometimes I hear an interesting name, either on a television show or an article, and I'll tuck it away. I also make sure I don't repeat a name I've used in another recent book. I can only have so many Jacks, Johns, and Joes, for example!

Please give a peek into the collection.
In the first story, A Wedding for Belle, Zebulon Covington promised his friend, Hamilton Quinn, that he'd keep an eye on Ham's wife and sister-in-law if anything ever happened to him. Well, something did happen to Ham—and his wife.  Zeb encourages Belle Murray to get herself back East before winter descends on Jackson's Hole, but she won't listen to reason. She has some idea that she's going to open a young lady's finishing school and hold onto her sister's claim.

Story two, A Mirage on Show, features their only daughter, Emily, who's a musher and plans on running for Jackson's Hole city council. This was a fun snip of history to touch on, because Wyoming women had the right to vote before women in other states. She encounters an old friend from childhood, now a lawyer when he returns to Wyoming from back East.

Beth picks up the story line years later in Winter Wonderland, with Emily's much-younger brother, Sam, and his budding relationship with a young photojournalist from New York who's out to prove something to her father.

Then, Beth rounds out the collection with her contemporary story, Ribbon of Light, featuring Sam's granddaughter, an artist who falls in love with a ski bum who's not so sure he measures up to the rich Covington legacy.

What did you want the reader to take away from your story?
Wyoming gets lots and lots of snow in the winter! I realized when writing my two historical novellas in this set, that snow caused problems sometimes. On a serious note, we all face obstacles in life and I want my readers to enjoy a few hours away and feel encouraged when they come to the end of each story.

Are you a member of American Christian Fiction Writers? If so, why?
Yes, I am. It is one way I keep in touch with other writers; their conference is an excellent resource for writers in all stages of their careers. For newer writers especially, the group has many, many other resources that weren't around when I first started getting serious about writing.

What is the best piece of advice you received as an author?
Never stop writing. Be open to change and keep working on those finer points.

Where can my readers find you on the Internet?
Pinterest: LynetteSowell  (come find my recipe board!)
Facebook: www.facebook.com/lynettesowellauthor

Thank you, Beth and Lynette, for sharing this novella collection with us. I can hardly wait to read it.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
A Grand Teton Sleigh Ride - Christianbook.com
A Grand Teton Sleigh Ride: Four Generations of Wyoming Ranchers Celebrate Love at Christmas - Amazon
A Grand Teton Sleigh Ride: Four Generations of Wyoming Ranchers Celebrate Love at Christmas (Romancing America) - Kindle

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 Goodreads, Google+, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, 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...

would love to win...Angela in KY

Sarah Rebekah Richmond said...

Wow, the book looks and sounds amazing and I would love the chance to read it!!! Thanks for the awesome giveaway and God Bless you!!!

Sarah Richmond

Deanna Stevens said...

Mountains, horses & romance would love to read your book next! dkstevensne@outlook.com

Katrina Epperson said...

I love stories set in the mountains. This storyline looks wonderful. The book cover is beautiful. Would love a chance to read. Thank you for the opportunity to win.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the interview!

D.L. Kamstra in Michigan

Heidi Robbins said...

I've loved the Grand Tetons ever since my parents took my sisters and I backpacking there on one of our summer road trips. I always say it's my favorite mountain range :) I'd love to read this story! Thanks for sharing the interview!

Heidi, CA

Amy H said...

I'm looking forward to reading this book...trying to hold off til winter begins to set in... can't wait!!

Amy Hassett

Melanie Backus said...

With the snow capped Grand Tetons in the background , this one is a winner in my book. Thank you Lena!

Melanie Backus, TX

Judy said...

Beautiful cover on this book. Sounds like a great read!

Judy B from Indiana

scottsgal said...

Yay it's time to start seeing holiday and winter themed books. Love the cover

Cheryl in IL

Anonymous said...

Love to win this book! Shelia from Mississippi

Cindy W. said...

Would love to win. "A Grand Teton Sleigh Ride" sounds wonderful. Thank you for the chance to win a copy.

I live in Indiana.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

Mary Preston said...

A lovely post thank you. Beautiful cover. I'm looking forward to a great read.

Mary P


Vera Godley said...

Sounds like a nice winter evening read taking the reader to storied mountains, snow, and adventure.

I'm in NC

rubynreba said...

The Grand Tetons are beautiful and I'd love to read this book and picture them in my mind!
Beth from IA

Susan Johnson said...

I would love to read this book. It sounds really good. I love books like this where the stories span several generations.
Susan in Texas

Diana Gardner said...

Portsmouth, VA

Beth Goddard said...

Thanks for stopping by! Writing the novellas definitely made me want to head to Jackson for a visit!


Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me for this great giveaway!!
Conway, SC.

Mama Cat said...

This sounds like a great set of novellas - would love to read them. Thanks for the interviews! Jeanie in Phoenix AZ

sm said...

OH! I really love Christian Christmas fiction!! I've been to Jackson Hole several times and the venue will be familiar to me. I would love to win this book! sm CA wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

Merry said...

The Tetons are so beautiful, I'd love to read stories in that awe inspiring setting. Thanks for the giveaway!
Merry in MN

Lynette Sowell said...

Thanks for stopping by, everyone! Jackson Hole is such a beautiful setting. I'm glad I had the chance to work with Beth on this set -- because she's actually been there. Maybe one day I'll get a turn. :)

Deanna Stevens said...

DK Stevens from SE NEBR would love to read your book :)

Emma said...

I am looking forward to reading A Grand Teton Sleigh Ride. I enjoy reading your books.Thank you for the opportunity to win.PA.

apple blossom said...

sounds like a wonderful book thanks for the chance to win
live in ND

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Jackie Tessnair said...

Great post,enjoyed it.Jackie Tessnair from N.C.

kec200 said...

Love the setting! Kathy from NC

Frances Cavallo said...

I would absolutely love to read this book! I am from Deltona, Florida!