Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Esther and I have been thankful for the unexpected break in the schedule--August ambushed us and we are just now getting out these winners. Book giveaways will now be open one week, to simplify things on this end.

If your view of the Book Loft is wonky, my apologies. The gremlins have been busy while we were on sabbatical and I'm working to put things back where they belong.

THANK YOU for your patience and understanding!

Tomorrow we are back in full swing (and grateful August is behind us! LOL) with one or two spotlights a day. Hope you all had a wonderful summer!


The winner of:
  • Christine Lindsay's Shadowed in Silk is Ann (amhengst)
  • Sherry Kyle's Delivered with Love is Amy (sweetdarknectar)
  •  Lisa Grace's Angel in the Storm is Katy (agirlslegacy)
  •  Margaret Brownley's A Vision of Lucy is Tracy Smith
  • Diana Brandemeyers's We're not Blended, We're Pureed is margie
  • Michelle Sutton's Their Separate Ways is Laura J
  •  Ronie Kendig's Wolfsbane is Joanne Sher
  •  Kathleen Y'Barbo's The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck is Emma (augustlily)
  • Christa Allan's The Edge of Grace is Andi
  • Pam Hillman's Stealing Jake is Teresa M
  •  Thomas Blubaugh's Night of the Cossack is Yvonne Blake
  •  Dora Hier's Journey's End is Courtney
  • Miralee Ferrell's Love Finds You in Sundance, Wyoming is Kim Greig
  • Betsy St. Amant's Fireman Dad is Anne Payne
  •  Lacy William's Marrying Miss Marshal is Rebecca (agentbeckster)
  •  Bonnie Leon's Wings of Promise is Susan H
  • Michelle Sutton's Letting Go is Kristine

Winners, it's your responsibility to contact me (Patty {at}BarnDoorBookLoft {dot}net) with your address so the author can send you a book.

Subscribing by email will ensure you don't miss the winners list. ;-)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Grace Bridges From Splashdown Books Tells Authors How to go From Good to Great!

By Jennifer Slattery

I’m always amazed to see talented authors like Grace Bridges launch and grow successful publishing companies. Witnessing Bridges success with Splashdown Books provokes one question: How does she do it. According to Bridges, it’s all a matter of continual forward momentum. “Momentum: that indefinable something that is made up of team dynamics, each author's motivation, overall buzz, and every individual sale,” Bridges said.

Of course, in order to generate continual momentum, you need to publish quality novels. So, what is it that makes a great novel? According to Bridges, “Story, character and style. Seriously. Anyone who nails all three has a winner.”

Once she’s found a dynamic author with a great story, she partners with them to make their story even better from first to final sale. It’s all about team work. “Every possible aspect of production is run past them before moving on to the next step,” said Bridges. “From initial critiques through substantive and line edits, to questions of design, blurb and marketing, the author is required to be involved at all times - this is not optional in the slightest. There's work to be done and I don't see anyone else stepping up to do it. Me? I'm publishing and that takes ALL my time as it is.”

What advice would Bridges give to aspiring authors? “Be flexible, be teachable, and above all be kind to those around you in the industry,” Bridges said. “Who you are as you interact will be remembered just as much as what you write.”

Most importantly, be prepared to stick with your craft for the long-haul, always finding ways to improve. “I have seen many new authors claim that their work is ready for publishing when this is sadly not the case,” Bridges said. “They're setting themselves up for disappointment if they think that. Self-confidence is a great thing, but we should never lose the willingness to improve. Even a published book could still be improved on - though we do have to let it go at some point and move on - so it is doubly true of pre-published work. Be confident, but don't say ‘My work is perfect.’ Rather, say, ‘I can do the work to make it the best it can be.’”

To get a taste of Splashdown's style and feel, dive into Aquasynthesis - their first team anthology. “Every author who has a novel with us is represented in this collection of short stories, some of which tie into those full novels,” Bridges said. “At 200 pages, it's a decent-sized read, and twenty-five very different science fiction, fantasy and supernatural tales from eleven authors are connected with a narration from Walt Staples. We're selling it at an unbeatable $5.98 in print and $2.99 for e-readers."

And remember, there's still time to win a free ecopy of Aquasynthesis. It's easy and a gauranteed win--simply leave a comment expressing why you absolutely, positively must have a copy!

“Also, if you haven't already, be sure and check out our multi-author microfiction project Avenir Eclectia at It's a shared mosaic-style storyworld of flash fiction, with elements of science fiction, fantasy and supernatural - something for everyone. We're always looking for new contributors, and that gives you the chance to be published in an Avenir Eclectia anthology. Or just come along and read!”

Avenir Eclectia blurb:
Come with us on a journey to a planet the universe forgot. The Avenir: once a generational ship, now grown into a residential station, and Eclectia, the highly unstable planet she orbits. Its people have forgotten Earth. Wizards keep old tech running, while orphans scrape together a living, and aristocrats live the high life. Far below on Eclectia, miners suffer grit and extreme seasons. Volcanoes or earthquakes may break out at any time, so it's safer undersea. Submarines connect cities in the depths. The oceans teem with telepathic life that some call angels. Merchants and smugglers ply their trades. Broken planet Sheba is mined for ore. Survival is an everyday question. SF, fantasy, supernatural - multi-author microfiction adventure, three times a week at

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Authors, What Does Grace Bridges Want From You?

By Jennifer Slattery

Yesterday, we met speculative fiction author and owner of Splashdown Books, Grace Bridges and got to know her publishing company a bit better. Today and tomorrow, she'll share what she looks for in new authors, what makes a great book, and how writers can avoid some common mistakes as they launch their careers.

Love Splashdown books and their vision? Think maybe you could be their next great author? Today Grace Bridges, speculative fiction author and founder of Splashdown books tells us what she looks for in new authors.

“[I look for] a motivated personality [and a] willingness to jump into marketing and team projects and helping the others,” Bridges said. “Our authors proofread and edit for each other as well as being part of email brainstorming sessions for things like back cover blurbs. Of course, a clean and tidy manuscript is also a must - I want stories that don't require heavy editing to get them up to scratch. And the bottom line is, I have to love the story.

More and more publishing companies are setting up “author families,” or close, interactive peer-networking. You’ve heard the phrase “It takes a village to raise a child?” The same is true in publishing. It takes a village to launch a book and publishing companies that take the time and energy to connect their authors increase their authors’ chances of success. Brainstorming sessions allow authors to tap into countless minds, merging their creative genius with someone else’s in order to create truly original and gripping work. Peer editing allows the writer to step out of their limited perspective, seeing their work through someone else’ mind and often eliminates holes and inconsistencies the writer wasn’t aware of.

This model of networked-marketing, brainstorming, and editing has allowed Splashdown books to remain true to their initial vision while expanding their reach. Bridges wants Splashdown to grow in print-size, without losing its small-press charm. “I hope our modus operandi will remain the same,” Bridges said. “No doubt the team will be bigger, and we might be able to publish more books each year. But I want to keep the personal touch and the team interaction as it has always been up until now. And I do want our authors to be much better known than they are now. With a continuing commitment to quality, and a constant stream of new titles, we can get there.”

When evaluating new stories, Bridges looks for those novels that grip both heart and soul. For example, she finds novels like Taliesin by Stephen Lawhead, especially gripping. “It has always been my favorite fantasy book, and it is responsible for a lot of style elements that have found their way into my own writing,” Bridges said. “The evocative and haunting beauty of that story was what propelled me to try writing myself.”

Here's a quote:
He raised his eyes to the stars once more and saw their cold splendour. I am part of that, he thought. I am part of what they are, part of all that is or ever was. I am Taliesin; I am a word in letters, a sound on the breath of the wind. I am a wave on the sea and Great Mannawyddan is my father. I am a spear thrown down from heaven...

These words went spinning through the boy's head. His spirit quivered as they touched him, before winging away into the throbbing obscurity from which they were sprung, leaving their mark on him, a brand seared into his young soul as if with white iron.

I am Taliesin, he thought, singer at the dawn of the age.

Join us tomorrow as Grace Bridges talks about the elements of a great story and some of the common mistakes authors make. Don't forget to leave a persuasive comment telling her why you desperately need to win an ebook copy of Aquasynthesis. To win, all you need to do is convince her you want it. It's that easy! And you can all win because she's giving away and unlimited number--to the most passionate comment-leavers, of course.

Grace Bridges is the owner of Splashdown Books, and an incurably voracious reader and author of sci-fi. She has two published books: Faith Awakened (2007) and Legendary Space Pilgrims (2010). Grace is a Kiwi of Irish descent at home in New Zealand, and is a multilingual do-it-yourself gal.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Meet Grace Bridges, Founder of Splashdown Books

By Jennifer Slattery

Science Fiction author and owner of Splashdown Books, Grace Bridges, sort of trickled into the publishing world. “I first dabbled in self-publishing and discovered that I really like the process of bringing a book to publication,” she said. “But I wanted to use this skillset for more than just my own novels. I kept on encountering wonderful stories in critique groups, and because of their weirdness level there often wasn't much hope of publication. Yet there are a ton of readers who love speculative tales, and I want to connect them with these authors.”

Speculative fiction novels and movies certainly appear to be gaining in popularity. Perhaps it is the complete break from reality they offer. I believe Jerry B. Jenkins and Tim LaHayes initiated this alternative reality trend with their popular "Left Behind Series." Shortly thereafter, C.S. Lewis’s "The Chronicles of Narnia" became the staple for many readers across the country. Of course, we’ll always have our spec-fic greats like Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker paving the way with mind-expanding, soul-gripping novels.

Like these other great novels, Splashdown Books wants to provide a connection between authors and fans of a genre with the capability to transport the reader to other worlds. “It's a twofold vision really: finding awesome stories, and finding the readers who want them,” said Bridges.

So, what kind of books does Splashdown publish? “The weird stuff,” Bridges said. “Science fiction, fantasy and supernatural are our main branches, though they can also mix with each other.”

They’ve managed to do just that with their recent supernatural thriller,
Winter, by Keven Newsome:

Winter Maessen didn't ask for the gift of prophecy. She's happy being a freak - but now everyone thinks she's crazy. Or evil. Goths aren't all the same, you know. Some are Christians. ...Christians to whom God sends visions. Students at her university are being attacked, and Winter knows there's more than flesh and blood at work. Her gift means she's the only one who can stop it - but at what price?

Check it out at Amazon and watch the amazing video trailer, filmed by the author:

You can also get it in ebook form.

Splashdown Books is certainly a publishing company to keep your eye on, especially if you love speculative fiction. Haven’t tried a spec-fic? Then now’s your chance. Grace Bridges is giving away a free electronic copy of Aquasynthesis, with the rather special condition that anyone can have one who convinces me with their comment that they want it! (This applies to all of you--an unlimited number!) Just for fun...

Aquasynthesis Blurb: Gizile follows her mysterious teacher, Tok, as they look into the ice of an ocean pool to contemplate a series of strange and mystical visions:
Astonishing tales of technology and transcendence, aliens and elves, space and time, dragons and demons, prophecies and scriptures, humor and horror, the gifted and the enslaved, virtual and supernatural reality, insanity and inspiration.

Get a copy of best this Amazon hot-selling fantasy Aquasynthesis now!

Grace Bridges is the owner of Splashdown Books, and an incurably voracious reader and author of sci-fi. She has two published books: Faith Awakened (2007) and Legendary Space Pilgrims (2010). Grace is a Kiwi of Irish descent at home in New Zealand, and is a multilingual do-it-yourself gal. A history of all her publications, including short stories available online, can be found here.
Join us tomorrow as Grace shares what she looks for when contracting new authors.

Friday, August 19, 2011

with Sarah Sundin

Welcome to the Barn Door Book Loft, Sarah!
Is there a story behind this book?

Blue Skies Tomorrow arose from my need for happy endings. In my first novel, A Distant Melody, one of the side characters, Helen Carlisle, is widowed at only twenty-one, and the hero’s oldest brother, Ray Novak, is dumped by his fiancée. I mentally introduced them to each other, and they really appreciated that—the mutual attraction was strong. This novel also allows me to complete the story of the US Eighth Air Force in World War II to victory in Europe, and to cover the Port Chicago Explosion, which occurred close to Antioch, California, where Helen and the Novaks live.

What kind of books do you enjoy reading?
There are so many great books out now! For general fiction, I love books by Dale Cramer, Athol Dickson, and Charles Martin. For World War II stories, I love books by Tricia Goyer, Cara Putman, Dan Walsh, and Susan May Warren. For other historical fiction, I love Liz Curtis Higgs, Laura Frantz, Lorna Seilstad, Jill Eileen Smith, Karen Witemeyer, and Melanie Dobson. I know I’m forgetting somebody—and I’ve got some fabulous, highly recommended books sitting in my to-be-read pile.

If you were a style of music, what style would you be?
I asked my teen daughter (always a dangerous thing to do). She said I’d be classical music because she thinks I was born a century too late. Or—she said—“you’d be that really weird Big Band music you always listen to.” And she’s right.

What is your strangest habit?
Strangest habits. Hoo boy, embarrassing nerd stuff here. I tend to make lots of lists and charts and tables full of trivial data. For example, when I started writing this trilogy, I began a timeline document for World War II dates. It started as a 6-page document. I’m at over 200 pages now. It’s color-coded with little symbols, and I spend way too much time updating that document. Really anal-retentive/obsessive-compulsive, huh? On the plus side, when I started blogging, I was able to add a “Today in World War II” feature really easily.

Are there things you put off doing because you dread them?
Mucking out the closets and anything involving cleaning.

What's your favorite meal with family and friends?
Grilled chicken burritos. These are appallingly easy and great for a summer barbecue. You just sprinkle boneless skinless chicken breasts with salt, cumin, and chili powder—go nice and heavy with the cumin and chili powder. Grill the chicken on the barbecue or under the broiler, then shred. Serve with tortillas, refried beans, shredded jack cheese, and a selection of veggies—green onions, cilantro, avocado, tomato, and black olives.

Share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you.
John 15:5 is my theme verse right now: “'I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing’” (NASB). Everywhere I look, this concept and this verse keep popping up, a firm indication that the Lord wants to get my attention and teach me the importance of abiding in Him. This is a lifelong lesson for all of us, but He’s impressed it on me lately.

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
I recently signed another contract with Revell for a three-book series, tentatively titled Wings of the Nightingale, which follows three World War II flight nurses who discover friendship, love, and peril in the skies and on the shores of the Mediterranean.

The first novel, tentatively titled In Every Letter is scheduled to release September 2012. Here's a blurb:

Loner Mellie Blake longs for adventure as a flight nurse, while Army engineer Lt. Tom MacGilliver tries to overcome the legacy of his infamous father. In North Africa and Sicily, Mellie pioneers air evacuation while Tom builds airfields under fire. Will their anonymous correspondence unlock their true identities?

You can purchase Blue Skies Tomorrow from Amazon.

Sarah is giving away a copy of Blue Skies Tomorrow. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sarah Sundin's Blue Skies Tomorrow

Sarah Sundin lives in northern California with her husband and three children. When she isn’t ferrying kids to soccer and tennis, she works on-call as a hospital pharmacist and teaches Sunday school and women’s Bible studies.

She is the author of the Wings of Glory series—A Distant Melody (Revell, 2010), A Memory Between Us (2010), and Blue Skies Tomorrow (August 2011). In 2011, A Memory Between Us was a finalist in the Inspirational Reader's Choice Awards and Sarah received the Writer of the Year Award at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference.

You can find Sarah online at,,,

Blue Skies Tomorrow

Blue Skies Tomorrow is the third book in the Wings of Glory series, which follows the three Novak brothers, B-17 bomber pilots with the US Eighth Air Force stationed in England during World War II. Each book stands alone.

Lt. Raymond Novak prefers the pulpit to the cockpit, but at least his stateside job training B-17 pilots allows him the luxury of a personal life. As he courts Helen Carlisle, a young war widow and mother who conceals her pain under a frenzy of volunteer work, the sparks of their romance set a fire that flings them both into peril. After Ray leaves to fly a combat mission at the peak of the air war over Europe, Helen takes a job in a dangerous munitions yard and confronts an even graver menace in her own home. Will they find the courage to face their challenges? And can their young love survive until blue skies return?

Here's an excerpt of Blue Skies Tomorrow:

Helen Carlisle strolled up G Street, careful to keep a pained expression. Some days the performance of grief was easier than others, but it was always necessary for her son’s sake.

She shifted two-year-old Jay-Jay higher on her hip and inhaled the Delta breeze, flowing fresh from the San Francisco Bay into the Sacramento River Delta, rain-scrubbed and scented by new grass on the hills.

With a bump of her hip, Helen opened the door of Della’s Dress Shop and set her notebooks on the table by the door.

From a picture frame on the table, Jim Carlisle smiled up at her—long, lean, and handsome in his Navy blues. The hometown hero. Was he wearing that uniform when a Japanese torpedo slammed into his destroyer off Guadalcanal?

She pressed her fingers to her lips and then to the cold glass over Jim’s cold face. But a scan of the shop revealed no sign of her in-laws. Footsteps came from the back room and the curtain swished open, so Helen repeated the performance, laid another kiss on the portrait, and lifted it for her son. “Give Daddy a kiss.”

Jay-Jay mashed his palm over his mouth, making a crunching sound, and passed the kiss to the father he couldn’t remember.

A crunching sound? Jay-Jay’s cheeks stretched rounder than usual. “Sweetie, what do you have in your mouth?”

He shook his blond curls, his mouth clamped shut.

“Let Mama see.” Helen dropped to her knees, pinned the boy on her lap, and pried open his mouth. He howled and flapped his arms at her.

“Please, sweetie?” Nausea billowed through her. Chunks of slimy gray shell lay in her son’s mouth. She’d set him down for a minute, only a minute while she hung the thermometer poster in the window of the Red Cross Branch Office to monitor the War Fund Campaign.

You can purchase Blue Skies Tomorrow from Amazon.

Sarah is giving away a copy of Blue Skies Tomorrow. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

with Roger Bruner

Welcome to the Barn Door Book Loft, Roger!
People talk about life before children—what was your life before writing?

I don’t recall my life before writing. I’ve been writing all of my life—or so it seems—but I’ve only been writing novels the last six or seven years. And it’s been almost three years since I retired early to write full-time.

Although I’ve written some poetry, short plays, even an article or two, most of my pre-novel writing was Christian songs. I probably wrote a couple of hundred songs over a thirty-five year period. Nothing you’ve ever heard, but some of them aren’t bad (you can listen to a few of them at Then when I discovered I have a talent for fiction, I gave up the music writing almost entirely for a while. Only recently have I gotten back into song writing.

What book have you recently enjoyed reading?
I just finished reading Tim Downs’ Nick of Time. He’s a fantastic writer. His Bug Man series is terrific suspense, and Tim has created a truly memorable character in Nick—the Bug Man. Right now I’m reading Stealing Jake. I don’t normally read historical novels, but this one’s pretty good.

If you were a dessert, what would you be?
In spite of being Caucasian, I’d have to be something chocolate. Maybe a humongous slice of chocolate silk pie or a gigantic chocolate chip cookie topped with ice cream (the ice cream can be vanilla, though). Of course, now that I know I’m diabetic, I would have more of a problem trying to be myself. *L*

If you were to find a purple polka-dotted monster in your kitchen one morning, how would you respond?
“Hello there. Do you mind if I call you Spot? Ah, good. Spot, I assume God sent you here to fix breakfast. I’ll settle for pancakes or waffles with turkey sausage. Can you handle that? You don’t do breakast? Don’t eat it or don’t fix it? Uh, okay, you don’t eat it. But I do. You want my car keys? Why? Yes, there’s a Shoney’s just up the road. But can’t you use your spaceship to get there? Oh, I see. You had a little accident trying to land it. Give me my keys back, please. Tell you what: I’ll just fix my usual weekday poached egg and toast while you tell me a little bit about yourself. But first, do you want me to get you some spot remover?”

Tell us about one of your favorite memories or moments in your life.
In 1970, I drove down to what was then called Ridgecrest Baptist Assembly to spend my fourth year on summer staff. Because of a conflict between my six-month-old moustache and an outdated rule about staffers having to be clean-shaven, I wasn’t going to be permitted to stay unless I shaved. I wasn’t a kid. I’d finished two years of teaching by then, and I refused to shave.

The manager was really nice, though. He let me stay free a couple of weeks as a guest and provided all of the resources needed for the staff choir to present a musical drama I had written. The staff was all for me. They loved the drama, and they admired me for sticking to my guns. Never have I felt so supported in any other effort.

So one of the most wonderful times in my life was the premiere of A Parable of Winning and Losing one Thursday evening with probably a couple of hundred of the other summer staff in attendance. I understand that the choir did Parable a couple of other times and that someone became a Christian as the result of it. That made it even more worthwhile even after my memorable evening.

Incidentally, the manager changed the “clean shaven” rule for the next summer—he couldn’t change it that summer because he’d already enforced it on other guys—so I returned for the summers of 1971 and 1972.

What's one of your dreaded things to do?
My father and I agreed on one very basic thing: Heaven isn’t going to have any telephones! I hate using them, and I will do anything I can to avoid using one. If the house phone rings, I either don’t answer or hand it to my wife. If my cell phone rings, it had better be somebody I know. I really dread having to call somebody else, though. Part of it may be handling the phone with my hearing aids, but I’ve always been this way—at least as an adult. I put off making simple calls—like scheduling a doctor appointment. I’m apt to let myself forget about more important calls; if it’s that important, let somebody call me—and hope I figure out who’s calling so I can decide whether to answer.

What is the Lord teaching you, or recently taught you?
One of the most important lessons He’s been teaching me is that I need to dwell more on who He is. Obvious, maybe. But the idea of the J.B. Phillips book Your God Is Too Small is SO true. I am learning to appreciate God more by focusing on how different He is from us human beings and how impossible He is to understand fully. If we could understand Him, He wouldn’t be worthy to be God. No matter how much I understand in my head that God is good and that God is love, I can never take in just how good and how loving He really is. If I’d been living in Jesus’ day, I’d like to think I’d have a more complete understanding. Even so, I wouldn’t begin to understand God completely.

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
My next book, the sequel to Found in Translation, came out August 1. Lost in Dreams—I still want to refer to it by my original title, Prancing on Pebbles—picks up where Found in Translation leaves off. Kim Hartlinger is still the protagonist/narrator of the story. She thought things were bad in Mexico at times, but her arrival home leads to her mother’s automobile death, which Kim feels responsible for. To learn how that affects her and how a mission trip to California relates to the story, I’ll refer you to the book itself. *grin* Whether the Altered Hearts series continues beyond Lost in Dreams depends on sales of the first two books.

You can purchase Lost in Dreams from Amazon.

Roger is giving away a copy of Lost in Dreams. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Roger Bruner's Lost in Dreams

Roger Bruner worked as a teacher, job counselor, and programmer analyst before retiring to pursue his dream of writing Christian fiction full-time.

A guitarist and songwriter, he is active in his church's choir, early service praise team, and nursing home ministry. Roger also enjoys reading, photography, web design, mission trips, and spending time with his wonderful wife, Kathleen.

You can find Roger online at,,

Lost in Dreams

Grace, hope, and healing intersect in the California mountains.

From the moment eighteen-year-old Kim Hartlinger steps off the plane from a mission trip to a remote Mexican village, her journey takes a turn for the worse. As she collides with the biggest challenge of her young life—and faith—Kim struggles with haunting questions and recurring nightmares. . .all the while trying to hide a deep, dark secret.

Will Kim find the hope and healing she needs? . . . Or is her broken spirit beyond repair?

Here's an excerpt of Lost in Dreams:

“Kim! Look out!”

Aleesha’s scream almost gave me a heart attack as it split the early afternoon lull and reverberated throughout the Skyfly Departures Terminal at San Diego International Airport.

Before I could figure out what I was supposed to look out for, my feet started sliding gracelessly across the floor. Was this one of those California earthquakes I’d heard so much about?

But how could it be when I seemed to be the only object shaking or moving?

As I teetered and tottered to maintain my balance, I felt like a pedestrian who’s stepped on an unexpected patch of icy sidewalk. . .and never stopped sliding.

I didn’t have a chance to think about protecting the arm I’d broken in Mexico a couple of weeks earlier. I was too concerned with not breaking my neck this time.

Just as I stopped skating out of control and started regaining my stability, I made the mistake of shifting my weight the tiniest bit. That motion offset my center of gravity just enough to make both feet shoot out from under me. Although Aleesha had gotten close enough to grasp my unbroken arm, she couldn’t hold onto it.

I wish I could say her valiant effort served as a parachute slowing my fall, but truth be known, I probably more closely resembled a jumper whose chute has failed to open.

From a speeding, out-of-control vertical position to splatteredflatonthefloor in 3.353 seconds. That would be a new record for any accident-prone eighteen-year-old. It was for me.

“Ow.” Good girl, Kim. No cursing. God cured you of that in Santa María.

I sat up and wiggled back and forth a time or two to make sure my most important body parts were still working. I focused on the expressions of concerned passersby to keep from having to look at Aleesha’s laughing face.

Here's the book trailer for Lost in Dreams:

You can purchase Lost in Dreams from Amazon.

Roger is giving away a copy of Lost in Dreams. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

with Michelle Sutton

Welcome to the Barn Door Book Loft, Michelle!
People talk about life before children—what was your life before writing?

I did a lot of cross stitch and crocheted blankets. I have always kept myself busy creating things, but before I created stories I created pics and blankets.

What book have you recently enjoyed reading?
Composing Amelia by Alison Strobel

If you were a dessert, what would you be?
I love the Reeses Peanut Butter Cup sundaes from Friendly's Restaurants!

If you were to find a purple polka-dotted monster in your kitchen one morning, how would you respond?
I'd probably blink twice, try to clear my head, ask myself if I needed my morning coffee, then swear off fantasy and sci fi books for life... All of that would happen after I ran screaming into the other room searching for a fly swatter and grabbing a thermometer to make sure I wasn't sick and hallucinating.

Tell us about one of your favorite memories or moments in your life.
Other than the day I got married and the birth of my children I'd have to say the first Christmas I had with my husband when he gave me mustard seed earrings and told me with tears in his eyes that he got them for me because God planted a seed of love for me in his heart and it just kept growing…

What is the Lord teaching you, or recently taught you?
How to trust Him in every aspect of my life and to listen to what He is telling me, not what people think I should do. Sometimes it's easy to cordon off a section of our hearts and not allow the Lord in there. Sometimes it's easier to listen to the advice of others than to seek God's will for ourselves. But none of that works very well. He knows what's going on inside of us anyway. He also knows what is best for us. We just have to trust Him. This is an ongoing process for me.

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
I have several books releasing every year and just signed a number of new book contracts for 2012-2014. More info can be found on my website under Michelle's books at

You can purchase Letting Go from Amazon.

Michelle is giving away a copy of Letting Go. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Michelle Sutton's Letting Go

Michelle has been writing for a number of years and is a member of ACFW, as well as an avid book reviewer and blogger on a variety of sites. She founded Edgy Christian Fiction Lovers social networking site which is quickly approaching 1000 members.

Southeastern Arizona is where Michelle calls home. She and her husband are approaching twenty-one years of marriage and their two sons will begin their second year of college this fall.

She is the author of well over a dozen novels releasing through 2014, and presently has three publishers. They are... Sheaf House, Desert Breeze Publishing, & Sword of the Spirit.

You can find Michelle online at
her website,,
Edgy Christian Fiction Lovers social media network:,
her Healing Hearts book review blog

Letting Go

Outwardly Diane Simmons appears to have everything a woman could want. A successful attorney, she’s beautiful and talented, and yet she always seems to be attracted to the wrong men. Longing to be loved for who she is, not for what she looks like, she finally realizes the world’s view of love is totally unrealistic and distorted and gives up on romance. She wants to find a better way but has no clue where to look.

Dave Passel can never father a biological child. He loves his foster son deeply, but something goes terribly wrong before the adoption can be finalized. When the State tries to reunite the child with the birth mother he has never known and the new caseworker accuses Dave of sabotaging visits with her, he hires Diane to fight for him in court. He believes in God’s sovereignty, but bad experiences with his late wife make it hard for him to trust Diane as she advocates for his son. If only he didn’t struggle so much with letting go . . .

Here's an excerpt of Letting Go:

A romantic song played in the background at the Coffee Grounds Café in Seattle, Washington. Standing in line at the counter, Diane Simmons smiled and listened to the lyrics, convinced the words were a sign. Things were finally turning around in her love life.

Preoccupied, she yanked her wallet from her Coach bag. Cash and credit cards skittered across the tile. She squatted and chased the items around with her nails. Carefully retrieving the bills first, she shoved the cash into her purse and focused on gathering her credit cards. Unable to retrieve her Macy’s card from the tiled surface, she bit back a frustrated groan.

“Need help?”

A smooth male voice startled her. She glanced up into the deep blue eyes of a man in a pilot’s uniform. His perusal made her shiver. She recognized that hungry look, and it made her want to run in the other direction.

Glancing away from him, she sighed. She just wanted her card back.

“I guess.”

As the dark-haired man knelt beside her and captured the stray card, she noticed the pin on his lapel. He worked for the same airline as her boyfriend, Randy.

Tucking her hair behind her ear, she struggled to stand in her new three-inch heels. She doubted she’d ever get used to them, but Randy thought they were hot, so she wore them anyway. She wanted to look her finest when she surprised him today.

He had no idea she was in Seattle for a conference due to a last minute change in plans at her law firm. Randy would be shocked to see her, but she hoped he would be pleased too. After dating him on and off for nearly two years, she had yet to see his place. He always wanted to come to Boise and stay at her condo instead. Now she had two entire days set aside just for him, and he could show her his place this weekend.

The pilot handed her the Macy’s card and brushed his fingertips against her palm. Her experience with men told her it wasn’t an accident. He was probably just another cheating husband hoping for a quick liaison for the day, but she was done with being stupid about men. Randy was a great catch. She had no intention of ruining their relationship.

Focusing on the poster behind the man, rather than on his face, she said, “Thank you.” When she turned to walk toward the counter, her ankle wobbled.

He chuckled and grabbed her elbow. “Looks like I might need to stick around.”

She stepped away from him. Feeling the heat of his stare, she met his eyes. His attention quickly dropped to her plunging neckline, then slowly returned to her face. His smile widened, revealing gleaming white teeth.

“Can I buy you a drink? Please?”

Diane pressed her hand against her blouse, her face heating. He’d probably seen her black lace bra when she’d leaned forward. Mentally berating herself for not being more careful, she muttered, “No thanks.”

Inhaling the rich aroma of fresh brew, she checked her watch. Almost noon. In less than an hour Randy’s plane would land. He always wanted a good, strong cup of coffee after a long flight, and this was his favorite place. She hoped he didn’t break his routine today or it would mess up her plans.

After enduring two days of boring lectures, she wished she could order something strong as a reward. But surprising Randy and having a chance to visit him would be reward enough.

Resting her hand on her abdomen, she felt a rush of warmth. A tiny life grew inside her womb. She closed her eyes and imagined Randy holding their child for the first time.

Nothing in the world meant more to her than the baby she carried. And though she and Randy had never discussed marriage or becoming a family, she knew he’d be excited about her pregnancy once she gave him the news.

“Are you ready to order, ma’am?”

She opened her eyes. “Yes. I’d like a decaf Chai, please.” Removing a ten dollar bill from her wallet, she offered it to the young man. “Keep the change.”

“Thanks.” He accepted the money with a grin and rang up her order.

While she waited for him to make her drink, she closed her eyes again and imagined Randy’s smile when she told him he was going to be a daddy. He’d hug her, then they’d go to his place to celebrate . . .

Someone tapped her arm. “Are you meeting someone?”

Diane’s pulse skipped a beat. She pretended she hadn’t heard the man or felt his touch. Unfortunately she had a thing for men in uniform. That was how Randy had hooked her two years ago. She didn’t want to be rude; she just didn’t want to encourage the man.

“Excuse me.” The heat from his hand sent a shiver up her spine. “I asked if you’re meeting someone.”

She cleared her throat. “As a matter of fact, I am.”

Shrugging his hand off, she retrieved her cup, then glanced around for a place to sit. Most of the tables were full.

Several soldiers watched her as she tried to decide what to do. They smiled, and one waved for her to join them. With a noncommittal shrug, she moved toward an empty table.

Sliding onto her seat, Diane straightened her short velvet skirt and set her purse under her chair. She removed her leather blazer and hung it over the back of her seat, then tucked another wayward lock of hair behind her ear. She eyed the chocolate cheesecake pictured in a mini-menu beside the napkin holder and smiled, imagining the creamy texture of the dessert. She refused to give into temptation, however. Her clothes were already getting tight.

“Excuse me. Is this seat taken?”

She resisted the urge to stand and slap the young pilot. Glancing up, she met his gaze with a frown, hoping he’d finally take the hint and leave her alone.

He winked. “I bet you’re fantasizing about chocolate cheesecake.”

How had he managed to read her mind? She peered around the crowded coffee bar, noting her table had the only available seat. Though the man annoyed her, she didn’t want to make him stand.

“I’m waiting for someone, but it’ll be a while.” Diane tipped her head toward the vacant chair. “Go ahead. Have a seat.”

He smiled, set his coffee down, and grabbed the vinyl chair. Turning it around, he sat down and folded his arms over the back.

“Thanks.” Giving her another seductive smile, he removed his cap and set it on the table.

Her cheeks warmed at the intense, lusty gleam in his eyes. He couldn’t be more obvious about what he wanted. She despised overly flirtatious men. What she wanted was a husband, and a family. Not a one night stand.

He offered his hand. “I’m Chuck.”

“Diane.” Loosely grasping his hand, she avoided eye contact.

His fingers slid across the center of her palm as he released her hand. She pressed her lips together and bit back a rude comment. Jerk!

“Are you thinking about me?”

She rolled her eyes. “Why would you think that?”

His gaze roamed her face before settling on her mouth. “Maybe I was hoping you were.”

Diane swirled her tea around and pursed her lips to take a careful sip. Without thinking, she licked her lip and caught him watching her intently.

“Why don’t you let me buy you a slice of cheesecake?”

She shook her head. “No thanks. I really shouldn’t.”

“One slice of cheesecake won’t hurt you. You look really great, if you don’t mind me saying.”

Of course she minded. Good sense told her to get up and leave.

Don’t be rude, Diane. You mustn’t let a man get under your skin.

“Come on.” He rested his hand on hers. “I’ll split it with you.”

Sliding her hand out from under his, she noticed his wedding band. “Nice ring. Do you have kids?”

He eyed his finger and twisted his ring. “We’re expecting our first child in February.”

“That’s not long to wait. Are you nervous?”

Rubbing the back of his neck, he forced a chuckle. “Not as much as my best friend was. You should’ve seen him when his wife was due. The guy was a real mess.”

She tipped her head and feigned interest. “How could you tell?”

He leaned forward. “I had to take over for him. She went into labor while we were on a flight, and he totally freaked out because he couldn’t be with her.”

Diane ran her fingers through her bangs. “Do you fly together often?”

“About two or three times a month.” He shrugged, then sipped his coffee. “He’s getting back from an intercontinental flight today. He’s been scheduled for a lot of those lately. The money is good, but the hours suck.”

“I can imagine.”

“In fact, he’s supposed to meet me here in about an hour.”

“Where’s he flying in from?” She took another long sip. Randy was due about that time.


Diane choked and coughed until her eyes watered.

Chuck squeezed her arm. “You okay?”

“I think so.” She coughed several more times and patted her chest. “My tea went down the wrong pipe.”

She grabbed a napkin and wiped her nose. The thought that Randy might be Chuck’s friend made her want to run out of the coffee shop, but she pushed the fear aside. Randy wouldn’t lie to her. He loved her.

“What’re you doing in Seattle?”

His flirtatious grin sickened her. Had he all ready forgotten he’d told her he was married? Or didn’t he care?

“I was at a family law conference. I’m an attorney.”

“Wow, an attorney.” Chuck whistled. “Sweet. You live in Washington?”

Diane traced the edge of her cup. “I live near Boise.”

His voice grew husky. “Who’re you meeting?”

“I’d hoped to surprise a friend.”

The song in the background warned about playing the fool in love. She clutched her cup so hard her knuckles whitened and the cardboard started to cave in.

She forced a smile. “So, Chuck, what plans do you have today?

He leaned back. “My friend and I will probably go to a sports bar to catch a football game. It really depends on what he wants to do. I’m usually pretty open.”

“Why doesn’t he go home to his wife? Doesn’t she mind him hanging out with you after getting home from a long trip?”

“Beats me if she even cares.” He grinned. “I never asked.”

“You’d think he’d want to see her after being separated for days.”

Chuck shrugged. “No doubt he would if you were his honey. Honestly, he’s pretty private when it comes to his marriage. He doesn’t talk much about his family.”

“Why not?”

“His wife can be a bit of a nag, but she’s pretty, and his baby is the spitting image of her.” With a sly grin he reached into his back pocket and pulled out his wallet. “He gave me a picture of his family a few months ago. Want to see it?”

Diane smirked. “You carry his family photo in your wallet?”

“Sure.” He laughed and wiggled his brows. “You get pretty close to a guy when you’re sharing a cockpit for hours. I’m his daughter’s godfather.”

He pulled his chair around closer to hers and handed her the photo. “This was taken last Christmas. She’s about a year and a half old now. Isn’t she sweet?”

Diane sucked in her breath, her vision blurring as tears pooled in her eyes. Randy.

Trembling, she dropped the photo as if it were covered with acid.

“You all right? You look pale.”

She cleared her throat and pasted on what she hoped passed for a smile. “I’m fine. Baby pictures always make me cry.”

She stood and grabbed her jacket from the back of the chair. She struggled to pull it on.

Chuck stood. “Need help?”

She bit her lip and shook her head, then hastily reached under her seat for her purse. “Sorry, but I’ve got to go.”

“Let’s get together sometime.”

The pilot offered her his business card, just as Randy had done two years earlier. When his wife had been pregnant. The memory sent chills up her spine.
She peered at the card as if it were a snake, then hurried out before she started swearing or, worse, burst into tears.

You can purchase Letting Go from Amazon.

Michelle is giving away a copy of Letting Go. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

with Bonnie Leon

Welcome to the Barn Door Book Loft, Bonnie!
People talk about life before children—what was your life before writing?

I’ve always believed that one of the best parts of my life has been being a mother. Maybe because of that my life BC (before children) feels incomplete. Of course it wasn’t. In actuality my husband and I had a lot going on. The first four years of our married life was full of heartache-the loss of a baby, my father’s death and my husband and I lived in the midst of a destructive and miserable marriage. In 1973 we separated for seven months and were on the way to divorce court. God had other plans and intervened. He saved us and our marriage.

I was working as a secretary when I had my first child. I decided to stay home and be a full time homemaker and mother. Those were good days. Greg and I loved being parents and, as new believers church was a priority. It was a time of fun, friendship and spiritual growth.

We had two more children and decided to leave the city life in Washington behind and moved to Southern Oregon to a tiny community in the foothills of the Cascades. We joined the community activities, leapt into ministry at our church and went to work on our small family farm. I worked alongside my husband building a home and doing the chores that never end when you live in the country. As a full time Mom I hunted for pollywogs with the kids, picked berries, taught the kids how to fish, attended all sorts of school activities and a long list of other fun stuff. Life wasn’t perfect. We had the usual and not so usual traumas that come with raising a family, but I remember those days as the best.

In June of 1991 everything changed when a log truck tipped over on a tight corner and hit the van I was driving. My body has never been the same. I sustained several injuries that healed, but my back never mended and I was forced to live a sedentary life and to find my way through the weeds of living with chronic pain.

My children, then 9, 11, and 13 took over the household chores and I took a journey through a long, dark valley. I felt as if I’d lost everything I loved about my life. I could not be the wife I’d always been and could no longer be a “real” mother, or so I thought. Like I said, it was a long journey. But God hadn’t given up on me.

It wasn’t easy to learn to live with the new me. I still have days when I struggle with that. In 1992, many months after my accident, I was in the midst of one of my darkest days when all I wanted was for my life to end. I asked the Lord to please give me something to do that was valuable and meaningful for me and for others. He gave me writing.

I attended my first writing conference that year and submitted my first book in 1993. Thomas Nelson Publishing introduced me to the writing world in 1994 with my debut book, The Journey of Eleven Moons. I’ve been writing ever since.

What book have you recently enjoyed reading?
One of my biggest frustrations is that I don’t have enough time to read all the books I’d like. There are so many good ones. Out of the books I read this past year, three rise above the others. Ann Shorey’s The Dawn of a Dream finished up her Beldon Grove series. I loved it and think it’s the best Ann Shorey book to date. I also savored Rosslyn Elliott’s debut novel, Fairer than Morning, which is an exquisitely written historical. James Rubert’s book, Rooms, kept me reading and guessing until the very end. It’s full of surprises and treasures. I highly recommend it.

If you were a dessert, what would you be?
It has to be Angel Food Cake with strawberries and whipped cream. I love the mix of vivid colors—white and red, both symbolic. The cake is light and sweet, which pleases my tongue, and I’d like to be that kind of person. I tend to be a bit melancholoy so I’m thinking being an angel food cake is a “wanna be” thing. And did I mention it’s delicious—one of my favorite desserts. God really did an outstanding job when he created strawberries.

If you were to find a purple polka-dotted monster in your kitchen one morning, how would you respond?
First off, I’m sure the old tune Wild Purple People Eater would flash through my mind. The people eater part would contribute to my terror. I’d sneak out of the kitchen and pray it hadn’t seen me, then get my Glock while I called 911. Once safely out of the house, I’d call my husband and find a good place to hide—probably in my car just in case I needed to make a fast get-a-way. Most likely, I’d have a long wait for the sheriff—we live twenty miles out of town.

I wouldn’t want the creature killed unless it was truly dangerous. Purple polka dots doesn’t sound very ferocious. It would be fun to discover a new friendly life form rather than a people eating one.

Tell us about one of your favorite memories or moments in your life.
There are so many. I could fill a book – or books. :) However, if I must choose only one it’s a summer day when I was quite young. My brother and I were playing in a plastic blow up swimming pool. Somehow or other I’d gotten a hold of a butter knife and I accidentally dropped it into the pool where it poked a hole in the bottom. My brother couldn’t wait to tattle on me and ran to the house. I knew I was in trouble.

When my mother showed up she inspected the damage while I apologized again and again and tried to hold back my tears. She looked at me with her most serious hazel eyes, hands on her hips and then she smiled and said, “You’re full of prunes,” which was an endearment. She pulled me into her arms and explained that she understood it had been an accident. Grace—pure grace. My mom’s the best. :)

What's one of your dreaded things to do?
I dread confrontations, especially the ones you know you’re supposed to do, that you must do. I’m afraid I’ll do it all wrong and make the situation worse. And I really, really don’t like it when people are mad at me.

What is the Lord teaching you, or recently taught you?
The learning never ends. Most recently I’d say, He continues to remind me to rely on Him, not me. And to rest there. The world is not going to fly apart if I don’t get something done perfectly or within my time frame. And even if the worst thing happens, I won’t face it alone.

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
Wings of Promise was set to release August 1st, but it is already out. It is book two in the Alaskan Skies series and is the continuing story of Kate Evans who, in 1935, chose a career over marriage and moved to Alaska. The question of whether to be a pilot or a wife continues to plague her. She will have to make a decision one day.

Kate is also haunted by the death of her best friend, Alison. The two had been flying when the plane went down and Alison was killed. Kate carries a heavy weight of guilt, which is one of the reasons she chose Alaska and a career as a bush pilot. She needs to prove that she’s a skilled and dedicated pilot who isn’t afraid. She believes that running to Alaska is a way to rid herself of guilt. She doesn’t yet understand that guilt isn’t something that can be left behind.

In book one, Touching the Clouds, Kate met Paul Anderson, a doctor who is also using Alaska as a place of escape. She tried not to love him, but the quiet serious man snagged her heart and now, the two of them work together to help the people in the outback of Alaska.

IN CELEBRATION OF MY NEW BOOK RELEASE: I’m running a really neat contest called Escape to Alaska. You have until August 8 to sign up. To get all the details stop in at my website at

You can purchase Wings of Promise from Amazon.

Bonnie is giving away a copy of Wings of Promise. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Bonnie Leon's Wings of Promise

Bonnie Leon is the author of eighteen novels, including the popular Touching the Clouds, Wings of Promise, the Sydney Cove series and the bestselling Journey of Eleven Moons. She also stays busy speaking for women’s groups and teaching at writing seminars and conventions.

Bonnie and her husband, Greg, live in Southern Oregon. They have three grown children and five grandchildren.

You can find Bonnie online at her website,

Wings of Promise

Her spunk has always gotten her through tough times.

But does she have what it takes to go the distance?

Kate Evans may be a woman in a man’s profession, but as Alaskan bush pilots go, she’s one of the best. If only her personal life wasn’t so complicated. Torn between her affection for fellow pilot Mike Conlin and doctor Paul Anderson, Kate longs for clarity in her heart. But when a terrible tragedy occurs, her mind may be made up for her.

Here's an excerpt of Wings of Promise:

The next few days Kate and Paul hopped from village to village. At the end of the fourth day, they moved up the coast of the Bering Sea. Paul was eager to get to Kotzebue to see how Nena was getting on.

He gazed out at the endless bitter landscape. “I’ve never seen anything like this—miles of . . . nothing.”

“A lot of ice and wind. Once in a while you’ll see a pack of wolves or a bear. The villages are spread out. Nome’s the main hub. They have a doctor there, but we’ll stop anyway from time to time to drop off and pick up supplies and passengers.”

Paul’s eyes turned to the ice-covered ocean. “Hard to imagine that much water being frozen.”

Kate glanced out at the ice. “This area always makes me feel small.”

“More like microscopic.”

“I never really feel alone, though. It’s such an amazing place—huge and endless—and I’m reminded that God created it. I feel his presence here. And I know he sees me flying along.” Kate smiled.

“You think so? I’d like to have your faith. Some things in life make it hard to believe.”

Kate gave him a questioning look, but didn’t say anything. Instead she glanced at her watch. “We’re nearly to Kotzebue. Good thing. By three thirty it’ll be dark.”

Paul didn’t want to think about how God had let him down. He willed away thoughts of Susan and all that had happened in San Francisco and let his gaze roam over a ridge that flowed across the frozen arctic. “The mountains and the land blend together,” he said, studying the white wasteland. “It’s incredible.” He turned to Kate. “Thanks for introducing me to Alaska. I’ve been holed up all this time and didn’t realize there’s so much to see.”

“By this time next year you’ll be well acquainted with the territory . . . and its people.” Kate’s lips curved up into a soft smile as she surveyed the expanse sprawling north. “I love Alaska.”

She turned her gaze toward the sea. “I can’t imagine what Amelia Earhart is experiencing right now. It must be amazing. She’s flying over places people have never seen. I’d love to do something like that.”

“You’d like to fly around the world?” Paul shook his head.

“Yes. Can’t you imagine it?”

“It would be an adventure.” Paul chuckled. “But she’s got to be a little crazy, don’t you think? A woman and a navigator, on their own, flying across thousands of miles of unknown territory and up against all kinds of weather conditions. Not to mention how undependable planes can be.”

“She has the best equipment and she’s in touch with people on the ground.” Her eyes alight, Kate didn’t seem to be concerned with the dangers. “Just imagine seeing India and Australia and—”

“Don’t you get any crazy ideas.” Paul’s stomach tightened. Sometimes Kate seemed to lack all reason. And yet, her adventurous spirit and her courage were part of what he loved about her.

“I won’t. I couldn’t afford it anyway. But I’d love to meet her someday.”

By the time they approached Kotzebue, the sun, looking as if it had been drained of color, rested on the horizon. Firepots were lit and set out along the airfield.

As soon as the plane was down, Joe Turchik headed onto the airstrip. Paul opened the door and Angel bounded out with Kate following. Joe smiled, his almond-shaped eyes nearly disappearing in his round, tanned face. “Glad to see you.”

“It’s good to be back,” Kate said. She turned to Paul. “You remember Paul. He was at the hospital when Nena was hurt.”

“I remember. You helped save my Nena. “Thank you.” Joe grasped Paul’s hand. “Welcome to Kotzebue.”

“Glad to be here.” Paul turned to look at a small village huddled against the frigid Arctic. Icy wind tugged at the ruff of his hood and burned his cheeks. He pulled his hood closed around his face. “It’s freezing out here.”

“Outsiders,” Joe said with a laugh.

The three worked together to secure the Bellanca. The oil was drained, the engine covered, and the craft securely tied down before they headed toward the village. Wind swirled particles of ice off the frozen ground, creating a sparkling mist in the fading light.

As they’d traveled, Paul’s respect for Kate had grown. She was an incredible woman. He grabbed hold of her arm and stopped her. Joe kept moving.

“Kate.” How did he say what he felt?

“What is it?” She stared at him with a puzzled expression.

“I just want you to know . . . I didn’t understand.” He blew out a breath. “All this time . . . I didn’t get it—the risks you take, the kind of life you lead, the lives you touch. I’m so proud of you.” He glanced at Joe’s back, then gave Kate a quick kiss. “You’re amazing.”

“No. I’m not.” Tears washed into her eyes and she shook her head. “I’m not even close to anything like that.”

“You are,” Paul said. “Don’t let your past hold you back.”

“I’m not. Why are you?”

You can purchase Wings of Promise from Amazon.

Bonnie is giving away a copy of Wings of Promise. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.

Day Two with LeAnne Hardy

Welcome back, LeAnne. 

Who has helped you the most in your career?

Gladys Hunt, author of the Honey books (Honey for a Child’s Heart, Honey for a Teen’s Heart, and Honey for a Woman’s Heart) was a huge encouragement to me. (She passed away last year.) Not only was she a spiritual “mother” in my life, but she was also tremendously knowledgeable about literature and a spokesperson for reading aloud as a family. Her husband’s reading Winnie-the-Pooh with voices was an inspiration to our family. The fact that such a woman believed in me as a writer kept me going in those difficult days of sending out manuscripts and getting back rejection letters.

My first critique group in Indianapolis, Indiana, demanded that I simplify my complicated sentence structure. In order to draw out the tension more, they suggested I consider what “the movie version” would show as I visualized my scenes. That turned out to also be a good way to focus on showing instead of telling. It was not a Christian group. In fact, two members considered religion to be a bunch of fairy tales. That meant I couldn’t get by with preachiness or Christian jargon; the message had to grow convincingly out of the context of the story or they would let me know. I am forever grateful to them.

What is the one book no writer should be without?

There are a lot of great writing books out there. Like many, I am a fan of Anne LaMotte’s Bird by Bird. She gave me permission to write a @#$% first draft and to attack one piece of my story at a time. But the book I have been relying on most recently is John Truby’s The Anatomy of Story; 22 steps to becoming a master storyteller. (Farrar, Straus and Girous, NY, 2007.) Truby is a screenwriter and most of his examples come from film, but everything he says is applicable to fiction writing as well. He is strong on planning ahead of time, thinking through your premise, your main character’s weakness, and how he will change by the end of the story. We have heard that sort of thing before, but Truby insists that the character’s weakness should be moral as well as psychological. He is hurting someone else because of it, and his choice in the end represents a moral change. He suggests planning a network of characters all approaching the same moral question in different ways so they play off one another. As I approach the rewrites for this book, I have gone back to my notes on Truby and worked through them step by step. Theoretically, it will save me a lot of rewriting.

What are some of your hobbies?

I took up figure skating as research for my book Crossovers, about a hockey player who wants to learn to jump and spin and is scared to death that someone might find out. I became as addicted as my character. I have volunteered at a couple competitions and even competed at adult Nationals last year where I won a bronze medal in my age and skill division. The premise of my WIP (working title: Keeping Secrets) is a promising young South African figure skater worried her friends at the rink will find out her parents have HIV and reject her. I’m still working on the American angle, but I know her coach is an American skater taking a year off between high school and college who is hiding her own secret.

On a lighter note, what is your favorite word?

When I was in eighth grade I wrote in my diary that “someday” was my favorite word. That word still holds a lot of promise for me.

What is your least favorite word?

That same journal entry said that “never” was my least favorite. As I approach my sixtieth birthday I am realizing that there are fewer “somedays” left and probably a lot more “nevers”. I like to think that in eternity some of those nevers will still happen.

Thank you for joining The Barn Door Book Loft, LeAnne. LeAnne has been gracious enough to offer a copy of her book Glastonbury Tor  to one lucky winner. To enter the drawing comment below. For a second entry, comment on her Day One of her interview posted yesterday.

Good Luck,

Friday, August 5, 2011

Time with Author LeAnne Hardy

Welcome, LeAnne!

Tell us about your book.

Glastonbury Tor is part sixteenth century historical fiction and part visionary fiction of the Holy Grail. The ancient olivewood drinking bowl that young Colin Hay finds in the treasury of Glastonbury Abbey, was disregarded as worthless wood by King Henry VIII’s men when they inventoried the abbey’s treasures. But Father Dunstan, the tortured prior who preaches forgiveness, treasures it. Father Bede, as demanding as the hated father from whom Colin has fled, covets it. Abbot Whiting finds in it the courage to face his enemy, even as monasteries are being dismantled all over England. Will Colin find the personal faith and sense of worth he seeks? Can he ever forgive his father... or himself?

Who did you write your book for?

The simplest answer is that I wrote this book for myself. On a visit to the ruins of Glastonbury Abbey I was fascinated by the events surrounding its closure under Henry VIII. I have loved the Matter of Britain, the cycle of stories surrounding King Arthur and his knights, since reading Tennyson in high school. Glastonbury sits at the heart of those stories. It is the legendary Avalon where Arthur was taken to be healed of his wounds; the home of the Fisher King, protector of the Holy Grail; and the Lady of the Lake who gave Arthur his sword Excalibur. It was a major center of Christianity for a thousand years.

I have a passion for young people and a desire to provide them with images that will impact their thinking about God for a lifetime, so I chose a teen protagonist and asked why he might be present for those dramatic final events. This story of a dysfunctional home and the need for forgiveness grew from there. Because of the time period and subject matter, the language ended up more formal than the typical teen novel. It was eventually published as adult fiction, but will definitely appeal to sophisticated teens and fantasy lovers.

What is the part of your book you personally like best?

When I read aloud to groups, I usually choose the scene from chapter fifteen when the saintly Father Dunstan is on his deathbed and the simple olivewood drinking bowl first shows itself in all its glory. Colin hears a far off chant of “Holy, holy, holy!” which in my mind is in every language under the sun. I often focus on that vision when I am taking communion myself. 

What is the biggest benefit the reader will take away from reading your book?

I hope readers will take away a sense of profound worship of a heavenly King more awesome than Arthur or Charlemagne or Aragorn. There are also themes of forgiveness woven throughout. Colin must forgive his father as he learns from others forgiving their enemies. He must also accept forgiveness from a peasant family whose secret reading of Tyndale’s forbidden English Bible he inadvertently exposes.

Are you working on anything now?

I have set aside the sequel to Glastonbury Tor to work on major revisions to a novel about HIV in Africa that a publisher is asking for. They want a younger, YA protagonist and for the story to begin in America to interest American readers more. That is calling for some pretty major changes since although I am American, I don’t know America nearly as well as I know Africa after living there for fifteen years as a missionary.

Did you always want to be a writer?

I was always a reader, but it never occurred to me to be a writer until an irresistible character popped into my head when I was in my mid-forties. I think I assumed that since I couldn’t write like my favorite author, C.S. Lewis, I couldn’t write at all. Actually, I’m glad it didn’t occur to me to write when my children were at home. I have a tendency to be very focused and I’m sure I would have struggled with neglecting either my fictional family or the real-life one.

Want to know more about LeAnne? She'll join us again tomorrow for part two in her Glastonbury Tor interview. You can purchase Glastonbury Tor from Amazon.

LeAnne is giving away a copy of Glastonbury Tor. To enter the book giveaway, leave a comment on this post. AND tomorrow's post for two chances to win. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

with Lacy Williams

Welcome to the Barn Door Book Loft, Lacy!
Is there a story behind this book?

There is! The heroine is loosely based on two real-life women in law enforcement from the 1920s. I used a little creative license to set the story in the 1890s, but I think a lot of the things that my heroine, Danna Carpenter, went through were similar to what those women in the 20s did.
I wanted to explore the challenges that a woman would have in this role. Would the men listen to her, respect her? What would her peers—other women—think? How would she handle a fistfight?
I don’t want to spoil the story, so you’ll have to read the book to find out about this courageous gal and how she deals with the people she’s supposed to be protecting.

What kind of books do you enjoy reading?
I love both contemporary and historical romance because of the happy endings… I am that person in the bookstore that will read the end of the book first so I know if I will like it or not. :)

Some of my favorite authors include:
Contemporary: Elizabeth White, Linda Goodnight, Irene Hannon, Ruth Logan Herne, Camy Tang
Historical: Maureen Lang, Vickie McDonough, Ruth Axtell Morren, Mary Coneally, Kim Vogel Sawyer

If you were a style of music, what style would you be?
I am a pretty laid-back, meticulous person, so I would probably be “soft rock” or maybe something classical.

Are there things you put off doing because you dread them?
Other than all things housework (dirty dishes are my nemesis!!)? I don’t like confrontation. Never have. If I have to tell a friend something I know they don’t want to hear, I’ll put it off as long as I can. A meeting with my boss (back before my boss became my daughter) that I know isn’t going to be pleasant? I’ll get the sweats, my face will flush… I’ll put it off as long as I can.

What's your favorite meal with family and friends?
A favorite at our house is beef brisket, mashed potatoes, corn casserole, and green beans. My mother-in-law has a fabulous wet-dry rub she uses for the brisket and I’ll be happy to share it:
1 T Liquid Smoke
1 t garlic salt
2 T ground pepper
2 T soy sauce
1 t onion salt
2 t celery seed
2 t Worchestershire sauce
1.5 lb brisket
Mix ingredients; trim fat from brisket (leave a small layer of fat and this should be on top). Pour rub over brisket and marinate 3-4 hours or overnight wrapped in foil. Bake in 300 degree oven for 3-3.5 hours.
When you take out the brisket, there will be a good amount of drippings in the pan that make a great gravy to pour over the meat and potatoes.

Share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you.
Psalm 27 has had a special meaning for me since college, especially verse 14 where it says, “Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” I often struggle with impatience and this verse is an important reminder for me to wait on God’s plan, because He always has something better in mind than I do.

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
I don’t have an official release date yet, but the next book features a wealthy banker’s daughter who ends up falling for her grandfather’s neighbor—a quiet, simple homesteader whose life is vastly different than hers but who teaches her what it really means to love. Readers can watch for news on my website or sign up for my newsletter (link at website) to get periodic updates.

You can purchase Marrying Miss Marshal from Amazon.

Lacy is giving away a copy of Marrying Miss Marshal. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.

  © Blogger template Simple n' Sweet by 2009 Design expanded and personalized by 2011.

Back to TOP