Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Winners! We Have Winners!

Once again we offer you  a warm welcome to the Bookshelf of the Barn Door Book Loft.

I know you want to know ... WHO WON?
But before we announce our three winners we’d like to offer a special thanks to:
Rachel Phifer  who has offered her  Women’s Contemporary novel The Language of Sparrows. Morgan L Busse who offered her Fantasy novel Son of Truth. And to Dorothy Featherling  for offering the Comedy Romance novel  Reflections of a Stranger.
 
 And now: We're pleased to announce this week’s winners:

Hope Ford has won Rachel Phifer’s  Women’s Contemporary novel The Language of Sparrows.
Mandn has won Morgan L Busse’s  Fantasy novel Son of Truth.
Ruby N Reba has won ’s Dorothy Featherling Comedy Romance  Sauce for the Goose.
And in a re-drawing … Kay from NY … has won Vanetta Chapman’s  Amish Romance A Wedding for Julia.


Congratulations Winners! Remember, it's your responsibility to contact me  sharonalavy {at} gmail {dot} com) with your address so the author can send you a book. 

Subscribing by email will ensure you don't miss seeing the winners list. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Welcome Devotional Author Rose Chandler Johnson

Hello Rose! I love the cover and title of your devotional book. Is there a story behind God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea?

I was reading some of my old journals recently and I came across an entry from 1979.  It was a prayer in which I told the Lord I wanted to write a book that was relevant and encouraging and that would “point others to the heart of God”. I believe that the Lord gave me that desire and that God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea is a realization of that desire.

What started you on your writing journey? 

I always wanted to be a writer.  I received my first undergraduate degree in 1977 in English.  In the late 70s and 80s I wrote a little, but motherhood, work, life in general got in the way of that dream.  I only began writing again in 2008.

What distracts you from writing the easiest?

I’m somewhat hyperactive which has worked to my advantage having to multi-task as a way of life with six children and a busy teaching job.  So, if I’m not alone with some peace and quiet, I get distracted by all the activities/dramas in my everyday life.

What kind of books do you enjoy reading? 

I admit I do love the classics.  I can read Jane Eyre every year.  To me, it’s the most wonderful novel. But, I actually  read more non-fiction than anything else. I’ve recently read Thomas Merton’s The Seven Storyed Mountain, and Severe Mercy by …..  I loved both of these books.  I’m usually reading  2 or 3 books at once.

Let's have some fun. What is your strangest habit?

 I love to walk around in my backyard in the early morning and listen to the wind in the trees.  My children say I’m a “tree-hugger”.  

Loving nature is a good thing. What makes you smile and/or laugh out loud?  

Just about anything.I  like to laugh at myself and my own jokes.  My children used to like for us to watch comic movies so they could laugh at me laughing.

Laughter makes a home so much more filled with love. What is your favorite season of the year? 

 I think autumn is my favorite, but summer and spring are a pretty close second.

Where is your favorite place to travel/vacation in?  

I do love Paris.  I also like to travel and explore historical places.

Has some place you have traveled inspired something in your writing?

Yes, definitely.  I’m writing a novel and most of the places in the story were inspired by my travels.

What's your favorite meal with family and friends? 

My favorite meal is Thanksgiving dinner.  It’s my favorite time.

Are there spiritual themes you like to write about?   

I like to write about practicing the presence of Jesus and the reality of the Holy Spirit.  I also like to write about His mercy.

Where do you escape for some quiet time to reflect, pray, read, etc?

Usually, I escape to my bedroom.  I have a favorite corner in my backyard where I like to escape as well.

Could you share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you?

That which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.
1 John 1:3-4 NKJV

This verse is special to me because it is the reason I write my devotions.

Why did you write a devotional?  

When I decided to make Jesus the Lord of my life, in 1977, I starting reading a devotional every morning.  It was just what I needed to help me focus and structure my time. I’ve incorporated devotional reading in my quiet times with God for decades. I think most people could benefit from that format.  So, I think that comes back to my desire to be relevant and encouraging.

Do you have anything else you are working on?

Yes, I am writing devotions every week, and I am also writing a novel.

We'll look forward to hearing from you again! Thanks for sharing.

Connect with Rose Chandler Johnson at:

Rose Chandler Johnson is giving away a copy of God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea. To be entered in the giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You can enter the book giveaway twice—once on each Spotlight post for the author. Please note: The giveaway is for U.S. addresses only.



Monday, July 29, 2013

God, Me, And Sweet Ice Tea: Experiencing God in the Midst of Everyday Moments



In the South, nothing is more refreshing than a glass of sweet iced tea. Nothing, that is, except experiencing God in those small, everyday moments. God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea is a deeply personal collection of spiritual treasures designed to help readers experience new mercies each morning. Seasoned with insight and grace, this tender devotional points to the divine presence of God in everyday moments. Whether purchased as a personal resource or given as a heartfelt gift, God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea will help readers develop a daily habit of turning to God in those quiet moments of reflection.




Book Excerpt:

The Taste Test

“O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusts in him” Psalm 34:8 (NKJV).

Every good cook knows that in order to produce delicious food, you have to taste the food as you prepare it.  Every fine chef will tell you this is a cardinal rule. And again, when the dish has been served, the taste test is the moment of truth.  I enjoy preparing meals for my family to enjoy.  Yet often I’ve had to coax a picky eater to “taste” a new dish.  “You can’t say you don’t like it if you haven’t tasted it,” I say.  This Scripture, like an excellent cook, urges you to taste.

“O taste and see that the Lord is good. . . .”  Taste--I could coax you, as I’ve coaxed my children.  Taste--I could challenge you.  Taste—I will attest to His goodness. “Blessed is the man that trusteth in him.”  This Scripture is a challenge with a promise.  If you give the Lord a try, you will experience His goodness, leading you to trust in Him, resulting in blessings for you. Haven’t we all enjoyed the savory delight of a delicious dish well prepared?  The goodness of the Lord can not be compared.


When I made the decision in 1977 to make Jesus the Lord of my life, I tasted. Every day I read a little devotional booklet called Our Daily Bread.  Its simple format consisted of a few verses of scripture, followed by a prayer.  I was faithful to this daily exercise to honor my new commitment to make God a part of my life.  I tasted a little each day, not knowing exactly what to expect. I wanted to know more about God and Jesus Christ; I started reading and praying more.  Soon God became more indispensable to me than my sweet iced tea.  I became hungry for His Word, the Bread of Life. It’s made all the difference in my life.  I offer you this challenge—taste and see.  I believe that you, too, will attest to the goodness and the blessings of the Lord.

Suggested Readings: Psalm 145:7; Isaiah 63:7; Nahum 1:7.

Journal Considerations: Have you noticed how chefs always “taste” the food they are
preparing?

 Have you taken the “taste” challenge?  If you haven’t would you now?

Prayer:  Dear Heavenly Father, nourish our hearts, souls, and minds with your goodness.  I praise You for your goodness and your righteousness.  In Jesus’ name, I pray.  Amen.

Thought for the day:  Only Jesus can satisfy the needs of our souls.

Prayer Focus:  Those who suffer from brain injuries or disorders which destroy the sense of taste.


About The Author:

Rose Chandler Johnson’s devotional journal, God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea: Experiencing God in the Midst of Everyday Moments will be released July 11, 2013.  Her devotions, poems, and articles have appeared in numerous Christian publications. She enjoys writing for her popular blog, Write Moments with God, and engaging with her readers.  Rose is from a small Georgia town, and has lived in Martinez, GA for the last twenty-eight years.  She has been a French and English teacher for the last twenty years.  Rose enjoys baking, gardening, and spending time with her six children and their families.





Purchase From:
  

Also available in print from your local bookstore, online, or from the publisher at:  www.lighthousepublishingofthecarolinas.com

Rose Chandler Johnson is giving away a copy of God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea. To be entered in the giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You can enter the book giveaway twice—once on each Spotlight post for the author. Please note: The giveaway is for U.S. addresses only.





Sunday, July 28, 2013

Grace's Pictures by Cindy Thomson

Grace McCaffery hopes that the bustling streets of New York hold all the promise that the lush hills of Ireland did not. As her efforts to earn enough money to bring her mother to America fail, she wonders if her new Brownie camera could be the answer. But a casual stroll through a beautiful New York City park turns into a hostile run-in with local gangsters, who are convinced her camera holds the first and only photos of their elusive leader. A policeman with a personal commitment to help those less fortunate finds Grace attractive and longs to help her, but Grace believes such men cannot be trusted. Spread thin between her quest to rescue her mother, do well in a new nanny job, and avoid the gang intent on intimidating her, Grace must put her faith in unlikely sources to learn the true meaning of courage and forgiveness.





Excerpt


1
December 1900

“May I take your photograph, miss?”

Grace McCaffery spun around. She had passed through the inspections without a problem and was on her way downstairs, where she would meet the aid society worker. What now?

“A photograph?” A man stood smiling at her, next to a large camera. She’d only seen one of these machines before, and that was on the ship.

“Why?” She bit her lip. Was everything about to fall apart now?

“For prosperity. It’s your first day in America.” He handed her a small piece of paper. “My name and address, should you later wish to see it. It will only take a moment of your time and then you are free to continue on.”

Free sounded good. “What do I do?”

“Stand under that window—” he pointed toward one of the massive windows—“and look this way.” 
Streams of late-afternoon sun shone in through the ornamental ironwork, tracing odd shapes on the tiled floor.

She did as he asked.

“Now look up, miss.” He snapped his fingers. “Look toward the camera.”

Her eyelids were iron weights, but she forced herself to look his way, wanting to get it over with.
After she heard a slight pop coming from the camera, he dismissed her. “Welcome to America!”
America! Ma should see Ellis Island and all the people milling about. Grace sat down on a bench just to the right of the stairs to collect the thoughts rambling around in her head like loose marbles. Imagine, a girl like her, now free in America. She would not have envisioned it herself a few weeks ago. Exhausted, she dropped her face to her hands as she relived what had led her here.

***

“Must go to the workhouse.” Huge hands snatched wee Grace from her bed. “Your da is dead. Behind in your rent and got no means.”

Grace kicked with all her might. “Ma!”

An elbow to her belly. Burning. She heaved.

“Blasted kid!” The policeman tossed her onto a wagon like garbage.

“Ma!”

“I’m here, Grace. Don’t cry.” Her mother cradled her as the wagon jolted forward. “Oh, my heart. You are special, wee one. So special to God.”

Heat emanated from the burning cottage, the temperature torturing Grace’s face. She hid against her mother’s shoulder.

Later, they were pulled apart and herded into a building.

A dark hallway. The sound of water dripping.

Stairs. Up the stairs. Following other children. So many children. Was her mother dead?

***

The sound of heels clacking down steps brought Grace back to the present. She sat up straight and watched hordes of people march down the stairs. They were divided into three groups according to destination.

She knew her mother had loved her, but God? Her mother had been wrong about that. God loved good people like Ma. Not Grace. Grace knew she was not good enough for God.

So many of the people passing in front of her were mere children, most with parents but some without. Grace wondered if they were as afraid as she had been when she was separated from her mother in the workhouse, the place Irish folks were taken to when they had nowhere else to go. All these people now seemed to have a destination, though. A new start. Like her. In America she hoped she could mend her fumbling ways and merit favor.

A wee lass approached the stairs with her hand over her mouth, the registration card pinned to her coat wrinkled and stained with tears. Grace was about to go to her and tell her everything would be fine. After all, this great hall, this massive building, was not in Ireland. They were in the land of the free. They’d just seen Lady Liberty’s glowing copper figure in the harbor, hadn’t they?

But the lass, obviously having mustered her courage, scrambled down the steps and into the mass of people. Would the child be all right? No mother. No parents at all. It had happened to Grace. Free one day, sentenced by poverty the next.

She pulled her hand away from her own mouth. In the workhouse she’d had this nightmare and cried out.

She’d been whipped.

Not now.

Not ever again.

She struggled to remember the song her mother sang to her at bedtime. “Thou my best thought by day or by night . . .” She couldn’t remember any more of it. She’d forgotten. The truth was, she didn’t know if everything would be all right.

She rose and followed the orders she’d been given right before the photographer had approached her. 

Down the steps to the large room where the lady from the charity would meet her.

She rubbed her free hand along the handrail as she walked, barely able to believe she was in another country now, far across the Atlantic Ocean. If it hadn’t been for the miserable voyage in steerage, the stench from sweaty, sick passengers that remained even now, and wobbling knees weak from too little food, she might believe she was dreaming. Had it really been just a few weeks ago when she’d sat opposite the workhouse master’s desk and twisted the edge of her apron between the fingers of her right hand as he spoke to her?

“Eight years you’ve been here, Grace,” he’d said.

“Aye.” She’d stopped counting.

“You are a young woman now, with some potential to be productive. Yet there is no employment in this country of yours. Nothing you can do.” He was British and had little patience for the Irish.

She’d held her head low.

“And so, Grace, you’ve been sponsored to leave the workhouse and go to America.” He dipped the nib of his pen in an inkwell and scribbled, not looking up.


“What do you mean, sir?”

America. You leave from Dublin in two days. I’ve got your papers in order. And this.” He pushed an envelope toward her.

She remembered that at the time she’d worried about her fingernails when she’d held out her hand. She looked at them now. Grime on the ship had taken its toll. The master would not like that.

He is not here.

She touched that very same envelope now, crinkled in her apron pocket. It contained the name of the ship, the destination, and at the bottom, Sponsored by S. P. Feeny.

She mumbled under her breath. “Ma married him for this.” To provide a future for Grace.

The line of people moved slowly. Grace sucked in her breath. Not long now.

“Mama!”

She turned and watched a red-faced lad scurry down the steps and into the open arms of his mother, who reprimanded him for wandering away.

Grace had begged to speak to her own mother the day the workhouse master told her she was going to America. He hadn’t sent for her because her mother was no longer an inmate, but a free woman married to that lawman, that peeler named Sean Patrick Feeny.

But Grace’s mother had come anyway, not to the workhouse but to the docks.

“Hurry along,” the immigration worker urged her now.

Grace thought about S. P. Feeny’s note again as she entered a room packed with people. Not knowing whether the charity lady would need to see it, she reached into her pocket and pulled it out. She glanced around and found a vacant spot on a bench.

“Wait until you hear your name called,” a man in a brown suit said to the crowd.

There were more workers in that place than she expected. In Ireland only a handful of employees kept the inmates in line. She reminded herself again that she was in America. People care about folks here, now, don’t they?

She opened the note and reread the part at the end, the words her mother’s husband had scrawled there.
Your mother wants you out of the workhouse. With no other options, I have arranged for you to go to America, where you will find work and no doubt prosper. Pin this to your dress for the journey. It is the name of a man my connections say will take good care of you in New York and arrange a job. I have written him to let him know when you will arrive.

S. P.

The immigration official upstairs had told her not to expect this man to meet her, but rather someone who worked for him, mostly likely a woman from an immigrant aide society. “Don’t worry,” he’d told her. “They’ll have your name.”

As much as Grace wanted to crumple up the paper and toss it away, she dared not. Following directions had been essential to getting along in the workhouse, and she had no reason to abandon that thinking now. She had managed to survive back there, even though she was apart from her mother, who had worked out of Grace’s sight until she got married and left the workhouse altogether. Surviving was a victory and perhaps the best she could have hoped for then.

She glanced down at the writing again. S. P. Feeny was a peeler, a policeman, like those who tore Grace and her mother from their home when Grace was but ten years old. Grace had thought her life was as good as over when she heard about the marriage. But now she was in America.

She blinked back tears as she thought about her unknown future. What if her father had been right when, so long ago, he’d told her she needed him to survive, could not do it alone? His death had forced them into the workhouse and she had survived without him then, hadn’t she? But now? Now she really was alone and she was not sure she could endure. And yet, she must.

She mentally rehearsed her instructions, the ones Feeny had written down. She’d done what she’d been told so far.

Now she was supposed to wait. But how long?

Running her fingers down her skirt to wipe away perspiration, she hoped she would not say the wrong thing when this stranger claimed her. Would they understand her in America? Did she speak proper English well enough? As much as her stomach churned, she mustn’t appear sick, even though the doctor had already hurriedly examined her along with her fellow passengers. She’d heard stories. They sent sick people to a hospital and often they were never heard from again. Perhaps they executed the ones who didn’t die. Or they put them back on the ship to return to Ireland. As bad as it was facing an unknown future in America, at least there was hope here that could not be found in the workhouse. So long as they let her stay.

She glanced over at a family. Mother, father, son, and daughter clung to each other. They would make it. Together they had strength. Grace had no one.

Soon a crowd of tall men jabbering in a language she didn’t understand entered the room. Grace squeezed the note in her hand. As much as she didn’t want S. P. Feeny’s help, she’d needed a sponsor to start this new life. She had no choice but to trust his instruction. If there is one thing a policeman like Feeny knows, it’s the rules. Whether or not they abide by them is another matter.

“Where you from?” a tawny-haired lass sitting next to her asked.

“County Louth.” She thought it best not to mention the workhouse.

The girl nodded.

Good. She didn’t seem to want to ask anything else.

After a few moments, sensing the girl’s nervousness, not unlike her own, Grace gave in. “And you? Where are you from?”

The girl sat up straight. “County Down.”

“Oh. Not far.” Grace swallowed hard. They were both far from home.

An attendant stood on a box and raised his voice. “Mary Montgomery? Miss Mary Montgomery, please.”

The girl next to Grace stood and went to him.

“I’m afraid there’s been a mistake, miss.”

A brief moment later the lass was gone from the room. Escorted off somewhere. Grace turned to the men seated behind her. “Where are they taking her?”

They shrugged. Only one of them met her gaze. “Don’t be worrying, lass. Could be she’s in the wrong place. Could be her family didn’t come to claim her. Could be ’bout anything, don’t you know?”

Grace tried to breathe, but the room felt hot and noisy. “You can do this,” she heard her mother say from the recesses of her mind.

In the workhouse, everyone was the same—wore matching gray uniforms, used identical spoons, slurped the same watery stirabout, marched together from dining hall to dormitory at the same exact time day after day, month after month, year after year. It was a routine she could count on.

She glanced around at the faces near her. Square jaws, rounded chins. Black hair, locks the color of spun flax. Brightly colored clothing, suits the color of mud. So many differences. And so many tongues. Where she’d come from, there had been no question of how to act, what to say, who to look at. But here?
She turned and kept her eyes on her feet and the trim of the red petticoat her mother had given her to travel in when she’d met her at the docks.

Oh, Ma! When Grace had been able to look into her mother’s green-gray eyes, she found assurance. On the ship, Grace had tried to emblazon her mother’s face on her memory so it would always be there when she needed to see it. She’d even sketched her mother on some paper with a charcoal pencil another passenger gave her. She had the sketch in her bag with her meager belongings. Not much, but all she had now.

“Thanks be to God.” “God have mercy.” “God bless our souls.” “The grace of God on all who enter.” . . . Her mother never failed to acknowledge God. She was a good woman. The best. Grace was so far away now from that umbrella of assurance.

She focused on the immigration official calling out names. Survival was human instinct, and humans adapted. She’d learned to do it once before. Perhaps she could manage to exorcise her father’s voice from her head, the one that told her she was incapable, and actually make a life, a good life, for herself in America.

Grace’s mother had held her at arm’s length when they said good-bye on the docks in Dublin. She’d rubbed Grace’s cheeks with her thumbs. “The best thing for you is to go to America. You are not a child anymore. I could not let you stay in the workhouse. Don’t I know how hard it is for a grown woman to keep her dignity there.”

Grace had tried pleading with her. “Take me home with you. I’ll be polite to S. P. . . . I promise.”
But her mother wouldn’t hear of it. “There’s no life here for you, Grace. Fly free, Daughter. Find your way. ’Tis a blessing you can go.”

Grace had told her mother she couldn’t do it. Not alone. Not without her.

“Listen to me,” her mother had said, tugging Grace’s chin upward with her finger. “I don’t care what lies your father once spoke to you, darlin’. To us both. Pity his departed soul that he left us with no choice but the workhouse. But promise me you will not think of the things he said to you. Remember instead this: You are smart. You are important. You are able.”

If she could prosper as her mother had asked her to, then perhaps her mother might choose to come to America too, a place where she would not need S. P. Feeny. Grace would make it happen. Somehow. She had to. Her hands trembled as she held tight to her traveling bag.

***

Grace’s face grew hot. She lifted a shoulder to her chin, hoping her embarrassment didn’t show. She didn’t want to speak to a peeler—or whatever they called them in America. But she was stuck, shoved into a hot electric-powered car with more people than she thought it should safely hold. The man had addressed her and asked her a question. She had to respond. She spoke toward her feet. “I am well. I come from County Louth.”

The large man leaned down toward her. “You say you are from County Louth, miss?”

“I am.”

“Is that so?” He let loose a low whistle. “My people come from Tullamore. We might be neighbors or cousins or something.”

The woman with Grace, who’d introduced herself as Mrs. Hawkins, chuckled. “You’re all cousins, love, all of you from ole Erin.”

Grace was no kin to men like that, and if she were, she would disown them straight away. These are the men who force poor families from their homes and send them to workhouses the minute they can’t pay rent.

There was a lull in the conversation as the car pulled them through an intersection. She heard the peeler’s breath catch. She dared to look at him. He was staring out at the street. He did not seem formidable at all and perhaps was even a little uneasy riding on the streetcar. Odd, that.

Grace glanced back down, studying the shoes surrounding her, trying to focus on the future instead of dwelling on the past. She was in the “Land of Opportunity,” after all. She hoped not to associate with folks she didn’t care to.

She clutched the bag containing her treasured drawing pencil, wee pad of paper, and a small card bearing the address of that Ellis Island photographer, Mr. Sherman, who had taken her photograph.




About Cindy:


Cindy Thomson is a writer and an avid genealogy enthusiast. Her love of history and her Scots-Irish heritage have inspired much of her writing, including her new Ellis Island series. Cindy is also the author of Brigid of Ireland and Celtic Wisdom: Treasures from Ireland. She combined her love of history and baseball to co-author the biography Three Finger: The Mordecai Brown Story, which was a finalist for the Society for American Baseball Research's Larry Ritter Book Award. In addition to books, Cindy has written on a regular basis for numerous online and print publications and is a mentor for the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild. She is also a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and the Historical Novel Society. Cindy and her husband have three grown sons and live in central Ohio. Visit her online at www.cindyswriting.com.


To buy her book, go here:

Cindy Thomson is giving away a copy of Grace's Pictures. 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 may enter the book giveaway twice -- once on each spotlight post. (It's not too late to go back and leave a comment on yesterday's post.)



Off to read another great book!

Sandra M. Hart

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Welcome to Cindy Thomson!

Is there a story behind your book Grace’s Pictures?
Grace’s Pictures refers to the pictures she takes with her new Brownie camera, an invention that brought photography to the masses, and also out on the streets where some people did not want their pictures taken. Grace is trying to capture something she sees in other people’s faces.

 What started you on your writing journey?
My genealogy research. As I complied names and dates, I began to wonder who these people were and what made them emigrate. You can only understand that if you study the social history of the time, and even so you can only piece together so much. So I began to fictionalize it. My first novel has not been published, but I went on to write others. I continue to be enthralled by our ancestor’s stories.

What kind of books do you enjoy reading?  
Historical fiction is my favorite, but I also enjoy biographies, and books on ancient Celtic history. I love Liz Curtis Higgs’s historicals. I also enjoy Francine Rivers’s historicals. One of my favorites was Her Mother’s Hope (and also Redeeming Love.) I love the generational saga. There are many others I love, but it would take too much space to tell them all and even then I would think of more later. As for biographies, I like baseball biographies. To hear about the life of a man outside the game fascinates me. But I also really enjoyed 1776 by David McCullough. I would like to read more of his books. As for Celtic books, other than history texts, I like J. Philip Newell’s Listening For the Heartbeat of God, the late John O’ Donohue books, and Esther DeWaal’s. But I’ve also been known to read Nicholas Sparks, Marilynne Robinson, Sue Monk Kidd, C.S. Lewis…okay, I better stop! As you can tell my reading tastes are all over the board.

Which character in your new release most interested you while you wrote? Why?
The main character, Grace McCaffery, because she was so hard to figure out. Grace longs for something she sees in other people and she tries to capture it, in drawings and photographs, so she can study it. Her journey leads her to not only find what she is looking forand in unexpected places and peoplebut also allows her to discover that she too can possess it. But she can be her own worse enemy along the way. One of my editors commented that she just loved Grace with those children (she’s a nanny) and as a mom and a former preschool teacher, I loved Grace with those children too.

If you could paint or sculpt like a famous artist who would it be and why?
I’m not going to pick one of the masters. I’d say Norman Rockwell because his paintings told stories through the lives of ordinary people.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Off the top of my head, I’d say stay at a monastery in Ireland that practiced silence. It’s run by French monks. They were very welcoming, but it just wasn’t my thing. I’m not that quiet and reflective, I guess!

What is your strangest habit?
I have to watch as many Reds games as I can right to the end, no matter the score. I won’t say I don’t do other things while I’m watching a three-hour game, but I can’t seem to leave it before the last out is made. With the exception of games that go late, unless it’s a playoff game. My editor, who is a baseball fan thankfully, once kidded me about my sending her an email during a game. She thought I would stick to my priorities, so she was surprised to hear from me right then.

What do you like most about the area where you live and/or grew up?
I love that we are just average people in the Midwest. Hardworking, traditional values, affordable cost of living. There is nothing extraordinary about where I live (except fall color) and yet that alone can be extraordinary to some people. It’s amusing when you travel and find out people think of Ohio as some exotic place because they’ve never been here, or perhaps have never met anyone who lives there.

What is a favorite memory from your childhood?
One of my favorite memories is my mom reading Charlotte’s Web to me before bed. I was actually old enough at the time to read it myself, but hearing my mom tell the story meant I did not have to read the words myself and was better able to imagine it and get lost in that fictional world. It’s still one of my favorites of all time.

Has some place you have traveled inspired something in your writing?
I wrote about Ireland before I was able to travel there. My ancestors were Scots-Irish, and that’s what started the whole writing thing for me. Ireland is an inspiring place. Readers who would like to know more and see pictures of my travels can visit my blogs: www.cindyswriting.com and http://celticvoices.blogspot.com

Are there spiritual themes you like to write about?  
What always seems to come out in my writing is the spiritual journey, the seeking, the process, and about how past hurts when it comes to family ties can be healed.

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

Grace’s Pictures is the first of a series set at the turn of century in New York City with characters who are recent immigrants. The others do not at this writing have release dates.

Back Cover Blurb


Grace McCaffery hopes that the bustling streets of New York hold all the promise that the lush hills of Ireland did not. As her efforts to earn enough money to bring her mother to America fail, she wonders if her new Brownie camera could be the answer. But a casual stroll through a beautiful New York City park turns into a hostile run-in with local gangsters, who are convinced her camera holds the first and only photos of their elusive leader. A policeman with a personal commitment to help those less fortunate finds Grace attractive and longs to help her, but Grace believes such men cannot be trusted. Spread thin between her quest to rescue her mother, do well in a new nanny job, and avoid the gang intent on intimidating her, Grace must put her faith in unlikely sources to learn the true meaning of courage and forgiveness.



To buy her book, go here:

About Cindy:

Cindy Thomson is a writer and an avid genealogy enthusiast. Her love of history and her Scots-Irish heritage have inspired much of her writing, including her new Ellis Island series. Cindy is also the author of Brigid of Ireland and Celtic Wisdom: Treasures from Ireland. She combined her love of history and baseball to co-author the biography Three Finger: The Mordecai Brown Story, which was a finalist for the Society for American Baseball Research's Larry Ritter Book Award. In addition to books, Cindy has written on a regular basis for numerous online and print publications and is a mentor for the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild. She is also a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and the Historical Novel Society. Cindy and her husband have three grown sons and live in central Ohio. Visit her online at www.cindyswriting.com.

To connect with Cindy, go here:


Cindy Thomson is giving away a copy of Grace's Pictures. 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 may enter the book giveaway twice -- once on each spotlight post. (It's not too late to go back and leave a comment on yesterday's post.)




Off to read another great book!
Sandra M. Hart










Friday, July 26, 2013

A Warm Welcome to Karen Robbins!

Is there a story behind Death Among The Deckchairs?
Casey Stengel is a character I came up with years ago when I was a paralegal student. Originally I had made her a paralegal and her first encounter with a client was as he sat in his recliner with an unlit cigar taped between his fingers at his own funeral. She did a lot of evolving and eventually became the Household Manager with a love of baseball. How could she not love baseball with a name like that?

Death Among The Deckchairs is book two in the Casey Stengel Mystery series and all takes place on a cruise ship—my favorite way to travel evidenced by our 52 cruises over the years.


What’s the last thing you wrote?

My last book was In A Pickle which featured a character similar in personality to Casey. Annie Pickels is a 65 year old widowed pickle entrepreneur and gets in real trouble. One of her city farmers grows marijuana on his rented plot of land and Annie, thinking it is marjoram, uses it as a secret ingredient in her pickles. Of course that leads to all sorts of trouble for her but luckily she meets her “white knight” on a cruise aboard the Queen Mary 2. And yes, I drew on my own cruise experience for that one.


Great book and great title. Do you type or write by hand? Computer? Typewriter? Legal pad?

Are you kidding? Computer!! I must admit though, I did start out on a typewriter until my kids challenged me to learn to use a computer. Unfortunately, they forgot to emphasize that I should back up my work and when the old Tandy TRS80 computer left the building, so did my first book.


Do you archive everything you write?

I archive and backup with a flash drive. Lessons learned along the way. I also keep one copy of each of my books on a special shelf so that there is something tangible to remember as I continue this journey.


Do you ever go back to an old idea long after you abandoned it?

Often, but I don’t really consider them abandoned, just ideas-in-waiting. I have several books I started a while back and would like to follow up with them. They were good ideas that I put on the backburner while I pursued the ones that were closer to publication. Actually, the Casey Stengel series started with a book I wrote for a publisher who canceled the line of cozy mysteries just before I was told I was to get a contract. It waited on the sidelines for a bit until I decided it needed to be pursued further.


What’s your favorite thing that you’ve written?

While I love Casey, probably my all time favorite is the Annie Pickels story, In A Pickle. I call her my pickle lady and have truly loved her from conception.


OOOOH, Me too. Love Annie! What’s one genre you have never written, and probably never will?

Besides erotica? Sci-Fi and Fantasy. I find it intersting that when I was younger, Sci-Fi and Fantasy was what I was drawn to most. Maybe it has something to do with the required reading in high school of 1984 and Brave New World. So much of those book have come true. I don’t read fantasy so much anymore but my husband and I did enjoy the Harry Potter books which stimulated a lot of discussion between us and our grandchildren. I guess I just don’t think my mind can work in that realm of writing.


How many writing projects are you working on right now?

I am continuing the Annie Pickel series and finishing up the historical I’ve been working on for several years. The historical takes place during WWII but involves the child who was born during that time. She discovers quite a secret while her mother tells of her first true love who died in the war.


Sounds interesting. What are your five favorite words?

Piece of Godiva chocolate? That’s only four words but enough to make me smile—a lot.


Smile. Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write?

These two things probably slow me down more than anything. I am constantly checking to see that things sound right and are spelled correctly. Punctuation is another area I’m a bit overly concerned about as I write. After all there’s a big difference between “Let’s eat, Grandma!” and “Let’s eat Grandma.” A comma could save my life!


How do people react when they find out you write?

We meet so many people as we travel and when they find out I’m a writer, the question is the same as I’m sure all other writers get: What do you write? How I answer that usually depends upon what I’m working on but the reaction is different depending upon who the person is. I have connected with some closet writers, some avid readers, and some who are just being polite and nod their heads. Most people don’t understand the agony and the anxiety of birthing a book but they see the end result and think that’s pretty neat.


That's so true. Why are you called the Wandering Writer?

The answer is simple, my husband and I travel—a lot. I think we calculated that we were gone a little over four months last year. We love to discover new places whether they are halfway around the world or in our backyard. My blog has become a travel blog that documents our travels and hopefully is helpful to others who are planning trips or deciding where they want to explore. It’s called Writer’s Wanderings: http://karenrobbins.blogspot.com. Stop by.


I guessed your answer and it's a good one. What is your favorite place that you’ve visited?

That is a hard question to answer. My husband, Bob, usually says, “the next one.” We have been on all seven continents (Antarctica would be high on the list) and we have almost circumnavigated the world (that will be accomplished by 2015). Norway’s fjords, Iceland, Russia, China, and more recently the Galapagos Islands would be high on the list too. But I’d have to say the most favorite places to visit are wherever my grandchildren are.


Love your answer, Karen! Sigh. My grandson . . . No, I won't get started! What or who is the biggest influence on your writing? Do you have a mentor?

That’s an easy one to answer. God has been the director of my writing career, the initiator of my ideas, the supplier of words, and the mentor to my career. I say that with all sincerety. There have been many people along the way to encourage but I have found that I am most content with my work and my direction when I have talked it over with Him.


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

I will be working on Ruby, the historical I started so many years ago. I can’t say when it will be out since I don’t have a contract yet. One of the things that publishers like to see is a finished manuscript so first things first, I need to finish it.


 
Thank you for visiting, Karen!


To buy her book, go here:
Amazon

Amazon Kindle

barnesandnoble

smashwords




Author Bio:

As a full time mom, a teacher, a businesswoman, a paralegal student, a travel addict, and diver, Karen Robbins has had a wealth of experiences that contribute to her story ideas and speaking topics. In 1987, she sold her first written piece for publication in Standard, a Sunday School take-home paper. Since then she has published numerous articles and essays in a variety of publications including several regional and national magazines and written columns for a local newspaper and an online women’s magazine. Karen has been a contributing author to many compilation books including the Chicken Soup For The Soul series. She coauthored A Scrapbook of Christmas Firsts and A Scrapbook of Motherhood Firsts. Earlier novels include Divide The Child, In A Pickle, and Murder Among The Orchids, (book one of the Casey Stengel mystery series).


Connect with Karen here:

Website: www.karenrobbins.com

Blog: Writer’s Wanderings, http://karenrobbins.blogspot.com

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/KarenRobbinsAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/karenrobbins

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/wanderingwriter/boards/


Karen is giving away a copy of Death Amony the Deckchairs. 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 may enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.
(It's not too late to go back and leave a comment on yesterday's post)



Happy Reading!
Caroline Brown

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Death Among the Deckchairs by Karen Robbins

Book Blurb:

A cruise. A bikini clad body. What next?

All Casey wanted was a relaxing cruise where she could visit with her daughter, the cruise director, but suddenly she finds herself in the middle of a murder at sea. Who would have guessed the beautiful young woman dead in the deckchair next to her had an enemy who would use her love of the sun to end her life? When Max joins Casey, what she thought would be a romantic ending to her cruise becomes an intense search for evidence. Somewhere among all the dermatologists holding a conference on board ship is a killer. Is it the victim’s doctor husband? Or one of his co-workers? And how does the shark expert fit into the puzzle?




Read an Excerpt:
 

The steady squeak of rubber on the wooden deck behind me got closer. There was a rhythm to it. Like a window wiper on a windshield when the rain lets up and the glass is almost dry. Squeak-squeak. Squeak-squeak. I knew what it meant. Another jogger ready to pass me by. Let him pass. I was much more content to keep a moderate pace and enjoy the beautiful warm morning with a cool sea breeze on my face. Four and a half times around the promenade deck and my morning mile would be finished. By the time I returned to my stateroom, it would be neatly put back into order and fresh towels would be hung in the bathroom. This was truly a vacation from my regular job as a Household Manager and my second job as some now teasingly referred to it, amateur detective.

Kathleen Catherine O’Shaughnessy Stengel, you are certainly no detective. I smiled. The one who was the true detective was my friend, Max Dugan. He even had a badge and a position in the sheriff’s department that he almost lost when he helped me find my former boss’ killer. While I enjoyed my time at sea with my daughter, the cruise director, I missed Max’s beaming smile and shared passion for baseball. He kept me up on the Dodger scores through his daily emails. I enjoyed his wit and appreciated his friendship. I didn’t mention to him that we could actually get ESPN at sea and I could catch a game here and there when the satellites were aligned correctly or that the little daily newspaper we had on board listed the scores.

The squeaky sneakers passed me by again. I refrained from calling out that they could use a little oil. My snarky comments would only reveal my envy over the pace Squeaky Sneakers kept. It seemed with each slow circuit I made, more people began to rouse from their beds and, having finished breakfast, found their way to the promenade deck for a morning constitutional. Some walked. Some jogged. And one amazing young man in a wheel chair used his arms to propel himself around the deck for his workout.

Everyone had his or her own style. Some shuffled. Some almost skipped. There were those who threw their arms out wildly and those who kept tight fists in front of them as though they were sparing through their power walk. I loved people watching. I’d done a lot of it since getting on board the Enchanted, the name of the ship where my daughter, Evelyn, is employed as cruise director. Evelyn had arranged a special family discount for me to be able to afford my two weeks of cruising. To my surprise, I was treated as a full fare passenger, and enjoyed all the perks the cruise ship had to offer even though I was a discounted passenger.

Now, almost into my second week of cruising, I was no longer a rookie. I could find my way around the ship most of the time without having to ask directions. While the Enchanted wasn’t the biggest ship on the ocean, I could almost imagine someone getting lost forever on it.

I paused for a moment and looked out at the sparkling sea. It was a field of diamonds that gleamed from the rays of the morning sun. Why did the ocean smell so much better from the ship? I lived close enough to it in Florida but there was never quite the same salty air smell. Maybe all the palm trees and bougainvillea interfered with the clean fresh ocean air. I sighed. At the risk of being mesmerized by the view, I pulled myself back into the walking/jogging path once again to finish my rounds.

The flippity-flop of sandals or flip-flops sounded behind me. Seriously. Who takes a mile-long walk in flip-flops? Someone younger than me, I guessed. At fifty-four, my feet weren’t going to put up with no support for long walks.

I stopped for a few moments again to look out at the waves. Evelyn told me to watch for the flying fish when we got to the Caribbean. We were there now. Behind us was the Panama Canal where we had crossed from the Pacific side to the Atlantic side. Who knew that you actually didn’t go west to east? As the historian had narrated our day-long passage, he mentioned that we were actually going from the Southeast to the Northwest. While the latitude and longitude numbers the captain spouted were more confusing than a ball player’s stats, I had all the confidence in the world that he would find the way to San Juan, Puerto Rico, our next port of call. From there, it would be two more days at sea and I’d be saying good bye to Evelyn at Fort Lauderdale and heading off hopefully to a new job in Orchid Village. More importantly, I’d see Max again. He had promised to drive down and meet me at the pier to drive me home. I missed that guy—a lot.

I stopped at the stern and leaned on the rail, entranced by the boiling water trail the ship’s props made behind us. Similar to a plane’s contrail in the sky, the aqua water frothed for yards to create a path that showed where we had been. The slight motion of the ship made the horizon rise and fall in rhythmic motion that was quite relaxing as long as you weren’t prone to seasickness. Completely captivated by the scene, I didn’t notice the nicely uniformed young officer who stepped up next to me and until he called my name.

“Mrs. Stengel! Good morning!”

“Charles!” I put a hand to my chest. “You startled me.”

“Oh, sorry.” A little wisp of breeze stirred a dark curl from the top of his manicured hair. He deftly patted it back into place and joined me in leaning on the rail of the ship to watch the ship’s frothy contrail.

“It’s another beautiful day in paradise,” I said. “Are all things quiet and secure?”

My question was more to start conversation than to affirm any fears I might have had about security on the ship. Charles, make that Chief Security Officer Charles Walden, was a good friend of Evelyn’s—a very good friend. One might even say there was a spark of romance between the two but I wasn’t going to bet the whole ballgame on them. I have a friend whose advice to those with marriage-aged children who might be in a serious relationship is, “Don’t love the boy and don’t hate the boy. Either way you may stand to lose.” It was hard not to love Charles though. Dare I hope?

Charles grinned at me. “Are you looking for a new crime to solve?”

I playfully elbowed him. “Of course not. I was just inquiring about your day.”

“My day will be easy as long as crew and passengers behave themselves. Tomorrow though, is another story. Port days are a bit hectic with all the security checks and some passengers disembarking as well as a few we will be taking on.”

I could not imagine in this day and age of high security in large public venues what a job it must be to keep an eye on everyone. Even the ballparks have taken to searching pocketbooks as you enter. I just don’t carry one to the game anymore.

“Have you seen Evelyn this morning?” I pitched the question just inside the strike zone to see if he’d swing and give me more confidence about their relationship.

“No, not yet. But she did send me a message to meet the two of you for lunch. I hope you don’t mind me joining you.”

“Not at all. I’ll look forward to it.”

He straightened up, touched my shoulder lightly, and said, “I’ll see you then. Have a good morning.”

I watched his confident stride as he walked to the port side, rounded the corner and disappeared. If more batters approached the plate like that they’d probably hit more home runs. I really liked that boy—young man—and I was convinced Evelyn did too. Her eyes lit up when he came into view like they never had with anyone else before. Lunch would be fun with the two of them and out of respect for my friend’s advice, I would try really hard not to fall in love with Charles as a prospective son-in-law.

After one more deep cleansing breath of sea air, I headed off to begin my agenda for the day. Reading by the pool and getting a little sun. Lunch with Charles and Evelyn. Taking in the art auction. Watching the master chef’s cooking demonstration. Dinner. The evening show. And then early to bed. I wanted to be up in time to see the sail-in to the port of San Juan. Evelyn said it was not-to-miss.

I reached for the door to enter the inside of the ship but it swung open before I touched it.

“Ah, mornin’ to you lassie,” said a man I had come to know well this past week. Mr. MacBride was Scottish gentleman through and through including his attire on formal nights which was a full dress kilt in tartan plaid, a short black jacket, white shirt with bow tie, and of course the furry purse that he called a sporran. He wore knee high socks with an argyle print that matched his tartan and shiny black shoes. He was quite the object of attention as he danced his way through the lounges picking out the ladies who were unaccompanied. For some unaccountable reason, he’d chosen to zero in on me several times.

“Good morning, Mr. MacBride,” I said smiling as he tipped the tam that sat upon his thick white hair. It was the same green tartan plaid as the kilt he wore on formal nights.

“Tis a beautiful morning, Ms. Stengel.” He took a deep breath and stepped aside to allow me to pass. “I would have loved to spend it with ye but I see you’ve finished your mornin’ walk.”

“That I have, Mr. MacBride,” I said as I started to pass.

“Please, Ms. Stengel, call me Donaidh.”

We’d been through this before. I didn’t want to get too familiar and encourage him. His name was Donaidh, pronounced Do-nee which sounded like Donny, a name that somehow didn’t seem to fit him.

I smiled at him and said, “You have a great day.” I didn’t look back and kept going.

By the time I got back to my cabin to pick up my book and change into a sleeveless top, Carlos, my cabin steward, had already made the bed, wiped up the bathroom, replaced wet towels, and put a little point on the toilet paper roll. I wondered if the pointed toilet paper was something I needed to add to my routine as a Household Manager. While cleaning was part of my job description, it wasn’t all of it. I arranged schedules for maintenance, social activities that took place in the home, planned for healthy meals, made sure my employers’ wardrobe was neat and orderly, and generally kept the household ship shape. My heart skipped a beat as I thought about starting a new job with a new family after my cruise ended. I hoped it wouldn’t take too long to find employment. I couldn’t afford to stay in a rented condo too long without an income.

I plopped my book, my sun block, and a bottle of water in my drawstring pool bag and settled my sunglasses on top of my head. I traded my wide brimmed straw hat that I’d bought in my first port for the more comfortable baseball cap I’d brought from home. The wide brim on my new hat made the it pop up when I leaned back against the deckchair. Irritating. Fashion was never more important than comfort for me. Tucking my sea pass into the rear pocket of my capris, I headed out to see if there were any deckchairs that hadn’t already been claimed by a towel and a book.

As luck would have it, the deckchairs around the pool were all accounted for—at least any with a spot of sun on them. But on the open deck just above the pool, I found a spot that looked like it would be perfect. If the ship didn’t change course, the shade would cover it in about a half hour. That was more than enough time for me to get my daily dose of UV rays. After all, what’s the fun of a cruise in the Caribbean if you come home pasty white?

Speaking of pasty white, I looked up to find a young woman blocking my sunshine who obviously had not been taking advantage of the sunny days we’d had on our cruise. A floppy wide brimmed hat shaded her shoulders as well as her face. Her fashionable lavender bikini was accented with a little matching wrap around her hips that barely concealed the fact that the bikini was just that—bikini sized. Was I more envious of her figure, her youth, or her fashion sense? If I added and dares to show it off to the list, I had a home run.

“Is this chair taken?” she asked in a sweet child-like voice.

“No. You’re welcome to it.”

“Great!” She unrolled the pool towel and draped it over the lounge chair. Reaching into the straw bag that matched the straw hat, she pulled out a magazine, a smart phone, and a bottle of something that appeared to have a prescription label on it.

“This is the first chance I’ve had to get out in the sun,” my bikini-clad neighbor said as she began to lather her legs and arms with whatever was in the prescription bottle. “My husband is a dermatologist and he is adamantly opposed to sunbathing.”

“Is he one of the doctors on board for the conference?” It was hard not to notice the posters announcing meetings and workshops for the doctors on board. Evelyn had said that it was some association for dermatologists who were cruising and using sea days for their meetings.

“Yes. He brought his whole staff with him. Sort of a bonus for a good year.” She removed her hat and secured her beautiful wavy red hair in a knot she deftly fashioned and then somehow set in place with a hair accessory that looked like a fancy chopstick. More lotion went on her face and neck before she leaned back with a sigh. “Oh, this feels soooo good. I didn’t realize being married to a dermatologist was going to cut into my enjoyment of the sun.”

Of course if the rest of the world didn’t get out in the sun, her dermatologist husband wouldn’t be bringing the whole office on a cruise thanks to the profitability of his practice. I gave myself a gold star for obeying my Coach’s admonition to be kind to others and didn’t say what I was thinking. When I let Him, God kept my tongue in check.

“I guess I’m an experiment today though,” she went on. She reached into a small plastic bag and pulled out two cotton patches that looked like they were soaked in water and patted them onto her eyelids as she laid her head back. “The lotion in the bottle is a new concoction that my husband came up with. He says it will keep out the harmful rays of the sun and just let those good rays in that will give me a healthy tan.”

Hmmm. Healthy tan sounded like an oxymoron to me.

“It has an almond scent,” I said as I sniffed the air a bit. “Unusual. Most lotions have that distinct coconut smell or an awful chemical smell.”

“It does smell nice, doesn’t it?”

She sighed and settled into the chair a bit more. I took it that our conversation was at an end and picked up my book again. I had finished the story about a three-fingered pitcher, Mordecai Brown and had moved on to a book about the World Series scandal of 1919. I only had four days to get it read before our arrival in Fort Lauderdale but I figured that was plenty of time. Unfortunately the motion of the ship and the warm breezes put me to sleep too often. This morning was no exception. I felt myself nodding and soon I just gave in.

Startled, I awoke with a jerk that sent my book sliding off my stomach to land with a smack on the deck. I blinked. The shade I had fallen asleep in was gone. The ship must have turned slightly or else I had grossly miscalculated. Good thing I wasn’t the one navigating. I rubbed the sleep from my eyes and looked over to see if my youthful neighbor was still soaking in the rays. She had moved her chair further away. Was I snoring? But she still enjoyed the sun. So much so that she was almost beet red! Her dermatologist husband was not going to like that. But then, he was the one who claimed he had a miracle sunblock and had encouraged her to experiment.

Maybe I was a little paranoid after finding my former boss strewn over his workbench in his orchid greenhouse like he’d died swinging a baseball bat but this little gal looked like she’d crumpled from a cramp running around the bases. Maybe she just slept funny. With her eyes open? I bolted upright and called out to her.

“Miss? Miss?”

I had no idea what her name was. “Miss, are you all right?”

No response. She didn’t blink. Just continued to stare out to sea.




To buy her book, go here:
Amazon

Amazon Kindle

barnesandnoble

smashwords



Author Bio:

As a full time mom, a teacher, a businesswoman, a paralegal student, a travel addict, and diver, Karen Robbins has had a wealth of experiences that contribute to her story ideas and speaking topics. In 1987, she sold her first written piece for publication in Standard, a Sunday School take-home paper. Since then she has published numerous articles and essays in a variety of publications including several regional and national magazines and written columns for a local newspaper and an online women’s magazine. Karen has been a contributing author to many compilation books including the Chicken Soup For The Soul series. She coauthored A Scrapbook of Christmas Firsts and A Scrapbook of Motherhood Firsts. Earlier novels include Divide The Child, In A Pickle, and Murder Among The Orchids, (book one of the Casey Stengel mystery series).


Connect with Karen here:

Website: www.karenrobbins.com

Blog: Writer’s Wanderings,   http://karenrobbins.blogspot.com

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/KarenRobbinsAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/karenrobbins

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/wanderingwriter/boards/


Karen is giving away a copy of Death Amony the Deckchairs. 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 may enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.
(It's not too late to go back and leave a comment on yesterday's post)


 

 
 
Happy Reading!
Caroline Brown

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