Sunday, November 23, 2014

A Warm Welcome to Katie Clark

It's a pleasure to welcome Katie to the Barn Door Book Loft today. Katie your book sounds intriquing. Tell us:

Is there a story behind your book Vanquished?
There is! I’d had the idea for my characters for years, literally. They’d been floating around my brain, just itching to come out. When someone suggested I write a book set in a world with no Bible, I knew these characters had finally found their place. The story flew from there!

What started you on your writing journey? 
My grandpa started taking me to the library when I was a little girl. I used to pick the Choose Your Own Adventure Books, because I wanted to be in charge of the stories. From there, I went into writing my own stories in high school, to eventually studying the craft and getting into publishing.

What distracts you from writing the easiest? 
FACEBOOK, hands down!

What kind of books do you enjoy reading? (Book recommendations very welcome!)
Being completely honest when I say I can read the encyclopedia. Or romances. Or westerns. Or YA dystopian. Or contemporaries. I love stories, and as long as it’s a good story I am on board.

What makes you smile and/or laugh out loud? 
Unexpected humor. I love finding irony in life, or just wacky things in unexpected places.

What is your favorite season of the year?  
Oooh! Hard one. I have always loved fall most, but in the last few years I’ve slowly moved into loving summer, too. So it’s a toss up—summer or fall!

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

Now this is an easy on! Laundry and dishes are my nemesis. They defeat me daily.

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it? 
The entire Enslaved Series releases together from Pelican Book Group on November 22, 2014. I also have a new YA series with them that will come out next year! These books won’t be a long, continuing story like the Enslaved Series. The new series will be stand-alone books with a common theme—lost Biblical treasures. Book 1 is titled Shadowed Eden, and it will come out first (I describe it as the TV show “Lost” meets Christian YA!).

To buy her book, go here:



About Katie:
KATIE CLARK writes young adult speculative fiction, including her dystopian Enslaved Series, made up of VanquishedDeliverance, and Redeemer

You can connect with her at:

KATIE  is giving away a copy of VANQUISHED. 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

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Announcing More Book Winners!

Its frosty and cold outside, but 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 the following: 
Liz Tolsma who offered her Historical Romance  Daisies  Are Forever.
Shakira R. Thompson who offered her Christian Novel  High Noon Justice.
Raelee May Carpenter who offered her Allegory ebook  Kings and Shepherds.
David Royse who offered his Speculative Fiction  A Ghost's Story: Caught Between Life and Death.
Terri Gillespie who offered her Devotional book  Making Eye Contact with God.
And Sarah Sundin who offered her Historical Romance Novella Collection Where Treetops Glisten.

Thank you Authors for sharing your work with our readers.
And now: We're happy to announce today’s winners:

Ellen Gray has won Liz Tolsma’s Historical Romance  Daisies  Are Forever.
Lysette Lam (bn100) has won Shakira R. Thompson’s Christian Novel  High Noon Justice.
Deanna Steven has won Raelee May Carpenter’s Allegory ebook  Kings and Shepherds.
Linda Kish has won David Royse’s Speculative Fiction  A Ghost's Story: Caught Between Life and Death.
Kelly Youngblood  has won Terri Gillespie’s Devotional book  Making Eye Contact with God.
And Caryl Kane has won Sarah Sundin’s Historical Romance Novella Collection Where Treetops Glisten.

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.

Vaquished by Katie Clark

Back Cover Blurb

When Hana’s mom is diagnosed with the mutation, she is denied the medication that might save her life.

Fischer, a medic at the hospital, implies there are people who can help—except Hana’s not sure she can trust him; Fischer is involved in a religious group, and religion has been outlawed for the last hundred years. Hana embarks on a dangerous journey, seeking the answers Fischer insists are available.

When the truth is uncovered does Hana stick to what she knows?  Or does she join the rebellion, taking a stand against an untrustworthy society?

Read an Excerpt:

Chapter One Excerpt

The old hospital looms in front of me like some ancient castle from the Early Days. This is where they keep people with the mutation. My heart races at the thought of going inside. I’ve never been in a hospital before. In fact,

I’ve never been in a building that big at all. I wish I’d taken Jamie’s offer to come with me or had come with Dad last night. I wish that Mom hadn’t gotten the mutation at all.

I take a deep breath and push through the double doors.

The quiet lobby area is dim, lit by a few small windows and a couple of glowing lamps. I knew the hospital gets extra electricity allowance, but I’ve almost never seen anyone use manufactured lighting during the day. I’m awed by the sight. In front of me is an abandoned office area, and to my right is an old cafeteria. A sign dangles over the counter by one chain. It seems like someone would have taken it down by now.

I make a split decision and yank it down. Chains clatter as they plunge to the floor. It stays on the ground, and I turn back to the main lobby. My heartbeat calms at regaining this tiny bit of control.

Beyond the cafeteria several signs hang on the wall. One points me to the stairs.

My dad said Mom was on the third floor. Back in the Early Days they fought the mutation with chemotherapy drugs and something called radiation. We don’t have those things anymore, so we fight it with fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Sometimes it works, but most of the time it doesn’t. I don’t want to think about what this means for Mom.

The door to the stairs is beside the old elevator shafts. I reach out and feel the cool metal doors. They reflect my image back to me, but I don’t pay attention to that. I’ve seen enough of my short blond hair and not-so-tall stature, but I’ve never actually seen elevators before. I wish the doors would open, and I could peek inside. Riding up to the third floor would be even better, but no one has enough electricity allowance to run elevators, not even the hospital I guess.

I make the climb to the third floor without even getting winded, and more manufactured lighting greets me. Long bulbs line the ceiling. These lights are brighter than the lamps downstairs, and they make an odd buzzing noise. I stumbled into a beehive once, and the angry bees buzzed a lot like the lights.

There are so many rooms down the long hallway, I can’t imagine there would ever be enough sick people to fill them all, but then I remember what they tell us about the Early Days. There were a lot more people back then. Now there are so few people I think we could all fit in this hospital together. How would it feel to be around so many people, all the time? Would it feel crowded? I don’t think so. I think it would feel safe.

The hallway is empty, but a faint beeping comes from down the hall.

I pass an old desk on my way toward the beeping. A dumpy computer sits on the desk. People still have those? I pass one door, two doors, and then an irritated voice stops me in my tracks.

“We could give her chemo at the onset to slow things down a bit, and then start the natural healing. The least we can do is to give her a fighting chance. She’s a Middle, after all.” It’s a woman’s voice, coming from the room with the faint beeping. Her tone is hushed and angry.

I look at the piece of paper that’s been tacked to the wall outside the room.

Maya Norfolk.

I suck in a tight breath. They’re talking about Mom? What do they mean by ‘a fighting chance’? My heart picks up speed, and I step closer to the room, careful to stay out of view.

“It takes time to get approval for chemo drugs, and what if she talks? Everyone who gets the mutation will start demanding them. What’s her occupation?” It’s a man’s voice, and he sounds just as angry.

Papers shuffle and the woman says, “Professor at the military academy. I say we do it. She knows how to keep secrets if she’s worked in the military. What chance does she have otherwise?”

The pause in conversation is excruciating as Mom’s life hangs in the balance. Meanwhile my mind spins. Chemo drugs? They’re not even supposed to exist. How can they be talking about this so casually? Have the rest of us have been lied to all this time?

“Do you need some help?”

I jerk around, my heart thumping like the rain during a torrential downpour. A boy stands in front of me. He doesn’t look much older than my 17 years, but definitely old enough to have taken the Test.

 “I was looking for my mom’s room,” I say quickly. “I’ve never been here before.” I hope that sounded innocent and confused, and not like I’m scared to be caught eavesdropping.

To buy her book, go here:



About Katie:

KATIE CLARK writes young adult speculative fiction, including her dystopian Enslaved Series, made up of Vanquished, Deliverance, and Redeemer

You can connect with her at:

KATIE  is giving away a copy of VANQUISHED. 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

Friday, November 21, 2014

Calculated Risk by Zoe McCarthy

Back Cover Blurb

What happens when an analytical numbers man meets a mercurial marketing Rep? Romance is a calculated risk.

Whoever said opposites attract was right, of course…but no one ever said what they attract.

Jilted by the latest of her father’s choices of “real men,” Cisney Baldwin rashly accepts an invitation to spend Thanksgiving weekend with a sympathetic colleague and his family. Nick LeCrone is a man too much her opposite to interest her and too mild-mannered to make her overbearing father’s “list.” Now, Cisney fears Nick wants to take advantage of her vulnerable state over the holiday. Boy, is she wrong.

Nick wants little to do with Cisney. She drives him crazy with all her sticky notes and quirks. He extended an invitation because he felt sorry for her. Now he’s stuck, and to make matters worse, his family thinks she’s his perfect match. He’ll do what he can to keep his distance, but there’s just one problem—he’s starting to believe Cisney’s magnetism is stronger than he can resist.

In search of the yellow sticky with her ideas for today’s meeting, Cisney Baldwin sifted through papers on her desk. She had a choice: honor her rash commitment to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with Nick LeCrone and his family, or lie and join her friends on the Colorado ski slopes.
     Biting cold air and exhilarating speed might keep her mind off slime-ball Jason. And, she’d need her Richmond friends nearby to nurse her self-esteem after she told Daddy she’d lost his pick for her future.
     She planted fists on her hips and stared at the papers sprinkled with yellow stickies that covered her workspace. Minutes before her meetings with Nick, she could never put her fingers on her notes. Why did this always happen?
     How was she going to face him today, after he’d stood in her office doorway last week and watched her disintegrate during Jason’s dump-Cisney phone call? If only she’d stopped there, but no, she hung up and blubbered about the end of her six-month relationship and having nowhere to go for Thanksgiving.
     She splayed her arms over her paper-covered desk and knocked her head on the piles. This was all Jason’s fault. Jason needed space? Right. What he needed was freedom to date that woman with a waist the size of his muscular neck.
     She shot erect, raking her hair from her face.
     Nick stood in her doorway. He didn’t have a greasy mop of hair or wear button-down shirts two sizes too small, but he carried a calculator loaded with countless complicated functions. The joke around Marketing was that actuaries were accountants without personalities.
     Nick came from a long line of actuaries, several still kicking. And unlike go-getter, snap-decision-maker Jason, built like a football tackle, lean Nick was analytical, reserved, and deliberating.
     Daddy would eat him for lunch.
     She peeled a yellow sticky from her arm and stuck it back on her desk. “Hi. Come in and have a seat.” She moved aside a stack of company summaries. Her new marketing strategy would turn the profiled companies into customers for Virginia National Health Insurance—if Nick approved the financial risks.
     As he eased into the chair beside her desk, she fiddled with her pen. She needed to back out of the weekend now, before he had a chance to give her holiday details. Which of her excuses would avoid hurting his feelings?
     He hooked his arm over the back of the chair and rested his ankle on his knee, as if he had no upcoming trips on his mind. “Did you come up with an alternative to shortening the pre-existing period?”
     Happy day! Could he have forgotten he’d invited her to spend Thanksgiving with his family? Oh, yeah, he never chitchatted before getting down to business. Didn’t he want to know how she was holding up the week after her boyfriend had dumped her? He must know her heart still hurt like a triple bypass.
     She lifted a legal pad. None of the yellow stickies beneath it had miraculously morphed into the one she needed since the last time she’d checked. “Yes, I do have a couple of new ideas that came out of our focus groups.” If she could find them. She picked up an empty foam cup hinting of French vanilla and threw it into the trashcan. Maybe this was a good time to renege on their trip south.
     Nick leaned over and removed a yellow sticky adhering to the side of her desk. “Is this what you’re looking for?”
     She squinted. Yep, that was the sticky. “How’d it get there?”
     The knowing smile on the tight-lipped man’s face probably meant he thought she’d resorted to using other surfaces of her desk, now that no space existed on top. What next, her forehead?
     “Let’s see…” She turned over a memo and drew boxes, circles, squiggles, and lines, labeling them while she pitched her proposal. His gaze kept up with her scurrying pen, until the paper filled with shapes and words, and she stopped.
     He studied her pen scratches.
     Was he entering one of his endless deliberations of her great ideas? Cisney didn’t need this right now. Boyfriend problems and Thanksgiving among a family of actuaries still loitering on her calendar was enough. She would not nudge Nick for his opinions. Today, she’d let him sit and think. She’d bring blood to her lips before she’d say a word. She tapped her toe under the desk.
     He didn’t move. Not a comment. Not a question.
     Would it be impolite to ease her new phone from her pocket and set the stopwatch? She put down her pen and bit her lip. Cisney Ann, do not open your mouth.
     She sat back and crossed her arms. Did Nick have a girlfriend? He wasn’t bad looking. Hair, ho-hum brown. Decent nose. Maybe turned slightly to the right? Lips…kissable, if actuaries knew how to kiss. Eyes…whoa. Nice job, Mr. and Mrs. LeCrone.
     Why, in the year she’d professionally known this man, hadn’t she noticed how his abundant lashes framed and gave life to his gentle brown eyes? Probably because of the get-down-to-business glasses he always slipped on as soon as he sat.
     Nick punched numbers on his calculator and jotted figures next to her drawings.
     Ah, movement from the actuary. Come on, Risk Man, bless my proposal.
     Who’d have thought this analytical man of few words would sympathize with her falling-apart moment and tell her she’d spend Thanksgiving with his family in some small town in North Carolina? Who’d have…?
     Ha! He hadn’t asked her, he’d told her. She’d nodded, while she blew her nose, but her nod was ever so slight. So insignificant it didn’t count as a commitment.
     “Sounds doable and the risks are manageable.”
     She startled. “What?”
     “They’re good ideas, Cisney.”
     She sat up straight. “Really? I mean, that’s great.” She jetted her hands upward. “Hurray! I can move forward with actuarially sound ideas.”
     He smiled while removing his glasses. “I knew you’d come up with something workable.”
     Was that a second bona fide compliment? “Thanks, Nick.”
     “Anything else?”
     She rose as he stood. Time to weasel out of Thanksgiving with the LeCrones. Her heart hammered and her hands trembled. Could she deliver her spiel without her voice betraying her twist of the truth? She swallowed. She could do this. The words were simple: She was so sorry. When she’d accepted his kind offer during her stressful moment, she’d forgotten about the ski trip with her friends.
     “Um…” Her tongue sought saliva, but finding none, ran over her lips like a dry cotton swab.
     Let your yes be yes and your no be no.
     But she needed the companionship of the other singles in Marketing. Marketing people were outgoing and fun. With Mom and Daddy in Germany, wasn’t a ski trip with her friends the balm for her wounded heart? Angela and the others were her safety net after she told Daddy his ideal future son-in-law had bolted.
     Let your yes be yes and your no be no.
     OK. Fine. She’d go with Nick.
     He collected his calculator and legal pad. Wasn’t he going to give her trip details? After all, they would leave for his hometown in less than three days. She needed to know the Thanksgiving dress code and what time he’d pick her up.
     He put his pen in his shirt pocket.
     If he still wanted her to spend four days with his actuary infested family, why didn’t he act like it? She widened her eyes and arched her eyebrows. “Well…?”
     He met her gaze. “Yes?”
     She refused to drag trip information from him. He needed to learn to communicate. Before she’d met Jason’s parents, Jason told her to wear her royal blue dress, bring a homemade dish to wow his mother, and remove her shoes on the welcome mat.
     She shrugged off her comment.
     He moved to the door.
     Lord, aren’t you going to prod him, as you so rightly did me?
     Nick stopped.
     Ah. Now he remembered he’d invited a guest who needed particulars.
     He nodded at the paper she’d used to pitch her proposal. “As soon as you turn your collage into a document, get it to Julie, and she’ll run the official numbers.”
     She stared at him, speechless.
     He held up his hand in farewell and left.

     She sank to her chair and thrust her hands toward the drop-ceiling tiles. “Actuaries! They should be forced to take remedial communication classes.”

Author Bio

Zoe M. McCarthy believes the little known fact that opposites distract. Thus, she spins inspirational contemporary romances entangling extreme opposites. Her tagline is “Distraction to Attraction, Magnetic Romances Between Opposites.” Calculated Risk, Zoe’s debut novel, will be available November 21, 2014. Christian Fiction Online Magazine published two of her short stories. Zoe enjoys leading workshops on the craft of writing, speaking about her faith, planning fun events for her 5 grandchildren, and exploring the Blue Ridge Mountains, where she lives with her husband, John.

To purchase Zoe's book:

To connect with Zoe:

Zoe McCarthy is giving away a copy of Calculated Risk.  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, November 20, 2014

A Warm Welcome to Zoe McCarthy

Is there a story behind your book Calculated Risk?

Most certainly. I wanted to write a story in which at least one character was an actuary. (Actuaries evaluate the financial risk of insurance companies.) Before the profession grew, actuaries received the bad reputation of being weird. Well, in many cases that’s true in behavior, dress, and social skills. I’m allowed to say that because both my husband and I are retired actuaries. We, along with hero Nick, are in the sixty percent who aren’t very weird. Nick is analytical, private, and doesn’t like being wrong. Because I write romances between extreme opposites, I had to go with the job of a marketing rep for social, vibrant, and expressive Cisney. As the rare creative, expressive, analytical, introverted actuary, I was able to get into Cisney’s head and into the head of Nick, the guy who had to deal with her.

What distracts you from writing the easiest?

Editing. I’m an edit addict. I have to set up rules, such as I’m allowed to edit no more than the last scene I wrote the day before. Most people can probably identify with taking a break and getting sidetracked and involved in an activity. Their breaks can last an hour. That’s what happens when I stop writing and eye the last several fat paragraphs, each begging to be whittled down to a few tight sentences. I’m hoping as I continue to hone my craft, I’ll leave my writing alone until “The End.”

What kind of books do you enjoy reading?

I enjoy reading many genres, but I especially enjoy witty romances with sassy or droll heroines. Much to my husbands’ chagrin at bedtime, I laugh through Jenny B. Jones’s adult and young adult books. Reading her books gave me permission to use my dormant writer’s voice. Check out her Just Between You and Me, So Not Happening (YA), and In Between (YA). I also loved the heroine in Talking to the Dead by Bonnie Grove.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

You mean, like when I was twenty and accepted a ride in a taxi with a drunk American stranger in his fifties in Bangkok, Thailand? Oh, that was the stupidest thing I’ve ever done, and lived unscathed to mention. Let’s see… How about when I was ten and my sister, two friends, and I walked on ice to the middle of a lake in Norfolk, VA, and all fell through? No, that was just dumb. Quirky…quirky. Did you notice my cover? At the recent ACFW writers conference’s come-as-your-character dinner, I dressed up like Cisney with yellow stickies plastered all over my suit and hair. People didn’t remember my name, but the next day, they said, “You’re the one who had adhesive notes stuck to her outfit.” So, the quirky part is, I’m going to wear my Cisney costume to my upcoming book signing and to my launch party.

What is your strangest habit?

Eating what I call Potpourri. I like to have a yummy collection of tidbits of different foods for lunch and dinner. One lunch might be a bowl of dry Froot Loops, peanuts, Craisins, and dark-chocolate covered pomegranate nuggets. One dinner might be cheese and pepperoni cut in “appetizer” chunks along with bing cherries and chips. No candy bars for me at the movies. I have popcorn and Sno-Caps, or some other candy that comes in morsels. Of course, I eat one piece at a time, savoring it. I used this habit for Cisney when Nick, his sister, and his cousins take her to the traditional movie on Thanksgiving evening.

What place have you enjoyed living in most and why?

I grew up on the move. From age seven to ten during the rise of Papa Doc, I lived on a mountain looking down on Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Even though I experienced the excitement later of being evacuated from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis and of living in Thailand during the Vietnam War, exotic Haiti was my favorite place. It was a lush place at that time. But now, I love living on a hill in the Blue Ridge Mountains, looking out at the mountains and down on a valley. From my writing office, I watch sheep and cattle graze, farmers plow and grow corn, and seasonal pumpkins and Christmas trees grow.

Where is your favorite place to travel/vacation in?

I like northern Italy. The first time we were in Rome during a Footsteps of Paul cruise, I was reading Francine Rivers’s Voices in the Wind. I’d read about some monument the characters walked by, and then I’d see it. I’d read about Christians mauled by lions in the Coliseum, and then I’d stroll around the Coliseum, looking down into the compartments where the lions were kept. Later in Ephesus, our tour guide shared so much of what Francine Rivers described in Voices in the Wind. At an ACFW conference not long after the cruise, I approached Francine after she gave the keynote speech. I told her we must have had the same guide in Ephesus. She said she’d never been to Ephesus. Now that’s a woman who can research.

Are there spiritual themes you like to write about?  

Yes. The spiritual themes center on women learning that God always works things for their best interest, and so it’s time to give up control to Him. Because her father has a strong opinion of the type of man Cisney should marry, she panics when she loses the guy of her father’s choice. She thinks she has to find another man like him. God uses the man Nick is to help her see things from God’s perspective.

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

I recently finished another contemporary romance. Here’s what it’s about. After running out of her inheritance, as embittered young woman crawls home to Daddy. But Daddy has conditions. Like caddy for him on the PGA seniors’ tour. There she meets a caddy who can read the warp and woof of putting greens and has promise of becoming a PGA player. He’s a perfect match for the girl who loves golf, except he’s content to be her best buddy, and she hates his sleazebag father who stole her father’s golf scholarship.

To purchase Zoe's book:

Zoe McCarthy is giving away a copy of Calculated Risk.  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

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Interview with Christian Author Ada Brownell

Welcome back to the Barn Door Book Loft, Ada. It's always nice to visit with you. 
Did you have a specific theme in mind as you wrote the Bible Study book Swallowed By Life? Did a theme pop out as you finished the book? Did the theme change?

After our daughter died I went through the New Testament and underlined every scripture that has to do with death and resurrection and it’s full of them. It is exciting stuff! Although many of them are powerful, I was fascinated by the term “swallowed by life,” so I began asking news sources questions and taking what I knew from science and scripture and began writing.

Question: What’s your favorite genre of writing?

My head thinks in non-fiction, but my heart is addicted to fiction. Although it was work, I really had fun creating my two novels, The Lady Fugitive and Joe the Dreamer. After my husband read Joe, I asked him what he thought of it.

“It’s not what I think of the book,” he said. “It’s what I think of my wife for thinking up all this stuff.”

That sounds like my husband would say. He is my biggest supporter and I expect your husband is your biggest supporter as well.

Question: How much research do you have to do for the genre in which you write?

It depends on the subject. Almost all writing takes research. I enjoy some research, but digging and not finding what I need is tedious labor, but I still love interviewing people.

Question: Do you have a writing system? What works best for you?

As with most writers, I’m squeezed for time, but my days in the newsroom taught me if I can get a lead started before I’m interrupted, the rest of the story will flow when I come back. Sometimes I have two or three leads for things I plan to do waiting for me among my documents.

Question: How do you find the time to write?

I’m blessed because my husband (retired) likes to sleep in. The early morning is made for devotions and writing. But I need more than that. So I hurry and shower, fix breakfast, rush through some housework and hope I can get back to my computer. Since I’m retired, too, I rest about one hour after lunch, then head back to the office to write. We walk at least three times a week and meet people for lunch, so it’s tight to fit in writing and marketing, but I usually write several hours a day.

Question: What’s your favorite thing that you’ve written? What are you most proud of?

Swallowed by Life is among my favorites, but I feel the Lord is in all my books, even fiction, because I try to write with stick-to-your-soul encouragement. I’ve sold more than 300 articles to Christian publications and still write op-ed pieces for newspapers and I’m glad I wrote those as well.

That is wonderful, Ada.
Question: How many writing projects are you working on right now?

I’ve started three books that I intend to finish, but I imagine the sequel to The Lady Fugitive will be the first I complete. I wrote almost all the first draft of that book in five weeks. Maybe I can do it again.

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

The sequel to The Lady Fugitive has no due date. It will be the story of John Parks, Jenny’s brother who inherits the family horse and peach ranch after their uncle is murdered. Three women are going to be available for a relationship: A young woman raped by her employer’s son has a baby in John’s barn and she is seeking refuge. The young beautiful widow that gave Jenny her homestead and moved to Boston, met John at Jenny’s wedding, and months later they began corresponding. Then there is the young woman who runs a nearby horse ranch for her disabled father and she’s a little spitfire who is always giving John trouble. Can you guess who I think will be his bride?

I like the way you ask that queastion. As a seat of the pants writer myself I never know the ending for sure. Thank you so much for visiting with us today, Ada Brownell. I hope you will come back when your next book is published.

Readers: You may purchase the book at:

or have your local library order it in for you!

ADA BROWNELL is giving away a copy of Swallowed by Life: Mysteries of Death, Resurrection and the Eternal. 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)

Monday, November 17, 2014

Ada Brownell's Bible Study SWALLOWED BY LIFE

Back Cover Blurb:

Do you know evidence shows we’re more than a physical body? An award-winning medical and religion writer, Ada Brownell—through her research after the death of her daughter—shows why we have hope for eternal life, not only from a Christian point of view, but because of physical evidence. Of her 17 years as a journalist, the author spent seven on the medical beat at The Pueblo Chieftain in Colorado, reporting on discoveries about the human genome, neurology, mental illness, cancer, disease prevention, treatment, medications, and more. This book is written for support groups, religion classes, people with chronic or terminal illness, individuals who fear death or are curious about it, the grieving, and those who give them counsel.

 Book Excerpt:

Swallowed by Life:
Mysteries of Death, Resurrection and the Eternal
By Ada Brownell

Copyright © 2011 Ada B. Brownell
All rights reserved

“While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life” (2 Corinthians 5:3–5 NLT).[1]

Note: Chapter 1 follows a Preface.

1. A Mystery

An old gentleman leaned on his cane and peered into the cherry-red 1923 Model T Roadster. It glistened like a new car, but just a few years earlier had rested in decay almost forgotten.
          “This is just like the first car I ever had,” he said, a twinkle in his eyes.
          He and his son were examining four antique cars brought to a senior care center as part of the National Nursing Home Week celebration.
          The man, like the Model T, was almost an antique himself.
          Before the old car found redemption, from the front bumper down to the brown leather on the rumble seat, the old Ford stood waiting for one last trip—to the junkyard. Many vehicles like it have been retrieved from gullies, from behind the barn, and from buildings and junkyards, metal-consuming rust eating away at running boards, fenders, hoods, engines, and other vital parts.
           Rust is the reddish-orange coating of ferric hydroxide, the substance that causes oxidation of metal in the car’s body. When metal rusts, it breaks down until its elements disappear into the air and into the earth, leaving holes.
          Doctors tell us oxidation occurs in the human body, too, as we age and develop diseases. We aren’t eaten by rust, but oxidation causes cell damage, and that is why nutritionists recommend we consume foods rich in antioxidants, such as blueberries and green tea. In the human body, life-essential oxygen combusts and produces by-products referred to as oxygen free radicals, which cause aging.
          Oxidation is part of the second law of thermodynamics, a scientific term we seldom talk about but see all the time when there is a loss of electrons in an atom. Every barn you see with the roof caved in is an example of this law, which says in simple terms that everything eventually falls apart because energy becomes less organized with time.
          Our bodies do the same thing. As we age our sight grows dim, the ears less discerning of sounds. Our memory slows. Our muscles and joints don’t work as well. Our skin wrinkles. Our cardiovascular system becomes clogged or diseased. Our lungs and vocal cords exhibit wear and tear. The body’s defense weakens and diseases take up residence in us. Then, like an old automobile, one functioning organ goes, and then another, until the loss of a vital part is enough to kill.
Death for the human body is connected to the degradation of matter. Our mortal flesh isn’t designed to last forever. Unless taken by death prematurely, like the unrestored Model T covered in rust and with an engine that won’t run, the human body wears out or just quits.
I started studying about death and life after we lost our beautiful eldest daughter, Carolyn, to cancer in 1990. A born-again Christian who could quickly tell someone else what to believe, I found my faith challenged.
When I knew Carolyn was dying, over and over I prayed, tears streaming down my face, my insides feeling ripped out, “Where are you, God?”
My guts twisted with anger and doubt. Fear choked me as I wondered if what Jesus said about eternal life was really true.
I’d heard and read what the Bible has to say. It says at death we will immediately be with the Lord (Luke 23:43, Ecclesiastes 12:6–8) and at the resurrection, in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye, our flesh will be changed into an immortal body with all-new parts that never age, get sick, or die—even if that flesh has already turned to dust.
Probably because of my experiences and what I learned on the medical beat at the newspaper, I decided to investigate if there is evidence we are more than a mere body.
I knew a journalist’s assignment sometimes goes beyond the obvious. Facts aren’t material objects that can be felt or seen. Through testimony and evidence, truth can be learned. Interviewing witnesses, experts, and victims and making visits to the scene help a reporter present facts to the public.
          Yet, when the story is all told, newspaper readers or television viewers react differently. Some believe what is reported; others do not. Some doubt the reliability of the reporter. Others assume the media conspires to deceive the public. A few believe the persons interviewed are liars.
          Those who believe take the plunge into faith.

 Biblical quotes in this book are King James Version unless noted

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!, May 14, 2012
Review on Amazon By 
Christian author Ada Brownell penned "Swallowed by Life" after the death of her daughter Carolyn. It was then that Brownell embarked on a quest to discover what really happens to the physical body after the last breath.

Brownell includes many timely Scripture verses throughout the book, as well as, study questions at the end of each chapter. She gives a realistic glimpse into the life of one who has lost a loved one, and that is perhaps one of my favorite things about this book - the authenticity.

Brownell uses her past expertise as a journalist to skillfully write a book that is not only insightful, but also interesting. As one who has led many Bible studies and has also been a participant on numerous occasions, I am particular in choosing which studies I read and recommend. Brownell offers a book that will offer hope to those not only struggling with grief themselves, but also those who work with the grief stricken. It is not a sad and dismal book, however. It is a book of encouragement and hope - the hope we have in Christ Jesus. I highly recommend it.

Author Bio:
Ada Brownell, a devoted Bible student, has written for Christian publications since age 15 and spent much of her life as a reporter for The Pueblo Chieftain in Colo. She also is a veteran youth Christian education teacher. After moving to Missouri in her retirement, she continues to write books, free lance for Sunday school papers, Christian magazines, write op-ed pieces for newspapers, and blogs with stick-to-your-soul encouragement. She is a member of Ozarks Chapter of American Christian Writers and American Christian Fiction Writers. She and her husband have five children, one in heaven, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

You can find out more about Ada Brownell on her author page:
Ada Brownell Amazon Author Page
And you can see more reviews on GoodReads

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ADA BROWNELL is giving away a copy of Swallowed by Life: Mysteries of Death, Resurrection and the Eternal. 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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