Wednesday, February 18, 2015

ONCE AGAIN - Deborah Heal - One Free Book

Dear Readers, Deborah Heal is an author with an entirely different time travel novel. She uses current technology in a unique way to facilitate the time travel aspect. I found it fascinating. And since it interweaves a complete contemporary story with a complete historical story, this adds even more uniqueness to the whole book. I loved her settings and her characters. I think you will, too.

Welcome back, Deborah. What are some of the spiritual themes you like to write about?
The overarching theme of my Rewinding Time Series is that our sovereign God works his good and perfect plans in our lives, and that if we could experience time from His perspective we would see that more clearly. Merrideth, the main character, is a Christian in name only, and throughout the series readers will see how God works in her life to bring her to true saving faith in Christ.

In Once Again, Merrideth sees Christ’s parable about forgiving seven times seventy times lived out in the life of a young pioneer preacher who takes the Gospel to the very Indian tribe that scalped his brother. Merrideth can’t decide whether he’s a hero or a fool to risk his life, but she is definitely impressed. She wonders how she would ever be able to forgive those who have injured her.

In book 2, Only One Way Home, Merrideth learns another piece of the Gospel message when Matthias Frailey tells White Dove that it is not her Cherokee rituals or his own white religious customs that bring salvation. It is only Christ’s redeeming sacrifice on the cross.

How Sweet the Sound will showcase the truth of Romans 3:23. “For ALL of sinned and fallen short…” Merrideth begins to understand that there’s no sense comparing one’s own sins to another person’s because neither of you measure up.

And so it will go until she finally accepts Christ.

What other books of yours are coming out soon?
I hope to have How Sweet the Sound, book 3 in the Rewinding Time Series, out by May of this year. This time Merrideth will take her amazing software to Cave-in-Rock, a tiny southern Illinois town on the banks of the Ohio River. The actual cave from which the town gets its name has a long history of human habitation. Indians and French trappers found it a convenient place to stop while traveling the Ohio. Then when land-hungry easterners began coming down the river on their flatboats, bound for the frontier with everything they owned, river pirates found the cave an exceedingly convenient place for a hideout from which to relieve the pioneers of their earthly goods and many times their lives. Truly truth is stranger than fiction!

I really want to feature this next book on my blog. If you could spend an evening with one contemporary person (not a family member of yours), who would it be and why?
I’d love to have a leisurely chat with presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin so she could tell me lots of interesting tidbits  and help me put our history into perspective.

What historical person would you like to meet (besides Jesus) and why?
I’d like to get to know President Thomas Jefferson so I could find out what he actually believed and felt about slavery.

How can you encourage authors who have been receiving only rejections from publishers?
I tried off and on for eighteen years to sell my first book, and it was soundly rejected everywhere I turned. But then I began to hear about the self-publishing option and decided to try that. And it’s working! I am very happy to not have to depend on a publisher seeing the merit of my work. Instead, my books rise or fall on the basis of reader response. It is so rewarding to find that many readers do enjoy what I write. So don’t wait on publishers as long as I did. Go forth and publish. Just study what you need to in order to turn out a good product.

Tell us about the featured book.
Once Again: an inspirational novel of history, mystery, and romance is about a young woman named Merrideth Randall whose day job is teaching history at a small college. But after hours she turns to her first love, historical research. And she has a tool other historians can only dream of—a computer program that rewinds time!

Merrideth makes a virtual visit to the 1780s, hoping to be the first to locate an ancient pioneer fort. Along the way, she gets a first-hand look at the lives of the courageous pioneers of the Illinois Country, who withstood Indian attacks, hardship, and loneliness to settle the rich land.

One of the settlers is James Garretson, who risks his life to take the Gospel to the very tribe that wreaked havoc on his family. Merrideth is amazed that he could forgive a crime so huge. Hero or fool, James Garretson is the ancestor of her colleague Brett, a physics professor at McKendree College.

With her findings, Merrideth is able to help Brett with his genealogy, but she can’t tell him everything she learned—like that he inherited his black hair and green eyes from James Garretson, or that his aunt’s poetry is eerily similar to the verse Garretson’s wife Isabelle used to compose at her spinning wheel.

Brett has rock-star status on campus, but amazingly enough, he seems to be pursuing Merrideth—in spite of her firm policy against dating co-workers. She would love to tell him about her amazing program, but discretion is not his strong suit. She has secrets about herself that she’d just as soon he didn’t find out either. One virtue Brett does have is patience, and he’s quite willing to wait for Merrideth to figure things out.

Please give us the first few pages of the book for my readers.
“We have to remember that in 1811, the Illinois Territory was the wild, wild West.” Merrideth Randall realized she was leaning on her podium and straightened her spine. At five-foot-two it was difficult enough to look like a mature professional without slouching. At twenty-six, she was the youngest professor at McKendree College and only a few years older than her students, which was why she always dressed in suits and high heels. At times, she had a feeling it only made her look like a child playing dress-up.

She had started the day feeling confident in her new black gabardine suit. The label had bragged about the comfortableness of the three-season fabric. But even though it was a cool October afternoon, she was already sweating like a pig.

Furthermore, the fabric was a magnet for her hair. She picked two long blond strands from her sleeve and turned her eyes back to her students.

 “And as amusing as it seems today, the governor’s job description then included riding into battle, leading the soldiers at his command.”

Apparently, they didn’t find that historical tidbit as amusing as she did. The class continued to look apathetic. She mentally sighed. At least they were awake, to a degree. And most were even taking notes, in a desultory fashion. But the gleam of curiosity she had hoped to see in their eyes was absent. As usual.

McKendree College was small, the current enrollment only about 2,000. But it didn’t aspire to be a large institution. Class sizes were intentionally kept small and intimate, and the professors and instructors were encouraged to get to know their students, to interact with them outside of class. All that had weighed heavily when Merrideth was deciding which of the three job offers she would accept. But sometimes she wondered if she should have chosen the large school in Chicago where she could remain anonymous and not be expected to remember the students’ names, at which she was an epic failure. In the end she decided that a big school would be too intimidating. No, it was much better to be in a small pond where there was a better chance of becoming a big fish one day.

She had thought, naively it turned out, that after a couple of weeks at McKendree she would be nicely settled in, and her history classes would be well on the way to becoming campus favorites. Instead, after over a month, her students remained aloof and only mildly interested in what she had to say. She found their nonverbal feedback incredibly dampening, to say the least. It was a vicious cycle, of course. The more she worried about being boring, the more difficult it was not to be.

Marla White, a seasoned pro from the French Department had advised her to act confident even if she didn’t feel so. “And whatever you do, don’t ever let ’em see you bleed, or they’ll be on you like wolves.”

But that was easier said than done, wasn’t it? Taking a deep breath, she shuffled her notes and soldiered on.

“Tecumseh was off trying to organize a coordinated Indian resistance that November day in 1811. If he had been successful…”

A student in the third row—Allison? Alyssa?—raised her hand. She was a beautiful girl and always looked cool and collected, as if she weren’t familiar with the human phenomenon of perspiration. And as far as Merrideth could tell her  blond highlights had not come out of a bottle. She was one of the few students who ever asked a question or offered a comment. Unfortunately, they were usually so tinged with sarcasm that Merrideth had begun to dread calling on her. But now as always, hope rose that at last she was about to experience a lively interaction with a student.

Merrideth pointed to the raised hand. “Yes?”

 “The proper term is Native American. Besides, they aren’t really Indian anyway.”

Merrideth was sure the smile she had drummed up looked fake, but it was the best she could do when her teaching competence was under direct attack. “I’m glad you brought that up. I recently learned that most Native Americans actually prefer to be called Indians.”

The girl looked decidedly skeptical.

“I was surprised myself.” Merrideth glanced down and shuffled her notes again. “Anyway, if Tecumseh had been successful, who knows what the map of America would look like today? While he was gone, Harrison and a force of 1,000 soldiers defeated the Shawnee at Prophetstown.

“At the time it was considered a huge victory for Harrison. He picked up the nickname Tippecanoe from the river of that name near the battlefield. Twenty-nine years later in 1840, a Whig campaign song called Tippecanoe and Tyler Too helped Harrison win the presidency.”

The girl raised her hand again. “Yes?” Merrideth said as pleasantly as she could.

“Will that be on the final exam? The nicknames and songs, things like that?”

“Maybe. Probably.”

A disdainful expression flittered over the student’s face, and then she lowered her eyes and resumed writing. Just as Merrideth looked back at her own notes, the girl muttered, “I registered for Illinois History, not Trivial Pursuit.” It was said loudly enough that it was clearly intended for Merrideth to hear.

She stifled the urge to smack her. To reward herself for her restraint, she decided to wrap up class three minutes early. “But historians know,” she said tersely, “that the victory at Prophetstown only ratcheted up the violence between the whites and Indians. Six months later when the War of 1812 began, the Indians naturally sided with the British. We’ll talk more about that next time. Be sure to keep up with your readings.”

The students began gathering their things with an eagerness that was a further insult to Merrideth’s confidence. Then she remembered her announcement and called out, “Don’t forget, if you want to be a volunteer at the Fort Piggot archaeological dig Saturday, there’s still time, but you’ll have to be a member of History Club. Just let me know if you need a sign-up form.”

No one responded. No one even looked interested, much less stayed behind to get the details. She felt her face heating and turned away to gather her own things. Her embarrassment grew ten-fold when she realized Dr. Garrison was watching her from the door. With a mind of its own, her hand started to rise, intent on checking her hair. But she forced it back down to her side. She would not allow Brett Garrison to trigger any fluttery female instincts she might have.
The thought that the most popular professor on campus had witnessed her debacle just added icing to the cake. She had heard that gushing groupies congregated outside his classroom like he was Indiana Jones, and they were there to catch him before he cast off the trappings of academia and went off on an action-packed adventure.

But Brett dressed more stylishly than Indy had—never in tweed jackets with leather patches on the elbows, for sure. And he was much better looking than Harrison Ford. His black hair was thick, and his eyes were so green that Merrideth once asked Marla White if she thought he wore colored contacts. Marla had smiled knowingly and said, “No, ma’am! They’re the real deal. It’s the Irish in him.”

The moment she was introduced to him at the faculty icebreaker at President Peterson’s residence, he had set her nerves on edge. Sure, he was pretty to look at, but his vanity ruined it. Twice she had caught him admiring himself in Peterson’s hall mirror. She had avoided him ever since.

But now she smiled and said, “Hi. Don’t you math types do your thing in Voigt Hall?” It hadn’t come out in the friendly manner she’d intended, and she mentally kicked herself for letting her rattled nerves show. He sure didn’t need anything more to stoke his ego.

How can readers find you on the Internet?
I hope readers will visit my website to find out more about the actual people, places, and events that my books are based on.


Thank you, Deborah, for introducing my readers to your new series.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Once Again: An inspirational novel of history, mystery & romance (The Rewinding Time Series) (Volume 1) - paperback
Once Again: An inspirational novel of history, mystery, & romance (The Rewinding Time Series Book 1) - 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.)

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Deborah Heal said...

Hi, it's so nice to visit on your site on this cold February morning!

Anonymous said...

I love time-traveling books. Add in adventure and a little romance and I'm good to go!
J.C. -Indiana-

Melanie Backus said...

Count me in on this one, Lena!

Melanie Backus, TX

Mary Preston said...

I enjoyed the opening to the book thank you.

Mary P


Cindy W. said...

I'm anxious to see if Merrideth wins over her students. Would love to win a copy.

I live in Indiana.

Cindy W.

Anne Payne said...

I'm intrigued. Is there resolution between Merrideth and Brett by the end of book one, or not until book three?

Anne, rural NC

debbieheal said...

Anne, their romance will be a plot thread that spans all SIX books I have planned for the Rewinding Time Series. Merrideth certainly has issues to work out, but she's coming along in book 3. And then in book 5. . . well, I you'll have to stay tuned.

Deanna Stevens said...

I liked the first pages! Sounds like one I'd like to read...
D K Stevens, NE

Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me!!
Conway, SC.

KayM said...

This series sounds very intriguing. Thank you for offering a copy.

Deborah Heal said...

I am happy to provide a free copy of Once Again to the winner. And please check out my website for more information about the real live people and events featured in the novel.

kam110476 said...

Hi Deborah & Lena! I downloaded Time & Again last year, but I just haven't gotten around to reading it yet. I love how you thought of a way to use modern technology for time travel!
Kristen in OK
kam110476 at gmail dot com

kam110476 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Connie Porter Saunders said...

I am excited to learn more about this series. Thank you!
Connie from Kentucky

Anonymous said...

Sounds interesting! Shelia from Mississippi

rubynreba said...

I've only recently started reading time travel books and I find I do enjoy them.
Beth from IA

Jasmine A. said...

I've never really read any time travel books but this one sounds great!

Jasmine in MT

Jasmine A. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.