Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Congratulation To Our Book Winners

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

 I know you want to know ... WHO WON?

But before we announce our five winners we’d like to offer a special thanks to:
Laura Hilton who offered her  Amish Romance  Awakened Love.
Valerie Goree who offered her  Suspense  Colors of Deceit.
Annslee Urban who offered her  Romantic Suspense  Smoky Mountain Investigation.
Cindy Thomson who offered her  Historical Fiction  Annie’s Stories.
And Elizabeth Maddrey who offered her  Women’s fiction Hope Deferred. 

And now: We're pleased to announce this week’s winners:
Rita Navaree has won Laura Hilton’s  Amish Romance  Awakened Love.
Carol Q. has won Valerie Goree’s  Suspense  Colors of Deceit.
Melissa Oldtaker has won Annslee Urban’s  Romantic Suspense  Smoky Mountain Investigation.
Amy Putney has won Cindy Thomson’s  Historical Fiction  Annie’s Stories.
And Joyce Guard has won  Elizabeth Maddrey’s  Women’s fiction  Hope Deferred.

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 22, 2014

Ohio Author Lillian Duncan

Welcome back to the Book Loft, Lillian! Is there a story behind your latest book DEADLY COMMUNICATIONS?

Three things happened within a few days of each other to inspire DEADLY COMMUNICATIONS.

First, my brother asked why I didn’t write a story featuring a speech-language pathologist. To which my answer was that it would be difficult to come up with a suspense story and an SLP.

Secondly, a few days later I was talking with someone whose daughter had been involved in an accident and was now experiencing communication difficulties.

Thirdly, as writers are prone to do, I was sitting daydreaming and had a vision of a young woman running through the woods and into ongoing traffic.

That’s all it took! My writer mind took over from there and DEADLY COMMUNICATIONS was born.

What started you on your writing journey?

Funny you should ask that, I just posted about this on my own blog. In a nutshell, I’ve always loved books, but it wasn’t until I was 40 that I had my light bulb moment. It happened when I wrote an outlandish obituary for myself. One of the things I wrote was that was a bestselling author!
Considering I’d never written anything creatively except for a few poems, the idea seemed ludicrous. But seeing those words stirred up something deep inside my soul. And a writer was born!
  
What distracts you from writing the easiest? 

The Internet!

What kind of books do you enjoy reading? 

I love all sorts of books, but my favorite are Christian mysteries and suspense books. I guess that’s why I write them!

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

Maven Morris is the main character and I love creating her. Probably because there’s a lot of me in her. Like me, she’s a speech pathologist. Unlike me, she’s very adventurous—something I definitely am not.

Let's have some fun. What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

I went to visit my sister and her family while they were stationed in Germany (Army). That’s not the quirky part. I decided to surprise them!  Looking back, I realize how silly that was. They could have been on vacation somewhere else, but it all worked out!

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

Oh yes there is!  I hate paperwork and bill paying. My husband has to prod me and prod me to get them done.

Where is your favorite place to travel/vacation in?

The next place I’m going—whatever that it!

Has some place you have traveled inspired something in your writing?

I’ve been fortunate to travel a lot so yes, when I pick places for my characters to run to, I usually pick places I’m familiar with. Some of the places my characters have gone to are Paw Paw West Virginia, Bahamas, and Jackson Hole to name a few.

Could you share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you?

Romans 8: 28: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

I was diagnosed with bilateral brain tumors a little over two years ago. Between the damage the tumors caused, treatments, and side effects from the treatments, it’s been a difficult two years.

But amazingly, God has kept me in his peace and joy through most of the journey (it’s not over yet!). But when things get to be too much I start repeating this verse again and again until I can face the world again! 

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it? 
Even as I struggle with my health issues, I have been so blessed this year in my writing career. Deadly Communications is my third book to be released this year and I have one more that will be released in September—REDEMPTION.
Redemption is the third in my Sisters By Choice series. Jamie goes in search of a kidnapped child. She won’t give up until she brings him home…or she dies trying!

Thanks for sharing with us today!

Connect with Lillian Duncan at:


She also has a devotional blog at www.PowerUpWithGod.com

Lillian Duncan is giving away a copy of Deadly Communications. 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, July 21, 2014

Deadly Communications by Lillian Duncan

Improving communication skills is never easy. In this case, it could be murder!

Maven Morris is a speech-language pathologist on medical leave–or as she likes to put it: out to pasture.

When she’s offered a lucrative position by one of the community’s most powerful men to help his traumatic-brain-injured daughter improve her communication skills, Maven discovers deadly secrets behind the iron gates of the mansion. Now, she must find the courage to seek justice no matter who gets hurt–even if it’s her.




Excerpt

Chapter 1

What was taking them so long?
Ella Decker smiled as she put away the last dish. It had been a fun night even if it had been a shock to see them standing at her door. And Matt seemed nice enough, even though it was the first time they’d met.
A blind date? Just what she needed, or so everyone else thought. Her life was too busy for a boyfriend. Getting chosen to be on the USA Olympic Team was the only thing that mattered, but she supposed it was important to have a little fun now and then.
They said it would only take a minute.
Ella slid the patio door open and walked outside to see what was keeping her guests.
The spring night was warm and breezy. Stars sparkled against a backdrop of 
black velvet.
She stepped out on the redwood deck. Her mouth turned to cotton and she wasn’t able to breathe.
A man was kneeling on the grass with his hands tied behind his back.
Her date, Matt, stood behind him pointing a gun at the man’s head.
She blinked once—twice, her gaze glued to the gun. This couldn’t be real. Her throat constricted as she attempted to scream. Taking a deep breath, she tried again. “What are you doing, Matt?”

Matt looked at her. His gaze flashed in anger. “Go inside. This has nothing to do with you. It’s business.”
This was crazy. It had to be a prank of some sort, but nobody was smiling. Especially not the man kneeling on the ground. “What kind of business?”
“The kind you don’t want to know about.” Matt glared at her. “Now be a good girl and go inside. It’s not your concern.”
 How dare he talk to her as if she was a child? “Not my concern? This is my home. You’re both invited guests in my house.” Well, actually, they hadn’t been invited at all—they’d shown up uninvited, and now she understood why.
His gun moved from the man’s head towards her.
Her heart thumped, but she refused to back down. “I’m not going anywhere and you aren’t going—“
Matt pointed at the other man. A man she thought she knew, but now realized she didn’t. “Take care of her. Unless you want me to?”
The other man walked between her and Matt. He hugged her as if that would reassure her. “Go inside. I’ll take care of this. We’re just talking to him. Like Matt said, it’s business. Nothing for you to worry about.”
“Are you nuts?” She spat out the words. “Nothing to worry about? You need to stop this right now.”
“I can’t, but I’ll explain everything later.” He pushed her gently towards the door.
She shrugged his arms off. “I won’t let you hurt him.”
“We won’t. Just go inside. Please.”
Their gazes met.
They wouldn’t hurt him. It was like they said; they were just talking to him. Trying to scare him for some reason, but they wouldn’t really shoot him. They wouldn’t kill him.
That would make them monsters.
She stared through the sliding door of the dining room, barely able to breathe. Her body shook. The longer they talked, the more she knew she needed to call the cops, no matter what would happen after that. She wouldn’t let this happen.
The man with the gun stepped closer to the kneeling man.
She jerked open the sliding glass door and ran out of the house, moving towards the men. “I’ll not let you hurt him. Stop right now or I’ll call the police.”
Matt nodded at the other man. “Take her inside. Now.”
He ran up the stairs, onto the deck, and then grabbed her arm. He whispered to her as he led her back into the house. “Stop causing problems or you’ll get hurt, too. This has nothing to do with you.”
 He pushed her inside and then slid the door shut. He ran down the deck steps.
Her knees shook so hard that she pressed her hands against the window to keep from falling. This couldn’t be happening, but it was. She had to stop it. Before she could move, a flash, a popping sound, and then another.
Moving through the woods, a sharp pain sliced through her terror. Her arm. It was too dark to see. Her fingers found the pain. Wetness. She must have scratched it on a branch, or maybe an old, rusty nail from a long-forgotten tree swing.
A noise. Someone was creeping through the darkness as they searched for her.
“Ella, come here. We aren’t going to hurt you.” A voice called out. “You need to come back. It’s not safe out here at night.” A voice she knew so well. A voice she trusted. A voice she loved.
Life would never be the same again.
She swiped away the tears.
She wanted to believe him, but he’d said they wouldn’t hurt the man either. He’d lied.
If they found her, she would be dead, too, just like the man. She couldn’t let them find her. But if she moved, they would hear her.
She searched the darkness for somewhere to hide, but there was no place. They were stronger and faster. They would overpower her. There was no way to get away from them, but she couldn’t simply stand here. If they found her, she wouldn’t see the morning. The kneeling man no longer knelt. He’d collapsed on the ground, not moving. Was he still alive? She had to call 911 and get an ambulance to try to help the man. But first, she needed to leave. They would never let her call for an ambulance or the police.
She grabbed her cell phone out of her purse and ran for the front door. Running into the trees, the blackness of the night crowded in on Ella as she attempted to make her way through the thicket.
The call to the police would have to wait until she found a safe place to hide. A safe place? No place would ever be safe after what she’d seen.
Not until they were behind bars. Not until they paid for what they’d done.
The kneeling man no longer knelt. He’d collapsed on the ground, not moving. Was he still alive? She had to call 911 and get an ambulance to try to help the man. But first, she needed to leave. They would never let her call for an ambulance or the police.
She grabbed her cell phone out of her purse and ran for the front door. Running into the trees, the blackness of the night crowded in on Ella as she attempted to make her way through the thicket.
The call to the police would have to wait until she found a safe place to hide. A safe place? No place would ever be safe after what she’d seen.
Not until they were behind bars. Not until they paid for what they’d done.
On hands and knees, she crawled through the trees and the bushes inch by inch, praying only she could hear the soft rustling sounds she created. Muscles tight with fear, she grew tired and laid her head on the ground. She forced her ragged breath to slow, her eyes closed. The horrible scene replaced the darkness once again.
His eyes—dark and soulless as the gun flashed silver, and then the man slumped over lifeless. No matter what he’d done, the dead man didn’t deserve that. It had been an execution, plain and simple.
She forced her eyes open. She couldn’t think about that now. She had to get away. Back on her knees, she crawled through the darkness as she wiped away tears. How could they have killed that man? She would never have believed it if she hadn’t seen it, and she would never forget it.
A different kind of noise reached her ears. Traffic. Traffic meant cars. Cars meant people. People meant help. Help meant they couldn’t kill her—at least not tonight.
It was her chance. Without hesitation, Ella jumped up and dashed towards the noises—towards safety. She wouldn’t live the way they wanted. She wasn’t a monster. She wouldn’t live with the monsters. No matter what.
“I hear her. This way.” His voice called out in the darkness. “Find her. Now.”
She ignored the voice and kept running towards the traffic—towards safety. Her heart pounded as she ran. She was unsure if it was from the exertion or the terror. How could she not have known? She should have known. Not that it mattered. The only thing that mattered was getting away from the monsters.
Monsters!
The trees thinned out and the noise from the traffic was louder now.
Turning towards the sounds, she ran down the hill and into the road.
Bright lights came towards her—too fast.



About The Author

Lillian is a multi-published author who lives in the middle of Ohio Amish country with her husband, two parrots, one Jack Russell, and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel she’s thinking of renaming Clifford since he keeps growing and growing and….

As a speech pathologist in the public schools for over thirty years, she worked with students of all ages with a wide variety of conditions. She specialized in working with deaf and hard-of-hearing children. Whether as an educator, a writer, or a speech pathologist, she believes in the power of words to transform lives. especially God’s Word.

Lillian writes the types of books she loves to read—fast-paced mystery and suspense with a touch of romance that demonstrates God’s love for all of us.


Purchase Deadly Communications at:


Lillian Duncan is giving away a copy of Deadly Communications. 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, July 20, 2014

Interview with Christian Author Susan Correll Foy

Welcome to the Barn Door Book Loft, Susan. Is there a story behind your book Finding Father?
Susan: This is actually the fifth book that I've written, although the first to be published. I had the idea for the book as I was finishing my fourth, but I hesitated to even begin writing it because of the subject matter. It deals with the topic of date rape and I was afraid that readers would be turned off and not want to read it. But the idea wouldn't leave me, and so I wrote the first chapter and showed it to my writer's group. Of all my books, this is the one I've gotten the most reaction to, most of it very positive. That is why I decided to publish this book first.

I’ll have to confess I looked the book up on Amazon. It looks intriguing.

Question: What started you on your writing journey?
Susan: I've wanted to write ever since I was a child, but when I became an adult I thought it might be a waste of time because no one would read what I wrote. In discussing all this with my twin sister, she said, “Write something for me, Susan, and I'll read it.” So I started and loved it. My twin sister has been my most consistent encouragement, critic, and advisor through this whole process. Then I joined several writer's group, gave my books to friends, and found that other people liked to read them too!

How wonderful to have a sort of built in encourager in your sister.                                                                          

Question: What kind of books do you enjoy reading?
Susan: Jane Austen is my favorite author – I've read all her books over and over. Another favorite is Gone With the Wind, which I've read many times.

Question: Which character in your new release most interested you while you wrote? Why?
Susan: The character of Steve was the most interesting one to me. Although he had done some very bad things in his life, I didn't want to portray him as a stereotype – I wanted him to be a real and likeable person. I heard a Christian speaker say once, “We don't like to think of ourselves as bad people. We think of ourselves as nice people who occasionally do a few bad things.” In Steve, I have a character who sees himself as a bad person, but that is the beginning of his redemption.
Although I didn't plan it this way, as I continued writing I found myself giving Steve more and more of my own traits. By the end of the book, everyone who has read it says that they do like Steve, although a few really disliked him at the beginning.

Question: What is your strangest habit?
Susan: I talk to myself! I've done this ever since I was a little child and when I try to quit, I find it impossible. My twin sister does the same thing, so maybe there is some genetic element to it.

Question: Where is your favorite place to travel/vacation?
Susan: My family has a favorite beach town, Ocean City, NJ, that we've gone to every year since I was 5 years old. The family has grown a lot since then – my parents now have 21 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren, and counting. But every year my father still rents out several houses and as many of us as possible come to the beach for a week. It's something I look forward to every year. Just last summer my husband and I bought a small condo in Ocean City so we can go there whenever we want!

Question: Has this favorite spot, or some other place you have traveled inspired anything in your writing?
Susan: When I was 21 I traveled to the Solomon Islands as a summer intern with Wycliffe Bible Translators. It was a beautiful place and I look back on that experience as a highlight of my life. For my second book, I created a fictional island based on the Solomon Islands, and the character is a young missionary on her first assignment.

Question: Besides missionary work, are there particular spiritual themes you like to write about?  
Susan: My books are all fiction, and I write a lot about relationships, especially women's relationships, healing, forgiveness, and acceptance.

Question: Share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you. (and why it's special)  
Susan: I was widowed at the age of 28 (with a small child) and felt for a time that my life was really over. I struggled to trust God during that time. The verse that was meaningful to me was Jeremiah 29:11 - “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Five years later I married my current husband and had two more children, as well as a step-daughter that I inherited. My life was definitely not over!
  
Thank you for sharing that.
When is your next book due out and what can you tell us about it? 
Susan: My next book is called Kerry's Calling and tells the story of a young woman and her first assignment on the mission field. The story isn't as much about missions as about the church. The team that she works with is a microcosm of the church, and each member has an issue that he or she is struggling with and it is causing difficulty with the other team members.

Thank you so much Susan. It was lovely to have you here.

You may purchase Finding Father at:


 Or have your local library order it in for you!

Susan Correll Foy is giving away a copy of Finding Father. 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)







Saturday, July 19, 2014

Featuring Susan Correll Foy's Novel FINDING FATHER


Back Cover Blurb:


Kendra, a young single mother, finds herself abandoned by everyone in her life. After her father's death, her mother remarries and moves far away, her boyfriend jilts her, and finally her roommate evicts her. Her prayers for help appear to be answered when she finds a new home and a circle of new Christian friends. But her new life leads her directly into the path of the one person she has despised and feared since their first encounter years ago. Although she wants to run, her new faith teaches her to forgive. Can she make peace with the past without risk to herself or her daughter?

EXCERPT:
          Kendra waited by Allison’s side, listening with half her attention to the story of someone’s new baby. The church members milled around the large open room, chatting in small clusters. Kendra glanced around for someone else she knew.
            And then she saw him. Steve Dixon.
            He was standing not ten feet away from her in the lobby. For a moment she felt as if her mind must be playing tricks on her, that the person must be someone who looked like Steve Dixon, just as sometimes in the bank she might notice a man who resembled him. But there was no mistake. Steve was looking directly at Kendra with recognition in his face, wearing an uncertain expression, as if he were trying to decide whether or not to speak to her.
Quickly she looked away.
            She felt her heart begin to race and the blood drain from her face, and for a moment feared that she would get sick or faint right in the church. Oh, if only Allison would hurry, so they could leave this horrible place. Of all the places she had feared meeting Steve, she had never once thought of a church!
            She glanced back at him. Now he was speaking to an older man in a gray suit, who might have been one of the ushers. Steve himself was wearing a pair of khaki pants and a blue polo shirt. He looked perfectly at home, as if he attended this church every week. He looked exactly as she remembered him from the party five years before, just slightly older. The man in the gray suit appeared to be relating an anecdote, and Steve nodded and smiled as he listened.
            He glanced back at Kendra, and she looked away.

            Thank heaven, Allison was finished talking and they could leave! But Allison glanced around the lobby and must have caught Steve’s eye, for she gestured to him. To Kendra’s horror, he actually approached.

Author Bio: 

Susan Foy grew up in Bear, Delaware, the middle of five children and one of a set of identical twins. She started writing stories at the age of nine, and always enjoyed using her imagination to create new characters and situations.  She graduated from the University of Delaware with a degree in English literature.

Susan started writing novels in her mid-thirties at the encouragement of her twin sister, who said, "Write something for me, and I'll read it." Her books, both historical and contemporary, center on women's relationships and always contain a romance at some point in the story, although the stories are not all about romance. She hopes her readers will find her stories entertaining and uplifting.

Susan and her husband Jim have raised four children and still live in Bear. They are active in their local church and enjoy vacations and holidays with Susan's large extended family.
  
You can find her on the web:
susanfoybooks.blogspot.com, 
Susan Foy Books (facebook),

Susan Foy@SusanFoy3 (twitter)

You may purchase Finding Father at:


 Or have your local library order it in for you!

Susan Correll Foy is giving away a copy of Finding Father. 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)

Friday, July 18, 2014

Interview with Christian Author Jill Elizabeth Nelson

Thank you for joining us on the Barn Door Book Loft. Is there a story behind Shake Down?
Not a personal story, no, but the heroine, Janice, is introduced in my book Frame Up that released last December. In Frame Up, Janice was the heroine’s best friend and a secondary character, but it soon became obvious that she had some pretty intense secrets of her own. In Shake Down we find out the scary and dramatic nature of those secrets.

Question: What kind of books do you enjoy reading?
As mentioned in my bio, I read what I like to write—stories about danger, adventure, and faith. Romantic suspense fits wonderfully into that category. A couple of books along those lines that have especially tripped my trigger in recent months are The Restoration by Wanda Dyson (supernatural romantic suspense—good vs. evil in the unseen, as well as the seen, realm) and Mucky Streak, Christy Barritt’s newest installment in the Squeaky Clean mystery series.

I also like gritty, heartwrenchers about characters who stand up and selflessly do the hard thing—the right thing—in the face of opposition and ultimately make a huge impact. One of my recent reads along that line is Nancy Rue’s The Reluctant Prophet about an ordinary pew-sitter who one day feels like God tells her to go buy a motorcycle. She ends up in a motorcycle gang (in the good sense) that starts rescuing women from the mean streets and discipling them in safe homes.

Question: Which character in your new release most interested you while you wrote? Why?
Probably Janice. Her backstory is so awful—unimaginable to most of us. I enjoyed writing her as a character to be admired, not pitied. She was something of a mystery to be plumbed, even for me. I actually didn’t know until toward the end of the first draft how her story would ultimately dovetail with the discovered diary of an ancestress and what impact the choices of her forebear would have on the modern-day woman—or upon her and Shane as a couple. My readers will have to tell me if I’ve drawn the threads together effectively.

Question: If you were a style of music, what style would you be?
Contemporary praise and worship. I honestly don’t get what’s attractive in secular music. Music without anointing doesn’t appeal to me. Correspondingly, I live a pretty separated life. It’s not that I don’t mingle with people from all sorts of backgrounds and with a wide variety of beliefs, but in my inner life, God is never far from my thoughts.

So many activities that lots of people crave are blah to me. I would choose attending a Christian conference over lolling on a tropical beach for my vacation activity any day. Weird, huh? I know that some near and dear members of my extended family think so. Not that I would mind the tropical beach, but it’s not a priority destination for me.

Question: Where is your favorite place to travel/vacation in?
Thailand, but not to vacation. My husband and I have been on numerous mission trips to that country, as well as other places in Asia. We are close friends with career missionaries who live over there. Starting this fall, my husband and I will be wintering in the north of Thailand for 4 – 5 months. We will help them in ministry, as well as in more earthy projects like construction and landscaping, on a property they are developing to serve as a retreat center for indigenous ministers throughout Asia.

Question: What is your strangest habit?
Not sure everyone would call this my strangest habit, but I’m not going to take a poll. Hah! But this is the idea that the question brought to my mind.

I’m a barefoot princess all year round—indoors and at home anyway. Not dumb enough to risk frostbite outside in the winter in Minnesota and must abide by the dress code at work (thought I sometimes sneak my shoes off under my desk.) Footwear is often the first thing I shed when I walk through the door at home.

I despise high heels as instruments of infernal torture. When I must wear shoes, I’m in flats. I’m going to break down and wear low heels for my son’s wedding coming up, but when the ceremony is over and the party starts I’ll exchange the heels for blingy flip-flops with my glittery dress.

My feet must be free! This is one aspect where I will fit in well in Thailand. In homes and churches one leaves one’s shoes on the step outside.

Question: Share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you. (and why it's special)  

My life verses are II Timothy 2: 24 – 25. And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth . . .

Those verses make particular sense as my husband and I are called to minister in a pervasively Buddhist country. The cultural and mental strongholds there are powerful, but the way of Christ is not to charge about bellowing judgment and condemnation, but gently ministering, speaking the truth, and demonstrating the supernatural love of God.

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

My next book is a novella in a two-novella anthology entitled Count Down to Danger, set to release from Love Inspired Romantic Suspense this coming New Year’s holiday. The novella is entitled New Year’s Target and features a cop (heroine) and a lawyer (hero) with an extensive past history in grade school and high school—not as friends or old flames—but as bitter enemies. Now they have to learn how to work together to stop a killer who seems to have a vendetta against them both. 


To buy Shake Down, go here:

Or ask your local library to order it in for you!


Jill is giving away a copy of Shake Down. 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 comment on past posts.


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Shake Down by Jill Elizabeth Nelson

Back Cover Blurb:
House of Secrets!

To clear his imprisoned father’s name, Shane Gillum must find evidence hidden in a Martha’s Vineyard cottage. But he arrives to find the “vacant” property being prepped for sale by real estate agent Janice Swenson. Is she tied to the notorious owners? Or is she in over her head as the “accidents” on the property grow increasingly dangerous? And who is the saboteur targeting—Shane with his search, or Janice with her dark, hidden past? With so much at stake, trusting Janice is a huge risk . . . but keeping silent about the cottage’s mysteries could mire them both in a deadly scheme.]




Read an Excerpt here:



CHAPTER ONE

© Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved. 

Janice Swenson squatted on her haunches, frowning down into the ink-black hole beneath a hatch in the floor. Dank air wafted into her face, and she shivered. It was too easy to imagine this whole property rotting beneath the weight of fetid family secrets.

Disposing of this cottage she’d inherited from a distant relative might prove to be more troublesome than she’d anticipated. At any other time in her life, she’d have sold the property, sight-unseen, and called it good riddance. But she had her reasons for coming to Martha’s Vineyard to handle the transaction personally.

If her superstitious days weren’t well behind her, she might be tempted to think Moran Cottage was bent on doing her in. At her first step onto the front porch, she’d nearly plunged her foot through an eroded board. Then as she’d explored the walk-in kitchen pantry, a shelf let loose, tumbling expired canned goods onto her shoulders. A few aches across her back betrayed bruises forming. Now, she’d wrestled open a trap door in the floor of the hallway outside the miniscule bathroom and found the cellar.

At least her decade of experience as a realtor had brought her prepared to deal with little issues like lack of power in a run-down property. Janice swiped a flashlight from her belt-loop clip, clicked it on and pointed the beam into the pit. A set of treacherously steep stairs ended in a packed earth floor.

She frowned. If she wanted to sell this unexpected—and unwanted—inheritance, besides adding onto the bathroom and completely renovating the kitchen, she might have to invest in pouring cement down here. Those projects would eat up a lot of her budget, making it doubly important that she do as much as she could of the simpler tasks herself—like basic cleaning, wall-painting, buffing and refinishing the vintage wood floors, and brightening up trim, and moldings.

The plank steps appeared thick and sturdy, though the pitch of the descent was almost like a ladder’s. Surely, there was another entrance from outside the cottage, probably a set of those nearly flat to the ground cellar doors, but why traipse through the overgrown weeds outside when access lay before her?

Janice hauled in a cleansing breath, and squared her shoulders. If snakes or spiders lurked below, she might be startled for a split-second, but she could thank God neither arachnophobia nor ophidiophobia numbered among her issues.

With one hand on the adjacent wall, she lowered herself and found the top step solid, though the nails emitted small creaks that echoed faintly through the darkness. She continued her descent until her head dipped below the floor then panned her flashlight around the space that yawned like a manmade cavern. Square, oaken pillars, similar to the ones that held up the porch roof, supported the floor above in strategic places. The area seemed to be as large as the entire cabin and to have no interior walls, but the flashlight beam didn’t penetrate far enough to tell.

Could she turn this space into another living area? She’d have to find a better light source in order to make that decision. There must be an overhead light bulb with a string, or even a light switch, down here. It would be nice to know where it was for when the power company turned on the electricity later today—provided its staff kept their promise.

Gaze peering intently into the shadows, hunting for that elusive bulb or light switch, Janice lowered herself onto the next step.

Crack!

The board collapsed beneath her foot, pitching her forward. A scream rent her throat and her flashlight flew away as her hands thrust out instinctively to catch her fall.


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About Jill:
Award-winning author and writing teacher, Jill Elizabeth Nelson, writes what she likes to read—tales of adventure seasoned with romance, humor, and faith. Jill is a popular speaker for conferences, writers groups, library associations, civic and church groups. She delights to bring the “Ahah! Moment” to students as they make new skills their own. Her bestselling handbook for writers, Rivet Your Readers with Deep Point of View, is available at http://amzn.to/IvQTkj. Her most recent release is Shake Down from Love Inspired Romantic Suspense.

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Jill is giving away a copy of Shake Down. 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.








Happy Reading!

Caroline Brown

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