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
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
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
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
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
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