Wednesday, August 03, 2016

RETREAT TO SHELTER CREEK - Lee Carver - One Free Book

Dear Readers, I’ve known Lee Carver for a long time. We are members of our local ACFW chapter, ACFW – DFW, and we’ve both served as president at different times. She’s a member of the critique group that meets in my home. It has been a joy to see her develop her voice and become a wonderful author. And her fascinating life adds interesting details to many of her books.

Welcome back, Lee. Tell us about your salvation experience.
I was reared in a devout Christian family. We had prayers together every evening and prayers at every meal. When I was just short of six years old, I felt an urging to personally commit my life to God. My parents and pastor talked to me, trying to ensure that I knew what I was doing. One evening, as I assured my parents after prayer time that I understand and was making a lifetime commitment, that I felt something different come over me in a comforting way. I believe that was the moment God made me his own and gifted me with the indwelling Holy Spirit.

There were times as a college student and young adult that I felt distanced from God, but I knew who had moved. I never doubted Him. He brought me back into a close relationship, and I realize I can only be happy living there.

You’re planning a writing retreat where you can only have four other authors. Who would they be and why?
They would all be modern authors, because we write so differently now. Let’s also assume these four authors would not feel that I am beneath their league, and they would freely discuss the craft of writing with me. Kellie Coates Gilbert would bring immense energy and knowledge of marketing. Brandilyn Collins has so much to teach me about writing suspense. And two new friends, Judith Rolfs and Autumn MacArthur, have such great intrinsic sense about people and personalities. Rolfs is a professional counselor. Autumn is an Aussie who lives in England and writes fluffy romances, but she can flat diagnose the ills of my characters and help me make them realistic.

Do you have a speaking ministry? If so, tell us about that.
I have no speaking ministry as such, though I am involved in many groups and activities and was president of ACFW-DFW Chapter a.k.a. Ready Writers for two years. I enjoy public speaking, but haven’t aligned my novels with any particular cause other than Brazilian missionary aviation.

What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you and how did you handle it?
When we lived in Indonesia, I was active in the American Women’s Association. My husband’s distant cousin and her family also lived in Jakarta. They enjoyed a show of wealth; we had not changed much in our attitudes since our struggling years. For the annual AWA ball, the cousin wore a chic dress which she undoubtedly had bought in the US. I made a dress of interesting Indonesian fabric—and I had made all my clothes, even coats, as a teenager. I mentioned this by phone the week before.

When my husband and I entered the ballroom, she and her husband rushed forward to greet us. Her husband said, in a very deprecating tone, “And you made your dress yourself. How … sweet.” The way he spoke, I might have been Cinderella without the fairy godmother’s magic touch. I’d come to the ball in a homemade dress. I turned several shades of red, then got over it, lost them in the crowd, and had a good time. My husband was proud to be with me and pleased with my sewing talent. Her husband’s opinion didn’t matter.

People are always telling me that they’d like to write a book someday. I’m sure they do to you, too. What would you tell someone who came up to you and said that?
Actually, I’m very active as a freelance editor, and I format and upload other people’s books. I’ve recently helped six women to publish their stories of abuse and recovery, and the leader of their class just asked me to help another group do the same.

Tell us about the featured book.
Retreat to Shelter Creek is a story of healing from a failed marriage and forgiveness even when it hasn’t been requested. Ashley, a high school teacher, retreats to a small Texas town for the summer ostensibly to help her grandmother through chemo. The heavy subjects are lifted by the family guard-pig Beulah and two skunks. (Count them. Hint:  one walks on two legs.) Ashley has a second chance at love and marriage with Austin, whom she knew as a teenager, though she’s very cautious this time. And why should second chances be available only to the young? There’s a “mature” love story included as well.

Please give us the first page of the book.
“I’ll do the whole roof for seven thousand dollars, but I want the pig.”

Ashley squinted up at the plaid-shirted man about her own age in a wide, used-to-be-white Stetson. An effervescent sensation gurgled up from unknown depths inside her. She threw back her head and let laughter overtake her. Nothing in the past few months had triggered such lighthearted abandon.

The fellow stood there with an open-mouthed smile as if he didn’t know which way to go.

The late afternoon Texas sun streaked through the gigantic pecan tree to where he stood on the front porch. The roofer had been tromping around on top of the house. Mama Lou said he’d come and give an estimate this afternoon. He might be insulted if she didn’t recover in a hurry.

Shading her eyes, she pushed open the screen. “Would you like to come inside? It’s awful hot out there.” Even with the window air conditioner turned off, inside ran at least ten degrees cooler.

“Thank you, ma’am. It’s hot enough to fry rattlesnakes.” He stepped inside.

Now that the sun no longer stabbed her retinas, she glanced at his face. Something familiar about him tickled her memory, like thinking she recognized someone but then realizing he lived in a different state. “How about a glass of iced tea?”

“I appreciate the offer, but we’ve got ice water out in the truck. Is Mrs. Pickins here?” He peered toward the hallway, deeper into the old house.

“Grandmother’s here, and she was expecting you, but she didn’t feel well enough to stay up. I’d rather not disturb her.”

He took off his worn hat and wiped a bandana across his face. “I wouldn’t want to bother her.”

She noticed his light-colored eyes under bushy brows. He didn’t stand all that tall, probably under six feet, but muscle bulges stretching the shoulders of his knit shirt indicated a lot of strength. “You were saying about the pig?”

“Yes’um. I’d like to have that white sow as part of the deal.” He smiled with a twinkle of enthusiasm. “I saw her from up on the roof. She couldn’t be very happy in the pen all by herself.”

Ashley had never considered whether Beulah was happy. She ate, she oinked, and she created a muddy mess in the back yard. She had been making quite a lot of noise in the past half hour. Maybe she had guard-pig inclinations. “What do you want with the pig?”

“I’m raising a few on my farm, and what you have there is a fine crossbreed. She would be a welcome addition to my stock. I need a good sow, and I’m real partial to the white ones.”

“It’s just that … I don’t know if that’s possible. Beulah was my younger brother’s prize winner in Future Farmers. Years ago.” She motioned back over her shoulder. “Grandmother’s never been willing to sell her.” Heaven knows the neighbors would be pleased. She suspected some of the offers to buy the sow had come indirectly from them. Especially the lady who lived on the back side of their block.

“Could I ask your brother, then?” He fanned with his hat, and his brow raised as if the heavy line had a life of its own.

“Afraid not. He died in Afghanistan.” She hated those words, but could finally say them without crying.

“Oh. Right. I heard about that. Sorry.” He gave a long exhale and ducked his head for a second. “Look, I figure a sow like that—and I haven’t even seen her up close—but she’s probably worth a couple hundred dollars. Maybe three, depending on her age. So the price I’m offering on the roofing job is better than anyone else would do it for.”

Mama Lou had an estimate from another company for well over eight thousand. Getting rid of Beulah made the deal even sweeter, if her grandmother would go for it. “I can’t speak for her, though. I just know we need the roof fixed before it rains. It leaks pretty bad, and the TV says we may have some rain next week. Can you put us on your schedule right away?”

“Not without her approving the estimate. Say, aren’t you her granddaughter who used to stay here sometimes in the summer when we were teenagers?”

“Yes, I’m Ashley Brooker.” For now. She extended her hand, aware that his might be dirty.

He plopped his cowboy hat on his head, wiped his hand on his jeans, and took hers in a gentle but firm shake.

Dry skin, calloused by his job, surrounded her palm with plenty left over. He really did look familiar. Then she noticed the scar to the right of his upper lip, just a faint hash mark from a long-ago accident. “Trés?”

“Yes, ma’am, Stephen Austin Chism the Third, but I don’t go by Trés anymore. I prefer Austin.”

She smiled with the memory of the church youth hayride her sixteenth summer. He had been handsome but rather full of himself. The local girls fell over each other to be close to him, so she hung back and watched the show.

How can readers find you on the Internet?
I’d love to hear from readers via FaceBook (message me so I’ll know to “friend” you), and my blog will give them information on new inspirational releases, especially free and inexpensive eBooks. I welcome them to sign up for my rather infrequent reviews and offers.

Thank you, Lee, for sharing this new book with us. I know my readers will be eager to read it.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Retreat to Shelter Creek - paperback
Retreat to Shelter Creek - Kindle

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. You must follow these instructions to be in the drawing. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory or country if outside North America. (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:


Emma said...

I am looking forward to reading "RETREAT TO SHELTER CREEK by Lee Carver.Thank you for the opportunity to win.PA.

Lee Carver said...

Hi, Emma. Do you usually prefer to read a print book or a Kindle? It's available both ways. Lately, I've been enjoying Kindle more.

Connie said...

Thanks for sharing this first page.
Connie from KY

Lee Carver said...

Would you believe I found a glaring error when I read the first page on the post today? This book has been critiqued by several excellent writers, one a professional editor. ARRRGH! Anyway, I hope the error doesn't distract you too much, and you want to read the whole book.

Terrill R. said...

Hello Lee - I have your book, Love Takes Flight in paperback and when I saw your book Flying For Jesus, I got it for my husband. He doesn't read fiction, but I wanted him to have a taste of your journey as missionaries. I was thrilled to see this new release a couple of months ago. Congrats and I hope it blesses many. I'm excited to read it.

Terrill - WA

Mary Preston said...

The first line made me laugh.

I'm going to love this.

Mary P


Cathy said...

Very familiar with that TX heat as described, as I am a native of the state! Another good book to look forward to reading!
Cathy - TX

Beth Gillihan said...

Great first page! Sounds like a great book.

Beth in Montana

Lee Carver said...

Terrill, "Flying for Jesus" is totally true. The missionaries in Manaus used to talk about sweating for Jesus. I cleaned the thought up a bit. Hope he enjoys the book. It's nonprofit.

Lee Carver said...

Mary and Beth, I heard that first line one blistering hot afternoon in a two-bit taco stand. A guy at a nearby table was telling a story, and everyone in his group roared with laughter. I knew I had to use that line in a book! "So I told her I'd do the whole roof for seven thousand dollars, but I want the pig!" I walked over to his table later and chatted with him. The story developed in the weeks that followed.

Lee Carver said...

Terrill, if your husband is truly interested in missionary aviation in the Brazilian Amazon, show him our website: It's quite a collection of mission trips photos and stories, some of which are in the book "Flying for Jesus."

Autumn Macarthur said...

Great post Lee! I'd be there for that writing retreat for sure. :)

And as you know, I loved the pre-release copy I read of the book. I'm sure readers will love it too!

Melissa Henderson said...

A great post! I look forward to reading this story.
Melissa in Mechanicsville VA

Melanie Backus said...

This one sounds like a winner!

Melanie Backus, TX

Anonymous said...

angela in ky would love to win.

Connie Leonard said...

I read the book on Kindle and thoroughly enjoyed it. I would love to win the paperback to gift to someone else.

Lee Carver said...

Hi, Autumn. Wouldn't it be fun to be in that imaginary retreat together? I would be pushing you to make plot events happen quicker, and you'd be pushing me to load up on feeling and internal thought and romance.

Lee Carver said...

Melissa, my leading character has just moved from beautiful, lush Tennessee--a lot like Virginia. Can you imagine what it's like for her to suddenly be in a Texas summer?

Lee Carver said...

Melanie, I see that you're from Texas, too. Our triple-digit weather this week is exactly what the character Ashley dealt with, along with a pig in the back yard and two skunks. (One of them walked on two legs.)

Lee Carver said...

Hi, Angela. Warmest greetings to you. Have you read any other contemporary novels set in Texas? I'm sure you get some good recommendations from Lena on this site.

Lee Carver said...

Connie, that's a very kind thought. Is this a particular person who has suffered through marriage to an unfaithful husband? As I've told you in personal conversations, the basic plot of the book came from my grief for our daughter. I'm hoping the novel will be a comfort to others.

KayM said...

Oh, I love the story, already, I might not be able to wait and see who wins. Thanks for the opportunity.

rubynreba said...

My ex husband cheated on me and I have a hard time with forgiveness even though I am now remarried to a wonderful man. Think this would be a good book for me to read.
Beth from IA

Lee Carver said...

Kay, I hope you do enjoy the book. Like real life, it has so many layers of plot and two romances going on. Enjoy!

Lee Carver said...

Beth, my heart goes out to you. I'm sure you realize that not forgiving your unfaithful ex-husband hurts only you, not him. My pastor once told a group about a girl who had been abused by a close relative and couldn't get over her hatred. He had asked her, "How long do you want him to keep hurting you?" Forgiveness is hard, especially when you have to forgive without being asked. It's just you, forgiving. Try this: tell God you are WILLING to be WILLING to forgive. He can work with small beginnings. I pray for your liberation!

Emma said...

I read print books and books on Kindle.

Lee Carver said...

I do, too, Emma. But I read faster on my Kindle, it's lighter than a book, and I never have to angle it for better light or the curve of the page. I'm becoming quite a convert to e-book reading. And then there's the font size. Twelve point font is so easy to read, and lots of novels now are in 11 or even 10. Being able to change the font size matters to me.

Lourdes said...

Thank you for the interview book sounds like a great one.

Lourdes in Long Island, New York.

Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me in your awesome giveaway!!
Conway SC.

Lee Carver said...

Hi, Lourdes and Sharon, welcome to the drawing. If you win, would you rather have a print copy of "Retreat to Shelter Creek" or any two Kindle versions of my books? You can see them all on Amazon by putting my name, Lee Carver, in the search blank. Please disregard all novels by Rhonda Lee Carver, which have bare-chested cowboys in a romantic clench with a woman. Those aren't mine.

This is my offer to anyone who wins from Lena's blog. Several of my e-books are only $1. Download a digital handful!

Pam Graber said...

This story sounds like one I would definitely enjoy! Please enter me in the giveaway.

Pam in OH

Lee Carver said...

Good morning, Pam, and welcome to the drawing pot. Just from reading the "blurb" and first page, what interests you most? I ask for my own benefit, since I'm always trying to learn from my readers.