Friday, July 20, 2012

A Warm Welcome to Keli Gwyn

Readers, make sure you leave your email addresses with your comments for a chance to win Keli's book!

What is your favorite scripture verse and why does it resound with you?

I’m encouraged by Isaiah 41:10a, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.” There are times the writing journey requires courage and forging ahead in the face of disappointments, and it’s comforting to know the Lord is there for me on the dark days as well as the days of rejoicing.

In your latest book, is there a story--an inspiration behind it that gave you the desire to write it?

I live in the heart of California’s Gold Country and wanted to bring one of the area’s historic towns to life. El Dorado is located just a few miles away from my town of Placerville. While researching El Dorado, I learned about a successful mercantile owner with the largest business in town. He was active in the community and well regarded. He became the model for my hero, Miles Rutledge.

One of Placerville’s historic sites is the Emigrant Jane building. Built in 1861, it’s still standing today. The building bears a plaque telling about Jane, an industrious woman who drove a wagon across the country, had her store built, and went into business. I did my research and learned that women were able to own businesses in California from the early days of the Golden State. That knowledge led to the idea of having Elenora Watkins open her own shop when Miles refuses to accept her as partner in his.

Do you have a favorite character in your book that is dear to your heart?

Oooh! What a tough question. I love so many of my characters. Narrowing it down to one is well nigh impossible, but I’ll do my best.
Let’s see. There’s spirited, independent Elenora, who wants very much to see her new business succeed so she can provide for her nine-year-old daughter, Tildy. Mulish mercantile owner Miles is definitely in the running. Despite his propensity for saying the wrong thing and tasting boot blacking, he really is an amiable fellow who’s well liked by the townspeople—and has caught the eye of a certain widow with a shop across the street. Then there’s Tildy, a precocious chatterbox with a love of adventure, who captures the heart of everyone she meets—including me. And Miles’s mother, Maude, deserves a mention. While crusty on the outside and a bit of a meddler who’s into matchmaking of late, she’s quite well intentioned.

So, who’s my favorite? Eeny, meeny, miny, moe. I’m going with Ellie. A Bride Opens Shop is her story, after all. But Miles and Tildy are in a tie for second. :-)

Now, a couple of fun questions:

If you could choose a favorite meal, where would it be and with whom would you want to share it?

I’d be inclined to say Taco Bell, since I’m an addict, but that won’t do. Why? Because the person I most like sharing meals with is my awesome husband and best friend, Gwynly. I love my guy dearly, but he doesn’t care for Taco Bell. I’ve spent the past twenty-five years trying to convince him it’s a great place to eat, but he’s not buying it.

So, since I would be dining with Gwynly, I’ll go with Olive Garden. It’s our celebration spot. We go there on Valentine’s Day and our wedding anniversary. And we were there recently to mark the release of my debut novel. We always get the same thing: an order of their Caprese flatbread, a bowl of their house salad, and a split portion of linguini with marinara. Yummy!

Where would you like to live permanently if you could have a choice? Why?

I’d live right where I do now. Gwynly and I moved to Placerville in 1993, after returning to the States following four and a half years in Germany, where he taught at a U.S. military high school. We’re both native Californians and love living in our Gold Rush-era town nestled at the foot of the majestic Sierra Nevada Mountains.

We’re an hour from the breathtaking beauty of the Lake Tahoe basin to the east, and an hour from Sacramento with all the shopping opportunities a gal could want to the west. And if we happen to get a craving for culture and haute cuisine beyond the many offerings in our area, San Francisco is only three and a half hours away.

Please tell us where readers can stay in touch with you and where to purchase your book.

I can be found at my cyber home,
www.keligwyn.com, and invite visitors to stop by. The Parlor is ready, and the tea is steeping. 
My Book page in The Press Room gives links to many of the major booksellers offering A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California.

Thanks so much for hosting me here at The Barn Door Loft. Spending time with you and your lovely blog’s visitors is a treat. I had fun answering your great questions, and I’d like to end by asking you one of my own. What’s your favorite way to celebrate your special days or milestones?



It's wonderful to have you.

Readers, Keli is giving away a copy of A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California. 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

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Welcome to Keli Gwyn

BIO:
Award-winning novelist Keli Gwyn writes inspirational historical romance. A California native, she lives in the Gold Rush-era town of Placerville in the Sierra Foothills with her husband and two skittish kitties.

Keli Gwyn writes stories that transport readers to the 1800s, where she brings historic towns to life, peoples them with colorful characters, and adds a hint of humor. A California native, she lives in the Gold Rush-era town of Placerville at the foot of the majestic Sierra Nevada Mountains. Her debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, set in the heart of the Gold Country where she lives is currently available.

When Keli’s fingers aren’t hovering over the keyboard of her newfangled laptop, she enjoys strolling past stately Victorian houses in her historic town, burying her nose in reference books as she unearths interesting facts to include in her stories, and interacting with other romance readers. Her favorite places to visit are her fictional worlds, the Coach factory outlet store, and Taco Bell.

BACK COVER:
Love Is Gold in El Dorado, California

Widow Elenora Watkins heads to California with her nine-year-old daughter, Tildy, eager to become a partner in a mercantile. When the mulish owner withdraws his offer because she’s a woman, she opens her own shop. She’s determined to prove herself capable of running a successful business without the help of anyone—including her controlling father, her seemingly distant heavenly Father, and one Miles Rutledge.
Widower Miles Rutledge is not about to get involved with another willful woman like his late wife, especially when she’s his competition. But the beautiful Elenora may be too hard to resist. When another man appears out to claim Elenora’s heart, Miles searches for a way to win her back. . .while putting her out of business.

Meanwhile, Maude Rutledge, Miles’s meddling mother, longs to see her son make a good match. And Tildy is just as bent on gaining a loving papa.

The battle of wills begins, but can anyone win when the competition is more than they bargained for?

The book is available for pre-order at:

My Writing Journey
I embarked on my writing journey January 1, 2006. During the next two and a half years I pounded out five historical romance manuscripts. Why historicals? The research is a blast. Plus I get a kick out of using words like addlepated, gewgaws, and smitten.

Contest fever grabbed me early on. I submitted 36 contest entries during those early years, receiving a wealth of helpful feedback from my generous contest judges along with a few finals. The most exciting was my double final in the 2008 Golden Heart®, a national contest sponsored by Romance Writers of America®. That led to my first blog guest appearance and introduced me to the wonderful world of writers online.

At that point, I learned how much I had yet to learn and spent a year studying craft. Armed with my newfound knowledge, I took a look at my stories to see which of them showed the most promise. I loved them all, but Miles and Elenora told me theirs was the story I should pick, and I listened. I’d rewritten it once, but I knew it needed more work, so I got busy.
That rewrite proved my characters were right. Miles and Ellie’s story won several contests, earned me requests from editors and agents, and led to my offer of representation. Rachelle Gardner made her offer on the eve of Christmas Eve in 2009. Talk about an amazing Christmas present!

I’d love to tell you that Rachelle sold my story right away, but I still had work to do. After spending several months making my story the best I possibly could, I sent it to Rachelle and held my breath. To my delight, she liked it and was ready to submit it, which she did. Six weeks later we had two offers, and I got a contract for Christmas.

Now here it is eighteen months later, and my book is due to be released July 1st. July is my birthday month, and I can’t think of a better birthday present than holding my debut novel in my hands. I hope readers enjoy reading the story as much as I enjoyed writing it.



Readers, Keli is giving away a copy of A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California. 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, July 18, 2012

with Naomi Musch

Welcome back to the Book Loft, Naomi!
Is there a story behind this book?
In the Empire in Pine series, which is generational, I wanted to convey the growth of the Wisconsin lumber era from statehood in the 1840s to its peak at the turn of the century when lumber barons and railroaders made their fortunes, as did those on the seamier side of society. And of course I wanted to do it through intriguing characters and intense conflict. Since the series is a family saga, The Black Rose tells what happens to the children of Lainey and (now Grandma Colette) in the previous two books. It so happened that there was a lot of wild, rollicking history going on in the northern part of Wisconsin during the time that made it a pretty fertile ground for my imagine to dig into.

What kind of books do you enjoy reading?
I truly enjoy a lot of genres, but historicals - the type with several woven in sub-plots -- are really where my literary heart is at home. I'm just finishing Wedded to War by Jocelyn Green. Gripping and gritty!

If you were a style of music, what style would you be?
Just as I enjoy many genres of fiction, I am also all over the map with music. I have my classical moments and my metal moments. I'm probably some strange blend of traditional rock with heavy cello strings in there. Now vocals - that's all over too. I go for deep, gruff, melodic. My son is a musician of the Christian rock/scream variety, so I get my wings stretched pretty often.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Quirky is one of those words that I have trouble defining when it comes to my own habits. Am I quirky? I don't know. My hubby tells me I always spit 3 times when I brush my teeth. Is that quirky? I think he's wrong about that anyway.

What's your favorite meal with family and friends?
I don't know if I have a favorite meal. But I do love food, and we all love PIE! In fact, my character Jesilyn loves pie and Paul Winter calls her Pie Girl before he finds out her name -- or at least her alias.

That nickname happened kind of by accident because my daughter and I happened to be freezing up a lot of apple pies while I was deep into the story, and she (my daughter) makes great pies. She's my pie girl.

Here's our recipe for flakey, yummy pie crust. The first two secrets are in the VINEGAR and the SHORTENING. If you want better pie crust, don't used vegetable shortening. Use the good stuff made from animal fat. Just read the labels. You'll find it.

Blend with fork:
3 cups flour
1 c. shortening made with animal fat.
In a measuring cup, mix with a fork:
1 egg
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. vinegar
5 Tbs. water
Pour over the flour mixture and stir, then knead until smooth. The last secret of good pie crust is to not play with it too long. That will make it tough -- at least that's what my grandma told me, and that's what Jesilyn in The Black Rose tells the young gal at the logging camp who helps her bake pies.

Share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you.
I'll share a three. One of my favorite verses to live by is Prov. 3: 5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways)acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths."

2 Timothy 3:15 reminds me of the things instilled into me as a child that helped to set my heart toward the Lord, "and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus."

But I went through some self indulgent teen years that really make Psalm 40 stand out and speak strongly of my personal testimony. I love the entire Psalm, but here are just a few verses that resonate with me.
"I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he inclined to me and heard my cry.
2 He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
    out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
    making my steps secure.
3 He puta new song in my mouth,
    a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
    and put their trust in the Lord.
And if you jump down to verse five it explains my drive in my writing:
"You have multiplied, O Lord my God,
    your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;
    none can compare with you!
I will proclaim and tell of them,
    yet they are more than can be told."

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
The Black Rose just released a few days ago, but, I am thrilled to share the news that as the Empire in Pine series -- all in eBook -- will be released in print paperback in 2013. You should have heard me squeal when I opened up my mailbox a few days ago and got the new contract from Desert Breeze. I love my publisher!


You can purchase The Black Rose at Amazon.

Naomi is giving away a copy of The Black Rose. 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.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Meet Naomi Musch


Naomi and her husband Jeff live as epically as God allows on a ramshackle farm in Wisconsin's north woods near their five young adults and three grand-children. Amidst it, she writes stories about imperfect people who are finding hope and faith to overcome their struggles. Her entire Empire in Pine series, available now in eBook from Desert Breeze Publishing, will also go to print in 2013. She invites new friends and old to say hello and find out more about her books, passions, and other writing venues at http://www.naomimusch.com or look her up on Facebook and Twitter (NMusch).


The Black Rose

Despite the panic of 1893, logging reaches its golden era in the growing state of Wisconsin, and twins Jesilyn and Corianne Beaumont enjoy a comfortable life with family in the bursting Great Lake city of Superior. But when jealousy incites Jesi to seduce Cori's fiance, a flight and fall from grace lands her in a boomtown brothel, where a fresh start is denied her.

Camp preacher Paul Winter longs to offer hope in the logging and mining towns of northern Wisconsin, but not in the way he expects when he meets a redhead he calls Pie Girl. He's never had to battle his own longings quite this way before.

Meanwhile, stung by Jesilyn's betrayal, Corianne's bitterness might separate her fom a second chance at happiness and peace. Only by Grace can both women begin new lives, and budding love can bloom in places neither of them expect.

Here's an excerpt from The Black Rose:

Johnny Ray leered at her. "Well... look who the dogs dragged back. I know you, Red. You're the little gal who left me with the sore head and a whole lot of unfinished business."

He stepped close and jerked her chin up in his beefy fingers.

Clay laid a hand across Big John's forearm. "See here, Mister."

The bear shook him off like a pesky black fly. "And now here you are. Right back where we last met. We can pick up where we left off, but maybe we'll have a drink and a dance first."

Johnny Ray gripped her arm and twisted her toward the door.

"No!" She yanked free and fell against Clay, clutching him.

Clay backed up looking dumbfounded, with Jesi clinging to his coat front.

"Oh. I see. You're busy now." He threw Clay a look. "Better mind yourself, Mister. Don't turn your head. She's a thieving, mean little thing."

She shook her head and glanced at Clay. He scowled and removed her hand from his coat. "Jesi?"

"Clay--"

"Jesi?"

Another voice came from the street. Jesi's twisted her head and saw Paul hoofing it around mud holes to cross the road toward them. She turned back to Clay.

His face had changed. His jaw set and his brow dipped. His face had taken on its tell-tale shade of red that it always seemed to turn when he was angry. "What've you become?" he hissed.

"Clay, no."

Big John busted out laughing. "What'd you think she was, Mister? I can tell you what." He jerked his head toward Maisey's dark interior. "So can anyone in this fine establishment."

She shook her head, tears blurred her vision. The sound of Gravy's piano playing clinked discordant tones in the background.

"Jesi?" Paul's voice, even but heavy with the worry she recognized, sounded close as he leapt onto the boardwalk. She turned to him, but didn't dare meet his gaze. She wiped the back of her hand across her eyes.

Big John kept laughing. Clay kept staring at her, his countenance growing harder by the second. His eyes took on the shade of thunderclouds over Lake Superior. "Is this how you've been living in Hurley?" His look scathed her. "Yet you were ready to try and fool me again."

She had no breath, no courage to deny it. Her heart had momentarily soared to the peaks, and then crashed down in a hideous mess.

His face contorted. "You're still nothing but a common trollop."

Paul's fist shot out without warning, catching Clay square in the jaw. He reeled backward off the boardwalk into the mud.

"Who the blazes are you?" John thundered, reaching for Paul's shirt.

Jesi covered her mouth, biting her palm.

Paul shoved a fist in his gut, but the big man merely cringed as he pushed Paul back. "What's your stake in all this?"

Paul found his footing. He glanced briefly at Clay, who'd gotten up and stood brushing mud off his suit. "I'll tell you." He took a run at Big John, crashing into his shoulder so that the brute fell hard against the side of the building. "She's my wife."



You can purchase The Black Rose at Amazon.

Naomi is giving away a copy of The Black Rose. 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.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Welcome Back, Michelle

Let’s start with some fun questions:

Tell us a bit about your childhood: a favorite memory or moment that’s stood out to your through the years.

Well, my least fun memory was having my thigh broken, but on the flip side I had a clown visit me in the hospital while my leg was in traction, and my mom cut up her fur coat to make the recliner soft that I'd have to sleep in for about a month because I had to be helped to the bathroom. My cast was from my belly button to my toes.

What career did you have before writing?

I will probably always have a "day job" because my family needs the insurance. I am a government employee and supervise seven case managers and a secretary.

Now, some serious ones:

Do you have a favorite spiritual theme you like to write about?

I love to write about temptation, forgiveness, and restoration. That's the most important part of the Christian life because without forgiveness and restoration we'd be sunk. Oh, and sometimes the hardest person to forgive is yourself.

If one of your characters showed up at your house, which one would be the most feared/least wanted? Why?

The most feared would be Jack (Jimmy's ex) because he hurt Hope's son and she's very protective of her son. She'd be worried about him trying to work things out with him. The least feared would be Jenna because she's Hope's best friend, even though she lives in another state, and she's always an encourager.

Tell us where readers can learn more about you and where they can get your book.

Anywhere books are sold online. I have paperback copies and e-book versions.

You can also find me at
www.michellesutton.net and on

facebook, twitter, and pinterest. My facebook fan page is:
AuthorMichelleSutton and

the one for DTL is http://www.facebook.com/SacredVowsSeries




Michelle is giving away a copy of Decision to Love. 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, July 9, 2012

Welcome, Michelle!

Bio:
Michelle is a social worker and supervisor who has been writing romantic fiction with an inspirational message for over nine years. Southeastern Arizona is where Michelle calls home. She loves being surrounded by mountains and fresh air, which inspires many of her novels. She and her husband are approaching twenty-two years of marriage and their two sons will begin their third year of college in August. She is the author of a dozen novels in print and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, as well as an avid book reviewer and blogger on a variety of sites. She founded Edgy Christian Fiction Lovers social networking site which has well over 1000 members. Crafting new stories and reading/reviewing great books is her idea of a fun time.


Book trailer link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nIkUf6b8lr8

About the book:
Eight years after Tony and Hope's affair ended, new problems arise. Jimmy has gone off to college, but returns home with a startling revelation that devastates his father and causes his final heart attack. Now Hope is grieving the loss of both her husband and their son. She tries to make sense of everything, and in the end she decides to love her son through the grief. More than that, she makes the decision to love whoever her son chooses to love, whether she agrees with his choices or not.

Tony's life has its own disaster tearing through it. First, he is accused of killing his ex-wife, but he is soon released once the authorities realize he had nothing to do with it. The tragedy with his ex led to some major changes in his life, however, and some soul-searching that ultimately turns Tony's life around. While he is still adjusting to his new perspective on life, his long-lost daughter Nina contacts him and has some secrets of her own. He is overjoyed to be reunited with his daughter, but with their relationship comes an entirely new set of challenges.

Jimmy is confused about his faith, his life, and ultimately, whom he should love. After some severe trials knock him off what he thought was the right course for his life, he makes the decision to love himself enough not to be used by someone again. But will his decision protect him in the end?



Check back tomorrow for her interview and another chance to win her book.

Michelle is giving away a copy of Decision to Love. 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

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Winners!

The winner of Michelle Sutton's book, Out of Time is: Rebecca rmaney(at)fistarpchurch(dot)org
The winner of Nicole O'Dell's book, The Next Target is: IGM52(at)hotmail(dot)com

Congratulations.

Winners, it's your responsibility to contact me at browncarole212(at)yahoo(dot)com with your address so the author can send you a book.

Happy Reading
Carole Brown

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