Friday, February 27, 2015

Veiled at Midnight by Christine Lindsay

VEILED AT MIDNIGHT—Book 3 of the series Twilight of the British Raj

As the British Empire comes to an end, millions flee to the roads. Caught up in the turbulent wake is Captain Cam Fraser, his sister Miriam, and the beautiful Indian Dassah.

Cam has never been able to put Dassah from his mind, ever since the days when he played with the orphans at the mission as a boy. But a British officer and the aide to the last viceroy cannot marry a poor Indian woman, can he?

As this becomes clear to Dassah, she has no option but to run. Cam may hold her heart—but she cannot let him break it again.
  
Miriam rails against the separation of the land of her birth, but is Lieutenant Colonel Jack Sunderland her soulmate or a distraction from what God has called her to do?


The 1947 Partition has separated the country these three love…but can they find their true homes before it separates them forever?

Book Excerpt


Calcutta, August 15, 1946
The last arrow of sunlight shot back from the train’s brass trim, blinding Cam Fraser. As he narrowed his eyes, he recognized a face at the edge of his vision. A train whistle shrieked, steam hissed. A young woman in a green sari mingled within a crowd of Indian passengers. In an instant, his legs felt encased in steel. Out of that teeming mass on the platform she stared back. Her skin the color of milky tea, her hair a thick braid of silk over one shoulder. The fast sinking sun set her awash in a glow of apricot. Then crimson. She’d been looking straight at him. Then in the descending dark she was gone.
“Hadassah.”
His sister, Miriam, gripped him by the elbow. “Hadassah? Cam, you said Dassah.”
“I thought I saw her.” He shook his head, the pain nearly splitting it in two. He squinted to see into the crowd as the rapid Indian dusk fell. Ten long years….
With her hand on his shoulder to steady herself, Miriam strained on her tiptoes to see over the throng. “It’s been simply ages! Cam, are you sure? Where’d you see her?”
At that moment, whistles blew, and conductors ushered passengers aboard the night train bound for New Delhi. Miriam sent a pleading look over her shoulder. “Find her, Cam, before the train leaves.”
He didn’t need any goading from his sister, and while the steward urged Miriam up the steps of their carriage, he dodged passengers along the side of the train. Hundreds scrambled to their seats, more well-to-do Indians to first and second class. At least that injustice had been corrected somewhat since his childhood. The plush elegance of first class was no longer assigned to the British alone. Still, hoards of poor mashed into the cattle-like carriages called fourth. But it wasn’t fourth he’d seen Dassah standing outside of.
For as long as he could remember, Dassah as a scrawny little girl tagged after him when he visited the mission. He and Miriam had played with the muddle of orphans—Hari, Ameera, Zakir—to name a few—enjoying the usual sort of games, soccer, rugby, marbles. But the last time he’d seen Dassah she’d been anything but scrawny. Nor had she been a little girl.
He reached the area where he thought she’d stood. Sweat soaked the back of his shirt. Blast this muggy monsoon weather. His eyes blurred. And blast this headache. No matter where he looked he couldn’t pinpoint any of the slender young Indian women on or off the train as the girl he sought. Had he conjured up her image—a mirage shimmering on the hot Indian rails? It wouldn’t be the first time.
He wound back through the crowds the way he’d come. As he passed a clutch of railway officials, their talk in Hindi slowed his stride.
“…Muslim League calling for a holiday to mark their Direct Action Day—”
“Shush your foolish fretting.” The Conductor glanced around. “…not until tomorrow.”
“The Hindu Congress is worried.” Another railroad man wiped sweat from his face with the trailing end of his turban. “I have heard rumors someone might disturb the trains, such as the Muslims tried to do to Gandhi’s special train.”
“Disturb? Pah! They tried to derail it, but that was months ago, and Gandhi is not on this train.”
“But many of his friends in the Hindu Congress are.”
The myriad of noise echoing under the station’s massive glass and wrought iron roof absorbed the conversation. Cam’s headache clasped his head in a vice, but the authorities running these trains knew their jobs. Even if there was anything to worry about, they didn’t need him sticking his military nose into things.
As he entered the carriage, Miriam glanced up. “Well?”
“No time. I’ll have to wait until we stop.” The train started to glide forward as he sat on the seat opposite her. He reached for The Times of India, wishing he had an aspirin—or six—and dropped the paper to his lap. He’d tried earlier to read the news, but the grinding wheels in his head wouldn’t allow it.
“Do you think it was her?” his sister asked.
He didn’t want to raise Miriam’s hopes. “I don’t know for sure if the girl I saw even got on this train.”
But the image of the woman’s willowy shape in the crowd was stamped behind his eyelids. Those arched brows, those eyes that were world-weary even when she was a child. So like Dassah, how she could speak without saying a word, how she trailed constantly after him and Zakir, only running away to hide when they fought.
Miriam smoothed her skirt over her knees. “You want to see her as much as I do. She’s like family. Like Ameera and Zakir.”
“Not quite.”
“Cam, surely you don’t mean that because she’s Indian.”
“You know me better than that.” He regretted the slight growl to his tone. Really, Miriam of all people should know better than to insult him with racial bigotry. “I’m saying that Dassah isn’t quite family because she left the mission. Her and Tikah. Not a word after all this time. If they thought of us as family they’d have contacted us. As for Zakir….” He rattled his newspaper open and pretended to read.
“Honestly, Cam, you’ve been like a mongoose bemoaning a stolen banana all day.” She wrenched off her white, wrist-length gloves and fanned herself with them. “You always get that way when we mention Zakir.”
His sigh would have depressed that mongoose she compared him to, but he couldn’t bear to talk about Zakir. Nor had he any intention of telling her how he felt about Dassah. Then to add on what he’d heard on the platform? Certainly not. Though recent intelligence expected this crisis to blow over, the sooner he got Miriam out of Calcutta the better.
She pulled open her handbag and offered him a packet of tablets. “And there’s no need to hide your headache.”
He smiled as he took the medicine, and she sent him a grin so much like their mother’s. Miriam was rarely nosey—bless her—and thankfully didn’t ask further about his headache.
Through the window, the darkening Indian countryside sped by under a green sky with a crescent moon rising. The rocking of the train lulled him, and he shut his eyes. But Dassah’s face emerged from his memory. That long black braid over her shoulder. The scent of roses and lilies from the mission’s balcony, the perfume of Dassah herself as he faded to sleep.
~*~
A slight hitch in the rhythm of the train gliding along the rails woke Cam. His eyes flew open. As though a change in gear…a step out of cadence. The train met a curved section of track ahead, and he could see the line of lit windows. Not a parallel line. A ripple passed through their carriage, setting the crystal droplets on the lamps to tinkle, the hairs on his arms to stand.
Their car juddered.
A thousand screeches—were they human or metal—as the train jumped like a frenzied horse. The momentum plucked him from his seat. Flung him across the carriage.

He picked out his sister’s screams from so many others. 


About Christine:
Christine Lindsay was born in Ireland, and is proud of the fact that she was once patted on the head by Prince Philip when she was a baby. Her great grandfather, and her grandfather—yes father and son—were both riveters on the building of the Titanic. Tongue in cheek, Christine states that as a family they accept no responsibility for the sinking of that infamous ship.

Stories of Christine’s ancestors who served in the British Cavalry in Colonial India inspired her multi-award-winning, historical series Twilight of the British Raj, Book 1 Shadowed in Silk, Book 2 Captured by Moonlight, and newly released Veiled at Midnight.

Londonderry Dreaming is Christine’s first contemporary romance set in N. Ireland, published by Pelican Book Group, and she is looking forward to the release in 2015 of Sofi’s Bridge.


Christine makes her home on the west coast of Canada with her husband and their grown up family. Her cat Scottie is chief editor on all Christine’s books.

To purchase Christine's book:

Christine Lindsay is giving away a copy of Veiled at Midnight. 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

Thursday, February 26, 2015

A Warm Welcome to Christine Lindsay

Is there a story behind your book Veiled at Midnight?
I think all novels are auto-biographical to a point, in that the author draws from their own life to create their fictional world. I grew up as the neglected child of an alcoholic father and that certainly warped my view of the Heavenly Father for a long time. Thankfully the Lord showed me He is nothing like my earthly father, but I know what it’s like to have the stain of alcohol hurt my life.
The first book in my series Shadowed in Silk touches on the subject of an alcoholic husband abusing his wife, and of course the book has a happy ending. But as I continued on with the series I wanted to have a more redemptive story for an alcoholic. I was inspired by my own brother’s struggle toward sobriety in his relationship with the Lord Jesus.
So Veiled at Midnight touches on the healing and joy that can come to a person and a family when that loved one is released from that horrible addiction.

What started you on your writing journey?
It was back in 1999 when I was first reunited with my birth-daughter, the child I relinquished to adoption when she was three days old. I wasn’t married at the time and wanted her to have a loving father as well as a loving mom. That was the most painful thing in my life.
Twenty years later I searched for my birth-daughter, but at first our reunion was not all joyful. I found myself reliving my original loss of her, and this sent me into a terrible depression that lasted over two years.
My husband caught me crying one day. He went out and returned a while later with a brand new pen and journal, and said, “Here, honey, write it.”
That journaling not only gave me a great deal of cathartic healing, but eventually the Lord turned that into writing novels. I’ve been through a lot in my life, but the Lord has been amazing. I share that kind of gut-wrenching suffering counter-balanced by the floodgates of joy and healing when God steps in.

Which character in your new release most interested you while you wrote?
I love my main heroes and heroines in all my novels, but somehow in each story there is a secondary character that I simply fall in love with. In Veiled at Midnight that character was the Reverend Alan Callahan.
Why?
My dear Reverend Alan Callahan is in his early forties, he's not terribly good-looking, has a slightly longish nose. his hair is always in need of cutting, and his clothes are rather worn. He is the happy pastor to a native church in the city of Srinagar in Kashmir. Alan used to have a big church in England but that was before his drinking problem caused him to be fired. After his journey to sobriety Alan came out to India and has been there ever since looking after his Indian flock whom he rides out on horseback into the foothills of the Himalayas to visit.
What I love about Alan is he uses his deep bass voice and wonderful elocution to chastise my main character Cam Fraser who is an alcoholic. You might call Alan a modern-day mentor in a 12-step program to help a fellow alcoholic.
I found him hilarious to write—Alan reprimands and scolds Cam in such funny ways, so articulate in his insults, and spewing forth these diamonds of Biblical truth.
What I also loved about Alan is that towards the end of the book I gave him the answer to his prayers—a prayer he didn’t even realize he had prayed -- a romance too for the brilliant but socially awkward Reverend Alan Callahan.

What makes you smile and/or laugh out loud?
Oh my pets. We have two dogs and a cat. One of the dogs is a seven-month-old puppy, Charlie who is a Welsh Springer Spaniel. Right now Charlie is a maniac. The other dog is a lovely, well-behaved lady dog, a Sheltie called Zoey. And Scottie, my ginger and white cat is the editor on all my novels. Such a gem of quiet wisdom.

What is your favorite season of the year?
I love the spring for my garden, but I also love summer and fall, because during these three seasons I get to go camping in the little trailer my husband and I own, and have nice quiet times together.

What do you like most about the area where you live?
I didn’t grow up in British Columbia Canada, but have lived here all my married life, almost 35 years now. I love being so close to the mountains, and only a few hours away from the Rockies. 

Where is your favorite place to travel/vacation in?
I’ve been to Ireland where I was born, and that’s always wonderful. I’ve also been to India on a missions’ trip and that was a highlight of my life. But nowadays, I love to get away on little camping trips in that little trailer I mentioned, and smell the mountain air. I love the quiet of God’s creation. I especially love the Rockies.

Has some place you have traveled inspired something in your writing?
Most places I’ve been inspire my writing. My visit to India for my series Twilight of the British Raj, in each book Shadowed in Silk, Captured by Moonlight, and lastly Veiled at Midnight.
When I was riding on a dusty train in India looking out in emerald greed rice paddies, I was so reminded of the great American missionary Dr. Ida Scudder who features in Captured by Moonlight.
My Ebook Londonderry Dreaming was inspired by my great aunt’s farm in N. Ireland, and my many visits there and also to the tourist spot The Giant’s Causeway, an unusual rock formation with pounding surf overlooking The North Sea.
And in my upcoming book Sofi’s Bridge, the setting was inspired from the area I live in—the beautiful Cascade Mountains around my home.

Are there spiritual themes you like to write about?  
Being the daughter and the sister of an alcoholic, and also bearing the pain of relinquishing my first child to adoption, I’ve had my share of suffering. We all suffer, and God uses this to draw us closer to Him. I love to write stories about people in really tough situations, and through the plot and characters show my readers that they can trust God implicitly to save them and help them through their lives.
I love to write about the new person those characters become after they have yielded to Christ. All my characters are flawed and often at the beginning of a book you want to clobber that character over the head. Such as the case with my Captain Cam Fraser in Veiled at Midnight. But the Lord is in the business of changing people to make them like His son, Jesus Christ.
I love showing those changes in my characters in the hope of inspiring a reader to hear the gospel of Christ and surrender to that loving call.

Share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you.    
My special life verse that I’ve chosen for myself is Isaiah 49:15, 16a “Can a woman forget the baby at her breast, and have no compassion on the child she has born? Though she may forget, I will not forget you. See . . .  I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.”
This verse means so much to me, because it is only through the relinquishment of my first child to adoption that I learned the breadth and depth of God’s fatherly love for me. This is what I speak on at ladies’ functions and what underlines everything I write.

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
I have two books coming out this 2015. One is from Pelican Book Group called Sofi’s Bridge, a light historical romance set in the Cascade Mountains of Washington State in 1913. The spiritual theme of this book is that we cannot save the ones we love—only Christ can do that.

The other book I am currently finishing is a non-fiction book about the relinquishment of my child to adoption, and about our painful reunion twenty years later. This story will be entwined with other adoption reunion stories, good and bad, to show a balanced view, but most importantly to illustrate the El Shaddai love of our Heavenly Father.

Back Cover Blurb
 VEILED AT MIDNIGHT—Book 3 of the series Twilight of the British Raj

As the British Empire comes to an end, millions flee to the roads. Caught up in the turbulent wake is Captain Cam Fraser, his sister Miriam, and the beautiful Indian Dassah.

Cam has never been able to put Dassah from his mind, ever since the days when he played with the orphans at the mission as a boy. But a British officer and the aide to the last viceroy cannot marry a poor Indian woman, can he?

As this becomes clear to Dassah, she has no option but to run. Cam may hold her heart—but she cannot let him break it again.
  
Miriam rails against the separation of the land of her birth, but is Lieutenant Colonel Jack Sunderland her soulmate or a distraction from what God has called her to do?

The 1947 Partition has separated the country these three love…but can they find their true homes before it separates them forever?

To buy Christine's book:

About Christine:
Christine Lindsay was born in Ireland, and is proud of the fact that she was once patted on the head by Prince Philip when she was a baby. Her great grandfather, and her grandfather—yes father and son—were both riveters on the building of the Titanic. Tongue in cheek, Christine states that as a family they accept no responsibility for the sinking of that infamous ship.

Stories of Christine’s ancestors who served in the British Cavalry in Colonial India inspired her multi-award-winning, historical series Twilight of the British Raj, Book 1 Shadowed in Silk, Book 2 Captured by Moonlight, and newly released Veiled at Midnight.

Londonderry Dreaming is Christine’s first contemporary romance set in N. Ireland, published by Pelican Book Group, and she is looking forward to the release in 2015 of Sofi’s Bridge.

Christine makes her home on the west coast of Canada with her husband and their grown up family. Her cat Scottie is chief editor on all Christine’s books.

To connect with Christine:

Christine Lindsay is giving away a copy of Veiled at Midnight. 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, February 25, 2015

Congratulations to These Five 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:

Cathy Elliott who offered her Mystery  A Stitch In Crime.
And Carol G. Heilman who offered her Contemporary Novel  Anges Hopper Shakes Up Sweetbriar.
Kelly Irvin who offered her Amish Romance The Beekeeper’s Son.
Don Taylor who offered his Historical Lightening on a Quiet Night.
And Sylvia Bambola who offered her Historical Fiction  The Salt Covenants.
 
And now: We're pleased to announce this week’s winners:

Britney Adams has won Cathy Elliott’s Mystery  A Stitch In Crime.
Chrissy has won Carol G. Heilman’s Contemporary Novel  Anges Hopper Shakes Up Sweetbriar
Grandma Brenda has won Kelly Irvin’s Amish Romance The Beekeeper’s Son.
Carol G. Stratton has won Don Taylor’s Historical Lightening on a Quiet Night.
And Deanne Cnnamon  has won Sylvia Bambola’s Historical Fiction  The Salt Covenants.

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.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Texas Author Janet K. Brown

Welcome to the Book Loft, Janet! Is there a story behind your book Worth Her Weight?

Yes, this is a story of the destruction caused by handling the unfairness of life without submitting to God.   The main character, Lacey, turns to food for comfort and love when life tugs on her and destroys her peace.

I fought food addiction for over thirty years, so I understand the challenges faced by Lacey.  God healed me emotionally. I lost ninety-five pounds and have kept it off nineteen years. It wasn’t easy, and neither is Lacey’s struggle. In the book, her best friend and her mother also deal with issues of control and anger.
Ones that purchased and follow my previous book, Divine Dining: 365 Devotions to Guide You to Healthier Weight and Abundant Wellness might enjoy a women’s fiction that highlights some of the problems with compulsive overeating. Divine Dining was a spring board for the idea of Worth Her Weight.

What started you on your writing journey?

I’ve written all my life. When my girls were little, I began selling a few short stories to Christian periodicals. I still do that. I love it. Once, I wrote a novel, submitted it to one publishing company, had it rejected, and I stopped writing novels. My day job became so demanding. My girls were graduating and marrying. For awhile, I wrote nothing but my daily prayer journal.

In 2006, I retired from my medical bookkeeping job so that I could spend more time with my grandkids and more time to write and submit. I joined Romance Writers of America. Margaret Daley spoke for our local chapter and told us about American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). I attended the conference that year, and God ignited a fire in my heart for writing inspirational fiction.

Since then, I’ve attended several writing conferences, some Christian, some not. I’ve written eleven novels. Most of them need major rewrites. I took Debra Clopton’s advice. Every time a manuscript got rejected, I started a new one. I got enough rejection letters to paper my study. Finally, in 2011, at the Oklahoma Writer’s Federated International conference, I pitched my one and only young adult novel to Vivian Zabel of 4RV Publishing. By summer, I had a contract. It’s been a whirlwind of excitement since it released in 2012.

Next came Divine Dining, my only non-fiction released early 2013 by Pen-L Publishing. Was God trying to tell me something? I started writing romances, but so far I’ve published a YA, a devotion book, and now a women’s fiction. Following Christ is always an adventure.

Which character in your new release most interested you while you wrote? 

I never expected to be so moved by Chief of Police Toby Wheeler. He was dependable and vulnerable, tough and tender, a strong man trying to learn how to lean on God instead of himself. The insights into those struggles touched my heart.

What distracts you from writing the easiest?

Social media and my hubby (though he’s a delightful distraction. Ha!)

What kind of books do you enjoy reading?

I like a lot of different type of books. I keep one fiction, and one non-fiction going at all times. Here’s a few recent delights:

1. Mary Magdalene by Diana Wallis Taylor
2. Love’s Healing Touch by Jane Myers Perrine
3. The Debt by Angela Hunt
4 Lose It for Life by Stephen Arterburn, M.Ed and Dr. Linda Mintle
5. Mrs. Miracle by Debbie Macomber

Of course, my list could extend forever. I love to read. Naturally.

If you could paint or sculpt like a famous artist who would it be and why?

I have absolutely no talent in art, but I love to go to galleries. One time, my husband and I spent more money than ever before on a painting by Jesse Barnes. It was in a gallery in Eureka Springs, Ark. We were on vacation and going through a rough time in our lives. His painting “Out of Ashes” spoke to me. It still does. He used the light of the fire to destroy the old and make room for the new. I once wrote a blog post on my “Writing with God’s Hope” blog about that painting. I would love to paint like that.

What is your strangest habit?

Even on cold nights, I often sleep with my feet outside the covers. I must have shoulders and arms covered, but my feet are claustrophobic.

What is your favorite season of the year? 

Spring,. When green starts showing on the trees and in the grass, it’s like God’s whisper of new beginnings and renewed hope. As you can tell, I write messages of hope in impossible situations, so how could I not like spring?
  
What do you like most about the area where you live and/or grew up?

I live on the North Texas plains in Wichita Falls, Texas, about 130 miles northeast of where I grew up in Dallas. The thing I like about this area is breathtaking sunsets and friendly, helpful people.

What is a favorite memory from your childhood?

My neighborhood friends and I presented a “circus” in my friend’s backyard. One showed dog tricks. One was a clown. I was a clumsy trapeze artist. It was fun. We felt like big stuff.

Where is your favorite place to travel/vacation in?

My husband and I fell in love with RVing a few years ago. We have several spots we love to take our travel trailer and camp, some near our home like Perrin, Texas, then on the Texas coast in Rockport, also Vallecito Lake, in Colorado.
Probably, our favorite place to go is Ruidosa, New Mexico. We’ve made several trips there, the last being in October, 2014. Of course, I love to visit my daughter in Aurora, Colorado, but then we stay with her and my son-in-law.

What's your favorite meal with family and friends?

I try to cook lean and mean since I lost my weight. I love nothing better than having something that’s healthy while visiting with friends. In fact, I cook the three recipes that are included at the back of Worth Her Weight. These are dishes that Lacey’s good friend makes as a peace offering after they’ve been angry with each other.

I would have to say my favorite meal with family is our traditional Thanksgiving meal with turkey, dressing, and sweet potatoes. Mmm.

Are there spiritual themes you like to write about?  

Oh, yes. God is our hope for any addiction, compulsion, or hang-up. As I say in my book Divine Dining, “It’s all about God,” whether you eat compulsively or have been consumed with anger.

Where do you escape for some quiet time to reflect, pray, read, etc?

Right now during the winter, I sit in a corner chair beside the fireplace which is often blazing. In warm weather, I sit on our back patio, looking out over the swimming pool and flower bed of roses. Then, a few times a year, we get out with our RV away from the hustle and bustle of real life. It’s easy to worship God out in the beauty He created.

Could you share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you?
The one that I use for Worth Her Weight not only ministers to the main character, but it ministers to me. I am in awe of the healing God has done in my life. I’m not the same person I was twenty years ago.
My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.
                                                                   1 Corinthians 12:9
When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
The sequel to my YA, Victoria and the Ghost, should release sometime in 2015. I’m not sure when, yet. The title is A Ghost for Shelley. Here’s what it’s about:
A guilt-ridden country girl, forced to move to Dallas, confronts betrayal, arrest, and a loss of faith before she meets a jet-set jock with a heart for God, and a ghost with a message just for her.


Meanwhile, I’m busy writing another story of the healing of addiction with God in my fictional small town of Wharton Rock, Texas.

Thanks for sharing today!

Connect with Janet K Brown at:


Janet K. Brown is giving away a copy of Worth Her Weight. To be entered in the giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You can enter the book giveaway twice—once on each Spotlight post for the author. Please note: The giveaway is for U.S. addresses only.


Monday, February 23, 2015

Worth Her Weight by Janet K Brown

How can a woman who gives to everyone but herself accept God’s love and healing when she believes she’s fat, unworthy, and unfixable? Can she be Worth Her Weight?
  
     LACEY CHANDLER helps her mother, her sister, her friend, and then she binges on food and wonders is there really a God?
     BETTY CHANDLER hates being handicapped and useless, so she lashes out at the daughter that helps, and the God who doesn’t seem to care.
     TOBY WHEELER loves being police chief in Wharton Rock, but when the devil invades the small town, he can’t release control.

Is God enough in Wharton Rock?

Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE
The acid from Mom’s hurtful words burned. Only a gooey, cream-filled donut could neutralize the pain. That, and maybe a couple of Snickers. I’m not going crazy. The phone heated Lacey’s hand. She wanted to drop it to the desk, but Mom’s prattle continued.
“You’re going nuts like your dad.” Her words sliced through Lacey like a tornado in a Texas cornfield.    
 Mom droned on about her visit with Katie, Lacey’s kid sister. Lacey opened a desk drawer, lifting out her bottle of Prozac. She turned it over to read the directions. If she downed these pills, her disappointing life would end. Old thoughts resurfaced, bringing a longing for peace but a warning of hellfire.
Mom took a breath between words. Lacey’s office was quiet except for the phone-voice of condemnation.
Reality dawned on Lacey with the bong of the office clock on the hour. She was a Christian. She was not crazy. She would conquer this weight problem.
 Her mother let out a long sigh. “Lacey, are you there?”
“Yes, Mom, I’m here.” Lacey increased her volume. “I’m me, not Dad, and not Katie, Me.” Mom never made accusations about Katie’s drug addiction. Mom didn’t call her crazy. Lacey bit into her third donut. She needed reinforcement.
 If something happened to Lacey, Mom would miss the paycheck, the help at home. A longing for love washed over Lacey like a spring shower. She refused to take the coward’s way, but maybe she should leave town. Let Mom fend for herself. She’d soon be begging for her crazy daughter to return.
Lacey spread the tattered pamphlet across her desk once more and read, “Christian Singles Cruise.” Only two more weeks before registration ended. Might be eligible men there. Hope rose in her heart, but like a blip on the screen of her monitor, it all too quickly vanished. Learning to swim at the age of six was easier than stuffing her bulk into a size triple-X swimsuit at twenty-six.
Mom’s monlogue escalated to a tirade while Lacey gazed out her office window. Small oak trees lifted branches to a hazy blue sky. She heard a squeak. The chirping of crows filtered inside. The front door had opened.
“I’ve got to go, Mom. Someone came in. See you tomorrow after you get home.” Lacey hung up the phone and turned to see how she could help the lady who’d entered her office.
Standing in front of Lacey’s desk, the woman held out a check.
“How are you today?” Lacey reached out to accept the woman’s money. “I’ll put this on your account.”
As the lady opened the door to leave, Marion Ferguson from next door’s insurance office passed to enter. “I want you to meet my grandson.” Her eyes danced.
The four-year-old tore around the office using his arms as airplane wings. Lacey chased the small boy until he broke out in giggles.
Myrna Cutter, Lacey’s boss, peered around her private office door. “When’s my first patient?”
Lacey stopped flying and put on her serious expression. “Not until one.”
“I need to get this boy out of here so you can work.” With a pained look, Marion ushered out her grandson.
Myrna watched the boy shuffle out the door and then moved closer to the reception desk. A huge bag with a logo reading North Texas Mental Health swung from her shoulder. “I think I’ll run some errands. If you would, call the hospital administrator and make me an appointment for tomorrow.”
“Okay.” Lacey gritted her teeth as she dialed the now familiar number.
Myrna left, escaping the distasteful duty.
Lacey’s napkin soaked up the donut’s glaze like her heart held resentment. Sweat beaded her upper lip. Please, Mr. Haggerty, don’t answer.
He did. “Put Ms. Cutter on the phone.” His response set Lacey’s teeth on edge. She drew large quivery circles on her scratch pad. “She’s not here now.”
“Then tell her if she wants to see me tomorrow, she can call me herself. I might work her in.”  
Lacey’s voice softened. “I’ll tell her, sir.” The phone slipped across her sweaty palms. After this, Myrna could do her own feuding. Lacey didn’t like being the middleman. When the man disconnected, her fingers unfolded, dropping the receiver before she regained control.
She shifted her gaze to see if anyone had noticed, but she was alone. With a deep sigh, she encouraged herself with a reminder that tonight she’d be alone. Her mother would stay with her sister in Apache Falls one more evening before coming home. Let the day roll. Tonight, she would have the house to herself.
By six o’clock, Lacey was unlocking the side door of her white, thirties-style house, the boxy ones with huge front porches. She noticed the flaking paint. Her house needed attention-along with everything else in her life. Her self-worth drooped at the door.
Plopping into her green leather recliner, a romance book in one hand and a bag of peanut butter cups in the other, she breathed a sigh of contentment. Food seemed to be the only friend she had.
A fickle friend. With each bite of the smooth peanut butter, she swallowed more guilt. Toby Wheeler, her self-proclaimed conscience and good buddy, would tell her Jesus was her best friend, and Lacey didn’t disagree. Yet, as her life plummeted into an abyss, Jesus was nowhere in sight. She put those dismal thoughts out of her mind for now and let the sweetness of the candy dissolve her tension.
She’d regret her actions tonight when she tossed about on her bed and couldn’t sleep.
She’d regret her actions in the morning hours as she prepared for the workday with a sugar hangover.
She’d regret her actions while she worked tomorrow in a heavily-caffeinated fog.
But, for the moment, she relished the taste, threw aside a wrapper, and popped another treat.
The doorbell rang.
Great. Anxious and unsteady, she pondered her plight. She wanted to be left alone to wallow in misery. The intruder could be a Girl Scout selling cookies. That would be a good thing. Glancing over the den, she scooped the empty wrappers under the cushion and set the half-filled bag on the dining table.
She peeped around the front curtain, but couldn’t see anyone in the day’s lingering shadows.
A kick and shuffle from the porch pricked her curiosity.



About the Author

Janet K. Brown lives in Wichita Falls, Texas with her husband, Charles. Writing became her second career after retirement from medical coding.
     Worth Her Weight will be the author’s debut inspirational women’s fiction, but it makes a perfect companion to her recently released, Divine Dining: 365 Devotions to Guide You to Healthier Weight and Abundant Wellness. Both books encompass her passion for diet, fitness, and God’s Word.
Worth Her Weight marks Brown’s third book. Who knew she had a penchant for teens and ghosts? She released her debut novel, an inspirational young adult, Victoria and the Ghost, in July, 2012.
     Janet and her husband love to travel with their RV, visit their three daughters, two sons-in-law and three perfect grandchildren, and work in their church.

Purchase Worth Her Weight at:

Pen-L 



Janet K Brown is giving away a copy of Worth Her Weight. To be entered in the giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You can enter the book giveaway twice—once on each Spotlight post for the author. Please note: The giveaway is for U.S. addresses only.

 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

A Warm Welcome to a Great Author, Deborah Heal!

So happy to have you visiting today, Deborah. Loved your excerpt! Can you tell us a bit about your family, and what it is like where you live?
My husband and I have a country home in the beautiful rolling hills of southern Illinois. We enjoy the setting very much after living for many years farther north on the state’s plains. Part of the property is wooded, but the sunshine is plentiful near the house, allowing us to grow tons of vegetables, fruits, and flowers. We consider it a tremendous blessing to be able to live in such a quiet area where wildlife abounds—deer, turkey, coyotes, owls—but to have a Super Walmart only seven minutes away! It is the ideal location for a writer to work, and I thank God for it every day for it.


Sounds like my type of living! Lol. Do you travel? Has a place where you have traveled ever sparked a story idea?
I haven’t traveled much, in the sense that you mean. But fourteen years ago, my husband Bob and I did leave his six-generation Heal family farm—along with our hometown, our church, family, and friends—to move to our new home in Monroe County and begin new careers as teachers. It was quite an adjustment, but we love it here. As I began to learn about the county’s fascinating history I knew I would have to write a novel set there. Once Again tells about the earliest pioneers to settle in Monroe County.


Is there a story behind Once Again? What is unique about the setting? How does it enhance the story?
Waterloo, my new hometown, is considered by some to be the birthplace of the state. The earliest American settlers came from Virginia in the 1780s after the Revolutionary War and built a fort there on the high ground near the Kaskaskia Trail, an ancient buffalo path that French trappers had turned into a “road” more than a century before. But soon, some of the settlers eyed the even richer soil of what is known as the American Bottom, which runs for some miles beneath the beautiful limestone bluffs along the mighty Mississippi River.

The settlers had arrived during a time when there was relative peace between whites and Native Americans. But soon afterward, a confederation of tribes declared war on the intruders, and began raining death and destruction down upon them. To make matters worse, the U.S. government called the soldiers who had been guarding the Illinois Country back east due to lack of funds. The pioneers were left to defend themselves. They built and lived in fortified log cabins called blockhouse forts and carried their guns while they farmed the rich land. During the 10-year war, nearly 20 percent of them were killed. And many families suffered multiple losses, as did the James Garretson family I tell about in Once Again.

As I said, my husband and I had to adjust to leaving  behind all we knew to move to Monroe County, but it was nothing compared to what the pioneers suffered coming to their new land!


Fascinating. I love history too. Did you have a specific theme in mind as you wrote [ONCE AGAIN]? Did a theme pop out as you finished the book? Did the theme change?
The overarching theme of the Rewinding Time Series is that our sovereign God works his good and perfect plans in our lives, and that if we could experience time from His perspective we would see that more clearly. Merrideth, the main character, is a Christian in name only, and throughout the series readers will see how God works in her life to bring her to true saving faith in Christ.

In Once Again Merrideth sees Christ’s parable about forgiving seven times seventy times lived out in the life of a young pioneer preacher who takes the Gospel to the very Indian tribe that scalped his brother. Merrideth can’t decide whether he’s a hero or a fool to risk his life, but she is definitely impressed. She wonders how she would ever be able to forgive those who have injured her.

In book 2, Only One Way Home, Merrideth learns another piece of the Gospel message when Matthias Frailey tells White Dove that it is not her Cherokee rituals or his own white religious customs that bring salvation. It is only Christ’s redeeming sacrifice on the cross.

How Sweet the Sound, coming this summer, will showcase the truth of Romans 3:23. “For ALL of sinned and fallen short…” Merrideth begins to understand that there’s no sense comparing one’s own sins to another person’s because you have both fallen short.

And so it will go until she finally accepts Christ.


Sounds as if you've got some winners there! What’s your favorite genre of writing?
So far I’ve only published the two series, both of which span several genres—Christian historical, sci-fi, contemporary and historical romance. I am really enjoying writing these, but once the Rewinding Time Series is complete, I want to try my hand at other genres. I have a half-finished contemporary Christian romance waiting for me to return to it. It is a modern retelling of the Old Testament story of Ruth and Boaz. I hope to write at least three novels in that same vein. And then I’d like to write a straight historical novel, the fictionalized story of one of my Scottish ancestors who as a political prisoner of Oliver Cromwell was sent to be a slave in the sugar fields of Barbados. I’m still hoping to visit Scotland one day to soak up the setting before I begin writing that story.


Lots of projects. I like that. How much research do you have to do for the genre in which you write?
I spend a great deal of time gathering information and reading up on the setting, people, and events I’ll be writing about. Even during the writing phase I often go back and reread the material or search for more to amplify my understanding. And then, nearly every day, I find myself stopping to look up some bit of information about the time period. I try very hard to get the details right. Once, I was in the middle of a dramatic scene in a log cabin when I realized that I didn’t know how the people cooked their food in that particular decade of the 19th century. I thank God for the Internet which makes finding out such information so quick and easy. I soon discovered that the people would not have been cooking over a primitive hearth as I had been imagining, but would have had a cast-iron cook stove. As I recall, I never ended up needing that to describe the scene, but I think it still helped me to visualize what was going on.

I really dislike reading historical fiction in which the author has not done her homework. (I’ve been known to throw books across the room in disgust.) I think Christian writers especially should strive for excellence since we are representatives of the King. Of course, I realize I can never get it all perfectly right. One can only spend so much time on the research before it is time to start actually writing. A reviewer recently pointed out that I had the name of the Chicago train station wrong in Time and Again. Sigh.


Groan. A horrible position to be in, especially one who writes historical. Still, we're humans and do our best. Or should. :) When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it? 
I hope to have How Sweet the Sound, book 3 in the Rewinding Time Series, out by May of this year. This time Merrideth will take her amazing software to Cave-in-Rock, a tiny southern Illinois town on the banks of the Ohio River. The actual cave from which the town gets its name has quite a history of human habitation. Indians and French trappers found it a convenient place to stop while traveling the Ohio. Then when land-hungry easterners began coming down the river on their flatboats, bound for the frontier with everything they owned, river pirates found the cave an exceedingly convenient place for a hideout from which to relieve the pioneers of their earthly goods and many times their lives. Truly truth is stranger than fiction!


It is, Deborah! Thanks so much for joining us today, Deborah. Your books sound fascinating and filled with well-researched history facts. 



Buy her book here:
Amazon



About Deborah:
Deborah Heal, the author of the Time and Again, History Mystery Trilogy and the Rewinding Time Series, which have been described as "Back to the Future meets virtual reality with a dash of Seventh Heaven thrown in," was born not far from the Old Slave House featured in her novel Every Hill and Mountain and grew up just down the road from the settings of Time and Again and Unclaimed Legacy. Today she lives with her husband in Monroe County, Illinois, not far from where the pioneers of her novel Once Again struggled to survive amidst Indian attacks.

She enjoys reading, gardening, and learning about regional history. She has three grown children, five grandchildren, and two canine buddies Digger and Scout. She has a special connection to her latest novel Only One Way Home. Unlike the characters in it who were forced to walk the Trail of Tears, her great, great grandmother’s Cherokee family remained safely in North Carolina.

Deborah loves to interact with her readers, who may learn more about the history behind the books at her website www.deborahheal.com and her Facebook author page www.facebook.com/DeborahHeal.



Connect with Deborah here:
http://www.deborahheal.com
http://www.facebook.com/DeborahHeal


DEBORAH is giving away a copy of ONCE AGAIN. 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 Reading!
Caroline Brown



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