Thursday, August 30, 2018

THE 12 GIFTS OF CHRISTMAS - Lena Nelson Dooley - One Free Copy of the New Book

Bio: Multi-published author Lena Nelson Dooley has had more than 900,000 copies of her books sold. She is a member of ACFW and the local chapter, ACFW - DFW. She’s a member of Christian Authors’ Network and Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas.

She has been on the ECPA and CBA Bestseller lists, Publisher’s Weekly bestseller list, and several Amazon Bestseller lists as well as a reviewers’ Top Ten Books of 2011. She has won over a dozen major awards.

She hosts “The Lena Nelson Dooley Show” on the Along Came a Writer Blogtalk radio network.

Welcome, Lena. Why do you write the kind of books you do?
Reading has been important to me for most of my life. When I was 7 years old, my family started going to the county library every week and checking out books to bring home. We usually had at least 10 per week. As I became an adult, I continued reading … a lot! When the types of books available changed over time, it became hard to find them without graphic scenes and using God’s name in vain. That’s when I started writing the kinds of books I like to read, that had interesting, true-to-life stories without objectionable content.

Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
I often ask other authors this question, but now that I have to answer it, I see how hard it is to pick just one. So here are the highlights: My wedding day, the day each child was born, when I held my first published book in my hands, when each grandchild was born, when I won each major award, and when each great-grandchild was born. And that only scratches the surface. I have way more happy days than those that aren’t.

How has being published changed your life?
It has enriched me. I’ve met lots of other authors, literary agents, and editors of publishing houses. That never would have happened in my everyday life. I’m far busier—with writing, marketing my books, and mentoring other authors. The last thing was a special gift to me from the Lord.

What are you reading right now?
A totally awesome book by Cathy Gohlke, Until We Find Home.

What is your current work in progress?
I’ve written three books since January 1, and now the books are releasing. Two this month and two in November. So I’m not actually writing anything right now. I did dream a plot a couple of weeks ago. I’ll start writing it soon, The Small Green Bungalow.

What would be your dream vacation?
My husband and I both would like to go to Hawaii. And maybe Australia. But not at the same time.

How do you choose your settings for each book?
Many times, the editor asks me to write about a particular setting. With The 12 Gifts of Christmas, an editor asked my agent for an author to write it for her. I did get to choose the setting for this, and it’s set right here in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. And it’s contemporary.

If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
For a number of years, I’ve wanted to spend an evening with George and Laura Bush.

What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
I used to do crafts, knit, and crochet, but I don’t do that anymore. My favorite thing is to spend time with our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
I had a mental block when I stared at the empty first page. But in 1984, God used several things in one week in May to tell me to become a professional writer. I always see things like a video in my brain, and sometimes, it’s hard to find the words to describe what I see. So I asked God, “What if the words don’t come?” He assured me that if I would be obedient and start writing, He would cause the words to flow. He has honored His word through all these years. I have more to write than I have the time to write it.

What advice would you give to a beginning author?
If God created you with the ability to put words, sentences, and paragraphs together, you should pursue using that gift by learning the craft of writing. Because you are a writer.

Tell us about the featured book.
The 12 Gifts of Christmas was a fun book to write.

Can Malcolm MacGregor capture the heart of
Italian-Brazilian beauty, Alanza Cantalamessa,
in only 12 days?

Back cover copy:
Malcolm MacGregor is a descendant of Scotland’s Clan MacGregor and a successful young businessman in Fort Worth, Texas. Alanza Cantalamessa works at a gourmet pizzeria owned by her Brazilian artist mother and her Italian Poppa. Both of them are smitten with each other but Malcolm is too reserved to do much more than make small talk—until a promotion at work that will send him away to Australia for six months. It’s December and he has to do something—fast.

Praying about the situation, Malcolm decides to give her twelve gifts leading up to Christmas. Their families and friends think they are moving too fast. And a gold-digger who tossed Malcolm aside in the past has now decided he’s the man of her dreams.

Can Malcolm and Alanza overcome their obstacles before he has to go abroad? Or is it really not meant to be?

Please give us a peek into the book.
Malcolm MacTavish glanced around the dining room of Cantalamessa’s Gourmet Pizzas and More on Highway 10 in Euless, Texas. Each time he’d eaten here, he’d chosen to sit at an out-of-the-way table, separated from most other patrons. With a major project he had nearing completion, he often worked through the lunch hour, even when he went out to eat. This was the perfect place to do it, and the same table where he’d sat before was free. He took a seat, opened his briefcase, and pulled out his laptop. Soon, he was deep into his work.

It was the third time he’d come here since a co-worker told him about this place a couple weeks ago. He’d never been fond of the typical American pizza, with its cheap cheese, watery sauce, and way too many greasy spiced meats. But the pizzas here were works of culinary art. Not too doughy and plenty of healthy options. He’d tried a couple different kinds and each was delicious.

“Hey, welcome back.” It was the same cheerful waiter who had served him before. He handed a menu to Malcolm. “What would you like to drink?”

“Thanks. Dr Pepper, please.”

“Should I call that your usual?”

Malcolm laughed. “Sure. Thanks for remembering.”

“I’ll be right back with it, ready to take your order.”

Malcolm watched him walk away, then turned to the all-important file on his screen. In one worksheet, the figures weren’t adding up. He had to find the discrepancy, so he could move forward. Not much time passed before the waiter returned with the soft drink. Malcolm looked up from his laptop.

“What can I get you today? I know you like Dr Pepper, but I think you ordered different pizzas when you were here.”

Malcolm smiled and glanced at the waiter’s nametag. Ignazio. He liked waiters who remembered customers and their preferences. “I’d like to go off-menu today and get a pizza with spinach, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, and basil.”

Ignazio made notes on his pad. “Sounds good. Maybe we should put this on the menu. Would you like anything else on it? Maybe extra mozzarella?”


As the young man headed toward the kitchen, Malcolm went back to his work. He had to make sure the figures were correct. He started going through the columns with a fine-tooth comb. When the error finally jumped out at him, he wanted to shout, “Yay.” Probably not the place to do that. There were quite a few patrons here, even though he waited until after 1 p.m., trying to miss the lunch crowd. Cantalamessa’s probably didn’t have the usual crowd from noon to 1 p.m. like many restaurants. There was a nice-sized crowd whenever he came.

“Here you are.” Ignazio set the enticing concoction in front of him.

“Thank you. This pizza smells delicious.”

“Careful, the pan is hot.”

“That’s what makes it so good. Coming straight from the oven to the table.”

As Ignazio walked away, Malcolm closed his eyes and said a silent prayer of thanks.

When he raised his head, he noticed the beautiful young woman who always took his payment standing behind the counter. Alanza, her nametag said. He couldn’t be the only one who noticed how beautiful she was. But Malcolm was also drawn to what appeared to be inside. Alanza’s eyes seemed to be windows to her heart. At first, he was fascinated by the unusual green in her irises. They were the color of budding tree leaves in early spring.

His best friend, Eric Summerfield, had dated a lot of different girls and women—in high school, college, graduate school, and even now. Dating was just a social thing for him. He never seemed to be serious about anyone. Malcolm wondered if Eric would ever settle down with just one woman. He knew if Eric ever saw Alanza, all he would see was her lovely exterior. Not her inner self.

She was tall, probably near six feet. She seemed confident, but in a gentle, easy way. Happiness and joy flowed around her, drawing other people to her. He’d watched her interact with customers in a way that let him know she really cared about people. He’d even seen her helping the busboys and waiters when needed.

 Malcolm forced his attention back to his files while he savored his pizza. Ignazio came and went, bringing him refills of Dr Pepper when his glass was empty. When all of his work was finally in order, Malcolm happily clicked the save button. The project was finished. He closed his computer and slipped it into his briefcase.

When he glanced up, his gaze was drawn to Alanza. He hadn’t dated a lot because he had asked God to direct him to the woman He’d prepared to be his wife. Since he first laid eyes on Alanza, he wondered if she was the one.

How can readers find you on the Internet?
Blogtalk Radio, The Lena Nelson Dooley Show:

The book releases on Tuesday, September 4. Until then, it’s up for pre-order on several web sites. Also, you can ask your local bookstores to order it if they don’t have it. And request that your library obtain copies for their patrons.

Readers, here are links to the book.
The 12 Gifts of Christmas  -
The 12 Gifts of Christmas - Kindle
The 12 Gifts of Christmas - Amazon paperback.

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...

"THE 12 GIFTS OF CHRISTMAS by Lena Nelson Dooley sounds wonderful.Have a good weekend. Thank you for the opportunity to win.PA.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on the Christmas. book, I really love the title. Is this your first Christmas book or are there more that I don’t know about? I’m in very hot central Texas, axiously awaiting the least sign of Fall.....haven’t seen any yet except for,the GREEN leaves falling off of the pecan trees. You will probably feel cooler temps before we do.
perrianne (DOT) askew (AT) me (DOT) com
Perrianne Askew

SavingsInSeconds said...

Reading about the pizza made me hungry!
Dianna (TN)

Linda Kish said...

This sounds like it will be a lovely story. I would love to read it. Linda in CA

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Robin in NC said...

I love books that pull me in. I was right there in the pizzeria with Malcolm. Thanks for sharing with us. Robin in NC

Kay Garrett said...

Enjoyed reading your answers to the questions you ask other authors. As I have said before, I really do enjoy learning more about the authors who I enjoy reading their books.

"THE 12 GIFTS OF CHRISTMAS" sounds like a wonderful book and one that would definitely put you in the Christmas spirit. Neat that it's set in your neck of the woods too. I would love the opportunity to read it. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.
Kay Garrett from Mountain View, AR
2clowns at arkansas dot net

Vivian Furbay said...

Being a shy person when younger and still am, I can relate to Malcolm. What a sweet way to let a girl know you care for her. Vivian Furbay of CO

Lena Nelson Dooley said...

Thank you, Emma. I always enjoy the weekends. James and I volunteer at our church's main campus on the first and third Saturday evenings. We enjoy that.

And on Sunday we attend the North Richland Hills campus for the service. This weekend the Christian comedian, Michael JR, will be the main part of the service. He's amazing. One of the most popular comedians on TV shows, etc., and he never uses bad words or potty humor. He is sooooo funny.

Lena Nelson Dooley said...

Perrianne, this is my first full-length Christmas novel. I've written several Christmas novellas before this.

Lena Nelson Dooley said...

Dianna and Robin, since the book is set here where I live, most of the setting is completely authentic. But my characters and their stories are fiction, so there isn't a Cantalamessa's Italian place in Euless, but there is a Hwy 10.

Lena Nelson Dooley said...

Linda and Kay, I really think you'll like this story. Its different from anything I've written before.

Lena Nelson Dooley said...

Vivian, for the first 18 years of my life, I was shy. Painfully shy. I couldn't tell you what any boy who graduated before looked like. I kept my eyes cast down a lot.

Then when I went to college, one day in my private devotions told me that maybe a lot of people were shy like me. He told me that if I speak to them first and draw them out it would be good for them.

At the same time, it pulled me out of my shyness.

Melanie Backus said...

Sounds like a winner to me! Melanie Backus, Tx

Connie Porter Saunders said...

Lena, you've certainly been working hard. Congratulations on your three releases and I look forward to reading them.
Connie from Kentucky

Sharon Bryant said...

Enter me in your awesome giveaway!!
Conway SC.



rubynreba said...

I was always very shy too! I still am around strangers sometimes but doing much better!
Beth from Iowa

Unknown said...

This is really awesome and beautiful.
Thank for this sharing.

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