Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Meet Gina Bovyn

Welcome to the Book Loft, Gina!
Is there a story behind this book?
I believe every book has a story behind it, and Lady White is no exception. When I first started the novel, I was thirteen and the story was just like any other young adult fantasy book out there. At that time, I didn’t have a personal relationship with God. About a year later, I went through a slight medical scare and this is when I truly gave my heart to Jesus. After that, I wanted to write for Him. So I trashed my first manuscript and started again. It took three years to complete, but when it was finished, I felt like this is a story that’s meant for more than just entertainment. There’s a message inside of it that I pray will touch every one of my reader’s hearts. And the message is this: No matter how bad you may have messed up in your past, no matter where you might have ended up due to wrong choices, God loves you and He wants to turn it all around. He wants to give you a happy and blessed life.

What kind of books do you enjoy reading?
Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve LOVED to read. When I get into a good book, I can sit in my chair for hours and never put it down. Though I haven’t been able to read as much as I used to since beginning the Daughters of Linolae series, my favorite types of books are the inspirational romance kind, and for me, they have to be in a historical setting. I love how they can take me back to a time and place that may have been forgotten. A couple years ago I discovered Sarah Sundin and her first novel, A Distant Melody. This book, set back in World War II, was absolutely amazing! I couldn’t put it down, and it got me to look into a period of time that I normally wouldn’t check out for fiction. Any of her books I would recommend, as well as Julie Lessman, Ruth Axtell Morren, Julie Klassen, and Deanne Gist. (The list could go on and on.)

If you were a style of music, what style would you be?
I don’t think I could choose just one! It would have to be a blend of Contemporary Christian, Christian Rock, and Classical, preferably anything with the violin or piano.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Hmm. . . I don’t know if this would be classified as quirky or as a strange habit, but the first thing that pops in my head is that I like everything to be in its place. I’ll organize the pantry so that every label can be seen from the front and when I’m at the store, if something has been left on the floor, I will go down the aisle (even if I don’t need anything from it!) just to put the item back on the shelf where it belongs. Sometimes I have to stop myself or else my 30 minute grocery trip could turn into an hour!:)

Are there things you put off doing because you dread them?
I’m not the type of person that puts something off because of dread. If anything it’s because of procrastination. Some things, like matching socks and working out, I really have no desire to do, but I know I have to so at the end of the day they always get done. :)

What's your favorite meal with family and friends?
It’s a tie between Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. I love the warm feeling that’s filling the house while my mom and I cook as well as the food. Just thinking about turkey and ham, sweet potatoes, and stuffing makes my mouth water! Thanksgiving dinner is especially one of my favorite meals because it’s the one time in the year that I get to make my homemade pumpkin pie, even though I’m the only one in my house that likes pumpkin pie. If you’d like the recipe you can check out my blog at ginabovyn.blogspot.com.


Share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you. 
There are so many that are special to me, but at the moment the one that really comes to my mind is Psalm 37:3-5 which says in the King James Version, Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.

I read this verse everyday because it helps me to put everything into perspective and it feeds my faith. When I read this, it reminds me Who I need to put my confidence in; not myself, or a person I love, or any material thing, but God. It reminds me that He loves me and that He doesn’t just want me to have good things in life, but He wants me to have the dreams and secret desires of my heart that I only tell Him. It reminds me that He is the One I’m to live for and dedicate my life to serving.

Whenever loneliness or despair would try to overwhelm me in my high school days, I would go to this verse and it would open my eyes anew to the fact that when I put my trust in Him, it’s all going to be ok, and His joy would fill me. It still works every time!

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
At this point in time, my next novel is not yet in production, but it is written and ready to go. It’s the next generation of the kingdom of Linolae, with Alina aer Anya’s daughter, Arwynnia, as the heroine. This tale is very different from Lady White, in the essence of Arwynnia’s heart is already directed towards God, and also because the story is centered more on the happenings in the kingdom rather than just with the heroine. This second book in the series is very dear to my heart because I wanted to highlight the importance of allowing God to be in the center of a romantic relationship and of keeping yourself pure for marriage to younger girls. It’s a passionate, godly romance jam packed with twists and turns, swordfights, and battles of the physical and emotional.



You can purchase White Lady at Amazon.

Gina is giving away a copy of White Lady. 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.


Meet Nicole O'Dell

Welcome back, Nicole. We're excited to hear from you today.

What was the hardest part of your book to write?

Some of the questions in Girl Talk were really difficult. Since they’re all
from real teenage girls, it was tough to know that the question represented a real girl from a real family with real hardships. Some of them were about such heavy issues. . .they broke my heart. It’s difficult to imagine that teenagers are dealing with such tough things!


We all have choices of items that help us write. What’s yours? Can you give the readers a glimpse into your writing space? What’s your favorite writing reference tool?

I’m loving my Dragon Dicate program. It has taken a while for us to form a close bond where it knows what I’m saying, but I love being able to speak my text into existence. Kind of like God in Genesis. Well, not really, but you get the idea.


If you had to choose one person to go with you for encouragement to a secluded cabin, who would that be?

Jesus. Honestly, right now, with the craziness of my household, the busyness of life, and the constant noise around me, I’d love a few days with NO ONE else. Just me, my Bible and a pot of coffee.

What are you working on now?

I have several releases coming up, so I’m preparing for those. The Embittered Ruby, book two in my Diamond Estates series releases on 4/1. I’m also getting ready to launch a second hour of radio on the Choose NOW Radio network. You can find out more about that on my website, www.choose-NOW.com.

What is one of the happiest moments of your life or an accomplishment that you’re especially proud of?

As a mom of six, I must say that my proudest moments are because of my kids. Carrying my triplets as long as I did was a major accomplishment and a miracle. God blessed us with three happy, albeit messy kiddos to add to our already bustling household.

Is there one piece of advice that’s been especially valuable to you?


This too will pass. J That applies to writing, editing, parenting, being a teenager...all of life is temporary and the hard times will pass. God never promised He’d keep us from challenges and struggles; He promised He’d walk with us through them.

Please share information where readers can check out and buy your books.

Everything you could want to know about me or my books can be found at www.nicoleodell.com. I’m on twitter at Nicole_Odell and Facebook at nicoleodell. But that’s all on my website, too.

Thanks, Nicole, for joining us today.

Nicole is giving away a copy of girl talk. 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

Monday, February 27, 2012

Gina Bovyn's White Lady

Gina Bovyn wanted to pursue a writing career since she was a little girl. After moving to Wisconsin from Chicago and finding a personal relationship with Jesus, her mission became sharing the love of Christ with all through her work. At the age of nineteen, she is working on her fourth book and is taking courses in a Bible Correspondence school, hoping to grasp all the understanding she can of the Word of God and of His character so she can be used by Him in an even greater way. Lady White is her first novel.

You can find Gina online at:
http://ginabovyn.blogspot.com/
http://ginabovyn.tateauthor.com/
Facebook
http://twitter.com/GinaBovyn

White Lady

The Realm’s sole purpose was to glorify the God who created them. Yet as selfishness and greed grew in the hearts of men, the Realm’s purpose was forgotten. Only the Kingdom of Linolae withstood the power of the evil one and made a stand against his lusting allies, remembering the God who always caused them to triumph. But the times grow darker and an army must arise. Only a lass worthy can lead this kingdom to victory and save the Realms from their own destruction. From the loins of a very unsuspecting maiden will she come.

Alina aer Anya, otherwise known as the White Lady, carries a sordid past as she rides with her band of men killing for the nobles’ coin. She searches for her own path in life, one without trust, without love, and without the God of her mother. But as she rides to fulfill a task for a power-hungry ruler, she finds a crossroad in her path, and her hardened heart begins to soften. Will she allow evil forebodings and her sordid past to keep her from a trusting friend and the arms of the man she loves? Or will she turn at life’s crossroad and begin her days anew? As she pens her tale in the dungeon of King Richard, only her writings and the hope of escape keep her alive.

This is the tale of how the notorious White Lady became the beloved Lady White.

Here's an excerpt from White Lady:

Introduction
In the Realms of Higher Law, the kingdoms lived by just that. From the beginning of time, God’s law ruled the lands, and they were prosperous, rich in all things. But then men’s minds were filled with doubt; unbelief spread and evil entered the Realms. The people began to worship pagan gods, and those who knew Truth were killed by blood-hungry kings. It seemed the days of I AM were being forgotten. Only a few priests scattered throughout the Realms still believed in the Almighty King and taught without fear of death any who would listen.

For years the Realms were in darkness, but slowly Light began to return. More and more gave ear to the men of God and turned from their pagan rulers. But despite the evil that flourished, one kingdom remained faithful to their Creator. This kingdom, ruled by a queen ordained by God, prospered more than all the others, being blessed with riches and might more than any had ever known. It was from this kingdom that the knowledge of God entered the minds of foreign rulers and began to bring the Realms back to the days of old. The lands were at peace for many a year.

But evil will not be spurned without a fight; the adversary will not back down so easily. Slowly, quietly, the darkness moved throughout the Realms, taking hold of those men weak, gathering its army to overthrow the High King’s reign over the Realms. Many who were not strong in faith fell to these men. But a few stayed strong, and that kingdom of might stood unwavering. In this second tribulation, they fought this evil with all they knew.

These are the diaries of the daughters of Linolae.

Prologue

My name is Alina aer Anya, and I am writing this so my seed may know of some of the history of the blood that flows through their veins. As a small youth, my days were ones filled with peace. I was free and unhindered by social status. But, as I grew older, bloodshed and war ruled our lands. It was at the beginning of these times that my life began to change. I became an orphan and, not many years after, some would say, a murderer.

I write this from solitary confinement, in the dungeon of his majesty, King Richard III, ruler and lord of the lands called Rumanae. Imprisoned not for my past sins but for my most recent crime, one where any noble aristocrat would be given the highest honor. But, because of the way I live my life, I was put into this rodent infested hellhole, a dank cell smelling of must and filth with green fungus growing on the stone walls around me. I slumber on a mat filled with rotten straw, eating nothing but hunks of bread that had spoilt days afore with tepid brown water, and living with rats that now scurry about my feet. Daily the beatings grow worse, and I fear what’s next to come. The whip I have become accustomed to, but next, I’m told, branding will ensue. I hope I have found favor with fate and my plans go smoothly.

The guards make sport of me, when there is nothing better to be done. One even went so far as to reach through the bars to try to fondle my womanly curves, to put it in a modest way. They wouldn’t dare go any farther, fearing the wrath of the king. For reasons that have yet to be revealed to me, it appears important to him that my innocence remain intact. At least for now. I let them have their fun, laughing from the inside. They would remember if they stopped thinking from their lower extremities, that I do not fear blood. They would know they were sealing a doomed fate.

But I say, “Do not fear for me, my daughters!” Read this and know of the strength and courage you’ve inherited. Be not ashamed of me, your ancestor, because of the acts I committed. Everything I did was for the better, ridding these lands of certain kinds of evil, men who should never have left their mothers’ wombs, so you would not have to know of the pains I’ve felt. So again I say, do not fear for me. I have lived in worse conditions than these, and very soon I will make my escape. They should have known they could never hold the White Lady.



You can purchase White Lady at Amazon.

Gina is giving away a copy of White Lady. 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.

Meet Nicole O'Dell

Popular blogging trio—mother, Nicole O’Dell, along with daughters, Emily
and Natalie—offer trustworthy, biblically-based advice for all your ups, downs, and in-betweens. Culled from actual questions they’ve encountered on their blog site, this fabulous resource offers real-life helps for issues including relationships, character, body image, fashion, gossip, and more. You’ll find 180 questions along with answers and related scripture selections that will both encourage and challenge you in your faith walk.

The book is based on the Girl Talk column we write on my blog at www.nicoleodell.com. We wanted to give girls a place they could go with those tough questions about life. The column grew and the questions built up to the point when we, along with Barbour Publishing, decided to put 180 questions from readers and our answers into a book. But it's not just any book--the vibrant, trendy format has a scrapbook-y feel as each page is full color with graphics galore. Take a look at the trailer to get a better feel for what it looks like:



Check back tomorrow when Nicole answers questions to give us a little insight into her life.

Nicole is giving away a copy of girl talk. 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

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Meet Zeke Lam

Hi, Zeke!



Tell us more about yourself.

I am 27 years old and have been married to my beautiful wife, Kathleen, for 6 years. We have three children (4, 2, and 2 months) that we love very much. I have ministered since the age of 18 as a youth minister and evangelist. In addition to this, I operate a small business which constructs ornamental concrete such as flower pots, bird baths, etc. I also help out with the family furniture when time permits. We are passionate to see Christ glorified through our lives, and constantly remain seek to use our lives to share the Gospel. This has led our family all over the world. Our most recent “adventure” involved us literally driving to a town in Texas, renting an apartment, and seeking the Lord. Although we knew nobody or anything about the place, God gave us an entire church fellowship in 2 days! This turned into an incredible 7 month stay that is surely not finished yet.

What motivated you to write this book?

Compromise is way too commonplace today. I have seen it in the church, in families, and in my own life. If revival is to take place in or society, God’s people must be willing to operate with the level of obedience and submission God requires. Mixing our opinions with God’s commands or desires is the very recipe for disaster. If we will fully release ourselves to Jesus Christ, and be willing to follow Him the way He commands, a shift will take place in our society! Ultimately, shortcomings in my own life with regards to submissions sparked this fire.

What do you hope this book accomplishes?


My hope and prayer is that Christians nationwide will be challenged to step into a realm of Scriptural obedience that will spark revival!

Did you learn anything (or did God show you anything) as you were writing?

I certainly experienced moments where I was convicted about the level of submission I lived under. God revealed to me the importance of denying any and all voices that seek to lure us from His presence. Submission to Him will position us for spiritual greatness!

Do you believe people struggle with the idea of "submission"? If so, why?

Yes, we all struggle with the idea of full submission. It means releasing our control and desires to the Lord. When we do not feel in control, it creates an emotion of insecurity. This insecurity is what makes us resists submission on many levels. When it comes to submitting to our Lord Jesus, we must reject these emotions, and faithfully surrender our lives.

Your subtitle mentions obeying only God's voice. What are some ways people can hear God's voice?

God desires to interact with us in ways we could never imagine. The Holy Spirit is very much alive and active, but the question is, will we allow ourselves to get in position to hear Him. He speaks through the Scriptures, His written word. He speaks to our hearts as we intimately seek Him daily through prayer and fasting. He can speak through people and situations around us. God is not limited to anything and can therefore speak any way He chooses. The only real issue is that which restricts and hinders us from hearing.

Zeke is giving away a copy of Submission. 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

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Meet Zeke Lam

Prepare to be stirred by this authentic calling to return to Scriptural
obedience.
—Pastor Gabe Turner, The Point Church of Charlottesville, Virginia

In my opinion Zeke has laid his finger on the defining message for our time. This message is essential for believers everywhere —Eric Stephens, Pastor of Life Changing Ministries and Fellowship in Sugarland, Texas

What is the greatest challenge that the Church is facing today? Zeke Lam suggests that one word is the greatest challenge:  submission, or the lack thereof. It is not external forces that nullify the testimony of a Christ-centered believer, but rather the failure to humbly submit to the voice of

the Lord. This book will help you to live a surrendered life abiding in Christ.

Ø  Is the approval of God more important to you than the approval of man?
Ø  Is the presence of God evident in your life?
Ø  Do you fiercely protect your intimacy with Christ?
Ø  Do you desire to live a life of truth, free from the lies of the devil?
Ø  Is God’s divine character visible to those around you?

Learn how to submit your life wholeheartedly to the Lord so that you can dwell continually in the secret place—a place of intimacy, surrender and joy.

 
ZEKE LAM is the founder of SUBMISSION Ministries—a ministry devoted to seeing lost souls encounter God and live lives fully surrendered to the risen Christ. A graduate of Liberty University, Zeke’s deep passion for following Christ’s will has led him through many years of youth ministry and itinerant evangelism. Both of these experiences have enriched and fueled his desire to hand others the keys to a Christ-centered life. Zeke resides in Virginia with his beautiful wife, Kathleen, and a growing family of future world-changers.
 
ISBN-13                  978-1-9374-8100-1
ISBN-10                  1-9374-8100-X
Author website: http://submissionministries.org/


Come back tomorrow for more about Zeke.

Zeke is giving away a copy of Submission. 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

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Winners!

The winner of:


Linda Glaz’s Polar Bear Plunge is Carol N Wong

Mary Ellis’s An Amish Family Reunion is Karen Schulz

Max Anderson’s Legend Of The White Wolf is Tom Blubaugh

Linda Rondeau’s The Other Side Of Darkness is Nancee



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. ;-)



Thanks so much for stopping by!
Until Next Time . . . Sharon A Lavy

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Meet Christa Allan

Welcome to the Book Loft, Christa.
People talk about life before children—what was your life before writing?
Did I have one of those? I’m sure I must have, but I might have been ten because I remember writing a notebook full of angsty teenage drama during high school. Life before publication was fraught with the anxiety of finding an agent, finding a publisher. . .I do recall having time to actually watch television and read the paper on the day it was delivered and eating meals with utensils (as opposed to those I can perch next to my laptop for quick one-handed feedings!)

What book have you recently enjoyed reading?
The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. An amazing novel. It will turn you inside out.

If you were a dessert, what would you be?
A Snickers Cheesecake. Here’s the link to My Recipes.

If you were to find a purple polka-dotted monster in your kitchen one morning, how would you respond?
If it cooked, cleaned, and washed, it could hang around as long as it wanted to do so.

Tell us about one of your favorite memories or moments in your life.
Christmas, 1999.

The picture I have of the evening is one of my most cherished ones. That was the year of the “Charlie Brown” tree that John, who was fourteen at the time, and I had chopped down on our land. We lived on eight acres, seven of which were overgrown with towering pines and scrawny bushes and assorted wildness. I think we found a pine tree wannabe. We dragged it into the house, creating a trailing mess of needles, bark, and oozing sap. I loved every pain of it. And I think it loved it as well. After we decorated, I think I even saw it smile.
We’re all in front of the fireplace, except for Michael, my oldest. He was in the Navy and stationed in Italy. Ken, me, John, Shannon, Erin pregnant with Bailey, Andrae, John my brother, his partner Rick, Sarah. My Jewish husband, my African-American son-in-law, my gay brother, my daughter with Down Syndrome. We look like a politically correct Christmas card.
We are happy. And that was everything.

What's one of your dreaded things to do?
Just one? Empty the dishwasher, grade papers, fold clothes, mammograms (can I say that?), and did I mention grade papers?

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
The next book is scheduled to release in March of 2013 as one of the books in Abingdon Press’ new Quilts of Love Series. The title is Threads of Hope. Here’s the pitch:
Career-driven Nina O’Malley is one promotion away from being named Senior Editor at Trends Magazine when she buys a quilt at an AIDS benefit she’s assigned to cover. Intrigued by the diverse panels, Nina joins the Families of AIDS support group that sews the quilts. She plans to write a series featuring each of the eight families that she hopes will attract the attention of her publishers. Her last feature spotlights Greg Hernandez, a single father of an HIV positive daughter from Ethiopia. Nina finds herself totally charmed by this little girl and equally so with her father, who designs the quilts. So when the offer to relocate to New York from Houston arrives weeks later, which life will Nina choose to stitch together?

You can purchase Love Finds You in New Orleans at Amazon.

Christa is giving away a copy of Love Finds You in New Orleans. 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, February 20, 2012

Christa Allan's Love Finds You in New Orleans

Christa Allan teaches high school English in Louisiana and received her National Board Certification in 2007.  She's the mother of five, and Grammy of two precious (of course!) grandgirls.  She and her husband recently moved to an 1840s home in the historic Bywater District in New Orleans.  Christa and Ken are happily anticipating retirement, chasing their three neurotic cats, and sometimes dodging hurricanes.

Her first historical, Love Finds You in New Orleans, released this month from Summerside Press. Her debut novel, Walking on Broken Glass (2010) was published by Abingdon Press. The Edge of Grace, her second novel with Abingdon, received a starred review from Library Journal. She'll  also be publishing a novel with Abingdon Press in 2012 as part of their Quilts of Love line. Christa writes not-your-usual Christian fiction, stories that focus on redemption for the broken.

You can find Christa online at her website: www.ChristaAllan.com/, on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.



Love Finds You in 
New Orleans


Raised by her grandparents in 19th-century New Orleans, Charlotte knows little about her long-lost parents. Now facing an arranged marriage to a suitor she dreads, she finds herself attracted to somebody else: a young Creole man named Gabriel Girod. Meanwhile, her grandparents harbor a family secret. Will the truth set everybody free---especially Charlotte?








Here's an excerpt from Love Finds You in New Orleans:

11
Chapter One
January 1841

Grand-mère and Abram were due home from the French Market at any moment, and Charlotte could not convince Henri to leave her bedroom.

“You know Abram will throw you out the door, and after Grand-mère is finished with me, I may never leave this bedroom. Forever a pris­oner of this house.” Well, forever until the day of her coming-out party. Lottie knew there would be no missing that event even if she wanted to. And most days, she wanted to forget the event entirely.

Henri yawned and stared back at her.

“If your belly wasn’t so full, you wouldn’t be so content.”

He stretched and blinked a few times as if to say, “Whose fault is that?”

Of course he was right. Lottie reached for her mattress and pulled herself up from crouching on the floor to have her one-way conversation with the calico cat that eluded capture under her four-poster bed. She’d started feeding Henri the day she spotted him wobbling after the milk lady’s cart. Madame Margaret delivered the milk to Grand-mère and went on her way, but the cat with the pleading gray eyes stayed behind. Her grandmother begrudgingly relented when Lottie begged to feed him, as long as she promised he would never, ever cross the threshold into their house.

Still wearing her nightgown, all Lottie could do was peek through the muslin curtains. “Only two houses away,” she whispered, as if the words might alarm Henri. She turned around just as the spotted cat started to make his escape, and in a movement so swift that she almost toppled into her armoire, she snatched him.

Even before Grand-mère made her entrance through the wrought-iron gate at the rear of the house, with her basket sprouting colorful vegetables, Lottie had deposited the cat on the front steps. She hurried through the library and the parlor and up to her bedroom—just in time to see Agnes pick up the china saucer left under the bed.

Agnes looked over Lottie’s shoulder and then behind, toward the gal­lery, where Lottie’s grandmother, Marie LeClerc, could be heard already discussing dinner with the cook. “Now, Miss Genevieve Charlotte…” Agnes lowered her voice from its usual trumpet blast and set her chestnut eyes right on Lottie’s guilty face. “You forget your cup this morning when you fount the coffee?”

Without waiting for an answer, which they both knew would be one step away from the truth, Agnes slipped the saucer into the wide front pocket of her white apron. “I’m taking care of this”—she patted her pocket—“while you taking care of getting dressed for the day.”

Lottie wanted to hug her, but Agnes backed away and waved her arms in front of her to ensure her distance. “You best wash that cat off your hands before wrapping your arms round me. No telling where that mister been since you last saw him.” Agnes secured the mosquito netting to the four posters of Lottie’s bed, surveyed the room, and looked into the ceramic basin on the dresser. “Well, your water is fresh. Your grandmother gonna start calling your name if she don’t see you soon.” She walked out of the room.

After Lottie splashed water on her hands and face, she pulled the blue chintz day dress from her armoire and laid it across her bed. The skirt and bodice showed some wear, but for Lottie, that meant she could soon cut it down to sew dresses for the orphan home. Weeks ago, she had gone to the home for the first time with Gabriel when he delivered food there. She had taken a homespun summer dress covered with pink, blue, and yellow flowers that no longer covered her pantaloons. Grand-mère had been appalled the last time she’d worn it, so Lottie had decided her grandmother wouldn’t mind if she gave it away.

Not that Lottie had told her about giving it away yet. Even though her dress could clothe at least two of the girls, she feared her grandparents would not want her traipsing to an orphan home—with Gabriel, no less. How many times had Grand-mère droned, “Picking up strays again, dear?” Gabriel, the orphans, Henri—all defined as strays by her grandmother.

I’ll tell her after my twentieth birthday. It’s nearly two months away. Lottie laughed at the thought that she would be old enough to take a husband into the house and a dress out of the house on the same day. She might even write that in her letter to her parents, one she would compose later when she sat at her desk to share her day with them, as she had almost every day for the past ten years. Lottie told no one about her letters. They would have called her foolish to write to people who were never going to write her back.
* * * * *
Grand-mère informed Lottie over breakfast that she would be taking music instructions from Madame Fontenot because “playing the pianoforte reflects a lady’s culture and sophistication.”

“Why do I need to be cultured and sophisticated?” Lottie reached for a second croissant, but Grand-mère whisked away the basket and handed her a bowl of strawberries.

“Why, Charlotte, suitors appreciate ladies who can play music, especially something as entertaining as the pianoforte.” Grand-mère placed the basket of croissants next to her own plate, sighed, and mum­bled as if speaking to the tablecloth.

As usual, when her grandmother spoke to the air, Charlotte pre­tended not to listen. She had spent years not hearing what she was certain Grand-mère expected her to hear.

“Entertaining? Will that require years of lessons?” Actually, Lottie hoped so. Anything to put distance between herself and the prospect of suitors.

Her grandmother settled her coffee cup in its saucer. “Certainly not. Unless, that is, you show promise. In that case, your lessons could continue even after you are married.”

Had she not just bitten into the sweet strawberry, Lottie might have tasted the sourness in her stomach as it rose to her throat. But, as always, she would defer to her grandmother’s plans. She brushed off the croissant crumbs sprinkled on the bodice of her gown and patted her mouth with her napkin. “May I be excused?”

“Of course,” Grand-mére said. “But before you leave, it might brighten your face to know that I’ve arranged for Justine to join you in your lessons.”

Lottie smiled. “Thank you. It does make me happy to know that she and I will be sharing the time.” And the suffering, she thought.

“What are your plans for the day?” Grand-mère folded her napkin over her breakfast plate and stood.

“Justine and I planned to work on our samplers this morning since we both need more practice with stitches. She should be here within the hour.” Lottie followed her grandmother into the butler’s pantry to rinse their dishes.

“If I finish planning the week’s meals with Cook, I may join you. If not, you can show me your progress later.”

Lottie nodded as she dried her plate and hoped for a difficult menu planning.
* * * * *
“I suppose suitors appreciate ladies who eat only one croissant at break­fast,” Lottie told her friend Justine Dumas as they worked on their samplers in the library. Looking behind her to make certain her grand­mother hadn’t slipped in, Lottie lifted her sewing and snapped the end of her thread with her teeth before staring at the half-finished piece. “I wish the alphabet didn’t have so many letters.” She tugged a green thread from the bundle of string. “Look, Justine, it’s the color of your eyes. I’m going to sew the J with it.”

Justine leaned over the arm of her chair to get a closer look. “No, that is the color of celery.” She smoothed the almost-completed needle­work on her lap and raised her head with an air of mock sophistication. “My eyes are like two glittering emeralds.”

Lottie smiled and pulled the threads into a knot. “Somewhere between there is the truth. Like the truth I learned this morning.”

“Maybe your grandmother doesn’t want you to outgrow your corset.” Justine giggled and coaxed her needle through the muslin. “But isn’t it exciting to think about being courted, then engaged and married?”

“No. All that excites me is that you will join me in those piano­forte punishments. I will have a partner in suffering.” Lottie placed the back of her hand to her forehead and swooned in imitation of Emmeline, Justine’s cousin, who joined them for Spanish lessons with Señor Marino. At least once a month, Emmy felt faint and always managed to fall into his arms. Perhaps there would be an engagement announced soon.

“My mother was delighted to have one fewer lesson to schedule,” said Justine. As the youngest of seven, Justine often orchestrated her own social life since her older siblings, and now their children, kept her mother in a perpetual state of obligation and confusion.

They slipped into comfortable silence. The afternoon sun bowed out of the sky as if its dance with the day had ended. Shadows lazily drifted through the tall windows while the girls collected their threads and samplers to continue another time.

Agnes’s orders to Abram vibrated through the rooms. “Why you not out there lookin’ for Mr. LeClerc? Go wait by that porte cochère where his carriage come in. Remember, the doctor said he got a weak heart.” Lottie imagined Abram’s usual response of shaking his head in what Agnes called his “what you gonna do with her” way. Agnes and Abram had been with Lottie’s grandparents longer than she had. Before Lottie had reached the age of ten, old enough to join her grandparents at dinner, she had felt like Agnes’s daughter. Often, she wished she was.

Justine adjusted the bow of her bonnet, even though Lottie had remarked earlier that the evening shade didn’t require a bonnet at all. She had just reached for the door latch when she suddenly grabbed Lottie’s arm as if she’d fallen into the swamp. “Charlotte, I have the most won­derful idea.” Her face certainly reflected the excitement in her voice.

“Is the idea that you will not squeeze my arm again?”

“You are so silly.” Justine let go, smoothed the sleeve she had man­gled, and leaned toward Lottie. “We could have our coming-out parties together, even though you are older. Everyone understands the fright over contagion because of the fever in the city. Your coming-out party was not the only one delayed.”

Justine’s words ran out of her mouth so fast, they bumped into one another. The speed of her words wasn’t a problem, but her ever-increasing volume was. Lottie pressed a finger against Justine’s lips. “Shush. No talk­ing about this now. I am hoping my grandparents forget—”

“Forget?” Justine pulled back and looked at Lottie as though she’d just told her she’d met Andrew Jackson. “Do you really think your grandmother would forget such an important event?”

Important for her. A chance to market me to a rich man she can boast about. Lottie didn’t have to think of an answer, because they both knew what it would be—and because someone knocked on the door.

Benjamin, one of Justine’s older brothers, waited outside. He nod­ded in Lottie’s direction, looked at Justine as Lottie imagined only an annoyed older brother could, and said, “Mother sent me for you.”

Lottie laughed. “You live four houses away.”

Justine stepped out of the house. “Charlotte, that kind of thinking is your problem. It’s not the distance. A lady should not walk the streets in the evening without a chaperone.”

“That was one of the best ‘elegant lady’ statements I’ve ever heard from you. Our deportment teacher would be so proud.”

Justine giggled. “I will be back tomorrow for our first pianoforte lesson.”

Again, Benjamin nodded toward Lottie, and the two walked away. Lottie watched as they moved down the banquette and maneuvered around sludge that was too thick to slip into the ditches. The gaslights swaying from the ropes fastened to tall poles along the street seemed to blink as they passed.Lottie pushed the door closed and wished she could close the door on her dreams as easily.
* * * * *
“How is it that you can be late for our lesson when it is in your parlor?” Justine did not stop practicing scales on the pianoforte to acknowledge Lottie’s arrival. Madame Fontenot sat next to her—though with the bench invisible under yards of Justine’s calico dress and their teacher’s black skirt, the two appeared to be suspended in perfect alignment. But had Lottie stepped any closer, Madame’s glance in her direction would have left cuts. Justine and Lottie often joked that Madame Fontenot paid Marie Laveau, the voodoo queen, for those chilling expressions.

Lottie closed the parlor doors behind her and mentally pinched herself to avoid saying something to Madame or Justine she might later be made to regret. She was not going to tell either one of them that she overslept after staying awake longer than intended so she could write a letter to her parents.

Lottie sat in the padded chair facing the tall windows at the front of the house and waited for Justine’s lesson to end. As far as she was concerned, Justine could have Lottie’s lesson time too.

Lottie watched a carriage pass, its curtains drawn, and wished she were in it, headed down Rue Royale. Instead she listened to Madame Fontenot as she reminded Justine, “Wrists up, fingers curved,” and dreaded her own practice. She tapped her feet on the thick Turkish carpet; waves of pale blue chintz swished back and forth, keeping time with each key that Justine’s fingers touched. Lottie felt as gray and as restless as the clouds outside. Maybe Grand-mère will allow a trip to the opera this evening—

“Charlotte, Justine has finished her lesson.” Madame Fontenot waved her over to the bench.

“I will be in the library. Your grandfather invited me to select a book,” Justine said to Lottie. She opened the door and pressed her gown to her side as she passed through the opening.

As Lottie lifted herself off the chair, she spotted a familiar tignon making its way across the street, made even more familiar by the young man behind, who carried a large woven basket. Whatever hope Governor Miró had that requiring free women of color to wear the knotted head­dresses in public would make them less attractive surely had not counted on women like Rosette Girod. The handkerchief swirls of orchid-shaded silk framed her exotic face. Without the tignon, Lottie knew, she and Rosette could have walked together in the French Market and no one who passed would have identified Rosette as a free woman of color. Her features were echoed in her son Gabriel, who, as a child, explained his light complexion to Agnes by telling her that before he was born, God had dipped him into a pot of café au lait. As she watched, Lottie saw Rosette point in the direction of her home.

Lottie’s time with Gabriel had been severely curtailed since he started helping Rosette at her Chartres Street café a few years ago. What started as a stand selling coffee and hot calas—the deep-fried rice cakes eaten for breakfast—had, over the years, become an out­door café with chairs and tables. Churchgoers who poured out of Saint Louis Cathedral on Sunday mornings spilled right into the café that bore Rosette’s mother’s name, Café Elizabeth.

Fueled by the possibility of talking to Gabriel, who actually cared what she thought, Lottie hurried past the piano bench. “I will return tout de suite,” she told a tight-lipped Madame before heading to the library. Justine truly was reading. Romeo and Juliet, of course. Lottie plucked the play out of her friend’s hands. “Rosette and Gabriel are on their way to visit. Tell Agnes the lessons are almost over. See if they can stay until we finish.” Lottie felt as surprised as Justine appeared by the urgency in her voice.

“We?” Justine returned the volume to the étagère, sliding it between Macbeth and The Tempest. “I’m finished. So what I’m actually asking is if they can wait on you.” She held a small silver tray she’d found on Grand-père’s desk up to her face and smoothed her hair along each side of her part.

“Charlotte.” Lottie didn’t need to see Madame’s face to assess the level of her irritation. The second syllable of her name sounded as heavy as an anchor. An anchor that landed on the t.

At that moment, Lottie mentally thanked her grandmother for deportment lessons. She turned around, cast her eyes downward, and clasped her hands loosely at her waist. “Forgive me, Madame Fontenot. I did not want to forget to deliver an important message to Justine.”

“I have other students today, so your lesson will have to end right on time. Come with me. You have already wasted enough time.”

Lottie nodded and, when she sat next to Madame on the piano bench, produced a genuine smile and said, “Let’s begin.”

You can purchase Love Finds You in New Orleans at Amazon.

Christa is giving away a copy of Love Finds You in New Orleans. 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, February 19, 2012

Fay Lamb's Because of Me

Welcome to the Book Loft, Fay.
Is there a story behind this book?
So much of my heart has gone into this story, and I could spend an hour telling you about all the ways it is special to me, but the most important reason is that Because of Me embodies everything that I’ve prayed to God and talked with Him about my writing ministry.

Jesus is such a personal savior. He meets everyone where we are, and though we may walk down what we believe is a lonely path from time to time, when we look back, we see so clearly that Jesus was right there with us all along our way—even in the midst of turmoil we’ve brought upon ourselves. He doesn’t abandon us when we make mistakes.

I want readers to understand that God is in the details of our lives. Don’t mistake what I’m trying to say. God doesn’t condone our mistakes, but the forgiveness He gives us when we do is such a complete forgiveness that the truth of Romans 8:28 is even more precious. “All things” . . . the good and the bad. . . they all work together for good to them that love God. That means that even when we muddle through our life, messing things up, God has a plan for us. His thoughts are toward us, and they are always for good, as Jeremiah 29:11 tells us.

One of the biggest mistakes of my life was marrying early and not asking God’s direction. The second biggest mistake was divorcing the man I married and ending up a single mother. I never asked God about divorce. I knew what His answer would have been . . . what it always will be, but I moved forward on my own, clearly not in God’s will.

Yet I’m a living example that God’s forgiveness is something we cannot begin to comprehend. Today, I’m happily married to a man who raised my two sons to be the wonderful fathers that they are today. He did so as if those boys carried his DNA, and well, they inherited something much better than DNA from the man they call their father. I can definitely look back and say, “All things work together for good. . .”

What kind of books do you enjoy reading?
I tend to find a particular author and stick with them. I like a story filled with surprises and twists you don’t see coming. Currently, I indulge in Sharyn McCrumb’s Appalachian Ballad series. Sharyn has a way of weaving folklore into a contemporary story that will hold you spellbound.

If you were a style of music, what style would you be?
I have such an eclectic taste in music, and I suppose the answer to this question would differ from day to day. Let’s just say that you’ll find my style as somewhere between a Texas-country love song sung by Radney Foster and a rocking tune by Carolina Liar.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Well, whatever I share with you, I know that one of my friends somewhere is going to say, “That isn’t her quirkiest moment,” but for a friend’s thirtieth birthday party I actually planned a slumber party built around one of our favorite television shows. When my friend arrived, she was greeted with posters from the British science fiction series, Primeval and our favorite actor in the show. I’d bought a child’s cake, complete with dinosaurs, a major portion of the television show), plunked the actor’s character picture into the middle of it, and filled a table in the room with all kinds of not-so-good-for-your treats, and we sat down to a marathon of the shows first three years of shows. My kids stopped by to view the insanity, my husband checked in on us from time to time, but we actually made it through the entire thirty-six hours without sleep.

I’m now planning the sequel to this event, which will include the final two seasons of the show for a total of forty-eight hours of non-stop Primeval.

Are there things you put off doing because you dread them?
Cooking. I can wrangle out of cooking dinner quicker than anyone you know. I absolutely hate what I consider the drudgery of the kitchen. And I married the right man. He has no qualms about avoiding my cooking. We joke about the local restaurants actually being our kitchen. In most cases, the waitresses try to guess what we’ll order, and in one place, our jumbo sweet iced teas are on the table before we sit down.

Share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you. 
In my novel, Because of Me, the hero’s life verse is Job 13:15, “Thou He slay me, yet will I trust in Him, but I will maintain mine own ways before Him.”

This verse speaks of the type of steadfast faith we should have in our awesome Savior. No matter what we face, we need to trust in Him. The hero, Michael Hayes, has already been through so much. Everything he loved had been torn from him in one violent act against the girl he loved. Still, when Michael trusted Christ as his Savior, this is the verse he chose to cling to. As I wrote the story, I discovered, along with Michael, that sometimes when God slays us, it isn’t always a bad thing. God’s immeasurable mercy and grace toward us is something that slays me daily. No wonder Michael loves this Scripture.

What are you currently working on?
I have completed a second romantic suspense, Willow’s Path, and two contemporary romances, Charisse and Liberty. Currently, I’m working on two other romantic suspense novels and the last story in the contemporary romance series while editing a contemporary fiction entitled, Storms in Serenity. Beyond that I am excitedly looking forward to delving into a novel that includes the intriguing world of professional surfing.

You can purchase Because of Me on Amazon.

Fay is giving away a copy of Because of Me. 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, February 18, 2012

Meet Fay Lamb

Fay Lamb works as an acquisition/copyeditor for Pelican Book Group (White Rose Publishing and Harbourlight Books), offers her services as a freelance editor, and is an author of Christian romance and romantic suspense. Her emotionally charged stories remind the reader that God is always in the details. Because of Me, her debut romantic suspense novel is soon to be released by Treble Heart Books/Mountainview Publishing.

Fay has a passion for working with and encouraging fellow writers. As a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), she co-moderates the large Scribes’ Critique Group and manages the smaller Scribes’ critique groups. For her efforts, she was the recipient of the ACFW Members Service Award in 2010.

In 2012, Fay was also elected to serve as secretary on ACFW’s Operating Board.
Fay and her husband, Marc, reside in Titusville, Florida, where multi-generations of their families have lived. The legacy continues with their two married sons and five grandchildren.

Because of Me

Issie Putnam’s life took a detour the night she was raped at gunpoint in front of her fiancé, Michael Hayes. Instead of marrying Michael, a promising young investigative reporter, Michael, along with the man who attacked her, and the man who held the gun on Michael, are imprisoned for conspiracy to assassinate the local district attorney—a crime Michael was trying to expose but had no intention of committing. Issie’s name is ruined, she lost her perfectly-planned future, but she gained Cole, her son—born of that rape.

On the eve of her attacker’s parole, Michael, already released from prison, follows through on his plan to return to the small town of Amazing Grace and protect Issie from the madman who promised to seek revenge. There, he meets Issie’s seven-year-old son for the first time.

Can Michael learn to love the child Issie holds so close to her heart? Will Michael be able to protect the woman he loves from the man who will stop at nothing to destroy them all?

Here's an excerpt of Because of Me:

“Michael.” Issie bolted upright in bed, fighting the blankets and gasping for air. She ran her hand across her mouth and scanned the darkness enveloping her room.

Her breath, harsh at first, settled into a normal rhythm. She had nothing to fear. “Michael,” she choked out his name again then settled back down and curled into a ball.

She’d clung to the memory of his handsome face, but with each passing year he slipped further away. The desperate yearning to see him took her breath away.

One thing she’d never forget was the way his eyes, the color of dark chocolate, always followed her lips when she spoke, as if he wanted to kiss them long and deep. He’d loved her then. She loved him now.

Another face fought to replace her treasured memory. She shuddered and closed her eyes, fighting the vision of Tom Jervis on top of her, taking everything she’d saved for Michael—for their marriage bed. Everything she desired fell out of reach on that night.

“Mommy?” the frightened voice sounded from the hallway.

“Cole, I’m here. What is it?”

With bare feet, her seven-year-old plopped across the wood floor and over the old woolen rug to her bed. “Are you okay?”

Issie turned on her bed stand lamp. A soft light shone from beneath the green glass top, illuminating his sleepy face and tired soul-filled gray eyes.

“I had another bad dream.” She scooted over, and he climbed up beside her.

The nightmare had vanished for such a long time. Why was it resurfacing now? Could you call them dreams if the events really happened?

“Mommy, who’s Michael?”

She stiffened. He’d never asked that question. Had she not cried out for Michael in the night before? How could she answer? Yet, not responding might alarm him since he heard her call out the name. “Yeah, baby, I do.”

He rolled over to face her. “Your bad dreams are about him?”

She touched her finger to his nose. “No, they aren’t about him, but he’s in them. Having him there makes it better for me.”

Better for her, but not for Michael. What had it cost him to watch Jervis do what he’d done to her?

“How does he make it better?”

Issie pushed her boy’s shaggy blond hair from his face. He needed a haircut, but he wanted it long until the end of the baseball season. His helmet fit better, he said.

“How does he make it better?” He repeated, propping himself up on one elbow. “Did he help you?”

A vision of Michael branded her memory—the tears in his eyes, the rage in the flare of his nostrils, and the sorrow in the turn of his lips.

“No, but he would if he could.” She pressed her chin against the top of Cole’s head and wrapped her arms around his pint-size body, drawing comfort from his warmth and concern. Cole was a good boy. No one could tell her differently. “In my dream, Michael’s having a tough time too, maybe worse than Mommy.”

“Where does Michael live?” He yawned and turning, he faced away from her, his little body curving with hers.

“I don’t know where he is today.” At least that was the truth now. “I haven’t seen him in over seven years.” Since his release from prison, Issie had no idea where he’d gone.

“Oh,” he said. His breathing soon settled into a sweet rhythm of sleep.

“Michael.” She breathed the name. As she’d done since the day she learned she carried a boy, she imagined Michael embracing her son and accepting him as his own. The fantasy, though, was too fantastic for even her to believe.


You can purchase Because of Me on Amazon.

Fay is giving away a copy of Because of Me. 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.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Welcome back D.M. Webb!


Prologue

The squad car radio blared its announcement and caused Sergeant Jeremy Boyette to dribble coffee down the front of his uniform. Nine o’clock at night with four more hours to his shift, Jeremy needed the extra caffeine kick to stay awake. He swiped at the wet spots and scowled.

The radio blared again, asking for J forty-three to contact dispatch. Jeremy reached over to turn it down. Same-o, same-o. A quiet May night. The flickering neon light from the movie theater's sign beat a tempo against the hood of his car. He had parked his Jasper City squad car by the building and decided to enjoy his rare Jack's Express coffee, taking a much deserved break. His only battle was the one he waged against the jumbo jet mosquitoes.

His phone belted out Journey's Don't Stop Believin'. "Yo, little brother."

"You sleeping in the squad car again?"

Jeremy grinned at his brother's teasing. "Naw, just taking a break. It's quiet tonight. Where are you?"

"Fire Station Three."

"Thought you were off tonight."

"I am. Figured I would play a hand with Sam and Toby before heading home. Oh, Rebecca wanted me to give you a message."

Jeremy leaned against the headrest. "And that would be?"

"She doesn't care if you are on duty or not. You cannot weasel your way out of a fitting." David's laughter boomed across the phone. "She said you better show up at Mike's for the final fitting tomorrow because she will not have an ill-fitted best man at her wedding. Her words."

"You told her I was working?"

"Yup. But she said, and I quote, 'I don't care. It only takes five minutes, and if he wants my cheesecake on Sunday, then he'd better show up tomorrow.' End quote."

Jeremy laughed. "Okay, I'll go. I'll go."

"I know you will. Sarah said she would drag you in there by your nonexistent hair."

"Hey, hey. Low blow." Jeremy removed his cap and ran his hand over the stubble. "I didn't mean to lose the bet."

"Yeah. I told Rebecca that I would probably need to shave my head so you wouldn't feel like a total fool."

"I bet she liked that."

A crash sounded in the background. "Hey, the boys got the table down from the attic. I'll call you later."

"Later." Jeremy closed his phone and slipped it back into the holster on his belt. "Yup. A quiet night."

Another announcement squawked. "All units, a report of a two-vehicle accident at intersection of Fifth and Terrence Drive. All units respond."

Jeremy cast the dregs of his coffee out the window and threw the empty cup to the floorboard. He grabbed his mike. "Dispatch, show four nine responding."

He hit his lights.

The blue strobes battled with the flickering neon sign as he pulled away from the sidewalk.

"Forty-nine, be advised there is entrapment. Fire and Rescue are responding."
"Copy that, dispatch."

Jeremy peeled around the corner and zoomed past the brightly lit strip malls. A couple of blasts from his siren edged vehicles out of the way. Up ahead, a thin line of smoke climbed into the air. Not good.

Jeremy raced down Terrence Drive. His tires squealed as he jammed the brakes. He jumped out of the car, leaving the engine running. Onlookers stood on the sidewalks and gazed in morbid fascination as he ran to the scene. A man sat doubled over on the opposite curb. Blood at his feet.

The twisted remains of a Chevy Silverado meshed into a silver Ford Taurus greeted him. Oh, no. Rebecca's car.

Jeremy hurried to the side of the car and peered in. Her head lolled against the headrest. Her hands still gripped the steering wheel. Blood flowed from a deep laceration to her forehead.

"Rebecca? Can you hear me?" Jeremy reached through the smashed window. He detected a faint and thready pulse through the sticky warmth of blood.

Damage assessment. The truck had wedged the steering column against her legs. He tried the door, but it was crushed in at all angles like an empty beer can. He hit his mike. "Dispatch, one victim. Single, white female. Trauma to head and legs. ETA on Rescue?"

"ETA three minutes."

Jeremy leaned in as far as he could and gripped her hand. The edge of the door pressed against his mike. "Rebecca? Listen to me. You will be fine. Stay with me now. You have a wedding next week."

Dispatch came back. "All units mike check. Open mike on the channel."

Jeremy cursed under his breath. Maybe David wasn't listening to the radio chatter. He removed his mike from the vest and attached it at his collar. Then, he sniffed. The ozone stench of an electrical burn wafted through the car. Panic beat at his chest. Rescue needed to hurry.

"Rebecca, you hang in there."

More squad cars arrived. Two officers leapt from a car and cordoned off the area. Two men from the other cars rushed to him. Jeremy released Rebecca's clammy hand.

"Markston, the other driver is over there on the curb. I want his statement. Baers, with me. We got to find a way to get her out."

They tugged at the passenger door. It refused to budge.

Jeremy crawled onto the hood. Heat emanated from under the buckled metal. He took the glass punch from Baers and attacked the windshield. It spider-webbed from the impact. He and Baers folded it away from the dashboard.

Head first, he climbed into the car. Sirens wailed in the distance.

"Rescue Two en route."

Jeremy wormed his way over the steering wheel, keeping his right hand on the dashboard for balance. Smoke burned his nose and eyes. Heat seared his hands.

Her eyes fluttered opened. Thick clouds billowed up from the dashboard and choked him. Baers tugged at his uniform's vest. "Boyette, get off! Engine's on fire!"

Jeremy stretched further. His fingers fumbled at the belt's catch. "I almost got her."

"Get off!"

Rebecca's eyes, cloudy and vibrant blue, gazed into his, but then he slid away. Jeremy struggled as Baers dragged him off the hood.

Baers spoke into his mike as he pushed him away from the car. "Dispatch, we can't reach her!"

"All units, stand down and await Fire and Rescue." The calm voice contrasted against the chaos of the scene.

Orange flames licked out from underneath the hood. Oh, please, no! No! Rescue wouldn't arrive fast enough. Baers latched on to his vest and pulled him away from the car. Jeremy grabbed his mike. "Dispatch, please advise! Victim is still trapped! Car is fully involved."

Seconds ticked by. "All units are commanded to stand down."

Jeremy cursed. Orders were orders, but not this time. He strained against Baers. "I have to get her, Thad!"

Baers' arm wrapped around his neck. "Stop, Boyette. You can't get to her! Chief ordered us to stand down."

Jeremy bucked against his friend. His vision reddened as Baers tightened his hold.

"Jeremy, you can't reach her, man! Stop."

The fire truck arrived. Firefighters vaulted to the pavement and pulled hoses. A smaller truck barreled onto the scene. A man heaved a large, heavy tool out of the truck's side panel. The jaws of life, made to rip apart doors.

A black '65 Mustang slid to a stop behind the fire trucks.

David didn't need to be here. Jeremy strained against Baers' hold. "David's here. Let me go!"

Baers released him, and he hurried to his brother's side.

David's terror-widened eyes absorbed the scene. He plowed past the officer at the yellow tape. "That's Rebecca."

Jeremy pressed his hands against his brother's chest. Veins popped up along his arms as he strained to hold him at bay. "They're getting her."

David pushed past him. His long legs ate up the pavement as he raced to the fire. "You left her there? You left her!"

"David! Stop!" Jeremy caught his arm and spun him around. "We were ordered to stand down until Rescue puts out the fire."

Wild, unbridled anger lanced from David's face, and his voice broke. "You left her?" His hands slammed into Jeremy's chest. Jeremy stumbled, then righted himself and dove after his brother as David whirled around.

Jeremy grabbed a fistful of David's shirt. Fabric ripped out of his hands. "Baers! Stop him."

His mind cataloged every action like frames of a film. He tackled his brother around the waist, halting David's flight and bringing him to his knees. Firemen ducked back as orange flames shot into the night sky. He heard a strangled scream beside him.

The heat from the blast seared into him. The weight of the impact pushed at his chest. He fought and struggled to contain his brother's crazed flight.

David's arms and legs clawed and crawled across the pavement, dragging them both closer to the inferno. The fire's deafening roar filled his ears. Heat radiated against his face. A fist pummeled into him.

Pain exploded inside his head.

Other hands came to his aid. Markston and Baers hauled David to the curb. His brother fell to his knees. Sobs racked his body. Jeremy staggered and knelt beside David. Pain from his brother's eyes bored into him. Tears streaked both of their faces.

In the distance, men shouted. Water sizzled as it fell down onto the burning car. But nothing would ever erase the scream, erase the howl, that poured forth from his little brother's soul.


Chapter 1
The white gravel drive, with its mailbox reading Dean and Leigh Boyette, wound down to the stately brick Georgian house. David had never driven the familiar ride with such apprehension. He was the prodigal son returning home—minus the guilt.

Rocks crunched beneath the tires as he brought his old, beat-up Chevy truck to a stop. He sat there, hands on the wheel, taking deep breaths. Sweat coated his palms. It had been three years since he last sat in this drive. Letters, phone calls, and e-mails had kept him in touch, but now he was back in Jasper City for good. He was an adult, for crying out loud, and he did not need to be running home like a small child.

The door creaked, testimony of the truck's age, as he opened it and stepped out onto the driveway. His boots, like the truck, had seen better days. So had he.

Old possessions. Old clothes. Old beyond his thirty-five years. Just plain old.

David grabbed his duffel bag from the bed of the truck and trudged the few steps to the front door. He sidestepped the fat tomcat asleep on the porch's step. Fat Tom, big, yellow, and lazy.

"Mornin', Fat Tom," David whispered.

Fat Tom opened one eye in greeting and then rolled over, perfecting cat arrogance. David cocked his head. The door knocker was new, outlandish, and bulky. Mom's idea. He lifted the clown and let it fall against the metal plating. Yep, that heavy clank would get someone's attention.

So he did it again. And again. And again.

Someone yelled. "Coming!"

The clown went up and then down.

"I said I’m coming!"

Again David lifted the clown and let it plummet.

"Coming!" This time the voice screeched.

The door jerked open, and the woman, plump, beautiful, and smelling of jasmine, screeched again. This time in delight. "David!"

His feet practically left the porch as his mother pulled his tall frame down to her, enveloping him in a strong hug. "Oh my goodness! You said next week, David! Oh my goodness!"

The mantra nearly brought him to tears as she kept him in a bear hug, rocking gently.

"I couldn't wait, Mamma." Her gray streaked hair muffled his voice. "I had to see you."

She finally pulled back. "Oh, I have missed you. You look tired. And shaggy. Look at that hair. You would think it was the 70's again." She pulled at him. "Come in, silly! Go put your stuff up and get to the kitchen. I got to fatten you up again." David bent to kiss his mother's cheek. "I've missed you, Mamma. And your cooking."
"Your sister will be here in a little while, along with Marty Junior. She will be so surprised to see you."

His mom practically skipped back to the kitchen as David climbed the stairs. Once again the familiar felt strange. Same pictures still hung on the wall. The handrail still wiggled. New rosy carpet covered the floor.

He turned right and stood in front of his bedroom. His dad had painted over the green stripes that he put on the door so long ago. He peered inside. A wave of sadness surged over him.

Same full size bed. Same curtains. Same old furniture. But none of his life before remained. When he left, he had screamed, shouted, hurled curses, and said he would never return. Now his room was a guest room. His things must have been packed away in the attic or the storage building out back–his things that had once occupied the new home that he would have shared with Rebecca, things that David had moved into this room before he left it all behind. He forced a swallow past his dry throat and blocked those thoughts.

The duffel bag bounced once when he threw it on the bed. He sat beside it and buried his head in his hands. Weariness, that old cliché, washed over him and entered his bones. He was too tired and too empty.

As exhilarated as his mother was to see him, and his father and Darlene probably would be also, he doubted Jeremy would welcome him back. Resentment, borderline hate, still flowed between them.

"Your things are in the attic."

That deep, melodic voice had never changed. It commanded attention and brimmed with affection.

David smiled at his father, who leaned against the door frame. "Hey, Dad."

"Come here, Son." His dad took two long strides and pulled David into a tight embrace. "It's so good to see you home, Son. Let me look at you." His dad held him at arm's length. "You look tired. Beat up."

"I am tired."

"What happened in St. Louis?"

David shook his head. "Nothing, Dad. Nothing at all."

"You needed home." His dad could read him just as well as that well-worn Bible of his.
"Yeah. I needed home."


Don't want to wait and see if you won? Purchase your copy now at www.dmwebb.com Any online store such as Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com, Books-a-Million, Lifeway, Family Christian Bookstore, etc.


D.M. Webb is giving away a copy of Mississippi Nights. 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.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

D.M. Webb's Mississippi Nights

Webb lives, along with her two sons and a variety of pets, in the beautiful state of Mississippi. She is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW).

Her studies in art and sociology coupled with her many jobs ranging from bookstore clerk to volunteer firefighter/EMR has produced a plethora of ideas for upcoming books.

Who am I really, though? A painter of wild and colorful scenes and dreamer of vivid and vast dreams are two things that describe me. My true dream is to be a light for my Lord and write stories from the heart in hopes that it will speak to those who reads them. My desire is for a person to accept Jesus, or a heart to be soothed from its pain and hurt, or a downhearted soul suddenly uplifted from reading my books.

Within a year of joining ACFW, I not only became a published author, but I grew in spirit. My journey is far from over, basically it's just beginning, but I welcome the adventure that God is revealing to me every day.

Finally, I hope when my role on this earth is done, it's not the words "well done, my good and faithful servant" I desire to hear, but "well done, you may go dance among the stars".


Welcome to the book loft, D.M. What is the title of the last book you read and wished it wouldn’t end? Falls Like Lightning by Shawn Grady, which I read a few months ago. By the time it ended, I was wanting more, not the conclusion. Another one was Firethorn by Ronie Kendig, it was like being a gyroscope on a roller coaster. Actually this book hasn’t been published yet, but Stars by Susan Tuttle. Oh, I got to the end and wanted more!

Being from the south, what is your favorite fried food? Well, when I do eat fried food, it will have to be a toss-up between French fries and catfish. Oh, I take that back. A juggling match between French fries, catfish, and fried green tomatoes.

Do you have a theme that seems to show up your books? Addictions that enslave people, whether physically or emotional addictions, and the redemption or reconciliation that can be found in Jesus. There’s also strong emotional scenes, such as death, pain, and broken hearts and the healing that is offered to overcome those lingering effects.

Sweet or unsweet tea?
How about a little of both? I grew up drinking unsweet tea, and I order sweet tea at restaurants. I would have to say semi-sweet tea.

Can you tell us the spark that led you to write Mississippi Nights?
That’s a long story. It started when I was probably about 14 years old and the book was titled then, One Big Happy Family. Of course, I was naïve and innocent, didn’t know anything about the world. Last year the idea came to pull that story out of the time capsule, figuratively speaking. I didn’t have a hard copy, but I remembered the storyline. I resurrected the dead brother, Jeremy, changed a few names, added a few characters, and suddenly the story took on a life of itself. I poured my own experiences and that of others into this story. Poured my heart into it.

You wrote this book in six months. How did you manage the other parts of your life during that time?
I teetered on the see-saw. It was hard, but I scheduled a three hour window during the day to write. After home schooling, my boys would go off and do their thing, usually romping in the woods, a movie, or Xbox. Under no circumstances, the house could burn down around me, were they to disturb me. Sometimes I gained an hour or two at night when insomnia would hit me.

Working as a volunteer firefighter/EMT must give you lots of story ideas but brings heartache as well. How do you relieve the stress from the times that don’t turn out well?
That is a hard question to answer. Prayer is number one that helps. Walk in the woods, watching the night sky, or simple reading a book helps. I suffer from migraines, so I try not to let stress rule me. Prayer is really the only thing that will help. I can only carry one stick a day…

What genre is the book you are working on now?
I’m working on two and they are both contemporary fiction or general fiction as some might prefer. At least that’s my genre label I give them.

And would you tell us what D.M. stands for?
D.M. stands for Daphne Michele. I was afraid that men would see my name and think “oh, it’s a romance” and bypass it. Yes, there is a little romance in it--and men like it too, they just don’t want to admit it--but it’s more a story between the two brothers. So to make sure that the guys would at least pick it up to check it out, I had my initials printed on the cover instead of my name.

What’s your favorite worship song/hymn this month? I’ve got this infatuation with a band I came across on the internet, Angel Dean. It’s so hard to pick out just one song, since these worship and praise songs all speak to me. If I had to lay one finger on a song, then it would be Light Me on Fire. Followed by Don’t Have to Speak.

Thanks so much D.M. for visiting with us. Would you leave us with your go-to scripture verse when you feel broken?

Mark 4:39 “…Peace, be still…”
 
You can find D.M.'s books at www.dmwebb.com Any online store such as Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com, Books-a-Million, Lifeway, Family Christian Bookstore, etc.

Two brothers, one death--the bond of brotherhood faces its greatest challenge against resentment and guilt.

Can the love between two brothers eventually win against pain and guilt?

When Firefighter David Boyette’s fiancée perishes in a car fire, he blames his brother, Sgt. Jeremy Boyette, for her death.

Three years later, David returns home with a dark and devastating secret. With the help of family, a woman’s love, and a small child’s devotion, can David overcome insurmountable odds as he and Jeremy face the bitterness that enslaves him?

Together the brothers must decide if the bond of brotherhood is stronger than resentment and hate.

D.M. Webb is giving away a copy of Missippi Nights. 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, February 12, 2012

Welcome Linda Glaz

Is there a story behind this book?
Absolutely. My oldest daughter, who’s a nurse, always wanted me to write a story about a nurse named Aleni. So that was the starting point.

What started you on your writing journey?
In the middle of a huge snowstorm, I dropped my youngest daughter off at a birthday sleepover. She was just 11. In my own bizarre mind, I began to worry on the way home whether I knew these parents well enough. Then I thought, what if I came back in the morning and the entire house were empty? No girls, no nada. And that started my first story, BLOW OUT THE CANDLES AND SAY GOOD-BYE.

What distracts you from writing the easiest?
Working on other folks’ material. It’s easy to say I have to do that and let my own take second place.

What kind of books do you enjoy reading?
I simply love Brandilynn Collins work. She is amazing a weaving a frightening tale. I am a huge fan of Tim Downs, and of course, I love all the old classics.

Which character in your new release most interested you while you wrote?
I loved that Aleni was starting over after the death of her husband. I started over once, and I understand the level of trust it takes to enter a new relationship, particularly when you have a child to think of as well as yourself.

If you were a style of music, what style would you be?
Jazz. Love to hear it, love to sing the blues, and like to think I’m jazzy. Hah!

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Probably joining the service when it wasn’t a particularly popular thing to do. We’re talking pterodactyls as part of the Air Force. Many…many…years ago.

What is your strangest habit?
Wow, there are so many. Maybe, eating chocolate to get the juices going when I don’t know what to write. It sends my mind into overdrive.

What is your favorite season of the year?
Fall: the colors, the smell of burning leaves, hot dog and marshmallow roasts.
 
What is a favorite memory from your childhood?
Jumping in the leaves after they were all raked. I’m sure I heard about that from my dad.

Are there things you put off doing because you dread them?
Too many to list. I don’t like anything that takes me out of my comfort zone.

What's your favorite meal with family and friends?
Turkey and every possible thing that can go with it. Ooh, ooh, or Mexican food. Or wait, Puerto Rican food. And yet, Chinese is sooo very good. Okay, I’ll have to be honest. Unless it’s liver and cooked spinach, there’s not a food I don’t love. I suppose I good old-fashioned weenie roast in the backyard follow by s’mores.

Are there spiritual themes you like to write about?
Forgiveness and trust. Probably because they are the two hardest spiritual aspects for me. So my writing truly is preaching to the choir “of one.”

Share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you.
After a difficult time, when I first turned to the Lord and felt VERY afraid, he gave me this when I was working on a project for church.
“Between you and Me, we can do anything.” I later learned that all things are possible for those who love the Lord. 

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
I have my romantic suspense being looked at right now. Hopefully, it will find a home, I hope, I hope. I wrote it six years ago, but it’s gone through a lot of refining. It’s about a conservative talk show host who is attacked on the way home. Her hero, a hockey pro-huge sigh-saves her. As she is stalked by the man, she works on a human interest piece about a unique birthing center. And we’re left to wonder if the doctor at the center or the stalker are her biggest worries.

Linda Glaz is giving away a copy of her ebook Polar Bear Plunge. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses.
To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.


Untill next time. . . Sharon A Lavy

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