Monday, May 2, 2011

Henry McLaughlin's Journey to Riverbend

Henry McLaughlin has a master’s degree in social work and spent many years working in public child welfare in Rhode Island. It was in this role that he first honed his writing skills in preparing concise and accurate court reports and petitions. He retired from that career in 1999 to work with Kenneth Copeland Ministries.

Henry won the prestigious 2009 Operation First Novel Award sponsored by Tyndale House and the Christian Writers Guild. His award-winning first novel, Journey to Riverbend was released in January, 2011.

To improve his craft, Henry belongs to several Christian writer organizations; attends writers’ conferences, workshops and retreats; and participates in online and local critique groups.

In September, 2010, the Lord opened the door for Henry to enter writing full time. He also speaks and teaches writing workshops.

Henry and his wife, Linda, have been married for 42 years and live in Saginaw, Texas. They are the parents of five children, the oldest of whom is in heaven. They also have one grandchild.

You can find Henry online at his website,, Facebook, and the Facebook page for Journey to Riverbend.

Journey to Riverbend

A chance for redemption was something they never expected.
A chance for love was something they never dreamed of.
Sometimes the journey is only the beginning . . .

Michael Archer made a promise he intends to keep. Though he was unable to save Ben Carstairs, Michael is determined to carry out Ben’s dying wish: to be reconciled with his father. What he doesn’t know is that Sam Carstairs—one of the most ruthless businessmen on the frontier—has no use for his own son, much less a man of God seeking reconciliation.

Soon after arriving in the booming town of Riverbend, Michael meets the stunning Rachel Stone while waiting for Sam to return from a business trip. Beautiful yet guarded, Rachel is running from a past as dark as Michael’s, and the last thing she expects—or thinks she deserves—is a chance at love. Yet there’s a spark between them neither can deny.

When word reaches town that Sam has been kidnapped on the stage coach home, Michael joins the search posse. But the trail ahead is more dangerous than any had imagined, and making it back alive will require Michael to face his past and overcome his deepest fear.

Here's an excerpt of Journey to Riverbend:

Chapter 1

April 10, 1878

The crowd was small for a hanging. Quieter than usual, as if they all knew justice would not be served today.

Michael Archer found it hard to look at the young man before him. Ben Carstairs, only twenty-two, stood like a boy grown too tall, too soon. Each strand of his sandy hair grew as if it had a mind of its own. Handcuffs encircled his fine-boned wrists in loops of heavy iron. His lips quivered. Fear raged in his brown eyes.

“You believe I didn’t do it, don’t you?”

Michael’s throat tightened. He nodded. Many hours with the boy had convinced him of the young man’s innocence.

Ben gulped air and sighed. His shoulders sagged. He lifted his cuffed hands and opened a palm. “Give this to my father when you see him. It was my ma’s, and I wanted something of hers when he threw me out. Tell him I’m sorry.”

It was the silver Celtic cross Ben had worn on a leather thong around his neck. Only slight traces of the delicate engravings remained. Michael rubbed the cross as he had seen Ben do hundreds of times and closed his fist over Ben’s treasured token. Michael slipped into his shirt pocket, buttoned the flap, and patted the cross with his hand. “I will.”

Sheriff Gideon Parsons spoke from behind Ben. “It’s time, son.”

Ben swallowed, then straightened. “Thank you, Michael.”

Michael nodded, unable to speak. Gideon stepped in front and slipped a black hood over Ben’s head. The boy whimpered as Gideon put the noose in place and pulled it snug. He squeezed Ben’s shoulder. “It’ll be fast.” His voice cracked.

The trapdoor sprang down. Michael couldn’t look. A short, muffled sound from inside the hood ended in silence. Michael opened his eyes. The body swayed in a gentle arc, the head at an unnatural angle.

Gideon stood on the other side of the trapdoor, his hand still on the release lever, knuckles white, eyes downcast. He shook his large head and slid his hand from the lever. Wiping his face with a red bandana, he nodded to the undertakers, who stood like vultures beside the gallows. They moved with well-practiced efficiency to free the noose, lower the body into the plain pine casket, and load it onto the hearse.

Gideon walked over and stood next to Michael. “I feel rotten about this. It shouldn’ta happened.”

“I know. Thanks for asking the judge to reconsider.” Michael looked past the town toward the fields and the low-lying hills in the distance. Heaviness enveloped his heart like a wet blanket.

Gideon snorted. “Fat lot of good it did. The judge wanted proof, and we didn’t have any.”

“But you tried. Thanks for believing me.”

“Well, the whole thing never added up. It was either a frame-up or bad timing on young Carstairs’ part, but I couldn’t prove his innocence.” He looked skyward. “This is one of those times I hate this job.”

Purchase at CBD

Purchase Journey to Riverbend at CBD.

Henry is giving away a copy of Journey to Riverbend. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.


Judy K said...

I would love to win this book. It sounds like a very interesting one. I will have to put Henry McLaughlin on my list of new authors!

Judy K

Anonymous said...

This sounds like a very good read!

ann said...

Would love to win this book. I sounds like my kind of reading

Maureen said...

I have been wanting to read this book.
Thank You!

lgm52 said...

This looks great..count me in for the drawing!

Joanne Sher said...

This sounds good. PLEASE enter me!

Charity said...

I have this book on my wish list! Please enter me:) Thanks!


Anonymous said...

This sounds like a wonderful book, and would love to win it! Thanks for offering it to us.

apple blossom said...

please add my name to the drawing thanks

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Pam K. said...

The excerpt hooked me. I'd love to win a copy of "Journey to Riverbend."


amber said...

I'd love to win this!! Thanks for the opportunity!!


PriviesAndPrims said...

Please include me. Looks like a good one!

priviesandprims at yahoo dot com

Charlotte Kay said...

Another new author for me.
Thanks for the chance to win this book.

Charlotte Kay
charlovesmark at gmail dot com

lgm52 said...

Would love to win and read this book!

Jackie S. said...

I would love to read this book!! Thanks for the chance!

Amy said...

Please enter me. Thanks.


Hope said...

Wow, sounds like a great book. Please enter me!

Charity U said...

Oh, I love the cover! Please enter me!

Meredith said...

Great excerpt!

meredithfl at gmail dot com

Ann Lee Miller said...

Thanks for the chance to win!

Lady DragonKeeper said...

Thanks for the excerpt and interview --I've heard that Mr. McLaughlin is a wonderful author, but haven't gotten to read one of his books yet. Thanks for the chance to win!


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