Monday, June 13, 2016

A SILVER MEDALLION - James R Callan - One Free Book

Welcome back, James. God has really been moving in your writing life. What do you see on the horizon?
A Silver Medallion releases this week. The horizon is filled with my least favorite activity - marketing. But this is an important book in that it highlights the plight of so many people who get trapped in an intolerable situation, with no way to get out, and the good people who try to help them. So I will market it to the best of my ability.

A very important topic. Tell us a little about your family.
My wife and I have four grown children and six grandchildren. Unfortunately, they are scattered across the U.S. from Pennsylvania to California. It does provide us with ample reasons to travel.

I’m really blessed to have all my children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren live within 20 miles of us. Has your writing changed your reading habits? If so, how?
Yes, it has, mostly in three ways. My favorite genre to read is mystery. But when I am in the midst of writing a mystery, I do not read mysteries. Second, now I read more "women's fiction" to learn more about emotions. And as I meet more writers, I read their books, thus expanding my reading list.

What are you working on right now?
I have begun the third Father Frank mystery, which will follow Cleansed by Fire and Over My Dead Body. These are cozy mysteries where a minister must solve the crime.

What outside interests do you have?
My wife and I both love to travel and we do a good bit of that, both in the U.S. and abroad. In Texas, we live in the middle of a forest and when we are home, we spend a lot of time outdoors, working on the gardens, cutting dead trees, or just enjoying nature.

How do you choose your settings for each book?
All of my recent books have a Texas flavor. Beyond that, the major conflict often leads me to the location.

I’ve written books set all over the U.S., but now I’m trying to use Texas settings more often. If you could spend an evening with one historical person, who would it be and why?
I think it might be John F. Kennedy. He brought a spirit to America that was not here before and has not been here since. I’d want to ask him what could be done today to restore some of that spirit, that optimism, that patriotism back to the country.

What is the one thing you wish you had known before you started writing novels?
How important and difficult marketing would be. Even with a publisher, today the author is expected to do most of the marketing. It is something I am ill-equipped to do. And it is very time consuming. But it is an important part of being an author in 2016.

What new lessons is the Lord teaching you right now?
Patience. And I seem to be a slow learner.

I’m thinking all authors have a hard time with that. What are the three best things you can tell other authors to do to be successful?
Write. Read. Market. First and foremost, you must write a lot—every day if possible. Second, you need to read a variety of good authors. Reading different authors gives you a balance. Reading only one author, even though he or she is good, does not provide a well-rounded background. And reading good authors puts good writing in your psyche. Reading bad writing does the opposite. Marketing is a reality. It should start early. Some say before the book starts. I’m not sure about that, but certainly early is better than later.

Tell us about the featured book.
In A Silver Medallion , young, unadventurous Crystal Moore meets a woman held slave in modern Dallas, Texas. She is not held by chains, but by threats to harm her two children left in Mexico if she should escape or even tell anyone of her situation.

Crystal would like to forget about this, but her conscience won’t let her. She finally realizes that the only resolution is to go to Mexico and try to rescue the two girls, for only when they are free and safe will the mother dare to escape.

In Mexico, she enlists the aid of mysterious Juan Grande. If she succeeds, the children and the mother will be free, but Crystal will have two powerful and ruthless men who will want her dead.                    

Please give us the first page of the book.
CRYSTAL Moore drove slowly along the sandy road that curved through the property she had roamed as a child. Her grandparents had christened it “The Park” when they purchased it over fifty years ago. To Crystal, they could have named it Serenity. The tall, stately Southern pines, the oak and hickory trees, the mirror-still lake, the peaceful quiet, all worked to cast a spell of tranquility over her.

Crystal’s maroon LeSabre crested the hill. Two hundred feet ahead, her grandmother stood under a maple tree, its autumn foliage creating a golden halo above her grey hair. Eula Moore was staring at the small storage shed about twenty feet behind her cedar-shake house. She aimed a double-barreled shotgun at the door of the building.

Fifty feet from Eula, Crystal switched off the ignition, eased out of the car, and moved forward, careful not to crack a twig or crunch a dried leaf. Now she saw her grandmother’s right index finger curled around the trigger. Whatever was going on, she did not want to distract her Nana.
Eula Moore pointed the shotgun at the shed, her wrinkled hands as steady as those of an eye surgeon. “Don’t make no sudden moves. I got a nervous trigger finger. I might just blow your head off.”

Nothing moved.
“Now, very slowly, come on out in the open, and keep them hands over your head where I can see ‘em.”

Experience told Crystal her grandmother had heard the car, but Eula’s attention never left the shed. The elderly woman stooped down, gaze still fixed on the building, picked up a rock with her left hand and made a sweeping, underhanded throw. As the chunk of limestone arched skyward, Eula pulled the ancient shotgun up and once more trained it on the shed.

The rock struck the tin roof with a satisfying bang. No animal came bolting out the door. The noise echoed and died away. The birds stopped their chirping. All was quiet.

Crystal crept up beside her grandmother. “What’s in there, Nana?” she whispered.

“Animal. Person. Beats me. But I didn’t git to seventy-five being careless.”

Eula Moore, five feet two inches tall, ninety-five pounds with short-cropped grey hair, held a strategic position. No one could leave the shed without coming into her gun’s sight. And no one could see her without first revealing himself. Eula looked frail, but her voice was strong, her will stronger. “Better come out ‘fore I start shootin’.”

A slight breeze wiggled the leaves on a towering oak tree shading the area. A squirrel sat motionless. The scene was as peaceful as a painting of a country lane. Except for the shotgun.

A few moments passed. Then a single finger came into view. Gradually, it turned into a whole hand, waving in a small arc. “Por favor, no dispare.” The tiny brown hand fluttered again. The voice quavered slightly. “Please. No shoot. No shoot.”
Eula didn’t lower the gun or take her gaze off the shed. “Por favor? Spanish?” Eula said to Crystal. Then to the tiny hand, “Manos arriba.”

Now, two hands waved. But no body appeared.

“You need to work on your Spanish, Nana. He may not know what you’re saying.”

Eula snorted. “Pardon me. I didn’t go to S.M.U. Or Stanford. Maybe you can do better.”

Crystal turned toward the shed. “Salga con las manos arriba. Come out with your hands up.”

A foot materialized in the opening. “Hands up.” Then a body began to emerge. “Hands up.”

Was it a child? Little more than five feet tall and slender as broomcorn, she could have been a girl of fourteen. Her uncombed hair, nearly reaching her waist, appeared as black and shiny as obsidian. Pink and blue embroidery decorated the rough-woven, white dress hanging from her shoulders and stopping just short of her scratched knees. Well-worn leather sandals revealed feet accustomed to no shoes at all.

The small hands trembled slightly as the young Mexican edged forward, but she held her head high and her back ramrod straight.

Eula waggled the barrel of the shotgun at the girl. “Far enough. Hold it right there. Alto.” Eula focused on the girl, but spoke to Crystal. “Okay. So I don’t remember my Spanish good enough to find out what I got here. See what you can do. But don’t get in my line of fire.”

A cloud drifted away, allowing the sun to play fully on the girl’s face. This was not a child. Those large eyes could not develop such sadness, such pain, in such a short life.

“¿Como se llama?” Crystal asked.

The thin young woman maintained her focus on the gun. “Rosa. Rosa Bonita Lopez.”

“¿Habla Ingles? Do you speak English?”

“Un poco.”
“Hablo Español un poco. Vamos probando con Ingles. Let’s try English,” said Crystal. The young woman’s expression did not change, nor did her attention waiver from the shotgun.

“Okay. Your name is Rosa Bonita.”

“Si. Yes.”

“And what were you doing in the shed?”

The Mexican woman’s forehead wrinkled and she tilted her head slightly to one side. Is she puzzled by the English or by what kind of an answer to give? Crystal tried Spanish again. “¿Que hacias en el cobertizo?”

After several seconds, Rosa looked at Crystal. “Food.”

“You were looking for food?”


“Are you hungry?”
Eula made a small grunt. “Dumb question.”

“Si. Yes.”

“When did you eat last? ¿Cuándo comiste por última vez?"
“Ayer en la mañana.”

“Yesterday morning!” Crystal turned to her grandmother. “She’s probably starving. Let’s take her in and give her something to eat. Then we can find out why she’s here.”

Eula didn’t move or lower the shotgun but Crystal walked over, smiling, took the young woman’s hand and led her into the house.

I’m eager to read the rest. I’ll do that as soon as I finish the book I’m reading now. How can readers find you on the Internet?
Amazon Author's page:

Thank you, James, for sharing this new book with us. My blog readers will find the story as fascinating as I do.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
A Silver Medallion (Crystal Moore Suspense) (Volume 2) - Paperback
A Silver Medallion (A Crystal Moore Suspense Book 2) - Kindle

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Mary Preston said...

An interesting beginning.

Mary P


Becky said...

I saw another interview with James Callan for a Ton of Gold. This book sounds interesting, also! Thanks for the interview!!!

Elly said...

I'm sold! This sounds soooo good! I can't wait til I get a copy in my hands!
J.C. -Indiana-

Brenda Arrington said...

The first page was good and I now want to read more. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.
Brenda in VA

Unknown said...

Ooo...I'm so curious now. I hope there'll be a little underlying romance. I mean especially if James Callan is reading women's fiction in order to get a grasp of emotions. :) Great interview.
~Amanda from Florida

Deanna Stevens said...

Nice meeting you James.. I'm wanting to

Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me!!
Conway SC.

Connie Porter Saunders said...

Sounds great!
Connie from KY

Pam said...

This looks like an interesting story.

Pam in OH