Wednesday, September 14, 2016


Welcome back, Darlene. Let’s do some fun questions first. What song most closely resembles your life?
Yesterday at church I heard an old hymn that describes my life’s journey very well, “Day by Day (and with each passing moment.)” I love these words from the first verse: “He whose heart is kind beyond all measure/gives unto each day what He deems best/lovingly its part of pain and pleasure/mingling toil with peace and rest.”

Do you have a favorite Bible verse? And why is it a favorite?
Here’s another recent discovery, from the passage in Lamentations that starts with the exclamation “Great is thy faithfulness!”

Later in the paragraph, Jeremiah says, “When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions: Wait for hope to appear. Don’t run from trouble. Take it full-face. The ‘worst’ is never the worst.” (Lamentations 3:28-30, Message).
I love the phrase “wait for hope to appear.” The word “hope” (which also happens to be my middle name, lol) has been popping up over and over again. Don’t fuss, don’t question—just wait for hope to appear. Because it will.

I love that, Darlene. One of my favorite verses from The Message is Romans 15:13:
“Oh! May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope!”

What is the one thing you wish you could go back and change in your life?
Oh, that’s a tough one. If I think about all the things I’ve done wrong in my life, I’ll end up with a long list of regrets—but they have made me the person I am today. Lately I’ve wondered “what if” I had switched to a music theory major as my professors suggested, when I failed to as a candidate for a Master of Music in piano. Instead, I switched to a Master of Arts in religious education.

What is the most important characteristic for a good friend to have?
Listening! When needed and without judgment.

What extracurricular activities did you participate in when you were in school?
I was in band and choir and also participated in the math club and the Spanish club. A real nerd.

What is your favorite movie of all times?
Field of Dreams and It’s a Wonderful Life never disappoint.

Tell us about why you wrote this book.
The origins are unclear. I thought we were writing a sequel to the highly successful Christmas Traditions series published in 2014. My publisher suggested a matchmaking theme which replaced the sequel idea. But my book combines both threads: the twin daughters who appeared in An Apple for Christmas became matchmakers for each other.
So why? I love writing Christmas stories and this was an opportunity that will hopefully sell well. A story that felt silly and foolish while writing it turned funny and charming when I read it.

Please give us the first page of the book.
Maple Notch, Vermont, October 1901
Pippin Cortland lingered by the wall of the University’s gymnasium, trembling in anticipation. Why she had ever agreed to her twin’s hair-brained scheme? How could they possibly get through the evening without their escorts discovering their duplicity?

For a moment she thought she saw her twin, Margil, with Ned Hawkins, and her heart stuttered. But her date for the night, Clint Keller, didn’t notice them, and she relaxed. Her sister had accepted two dates to the homecoming dance and insisted that Pippin go with Clint, who’d asked first, so Margil could attend with Ned when he finally got round to asking. “Besides,” Margil had said, “it’s our senior year. You have to go to homecoming at least once.”

The band played “Good Evening, Carrie.” Clint turned to Pippin. “Would you care to dance, Marg?”

Before she could answer, Clint swept her onto the floor. According to the twins’ plan, Pippin and Clint would dance during one set while the other enjoyed refreshments or took a walk. They were wearing identical outfits, something they hadn’t done since childhood.

The dance was nothing like the nightmarish images Pippin had conjured last night. Long ago dance classes proved valuable as Pippin slipped into a lively two-step for one the year’s most popular songs. “Was you dreaming ‘bout me, Carrie?” Clint was an excellent dancer. Her fears of having her feet stepped on in Marg’s uncomfortable heels proved unfounded. Also, dancing minimized talking.

They stayed for a second song. Clint had the physique of a football player, a talent for baseball, but the glasses of a scholar. When he smiled, Pippin wished he were smiling at her, Pippin Margaret Cortland. But of course he believed her to be Margil Rose Cortland.


That single word threw cold water on her spirits.

“I’m glad you agreed to come with me. I was afraid you would politely decline, as your sister has many a time.” He pushed his glasses back up his nose, something Pippin’s mother often did. Even with the glasses his brown eyes sparkled at her.

Pippin blushed. She had indeed turned him down on numerous occasions, not believing a man with his handsome features and fondness for sports could be seriously interested in a wallflower such as herself. Her mouth stayed closed as she searched for an explanation. How ironic, that Clint finally had the woman he had pursued for years but didn’t know it.

They danced for a moment before she said, “I’m curious as to how my sister is perceived. I want her to find happiness in this world, and not only in her fantasies.” She smiled and twirled the curls around her face, the way Margil did.

“How rude of me to mention her.”

I’m liking this already. How can readers find you on the Internet?
Twitter: @darlenefranklin

Thank you, Darlene, for sharing this new collection with us. I'm eager to read it, and I know my readers will be, too.

Readers, here’s a link to the book. By using it when you order, you help support this blog.
Merry Matchmakers: 10 Christmas Novellas (A Merry Matchmaker Novella)

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:


Wendy Newcomb said...

Ohhhhh, how I love the novela collections, and now a Christmas one! Thank you so much for the chance to win a copy.

Wendy in FL

wfnren at aol dot com

Connie Porter Saunders said...

I always enjoy Christmas-themed stories. Thank you for sharing Darlene's interview and first page.
Connie from KY

Darlene Franklin said...

Wendy, Connie, I love doing Christmas novellas. Now I have to write a Christmas story every year.

Emma said...

I like Christmas-themed stories. Have a wonderful week.PA.I enjoy reading your books. Thank you for the opportunity to win.

scottsgal said...

Love, love, love Christmas and holiday feel good stories - can't believe Christmas is in 3 months
Cheryl in IL

Anonymous said...

would love to win angela in ky

Melanie Backus said...

I love Christmas books and I love Darlene's books. A winning situation here! Thank you Darlene and Lena.

Melanie Backus, TX

Mary Preston said...

I love reading Christmas stories. Fun.

Mary P


Cindy W. said...

I love reading stories set during Christmas year round. I would love to win. Thank you for the chance,

Cindy W. from Indiana

Vera Godley said...

I agree with Darlene on favorite hymns (though I have many, many favorites) that Day By Day is one of the top Most-Favorites of mine. Not only do the words reach out and touch my soul, but the music swells and rolls giving vent to my heart's deepest feelings and longings.

I'd love to have this sweet Christmas read. Please enter me (but only if an "in print" copy and not an ebook).

Vera G.
in North Carolina

Unknown said...

Wow!! Just from the sneak peak, i am hooked!! I would love to win this. I love everything Christmas!! Thank you for sharing the interview, gives us insight to the author, and the sneak peak. Have a blessed day from Westlakr , Louisiana!!!

Darlene Franklin said...

Emma from Pa, I love Christmas stories too.

Darlene Franklin said...

Scottsgal, I know, only three months. . . writers have to plan for it far in advance. I already know the theme for next year's collection (masquerade!)

Darlene Franklin said...

Angela, Good luck on your entry.

Darlene Franklin said...

Melanie, win-win indeed. Thanks for your interest.

Darlene Franklin said...

Mary, I would love to read Christmas stories set in Australia.

Darlene Franklin said...

Cindy, then you have plenty to read! We write so many Christmas stories because they're so much fun to write and read.

Darlene Franklin said...

Vera, love your appreciation of the hymns! We could have a good chat. Unfortunately, this is an ebook only.

Darlene Franklin said...

Debra, I had fun telling Pippin and Margil's story (although even I had trouble keeping them straight from time to time, lol)

apple blossom said...

thanks for the chance to win this Christmas series. Love Darlene's books.
live in ND

Darlene Franklin said...

Aw, Apple Blossom, thanks so much. Speaking of apples. . . this is a sequel to An Apple for Christmas.

Cathy said...

It is the time of year to start thinking of Christmas and looking forward to the special books/novellas focusing on the season! Thanks! Cathy - TX

Darlene Franklin said...

Cathy, get in the mood reading a good Christmas book like this. . .

Deanna Stevens said...

How fun.. Twins! My daughter is expecting twins and this would be a fun book to read :)
Dee from NE

Darlene Franklin said...

Dee, I had fun with the twins.

Darlene Franklin said...

Dee, P.S., congrats on the twin grandchildren! Two at once, twice the fun from Grandma.

Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me in your awesome giveaway!!
Conway SC.

Darlene Franklin said...

Sharon, appreciate your interest.

Brenda Arrington said...

I love stories with a Christmas theme. Sure would like to win. Thank you for the chance.
Brenda in VA

Darlene Franklin said...

Brenda, early Merry Christmas! Thanks for your interest.