Wednesday, October 28, 2015

TOBOGGANING FOR TWO - Darlene Franklin - One Free Ebook

Dear Readers, Darlene is a long-time, dear writing friend of mine. We’ve been on a writing retreat together as well as connecting at ACFW national conferences and when I have spoken at the Tulsa ACFW local chapter. She has a vivid imagination and the ability to write stories that leap off the page. I’m thrilled to once again host her here on this blog.

Welcome back, Darlene. How did this book come about?
Last year, before the ACFW Conference in September, I was part of a group of authors who wrote Christmas Traditions. The group clicked quickly, and we proposed two additional series to Barbour Publishing.

Barbour contracted with us for Blue Ribbon Brides, and Cindy Hickey decided to publish the Love’s Sporting Chance series with Forget Me Not Publishing.
I originally expected my novella to be set in Vermont, and that brought to mind winter sports. I settled on tobogganing: Tobogganing for Two. At one point, my hero thinks that tobogganing is the most romantic of the winter sports. And anyone who knows Edith Wharton’s classic Ethan Frome will recognize some similarities. I couldn’t mention it in the book, unfortunately. The book wasn’t published until nearly forty years later.

Tell us about the book’s cover and what makes it unique.
Cindy Hickey designs all the covers for Forget Me Not, and she’s amazing at it.
My cover features two toboggans, standing upright in the snow and facing each other, with two intertwining hearts on the snow. I used that scene in the book, when the toboggans reminds my heroine of a traumatic experience.

I agree that her cover designs are wonderful. I love having a really good cover for each of my books. Please explain and differentiate between what’s fact and fiction in the book.
Plymouth, Nebraska, is an actual town in southeastern Nebraska. John Carter, his store, and the many community events that took place there are all true.

Of course my hero, Dr. Jay Andrews, is fictional, as are the ramps and boardwalks he put up around town.

I made sure that there would be places to toboggan in that part of Nebraska by asking my ACFW friends and checking the weather patterns. An October snowstorm would be rare, but it could happen.

How much research did you have to do for this book?
Finding the right town took the most work. I am going to add Tobogganing for Two to my Holidays of the Heart collection as a Thanksgiving story. For that, I needed a very special town:
A town with a name that reminds me of Thanksgiving
A town in the west
A town far enough north to have snow in October/November
A town with enough rolling hills or prairie to allow for tobogganing.

I ended up finding two towns, Plymouth, Kansas, and Plymouth, Nebraska. I settled on Nebraska, but I kept confusing the history of one town with the other.

What are some of the most interesting things you found about this subject that you weren’t able to use in the story?
I would have loved to include to include the social gatherings that took place at the Carter’s home. One of the issues that my heroine faces, however, is that her sister is paralyzed and can’t go up and down stairs. So they remain homebodies.

What inspired and surprised you while you were writing the book?
Hmm. Perhaps it was imagining how a Civil War veteran dealt with a 19th-century version of PTSD. I’ve read about the horrible operating conditions and almost casual amputations. What was that like for the doctors? How would it affect them when they returned home? That’s what my hero is dealing with.
I see so many ads asking us to help returning vets. I confess I am as clueless to the extent of their suffering as the people of Plymouth.

What do you hope the reader takes away from the story?
That God can heal painful memories and free us from fear.

What is the next project you’re working on?
I plan to spend November doing Nano. I’ve spent the last year writing novella after novella. Writing a 50-60 K book with everything else I’m doing has become difficult. So I have planned out a new mystery series, and I hope to complete a rough draft by the end of the month. My heroine is a home health aide—the murder victim is a healthy elderly woman with a broken hip who dies the night after her 80th birthday party. I’m going to have a blast writing it!

I think I’ll try Nano, too. I need to write book two of my Love’s Road Home series, because two editors have requested the full manuscript of the first novel in the series. What do you do when you have to get away from the story for a while?
I have a long list writing-related “to dos”: interviews, Facebook, planning, writing devotionals ... and I also do a lot of reading, word search puzzles, scripture memorization, and more time in prayer. As I get older, the more I want to know the Lord who has given me eternal life!

And Lena, let me just say, this is interview #10 between us—when we first worked on Snowbound Colorado Christmas together, I never expected to come so far, or to be so lucky as to count you as a friend. Thank you very much!

Yes, our friendship is precious to me, too. And I loved writing that Christmas collection with you, as well as the other two authors. Please give us the first page of this new novella.
Plymouth, Nebraska, 1875
“Hurry up, ladies. I’ve got a schedule to keep.” The stagecoach driver was eager to get back on schedule. He’d lost time when a dead bull blocked the road on the way from Lincoln. In spite of his complaint, he fell into conversation with the storekeeper where he had parked the carriage.

Laura Evans gritted her teeth but dismounted without saying a word. By now he should know her sister, Eliza, needed extra time getting up and down. He had panicked the first time he’d seen her bath chair. The shotgun rider lifted down their trunks while Laura faced Eliza. She forced a brave smile on her face. “We’re here at last, sister.”
When the shotgun rider grabbed Eliza’s chair, he stumbled a step, and Laura feared it would fall. “Be careful with that!”
He recovered in time and maneuvered it to the ground. “What in the dickens is this thing?” he grumbled.
Laura checked the chair over. Sixteen hundred miles by train and stagecoach had only caused a few scratches. “It’s my sister’s bath chair.” She rolled the wheels, which enabled the chair to move to the carriage. After she scooped her sister’s light form in her arms, she placed her in the adjacent chair.

“We’re in Plymouth.” Eliza spoke when she regained her breath from the transition into the chair. A light wind lifted her brown hair, drawing attention to her sparkling hazel eyes.

“And Aunt Minnie is waiting for us. Her home shouldn’t be very far from here.”

It felt so good to be free of the stagecoach. Laura’d hated being squished between Eliza and a large man. Every time they hit a bump, Eliza quivered. Not surprisingly, none of the men offered to help. She peered up and down the street, but the doctor Aunt Minnie had promised would meet them was nowhere to be seen.

Nebraska. Aunt Minnie had fallen in love with the place in her two short years in Plymouth. So far it surpassed Laura’s expectations. The land was not as flat as she’d expected. The sky seemed a deeper blue than the skies above the ocean at home. Bright yellow flowers dotted meadows she had seen between fields of waiving grain.

Eliza breathed deeply and sighed as Laura tucked a blanket over her lap. “It even smells wonderful.”

Laura wasn’t so sure. So far the dust and other odors of a western town appealed to her less than the salty, fishy air of her home in Maine. The stagecoach driver had finished his discussion with the storekeeper and headed out of town on his route.
The storekeeper saw Laura and Eliza in the middle of the street and smiled. “Welcome to Plymouth, ladies. I’m John Carter, the owner of this fine establishment. How may I assist you?” He tugged at his chin. “Let get you and your things onto the boardwalk and then we’ll figure out what to do next.”

He reached for the bath chair handles but Laura grabbed them first. “I’d appreciate your help with our trunks.”

She’d known that two trunks and a bath chair were a lot to manage during their journey, but they couldn’t do with less, not with the equipment Eliza needed. By the time Laura had tugged Eliza onto the boardwalk, the storekeeper had moved the two trunks. “Thank you, Mr. Carter.”

“My pleasure.” He climbed the steps into the store before he looked back. “You must be Miss Bell’s nieces. I’ll have one of my clerks help you.”

Laura looked up and down the street. Aunt Minnie had promised that Dr. Andrews would pick them at the stage stop. Where was he? In such a small town, Aunt Minnie’s house couldn’t be far away. But Laura couldn’t manage the trunks as well as the chair, and she had no idea where to find the house. She probably should accept Mr. Carter’s offer.

Before she spoke, a long shadow fell across the boardwalk. “Miss Evans? Miss Laura Evans?”

As she was turning around, the man said, “And Miss Eliza Evans?” The shadow bent over the bath chair.

“Dr. . .” Laura completed her turn. The tallest, handsomest man she had ever seen towered over her, even though she was standing a step higher than he. “—Dr. Andrews?”

Her voice wobbled. She moved her foot to regain her balance, but instead stumbled forward. Into his arms.

I love it so far, Darlene. How can readers find you on the Internet?
Website/blog: (2 books will be given away every month, so stop by for further information!)
Twitter: @darlenefranklin

Thank you, Darlene, for sharing this new book with us. I know my readers as eager as I am to read it.

Readers, here’s a link to the book.

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.

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Tina Wilson said...

We use to go sledding alot in Ulster County New York, also Toboganing which was dangerous at our place alot of trees in the valley since you had no real control of the Tobogann. Memories are always great, thanks for bringing that back to me.

Darlene Franklin said...

Hi Tina! Those sound like fun memories.

Laurie Bergh said...

I live in Wisconsin so we have lots of sledding and tobogganing going on here.

Trixi said...

Hi Darlene! This sounds like another wonderful story by you. I used to go sledding as a kid growing up in Illinois. Luckily, we had many city parks with nice hills to go down, I didn't even mind climbing back up those hills because I anticipated the thrill ride going down them again :-) By they time we'd have to go home, our cheeks were red with the cold and our snowsuits were wet from all the snow, but I didn't mind, I had fun!! Ahhh, great memories!
Thanks for sharing an excerpt of your newest story & for the interview. It's always nice to get to know you :-)

Trixi in OR

Darlene Franklin said...

Hi Laurie, I bet you do! I notice you didn't mention whether or not you enjoyed it. . .

Darlene Franklin said...

Hi Trixie, your description belongs in a book.

Anonymous said...

This book sounds very interesting. My sisters and I always loved sledding. My younger sister moved on to snowboarding, but I've always had a special place in my heart for our old rail-sled. Especially when it was icy, that rail-sled would FLY! You could find yourself a hundred yards away before you realized you'd even hopped on! There's no better feeling than the frosty air in your face, filling your lungs, water streaking back from the corners of your eyes, and nothing but a sparkling white light in all directions... So fun!
J.C. -Indiana-

Darlene Franklin said...

J.C., I need to use your description too. Thanks for sharing the memories.

Kim Amundsen said...

Sounds like a fun read. kamundsen44ATyahooDOTcom. North Platte Nebraska.

Beth Gillihan said...

We love sledding! We usually go to the Carroll College hill to sled. The kids love it. Sounds like a good read.

Beth in Montana

Darlene Franklin said...

Montana - just hearing the name makes me want to go. Good to meet you, Beth.

Darlene Franklin said...

Kim, hope you have as much fun reading it as I did writing it.

sm said...

I enjoy your books, Darlene, and am ever amazed at your diligence in writing from a nursing home. That has to be interesting and you must keep the staff entertained with your stories. Trust it gives you many opportunities to tell of Christ's love. sm CA wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

Darlene Franklin said...

Thanks for your encouragement, SM.

Elizabeth Dent said...

Hey Darlene , loved your interview . Your new book Tobogannng sounds good and would love to read it .
I' live in Alabama . We did live in a subdivision where there was a steep hill and we woukd go sledding when we got snow . Was fun , but to old to do it now . Thanks for the chance to win your book ..

Brenda Arrington said...

Sounds like you do have fun in snow. We don't have a lot of snow and it usually melts very fast when we do have it. Your book sounds very interesting. I would love to win a copy.
Brenda in VA

Darlene Franklin said...

Liz, I can't imagine tobogganing now either. But I remember how much fun it was.

Darlene Franklin said...

Brenda, here in OK we get more ice than snow, so I know what you mean. Thanks for your interest.

Edward Arrington said...

Sounds like an interesting story. Edward A in VA

Darlene Franklin said...

Edward, hi! I don't get to talk with many men. Thanks for stopping by.

Knightress4theKing said...

Hey Darlene! We currently live in Maryland but I remember the one time we went and visited Vermont over Christmas I believe because there was snow on the ground the next morning. I got to see baby birds in the nest right outside the window and that made a whole world of difference to me since I was such a young kid.

Darlene Franklin said...

Oh, that sounds so amazing! Wonderful memory

apple blossom said...

I love Darlene's books thanks for the chance to win

Live in ND

Darlene Franklin said...

Hi Apple Blossom! Good to see you again.

Pam Graber said...

We used to love sledding with our boys. Not many big hills here in NW Ohio, though. Would love to read your book!

Pam in Ohio

Darlene Franklin said...

Pam, I think I prefer not having a big hill just fine. A slight incline will do me fine. :)

Connie said...

I haven't been sleigh riding for several years but we now have a 20 month old granddaughter so this may change!
Connie from KY
cps1950 (at) gmail (dot) com