Monday, February 7, 2011

meet Connie Stevens

Connie lives in north Georgia with John, her husband and best friend of 37 years. She and John are active in a variety of capacities in their home church. One cantankerous kitty, misnamed Sweet Pea, allows them to live in her home. (John calls her Crabby Tabby.) Connie has been in love with crafting stories since high school, but she only began pursuing a writing career since 1995. Some of Connie’s favorite pastimes include reading, browsing antique shops, collecting teddy bears, and gardening. She also enjoys making quilts to send to the Cancer Treatment Center Of America. Visit Connie’s website and blog at Look for Connie on Facebook.

Leave Me Never

Mama always said He did, but Tessa isn’t too sure. How many times did Mama tell her God would never leave her or forsake her? Yet…here she is, stuck in Willow Creek, Iowa, with no food, no money, no home, no job. No future. Mama is dead and Papa left in the night without a word of farewell. Where are God’s promises now? Maybe Papa was right, and she really is worthless—so worthless even God doesn’t care about her.

When Gideon meets Tessa and acts as a good Samaritan, he didn’t expect to find love. His own problems are overwhelming—his business is failing and his dreams look more doubtful by the minute. But he can’t get Tessa out of his mind. Maybe the promise to look to is that God works all things together for good for those who love Him—even when it seems like evil is winning.

Here's an excerpt of Leave Me Never:

Willow Creek, Iowa, 1881

Looking into Mama’s face had always been like looking into a mirror, but not any more. The skin on Mama’s face hung over her cheekbones, creating gaunt hollows where beauty once resided. Tessa wiped her tears with the hem of her apron. For the first time in months, the lines between her mother’s brows smoothed out. Her struggle was over.
       “Mama.” Tessa’s own whisper echoed within the wagon canvas. “Oh, Mama, please don’t leave me here. Take me with you.” Brokenness more cruel than anything she’d ever known invaded her heart with an onslaught so brutal she couldn’t remember how to breathe. She straightened out her mother’s fingers and laced them together in a posture of prayer, hoping against hope those fingers would squeeze hers once more. They didn’t. 
   With leaden legs, Tessa slid to the end of the tailgate and lowered herself to the ground. Dawn had broken, but the morning mist still lingered over the unfamiliar town. Papa hadn’t returned to their rickety wagon all night. Why wasn’t he here? No doubt he drank himself blind again.
  God, I need help. I don’t know what to do.

She forced her eyes to scan her surroundings—for what, she wasn’t sure. The edge of town where Papa left the wagon yesterday didn’t offer much of a vantage point. A giant elm tree and thick underbrush offered meager privacy from the nearest building, the livery. Horses dozed in the corral, uninterested in her plight. The rest of the town seemed set apart, as though a line had been drawn in the dirt that she and her family weren’t permitted to cross. Farther down the street, a patchwork of brick and board buildings lined up like mourners in a funeral procession. An occasional sign, hitching rail, or picket fence broke the monotony of weathered storefronts, but the silent buildings offered no hint of the people residing within. Was there anybody in this town who could help her do what needed to be done?

Under different circumstances, she might consider this a pretty little town. She moved forward and crossed the space between the wagon and the corral, stopping at the watering trough in front of the livery. Her reflection in the still water startled her. A stranger—weary and disheveled—looked back at her. She dipped her cupped hands into the trough and lifted cool water to her face. With wet fingers she smoothed her hair. The cramped muscles in her back protested as she straightened to look down the street. Papa was nowhere to be seen.
  Tessa’s feet balked. Part of her heart was back in the wagon, stilled and unbreathing. Her constant source of unfailing love now silent. Gentle, uncomplaining Carly Langford, her precious mama, would never call her “honey girl” again.

As she stood anchored in place by her grief, the gradual sights, smells, and sounds of a town awakening from slumber stretched their arms and yawned a greeting to the sun. Frying bacon and fresh-perked coffee wafted on the air. Then a rooster crowed. Strange sounds seeped into her awareness and she realized it was birds chirping to each other in the trees. Eventually, shopkeepers opened their doors to welcome the start of a new day. The comforting music of a town where everything was as it should be.

How could such cheerfulness exist? What was the matter with these people? Tessa wanted to scream for everyone to stop. Didn’t they care that her mama just died?


Tessa turned.

A tall, dark-haired young man stood behind her. His image wavered through her tears.

“Miss, are you all right? Can I call somebody for you?”

She blinked back the tears and drew in the deepest breath she could manage. “A preacher. I need a preacher.”

The stranger took her by the elbow and guided her to the board sidewalk. “Why don’t you sit down here, miss? I’ll go find the preacher and bring him. Can I get you anything?”

Tessa shook her head. The movement felt numbed and disconnected. As soon as she sat, the stranger strode away down the street. A slight breeze lifted the wisps of hair that lay along her cheek. “Oh, God, I wanted to go with Mama. Why couldn’t You take me, too?”

You can purchase Leave Me Never from Heartsong Presents.

Connie is giving away a copy of Leave Me Never. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.


Anonymous said...

The excerpt has my attention. I don't usually read books in this setting and time period but I would like to read this one. Please enter my name to win a copy.

Maureen said...

I love this kind of book. Can you imagine? No and we don't want to. You made me want more of this book. Thank you Connie!


Anonymous said...

I really enjoy books in this setting. It is reminiscent of LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE or DR QUINN MEDICINE WOMAN, my favorite TV shows.

diana said...

I would really love a chance to win this book. I read alot of different genres of books, but I always love coming back to the historical fiction books!

Anonymous said...

Would love to win your first book!!!!!

Dianna Bupp

Anonymous said...

Would love to win this book!!!!!!

Dianna Bupp

Anonymous said...

Since I write historicals, I love to read them and eagerly anticipate this one from Connie. So happy for you my friend.
Martha Rogers

Charity U said...

Please enter me! It sounds great. :)

lgm52 said...

I love historical novels..this one sounds great!

Connie Stevens said...

Thank you all for your kind remarks. I can't wait to find out the winner of the book.

Joanne Sher said...

This sounds lovely :) Please enter me :)

Anonymous said...

Angela from KY would love to win a copy of this book.

apple blossom said...

Oh, please include me thanks

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Leanne said...

I would LOVE to win this book! Thanks!

leanniegehrke at hotmail dot com

And what do you mean once on each spotlight post? Where is the other one?

Chrissy said...

Oh Ms. Stevens how I envy your talent! You sucked me in and had me furiously clicking the bar trying frantically to scroll down so I could read more. Alas there was no more. I would love to read this book and maybe by osmosis or some sort of magic absorb some of your talent for writing. Thank you for the contest and even more for sharing your words.

Anonymous said...

Would love to read Connie's first book - she sounds like such a lovely person and her story stounds so interesting.

Dianna Bupp

Charity said...

Please enter me. Thanks!


Anonymous said...

Would love to win this book!

Meredith said...

This sounds like a sweet love story!

meredithfl at gmail dot com

PriviesAndPrims said...

Please enter me, I'd love to win this book!

p.s. Carman sent me.

priviesandprims at yahoo dot com

diana said...

I failed to mention Carman sent me!

A Restful Place said...

I'd love to be entered into this giveaway! I ABSOLUTELY LOVE books and reading and can hardly wait to read a good book!

And...Carmen sent me over here!

Thanks SOOO much!!!

arestfulplace @ gmail . com

Linda Kish said...

I would love to read this book.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Nia for Jesus said...

I'm now very found of this kind of book,fast read but so refreshing!


Patsy said...

I really enjoy reading these books. Count me in on the giveaway!


Karen F said...

I love to read ~ and I'd love to win this book!
kkfoster35 at msn dot com

Evangeline Han said...

Can you please enter me? I would love to win this book.


Hannah said...

Carman sent me and I would love to a chance at winning this book!


Mary / Touch of Heaven said...

Would love to win this book! Carmen sent me!
Mary B.

Sherree said...

I love the cover. Country life! I have come by way of Carmen. I was a memeber of the "Heartsong" for so many years. They wer so eay to read and so clean. That matters alot in my world. Would love to win this book and leave a review on my blog. Love doing reviews for authors.

Nia for Jesus said...

I must say that I realy want to win this book!


Nia for Jesus said...

And I'm a follower!


Wynter said...

Please enter me to win

I'm a follower

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