Friday, February 12, 2016

KEEPER OF THE STARS - Robin Lee Hatcher - One Free Book, Plus More

Dear Readers, I first met Robin at the American Christian Romance Writers (which later became American Christian Fiction Writers) second national conference in 2002. That’s when I started reading her books, and I love them. They all have living, breathing characters who tug on your heartstrings. The plotlines are always interesting which makes the book hard to put down. I believe you’ll love her writing, too.

BIO: A native Idahoan, award-winning and bestselling author Robin Lee Hatcher is known for her heartwarming and emotionally charged stories of faith, courage, and love (over 70 books). After fifteen years writing for the general fiction market and a change in her own heart, Robin began to write stories that included her Christian faith. Winner of the Christy, the RITA, the Carol, the Inspirational Reader’s Choice, and many other awards, she is also a recipient of the prestigious RWA Lifetime Achievement Award. Robin enjoys being with her family, spending time in the beautiful Idaho outdoors, reading books that make her cry, and watching romantic movies.
Learn more about Robin and her books on her web site.

Welcome back, Robin. How did this book come about?
Some books come to an author in a dramatic way. Keeper of the Stars was not one of those books. It began first with the desire to set a Kings Meadow story in a different season than summer, which I’d already done several times. Since Keeper of the Stars was set to release in the winter, I decided the story would take place in the winter as well. Which in the mountains of Idaho means lots of snow.

Then I envisioned a scene in a cemetery, and I began asking the what if questions. Who died? Who were the mourners? From there, the story began to reveal itself to me.

I’m a seat-of-the-pants writer. Once I have an opening scene and get to know my characters, I sit down and write, returning to the computer each day to see what happens next.

I’m a lot like that, but I usually have a timeline in mind after the first chapter. Tell us about the book’s cover and what makes it unique.
I found the photograph of this couple in the snow on a photo site I use. It became my inspiration for Penny and Trevor as I wrote Keeper of the Stars. When I turned in my book, I sent the photo to the publisher as an example of my hero and heroine. I was thrilled when they were able to license it to use for the cover art. It’s definitely one of my favorite covers. The scene. The colors. And the joy and love expressed by the couple.

Please explain and differentiate between what’s fact and fiction in the book.
Kings Meadow is a fictional town in the mountains of Idaho, but I know exactly where it is and it’s surrounded by reality. My characters always become “real” people to me, but Keeper of the Stars is definitely fiction.

How much research did you have to do for this book?
Every book involves on-going research of one kind or another. Sometimes it is intense, but that wasn’t the case for Keeper of the Stars. This book included research on libraries, cow-calf operations, public works, drums, etc.

What inspired and surprised you while you were writing the book?
I’m always surprised by the way a story unfolds, and Keeper of the Stars was no exception. I’m always surprised by the lessons God teaches me, sometimes in advance of a story, sometimes as I write. And that is my inspiration while I’m writing as well.

What do you hope the reader takes away from the story?
I always hope for two things: That the reader will close the book with a sigh of satisfaction, and that they will wish they could spend more time with those characters, even though the story has reached its conclusion.

What is the next project you’re working on?
I am hard at work on a story set in the wine/fruit orchard country of southwestern Idaho in a small town near the Snake River, not far from the Oregon border. My hero is an organic farmer and part-time sheriff's deputy. My heroine is a former bad girl with a tragic family background who is trying to make a better life for herself and her daughter. Sparks are going to fly.

They always do. I’ll be looking forward to that book, too. What do you do when you have to get away from the story for a while?
I love to read, to watch movies, to knit, and to draw or color.

When I was in rehab for my knee-replacement surgery last August, I first started the new coloring for adults coloring books. I love it. Please give us the first page of the book.
An unusually cold wind cut through the Kings Meadow Cemetery on the day they laid Penny’s brother, Bradley Evan Cartwright, to rest. It felt as if it cut through her heart as well, slicing her in two. She would never again see her little brother’s sweet smile. She would never again hear him laugh. She would never again have to be on the alert for one of his practical jokes.

And I’ll never get to tell him I’m sorry for the things I said in anger.

Seated beside her in the front row of mourners, her dad put his arm around her shoulders and drew her close to his side. It was meant to be a comforting gesture, but it was point- less for him to try. She couldn’t be comforted. Not for this.

Reverend Tom Butler ended his graveside prayer with a soft, “Amen.” Then he walked over to Penny and her dad, his face schooled into a sympathetic expression, his eyes filled with kindness. “I am so very sorry, Rodney,” he said as he took hold of her dad’s right hand between both of his own.

Her dad nodded in silence.

Tom repeated his words of condolence to Penny. Like her father, she nodded, her throat too tight to squeeze out a reply.

Chet Leonard, his wife, and sons were next. Leaning down, Chet said, “If I can do anything . . . If you ever need to talk or just be with someone who understands what it means to lose a son . . .” He let his voice trail into silence.

Charlie Regal, Brad’s best friend since first grade, came close, looked about to speak, and then shook his head as he turned to walk away.

More people came forward. A few shed tears as they whispered words that Penny no longer heard.

We have to know what comes next. How can readers find you on the Internet?

From my website, they can connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and YouTube.

Robin has a special giveaway besides the book we usually give away on this blog:


Here's the link to the giveaway:

Thank you, Robin, for sharing this new book with us.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Keeper of the Stars  - Christianbook.com
Keeper of the Stars (A King's Meadow Romance) - Amazon
Keeper of the Stars (A King's Meadow Romance Book 3) - 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. (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:
Http://lenanelsondooley.blogspot.com

Thursday, February 11, 2016

BLUE RIBBON TRAIL RIDE - Miralee Ferrell - One Free Book

Bio: Miralee Ferrell’s debut novel released in the fall of 2007, and eighteen more have followed since. Her historical western romance, Love Finds You in Sundance, Wyoming, won the Will Rogers Medallion Award for Excellence in Western Media for Fiction in 2012, and her first book in the four-book Love Blossoms in Oregon series, Blowing on Dandelions, hit the ECPA Best Seller list, along with The 12 Brides of Christmas. Since then, she’s ventured into writing horse novels for middle-grade kids, and opened her own publishing company, publishing Christian novels. Miralee and her husband have been married over 40 years and live in the beautiful Columbia Gorge in Washington State, where she loves to ride horses, garden, take walks, play with her dogs, and minister to women.

Dear Readers, I’ve loved Miralee’s writing since I read her first book. We’ve become friends, and I’m happy to introduce you to her horse novels for middle-grade kids.

Welcome back, Miralee. Tell us a little about yourself and your background.
I wear a lot of hats—wife, mom, grandmother, multi-published author of 18 novels and novellas, as well as publisher/acquisitions editor for Mountain Brook Ink. I live in the beautiful Columbia River Gorge in southern Washington State, several miles out in the country. We’ve lived in this area for many years, and it’s where we raised our children. Someday we hope to travel south for the winter and escape the snow and cold, but right now we’re content to burrow in by the woodstove and enjoy life here.                                                                                               How did you become interested in writing?     It’s funny—I was never interested in writing, only in reading. I’ve always been an avid fiction reader, with no desire to write. Then ten years ago, a visiting pastor prayed with me and told me he felt the Lord was calling me to write. After praying and talking to my husband and pastor, I decided I’d follow that direction and see if God blessed it. He has. I now have 18 books in print with more on the way. It’s been an incredible journey with the Lord at the wheel.                              
                       
What compelled you to write a book on this subject?
A good friend and editor who was at Waterbroook at the time, read one of my historical romances set on a horse ranch. She loved it and suggested I consider writing a series of horse novels for kids. I wasn’t excited about it at first, but the idea grew on me. After time, I felt the Lord nudging me that direction. This book is the fourth in the series, and I’ve been having a ball writing these books and inserting subtle life messages into these stories for kids.

What is the main theme or point that you want readers to understand from reading your book? Are there any other themes present in the book? 
There are multiple themes—having adventures with friends, solving a mystery, learning how to work together, and of course, the major theme in all the Horses and Friends books centers around loving and enjoying horses.

Are there some specific lessons you hope readers will learn and apply to their lives after reading your book?
The main thing is trust—learning how to trust God and trust others when things go wrong. Also, not judging other people by outward appearances, as you’ll often get it wrong.

What makes your book different from any other books similar to yours that are in circulation today?    
I’ve had a number of readers tell me that my characters are very true to life and the adventures they have are more compelling than a lot of kids’ books they’ve read in the past few years. Plus, I weave life lessons into each story that many parents appreciate.           
                                
How does the book intertwine with God’s call on your life and how you are currently serving Him?
I truly believe He called me to write, or I wouldn’t be doing it. I had no desire to write books, so all the glory goes to Him for what’s happened in my career. My desire is, and always has been, to point other to Jesus. I try to do that in a soft way through my fiction, by encouraging, teaching, and weaving in real issues that people encounter in everyday life, and showing how the characters overcome.
            
Do you have a favorite Scripture verse?
Jeremiah 29:11-12 has been my life verse for years.
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 
12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.

When you are not writing, what do you like to do? Do you have any hobbies?
I love horseback riding with my daughter, playing with my little granddaughter when her daddy and mother are able to bring her down, and going for long walks. I’m also the owner and publisher at Mountain Brook Ink, an up-and-coming Christian publishing house for fiction, and that’s cut into my hobby time this last year. But I do still take time to walk, go to lunch, or go riding with my grown daughter who lives nearby, or have an occasional hour or two visit over tea with a friend.

As we close, is there anything else you would like to add?
Yes, I’m thrilled to announce there will be two more books in the Horses and Friends series. The first is titled Rebel Horse Rescue. We’ll be working on the covers in March, and releasing more information with a projected release date (probably around November 1 this year) in another month or two. Book six is called Trouble on the Trail, and it will release next year. I’m thrilled I get to continue with this series, as the characters have become like friends.

Where can my readers find you on the Internet?
Several places:
Business website:  www.mountainbrookink.com
Twitter handle: miraleeferrell

Thank you, Miralee, for sharing this new book with us. I will want to feature the last two books in this series on the blog, too.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.

Blue Ribbon Trail Ride - Christianbook.com
Blue Ribbon Trail Ride (Horses and Friends) - Amazon.com
Blue Ribbon Trail Ride (Horses and Friends Book 4) - 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. (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:
Http://lenanelsondooley.blogspot.com

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

KISSED BY A COWBOY - Debra Clopton - One Free Book

BIO: Debra Clopton is a multi-award winning novelist and has written more than 22 novels. Along with writing, Debra helps her husband teach the youth at their local Cowboy Church. Debra's goal is to shine a light toward God while she entertains readers with her words.

Dear Readers, Debra is a Texas author. Every time I'm around her, I love her more. And her books are wonderful. Cowboys, Texas, and romance. What’s not to love? I’ve read most of her books, and when they arrive, I read them right away. Kissed By a Cowboy is my favorite so far, but then I say that with each new book she writes. You won’t want to miss this one.

Welcome back, Debra. What are some of the spiritual themes you like to write about?
I love to write about forgiveness, and redemption - being freed from one’s past. Overcoming pain of one’s past and looking to the future and love conquers all.

What other books of yours are coming out soon?
I’m very excited that DALTON the 5th book in my New Horizon Ranch series is coming out. Readers have been waiting on this story and I’m so glad to have it ready for them now. This series is shorter than my Four of Hearts Ranch romances but just as romantic and heart-warming. DALTON is a great story about a cowboy who keeps his past closed up inside but then one stormy night he rescues a very pregnant Rae Anne Tyson from floodwaters and suddenly Dalton’s life is turned upside down and no matter what he believes he does or doesn’t deserve—he can’t walk away from helping Rae Anne.

I’m working on a new series now that I’m excited about and there will be news next month about it. I’d love for readers to join my newsletter at http://debraclopton.com
           
I’d love to feature Dalton on the blog. Email me. How can you encourage authors who have been receiving only rejections from publishers?
Persevere while at the same time continue to write. Write every day.

Tell us about the featured book.
Cassidy was looking for a home and a place to belong . . . not for a cowboy to steal her heart.
Having lived through her parents’ endless string of “matrimonial bliss gone wrong,” Cassidy Starr knows when the odds are not in her favor. Divorced and humiliated, her faith on rocky ground, Cassidy is through with love. She’s been bucked off that horse far too many times. Instead, she returns to Wishing Springs, Texas, and the rundown farm she’s inherited from her great aunt Roxie. She’ll reopen the strawberry farm and a bed and breakfast and follow in her aunt’s footsteps, remaining forever-independent, happy . . . and single.

Rancher Jarrod Monahan’s hands are full running the ranch, looking after his ailing grandfather, and chasing down a group of rustlers on the loose. He’s pushed his longing for a family to the bottom of his list of priorities. Besides, he was in love once but ran scared and lost his shot at happiness. But suddenly, the biggest regret of his life has moved in next door with a wounded heart, determined to become a spinster . . . and that’s a challenge that Jarrod can’t pass up.

Jarrod sets his mind to breaking down the walls around Cassidy’s stubborn heart. How can he show her that a cowboy’s kiss lasts forever? For the good folks of Wishing Springs, falling in love has never been so much fun to witness.

Please give us the first page of the book for my readers.
Strawberry Hill.

Cassidy Starr’s headlights shined on the faded words of the wooden sign, which looked nearly ready to collapse.  She knew exactly how it felt. Taking a deep breath, she pushed her kinky mass of red hair behind her ears, then took hold of the steering wheel of her truck and drove up the dark, tree-lined lane. Up the hill, the two-story, yellow Victorian appeared in her headlight beams, and a wave of nostalgia and relief washed over Cassidy. She was home.

Humiliated, but home.

Tears dampened her eyelashes and she blinked them away. “I will not get emotional. I will not get emotional,” she chanted to the silence around her.

She was done with tears.

Seriously done.

So over them.

These days the only thing tears did was make her mad when they dared to threaten.

How can readers find you on the Internet?
I would love for readers to sign up for my newsletter and to find out more about me and my books at http://debraclopton.com and there you can connect with me through other social media.

Thank you, Debra for sharing this new book with me and my readers. I know they’ll be as eager to read it as I was when it came.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Kissed By a Cowboy - Christianbook.com
Kissed by a Cowboy (A Four of Hearts Ranch Romance) - Amazon.com
Kissed by a Cowboy (A Four of Hearts Ranch Romance Book 3) - 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. (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:
Http://lenanelsondooley.blogspot.com

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

PERMANENT RESIDENT AT THE ALTAR - Keisha Bass - One Free Book

Dear Readers, Keisha is a friend of mine. She and I served together as officers of the ACFW - DFW chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers. I'm thrilled with her success with her books.

Bio: Permanent Resident at the Altar is Keisha Bass’ second novel. Her debut novel, Permanent Resident at the Purse Table, was released in February 2014 and left her readers wanting more, so installment two of her main characters’ journeys was created. She has also published non-fiction articles in magazines and online, including sharing her testimony, “Heart Problems,” in Chicken Soup for the Soul: A Book of Miracles.

Keisha is a member of the Dallas Screenwriters Association and a connect member of the International Screenwriters Association. She grew up in Houston, Texas, but now resides in Arlington, and teaches P.E. and coaches volleyball and softball in Crowley Independent School District. She is currently working to complete her first screenplay, an adaptation of her debut novel, and has several more fiction and non-fiction projects in the works. She loves to dance, play sports, and spend time with family and friends. She is a member of Word of Truth Family Church in Mansfield, TX, where she serves as a greeter.

Welcome back, Keisha, I love your new author's photo. Why do you write the kind of books you do?
I write to inspire, entertain, and make people think. I also count it joy to share God’s unconditional love, no matter what we have done or are currently going through.

Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
The day I purchased my first home. I had been wanting to for years, and God made it happen.

How has being published changed your life?
Being published has helped me to realize that no matter how long it may take, if God put it in your heart, it will come to pass. Also, the feedback from my readers has been life changing. They can relate to my characters and have appreciated me taking serious issues and handling them with care. I hope to continue to do that as I move forward. And lastly, it has fueled my fire for more.

What are you reading right now?
The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

What is your current work in progress?
I am currently working to complete my first screenplay. It is an adaptation of my first novel, Permanent Resident at the Purse Table. It’s entitled, The Purse Table.

I’m on the screenwriter on the Board of Directors of Higher Ground Films. We’re in pre-production for our first faith-based movie, Abducted to Kill. What would be your dream vacation?
I would love to go to Italy one day.

How do you choose your settings for each book?
I was told a long time ago to write what I know. I grew up in Texas, so my settings are in Texas cities.

If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
It’s hard to choose just one, but currently, it would have to be Shonda Rhimes. As I am looking to establish a screenwriting career, I would love to sit and pick her brain.

What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
My hobbies are dancing, rapping, and watching football.

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
Currently, I am finding it difficult to write in present tense in my screenplay as I have been writing in past tense for my novels. I overcome it with a great deal of editing. J

What advice would you give to a beginning author?
My advice would be to learn your craft, keep at it, and enjoy the process.

Tell us about the featured book.
If Ava has to wear her fake smile one more time while standing in a wedding party, she might come unglued. She and her boyfriend, Kevin, have been seriously dating for six months. At the marriage-ripe age of thirty-one, she can’t help but count down the days until her wedding day. It seems like everyone in her immediate world is getting hitched but her: cousin, friend, and even a coworker who is shacking up, while Ava’s trying to live life on the straight and narrow.

Kevin is the man of her dreams, but his mother doesn’t believe Ava is the woman of his. Two of his sisters seem to be on the same page with their mother, treating her like an outcast every chance they get. Ava’s only ally in Kevin’s world is his baby sister, Tweet, a drug addict who takes up a lot of his time. Trusting God is all Ava can do as she hopes for the best, but if Ava and Kevin are meant for each other, then why is it such a struggle to get down the aisle? What’s wrong with Ava? What’s wrong with Kevin? Or is Kevin’s mother the one calling the shots?

Please give us the first page of the book.
It had been a year since Ava had given it all to God for guidance through her life. He had led her into accepting what she could not change and forgiveness for herself and others. She glanced at Kevin, her boyfriend, and thought back to all she had been through.
           
How could she have been so easily turned to the enemy? Ava’s one mistake led her into a tailspin of lows. The impulsive behavior caused her to almost lose her best friend forever. As much as she wanted to blame the entire incident on the alcohol she had consumed, she couldn’t. Sleeping with her best friend’s fiancĂ© was only the start of stepping the hill onto the path of transgression and ultimate betrayal.
           
When she received news of her pregnancy, a result of her undeniable mistake, her life turned into pure devastation, and she felt unwilling to go on. Her closest friend pushed her into getting the help she needed. The CCC became her refuge in her time of turmoil and uncertainty. After a few months of therapy and group sessions with prayer, she finally learned to forgive herself and let God handle the mayhem within, including her self-esteem, something she had struggled with most of her life.
           
Putting God into her life, to let Him lead her where she needed to be, gave her great pride. She had her biggest believer on her side, and she had confidence that He would only lead her in the right direction. Because she let God lead, she was blessed with the man she imagined having for the rest of her life. God is good, all the time; all the time, God is good.

Sounds like a very pertinent and good story. How can readers find you on the Internet?
Thank you, Keisha, for sharing this new book with us. I'm eager to read it, and I know my readers are, too.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Permanent Resident at the Altar (Urban Books) - Paperback
Permanent Resident at the Altar (Urban Books) - 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. (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:
Http://lenanelsondooley.blogspot.com

Monday, February 08, 2016

AUSTEN IN AUSTIN (ROMANTIC REFINEMENTS) - Anita Mae Draper - One Free Book

Bio: Anita Mae Draper's stories are written under the western skies where she lives on the prairie of southeast Saskatchewan with her hubby of 30 plus years and the youngest of their four kids. When she's not writing, Anita enjoys photography, research, travel, and is especially happy when she can combine the three in one trip. Anita's current release is Romantic Refinements, a novella in Austen in Austin Volume 1, WhiteFire Publishing, January 2016.  Anita is represented by Mary Keeley of Books & Such Literary Management. You can find Anita Mae at  www.anitamaedraper.com

Welcome, Anita. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
My characters don’t reflect who I am, as much as who I strive to be.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
This brings to mind a silly incident when I was a young corporal working as a teletype operator in a military message center. Everyone had gone for coffee and I was all alone—or so I thought. With nothing to do but babysit the equipment, I sat on my favorite swivel chair and spun myself around, legs off the ground, as if I were on a children’s park merry-go-round. When I opened my eyes, I saw my sergeant leaning against his open office door giving me with a quizzical look. Whoops. I said the first thing I thought of… “Would you believe I’m lowering my chair?” He disappeared back into his office while shaking his head and muttering. Let’s just say that from then on I kept my chair spinning antics to my midnight shifts.

When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I wrote my first poem when I was six, but it wasn’t until I was fourteen that I felt compelled to write a story which seemed novel-length, but in hindsight was only short story length.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I love reading westerns in any time period, and historicals are a favorite, but I also read contemporary. Sometimes it’s not so much the genre, but the author, or a cover,  that draws me to a book. Whatever I read, it has to have a happily ever after.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
That’s easy … I don’t. Seriously, though, every once in a while I’ll get overwhelmed by all the demands and so I’ll go off social media and hide out in my writing cave. After a few days of solitude, I’m ready to face the world.

How do you choose your characters’ names?
Usually, a name will come to me as I think of a storyline. Then, I’ll check it on a baby name app which shows what names were popular in the time period of my story. And if I haven’t found one by then, I’ll look at old census records of the period and choose one that way. I also have a baby name origin book for when my character comes from a specific country and I want to add flavor to the story.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
I’m proud of everything I’ve accomplished thus far in my writing career, but the one that made me giddy was when Guideposts Books chose my Christmas short story, “Here We Come A-Wassailing,” to be featured in a marketing campaign where thousands of subscribers were able to read the first eight pages of my story, one of eight short stories in A Cup of Christmas Cheer Volume 4. It was a definite honor to be blessed in that way.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
Call me a party-pooper, but I really don’t want to be an animal. The way I see it, they all have their limitations when it comes to predators and the food chain. At least as a human I feel love, I can think, and I have faith in a God who loves me.

Good answer. What is your favorite food?
Kraft Dinner with wieners or smokies as a meal. Chocolate at any other time.

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
The lack of confidence has always been my biggest roadblock. When I need reassurance, I first pray about it, then I email my Inkwell Inspirations blog mates. And if I still need a pick me up, I’ll email my agent, Mary Keeley. I’m truly blessed with a wonderful support team.

Tell us about the featured book.
Austen in Austin Volume 1 is a 4 novella collection set in the late 1900’s in Austin, Texas, using Jane Austen’s characters. For example, my novella’s heroine, Marion, in Romantic Refinements, is loosely based on the younger sister, Marianne, in Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. The novellas can be purchased and read as a stand-alone, but since the stories are all interwoven, characters from any story in Volume 1 and 2 (available later this year) may appear in any other novella(s)—some as a foreshadow and some as an epilogue. It’s a richer experience if they’re read in order.

Please give us the first page of the book.
“Marianne's abilities were, in many respects, quite equal to Elinor's. She was sensible and clever; but eager in everything: her sorrows, her joys, could have no moderation. She was generous, amiable, interesting: she was everything but prudent.”
― Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility   

September 1882, Texas Hill Country
Even the jerking and jostling of wooden wagon wheels travelling on uneven ground didn’t drop Marion McDermott’s gaze from the herd of rangy cowhands watching the action in the corral. Why, the thought that her future husband might be in the batch of hardened, heavy-working, hat-wearing men set her heart a-thumping—something the dandies back in Austin hadn’t been able to achieve. Poppa’s smile would surely shine when he heard how seriously she’d taken his warning about marrying a man for his good looks, alone.

Yet as Aunt Mattie steered their outfit toward the white pickets which surrounded the familiar verandah-decked house, Marion nervously smoothed the lap of her periwinkle day dress. With its layers of ruffles and lace it hadn’t been the most practical choice for the hour trip from Austin, but as headmistress Mrs. Collins had repeatedly said, Marion should continue to work on virtues such as practicality even now that she’d graduated from the Jeanette C. Austen Academy for Young Ladies.

Over by the corral the cowhands gazed in Marion’s direction even though the object of their recent attention still bucked with abandon in the corral behind them.

Spotting a familiar handsome face sent a hundred butterflies flittering in her stomach.  Mr. Jeffrey Whelp could very well be the man to leave this ranch with a proprietary hand on her back.

As he left the rail and sauntered her way with the rest of the men, Marion faced the front, her gloved hands closing the silk parasol that matched her fancy travelling dress.

Aunt Mattie reined in the team beside the fence where Marion’s favorite yellow roses rambled along the white pickets.

Marion leaned down from her seat for a satisfying whiff of their heavenly scent. “Everything’s always the same.”

Aunt Mattie tied off the lines. “Not much changes on a ranch, except for the men. You’ll recognize most of them, especially the ones your poppa sent over. My brother is as stubborn as they come, but he believes in family and I value the support he has shown over the years since your Uncle Raith died. All his blustering at the beginning was only because that is what he thought a big brother was supposed to do. But he came around.”

She nodded toward the outbuildings. “I don’t think you’ve met my foreman, yet.”

A tall cowboy in a black hat stood on the stoop of the foreman’s quarters. His off-white shirt and denims were much like the clothes of the other cowhands, but when he stepped down and headed her way, he lacked the rolling saunter of someone who spent hours in the saddle. Instead, his limping stride appeared jerky and torturous. Beneath a wide brim, his sun-creased face lacked signs of youth and Marion guessed him to be about thirty or so. With his strong, clean-shaven jawline and wide shoulders his overall appearance was that of a striking man any woman would have a hard time forgetting.

Their gazes locked, his directness questioning hers.

She looked away, annoyed that she’d been caught staring. 

How can readers find you on the Internet?
Thanks for asking! You can find me at these online places:
Pinterest (includes story boards)

Thank you, Anita, for sharing this new book with us. I know lots of my readers are Austen fans and will love the Texas twist to the stories.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Austen in Austin, Volume 1 - Paperback
Austen in Austin, Volume 1: Four Texas-Set Novellas Based on Jane Austen's Novels - Kindle
Romantic Refinements (Austen in Austin) - 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. (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:
Http://lenanelsondooley.blogspot.com

Sunday, February 07, 2016

WINNERS!!!!!

Linda K (CA) is the winner of No Accounting for Murder by Leeann Betts.

Kathy (MO) is the winner of The Warrior Spy by Dony Jay.

Kim (NE) is the winner of Beyond the Silence by Tracie Peterson and Kim Woodhouse.

JC (IN) is the winner of 21 Days of Love by Kathy Ide, Editor.

Melissa (TN) is the winner of One Free Audiobook by Angela Breidenbach.

If you won a book and you like it, please consider giving the author the courtesy of writing a review on Goodreads, Amazon.com, Christianbooks.com, Barnes and Noble, or other Internet sites. 

Also, tell your friends about the book ... and this blog. Thank you.

Congratulations
, everyone. If you won a print book, send me your mailing address:
Click the Contact Me link at the top of the blog, and send me an Email.


If you won an ebook, just let me know what email address it should be sent to.

When you contact me, please give the title and author of the book you won, so I won't have to look it up.


Remember, you have 4 weeks to claim your book.

Friday, February 05, 2016

ON LONE STAR TRAIL - Amanda Cabot - Free Copy of IN FIREFLY VALLEY, the second book in the series

Dear Readers, I’ve known Amanda a long time online. Then several years ago, she was on a book tour through Texas, and she invited me to join her with my books at a bookstore in Dallas. It was wonderful to sit and visit with her while we were there. And I love her books, both the historicals as well as this series of contemporary novels. I was privileged to read this book for endorsement. It’s wonderful. The characters really captured my heart. You won’t want to miss this story.

BIO: Amanda Cabot is the bestselling author of more than thirty novels including the Texas Dreams trilogy, the Westward Winds series, the Texas Crossroad trilogy, and Christmas Roses. A former director of Information Technology, she has written everything from technical books and articles for IT professionals to mysteries for teenagers and romances for all ages. Amanda is delighted to now be a full-time writer of Christian romances, living happily ever after with her husband in Wyoming.

Welcome back, Amanda. What are some of the spiritual themes you like to write about?
I’ve always been drawn to stories of healing, and so I frequently write about the healing power of love. When I wrote for the secular market, that love was between a man and a woman. Now that I’m writing for the Christian market, I can – and do – include the power of God’s love. It’s wonderful to be able to share stories of the way God’s love sustains us through even the darkest times in our lives.

What other books of yours are coming out soon?
On Lone Star Trail is my only full length book for 2016, but I have a novella in a collection tentatively entitled Rails to Love. Although the release date isn’t finalized, I believe it will be October. Next year marks my return to historical romances, with the first in a trilogy scheduled to release early in 2017. I hope readers will check my web site occasionally for news about what’s coming next.

If you could spend an evening with one contemporary person (not a family member of yours), who would it be and why?
I’d love to spend an evening with Lynn Austin. I’ve admired her books for many years and would like to talk “shop” with her.

What historical person would you like to meet (besides Jesus) and why?
Oh, what a hard question to answer! There are so many fascinating people I’d like to meet, but if I could only choose one, it would be Abraham Lincoln. I’d love to talk to him about the challenges he faced as President during the Civil War and how he managed to keep his sense of humor while he led the country through one of its most turbulent eras.

How can you encourage authors who have been receiving only rejections from publishers?
I have three pieces of advice. The first is to read extensively in the genre you want to write. That’s the best way to learn what a publisher is buying. Secondly, join a writer’s group. ACFW is wonderful for writers in the Christian marketplace, and Romance Writers of America is excellent for anyone interested in writing romance. A writer’s group provides support, networking and so many other resources to the aspiring writer that I can’t over-emphasize the importance of joining one. And lastly, never give up. Rejection is a fact of life. I won’t sugarcoat it: rejection hurts. But if you let it defeat you, if you stop sending out your manuscript just because it was rejected, you’ll never be published. Believe in your book and in yourself. Oh … that was four pieces of advice. Sorry!

Four very good pieces of advice. Tell us about the featured book.
I’m famous for not being able to tell a story in less than 100K words, so why don’t I share the back cover copy with you?

A woman without a future. A man running from the past.
One enchanting place where broken dreams are mended.

If there’s one thing Gillian Hodge never wants to see again, it’s a man on a motorcycle. Her last encounter with one left her right hand crushed, ending her promising career as a concert pianist. Unsure about the next phase in her life, she heads to Rainbow’s End Resort for some R and R when a sudden thunderstorm causes a motorcycle to crash right in front of her.

When TJ Benjamin’s wife died, he lost more than his best friend; he lost his faith. He has spent the past year wandering the country on his motorcycle, trying not to think about the future. When he finds himself stranded with a busted bike and a reluctant rescuer, he has to wonder about God’s sense of humor.

As these broken people collide, they find that a bright future is still ahead—it just might not be the one they imagined for themselves.

Please give us the first page of the book for my readers.
Relax. Gillian Hodge forced her fingers to stop gripping the steering wheel as if it were a lifeline. This wasn’t her Carnegie Hall debut or the finals of the Brooks competition when so much was riding on the outcome. This was a vacation, for Pete’s sake. A week with her best friend and the woman who’d been a surrogate grandmother. She should be filled with anticipation, counting the minutes until she arrived, not wound as tightly as a metronome.

Gillian took a deep breath, exhaling slowly. In, out. In, out. The technique had never failed when she’d used it before performances, and it did not fail now. She could feel her neck and shoulder muscles relaxing as she repeated the slow, even breathing. The tension began to drain, and for the first time since she’d left the freeway, Gillian looked at her surroundings rather than concentrating on the highway.

Kate was right. The Texas Hill Country was particularly beautiful in the spring. It had been lovely when she’d been here for Kate’s wedding last September, but the fresh green of spring grasses and leaves and the patches of vividly colored wildflowers turned what had been simply lovely into something spectacular. No wonder Kate kept raving about her new home.

Though it was still difficult to believe that Kate, a dyed-in-the-wool city girl like Gillian, had given up a major promotion and traded a glamorous life as an advertising executive to run a small resort in the middle of Texas, that was exactly what had happened. Of course, one particular man had a lot to do with Kate’s decision. She had come to Texas almost kicking and screaming and had discovered true love.

Gillian’s smile faded. Despite her father’s advice that marriage was what Gillian needed, she wasn’t looking for love at Rainbow’s End, just a change of scenery and a chance to rest. Months of physical therapy had not accomplished its goal. Her dreams had been crushed—literally—leaving her no choice but to build a new life. At this point, Gillian had no idea of what the future would bring other than that concert stages would not be part of it. After six months of dwelling on what she could no longer do, it was time to discover what other talents she had. But before she did that, she wanted time with the people who’d known her before her name ever graced a marquee.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Focus on the progress you’re making, not what you can’t do. The scars will fade, and so will the memories.

Readers, see I told you this is a good book. I can feel that you want to know what happens next. Amanda, how can readers find you on the Internet?
I love connecting with readers, and so I encourage them to find me at any of the following places:
http://amandajoycabot.blogspot.com/

Thank you, Amanda, for sharing this new book with us. I know my readers are eager to read it.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
On Lone Star Trail - Christianbook.com
On Lone Star Trail: A Novel (Texas Crossroads) - Amazon
On Lone Star Trail (Texas Crossroads Book #3): A Novel - 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. (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:
Http://lenanelsondooley.blogspot.com

Thursday, February 04, 2016

A SON'S VOW - Shelley Shepard Gray - One Free Book

Bio: Shelley Shepard Gray writes Amish romances for Harper Collins inspirational line, Avon Inspire and historical romances as Shelley Gray for Harper Collins Christian Publishers. Her novels have been Holt Medallion winners and Inspirational Readers Choice and Carol finalists. Shelley’s novels have appeared on both the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists.  

To date, Shelley has published over fifty novels for a variety of publishers. Her novels have been highlighted in the Philadelphia Enquirer, Washington Post, Time Magazine, and USA Today. She has also been interviewed on National Public Radio as well as numerous regional radio stations.

Welcome back, Shelley. As an author, I know it takes a lot of people to birth each book. Who were the people involved in the birthing of this book, and what were their contributions?
Yes! There certainly were a lot of people involved in making this book a reality! Two people who were instrumental in the planning and plotting of this series were Laurie Smith and Lynne Stroup. These ladies are not only friends, they are also my assistants. We often travel together. When we had to take a detour one evening on our way from Berlin to Sugarcreek, we drove through Charm. All three of us knew it would be a perfect setting for a series.

The next person who was instrumental in the birth of A Son’s Vow was my editor, Chelsey Emmelhainz. After I wrote her about my ideas, she gave me a call and we fine-tuned both the novel and the series’ direction. She also encouraged me during the editing process to dig deeper into some of the story lines.

Finally, I’m indebted to Julia Meltzer, who copy edits the manuscript. Julia has a sharp eye and caught all sorts of tiny discrepancies. Her work on the novel made it that much better.

If you teach or speak. What’s coming up on your calendar?
First off, just attended my literary agencies writing cruise in January. I spoke one morning about my writing journey. I also love to visit libraries and speak with patrons, so I’ll be visiting several this Spring in Ohio and Indiana.

If you had to completely start over in another place, where would you move, and why?
Since it’s currently 5 degrees here in my town in southern Ohio, I think it would be wonderful to move somewhere warmer! One thing I particularly loved about my visits to Sarasota, Florida, when I was doing research for my Pinecraft books was how nice it was to go walking outside in February.

If you could only tell aspiring novelists one thing, what would it be?
There are so many things I’d love to share that might be helpful, but I think perhaps the most important advice is to not give up. Writing is a challenging profession and it’s sometimes hard for an author to remain positive and continue writing, especially if she has received some tough critiques from judges or publishing professionals. Criticism is part of the territory, but if an aspiring novelist truly loves to write, then she needs to focus on staying positive and keep writing every day!

You’ve been asked to be in charge of a celebrity cruise. Who would you ask to take part, and why? (AS in what program, singers, etc. [it doesn’t have to be writing related])
LOL! I don’t watch a lot of television, but I have to admit to being a big fan of The Voice and American Idol. If I could book celebrities for that, I’d book some of the folks who’ve either participated or judged these shows. I can’t sing at all but I truly admire people who can!

Tell us about the featured book.
A Son’s Vow is the first book in this year’s Charmed Amish Life series. This romance centers around Lukas, the eldest son in the Kinsinger family. The lumber mill that their family owns has recently been struck by tragedy and he’s doing his best to both run the mill and hold his family together. The heroine in the book is Darla. Darla’s father perished in the fire, but there’s also a bit of mystery around him and his role in the mill’s tragedy. Lukas and Darla fall in love while negotiating a rocky road to redemption and forgiveness.

Please give us the first page of the book.
March 20
It was another picture-perfect day in Charm.

The sky was pale blue, quietly complementing the acres of vibrant green farmland as far as the eye could see. Spring lambs had arrived. They were frolicking in the fields, their eager bleats echoing through the valley. The morning air was not too chilly or too damp. Instead, a hint of warmth teased, bringing with it as much hope as the crocus buds that peeked through the dark dirt of the numerous clay pots decorating cleanly swept front porches.

It was the type of morning that encouraged a person to go out walking, to smile. The type of day that reminded one and all that God was present and did, indeed, bestow gifts.
In short, it was the type of day that used to give Darletta Kurtz hope. A day like this should have made her happy, revitalized her. It should have made her want to pull out a pencil and one of her many notebooks and record the images she saw and list activities she wanted to do.

It was the kind of day she used to love and maybe, just maybe, take for granted.

Where can we find you on the Internet?

I have a website, www.shelleyshepardgray.com. I’m also on Twitter @ShelleySGray, and on Facebook at Shelley Shepard Gray. I hope folks will reach out to me and tell me what they thought of my latest novel! 

Thank you, Shelley, for sharing the first book in this new series with us. I really loved your Pinecraft series, and I'm sure this one will be as good or better.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
A Son's Vow - Christianbook.com
A Son's Vow: The Charmed Amish Life, Book One - Amazon
A Son's Vow: The Charmed Amish Life, Book One - 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. (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:
Http://lenanelsondooley.blogspot.com