Friday, July 24, 2015

Mississippi Author Emerald Barnes

Welcome to the Book Loft, Emerald. Is there a story behind your new novella Before We Say I Do?

Yes. Before We Say I Do is the continuation of Entertaining Angels, and it keeps true to that story in that there’s a message to be learned. But in this one, we learn that forgiveness is the key to a healthier, happier life. It’s about learning that if we can’t forgive, God can’t forgive us. We sometimes like the idea of holding grudges and never forgiving what someone has done, but we can’t let resentment keep us from forgiveness because that keeps us from God.
  
Which character in your new release most interested you while you wrote?

Zach. He’s an angel, but he’s so mysterious. It was also difficult trying to keep true to the Biblical point of view of angels, but also making him human enough to help his human charges. He’s a sweet guy, and giving him a few human emotions was very interesting.

What distracts you from writing the easiest?

Hands down, my nieces and nephews. They are the cutest, sweetest distractions ever, but I find it difficult to write when they’re around because they always want my attention!

Now, let's have some fun. If you were a style of music, what style would you be?

Probably Christian music – specifically like the songs Francesca Battistelli sings. The reason I think that is because in most of her songs, she sings about the messages that I try and spread in my own writing and on social media. And I can see myself in a lot of the songs. Her style and the lyrics seem to fit me perfectly.

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

Van Gogh. I’ve always been a little obsessed with his art work, specifically The Starry Night and Starry Night over The Rone. With each twist of the stars, I feel like you can see exactly why he loved the night sky. I also love the way he painted the scenery, like with his CafĂ© Terrace painting. I don’t know why I love his work so much except that it speaks to me, and I wish that I had half of the talent to paint like he did. I barely can draw stick figures that look decent!

What is your favorite season of the year? 

Fall. I love the smell of the crisp morning air. I love college football, pumpkin patches, and sweaters. I love the red, yellow and orange leaves. I love the blueness of the sky as the sun becomes just a little further away from us. I love hot coffee on chilly mornings, and I love bonfires. Fall is simply the best time of the year for me.
  
What's your favorite meal with family and friends? 

As a Southern lady, I love fried squash and chicken and dumplings! It’s one of my family’s favorite meals as well. We always try to prepare chicken and dumplings around fresh squash picked from my grandfather’s garden.

Are there spiritual themes you like to write about? 

I love to write about how God loves us enough to send help (angels and humans alike). No matter what we go through, God is there for us, and I love to write about how He’s with us through thick and thin, through anything that we go through that is good or bad. God would do anything to prove how much He loves us, and that is something that I love to show to others.  

Could you share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you? 
Psalm 27:14 is one of my absolute favorite verses because it shows how God is with us through everything we go through. Sometimes, we have to wait on Him, and that’s okay, because He gives us the strength to wait on Him. I think we forget that sometimes as we have to wait on Him. But this verse is always helps me have courage as I wait.
Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.

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

If all goes well, the next Entertaining Angels book will be out next year. Here’s a working blurb:


Following the best-selling first book of the series, Entertaining Angels, comes Delivered by Angels.

Lexi Johnson is determined to escape her abusive father and drunk mother, and to escape her misery, she turns to the blade. But, that isn’t enough to end her pain. There’s something missing in her life, but she refuses to acknowledge what it is, determined she doesn’t need anyone in her life.

Roxy Taylor is the new girl in town, and when she comes waltzing into school, she tries to befriend Lexi. Lexi doesn’t trust her, especially when she teams up with DJ Tucker to try and break down the barriers that Lexi has put in place.

Little does Lexi know, there are greater forces at work trying to save her life from the dangerous path she’s on. And as Lexi begins to fall for DJ, she’ll see that she isn’t alone in this world.

Meanwhile, Zach Taylor is back, and he’s determined to make sure that Madison and Chase Sanders are on the path that God has chosen for them.

Thanks for sharing with us today!

Connect with Emerald Barnes at:


Emerald Barnes is giving away an eBook copy of Before We Say I Do. 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. 



Thursday, July 23, 2015

Before We Say I Do by Emerald Barnes

Following the best-selling first book of the series, Entertaining Angels, comes Before We Say I Do, An Entertaining Angels Short Story.

Chase Sanders and Madison Andrews are about to declare their love for one another in the most sacred of ways. Everything has been going perfectly, especially when an old friend returns to town to stand by Chase’s side on their big day. But is Zach there to see their union, or was he sent by God on another mission?

Chase has lived perfectly fine without his father around, but now that his father is divorcing again, his dad is seeking forgiveness. Chase can’t look at his father, let alone forgive him.

Chase must learn to let go of the past before the demon that haunts him ruins his wedding.

Excerpt


Zach
Turning from my thoughts of being human again, I watched Chase closely. He fiddled with his own tie, straightening it when it didn’t need straightening. Something was on his mind, and little did he know there would be a lot more on his mind later.
“Is everything alright?” I asked.
“Is Mads okay?”
“Of course. Why do you ask? Are you worried about her?”
“Well, it’s just that you’re here . . .”
I tried to put on my best smile. “Madison is perfectly fine. Honest.”
Chase sighed audibly. “I cannot tell you how happy I am to know that Mads is okay.” His lips tugged into a half-smile, and I wondered if he was still a bit concerned.
“Chase, as long as she has you, she’ll be fine,” I assured him.
He laughed nervously. “I hope you’re right, Zach.”
“Trust me. I am.”
Chase sat down across from me. “Have you seen her?”
I felt my lips curl into a smile. “Yes, and she’s absolutely beautiful.”
Chase bit his bottom lip, and I knew he was probably thinking about their marriage. I would never know such a union, but I rejoiced that these beautiful humans were about to embark on a new phase of their journey together with God.
“You know. Andy’s right,” Chase said, “I want you by our side when we get married. Do you think you could be my secondary best man?”
“It would be my great pleasure and honor, Chase.” I had never been honored in such a way before, and it brought tears to my eyes. I just hoped he still felt that way after he learned the real reason I was there.
Chase grinned. “You don’t know how much that means to me. To us. I know Mads would love to have you up there, too.”

I smiled, hoping it didn’t waver. “I look forward to it.”



About The Author

Emerald Barnes graduated with a B.A. in English with an emphasis on Creative Writing at Mississippi University for Women. She resides in a small town in Mississippi and has the accent to prove it. She’s an auntie to three beautiful nieces and two handsome nephews. She's a Whovian, a little bit of a nerd, a reader, a writer, and a family oriented person. God is number one in her life, and she thanks Him continuously for His love and favor.


Purchase Before We Say I Do at:



Emerald Barnes is giving away an eBook copy of Before We Say I Do. 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. 



Wednesday, July 15, 2015

More 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:
  
Anna M. Aquino who offered her Devotional  Confessions of a Ninja Mom.
Margaret Brownley who offered her Historical Romance  Undercover Bride.
Anita Higman who offered her Inspirational Romance  Summer’s List.
And Donna Robinson  who offered her Christian Romance The Knotty Pine Chronicles.
 And now: We're pleased to announce this week’s winners:
Elizabeth Nead has won Anna M. Aquino’s  Devotional  Confessions of a Ninja Mom.
Anna Weaver Hurtt has won Margaret Brownley’s Historical Romance  Undercover Bride.
Pam K. has won Anita Higman’s Inspirational Romance  Summer’s List.
And Joy has won Donna Robinson’s Christian Romance The Knotty Pine Chronicles. 
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, July 14, 2015

A Warm Welcome to Patricia Bradley

Is there a story behind [Gone Without a Trace? 
This story formed in my mind when I was writing the first book in the Logan Point series, Shadows of the Past. In one scene Taylor Martin and Livy Reynolds—friends since childhood—were discussing a third member of their Three Musketeer group, Robyn. She’d been missing for two years. I had no idea where that conversation came from or where Robyn was or even if she was dead like everyone else in town thought. But I had to find out. And that’s where the story started.


Did you have a specific theme in mind as you wrote [title]? Did a theme pop out as you finished the book? Did the theme change?
I knew the book was going to be about second chances. I didn’t know who was going to need the second chance when I started it, but believing we all have things in our pasts that we wished we hadn’t done, I started working on the story. Turned out all the characters needed a second chance at something.


What’s the first thing you ever wrote that you still have?
The first thing I ever wrote was a mini-mystery that I targeted to Woman’s World. The chances of getting something published, let alone it be the first work a writer does, are astronomical. But they bought it, cut fifteen hundred words from it and published it. Yes, you read correctly. I had sent them a thirty-five hundred-word manuscript when the guidelines said the word count could not be over two thousand words. That’s how green I was. It had to be a God-thing.


Which of your written plots is your favorite?
My favorite plot is usually the plot of the book I just finished, but I’ll have to say Gone Without a Trace will probably be one of my favorite plots, no matter how many books I write.


How much research do you have to do for the genre in which you write? 
Research is big in my life. I’ve researched how to blow up cars, whether or not a windshield shatters when it’s struck by a bullet (it doesn’t), gun running, for my next book—Spanish; GHB, The Underground Railroad—and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. For a new series I plan to write, I’m taking a cruise. I do love research!


How do you find the time to write?
It’s not a matter of finding the time. It’s a matter of there’s a deadline and I have to write three thousand words today. Or if I’m not yet writing on the book, I have to have a certain amount of prewriting done, like discovering who my characters are and if I have research that needs to be conducted. I’ve discovered it’s called discipline. And if you don’t have it, a contract will teach how to get it. J


Do you ever go back to an old idea long after you abandoned it? 
The first book in the Logan Point series was started in late 2007. I wrote it, sent if off and got it back, stuck it in a drawer, but it wouldn’t stay in the drawer or out of my head. I rewrote that book ten times.


How many writing projects are you working on right now?
Right this minute I am doing the prewriting for my first book in the Cold Case series set in Memphis, working title The Case of the Murdered Roommate, and I’m working on a short story that will go in an anthology with several of the Harlequin Heartwarming authors. And I’m thinking about that other book I want to write.


What are your five favorite words?
Lately, only two: The End.


When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it? 
My next book releases in the Spring, and I don’t have a release date for it. Silence in the Dark is the fourth book in the Logan Point series and is the hardest book I’ve written. If it hadn’t been for prayer and leaning on Jesus, it would not be written. But it’s one I really like.  Here’s the blurb for it:

Two years ago, Bailey Adams broke off her engagement to detective Danny Maxwell and fled Logan Point for the mission field in Chihuahua, Mexico. Now she’s about to return home to the States, but there’s just one problem. After Bailey meets with the uncle of one of the mission children in the city, she becomes a target. Now she’s on the run—she just doesn’t know from whom. To make matters worse, everyone who helps her along the way her finds themselves in danger too—including Danny Maxwell. Who is after her? Will they ever let up? And in the midst of the chaos, can Bailey keep herself from falling in love with her rescuer all over again?


Buy the book here:
amazon



About Patricia:
Patricia Bradley lives in North Mississippi and loves to write suspense. Patricia’s books include the Logan Point series—Shadows of the Past, A Promise to Protect, and Gone Without a Trace. She has also written two sweet romances for Harlequin Heartwarming, Matthew’s Choice which is available on Amazon and The Christmas Campaign, available in November. Her workshops on writing include two online courses with American Christian Fiction Writers and workshops at the Mid-South Christian Writer’s Conference in Collierville, TN. When she has time, she likes to throw mud on a wheel and see what happens.

Patricia Bradley lives in North Mississippi and loves to write suspense. Patricia’s books include the Logan Point series—Shadows of the Past, A Promise to Protect, and Gone Without a Trace. She has also written two sweet romances for Harlequin Heartwarming, Matthew’s Choice which is available on Amazon and The Christmas Campaign, available in November. Her workshops on writing include two online courses with American Christian Fiction Writers and workshops at the Mid-South Christian Writer’s Conference in Collierville, TN. When she has time, she likes to throw mud on a wheel and see what happens.

Connect with Patricia here:
www.patriciabradleyauthor.com
www.facebook.com/patriciabradleyauthor
https://twitter.com/PTBradley1
http://www.pinterest.com/ptbradley/
http://ptbradley.com/
She also blogs on: Thoughts On Plot and Harlequin Heartwarming Authors



Patricia is giving away a copy of With a Trace. 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





Monday, July 13, 2015

Gone Without a Trace by Patricia Bradley

Back Cover Blurb:
The past is repeating itself—and time is running out

It’s been more than two years since homicide detective Livy Reynolds’s cousin disappeared from Logan Point. Unlike most people in her hometown, Livy has never believed that Robyn left voluntarily. When Dallas private investigator Alex Jennings contacts her concerning a senator’s missing granddaughter who was last seen in Logan Point, Livy notices eerie similarities between the two disappearances. With self-doubt plaguing her after killing a teenager in the line of duty and an almost instant dislike of the self-assured PI, she’s finding this investigation an uphill battle. But with the prospect of finding her cousin on the horizon, she’ll have to find a way to work with Alex—before it’s too late.

Award-winning author Patricia Bradley keeps you on the edge of your seat with a case—and a relationship—that is anything but certain.

“Patricia Bradley has hit a home run. The suspense is high, the romance is sweet, and the villain is one you want to see caught and brought to justice. Gone without A Trace, a novel of forgiveness and finding one’s place in the world, brings home the point that while not everything.


Read an Excerpt:


A little before midnight, a small jon boat skimmed across the lake located just outside of Logan Point. The electric trolling motor hardly broke the deathly quiet of the first hours of the New Year. The man at the tiller pulled his coat tighter with his free hand and lowered his head against the cold, dense fog that shrouded him.

The fog was both a blessing and a curse. No one could see him, but neither could he see anyone. In the bottom of the flat metal boat lay a large black bag, and his gaze kept returning to it. If he was caught dumping it, he would pay more than a fine this time.

A low horn raked his senses, and he jerked his head around. Dead ahead through the thinning fog, twin lights from a barge bore down on him like avenging angels.

He swore. There weren’t supposed to be any barges coming downriver tonight. He gunned the thrust on the trolling motor, barely getting out of the barge’s path. The wake rocked the small boat, and he fought the dizzying motion.

That had been close, but at least he knew he was in the deepest part of the lake. He decreased the thrust, putting the boat in a controlled drift. Once he regained his balance, he hefted the weighted bag. The boat rocked in the water and almost tipped over as he slid the body over the side.

He risked a light on the water and within seconds only ripples gave evidence of his deed. He paused briefly to stare at the widening rings, and then pointed the twelve-foot boat toward shore.

This was not an auspicious beginning to the New Year.]



Buy the book here:
amazon


About Patricia:
Patricia Bradley lives in North Mississippi and loves to write suspense. Patricia’s books include the Logan Point series—Shadows of the Past, A Promise to Protect, and Gone Without a Trace. She has also written two sweet romances for Harlequin Heartwarming, Matthew’s Choice which is available on Amazon and The Christmas Campaign, available in November. Her workshops on writing include two online courses with American Christian Fiction Writers and workshops at the Mid-South Christian Writer’s Conference in Collierville, TN. When she has time, she likes to throw mud on a wheel and see what happens.


Patricia Bradley lives in North Mississippi and loves to write suspense. Patricia’s books include the Logan Point series—Shadows of the Past, A Promise to Protect, and Gone Without a Trace. She has also written two sweet romances for Harlequin Heartwarming, Matthew’s Choice which is available on Amazon and The Christmas Campaign, available in November. Her workshops on writing include two online courses with American Christian Fiction Writers and workshops at the Mid-South Christian Writer’s Conference in Collierville, TN. When she has time, she likes to throw mud on a wheel and see what happens.

Connect with Patricia here:
www.patriciabradleyauthor.com
www.facebook.com/patriciabradleyauthor
https://twitter.com/PTBradley1
http://www.pinterest.com/ptbradley/
http://ptbradley.com/
She also blogs on: Thoughts On Plot and Harlequin Heartwarming Authors



Patricia is giving away a copy of With a Trace. 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






Sunday, July 12, 2015

South Africa's Marion Ueckermann

Hello Marion! Welcome back to the Book Loft. Can you tell us a bit about your family, and what it is like where you live?

I come from a very close-knit family—two brothers, one sister and I’m the baby. We’re so blessed that both our parents, aged 88, are still alive and cherish each day they’re spared.

I’ve been married to the love of my life for thirty years. We have two gorgeous, creative sons, and two irresistible grandsons. My youngest son married a Finnish girl. They’re missionaries and live in Budapest. My oldest son and his family live right next door to us which is great because we get to see the grandkids often and have them for sleep-overs. My mother-in-law lives in the townhouse on the other side of us. Did I mention we’re a close-knit family? J

Our home is in the capital city of South Africa, Pretoria, which has the best year-round weather in the world (I think)—summers not too hot, winters not too cold. The best thing about the city is the Jacaranda trees that wash the streets in purple during spring.

I love those trees! Is there a story behind Orphaned Hearts?

Yes. While on holiday in Finland this past December and January, I was bevering away at a Christmas novella I intended to write and submit to my publisher (yes, my laptop went with on holiday). A few thousand words into my story set in Lapland, I got an email from a fellow author in the UK inviting me to be part of a boxed set (SPLASH!) several international authors where putting together. They thought a story set in Africa would be a great addition. Two criteria had to be met…the stories had to take place in summer and beside water. For me there was no other place in Africa for this story than at the Victoria Falls, along the banks of the mighty Zambezi River. I’d been there so I knew I could pull out something great. I immediately said yes, and put Lapland to bed.

Another reason I wanted to set this story in Zambia is because it’s the country of my birth.

Drawing on my past experiences, I knew there were two things that had to form an integral part of the story…elephants, and a sunset cruise up this magnificent river. I enjoyed both writing and reminiscing about these two aspects.

What is the last thing you wrote?

I’ve just finished writing a short story, 6000 words, for an anthology contest. I’ve never tackled anything this short before and found it quite a challenge. Again, a theme was part of the story. This time—Dance. Despite the challenge, I thoroughly enjoyed writing this piece and now eagerly await the outcome of my submission.

What’s the first thing you ever wrote that you still have?

Wow, what can be classified as first thing? I try to keep everything I write. I think the first real thing I wrote was a very long poem titled, ‘The Emigrant’s Lament’, which as the title suggests, I wrote after we left South Africa to live in Ireland. There’s one thing about that poem that will always resonate with me—the last line: “Africa will always be in my blood.”

What’s your favorite genre of writing?

Contemporary Inspirational Romance.

Who is the most fun character you ever created?

That has to be Luke Maskil, a secondary character in Oslo Overtures, my second Passport to Romance novella (White Rose Publishing, Pelican Book Group), releasing August 14th. Luke is the best friend of the hero, Kyle Sheppard. He is such a character that several of my critiquers have asked me (several times) when Luke would get a story of his own. I am still thinking about that one because he does deserve to be the hero in his own love story.

Who is the most annoying character you ever created?

Probably Viscount Alexander Tilney from Orphaned Hearts. Although I did not like him, I did love creating him. He doesn’t feature much in the book, nonetheless, he impacts greatly on the heroine’s life.

Does music help you write?

Definitely. Currently I’m listening to Michael BublĂ©’s Christmas CD…in July! What else would one play when writing a Christmas novella set in Lapland? I need something to remind me of all that snow, and sleigh bells.

Do you type or write by hand? Computer? Typewriter? Legal pad? Any special reason for choosing to write this way?

Why would anyone want to write by hand? You just have to do it all over again. My laptop, and only my laptop, which never leaves my side.

How many writing projects are you working on right now?

For the first time in forever, I’m actually only actively working on one and that’s my Christmas novella, Poles Apart, which will form part of a Christmas boxed set in conjunction with several of the SPLASH! authors.

Do you ever write based on your dreams?

Never, but I did write a Chicken Soup for the Soul story that was published based on a dream my sister had. Does that count?

Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write your first draft?

Absolutely. The more I can get right the first time, the less I have to look for while editing, because it’s amazing how many errors still go unnoticed despite several different pairs of eyes going over that manuscript.

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

Orphaned Hearts released on June 23rd, 2015 as part of the SPLASH! boxed set, and independently on June 10th. It’s available on Amazon.

In August my second Passport to Romance story, Oslo Overtures, releases through White Rose Publishing (Pelican Book Group).

Beautiful Norwegian, Anjelica Joergensen, and Kyle Sheppard from New Zealand are part of an international team of wingsuit pilots aiming to break the formation flying Guiness World Record in a high-flying event over the skies of Oslo. Kyle is sworn off the adrenaline-junkie females who gravitate to his looks and daredevil career. Anjelica still tends the scars from a personal tragedy. She’s keen to meet this amazing Kiwi wingsuiter and learn from him. But the first words Anjelica hears from Kyle are, “If women were meant to fly, the skies would be pink,”—a comment made totally in jest.

She tries to avoid Kyle, but the more she does, the more they seem to be pushed together. Despite their awkward start, she is drawn to him. But Kyle makes a foolish agreement which endangers his life and jeopardizes the event, reinforcing to Anjelica why falling for another wingsuiter would only be another love doomed.

I’m certain readers will love strapping those jetpacks onto their armchairs and taking to the skies with Oslo Overtures.

An Ebook of Oslo Overtures, downloaded from the publisher’s site (Pelican Book Group) in either Epub (EPUB), Adobe (PDF), or Mobi (MOBI), will be gifted.

Thanks for sharing today!

Connect with Marion Ueckermann at:



Purchase Orphaned Hearts at:

Marion Uekermann is giving away an eBook copy of Orphaned Hearts. 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. 



Saturday, July 11, 2015

Orphaned Hearts by Marion Ueckermann


When his wife dies in childbirth, Zambia conservationist Simon Hartley pours his life into raising his daughter and his orphan elephants. He has no time, or desire, to fall in love again. Or so he thinks.

Wanting to escape English society and postpone an arranged marriage, Lady Abigail Chadwick heads to Africa for a year to teach the children of the Good Shepherd Orphanage. Upon her arrival she is left stranded at Livingstone airport…until a reluctant Simon comes to her rescue.

Now only fears born of his loss, and secrets of the life she’s tried to leave behind, can stonewall their romance, budding in the heart of Africa.

Excerpt

PROLOGUE

On the banks of the mighty Zambezi that grief-filled morning, Simon Hartley buried not only his wife—he buried his faith, as well.
As Simon’s workers lowered the wooden box into the earth, ululating rose into the surrounding air from the gathered crowd, louder and louder, like the roar of the great waters of Mosi-oa-Tunya—the Smoke that Thunders.
The tiny form cocooned in a soft pink blanket squirmed in his arms, quickly making her distress known. Either the wailing mourners had woken the sleeping babe, or hunger, for she knew nothing of what went on around her, couldn’t feel the pain of loss for the mother who’d given her own life in exchange for that of her unborn child.
Simon eased the covering open and gazed inside. “Shh,” he whispered as he rocked his daughter in his arms, stilling her cries. An ache filled his heart. His daughter. She was so beautiful, so perfect.
Jaw clenched, Simon fixed his eyes on the gaping earth at his feet as the simple coffin sank deeper into the earth. He hugged the fragile bundle closer to his chest. Could the act ease the pain that clawed like a wounded animal trapped inside him? How was it possible to experience opposite emotions at the same time? Joy. Sorrow. Like oil and water, they didn’t mix. But here they were, thrown together by the unexpected turn of events that changed what was to be the happiest day of his life, to the saddest. And yet...
He pulled his gaze away and focused on the waters ahead. In the distance, mist from the falls turned the sky a lighter shade of blue. This was fitting. Chloe had loved this spot. She’d sit here in the shade beneath the giant sycamore fig for hours reading, pausing between pages to listen to the faint roar of the Victoria Falls. Often she’d set her book aside and gaze down the river, marveling at the haze that rose from where the falls plunged to the ravine below. “Heaven on earth,” she’d said.
Placing the pacifier back in the baby’s mouth, Simon bowed his head and kissed her cheek. Images of the day his wife found out she was pregnant filled his mind. Chloe had been beside herself. They’d waited six long years.
“Let’s give her a local name,” she’d suggested when they discovered the nursery would be painted pink. “I love the Zambian name Nataizya.”
“I love it, too.” Afraid of what the name could mean, he ventured to ask.
“It means ‘I am thankful.’” Chloe’s smile reached across her face. “We should give her a second name. What about Grace? God has shown us His favor with this child. Nataizya Grace Hartley. Sounds beautiful, doesn’t it?”
“It’s a good second name, darling, but—”
Simon pinched his eyes at the memory of the moment they’d chosen their daughter’s name. And the kiss from Chloe that followed, silencing his uncertainty. Never again would he know a love like hers. She’d followed him into the heart of Africa so he could pursue his passion—all because she loved him—and it had been the death of her.
“What about naming her after you? Chloe is such a beautiful name.”
She’d wrinkled her nose and laughed. “So is Simon.”
“Ah, but we’re not expecting a boy.”
“If we were, would you have named your son after you?”
“Maybe…”
“Well then, maybe we can talk about her second name once she’s born.”
Burying his face in the blanket, Simon breathed deep of the familiar scent. Even though the smell of baby fabric softener had filled their home for weeks as Chloe prepared for their new arrival, the fragrance of his beloved still clung to this one blanket she’d held close in the days before going into labor. She’d bring it to her cheek, running her fingers over its softness as she nestled in Simon’s arms. “I can’t wait to meet our little Nataizya.”
Raising his eyes, Simon gazed across the waters again, lost in the memories.
He would never wash this blanket. Never.
As the workers’ cries subsided, trumpeting sounded from behind. Simon turned to see the young elephants lined up along the fence of their encampment, trunks raised in the air, heralding their own grief, crying for their matriarch. Orphaned again. Chloe had a way with them—how could she ever be replaced? In their world, or in his?
The baby’s eyelids flickered. A frown formed across her forehead as she squinted at the wintery African sun. The pacifier wiggled with each sucking movement. He’d have to feed her. Soon as the grave was filled.
“Hey, little Nataizya Chloe Hartley.”
I honored your wish, my darling, as best I could. We were never given a chance to discuss that second name. So I made a choice. The name Chloe will never be forgotten in the Hartley household.
If it wasn’t for the express desire of his wife, Chloe would have been his daughter’s first name. Verdant and blooming—a beautiful meaning to a beautiful name. Everything their baby was. A tiny bud, waiting to blossom.
Verdant. Blooming. Everything his wife had been. Everything she no longer was.
Simon swallowed hard as he shook his head, the enormity of it all syphoning his very breath. There is no life in death. For years he’d believed there was, but with Chloe’s death, his beliefs changed. Simon could no longer place his faith in a God of mercy and love. How could he when that same God would allow a young mother to die as she kissed her newborn with her last breath? The same newborn she’d waited years to conceive, never doubting that her prayers would be answered.
How could this be love?

How could this be grace?

About The Author


MARION UECKERMANN's passion for writing was sparked in 2001 when she moved to Ireland with her husband and two sons. Since then she has published devotional articles and stories in Winners, The One Year Devotional of Joy and Laughter, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miraculous Messages from Heaven, and her debut novella, Helsinki Sunrise (White Rose Publishing, a Pelican Book Group imprint, Passport to Romance series). Her second Passport to Romance novella, Oslo Overtures, and her first Indie novella, Orphaned Hearts (Book 1 in her Heart of Africa Romance series), both release mid-2015. Marion loves writing romances set in novel places. She lives in Pretoria East, South Africa in an empty nest with her husband and their crazy black Scottie, Wally.




Purchase Orphaned Hearts at:


Marion Uekermann is giving away an eBook copy of Orphaned Hearts. 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. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Are You A Winner?

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:

Mary L. Hamilton who offered her Young Adult  See No Evil.
Jackie Zack who offered her Romantic Comedy  An Irish Heart.
Jo Huddleson who offered her Historical Romance  Wait For Me.
And Caryl Macdoo who offered her Christian Historical  Sins Of The Mothers.
 
 And now: We're pleased to announce this week’s winners:

Patricia Bradley has won Mary L. Hamilton’s Young Adult  See No Evil.
Lauren Brooks has won Jackie Zack’s Romantic Comedy  An Irish Heart.
Deanne Patterson has won Jo Huddleson’s  Historical Romance  Wait For Me.
And Sharon Miller has won  Caryl Macdoo’s Christian Historical  Sins Of The Mothers. 
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.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Stenetta Anthony's LOVE STORY

Today we continue to feature The Love Story by Stenetta Anthony.

Thank you for joining us again today, Stenetta. What inspired the creation of your book The Love Story?
As I said yesterday...Several years ago, my church’s nursery department, request that staff develop a curriculum which focuses on a specific biblical character of our choice. The person I chose was Jesus. After writing the story which was to be included in the curriculum, I read the children’s story to a friend, who then inquired, “Where I had purchased The Love Story.” Sharing that I had written the story myself, they suggested I have it published. 

Back Cover Blurb:

A simple conversation between a Father and his Son can change the world. The Love Story tells how this Heavenly son must leave his home to fulfill and carry out his Father’s desire, demonstrating the Love of his Father to all mankind.


Book Trailer:


Author Bio:  
Stenetta Anthony is a children’s author from Chicago, IL., who has a B.S. in Educational Leadership, her belief is that all children are capable of learning; no matter, their physical, social, mental or psychological disorder.
Stenetta is a: wife, mother and grandmother. When she is not writing or reading, she is engaging in one of her favorite pastime; which is watching cartoons, with The Flintstones being her favorite.]

Social Media Links to her website and blog, FB, Twitter, 
twitter.com/Stenettaa                         


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

Stenetta Anthony is giving away a copy of her children’s book The Love Story. 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)


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