Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Ohio Author Mary Ellis

Welcome back to the Book Loft, Mary! Is there a story behind The Quaker and the Rebel? 

Since I was a child I’ve been fascinated with Civil War history. I read everything I could get my hands on, both fiction, and non-fiction. After college, our vacations often included Civil War battlefields and historical sites. I was honored to meet
Henry Robert Burke, a descendent of a former slave who wrote an account of the Underground Railroad around Marietta, Ohio (where my story begins). I have so enjoyed putting my lifelong passion for history into a romantic tale of faith and love.

What’s the first thing you ever wrote that you still have?

I once wrote a short story for a writing contest for Redbook magazine. I did not win. I dug it out a few years ago, read it over, and hooted with laughter. I didn’t understand the structure of a short story. I set my scene, developed my characters, and began the conflict. Then suddenly the story ended because I had reached the maximum word count. No wonder I didn’t even receive an “honorable mention.”

What’s your favorite genre of writing? 

I love to read and write romantic suspense, historical fiction, and of course, Amish fiction.

Who is the most annoying character you ever created? 

I created a villain in The Quaker and the Rebel named Captain Nathan Smith who was so nasty, I truly wanted to punch his nose by the end of the book! He rather wrote himself, which is a rather scary notion if you think about it.

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

Absolutely. My current Civil War Heroines series was conceived ten years ago. But various editors told me there was little market for that time period. With the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War, public interest has piqued for this turbulent period in our nation’s history.

What’s one genre you have never written, and probably never will? 

I will never write Science Fiction. I fell asleep during 2001: A Space Odyssey, and didn’t understand much that was going on in Star Trek. I’ve always been a Little House on the Prairie kind of girl.

How many writing projects are you working on right now? 

Besides editing current projects, I’m working on book two of the Civil War Heroine series, Honor Among Enemies; an Amish romance, A Plain Man; and a romantic suspense set in the current-day deep South, title undetermined.

What character that you’ve created most resembles you? 

Since I’m a former schoolteacher, I’m very much like Meghan in A Marriage for Meghan, and also like Emily Harrison from The Quaker and the Rebel. She’s a governess who feels ill-equipped for the life she’s been thrown into.

Where do you most like to write? 

Outdoors, I love to create scenes anywhere but inside my office. I first craft the scene longhand; then type and edit on my laptop while sitting on my porch. Only the final edit is done in my office, locked away like a hermit.

How do you find the time to write? 

For the past three years, I have been blessed with the ability to write full-time. For the fifteen previous years, I would write before and after work, during my lunch hour, Saturdays, or while riding in the car. Just about any opportunity to get my weekly word count finished.

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

My next book will be A Plain Man, which picks up Caleb’s story from my best-selling novella, Sarah’s Christmas Miracle. When a man returns to Amish ways after years apart, rigid district rules, a judgmental father, and his own pride conspire to separate him from the woman he loves. A Plain Man will release in April, 2014 from Harvest House Publishers.

Thanks for sharing with us today!

Connect with Mary Ellis at:

Her website
Her blog 

Mary Ellis is giving away a copy of The Quaker and the Rebel. 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, December 30, 2013

The Quaker and the Rebel by Mary Ellis

Emily Harrison, having been raised in a devout Quaker home, accepts a governess position across the Ohio River on Bennington Island, in slave-holding Virginia. Her job allows her to continue her parents’ lifelong work as conductors on the Underground Railroad. Little does she know that falling in love with an aristocratic Southerner will threaten everything she believes in. When her employer moves his family deeper into the Confederacy, Emily can effectively set free many more from bondage and send them north. But she isn’t the only person living a life of subterfuge. Her new beau is the infamous Gray Wraith, a Rebel ranger who wreaks havoc on Union telegraph and railroad lines to supply the Glorious Cause with necessary provisions. Unknown to most, Alexander Hunt shares Emily’s Quaker upbringing and refuses to take another life, not even in war. Emily has pledged never to allow herself to be vulnerable, but who can resist the charms of the Gray Wraith? Sometimes love is more powerful than any army…Northern or Southern.

Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE
Bennington Island, in the Ohio River, Summer 1861
“Miss Harrison?” the soft voice queried. “Please come in and take a seat.”
Emily, startled from her open-mouth perusal of the painted ceiling, stared in the direction of the voice. She thought she’d been shown to an empty room to wait, but a wren-sized woman sat near the windows in a wicker chair with wheels. She hurried to the woman’s side, bobbed her head and then bent her knee in a small curtsey. “Mrs. Bennington,” she said. Never in her life had Emily done such a thing. She’d only seen a curtsey in theater presentations, but the astounding elegance of the house seemed to warrant one.
“Oh, my, what lovely manners you have,” the woman said, patting a chair beside her.
“Thank you, ma’am,” she said, perching on the edge. Emily judged her to be around thirty-five, younger than her mother had been, with an unlined forehead, green eyes and dusky blond hair. Delicate, that’s what Mama would have called her.
“Your letters of reference from Mrs. Ames and Miss Turner glowed with praise of your accomplishments. We’re glad you’ve come to our backwater island to polish the rough edges off our girls. They both attended grammar school in Parkersburg for six months of the year and we’ve had tutors here, but now they require refinement. They still run wild through the garden like savages. Annie, especially, needs to learn deportment.” She inhaled a deep breath and sighed. “I am aware of your loss, Miss Harrison. And in time I hope you will come to regard us as your family.”
Annoyed by the statement, Emily drew back from the lavender-scented aristocrat. “I’m afraid the situation will be temporary, Mrs. Bennington, since I’m engaged to be married. When my fiancĂ© returns from Washington, I shall return to Marietta.”

Her voice sounded haughty, but she couldn’t help herself. From the moment the flatboat rounded the turn and she viewed Bennington Plantation, she’d been on unfamiliar ground. A carriage had been waiting at the dock to drive her to the mansion. Then an elderly black gentleman in finer clothes than any owned by her father opened the door, bowed, and ushered her into a foyer larger than her entire house. Pink and cream marble lay beneath her feet while the crystal chandelier overhead cast harlequin patterns on the polished steps to the second floor. The butler had to wrestle her portmanteau away as she stood gaping at her surroundings. The butler spoke perfectly-inflected Queen’s English without a trace of the slang she’d expected from a slave. He was a slave, wasn’t he? She’d followed him to this salon, and here she was—behaving rudely to her new employer without other options for her future.


About the Author


Mary Ellis grew up near the Amish and fell in love with them. She has now written ten bestselling novels set in their communities. When not writing, she enjoys gardening, bicycling, and swimming. Before "retiring" to write full-time, Mary taught school and worked as a sales rep for Hershey Chocolate. Living in Harmony, book one of her current series won the 2012 Lime Award for Excellence in Amish Fiction. Her debut Christian book, A Widow's Hope, was a finalist for the 2010 ACFW Carol Awards. She is currently working on a three-book historical romance series set during the Civil War. The Quaker and the Rebel releases January 1st, 2014. 





Purchase The Quaker and the Rebel at:


Mary Ellis is giving away a copy of The Quaker and the Rebel. 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, December 29, 2013

Heaven's Prey by Janet Sketchley





A grieving woman is abducted by a serial killer—and it may be the answer to her prayers.


Despite her husband’s objections, 40-something Ruth Warner finds healing through prayer for Harry Silver, the serial killer who brutally raped and murdered her niece. When a kidnapping-gone-wrong pegs her as his next victim, Harry claims that by destroying the one person who’d pray for him, he proves God can’t—or won’t—look after His own. Can Ruth’s faith sustain her to the end—whatever the cost?





Book excerpt


Another gust of wind pelted rain against the kitchen window. Ruth Warner sopped up the last of her homemade chili with a thick slice of sourdough bread. Too bad she didn’t have time for a little more.

The kitchen lights flickered, and her husband, Tony, groaned. “I hope the power holds. There’s a ball game on later.” He carried their cutlery and bowls to the sink and rinsed them more carefully than Ruth would have done. She’d wiped hers clean enough with the bread. It could have gone straight into the dishwasher.

Tony turned from the sink, bowl in hand. “Why don’t you stay home tonight? It’s nasty out there.”

Halifax didn’t often get storms this bad. If only she could avoid going back out in it. But since Harry Silver had escaped from prison, her weekly prayer meeting was more important than ever. Ruth grinned at her husband. “It’s prayer, not baseball—they don’t call rain delays. Don’t worry, I won’t melt.” She tucked a pocket-sized Bible and notebook into her purse.


Tony walked away from the sink, dripping water on the floor from the bowl he’d been rinsing. He blocked Ruth’s way out of the kitchen, feet wide, other hand planted on his hip. His stare pushed her back a step. “This is about Silver’s escape. Isn’t it?”


Other relevant info:

Heaven’s Prey is about a villain’s last chance at redemption and a vulnerable woman’s obedience to pray for her enemy—not the gentle inspirational read many associate with the Christian genre.

About Janet:

Janet Sketchley is a Canadian author who writes about God's tenacity and how faith applies to real life. In the non-fiction realm, that includes weekly devotionals and Christian living posts on her blog as well as the story "The Road Trip that Wasn't" in A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider. Her debut novel, Heaven's Prey, is about God's tenacity too, reaching to save one soul and to protect another.




To purchase her book:


Janet Sketchley is giving away a copy of Heaven's Prey. 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, December 28, 2013

The Barn Door Welcomes Janet Sketchley

Is there a story behind your book, Heaven's Prey?

Sometimes I pray for people I see in the news, either victims or villains. One day this question hit me: it's one thing to pray for an offender locked away in jail, but what would you do if you met the person face to face?

The idea wouldn't go away, and the characters of Ruth and Harry took up residence in my imagination. Essentially, I started writing their story to get them out of my head. They're not based on any real individuals, but they're "real" to me J

What distracts you from writing the easiest?
Life! There are so many other things that need doing, it's easy to put writing off "for later." Now that I'm writing with a contract and deadlines, it will have a higher priority on the daily list. One thing I do to keep focused while writing is to turn off my email.

What kind of books do you enjoy reading? (Book recommendations very welcome!)
I like adventure, suspense, science fiction, fantasy, mystery... Christian or "clean" mainstream novels. I also appreciate Christian living books, and usually have one of those on the go for bedtime reading. Fiction-wise, from what I've read lately I'd recommend The Merciful Scar by Rebecca St. James and Nancy Rue.

If you could paint or sculpt like a famous artist who would it be and why?
Claude Monet – I'm amazed by how he took all those little dabs of paint, so jumbled when you're up close, and turned them into tranquil pictures when viewed at a distance.

What makes you smile and/or laugh out loud?
If something surprises and delights me I don't just laugh out loud, I hoot. Lucky for those around me, it doesn't happen too often, but it's usually something inconsequential and odd. Like a recent day at work when I found a stuffed sheep in yellow raincoat, boots and Sou'wester hat.

What is your favorite season of the year? 
I love them all, but autumn is my favourite. I live in Eastern Canada, and the maple leaves turn these brilliant shades of orange and red. We also get yellows and browns from other trees. When the leaves fall, it's a treat for me to walk in the woods and scuff my feet through every pile of leaves I can find.

What do you like most about the area where you live and/or grew up?
As much as I enjoy the leaves, for me the best things about Nova Scotia are the ocean and the rugged landscape.

Are there things you put off doing because you dread them?
Sure: making phone calls and setting appointments, preparing my taxes (but they're done on time), and anything that's out of my comfort zone. I put them off, but they haunt me until I cave in and do them. 

Are there spiritual themes you like to write about?  
Blogging and fiction, I write about God's tenacity. He never fails us, never changes His mind about loving us, and never gives up on us.

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
Secrets & Lies, Redemption's Edge book 2, will release in 2014. We don't have a definite date yet. Here's the one-line summary:  A single mother struggles to rein in her teenage son, guard her heart against two charming men, and keep a drug lord off her back.


Back Cover



A grieving woman is abducted by a serial killer—and it may be the answer to her prayers.

Despite her husband’s objections, 40-something Ruth Warner finds healing through prayer for Harry Silver, the serial killer who brutally raped and murdered her niece. When a kidnapping-gone-wrong pegs her as his next victim, Harry claims that by destroying the one person who’d pray for him, he proves God can’t—or won’t—look after His own. Can Ruth’s faith sustain her to the end—whatever the cost?





To buy Janet's book:

About Janet:
Janet Sketchley is a Canadian author who writes about God's tenacity and how faith applies to real life. In the non-fiction realm, that includes weekly devotionals and Christian living posts on her blog as well as the story "The Road Trip that Wasn't" in A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider. Her debut novel, Heaven's Prey, is about God's tenacity too, reaching to save one soul and to protect another.

To connect with Janet:


Janet Sketchley is giving away a copy of Heaven's Prey. 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, December 27, 2013

Florida Author Fay Lamb

Welcome to the Book Loft, Fay! Is there a story behind your book Better than Revenge?

Better than Revenge is a book that is in its second life. Currently, the story was published as Because of Me. The publisher who contracted the story went out of business, but God is good, and I had already contracted with my current publisher for a number of books. When it was learned that this story was available, my editor had a vision for the story, and with the help of my friend and screenwriter, Tony Denman, I added a little bit more information to the plot, which I believe makes it a much stronger story. I should note that Tony is the scriptwriter, actor, and producer for the Better than Revenge book trailer, and he is currently working on a script for the book.

This story does have my heart, though, because its basic theme is an issue that many struggle to obtain: a Christ-like forgiveness. I even had one individual in the industry tell me that Christ-like forgiveness is impossible. To that, I have to ask: Why did Christ set the biggest example of forgiveness when He died for our sins?

Which character in your new release most interested you while you wrote?

That’s an easy one: Michael Hayes. I met Michael one cool autumn day while sitting on my porch. Michael, unshaven, his hair a little scraggly, and his young face filled with tension, began to tell me his story. “There’s a young boy, Cole. I’m not his father, but he’s definitely on this earth because of my actions. I allowed something horrible to happen to his mother, but I still love her. I despise the kid, though. I’ve forgiven another for so much more, and Cole’s only fault is that his father is the man who took everything from me. How can I learn to love this child and protect his mother from the man who can again take her from me?” And as easily as Michael entered my imagination, he turned and walked away. When a character comes to you so vividly and with so much pain, you begin to wonder about Christ-like forgiveness, and if you’re an author of fiction, you explore that issue with story.

What started you on your writing journey?

I really can’t tell you when I started writing because I believe I began telling stories long before I could write. My sister was thirteen years older than me. She married when I was seven. My mother was single, and she worked up to sixteen hours a day, so I was a latchkey kid from a very early age, sometimes sitting in her car outside the store where she worked from the time I arrived after school until eleven at night. What better activity for a child with an overactive imagination is there than storytelling. My mother might have believed I was the only kid she was raising, but in my imagination, I had lots of siblings and friends. I praise the Lord for this time in my life. I believe it shaped me for a lifetime of storytelling.

Let's have some fun. If you were a style of music, what style would you be?
I’m so eclectic in my musical tastes. I would be a mixture of styles, I believe: Anywhere from beach music to Broadway tunes.

What is your strangest habit?

I have a habit that makes people laugh. I grew up in the South (that’s my excuse), and somewhere along the way, I developed my own way of saying certain words. For example: With certain words that start with an “H,” I do not pronounce the sound. Human becomes Uman. Humor is Umor; Humility is Umility. Now, I do pronounce humble correctly. Once when I was asked to introduce author Kaye Dacus during a conference, I was horrified to see her bio included three such words that I would pronounce without the “H.” Having been laughed at many times, I actually printed those words in large letters so that I would say them correctly.

There are other words, like naked, which I say necked. However, I was vindicated while watching Gone with the Wind. Scarlett says necked for naked.

What makes you smile and/or laugh out loud?

You can always tell when I am at some low in my life. Maybe something isn’t going as expected, or it could be that I have a lot on my mind. Those are the times when I begin to look for the extraordinary in ordinary. A trip to the grocery store with my dear mother-in-law can turn into quite an experience when I remind her that we have four boxes of aluminum foil in the cupboard, and she waves the box she’s intent on buying and says, “One may never have enough aluminum foil.”

I believe life should be lived large, even if you’re feeling small. This doesn’t mean to exaggerate or to brag, but look into those ordinary occurrences and find the umor in them. Then laugh with abandon. Share the experience. Make others laugh. This is why I love Facebook so much. I love to share and to have people say I make them laugh.

What is your favorite season of the year? 

I have two favorite seasons. I love the spring. It’s the time when there is still a chill in the air, and color is returning to the earth. Dogwood laces the mountains, and I am anxious to get to Western North Carolina to witness the change.

I love the fall because the colors are changing again. The chill returns, and the mountains look like a canvas that God changes daily.

Where is your favorite place to travel/vacation in?

I think I gave that away above, but like the seasons, I have to favorite places, completely different. I love the mountains of Western North Carolina.
I also love the ambiance of a small island off the west coast of Florida called Cedar Key.

North Carolina is a beautiful state. Has some place you have traveled inspired something in your writing?

Both the mountains and Cedar Key have given me a wealth of story. My Amazing Grace series is set in the mountains of Western North Carolina in fictional, but easily recognizable towns in that areas. My Serenity series is set in an island town, and it is modeled after my bellowed Cedar Key.

Are there spiritual themes you like to write about?  

I take on many issues in my novels, whatever genre I write, but the overwhelming theme of each is the power behind Romans 8:28. This one verse tells us that God is always in the details, and this is what I try to portray for the reader. No matter what happens to us, the good and the bad, God has a plan for us, and He will work good—whether we are at fault for our troubles or whether bad has happened to us. This isn’t a scripture that one should throw around lightly, and I am very careful of that, but I look at the cross as the depth of that verse. All things good … God sent Christ to die on the cross for us, to take upon Him our sin. No father would think that a good thing. Yet, God suffered this as both Father and Son, and He proved to us that in Christ’s suffering, there arose good.

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


I have several books that will release in 2014. Everybody’s Broken and Frozen Notes are the next two books in the Amazing Grace series, and they follow the release of Staling Willow (May 2013) and Better than Revenge. Three books will be released in the Ties that Bind series in 2014 and 2015: Libby, Hope and Delilah follow the July, 2013 release of Charisse.

Thanks for sharing with us today!

Connect with Fay Lamb at:

Facebook

Fay Lamb is giving away a copy of Better Than Revenge. 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.





Thursday, December 26, 2013

Better Than Revenge by Fay Lamb



Michael’s fiancĂ©e, Issie Putnam, was brutally attacked and Michael was imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit. Now he’s home to set things right.

Two people stand in his way: Issie’s son, Cole, and a madman.

Can Michael learn to love the child Issie holds so close to her heart and protect him from the man who took everything from Michael so long ago?


Book Excerpt

“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 and 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.

About the Author

Fay Lamb is an acquisition editor for Pelican Book Group. She also provides freelance fiction edits.

Her emotionally charged stories remind the reader that God is always in the details. Fay has recently contracted with Write Integrity Press for two four-book series. Stalking Willow, the first in the Amazing Grace romantic suspense series is currently available for purchase, and Charisse, the first release in her The Ties That Bind contemporary romance series will be available in July, 2013. The second story in the Amazing Grace series, Better than Revenge, is set for release in September 2013.

Fay is a past-secretary for American Christian Fiction Writers. She served for four years as the moderator for ACFW’s critique group, Scribes. For her volunteer efforts for ACFW, she received the Service Members Award in 2010. She was also a semi-finalist that year in the ACFW Genesis Contest. Fay was influential in the creation of the Central Florida ACFW Chapter known as Sonshine Scribes. She is a past-president and will serve as secretary in 2014.
       
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 six grandchildren.


Purchase Better Than Revenge at:


Fay Lamb is giving away a copy of Better Than Revenge. 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.



Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Blessings to Three Special 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:
Rebecca Carey Lyles who offered her Romantic Suspense  Winds of Freedom.
Martha Rogers who offered her Historical novel  Christmas at Holly Hill.
And to Bonnie Leon for offering her Historical Romance  The Journey of Eleven Moons..


And now: We're pleased to announce this week’s winners:
Cindi A has won Rebecca Carey Lyles’s Romantic Suspense  Winds of Freedom.
Mary Blakley has won Martha Rogers’s Historical novel Christmas at Holly Hill.
And Jennifer  Tipton has won Bonnie Leon’s Historical Romance  The Journey of Eleven Moons..
  
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.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Divide the Child by Karen Robbins

A mother's worst nightmare. Her child is snatched. The kidnapper is Sebrena Warner, the child's real mother. Or is she? It has been six years since their rescue of a baby girl who was born alive after a botched abortion and Julie and Rick Sierra had begun to relax. No one questioned the adoption papers and their move out of the area to avoid being discovered. Now they are about to become embroiled in a custody battle only the wisdom of Solomon could decide.

Sebrena vows to use all the power her politically aspiring husband, Wynne, will bring her. Wynne's life is complicated further by a reporter, Michael Boston, who threatens to expose Sebrena's past.

Judge Helen Belemonte must decide Kathy's future. She turns to the only place she knows she will find true wisdom, her Bible.


Book Excerpt


1.


Coffee dripped into the decanter. The aroma drifted through the quiet nurses’ station in the maternity ward. No mothers-in-waiting tonight. One lone nurse waited patiently to fill her cup. Suddenly a light flashed on the intercom board. A doctor’s voice crackled over the speaker, “Nurse! Get in here immediately!”
At the delivery room door, the nurse paused for a moment to take in what was happening. A woman on the bed moaned and thrashed about—obviously in heavy labor. What was going on? There was no one in labor when she started her break and no notice of an emergency.
“Quickly!” The doctor grabbed her arm and pulled her to the bed. “We need to give her a general.”
“I’ll call for the anesthesiologist.” She turned to reach for the phone.
“No! There isn’t time. I’ll administer it myself. Get over here and help me.” He moved to the head of the bed.
The nurse was shocked and confused. This wasn’t proper procedure. Her mind raced as the urgency of the situation accelerated. Moments were precious when a delivery went bad but training and experience kicked in. She rushed to help the doctor strap the woman’s arms down and place the mask over her face.
“Monitor her blood pressure and respiration and keep me posted while I get the fetus out,” the doctor ordered.
Fetus? Horror struck her as her gaze fell upon saline solution and instruments on the table next to the doctor. This wasn’t a delivery. This was an abortion!
“Doctor, I can’t take part in this. I don’t believe in abortion.”Her protest was futile. There was no one else around to call for help. No time. She adjusted the blood pressure cuff and prepared to monitor vital signs
“This is not the time for a political statement. We’re here to save lives.” The doctor sat down behind the white cloth draped across the knees of his patient. “I can’t worry about your confounded religious rubbish right now. What are her numbers?”
This wasn’t right. She shouldn’t be here. When abortions became an accepted procedure after a lengthy labor dispute, the hospital made a new policy. It allowed a nurse to decline an assignment to assist in an abortion provided the nurse had registered her religious objection with the department. Why hadn’t this doctor arranged for another nurse? And why was he doing this in a delivery room hadn’t been reserved?
She repeated the blood pressure and respiratory counts to him. They were precarious but not life threatening. Ironic, she thought, you tell me we’re here to save lives while you stand there taking one.
“Finally,” the doctor said with relief as he took the bloody form of a baby and roughly laid it in the bin normally used for disposing of the afterbirth. She felt sick. Concentrate on the gauges and try not to think of what is happening she told herself. At least a saline abortion was not as horrendous to watch as a dilation and evacuation—a partial birth abortion. This baby would be in one piece.
The nurse glanced at the little body in the bin. She blinked. Had she seen movement? Yes, the arms were moving slightly. She left her post and looked closely.
More movement.
“This baby is alive!”

2.

The driver paused at the stop sign and looked both ways to confirm that the woman and little girl were still headed south on Watkins Street. She eased the yellow Mustang convertible through the intersection and made a left at the next corner. The old houses framed by scarred trees and aging shrubs disgusted her. She renewed her vow to never live in a place like that again.
As her Mustang turned left and crept to Watkins Street, every nerve in her body sparked. Twenty minutes ago, the elementary school five blocks away had released its contents of noisy children into the neighborhood. She had followed the two before. Each time she had observed the woman meet the girl at the school and walk together down Watkins Street to a dingy little house with a decrepit porch, weather-worn siding, and missing shutters.

The driver looked left and confirmed again the two still walked in the same direction as before. Yes, there was no mistake. They turned into the house almost exactly the same time as yesterday and the day before that. They were creatures of habit she observed. Morning and afternoon, they had a dull routine that fit perfectly with her plans. A lip-glossed smile crept across her face. Yes, perfectly.


About Karen:

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. Her novels include Divide The Child,  In A Pickle, Murder Among The Orchids, and Death Among The Deckchairs.

To purchase her book:


Karen Robbins is giving away a copy of Divide the Child. 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

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