Tuesday, January 31, 2012

meet Betsy St. Amant

Welcome to The Book Loft, Betsy!
People talk about life before children—what was your life before writing?
I don’t remember either! I have a 3 year old daughter, so yeah – haha! And I’ve been literally writing since I was about 7 years old, making up my own Babysitter Club stories or Sweet Valley tales on our first home computer. I have a ton of old manuscripts that were never completed (and honestly have no plot!) from my childhood days. I got serious about getting published when I was 18 and began attending writer’s conferences and networking. Now I’m 27 with 6 Love Inspired novels under my proverbial belt and this fun YA with Barbour! Writing was always and will always be a part of my soul. 

What book have you recently enjoyed reading?
Oh what a list! ROOMS by James Rubart really grabbed my attention, as did Susie Warren’s latest Christmas tale BABY IT’S COLD OUTSIDE. I also recently enjoyed THE LADY OF MILKWEED MANOR by Julie Klassen. Big fan of all her novels!

If you were a dessert, what would you be?
Definitely cheesecake, because it’s one of my favs, but also because it’s a little like me—sweet and vintage ;)

If you were to find a purple polka-dotted monster in your kitchen one morning, how would you respond?
Well I’m used to my toddler attempting to scare me by randomly throwing blankets over her head and running around the house making ghost sounds, so I’d probably first assume it was her. Once I realized it wasn’t, I’d probably admire his polka-dots, since they are my favorite pattern, and then, once I deciphered if he was a threat (a.k.a., if he was related to the infamous purple people eater or not) I’d probably tell him I liked my eggs scrambled and hand him the spatula.

Tell us about one of your favorite memories or moments in your life.
This is hard to pick! Hmmm… I immediately think about the night my husband proposed when we were just 18 and 19 years old, aboard the New Orleans Steamboat Natchez, or the afternoon my daughter was born and fluttered those long eyelashes at me that have yet to let me go  Writing wise, though, one of my favorite moments was when I was sitting at work and my agent called to tell me Barbour had contracted ADDISON BLAKELY, CONFESSIONS OF A PK. I screamed and caused bit of a scene. I also have loved getting to meet my literary heroes over the years via the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) such as Robin Jones Gunn and Kristen Heitzmann, or being mentored once by Dee Henderson. Dreams come true! God is good!

What's one of your dreaded things to do?
I’m a mommy, so my first thoughts here went immediately to “taking my toddler to potty in a public restroom” (I won’t tell you about the time we walked into a Wal-Mart bathroom, took note of the situation, and immediately fled for our lives) In a more acceptable style answer, I’d say take out the trash. It’s always a risk for my life since our house is off the ground and the stairs in the backyard aren’t the sturdiest, and the cans are big and I have to reeaaacchh…you get the idea. Yes, I’ve fallen once. Yes, my toddler laughed.

What is the Lord teaching you, or recently taught you?
I’m actually still in the middle of a journey, and can’t wait to be on the other side ;) It’s about trusting Him for the rainbow in the middle of the storm. Believing that good can come from bad, and that life’s trials really are worth it later. It’s also a journey about being real, not being predictable or attempting to live up to what is acceptable/expected of you. (sorry you asked? Hehe)

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
My new novel releases in the Spring 2012, and it’s by Love Inspired and titled HER FAMILY WISH. It’s a sweet romance about a female photographer and a hunky, single-dad school principal, and how they deal their scars – both internal and external – in order to figure out how to come out of the shadows and live life in full color.

You can purchase Addison Blakely: Confessions of a PK at Amazon.

Betsy is giving away a copy of Confessions of a PK. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Betsy St. Amant's Confessions of a PK

Betsy St. Amant lives in Louisiana and is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers group. Betsy is multi-published through Steeple Hill and has been published in Christian Communicator magazine and Praise Reports: Inspiring Real Life Stories of How God Answers Prayer. One of her short stories, ‘Kickboxing or Chocolate’, appears in a Tyndale compilation book, and she is also multi-published through The Wild Rose Press. She has a BA in Christian Communications and regularly freelances for her local newspaper. Betsy is a fireman’s wife, a mommy to a busy toddler, a chocolate-loving author and an avid reader who enjoys sharing the wonders of God’s grace through her stories. ADDISON BLAKELY, CONFESSIONS OF A PK is her first YA novel.

You can find Betsy at www.betsystamant.com, www.betsy-ann.blogspot.com, www.scribblechicks.blogspot.com

Addison Blakely: 
Confessions of a PK

Sixteen-year-old Addison Blakely has tirelessly played the role of PK—preacher’s kid—her entire life. But after Wes Keegan revs his motorcycle into town and into her heart, Addison begins to wonder how much of her faith is her own and how much has been handed to her. She isn’t so sure she wants to be the good girl anymore.

You can purchase Addison Blakely: Confessions of a PK at Amazon.

Betsy is giving away a copy of Confessions of a PK. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Welcome, Max Anderson!

Meet Max!

Max, Is there a story behind your books?

The story is more about why they exist in the first place. That’s because I grew up as a struggling / reluctant reader. At the same time, my father was the author of over 70 books during his lifetime, some were children’s books, and I didn’t read any of them as a child. So the fact that I’m writing books today is amazing even to me. I do it in order to reach out to other readers 8 – 13 who may be struggling today because I understand what they face and my books can and do help.

What kind of books do you enjoy reading?

Over the space of about four years, I wrote 37 adventure and mystery manuscripts for kids. Several have been published, and three more are in production with two publishers now. I also write two regular columns and have a contract to write two short stories per month in 2012. This leaves little room to read because I’m often spending time proofing my work. Included in the mix is a major project I’ve written about humor. So this gives me very little time for outside reading just now.

If you were a style of music, what style would you be?

The radio station I’d be on would include a little country, some jazz, and a lot of classical music.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
OR What is your strangest habit?

If we’re sticking with writing related, my ideas come while I’m in the shower, driving, or mowing the lawn. I use a mini recorder to get the story down. Those notes are typed and placed in a file which I don’t look at again until the first draft is finished. I also never read anything until the first draft is finished either.

I write as I go, so the story, and new characters, unfold as I go. I may know the beginning, middle, and end, but I have no idea what else will happen, or who will appear until those things show up.

I play mood appropriate music for the scene I’m writing, and always burn a candle while writing, but never any other time in the process. I only write scary scenes after dark, winter stories when it’s freezing outside, and summer stories when it’s hot out.

I’ve never started a book I didn’t finish, and won’t begin a chapter I can’t finish in that writing session.

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

I dislike confrontation, so I’ll avoid it when I can and put it off for as long as possible.

What's your favorite meal with family and friends?
Thanksgiving. There are so many foods that we don’t eat at any other time of the year. My primary responsibility is to make the pumpkin and the pecan pies, but I get involved in a lot of the other food preparations, too.

Share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you.
My life’s verse is 1st Corinthians 10:31 “Whether therefore you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

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

There are three that are in the process of production now. Those are:
Terror at Wolf Lake – Due out the end of January
Eddy Thompson was known for one thing and one thing only. Eddy was a cheater. He cheated on anything , anytime, anywhere, until something happened at Wolf Lake. It wasn't the brutal cold. It wasn't when he fell through the ice. It wasn't when two scary men arrived at their remote cabin. What happened would change Eddy's life....forever.

Legend of the White Wolf – Due out on February 1st
One day, Brian Fisher discovered a white wolf pup caught in a trap and set it free. Since then, Brian was convinced that he and the wolf shared a special bond. Stung by the disbelief of his family and friends, Brian sets out to confirm that his fantastic story is true and ends up getting a lot more than he bargained for. He soon finds himself caught out in a snowstorm and attacked by a mountain lion. When a group of lawless hunters begins killing off the wolf population, Brian is caught right in the middle!

Take an eleven-year-old boy, a mysterious white wolf, a dangerous band of illegal hunters, and all the excitement of the rugged outdoors near Yellowstone National Park. Put it all together in a book and you have an adventure story even the most reluctant of readers will pick up and enjoy.

River Rampage – Due out in early 2012
This is book #3 in The Sam Cooper Adventure Series. The first two books in the series are Lost Island Smugglers and Captain Jack’s Treasure.

Find out more information about Max here:
Books for Boys Blog http://booksandboys.blogspot.com
Author Web Site http://www.maxbooks.9k.com/index_1.html
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/#!/max.e.anderson
Twitter http://twitter.com/#!/MaxEAnderson

Max is giving away a copy of Terror at Wolf Lake. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.

Happy Reading!
Carole Brown

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Welcome, Max Anderson!

Meet Max

Max Elliot Anderson grew up as a struggling reader. After surveying the market, he sense the need for action-adventures and mysteries for readers 8 – 13, especially boys.

Using his extensive experience in the production of dramatic motion pictures, videos, and television commercials, Mr. Anderson brings that same visual excitement and heart-pounding action to his stories. Each book has different characters, setting, and plot.

Several books are published, with an additional twenty-nine manuscripts completed. Young readers have reported that reading one of his books is like actually being in an exciting movie.

Check out one or all of these on his website:

Come back tomorrow to read his interview!

Max is giving away a copy of Terror at Wolf Lake. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.

Happy Reading!
Carole Brown

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


The Winner Of: 

Michelle Sutton's When Love Collides is Apple Blossom
Lillian Duncan's Deception is Marianne
Jill Williamson's Replication is Bethany

Winners, it's your responsibility to contact me (Sharon {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. ;-)

Until Next Time. . .  Sharon A Lavy

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Welcome Back, Ronie Kendig

Meet Roni!

People talk about life before children—what was your life before writing?
Life before writing? What is this of which you speak? Seriously, I’ve

always been writing. It’s a form of therapy for me, and I’ve done it since before I even considered trying to get published. It’s a passion that is borne deeply in my being—and I LOVE IT!

The book is not a new one (copyright date of 2005, I believe), but it has made it to my Top 5 all-time books: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Also, Jim Rubart’s THE CHAIR.

If you were a dessert, what would you be?
I have no recipe, but I’d be a tiramisu with layers of soft creaminess (I’m a softhearted person) but also with a jolt of espresso (I am always busy and going!).

If you were to find a purple polka-dotted monster in your kitchen one morning, how would you respond?
The poor thing—to be in my kitchen it must be pretty desperate because there’s no great meal coming up or sweet treats, so I’d prepare said monster a cappuccino and ask it to have seat and tell me what’s got his spots in a dither. And then I’d encouraged it to drink and talk fast because my new puppy will most likely mistake it for one of her squeaky toys and will try to disembowel it of all its fluff!

Tell us about one of your favorite memories or moments in your life.
Working at a now-defunct large Christian bookstore chain as the assistant music buyer, I had the privilege of working in-stores with artists. This particular night, my husband joined me and we were responsible for “protection” of premier artist, Rich Mullins. When we left the store, this woman appeared with a bowl and asked Rich if she could watch his feet. I was mortified and stunned, but Rich—all kindness and graciousness—told her he appreciated her intent, but he’d rather not. “I’m funny that way,” he said. She wasn’t offended and he got away without clean feet! I’ll never forget what an amazing artist and humble servant he was!

What's one of your dreaded things to do?
Cleaning toilets! I thought for sure once I had kids that I could get out of that nasty chore, but somehow, it’s always me cleaning the great porcelain thrones in our home.

What is the Lord teaching you, or recently taught you?
Right now, he’s re-emphasizing that I am not to be doing everything by myself, that He wants to save me from my hurst, from my habits, my hang-ups. He wants to save me for His purpose and by His grace. But I hae to quit trying to do it by myself. I have to realx, and I haven’t been doing so well with that lately. I need to relearn (and probably will, over and over) to let God be God.

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
My next book will be Trinity: Military War dog and is about a military working dog and her handler who must rescue an intelligence officer who was kidnapped in the Afghan mountains. It’s the first book in the A Breed Apart series and will release September 2012.

Find Ronie at:
Ronie on the web: www.roniekendig.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/rapidfirefiction
Twitter: www.twitter.com/roniekendig

Roni is giving away a copy of Firethorn. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.

Happy Reading!
Carole Brown

Monday, January 23, 2012

Meet Ronie Kendig

Welcome Ronie Kendig!

Ronie Kendig grew up an Army brat and married a veteran. Together, she and her husband have four children, a Golden Retriever, and a Maltese Menace. She has a degree in psychology, speaks to various groups, volunteers with the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), and mentors new writers.

Rapid-Fire Fiction, her brand, is exemplified through her novels Dead Reckoning, a spy thriller, and the military thriller series, The Discarded Heroes, which includes Nightshade (Retailer’s Choice Award Finalist), Digitalis, Wolfsbane, and Firethorn (January 2012).

Here's an excerpt of Firethorn:
Chapter 1
The Shack“It’s sad, really.” Marshall “The Kid” Vaughn trudged away from the thumping rotors of the helo that had deposited them back at the Shack, his pack almost dragging the ground. “Ya don’t realize how much a person adds until he’s gone.”

“Legend’s not gone.” Max “Frogman” Jacobs hoisted his rucksack into a better group, his mind locked on Sydney and their two sons waiting for him at home. Poor woman had to be going out of her mind with two of his Mini-Me’s running around.
“Yeah.” John “Squirt” Dighton hit the light breaker, then waited for the six-man team to clear the door. “He’s just temporarily detained.”

Lights sizzled and popped to life. Groaning bounced off the grimy windows as he hauled the door closed, locked it, then started toward the showers.
The Kid grunted. “Forty-years-to-life temporary.”

In the locker room, a depressive gloom hung over the team. They’d been on countless missions, hit just about every terrain and environment imaginable, but none had taken the toll the last couple had. And there was one reason—they were down a man. Griffin “Legend” Riddell. If Max could write the playbook, they wouldn’t do another mission without the guy. But with the man in federal prison for murdering a congressman, it’d be a long wait.

It was quiet. Too quiet. Max looked around the Spartan room. Walls of lockers, most unused. A few benches. A giant once-white bin for dirty duds. And the team. Six men, now. All very skilled. Good men. Even the one missing. Every man here knew Legend had been set up—he didn’t murder that congressman. But nobody could prove it. The evidence was damning. Justice—injustice was more like it—came swiftly. Lambert, ever the puppeteer, couldn’t pull the right strings to get Legend off.

“I’m heading up to visit him tomorrow. Anyone game?” Colton “Cowboy” Neeley slumped on a bench and ran a hand over his short, dark hair. His blue eyes probed the group.
“Nah, man. I’ve got a date,” the Kid said.

Squirt beaned him with a towel. “What girl would go out with you, mate?”
The Kid snapped the terry cloth back at the former Navy SEAL. “Your sister.”
Squirt froze. His jaw went slack. Then his eyes darkened.
Laughing, Canyon “Midas” Metcalfe rose to his feet from the corner. “You just proved his point by thinking your sister would actually go out with him.”
Squirt swallowed, his face drained of color. “I introduced them at a New Year’s party.”

Midas laughed harder. “Your mistake, mate.

Shuffling closer, Squirt pointed a finger at the Kid. “I swear, you touch her, I’ll shove a fist full of witchety grubs down your gullet.”

“Give me credit, dude.” The Kid raised his hands. “I’m a gentleman.”

Max grunted. “Right.” As he strode around the lockers to the shower well, he heard more threats and much more laughter from the Kid. Max shook his head. Would the Kid ever grow up, learn when to leave things alone?

As he tossed his oily, grimy duds on the bench, Max paused, thinking maybe he should send his report to Lambert now so he wouldn’t have to mess with it tomorrow. The mission had been simple enough, a snatch-n-grab of an Iranian doctor. It’d been nice and clean, in and out. The report wouldn’t take long. Then he could shower, bug out, and know he had the whole weekend with Syd and the boys.

Max jogged up the iron stairs, which creaked and groaned beneath his weight. Down the hall to the right. He punched in the code and entered the secure hub, the door hissing shut behind him. The most high-tech part of this dump-of-a-warehouse.
Shouts drew his attention to the blinds. He jabbed two fingers between a couple and spread them to peeked down into the main area. Squirt and the Kid raced into the bay and back the way they came. Squirt looked ready to kill. The Kid’s face revealed his fear. Max shook his head again. Man, he wanted Griffin back. The guy seemed to bring balance to the team. Badly needed balance.

Max powered up the computer. Hand propped on the warped wood, he waited for the system to boot.

More shouts. Loud thuds.

He pinched the bridge of his nose. Would they never—?

Tat-a-tat! Tat-tat-a-tat! Instinct drove Max to his knee at the sound of gunfire. He scrambled to the window. Through the slanted blinds, he peered down into the slab of cement. His brain wouldn’t assemble what he saw. Gunmen. A dozen or more. Rushing into the Shack from the parking bay. Moving swiftly, as if. . .
They know the layout. Max darted to the door and jerked it open. He sprinted down the hall toward the stairs. As his boot hit steel, he froze. A shadow emerged. Floated into the hall.

Too late.

Max jerked back. Pressed his spine against the wall.

By the showers, the Kid looked up. Max signaled to him. Then made his best and loudest Nightshade whistle, hoping it would penetrate the building, give the men warning to take cover.

The Kid threw himself back into the locker room.

Men swarmed the corner. One looked to his left, one right. His weapon slowly rose as he traced the stairs with his M16.

Check Ronie's writing journey and her books here:
Ronie on the web: www.roniekendig.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/rapidfirefiction

Ronie is giving away a copy of Firethorn. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.

Happy Reading!
Carole Brown

Friday, January 20, 2012

Welcome back Deborah M. Piccurelli!



She would be working for her sister’s killer.

Amber’s skin goosebumped as she drove down the town’s main highway to the Cedarview Women’s Center for her first day on the job. To think the man responsible for Ashley’s death, Dr. Albert Hines, would be her employer.

Her foot pumped the extender pedal for the brake, and her Honda Odyssey glided to a smooth stop at the red traffic signal. She sometimes wondered what it would feel like to be five-six instead of four foot tall and able to drive without the extenders, to live a life without the need for any adaptive products.

She was about to find out. In part, anyway. Her last visit to the clinic for the interview revealed very few accommodations for a little person. Not that she expected there would be any, as they probably never had a dwarf working there before. Despite her size, Dr. Hines had shown her much respect. Because of that surprising courtesy, a tinge of guilt crept in at the thought that he would end up in prison because of her.

Not enough to put her off, though. He had it coming.

Amber pulled the minivan into the clinic’s parking lot and watched, mouth agape, as two lines of protestors shouted across an imaginary divide. Some of them resembled snarling cougars ready to pounce at the slightest provocation.

Her heartbeat quickened. Her first day on the job and she had to deal with this? The big question was how to get through that crowd unscathed.

A heavy sigh forced its way through her lips, as she rolled into an empty spot around the side of the simple brick building. Her dry mouth tasted stale. She turned off the engine and sat frozen for a moment. The overcast sky added to her sense of dread and doom.

What am I doing here?

Despite the cold weather, her palms were sweaty, and she rubbed them against the soft wool of her coat. She couldn’t go in. Crossing those picket lines could incite a riot. The pro-choicers would think she was on their side, and the pro-lifers would think she was against them. And what if something triggered Dr. Hines’s memory, causing him to recognize her from that long-ago day when she’d come here with Ashley? He hadn’t mentioned it, but he could have gotten a glimpse of her. A dozen years, youth, and shorter hair might not make a big difference. But the more time she spent in his presence, the higher the risk. She could well imagine what such a big guy could do to someone as small as her.

She checked her hair in the rearview mirror, and her anxious blue eyes peered back at her. “You’re being silly,” she told her reflection. She opened the car door to a blast of cold air. She would do this. For Ashley and for the babies. As for the raging bulls around front? She’d leave them to the Lord.
Amber climbed out of the van. She couldn’t see the mob from here, but she could hear them: a myriad of voices, some yelling, some chanting. Sounded like hundreds of people. Could there be that many?

Her hands and knees trembled. She disliked large groups of people. Especially hostile ones. They didn’t mix well with little people.

Mustering up her courage, Amber strode around the corner of the building and headed for the front door, a mere fifteen feet away. Fifteen feet. Her own personal green mile.

There were two separate groups assembled in front of the clinic. Maybe a hundred and fifty people.
As soon as she got near, a voice yelled out, “Don’t do it!”

“Leave her alone!” cried another. “It’s her choice!”

Soon both sides erupted into a crescendo of shouting that threatened to break the sound barrier and closed in on Amber.

As she reached for the doorknob a sudden shove sent her flying sideways, and she hit the concrete like a sack of potatoes. Pain shot up her right arm. A hand yanked her up and ushered her back to the door but others clawed her in the opposite direction. “Murderer!” came a legion of voices, as she was jostled.

Help me, Lord! Why are my fellow Christians behaving this way?

She tried to pull free.

“Break it up! Here, here, now!”

She knew that deep voice. A pair of strong male hands gripped her shoulders and guided her to the door. She cringed at their touch yet grateful for the rescue. As soon as she crossed over the threshold, the door slammed behind her, muffling the angry cries of the people and the sirens of the arriving police cars. She squinted in the brightly lit waiting room from its contrast to the dreary outdoors.

While straightening her clothes, she kept her eyes averted. How embarrassing, having to be rescued by the subject of your investigation. “Uh, thank you, Doctor.” Her hair had to be straggled after that scuffle. She patted it into place and winced with the movement of her injured arm. “This happen often?”

“Protests? Yes. But never before has a new employee made quite an entrance as that, Miss Amber.”
She might have thought the incident annoyed him but for the twinkle in his forest green eyes. She grinned through her aversion to this man. “It’s my mission in life to get noticed wherever I go.”
Dr. Hines threw his head back and laughed out loud, his light brown hair fluttering with the gesture. “You’re a sassy one.” Then, in the next instant, his expression became serious. “Come with me, and we’ll get started.” He moved toward the back of the clinic.

Dr. Hines’s sudden mood shift left Amber with a chill creeping through her veins.

Thank you so much, Deborah!

Deborah M. PIccurelli is giving away a copy of Hush Little Baby. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.

Can't wait to get this book? Get it here!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Deborah M. Piccurelli's Hush Little Baby

Deborah M. Piccurelli was a legal secretary with the court system and private practice attorneys for almost eighteen years. She began writing in 1995.

Deborah’s first published novel, In the Midst of Deceit (Jireh Publishing Company), was released in March 2004. Her article against embryonic stem cell research appeared in the Courier Post newspaper in May 2005.

Deborah is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Edgy Christian Fiction Writers, and The Writers View. In 2006, she became a sustaining member of the pro-life organization, The National Right to Life. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, who is a former parole officer, and their two sons.

Is there a story behind this book? For my main characters, I chose to use little people, because some years back, they were being exploited (it seemed to me) on a lot of the daytime talk shows. I felt sort of embarrassed for them, so I vowed to write a book, someday, showing them living normal lives like anyone else. As for the subject of fetal harvesting, once I had my characters in mind, I searched my notebook stuffed with story ideas. It wasn’t until I reached the last small piece of paper that contained only a few words I had scratched out on it that I knew was IT! When I saw it, I remembered that I had seen an advertisement on TV that 20/20 would be doing a segment about the fetal harvesting. That was a few years before, though, but it still goes on today.

What kind of books do you enjoy reading? (Book recommendations very welcome!)
I like many different types of books, but my favorites are suspense, or romantic suspense. I like books by Lisa Scottoline, Tess Gerritsen, Dean Koontz, Brandilyn Collins, Harlan Coben, and Ronie Kendig, to name a few. In other genres, I like Sally John, Michelle Sutton, Debra Ullrick, Julie Lessman, Shelley Bates, Patti Lacy, Joyce Magnin, Lenore Rose Burkhart, C.J. Darlington, Miralee Ferrell, and on and on. I would recommend any book by any of them!
If you were a style of music, what style would you be?
Probably those oldies from the ‘50s and ‘60s. I know so many of those so well, because of my older sisters.

What is your strangest habit? (you pick—something to have fun with and show personality.)
I don’t know if this is all that strange, but when cracking eggs into a bowl, I always rinse my fingertips under the faucet before cracking the next, so that, if there are any tiny little pieces of shell on them, they won’t fall into the bowl. I also wipe the top of every can of food/drink, etc. with a damp paper towel, because I can’t stand the thought of any dirt falling into whatever it is in that can.
Are there things you put off doing because you dread them?
Sometimes, but there aren’t a whole lot of things in my life that CAN be put off.

What's your favorite meal with family and friends? (feel free to share a recipe with us!)
Lasagna. I make the noodles myself. I think everyone knows how to layer the noodles, ricotta, meatball pieces, mozzarella and sauce. But to make the noodles from scratch, use one egg per one cup of flour. Add a little water, a pinch of salt, and knead together, adding a little more flour at a time, until the correct consistency. Never add so much flour that the dough becomes dry. Let rest for about 30 minutes, keeping covered with a bowl. Cut pieces off and put through pasta machine to make wide, flat noodles. Boil for a few minutes and let dry some before layering.

Share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you. (and why it's special)
I love Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever.” This verse assures me that whatever Jesus did for people 2000 years ago, He’ll do for any one of us today, and always, no matter what it is. It says to me that His love for us never changes, and if He had it to do all over again (the Crucifixion), He’d do it in a second.

What are you working on now?
It’s another romantic suspense about a young woman who overhears some incriminating stuff from a co-worker, then while driving to her boyfriend’s house, is rammed from behind, causing a near-fatal auto accident.

You can discover more about Deborah M.Piccurelli on her website and follow her on twitter.

Investigative journalist, Amber Blake, is a little person bent on payback for the death of her average-sized twin sister. Enlisted by her former partner and estranged husband, Evan, she poses as a counselor in an abortion clinic to expose the doctor responsible for fetal harvesting. As a Christian, she struggles with concealing her beliefs to maintain her cover, while the doctor’s romantic overtures tumble her stomach. Amber agrees to date him for the sake of the story . . . but nothing prepares her for what’s behind a mysterious door in his office. 

Thank you for the teaser, Deborah.
Come back tomorrow and read part of this story.

Deborah M. PIccurelli is giving away a copy of Hush Little Baby. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.

Can't wait to get this book? Get it here!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Welcome back Martha Rogers!

Porterfield, Texas 1890 Chapter 1
“Porterfield, next stop in ten minutes.” The conductor’s announcement sent the butterflies to dancing again in Abigail Monroe’s stomach. Ever since they entered the state of Texas, her mind had flitted from one thing to the next in a series of images that blurred one into the other. What she remembered from her visit last spring had been enough to give her the desire to return as a permanent resident.

All around her passengers began gathering their belongings and preparing to leave the train. Mrs. Mabel Newton, who had accompanied her on the trip, adjusted her hat and picked up her handbag. “Well, your adventure will begin shortly.”

Abigail grinned at the elderly woman. If it had not been for Rachel’s aunt’s desire to come west to visit her daughter, this trip may have been delayed indefinitely. “Thank you so much for coming with me, Aunt Mabel. You know how Father worried and didn’t want me to travel alone.” Abigail had fallen into calling the woman “Aunt Mabel” due to her close friendship with Rachel.

“And well he should have been. It isn’t safe for a young woman of your standing to be crossing the country by train without an escort.” She tilted her head toward Abigail, and the feathers on the black hat covering her gray hair quivered with the movement.

Her parents had at first refused to even consider such a move for their only daughter, but as they began to realize that she was almost twenty-two years of age, their objections lessened. They had been in Porterfield a few months earlier for the wedding of Daniel, Abigail’s brother who came to Porterfield a year ago as the town’s only attorney. Now he served as county attorney and prosecutor. When Mabel Newton had said she wanted to visit her daughter and niece, Father had finally agreed to let Abigail go.

Another factor in her decision to leave Briar Ridge had been Rachel Reed, her very best friend since childhood. Her husband Nathan had taken Daniel’s place as an attorney for the citizens of Porterfield, and now they too lived in the Texas town. As far as Abigail was concerned, God had orchestrated a great symphony of opportunities, and she had seized the score to become a part of the music.

Thank you for sharing, Martha.

Read more about Martha on her website, and blog.

Martha Rogers is giving away a copy of Winter Promise. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.

Can't wait to see if you've won? Need it now?
Get it here at Amazon or Christian Book Distributors or Barnes and Noble

Welcome Back Deanna K. Klingel

Welcome back!

Excerpt from Bread Upon the Water

Chapter 1: DƯƠNG TIếN

Dương Tiến squatted in the market place in front of his home with his younger brothers playing a game with smooth pebbles he made up to entertain them. The little boys flicked the pebbles happily toward the target Tien had drawn in the sandy dirt. But Tien squinted his eye, bit his tongue, took careful aim, and landed the pebbles with precision in the center of the target. “Yesterday I had five bull’s eyes. Today then, I must have six,” he explained. “We should always try to do things better than we know how,” he instructed the little boys. “Because you are twelve, Tien, you can instruct us?” The little boys carelessly tossed the pebbles. “We don’t care,” they said. He was watching after his younger brothers, Trí and Thanh, and hoping for customers to come to his mother’s market stand. He glanced about as neighbors moved among the market stands shopping for their families’ daily needs. He scowled into the sunlight that glanced off the heavy tile roofs of their homes. He was pleased that his mother’s stand was as fine as any in the market place. He had helped place the fruit and vegetables in neat rows for display this morning. The Dương family lived in the district of Thanh Mỹ Tây in the Gia Đinh Province of South Vietnam, south of Saigon. The village known as Hang Xanh, which means “the market,” was made up of adjoined brick houses built in neat rows. The rows of houses faced each other. The space between the houses was the marketplace where women sold things on display tables in front of their doors, and Tiến and his brothers, and other boys, chased their soccer balls. Every morning at 3 A.M. Tiến’s mother, Pham Toá, left the house in darkness, waved down a xelem, a three-wheeled, gas-propelled taxi, and rode to the main market to buy the fresh fruits and vegetables she sold on her market table. When she returned home at day break, Tien got up to help her make the display on her table. Now the boys played quietly on the ground while their mother was in the kitchen preparing còm trùa, the mid-day meal. “I’m hungry,” said Tri. “Me, too, my stomach is grumbling,” Thanh said. “Soon the morning students will come home from school and father from work, and then we’ll eat,” Tiến promised the little ones. “Then you will go to school,” Tri answered. “You’re right, and you’ll take a nap. Here come the others, now.” The morning students came running across the market. Behind them Tiến’s father, Dương Sách, dressed in his army uniform, waved to his family.“So, it must be time to eat,” Tiến said, lifting up his small brothers. He kicked the pebbles and they scattered under the display table.

Thank you for sharing your work with us, Deanna.

You can keep in touch with Deanna at www.BooksByDeanna.com

Deanna K.Klingel is giving away a copy of Bread Upon the Water. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Martha Roger's Winter Promise

Is there a story behind this book?
As I was writing this book, something
happened that caused me to re-plot the last few chapters. Their first child was born to a young couple in our church. He was born perfectly healthy and at a good weight, but something happened and he died a few weeks later of unknown causes. The prayers that went up from our choir and church during the few days he was hospitalized and then the testimony of the parents following the baby’s death touched my heart in such a way that I knew I had to include a baby in my story and be named for the Peterson baby. Thus Connor Allen Winston was born in Winter Promise. The birth became a catalyst for the young doctor hero to find purpose and meaning for his own life and the courage to tell the heroine of his feelings for her.  The book is dedicated to the parents and in memory of Connor.

What kind of books do you enjoy reading?
I especially enjoy mystery and suspense. Brandilyn Collins, Lynette Eason, Ronie Kendig (thrillers), Richard Mabry (medical) and Terri Blackstock are among my favorite authors in that genre. Romantic suspense is a favorite too.

If you were a style of music, what style would you be?
Now that’s an interesting question since I sing in our church choir. I think my style would be the old fashioned hymns since I write historical and love anything antique or with a story behind and most of our old hymns do have stories behind them.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
The quirkiest was probably one of the most stupid things I’ve done as well. I loved to play pranks when I was in college and test the limits of our RA in the dorm. My sophomore year I lived on the third floor of the dorm with two other girls. During Homecoming Week, the freshman boys guarded the campus against an “invasion from the rival team…the Aggies” and one such post was set up on the street below our window. We decided to furnish snacks for the boys and filled a basket with goodies to be lowered down to them. I was chosen to lean out over the window sill to deliver the basket. While doing so, my roomies heard the RA coming to check rooms (at eleven PM) My roomies lowered the window on my back and pulled the curtains over me then jumped into bed. I hung there, suspended from the third floor window for over five minutes. One slip and I would have fallen three floors to the concrete sidewalk below. I was scared to death and didn’t move a muscle until the girls pulled me back inside. My freshman and sophomore years found me always on the brink of being in real disciplinary trouble. I knew just how far I could go before being in hot water, and always stopped just short of what it would take for disciplinary probation. All of it was in fun, and nothing really bad or harmful or sinful, but not what was expected of a “Baylor Woman.” I did settle down some as a junior and senior.

Are there things you put off doing because you dread them?
Ha! That’s easy. Housework. I hate cleaning the house with mundane things like dusting, cleaning the bathrooms, and picking up clutter. I put it long as I can. However, when I start cleaning out closets and drawers, it’s all or nothing, and I go crazy getting rid of stuff.

What's your favorite meal with family and friends? My family’s favorite is my grandmother’s pot roast and chocolate cake. It brings back great memories of her and our Sunday dinners when I was young. Her recipe for the pot roast ended with the statement, “after adding carrots, potatoes and onions, put on the lid and go to church.” I still do that today.

Share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you.
I have two special verses. One is Psalm 27:1 “The Lord is my light and salvation, whom shall I fear.” It’s special because my grandmother taught me this verse when I was five years old and in an isolation room with meningitis. We repeated this verse over and over one night after I had two spinal taps and was so scared. The next morning I had another spinal tap and it showed the meningitis was gone. That verse again gave me strength when I faced my bout with cancer. The other verse is Galatians 6:9 that I adopted as my writing/verse when I started earnestly seeking publication. It is the verse I use to sign my books. It represents the prayer, perseverance and patience it takes to be a published author.

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
My next book will be the fourth and last in the Seasons of the Heart Series. The title of it is Spring Hope and is the story of a young deputy sheriff who learns that forgiveness and acceptance are the two things he must grant before he can find true love with the girl whose past goes against everything he has believed.

Thanks Martha.

Come back tomorrow to read the excerpt.

Single, educated, and looking for a new start, Abigail Monroe decides to join her brother and his wife in Porterfield, Texas. Near her twenty-fifth birthday and without a suitor, she fears she will become a spinster if she stays in Briar Ridge, Connecticut.

A sprained ankle sends Abigail to the new doctor in town, Elliot Jensen. He is smitten, but tragedy in his past has left him bitter, guilt ridden, and afraid to fall in love again.

When the town’s deputy sheriff rescues Abigail after a robbery, Elliot’s feelings for her grow stronger. He is jealous of the attention Abigail is getting, but he fears he can’t compete with the handsome deputy sheriff and his heroic deeds.

Has he waited too long to share his feelings for her? Or will Christmas bring them both the gift they seek?

Set in the late 1800s, the Seasons of the Heart series follows the lives of four women and their families, weaving together their stories of faith, life, and love as they bond in friendship only God could orchestrate.

Read more about Martha on her website, and blog.

Martha Rogers is giving away a copy of Winter Promise. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.

Can't wait to see if you've won? Need it now?
Get it here at Amazon or Christian Book Distributors or Barnes and Noble

Deanna K. Klingel's Bread Upon the Water

I was a child in a small town in the 50’s. It was a time when kids amused themselves with paper, scissors, magazines, paste, crayons, and books, while listening to the radio. That’s when I wrote and illustrated my first books, lacing the pages together with shoe strings. Writing wasn’t something I dreamed of doing “when I grow up;” it was something I was already doing. I wrote plays for my classmates, wrote for the school newspapers, yearbook, tons of letters of correspondence with relatives and pen pals. I recently found a yellowed poem I wrote for the Michigan State University newspaper. Don’t remember it, but there it is! After I had kids (7) I wrote puppet plays and stories for them, edited school newsletters, and projects, plays and news for Scouts and church. I wrote all the time. I made scrapbooks, diaries and kept journals. I hadn’t figured out that I was a writer, or an author. That didn’t happen until after the children were grown and I began writing travel books for grandchildren. Then one day it happened. I woke up and said, “I have a story in my head, and I think it wants to be a book. I guess I’ll try to write a book.”

Is there a story behind this book? I met Father Tien when he became pastor of our small church in the mountains, a few years ago. He shared a little of his story with a few of us. His story kept niggling away at me. I did some research, and was convinced his story needed to be told on behalf of all the thousands of Vietnamese who haven’t talked about their perilous journey to freedom. It needs to be told to the younger generations of Vietnamese and Americans who are getting a Hollywood version, or the current version from the Communist government. That belief was affirmed just recently when a local man visited Vietnam and wrote about his vacation in the paper. He said everything was “just fine.” He said in Vietnam, the ‘American War’ is a distant memory. He said, “the people aren’t communists, it’s only the government. So it’s all good, he said.” No it isn’t. The government runs the schools. So is it a surprise that the ‘American War’ is being forgotten? Would they tell what really happened? He said people are free to go to church. What tourists don’t see is the underlying threat. There are spies in those churches and any one can be closed, used for other purposes, or their doctrine can be taught however the communist government chooses. Everything is never “fine” under a communist government. Tourists see what a communist government chooses to show them. My book is not a political treatise, or a history of the war against communism in Vietnam. It’s the story of one man, his family, among thousands like them, who chose to escape the tyranny of their homeland. The thing about Tien was he was following God’s call. That doesn’t mean it was an easy choice or a safe journey. It means God was with him. And I think that’s a story we all need to hear. Over and over. I spent a year interviewing Father Tien and learning about him and his family. I cherish my time with him. He’s an inspiration.

What kind of books do you enjoy reading? I like historical fiction, biography, creative nonfiction. I just finished Night of the Cossack by Tom Blubaugh. I liked that. Recently I read the Real All Americans by Sally Jenkins. One of my all-time favorites is The Book Thief.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done Or what is your strangest habit? Well, I don’t think it’s quirky or strange, but I suppose others might. I dance with my dog. We belonged to World Canine Freestyle Organization (WCFO) with other quirky people. I started a local chapter called Footloose in the Carolinas, but we’re kind of isolated, and eventually it dissolved. I dance with my dog at home, and sometimes at nursing homes, but we don’t compete anymore. She’s eleven and I’m old enough to know better.

Are there things you put off doing because you dread them? Nope. If anything, I’m more apt to do them first to get them out of the way so I can enjoy the rest of the day.

What’s your favorite meal with family and friends? Our family has left the nest, so nowadays any meal I have with them is a favorite time. But, I love breakfasts or brunches when everything is relaxed. I like to make beignets. It makes a huge mess.

Share a verse or scripture passage with us that is special to you and tell us why is it special.
I use scripture passages in most of my books. But, this Psalm speaks to me. I have it pinned above my computer screen. I live in a rather remote area, and in winter my friends depart for warmer climates and I see and talk to few people. People who write are often alone with their thoughts, living with fictitious characters in make-believe worlds. When I look out my big loft window at the bare trees and the mountain ranges, Psalm 139:1-4, reminds me that I’m not alone up here.
O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
You understand my thought from afar.
You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
And you are intimately acquainted with all my ways.
Even before there is a word on my tongue,
Behold, O Lord, you know it all.

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it? The past fourteen months have been huge for me. Just for the Moment: The Remarkable Gift of the Therapy Dog came out October 2010. In March, 2011, Avery’s Battlefield took off like cannon, followed by Avery’s Crossroad in September. In November Battlefield won a national book award. This book, Bread Upon the Water was scheduled for release between Thanksgiving and Christmas, but the date has slipped and will now be late January, possibly February, one of those publishing house mysteries. So, that’s the next one. I have some others being looked at, but no contract offers for them yet.

Thanks, I’ve enjoyed my time with you.

You can keep in touch with Deanna at www.BooksByDeanna.com

Here's a teaser from Bread Upon the Water.

            Father Tien Duong’s life is an amazing and inspiring story of perseverance in following God’s call in the face of severe trials and testings. Father Duong pursued his vacation to the priesthood, knowing God would always be faithful. The kind priest who taught the young Tiend Doung in sixth grade gave him sound advice for his life’s journey. “Trust God. Always, trust God.” –Bishop Jugis, Charlotte Diocese, NC.

Come back tomorrow to read an excerpt!

Deanna K.Klingel is giving away a copy of Bread Upon the Water. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Welcome Back Jill Williamson

Welcome back to the book loft, Jill. Is there a story behind this book?
I was riding in a car through upstate New York with my sister. We were going to pick apples. We passed endless amounts of ranches, orchards, and farms. It got me thinking. What if there was a farm where they grew people? Clones. It could be called Jason Farms. And that’s where the idea for the story came from.

What kind of books do you enjoy reading? 
I like everything. Young adult stories, fantasy, and mystery/suspense novels are my favorite. I also really enjoy historical fiction. I just finished Lis Wiehl’s Waking Hours which is a murder mystery with a supernatural twist.

If you were a style of music, what style would you be?
Rock and Roll

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I dressed up as Waldorf, my husband dressed up as Statler, and we hosted a teen variety show in the theme of the Muppet Show at our church to raise money for teen camps. I look pretty funny with choppy white hair.

Are there things you put off doing because you dread them?
Taxes, accounting, budgeting… I see a pattern here.

What's your favorite meal with family and friends? 
Fettuccine Alfredo. Here is my recipe:

1/2 cup chicken stock or canned chicken broth
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 pound fettuccine, cooked al dente and drained
3 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1. Heat chicken stock until reduced by half.
2. Add the cream and cook until reduced by half again.
3. Add the butter and cheese to the pan and stir until butter is melted
4. Add the pasta and toss until pasta is coated with sauce.
5. Season with salt and pepper to taste
6. Sprinkle with parsley and more grated parmesan cheese, if desired.

 Share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you.    
Galatians 5: 22-23—But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
I love this verse for a few reasons. First, I have it memorized—though I always flip around gentleness and faithfulness. And since I have a terrible memory for memorizing, the verses I can recite to myself have a special place in my heart. Second, when I am behaving in a way that is not listed here, this verse reminds me that I’m being filled with something else at that moment. And even though my emotions are running high and I’m angry or jealous or hurt, reciting this verse gets my thoughts back in the right place.

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
Well, I’m not positive, but I think that my next book release will be The New Recruit, a young adult spy kid story that will come out this October from Marcher Lord Press.

Today’s Giveaway:
Jill Williamson is giving away a copy of Replication.
The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Jill Williamson's Replication

Jill Williamson is a dreamer, believer, and author of all things weird. She grew up in Alaska with no electricity, an outhouse, and a lot of mosquitoes. She won two Christy Awards for her Blood of Kings trilogy and recently released Replication, a science fiction teen novel from Zondervan. Jill lives in Oregon with her husband and two children and a whole lot of deer.

You can find her on her website:

Back Cover Blurb

Abby Goyer is forced to move to rural Alaska when her father unexpectedly takes a job in a remote laboratory called Jason Farms. Suspicious of her father’s decisions, she investigates and finds more than what she was looking for when a strange boy shows up at her door. Martyr, one of fifty-five identical clones, escaped from the underground lab at the farm with one wish: to see the sky before he fulfills his purpose and “expires” on his eighteenth birthday. Abby tries to help Martyr see that God has a purpose for his life, one that is different from the one the scientists originally planned for him.

Book Excerpt:

  Martyr stared at the equation on the whiteboard and set his pencil down. He didn’t feel like practicing math today. What did math matter when his expiration date was so near?
  His wrist still throbbed from Fido’s teeth. Martyr touched the strip of fabric he’d ripped from his bedsheet and tied around his wrist to stop the bleeding. He hoped the wound would heal before a doctor noticed it. A trip upstairs to mend it would be unpleasant, as the doctor would likely use the opportunity to perform tests. Martyr shuddered.
  To distract himself, he glanced at the other boys. Every Jason in the classroom except Speedy and Hummer scribbled down the numbers from the whiteboard. Speedy sketched Dr. Max’s profile, staring at the doctor with intense concentration. His hand darted over the paper, shading the dark face with a short, black beard.
  Hummer—as always—hummed and rocked back and forth, hugging himself. Martyr never understood why the doctors made Hummer take classes instead of putting him in with the brokens. Perhaps it had to do with Hummer’s being so much older than the other brokens, or the fact that he could walk and didn’t need special medications.
  Movement at the back of the room caught Martyr’s attention, and he twisted around to get a better look. Dr. Kane stood outside the locked door, looking in through the square window. A stranger wearing glasses stood beside him, much shorter and a little rounder than Dr. Kane. The man’s head was also shaven like     Martyr’s, but the way he carried himself next to Dr. Kane showed he was nothing like a clone. Martyr’s pulse increased. There hadn’t been a new doctor on the Farm in a long time.
  Dr. Kane opened the door, and both men stepped inside. Martyr gasped. The new doctor wore color! A narrow strip of fabric ran from his neck to his waist.     Martyr jumped up from his desk and headed for the stranger.
  “J:3:3!” Dr. Max’s tone slowed Martyr’s steps. “One mark. Take your seat immediately.”
  Yes, but one mark was not so bad. Martyr quickened his pace. If I could just touch the strip once …
  Dr. Kane shooed the new doctor back into the hallway, pulling the door closed behind him. Desperate, and knowing the door would lock once it closed all the way, Martyr stepped into the shrinking exit. The door slammed against his bare foot, and a sharp pain shot through his ankle. He winced and wedged his torso into the crack.
  He was met by Dr. Kane’s hand pressing against his chest. “J:3:3, return to your seat this instant. Two marks.”
  But the color on the new doctor was too tempting.

Book Trailers 

Purchase the book:

Today’s Giveaway:

Jill Williamson is giving away a copy of Replication
The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses.
To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.

Until next time. . . Sharon A Lavy

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

Back to TOP