Monday, July 27, 2015

OUT OF THE ASHES - Sandi Rog - One Free Book

Dear Readers, Sandi and I share the same agent, and I’m thrilled to introduce you to her newest book.

Lena, thank you so much for having me on your blog. It’s an honor to be here, and I look forward to giving a signed copy to one of your wonderful readers.

Welcome back, Sandi. Why do you write the kind of books you do?
I love historical novels and escaping into the past. I also love going anywhere I want to go (in time and place), be anything I want to be, and doing anything I want to do through my characters and from the pages of my novels. But more importantly, God has to be in my books. I couldn’t write one without Him in it. He’s my Joy, my Helper, and my Friend. So, most of my books are about overcoming life’s trials with God’s help.

OUT OF THE ASHES is a “light historical romance.” My previous books are very “deep.” Not that this one isn’t, but it’s shorter, won’t make you cry in the middle of the story, and has a happy-ending. I needed to write something “light” because I just came out of a major battle with cancer, nearly losing my life twice, and I just needed to write something that was fun and would make me (and others) smile. Cancer was a rough ride, but there were many blessings in disguise that God showered upon us in my recovery, not just physical healing, but healing in my marriage and for our entire family in unimaginable ways.

So ... I’m grateful to God for allowing me to write OUT OF THE ASHES. I honestly feel like I just stepped out of the ashes of cancer, into a life raining down blessings. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever be able to write again because of chemo-brain. It’s a side-affect of chemo/radiation, a foggy forgetfulness that seems to take over and makes it difficult to concentrate, and it can last years after the treatments. It’s all because of God and His tender mercies that I’m still here and able to write. If any of you happened to be one of the thousands who prayed me through cancer, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Really, there are no words to express my gratitude.

Sandi, and my readers, my older daughter is fighting the same fight right now. I’d love to have y’all praying for Marilyn. She won’t have to do chemo, but she’s going to have radiation. Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
My wedding day! My husband is my hero. He helped me beat cancer is ways unimaginable. You can read more about that story here:

How has being published changed your life?
That’s hard to say as my first book THE MASTER’S WALL was released the very day they told me I had cancer. I never got to experience all the joys of having a book published: book signings, talks, etc. Marketing my book was an impossible task. I wasn’t allowed to go out in public, plus, I was too sick, too weak to do so.

So ... what changed my life really was experiencing friends swoop in to carry me and my book through the battlefield. Numerous writer friends, and people I didn’t even know, announced my book on their blogs and websites. Family friends who aren’t Christians even took my books to a book signing I’d scheduled before my diagnosis, at Mardel’s (I signed all my books on a sticker and they used those “signed” books at my “book signing”). This changed my life in that I realized what was truly important. Not publishing a book, but love, prayers, and that there are people in this world who will bend over backwards, upside down, and inside out to help someone in need. I’d realized during that time that writing had become my idol. Yes, this was another blessing that God revealed from cancer.

Since then, I’m learning to find balance. Put God first, my husband and children second, and my writing third.

What are you reading right now?
My Bible. I don’t read it enough, and I feel like Satan has been distracting me from God’s word with a lack of focus and motivation. So, after a lot of prayer, I’ve started reading my Bible more. Starting my day with the Lord gives me strength and the correct focus. Satan will get me even in the middle of my reading. I’ll read a passage, and suddenly, I find my mind elsewhere. I then have to pray that God will get my mind back on His word. It works!

What is your current work in progress?
The sequel to OUT OF THE ASHES titled INTO THE FIRE. It’s the story of Nathaniel’s brother, Michael. He’s a brooding, hot-tempered character who falls head-over-heals in love with the feisty, God-loving heroine, Nicolette.

What would be your dream vacation?
Pompeii. I’ve been to Rome, Italy, doing research for THE MASTER’S WALL, and I’ve always been sorry I didn’t get a chance to go to Pompeii to see the ancient city.

How do you choose your settings for each book?
I chose Chicago for OUT OF THE ASHES because I thought the Great Chicago Fire in 1871 would make great fodder for a story.

If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
My husband. He’s my best friend, my confidant, and understands me better than anyone in the world.

What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
I don’t think I would call this a “hobby” but it takes up most of my day: homeschooling my children. When we first moved to the States from Holland, I got sick. I’ve been sick pretty much the entire time we’ve been here. Now that I’m better, I’m making up for lost time, time I didn’t get to spend with my children. Plus, they weren’t doing well in school, and this has been a huge boost for their education. A teacher in a room full of 20-30 children has a hard time finding one-on-one time with struggling students (I greatly admire teachers and the work they do that receives so little appreciation). Now my kids get that one-on-one time, and they’re blossoming in ways that never would have been possible.

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
Right now, it’s focus. Like I said, since chemo, it’s been very difficult to get my mind focused on writing. I’m too easily distracted. I used to be able to write amongst chaos, but ever since beating cancer, I need quiet. I simply can’t focus without it. And with kids in the house, that makes it difficult. So, if I need to get some serious writing done, it’s after they go to bed, or I go to the local library, coffee house, or bookstore (where I’m at right now, LOL). Once, while writing, I nearly witnessed a brawl in Barnes and Noble. A man was using foul language (around children and everyone), and another man called him out on it. Boy, the man who was getting “in trouble” became aggressive. I was surprised that the other man who had called him out, remained calm and seated. Had he stood, I’d hate to think what would have happened. I went to the library after that, LOL.

What advice would you give to a beginning author?
Write what you know (which also means do your research); and write how you’d talk, or how your characters would talk (this is in regards to the complicated subject of “voice”). And most importantly, have fun! Write what you’re passionate about. Write what gets you excited. If you’re not excited about what you write, it’s going to come out in your work and your readers will sense your lack of passion.

If you’d like to learn more about the craft of fiction, I suggest you read books such as SELF-EDITING FOR FICTION WRITERS by King and Browne. Also books by Noah Lukeman AS THE PLOT THICKENS and THE FIRST FIVE PAGES.

Tell us about the featured book.
Here’s the book jacket description for OUT OF THE ASHES:
A stranger. A kiss. A shotgun wedding.

NATHANIEL WARD, wealthy entrepreneur, needs a wife. But he’s not interested in the preening, high-society women who are offered to him on a silver platter. He wants one woman, and one woman alone: the girl who gave him all the money in her reticule years ago when the Great Chicago Fire left him destitute. He sets out to find this woman and discovers she’s unattached. There’s only one problem, a shotgun wedding may be able to bind them, but will he ever be able to win her heart?

AMELIA E. TAYLOR blows a kiss to a street rat. Little did she know, years later that kiss would follow her to Green Pines, Colorado. When a handsome stranger arrives in her hometown, she guards her heart from the stirrings this man ignites. Despite society’s disapproval of spinsterhood, she is determined not to marry, having witnessed first-hand the lack of love and horrors that accompany marriage. But will a shotgun wedding reveal blessings that arise out of the ashes?

Please give us the first page of the book.
Green Pines, Colorado, 1882
Gun smoke burned Amelia’s eyes and her ears still rang. She blinked the tears from her lashes.

“Do you, Nathaniel Ward,” the preacher scowled, “take Amelia Taylor to be your lawfully wedded wife?”

Amelia’s father cocked his rifle and aimed it at the reluctant groom.

“I do,” Nathaniel said, his voice firm and unwavering. Despite her father’s threats, Nathaniel’s very presence exuded power, his raised chin, broad shoulders and wide chest unflinching against the barrel of the rifle.

Amelia didn’t dare look up at him. What must he be thinking? How many women had hoped to get him this far, and now, here she stood where most women dreamed of standing—shotgun wedding, or not. If only she could melt into the parlor’s wooden floor like the candle burning in the nearby lamp. Or disappear like the smoke. Disappear into nothingness, with no remnant left of her existence.

“Do you, Amelia Taylor, take Nathaniel Ward to be your lawfully wedded husband?” The preacher’s words rushed over Amelia like a gush of foul air.

She stood paralyzed, unable to speak. She’d vowed never to marry. How would she bear this cross? She’d seen enough loveless marriages in her life to know it wasn’t worth the heartache, despite the shame of spinsterhood. And now, to be forced on a man? What miseries awaited her? Abuse? Neglect? Slavery? Any man in his right mind would despise her for the rest of his days. It would be impossible—unthinkable—to procure his affection … his love.

The minister, still in his nightclothes, cleared his throat. His wife, holding up the lantern, glowered from behind him.

Amelia swallowed, darting a glance at her terrifying father. With a snarl, he narrowed his eyes at Nathaniel and pressed closer with his rifle. Would he put another hole in the preacher’s wall? Or Nathaniel’s chest?

“Amelia, girl.” Her father’s voice sent a shudder down her spine as it echoed through the quiet house. “You know, I always keep my word.” He’d threatened to kill Nathaniel if she refused to be his wife.

“I do,” she said, her voice small and trembling, quite the opposite of the man next to her. The horror, the shame. How did her life come to this?

“I now pronounce you man and wife.” The minister slammed his Bible shut and pointed it at her father. “Now get out!”

Shadows clouded Amelia’s vision, and her legs wobbled like those of a newborn calf. Her knees buckled, but rather than landing on the hard floor, she found herself caught in Nathaniel’s strong arms.

Now her husband.

How can readers find you on the Internet?
I can be found at my website and my many blogs:

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 and Oreo in KY

Caryl Kane said...

Great interview with Sandi. OUT OF THE ASHES sounds fantastic!

Caryl in TEXAS

Terri said...

Hearing my sister had cancer was a horrible shock. It's been nearly five years now, and she's fine.
"Out of the Ashes" sounds very intriguing.
Terri in Wisconsin

Sandi Rog said...

Lena, thank you so much for having me on your blog today! It's such an honor to be here!

Anonymous, whether or not you win, I hope you get a chance to read it and enjoy it!

Caryl, thank you! I had fun writing it!

Terri, I'm so sorry you had to go through the devastations of cancer with your sister. I'm so grateful she's now well! Praise God! It's the worst thing a person could experience, but it brought blessings to our lives. God is good at that. :-) Here's a link where I share my story if you're interested:

So happy to be here!



Sandi Rog said...

I double-posted. That's why I removed one of my comments. Sorry about that! :-)

Anonymous said...

Hello Lena. Loved this interview.. I would love to win this book of Sandi's. Very interesting. Please put my name in for a chance to win it. Thanks and GOD bless you. And Sandi, I hope you continue to get better with GOD's blessing.
Maxie from TX. > mac262(at)me(dot)com <

Sandi Rog said...

Maxie, thank you for dropping by! Whether you win or not, I hope you get a chance to read the book! Thank you for the well-wishes. God is GOOD, no matter what. :-)

Melissa M. said...

"Out of the Ashes" sounds very interesting.
Enjoyed the interview, too, and hope you continue to heal, Mrs. Rog!

-Melissa M. in TN

Sandi Rog said...

Melissa, thank you for coming by! I just happen to be visiting my daughter in Owensboro, Kentucky, and we came up by way of Arkansas (we were visiting family in that region), which meant we had to go through part of Tennessee. :-)

Melanie Backus said...

Thank you for the great interview with Sandi! Her book sounds like a winner to me!

Melanie Backus, TX

Sandi Rog said...

Melanie, thank you! I hope you get a chance to read it! :-)

Vera Godley said...

I'm so sorry to hear of your battle with cancer, Sandi Rog, and saw it first hand in my husband and my daughter's battles. It is definitely a rough ride or rough road to go down. We all need a bit of "light" reading and your book sounds like just the prescription. I'd love to win it.

I'm in North Carolina.

Mary Preston said...

A wonderful first page thank you.

Mary P


Cindy W. said...

I would really love to win a copy of this book. Thank you for the chance.

I live in Indiana.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

Abigail Mitchell said...

Love the cover! Please enter me.

Loraine Nunley said...

Lena - I am sending up a prayer for your daughter right now.
Sandi - I am glad to hear that you came through your battle with cancer. I love the cover of your book and the story sounds interesting as well. Thanks for the interview and giveaway!

Loraine in TX

Anonymous said...

Lena, I am saying a prayer for your daughter right now.
Sandi, I am so glad you beat your battle with cancer. I saw the effects it had on my sister in law and it was terrible !
I love the cover of your lovely book .
I am looking forward to reading this delightful story .
Thank you for the interview and giveaway.
Deanne in Pennsylvania

Raechel said...

Wow, great and inspiring interview!
I hadn't heard of this book before, so now I am eager to read it!
Raechel in MN

ASC Book Reviews said...

This sounds GREAT! I would love to win, read, and review this!!! Thanks for the opportunity!

Amada (pronounced:, NM

Beth Gillihan said...

Congrats on beating cancer! Love the cover and first page! sounds like a good read. Thanks for the chance to win!

Beth in Montana

Patty said...

What a way to start out a marriage!

Patty in SC

Cindi A said...

Prayers going out for Marilyn and Sandi asking the Lord to put his healing hands upon them, both.

I am very anxious to read this novel. It sounds a bit different than the typical romance stories that I've read.
Thanks for the opportunity to enter the drawing to win a copy of Out of the Ashes.

~Cindi Altman from Pennsylvania.

Connie Porter Saunders said...

Beautiful cover!
Connie from KY

Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me in your awesome giveaway!!
Conway, SC.

Sandi Rog said...

Thank you all for stopping by! Please forgive my delayed response. I’m traveling at the moment, visiting my daughter in Kentucky.

Vera, I hope your husband and daughter were able to beat the cancer.

Mary, it’s great to see you’re in Australia! My youngest sister lives there. :-)

Cindy and Abigail, thank you! Yes, the cover designer did a wonderful job!

Loraine and Deanne, I’m grateful to God for my recovery. Thank you. Yes, the cover is amazing. I have Roseanna White to thank for it. She’s a talented woman.

Raechel, I’m glad you were inspired! I hope you’ll get to read my book someday!

Amada, it would mean a lot to me if you wrote a positive review. :-)

Beth and Patty, yes, I thought starting out with a shotgun wedding scene was exciting and intriguing. I hope you enjoy the rest of the story!

Cindi, yes, I tried to make my stories “different.” I wrote what I wanted to read. :-) I hope you enjoy it!

Connie, thank you! Yes, Roseanna did a wonderful job on the cover.

Sharon, thank you! I hope you get a chance to read it!



kam110476 said...

Hi Sandi & Lena! Out of the Ashes sounds like it's going to be a beautiful love story and I can't wait to get my hands on it!
Kristen in OK
kam110476 at gmail dot com

sm said...

Out of the Ashes could be San Francisco or Chicago. Not read a novel on Chicago's fire yet.
Thanks for the interesting post and I LOVE the blue dress on the book cover. sm CA wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

Trixi said...

Sandi, I am so sorry that you've had to endure such pain and trail that cancer had brought to your life! I'm so happy, however, to read that your faith remained strong. I really like what you said here, it's so encouraging to me:"I honestly feel like I just stepped out of the ashes of cancer, into a life raining down blessings". Wow, brings tears to my eyes. It really does encourage me that if someone like you can go through a horrible time with cancer, but yet see God's blessings, I can too! Not that I am going through that, but when life gets rough in general. What an amazing God we serve! I'll also be praying for Marilyn and for God's swift healing touch!
Your book "Out of the Ashes" sounds like a wonderful book. The excerpt certainly drew me right in! I would love to know what happened after the shotgun wedding :-)

Trixi in OR

Sandi Rog said...

Kristen, I hope you get a chance to read OUT OF THE ASHES. It was fun to write. :-)

SM, I'd have to do more research on San Francisco, but that could be another setting for another series. I love the blue dress too! My cover designer did such a wonderful job. I told her I wanted "royal blue" and she made it happen! LOL

Trixi, thank you for your encouraging words. I'm so glad my story could help inspire you! Yes, God is GOOD, no matter what! :-) He's the best! He's AMAZING. I'm crazy about Him! :-)



Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great book.
Thanks for the chance to win.


Qld, Australia

Sandi Rog said...

Lientjie, your name looks Dutch! :-)

I hope you get a chance to read my book!



GrandaddyA said...

That first page was quite interesting. I think I would enjoy reading this book.

Anonymous said...

What a gorgeous cover on this, it has drawn me in. After reading an excerpt of this book I know I would most definitely enjoy reading it !

Deanne in Pennsylvania

Sandi Rog said...

Thank you, Edward and Deanne. :-) I hope you both get a chance to read it.

Pam Graber said...

Oh, my! What a fantastic beginning! Would love to win this one. It looks like a winner.

Pam in Ohio

Sandi Rog said...

Thank you, Pam! I hope you get to read it! :-)

Merry said...

Out of the Ashes sounds like a great love story with an unusual twist. Please add me!
Merry in MN

Sandi Rog said...

Thank you, Merry. It was fun to write! :-)