Friday, May 22, 2015

A WARM WELCOME to JO HUDDLESTON!

Is there a story behind your book WAIT FOR ME?
When I wrote my latest novel, WAIT FOR ME, I had been to a real coal mine community one time. One memorable time. I went home from college with a friend for a weekend. Her home was in the coal mining region in southern West Virginia.

We had arrived at my friend’s home after dark and I did not see any part of the coal community until the next day. My friend took me to the company store. When we left the store and stood on the porch, I saw the tipple. An imposing structure towering above all else around it.

The memory of that tipple engrained itself deep within my mind. When I began writing for publication, I always had a desire to write about a coal camp’s tipple. My first published fiction series, the Caney Creek Series, was set in the southern Appalachians of East Tennessee. I decided my second fiction series would be set in the coal mining region of West Virginia.



What distracts you from writing the easiest?
Stopping to do research. I know, I should flag the place and go back to do research later. But I don’t. Then I find one interesting tidbit after another and copy and paste everything. All the research that I read does me good in the long run for the book, but it does pull me from the writing. 



Amen. What kind of books do you enjoy reading?
I read all genres. I especially like cozy mysteries but I’m unable to write them.



Adore cozies! Which character in your new release most interested you while you wrote? Why?
Julie, because she’s an only child as I am. I found I could easily get into her character and think as she does. It was almost as if we were a team—we worked together to come up with some of her far-fetched schemes.



If you were a style of music, what style would you be?
Soft instrumental jazz.



Nice! What is your favorite season of the year?  
Fall. No longer are we embroiled in the heat of summer and the cold of winter has not arrived. Just right.



Are there things you put off doing because you dread them? 
Yes, dusting. Does any homemaker like to dust?



Not me! Where is your favorite place to travel/vacation in?
The beach, preferably on the Gulf of Mexico or the east coast of Florida.



Ooooo, I love the beach. Such a fantastic place to relax. Share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you.
Philippians 4:8. 
This verse embodies everything that Jesus asked us to do as Christian and followers of Him. These words empower me to always try to remain positive.



When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
My next book will be book 2 in the West Virginia Mountains Series. No specifics yet. No title—I usually get my titles from a scene or chapter in the book as I write.


So good to have you, JO! Your book sounds fantastic. Folks, check out where to buy her book below and her personal links, and don't forget to leave a comment and email addy!



BUY the BOOK here:
AMAZON




ABOUT JO:
Jo Huddleston is a multi-published author of books, articles, and short stories. Her debut novels in the Caney Creek Series and her latest book, Wait for Me are sweet Southern romances. She is a member of ACFW, the Literary Hall of Fame at Lincoln Memorial University (TN), and holds a M.Ed. degree from Mississippi State University. Jo lives in the U.S. Southeast with her husband, near their two grown children and four grandchildren. 

Visit Jo at www.johuddleston.com.


CONNECT with JO here:
Website:   www.johuddleston.com


JO is giving away a copy of WAIT for ME. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.







HAPPY Springtime READING!
Caroline Brown

Thursday, May 21, 2015

WAIT for ME by Jo Huddleston

BACK COVER BLURB:

Can Julie, an only child raised with privilege and groomed for high society, and Robby, a coal miner’s son, escape the binds of their socioeconomic backgrounds? Set in a coal mining community in West Virginia in the 1950s, can their love survive their cultural boundaries?

This is a tragically beautiful love story of a simple yet deep love between two soul mates, Robby and Julie. The American South’s rigid caste system and her mother demand that Julie choose to marry an ambitious young man from a prominent and suitable family. Julie counters her mother’s stringent social rules with deception and secrets in order to keep Robby in her life. Can the couple break the shackles of polite society and spend their lives together? Will Julie’s mother ever accept Robby?



READ an EXCERPT:


Winter, 1955

When Julie left her driveway, she hurried her steps. As the dirt road dipped, she peered into the night to find Robby. She so hoped he waited for her. Clouds flirted with the moon, offering Julie enough light to search for him at the edge of the road.

She reached the place where he always waited but didn’t find him. She called to him, “Robby, where are you?”

Robby stepped out from the shadows farther down the road and walked with a slight swagger back toward her. “I didn’t want to leave before I saw you but I was about to go.”

“Sorry.” She kissed his cheek. “Daddy questioned me as I was about to leave the house.”

Robby took her hands then bent to place his forehead against Julie’s. “So, are you supposed to be at Betty Jean’s tonight?”

Julie started to answer Robby but he muffled her words when he kissed her mouth. A tingle traveled over her insides with his every kiss.

“Let’s get off the side of the road before your daddy follows you. Let’s go behind the company store.”

She wrapped her long coat tighter around her and hand-in-hand they moved to the back of the store where the lamppost out front cast a shadow over them. After more kisses and hugs, Julie and Robby stood with their backs against the building.

“Julie, are you still leaving tomorrow for that dance thing in Savannah?”

“Yes, I have to go.”

“But it’s nearly Christmas. I wanted us to spend time together during the holidays.”

She brushed his dark hair from his eyes. “I’ll be back soon. We’ll only be gone about a week.”

“Don’t start liking that guy who’s your date down there.” Robby scuffed the ground with his shoe. “Does he have a lot of money?”

“I don’t know. It doesn’t matter. I haven’t met him and will spend time with him only because my mother arranged it all. That’s what mothers do to set up their daughters for this big Christmas party.”

“Julie.” Robby took her face in his hands. “Don’t forget me while you’re gone.”

“Robby, I’ll never forget you. I’ll think about you all the time I’m in Savannah.” She slipped her hands inside his jacket and hugged him around the waist. Robby was the best thing that had ever happened to her. How could she forget him? She couldn’t live without him. Regardless of her mother’s plans, they would spend their lives together. Somehow, they would make it work.



BUY the BOOK here:
AMAZON




ABOUT JO:
Jo Huddleston is a multi-published author of books, articles, and short stories. Her debut novels in the Caney Creek Series and her latest book, Wait for Me are sweet Southern romances. She is a member of ACFW, the Literary Hall of Fame at Lincoln Memorial University (TN), and holds a M.Ed. degree from Mississippi State University. Jo lives in the U.S. Southeast with her husband, near their two grown children and four grandchildren. 

Visit Jo at www.johuddleston.com.




CONNECT with JO here:



JO is giving away a copy of WAIT FOR ME. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.





HAPPY Springtime READING!
Caroline Brown

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Book Winners

Once again, we offer you a warm welcome to the Bookshelf of the Barn Door Book Loft. 

And before we announce our winners we’d like to offer a special thanks to these Christian authors who offered a sample of their writing to our faithful readers:

James R. Callan who offered his Mystery novel  Over My Dead Body--A Father Frank Mystery
K. D. Harp who offered her Inspirational Romantic Suspense novel  RESCUE ME. 

And now: We're pleased to announce this week’s winners:
Caryl Kane has won James R. Callan’s Mystery novel  Over My Dead Body--A Father Frank Mystery
And Karen Smith (Casey941940) has won K. D. Harp’s Inspirational Romantic Suspense novel  RESCUE ME. 
Congratulations Winners! Remember, it's your responsibility to contact me  sharonalavy {at} gmail {dot} com) with your address so the author can send you a book. 


Be sure to check past winners posts. Subscribing by email will ensure you don't miss seeing the winners list.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Interview with Christian Author Jackie Zack

Thank you for being with us here at the Barn Door Book Loft, today, Jackie
Is there a story behind your book An Irish Heart?
I’ve always thought of Ireland as a beautiful, intriguing place and wanted to write a story that took place there. As the idea for a plot line and characters came to mind, I was thrilled. Writing the story was almost like being there and tagging along for the adventure.

Question: What started you on your writing journey?
I knew at an early age that I wanted to be a writer. When I was in grade school, I remember holding one of my mother’s paperback books and telling her that when I grew up I wanted to write books.
Question: Which character in your new release most interested you while you wrote? Why?
Aedan O’Riain interested me the most. I enjoyed trying to duplicate the Irish speech pattern and learning their fun, unusual words.

Question: If you could paint or sculpt like a famous artist who would it be and why?
Georgia O’Keefe. I love her use of color in her paintings and the simplicity of design. She conveys a mood or feeling which the viewer of her painting can instantly sense.

Question: What is your strangest habit? (you pick which one—just something to have fun with and show some personality.)
If a thought strikes me when I’m away from my computer, I write the ideas down on bright post-it notes and save them in my purse. Some always try to escape when I take out my billfold at the store. At home, the notes end up in a box. Funny thing though – I rarely look at them again after I write them.

Question: What is your favorite season of the year?
It’s a toss-up, but if I had to choose, it would be fall. I love the crisp air, fall colors, and pumpkins, gourds, and apples.

Question: Share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you. (and why it's special)
“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to.” Eph. 2:10
I keep this verse on my desk. It keeps me going as a writer along with anything else that I can do.  
What is your motivation for writing?
I want my writing to be stepping stones, leading to a discovery of God’s love. It’s my hope and prayer that people who aren’t Christian could experience a yearning to know God through reading the stories. And those who are Christian could enjoy a fun, entertaining read.
When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
A Chance Mistake will come out in late summer.
By the flip of a coin, famous horror writer, Kory Slate, travels to Wales to get some rest and relaxation. His last bestseller has left him freaked out and he feels like he’s being followed. He meets Dafina, a bookstore clerk, and becomes entangled (humorously) in her family drama. This book is also a Christian Romantic Comedy but tends to have more suspense. The take-away of the story is finding healing/forgiveness for one’s past and hope for the future.
Thank you so much for joining us today!

Readers, you may purchase the book at: 
Or have your local library order it in for you! 

Jackie Zack is giving away a copy of her novel An Irish Heart.
The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You may enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post. (It's not too late to go back and leave a comment on yesterday's post)

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Jackie Zack's Novel An Irish Heart

Book Blurb:
Successful advertising manager, GRETA CONNER travels to Ireland to fulfill a last wish from her mother. After arriving in Ireland, she is drawn to a colorful village named Angel’s Hollow. When a dark-haired stranger approaches and calls her by another name, Greta is intrigued to discover she’s the image of AEDAN O’RIAIN’s ex-girlfriend. Does she have a close relative unknown to her?
Aedan can’t understand his misfortune. Along with near bankruptcy in his future, his ex is trying to fool him by claiming she’s Greta Conner from the States. Is it some sort of plot to further ruin his reputation? Adding to his angst, his brother, Reece, insists on dating Greta if Aedan will not. All will certainly be lost if Reece falls into her plans.

Angel’s Hollow becomes like home for Greta, and there’s no one her heart loves more than Aedan. But will an unknown twin threaten all she’s longed for?

Book Excerpt:

Chapter 1

“Go to Cork.” The light blue eyes of her mother beckoned.
Greta struggled to understand the words as Aunt Sophie took her hand and led her into the hallway. She didn’t want to leave and glanced back to see Dad stepping close to Mom’s bedside.
“What did mommy mean? Why’d she say that?”
“Greta, your mommy didn’t say anything. She’s been in a coma. You know what that is, right?”
She nodded in answer. “But she did speak to me. She looked at me and told me to go to Cork.”
“No, honey.” Her aunt bent down to Greta’s eye level. “She’s in heaven now.”
“Where is Cork?” Is heaven—Cork?
“It’s a county in Ireland. County Cork. Your mother lived there for a while.”
The memory of the scene seemed as vivid as if it happened yesterday. But her mom had passed away twenty-two years ago when Greta was five. She sighed and her eyes brimmed with tears. Losing her mother had been like losing her own life.
Replaying the thoughts in her mind was inevitable as she drove the small rental car away from Cork City airport. Her arms trembled, but strength rose within. Her mom wanted her to journey here—where Mom met Dad.
Greta took a deep breath of cool late-summer air and reminded herself to keep to the left of the road. Cork City was a colorful mix of new and old with many places to explore. But finding a smaller town to set up as home-base suited her. Once she had the idea, nothing else seemed right.
The foreign countryside beckoned to her like a haunting Celtic song. The rolling green fields marked with a narrow road ahead and backlit by the low evening sun was surreal.
Driving further, her car was the only one on the road which added to the eerie quality. She seemed to travel on the edge of the world—everything else slipped further away from her. What if her car died? How long would it be before someone found her?
Her imagination supplied her with wild thoughts of a murderer crossing her path. He’d be a crazy character with pasty skin, greasy hair and a wicked knife. She’d do her best to run away or kick and fight, but her younger brother and father would never see her again.
She gripped the steering wheel harder. Bart and Dad would be fine. They were busy with their own lives anyway. She had no other choice than to come. The image of her mom’s beautiful face came to mind again. “Go to Cork.”
Besides that, she trusted she’d be fine. When her imagination showed her tragic scenarios, it was always wrong. When Dad was late coming home, he was never in an auto accident and barely hanging on to life. And when her little brother at the age of three had disappeared for half a day, he hadn’t been kidnapped. He’d fallen asleep in the closet under an old coat.
So why worry about the worst case scenario? She’d already done her share of worrying and needed to focus on positive things.
After navigating tight turns and passing through some small points of civilization consisting of a few buildings and a petrol station, a moderately-sized village came into view. The sea sparkled behind it, and the sun nearly touched the glassy horizon. Choosing a place so soon wasn’t something she planned to do, but its name, Angel’s Hollow, touched her heart. She needed God’s comfort and help.
A red house gave way to rows of brightly colored shops built right next to each other. The striking colors were probably a way to define where one stopped and the other started—dark green, canary yellow, periwinkle blue, maraschino cherry red, and cotton candy pink.
Finding an open space on the side of the road, Greta parked and stepped out of the car to get a closer look at the businesses. The brick sidewalks and flower boxes added to the riot of color. She loved the gift shops—especially the ones with rich-looking crystal and earthy pottery. Nearby a bakery showcased cupcakes and scones. Across the street were a couple of pubs and an enticing restaurant or two.
Couples strode by her, talking animatedly. Tourists. Some of the languages she couldn’t quite determine. Had to be a European dialect. Another group was American with a New York accent. The family wore their wealth well with immaculate clothing and strode by with an air of importance. She lost interest in them as a man about her age headed toward her.
He walked in a hurried pace, holding a bouquet of red and white carnations. She almost forgot how to breathe. The woman who was to receive those flowers had to be the luckiest one on earth. His dark hair, friendly face, and lean build were everything she admired in a man, right down to his neatly trimmed facial hair.
He looked directly at her, his blue-gray eyes widening in the process. He took a nasty stumble, but righted himself in the next stride. As he neared, he studied her face, then stopped in front of her. His forehead wrinkled. “Iona?”
“Sorry. You must have me confused with another.” Greta used her much-practiced Irish accent.
His mouth dropped open and his eyes became wary. She moved to pass by, but he stopped her with a light touch on her sleeve. “You’re not? But you look exactly like me ex—you’re codding.”
“Cod? Fish?”  The words slipped out without the added accent. No, not fish. Codding… it meant kidding. Didn’t do too well with that one, but at least it finally came to her.
“If you don’t mind me asking, where’re you from?” The bouquet took a downward turn and languished by his leg.
“The Midwest.” She tried the accent again.
“The Midwest, aye?” He scratched his beard. “Westmeath? Offaly? Galway?”
She shook her head at each one. “Indiana.”
His puzzled look and defeated manner of lifting his shoulders to let them drop made her smile.
“Oh. That there. You’re definitely not Iona.” He smiled back. “You’re from the States then? Indiana must be one of the fifty?”
“Yes.”
“Gave me quite a turn. Will you be here for a while?”
She nodded.
“Stop by O’Riain’s Cottage,” he pointed to the pink hotel with a restaurant across the street, “and I’ll get you a glass. I’m Aedan. Aedan O’Riain.”
“I’m Greta Conner.”
He seemed to force a smile as he nodded and turned to leave. What was so odd about her name?

****



Aedan rushed across the street to O’Riain’s Cottage without a backward glance. Her last words telling him that she was Greta Conner floated through his head. How did Iona think she could fool him like that? What was her plan? To humiliate him again?

Author Bio: 
Jackie Zack lives in Indiana and has three adult children and two cats. One of her favorite things in life is hearing people laugh. She hopes her writing will bring much enjoyment, making the reader feel uplifted and refreshed.
  
You may find her on facebook. and Twitter @JackieZack1)

Readers, you may purchase the book at: 
Or have your local library order it in for you! 

Jackie Zack is giving away a copy of her novel An Irish Heart.
The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You may enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post. (It's not too late to go back and leave a comment on yesterday's post)

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

See No Evil by Mary L. Hamilton

Steven Miller guards a dark secret.

Dad drilled into Steven that blindness should never be used as an excuse. So when Steven finds an old triathlon medallion among Dad's belongings, he's inspired to follow in his footsteps. Maybe it'll quiet the guilt he's carried since Dad's death three years ago.
While Steven continues his triathlon training during his final summer at camp, a serious illness keeps Rustic Knoll's beloved Nurse Willie from managing her clinic. When Steven teams up with his friend Claire to encourage Willie's recovery, his feelings for Claire grow beyond friendship.


But his buddy, Dillon, has started down a dangerous path that Steven knows all too well. Can he keep his friend from falling into that sin without exposing his own past?


Book Excerpt


Steven Miller pulled away from his mom’s hand as she straightened his t-shirt before getting out of the car. “It’s fine, Mom. Leave it alone.”
Blindness was no excuse for sloppy dressing, but this was camp. Some guys wore the same clothes they’d slept in the night before. He got out of the car, leaving behind its air-conditioned comfort. Ugh! This heat wave would make the cabins feel like saunas. He adjusted his dark glasses, then reached into the back seat and found the rough canvas of his duffle bag.
“Can I get that for you?” Mom’s door slammed and she hurried around to his side.
“I’ve got it.” As if I’m not capable of doing it myself. He bit his tongue as he lifted the bag out of the car and set it on the gravel parking lot. Mom wasn’t trying to be annoying. So why did she get on his nerves so easily lately? She’d always watched out for him during Dad’s tough lessons on living with blindness. ‘Survival for the Blind 101,’ they’d called it. Had she grown more protective in the three years since Dad died? Or maybe Dad’s absence failed to balance out Mom’s hovering. Either way, it would be nice if she’d back off a little.
Claire called from somewhere nearby. “Steven! Wait for me!”
Where is she? Car engines and voices of other excited campers made it hard to tell which direction she was calling from. He waved his hand in the air to acknowledge her, then closed the car door and leaned against it. “Mom, you don’t have to stick around. Claire can get me through registration.”
“Well, I¼I wasn’t in any hurry.”
He’d done it again—said something the wrong way. “I’m not trying to get rid of you. I just thought Claire could get me up to the check-in table and I’m sure I can make it to the cabin on my own if you want to get home earlier.”
At that moment, Claire arrived and gave him a quick hug around the neck. “Great to see you again, Steven. Ooh! You’ve been working out. Look at those muscles.” She squeezed his upper arm. “Hi, Mrs. Miller. Can you believe it’s our last year at Rustic Knoll? This time next year, we’ll be graduated and getting ready for college.”
Mrs. Miller groaned. “Don’t remind me. Seems like last week you two were playing in the sand together down at the lake. With your blonde hair and Steven’s, everyone thought you were twins.”
Claire laughed. “That was a long time ago.” She touched Steven’s arm. “Are you ready to go check in?”
Mom made no move to leave. “Are your parents here, Claire?”
“No. My younger brother has a Little League tournament today, so Mom dropped me off. She’ll have to hurry to make the game. But I can take Steven to check-in if you want. Dillon’s heading our way, too. He can make sure Steven gets to his cabin.”
Mom hesitated. “Are you sure?”
Steven reached out and Mom put her hand in his. “We’ll be fine, Mom. We know the routine. You really don’t need to stick around unless you want to see some of the other parents.”
She sighed, hugged his neck and kissed his cheek. He jerked away before she could swipe her fingers over his hair.
“You have your health form? And money for snacks?”
“We’ll be fine, Mom. I’ll send you a postcard, like always. Saturday will be here before you know it.”
“All right, then. Have a good week, both of you. I love you, Steven.” She hugged him one more time.
“Love you, too, Mom. Bye!”
The car door squeaked open and closed, and a moment later, the engine started. She called one more good-bye before the tires crunched on the gravel as she drove away. Steven let out a long breath. “Good thing you came by. I was afraid she might walk me to the cabin.”
Claire giggled. “I love your mom, but I feel the same way about mine. I can’t wait to get out of the house and be on my own.”
Dillon shuffled up, dragging his suitcase. “Hey, Claire! Steven-man, how’s it going?” His hand met Steven’s in a high five and they clamped their hands tight together. “Ow! Dude, you must be lifting weights. Look at those biceps.”
Steven grinned. “I’m giving you some competition for super-jock this year. You ready?”
Dillon chuckled. “I’m always ready for competition.”
“Come on, let’s check in.” Claire nudged Steven’s arm.  “You want to hold on?”.
“No thanks. I’m practicing my echolocation.”
“Your what?” Claire started toward the grass where the registration table sat.
“Echolocation.” Dillon snorted. “Isn’t that what bats use?”
“Euw!”
“Same idea.” Steven walked close beside Claire. “It’s figuring out the sounds around me to judge my location. Like right now, I’m judging my distance from you by the sound of your feet hitting the ground.” Claire’s steps moved farther away, and Steven adjusted his own path to follow her.

“Okay. Just testing.” Claire laughed. “You passed.”


About Mary:
Mary L. Hamilton grew up at a youth camp in southern Wisconsin, much like the setting for her Rustic Knoll Bible Camp series. While raising her own three children, she was active in her church’s youth ministry, including serving as a camp counselor for a week. She decided once was enough.


Mary is an award-winning member of ACFW and a graduate of Long Ridge Writer’s Group. When she’s not writing, Mary enjoys knitting, reading and being outdoors. She and her husband make their home in Texas with a rescued Golden Retriever.







To buy Mary's book:

Mary L. Hamilton is giving away a copy of See No Evil.  The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses.

To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You may enter the book giveaway twice -- once on each spotlight post. (It's not too late to go back and leave a comment on yesterday's post.)



Off to read another great book!
Sandra M. Hart

Monday, May 11, 2015

A Warm Welcome to Mary L. Hamilton!

Is there a story behind your book See No Evil?

When I was growing up at a camp in Wisconsin, I recall a young camper who was blind. It seemed odd that someone with such a handicap would come to camp, but we were all impressed by how much he could do. Especially when he went off the diving board!

I patterned my character, Steven, after this young man, although none of the events of the story have any basis in fact.

What started you on your writing journey?

I’ve always enjoyed writing. My first job out of college required me to write a monthly newsletter for the organization. Several people told me I wrote well, and should consider writing for publication. Several years later when I became a stay-at-home mom, I took some correspondence courses to learn how to write publishable material. I’ve had several articles published, as well as a play. But my ultimate goal was always to write a novel.

What distracts you from writing the easiest?

It might be easier to list what doesn’t distract me. But what distracts me the most is probably computer games, email, Facebook, and my dog. He’s a rescued Golden Retriever who is truly a Velcro dog.

What do you like most about the area where you live and/or grew up?

We recently moved from an urban area to a smaller city. I love not having to deal with traffic! And since we now live a little over a mile from a lake, we’ll often head down there to watch the sunset, leaving the supper dishes on the table if necessary.

What is a favorite memory from your childhood?

My dad was the camp director, and usually if school was out, there were campers to take care of. So I didn’t always get to spend much time with him. In the winter, busloads of campers would arrive on Friday night for weekend retreats. Dad would have large pots of cocoa steaming on the stove and bakery sweet rolls warming in the oven when they came in to warm up from tobogganing. I always looked forward to helping him serve the hot chocolate and sweet rolls. That one-on-one time with Dad was precious to me, and made for some very sweet memories.

Are there things you put off doing because you dread them?

Cooking and cleaning. I’m domestically challenged and would much rather be outdoors.

Where is your favorite place to travel/vacation in?

Because I live across country from my family, I always love going back to Wisconsin to visit my brothers and sisters. I love the upper Midwest, especially the rolling hills and farm lands of southern WI.

Are there spiritual themes you like to write about?  

I like to write about God’s love for us. That’s such a broad, abstract thing that’s easy to say but often hard to experience deep inside. I write to show how His love for us makes itself known in our weaknesses and our struggles, those times when we’re often hurting too much to notice that He’s there.

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?


I’m playing with an idea for a novel targeted at an older age group, having to do with a returning veteran who finds he’s been taken advantage of by someone close to him. But it’s still in the planning and writing stage so, as much as I’d like to give you a release date, I can’t even promise it’ll ever be published. Hopefully, I’ll be back here sometime to talk about it!

Back Cover Blurb
Steven Miller guards a dark secret.

Dad drilled into Steven that blindness should never be used as an excuse. So when Steven finds an old triathlon medallion among Dad's belongings, he's inspired to follow in his footsteps. Maybe it'll quiet the guilt he's carried since Dad's death three years ago.
While Steven continues his triathlon training during his final summer at camp, a serious illness keeps Rustic Knoll's beloved Nurse Willie from managing her clinic. When Steven teams up with his friend Claire to encourage Willie's recovery, his feelings for Claire grow beyond friendship.

But his buddy, Dillon, has started down a dangerous path that Steven knows all too well. Can he keep his friend from falling into that sin without exposing his own past?



To buy Mary's book:

About Mary:
Mary L. Hamilton grew up at a youth camp in southern Wisconsin, much like the setting for her Rustic Knoll Bible Camp series. While raising her own three children, she was active in her church’s youth ministry, including serving as a camp counselor for a week. She decided once was enough.

Mary is an award-winning member of ACFW and a graduate of Long Ridge Writer’s Group. When she’s not writing, Mary enjoys knitting, reading and being outdoors. She and her husband make their home in Texas with a rescued Golden Retriever.

To connect with Mary:

Mary L. Hamilton is giving away a copy of See No Evil.  The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses.

To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You may enter the book giveaway twice -- once on each spotlight post. (It's not too late to go back and leave a comment on yesterday's post.)


Off to read another great book!
Sandra M. Hart

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Book Winners

Once again, we offer you a warm welcome to the Bookshelf of the Barn Door Book Loft.
 
And before we announce our winners we’d like to offer a special thanks to these Christian authors who offered a sample of their writing to our faithful readers:

Hannah Duggan who offered her Historical Novel Dear Kate.
Michelle Levigne who offered her Inspirational Romance Detours.
Caryl Mcadoo who offered her Christian Romance Sing A New Song. 

And now: We're pleased to announce this week’s winners:
Deanne Patterson has won Hannah Duggan’s Historical Novel Dear Kate.
Sharon Miller has won Michelle Levigne’s Inspirational Romance Detours.
And Mary F. Allen has won Caryl Mcadoo’s Christian Romance Sing A New Song. 
Congratulations Winners! Remember, it's your responsibility to contact me  sharonalavy {at} gmail {dot} com) with your address so the author can send you a book. 


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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Rescue Me by K.D. Harp

A hurricane's a bad time to learn why people say 'no good deed goes unpunished'.
For Sergeant Ike Porter, a solo rescue of two citizens stranded in raging flood waters should earn him the final gold star on his way to a slot on Georgia's new anti-gang task force. When his victims' car slams into the rescue boat, both Ike and the tin can passing for a rescue vessel sustain damage, leaving the three of them high and far from dry.

It could be worse.

He could be Heather Harmon, the CERT emergency response volunteer who sees their plight and tows them all to safety. Heather thinks fast on her feet, but has no way of knowing the same tool she used to save the flood victims is fresh from a murder.
It isn't often a cop gets rescued by a civilian. Widower Ike is quickly smitten with this brave woman and isn't about to let the sins of her ex interfere with their future, but he doesn't quite know the solution to helping Heather let go.
...Or that rescuing a killer has made her his next unwitting target.

Picking up a cop boyfriend should be pretty handy under such dire circumstances, but as the bodies pile up and evidence of murder mounts against Heather, close proximity to law enforcement becomes a double-edged sword for them both. Sharpshooters like Ike aren't known for their Cassanova skills and he soon learns voicing your doubts is a real romance killer....


Heather distances herself from his protection, leaving the field wide open for the murderer to strike again, frame his heroic victim, and walk away clean. ...All while rubbing every bit of it in Ike's face. Heather and Ike's faith in God is strong enough to sustain them individually, but if they can't show some faith in each other, history will repeat itself. Heather will face off with a practiced killer alone, Ike may lose his last shot at love, but this time, he'll know he had the power to save her.

Book Excerpt

This book is a little different for me. It opens with the villain’s point of view. He’s not a light-hearted person, and the story’s about Ike and Heather thwarting his bad deeds, not about him, so we start with this sample a bit into the book, at the point where volunteer emergency responder Heather is working post-hurricane and thinks she’s seen a signal light at the river. She goes to investigate and finds Ike’s patrol car, but no Ike.

See? Nothing. No one. No cries for help. No trapped people. Just a long, wet, hike back up to the house.
Heather scanned the area and confirmed there was nothing, no one along the bank, and oddly, no one in or near the warm, rainproof safety of the patrol car. She jogged closer and noted an empty boat trailer attached to its hitch. With the blue lights behind her now, she peered at the river and looked across.
There it is.
The flashlight had come from this area. She waved a hand. I see you. You aren’t alone.
Now what? She had a trailer, but no boat.
Heather climbed into the patrol car; a fortified world of gears, lights, switches and computer relays not found in normal vehicles. In the midst of the gadgetry the more familiar shape of a hand microphone eventually caught her eye.
They’ll know what to do. “Um, hello?”
An immediate, authoritative response crackled through a speaker Heather couldn’t locate. “This is Spencer P.D. You are on a restricted band. Identify yourself.”
“Heather. Uh, Heather Harmon. I’m with Gwinnett CERT, but I’m in one of your patrol cars. It’s empty and someone’s signaling from the middle of the river, I think. Is your officer OK?”
“We haven’t been able to raise him on the radio for over ten minutes, Ms. Harmon.”
“Heather.”
The tense voice on the end warmed a touch. “Heather.”
“I’m going to go to the bank and see what I can see. I think he needs help.”
“We’ll send someone as soon as we can, but tell him to sit tight. It’s going to be a bit, at least another ten minutes. Everyone is on priority calls. We’re finding a reroute, but no one is close to your location.”
“I’m sorry. Please repeat that. I couldn’t hear you. There’s a terrible noise coming from the river. It’s-.” Heather turned and peered at a rush of gray-white foam on the river surface. It surged up and forward, bending some trees and popping others from their footings. Limbs daggered to the ground like box kites in a death dive. Water washed large, shattered, pieces of all manner of debris ahead of it as if they were inflatable toys, but most of it moved too fast for her to identify. The energy of the surge seemed to rumble the very earth beneath her feet. Heather’s eyes tracked the wall of water and saw it shatter against a car, and then a small boat still bobbing on the surface-.
That’s where the light was.
“Oh no!” Heather gripped the microphone harder, as if it’d help the holder of the light and his companions hang on.
The gesture didn’t help Christina one whit. “Heather? What is it?”
“They’ve been hit! There’s a boat. There’s, one, two, three, yes, three people in it. One had a hat on, but it fell off into the boat. This giant tidal wave just barreled downriver and slammed them. Could you hear them smack into the trees? The boat looks funny now, kinda lopsided, but they seem to still be floating, I think. It’s hard to see...”
Before Christina could acknowledge, Heather gasped again. “Now a car’s headed for them! It’s going to crash right into them unless we can stop it somehow. Is there anything in here that will help?”
Silence magnified the pause from the COM. (It’s not like police cars come equipped with laser guns capable of taking out moving targets at a hundred yards.)
Heather needed for them to have some sort of miracle equipment and pressed for answers. “Hello?”
“We’re thinking, Heather. The boat has a motor. If they’re still afloat, they should be fine. They’ll maneuver out of the crash location. Please stay where you are and keep us posted.”
“I-. …Sure.”
Now you’ve lied to the cops, because the last thing you are is ‘sure’.
Heather scrambled around in the seat and scrunched low enough to watch through the back windshield. She had the bad habit of gnawing her lip when anxious, and would need plenty of balm on it tomorrow. “The car hit them! He nearly fell out, the one who had the hat. He’s much younger.”
Christina covered the catch in her throat. “That’s Sgt. Porter.”
“He’s fast. He was at the bow, but something made a horrid squealing noise at the back of the boat and he’s there. He’s-.” Heather sucked in air as she kept watching.
Father God, keep him safe.
Christina managed to maintain calm. “He’s what, Heather?”
“He’s crazy. He’s leaning out over the boat, doing something to the car. I can’t tell... Oh my stars! He’s gonna fall! He’s gonna fall in and be swept away in the current! There’s debris everywhere. There’s no way he can swim against this. No wait, they grabbed and held on to him. He’s back in the boat...”
The metallic screech of boat versus car scraped her eardrums again, louder, harder. It shrieked down Heather’s spine.
Even Christina’s professional composure fractured. “What was that?”
“I don’t know, but it came from right by the boat, or it might be the boat itself. …It wasn’t good.”
“We’re trying to locate backup. Are they sinking?”
“I-.” Heather squinted. “I don’t think so. It’s very hard to see. What can I do? OH!”
“What is it?”
“Something’s trying to drag him under. His hand’s already down in the water. I think he hit his head. No. Maybe not... I can’t tell. It’s just too far away. I could see more, I might be able to do more from the edge of the water.”
“Understood. Stay where you are and keep us informed.”
“You don’t understand. I don’t like the way this looks. I could drive the car to the water, and still talk to you.”
“You’re alone. You don’t have a boat. Stay out of the water. The last thing Sgt. Porter needs right now is the distraction of his patrol car in motion.”
Heather drew a breath. That’s for sure. “Right.”
“What is happening?”
“He knelt down for a second, but he and another man have the motor back on the boat. The car floated away. It’s toast, downstream. I don’t …think anyone was in it.”
“They’ll use the motor to get to the shore.”
“Yeah. I think he’s priming it or something now.” Heather waited for the beautiful thrum of an engine catching, but nothing but the relentless, pounding, rush of water shrouded them all. “I can’t hear it. It might just be the noise of the river… No, it’s not starting.”
“It may take a moment.”
“Yeah.” Heather waited, and stared, and chewed on her lip.
Please keep them safe. Please keep them safe.
She keyed the microphone again. “Hello?”
“We’re here, Heather.”
“He’s signaling with the light again. He’s flashing it up the hill, where I was before.”
“They aren’t moving?”
“No, and I think he’s figured out I’m not there anymore. His light’s scanning the house we were working and blinking on the windows.”
“We’re trying to raise help. The storm…” A long pause followed. “…Heather?”
“Yes?”
“You’re CERT trained?”
“Yes.”
“Are you willing to see if you can help? You’re under no obligation...”
Heather’s breath blew across the microphone like a hard breeze. “I thought I was going to have to threaten you guys or something.”
“Start by signaling them so they’ll know they’re not alone. There’s a bullhorn in the trunk. There should be rope there as well.”
“OK. I’ll talk to you later.”
“Hang on. The river can rise without warning. If you get anywhere near the water, wear a life jacket. Do you see one in the back?”
“No.”
“You are not to get in the water, under any circumstances. Is that clear?”
“Clear.”
“There’s a camera feed near the center at the ceiling, do you see it?”
Heather turned forward, felt a button near the rearview mirror, and pushed. “I think so. Did that do anything?”
“That’s great. Thanks.”
“Hang on.” Heather cranked the engine, and pressed the gas. The powerful motor throbbed under her touch and the car whipped around with a solid, heavy, grace that surprised her. The empty trailer rattled and bobbed up and down behind as it bumped up on (and then off) the curb. She parked alongside the water.
Well, they know they’re not alone.
“Heather, there’s a spotlight to the left of your window. Do you see it?”
She put the vehicle in park and checked. “Yes. Wow, it’s bright. I’ve got them, three people, one with the hat, and two older people.”
The one with the hat has had a bad day.
Blood smeared his forehead, and he kept his right arm bent close to his middle, like he guarded it from pain. His left hand held the flashlight, which he dropped once the spotlight hit them. He squinted into the powerful beam from the cruiser, and she changed the angle a touch.
Now they’ve got light …but aren’t under interrogation.
…Sorry about that.
“He’s hurt! Sgt. Porter’s bleeding at the head, and I think he’s done something to his right arm.”
That’s just not right. His reward for helping people is to get hurt.
Christina’s training was more pragmatic. “Is he conscious?”
“Definitely.”
“We’re notifying the EMTs.”
Heather found the trunk release and looked for the PA system. She flipped a switch and jerked back as it squelched, sending a loud shriek that would’ve startled the local birds, if they weren’t already too shell-shocked from the storm. She leaned away from it and tried again. “Hello. Can you hear me?”
The light winked on.
“Flash up and down for yes, side to side for no, OK?”
Up and down.
“Great.” Heather paused. OK. Now what?
She chewed on her hapless lip. “Is the motor working?” Please go up and down.
Side to side.
“It’s OK. There’s rope here. I can haul you out.”
Side to side.
Why not? Heather sighed in exasperation. The bullhorn definitely helped, but half a conversation wasn’t working for her.
I can’t ASK why, just ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions… Maybe someone’s so hurt they can’t be moved.
“Do you need to stay there?”
Side to side, very hard and fast.
…Does not need to stay there, with a vengeance. It’s something else. “Is it the current?”
Up and down.
“The boat can’t handle it?”
Side to side.
“The boat can handle it?”
Up and down, but in a far more half-hearted way than the first time.
The boat can probably take it, but there’s something else. So what’s the problem? “Can the passengers handle it?”
Up and down.
That’s a relief, but what in the world is the-. Heather sighed in exasperation, this time at the flashlight bearer. She cocked her head to the side in challenge. “You don’t think I can do this.”
Nothing.
“C’mon, you owe me the courtesy of a reply.”
Up and down.
Fatigue forgotten, her spine straightened. “That’s it? You don’t think I can.”
Up and down.
You are one stubborn flashlight in need of some enlightenment.
“I’m it. The police are trying to get here, but their ETA is at least ten minutes. Can you wait?”
Nothing.
“Can you wait?” Heather swallowed. Necessary questions could be so …blunt. “Hello?”
The light winked on, then went dead.

She pressed her lips together. Yeah, I was afraid of that.

Author's Note: A longer sample of RESCUE ME (We Have Escaped) which starts at the beginning of the book and includes all the insight into the villain’s evil nasty nature can be found here: http://kdharpbooks.com/autographed_rescueme.html#bookinfo

About K.D.
K.D. Harp enjoys world travel, volunteering, and educating people about the appropriate use of the phrase "Bless his heart," the original meaning of which has nothing to do with sarcastically calling someone a sucker or dimwit, and is properly used to imply a 'there but for the Grace of God' sentiment.


The BBA graduate of Georgia State University loves truly smart female leads, and most of hers will MacGyver their way out of some sort of situation whether it's jury-rigging a flamethrower with kitchen supplies or finding new uses for a fire extinguisher to escape an inferno. Bored and dismayed by the trend in fiction to equate genuine love with the pale imitation of lust without personal investment, K.D. chooses to portray people of character engaged with a world that lacks it. When they do it without losing the physical passion and sense of humor God would give to them, it's a total win.]


To purchase K.D.'s book:
CreateSpace (Be sure to use coupon code YHLSNV2Q to save $4!)


K.D. Harp is giving away a copy of Rescue Me.  The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses.

To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You may enter the book giveaway twice -- once on each spotlight post. (It's not too late to go back and leave a comment on yesterday's post.)



Off to read another great book!
Sandra M. Hart


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