Saturday, May 31, 2014

A Warm Welcome to Kimberly Rose Johnson

Is there a story behind A Romance Rekindled?
We first meet, Susan, the heroine in The Christmas Promise, the first book in the series. As I was writing that book I realized Susan had a story to share so I dug deeper into her character and A Romance Rekindled is the result.

What’s your favorite genre of writing?

My favorite genre to write is contemporary romance.

Do you believe in writer’s block? If so how often do you get it? How do you fix it?

Yes, I believe that we writer’s have off days where nothing comes to us. It probably happens to me once a week. I will be writing and then all of a sudden I hit a wall. I will either stop writing and tackle it the next day, or go back in the manuscript to see if I wrote myself into that problem. I’ve discovered that sometimes I stray from my synopsis and when I do I run into trouble. Other times, I’m just too tired. My creative juices can’t flow when I not well rested.

Do you type or write by hand? Computer? Typewriter? Legal pad?

The actual writing takes place on the computer, but I brainstorm with paper and pen. I have a lot of spiral notebooks filed away filled with character and setting information.

How many writing projects are you working on right now?

Just one. I tend to make mistakes with character names and setting when I try to write two books at a time.

Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write?

Yes, but I am horrible at punctuation, so I depend heavily on my critique group to help me out. I’ve taken classes on this subject and the stuff just won’t stick in my head—kind of like numbers, I’m hopeless.

Where do you most like to write?

I prefer to write at my desk in my house. I like absolute silence so I can hear myself think. When I write the story is playing out in my mind as if I’m watching a movie and a quiet environment is essential for me.

Does music help you write?

No. Not at all. I’ve tried to listen to music and write but discovered that I’m such a music person I end up counting the beat in my head, or focusing more on the music that what I’m writing. It’s a huge distraction!

How do you find the time to write?

Writing is what I do. When I was working outside of writing, I wrote when my kids were at school. I used to teach piano lessons after school.

Do you have a mentor? 

Yes, I have been very fortunate to have met someone early on in my writing that has taken me under her wing and guided me. I’ve learned from her more about publishing and writing than probably any one person.
She is more than a mentor. She is a friend I can turn to anytime, no matter what.

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

A Holiday Proposal releases in October 2014.

HOLLY Miller is excited to be starting her new job as a nurse at the medical center in town and is thrilled she scored Keira’s old apartment above the candy shop.

MATTHEW COOK knew his life would be different when his sister and niece came to live with him while his brother-in-law served overseas. But he never expected the adventures having a child in the house would bring. When his sister falls on the ice and injures her arm Matthew rushes her to the medical center in town and runs smack into the last thing he expected or wanted….romance.

Back Cover


The small-town CPA can't forget how Blake Mitchell jilted her and left their hometown without an explanation. But when her first love returns to Leavenworth, the ruggedly handsome writer evokes conflicting emotions, especially when Susan meets the child she assumes is his daughter.

Since his parents' deaths six years ago, Blake's been raising his little sister on his own. But he's never forgotten the woman he left behind. Now, he can't undo the past, but maybe he can change the future…if he can convince Susan to give him one more chance.

To buy her book:
Amazon Kindle
Barnes & Noble

About Kimberly
Kimberly Rose Johnson married her college sweetheart and is a graduate of Northwest University. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, two teenage sons and their yellow Lab. Kimberly is an avid reader and loves romance, suspense, and romantic suspense. She enjoys playing the piano, hiking and coffee with friends. She loves hearing from her fans. You can connect with her on her website at

To connect with Kimberly:

Kimberly Rose Johnson is giving away a copy of A Romance Rekindled.  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, May 30, 2014

Texas Author Lynn Dean

Hello Lynn! Is there a story behind your book More Precious Than Gold?

Of course! All books have a story behind the story, and sometimes that's the best part.

My story is set in Elizabethtown, New Mexico, which is now a ghost town. My father took me there when I was an impressionable teenager, and I often wondered what would cause 12,000 people to flock to such a remote place almost overnight and then disappear nearly as quickly. Dreams or desperation must have driven them to take such risks, and that's where stories are found. 

As it turns out, an unusually large number of real-life stories actually converged in Elizabethtown. What would it have been like to live at that juncture of history? To witness it and be a part of it yourself? And so I invented Eliza Gentry, who was desperate to salvage what was left of her life and her faith.

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

The character who most fascinated me was a minor one-- a slave boy cruelly maimed by his master for a crime he did not commit. When federal officers of the Freedmen's Bureau jailed his assailants, it started a riot, which forced my main character's father to take an unpopular stand, which started my story--literally "with a bang."

While my main character eventually found a happy ending, it made me sad that this real boy became just a footnote in history. He did not live to have a family, so his name was forgotten. Though his story had little impact on mine beyond the inciting event, I became obsessed with learning his name. I narrowed down the window of time in which the event occurred, then drove 4 hours to the National Archives in Fort Worth, TX and spent a day scrolling through records, squinting at fuzzy images of handwritten ledgers until I found him. Tony McCrary. And now his story has a more satisfying conclusion.

What started you on your writing journey?

Even before I could read or write, I liked to tell stories. My mother encouraged me by writing them down, then we'd make simple puppets so that I could "present" the stories as she read them to my dad and sister. That is probably when I began to think of myself as a writer. I was five, so I've just reached the half-century mark in my "career". *wink*

My 3rd grade teacher was also a huge encouragement. She recognized that I loved to write and often became bored when I finished my work early, so she bought me a story writing kit--wonderful pictures to inspire ideas and skill-building tips that built confidence as well. I realize now she probably bought that for me with her own money. She watered the seeds my mama planted but she did not live to see the flowers. I met her son, though, and told him what an amazing thing his mother had done for me and how grateful I was that she was my teacher.

Teachers are some of the most important people in our lives. Great story. What distracts you from writing the easiest?


I write from what I've experienced, and readers will quickly discern that relationships are important to me. So when real live people need me, the fictional people in my head have to wait their turn. In the last two years my family has followed God through four moves, job changes for almost everyone, cancer, advanced dementia, loss of both our fathers (on the same day!), two engagements and one wedding (so far). From the highs to the lows, this is the stuff life is made of, and life is the stuff good stories are made of. I am confident that in God's timing, the lessons I've learned through living will work their way into stories with greater depth than I could have written before.

What is your favorite season of the year? 

I love autumn!  Always have, but more so now that I am in the "autumn" of life.

Ack! Did I just confess that? It's true, though, and I am finding this to be a season of harvest and reflection. I feel fruitful--like the experiences of a lifetime are beginning to ripen so that others might nourish their own faith through what God has shown me during my springs and summers. And even though winter will eventually come, autumn has a certain glorious radiance, don't you think?

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

God has blessed me with the opportunity to travel a great deal, and since I am insatiably curious, I always come away with questions and story ideas--usually some variation of "What would it be like to live during that time? Without the benefit of hindsight, would I have made the same choices they did? What can I learn about life and God from their experience?"

More Precious Than Gold and the books that will follow it are set, not entirely coincidentally, in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of New Mexico. What a beautiful place--cool and green in the midst of a virtual desert--and the name translates "Blood of Christ." Who could not find inspiration there?

Are there spiritual themes you like to write about?

God is always teaching us, if we are paying attention. Since "hindsight is always 20/20," it's often easier to discern His purposes in stories drawn from historical events. That's what history is, right? HIStory. I love to tell HIS stories--God moving to reveal His plan in the lives of ordinary people.

Could you share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you?
"Greatly rejoice, though now for a season ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ." I Peter 1:6-7
This verse gave me the theme and title of my story.
It's easy to rejoice when life is going as we like, but much harder to recognize why God allows hard things to happen to us and rejoice in those as well. My characters wrestle with the truth of this verse in my story, just as we wrestle to live it in contemporary life. I hope readers will gain insight from my characters' struggles and find inspiration to walk out the journey God has planned for them.
When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?

Book 2 of the Sangre de Cristo Series is due out in July 2014.

Stronger Than Mountains picks up on the story of Zeke and Millie, a bright-eyed young couple whose marriage is featured in More Precious Than Gold. (You can relax. That's not a spoiler.) They had four rambunctious young 'uns right away, pulling together to establish a ranch and keep everybody fed. Fifteen years later Zeke is fighting to hold on to his land, and Millie is fighting to hold on to a high-risk pregnancy. Tempers and temptations mount, threatening to pull them apart, unless Zeke and Millie can remember why they fell in love to begin with.

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

Connect with Lynn Dean at:

Lynn Dean is giving away a copy of More Precious Than Gold. 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, May 29, 2014

More Precious Than Gold by Lynn Dean

The bullet that killed Eliza Gentry's fiance shattered her dreams as well. Clinging to her battered faith, she heads west to escape her grief and runs headlong into the man who caused it. 

Tall and headstrong, Eliza expected to remain an "unclaimed treasure." Devastated in the wake of the war, she sets out for New Mexico's Sangre de Cristo mountains in search of peace and new purpose but finds that the western frontier is a wild place where former enemies--Yankees and Rebels, Freedmen and Indians--square off in the quest for land and gold. 

Eliza must confront her prejudices and fears, and Jacob Craig embodies that conflict. The mountain man wins her trust with his gentle strength, but he harbors a secret. As a Union sharp-shooter, he met her fiance on the field of battle and cost him his life. Eliza must learn that she will not find purpose or peace anywhere until she finds in God a faith more precious than gold. 

A real ghost town comes to life in this award-winning story of love, forgiveness, and the sovereignty of God.


Waco, Texas—1867

Torches bobbed above the crowd that gathered around the jailhouse. The eerie light cast unnatural shadows beneath the oaks on the courthouse lawn, the flickering flares animating the underside of the arching boughs. Like hellish fingers they seemed to hold the mob in their grip.
Eliza Gentry slipped her hand into the crook of her father’s arm, her breath forming clouds as they hurried through the starless night. At six foot six, Papa’s long legs covered a lot of ground, but she managed to keep up—one of the rare advantages, she supposed, of inheriting her height from him.
With the passing of each city block, the sounds of the uproar grew louder and more distinct, punctuated now and again by angry shouts.
“You got no call to hold these men. Turn ‘em loose, you carpetbagger, afore we fetch ‘em out ourselves!”
“Go on home, Yanks, while you can still leave standing!”
Judging from the ensuing swells of approval, the threats expressed the general sentiment of those gathered, though only a few souls were brave enough to voice them. Most folks in Waco were good church-going people who disapproved of the use of liquor, but this group was drunk on hate.
Torchlight contorted the features of many familiar faces. The grocer and the proprietors of several shops she frequented. The school’s headmaster and a handful of older students. Women who attended the fine ladies’ teas and Bible studies at Papa’s church. Respectable citizens clamoring alongside the commoner residents—barmen and drunks, drifters and prostitutes—people who pretended not to notice one another by daylight. Tonight rage lent them a grotesque similarity that transcended social status.
Papa quickened his pace, and Eliza tightened her grip on his sleeve. She could see the federal soldiers now, standing at rigid attention, rifles at the ready across their chests. As her foot left the hard-packed street, a shadowed figure broke from the mob and lunged for one of the infantrymen who guarded the barred door.
The soldier’s eyes widened in surprise. As if by instinct, he took a step backward before determination hardened his jaw.
A shot rang out as he fired into the air, the report echoing in the cold night air.
Eliza flinched.
For the space of a collective gasp, a shocked silence fell over the scene. The only sound was the startled squawk of thousands of blackbirds rudely awakened from their roosting places in the courthouse trees, then the rush of wings as they flew in search of safer havens.
The crowd seemed to erupt just as the birds had. With cries of protest they surged forward.
Papa dropped Eliza’s hand and broke into a run. Diving into the crowd, the swelling human tide carried him forward even before he began to stroke, swimming through a sea of people, pushing aside anyone who stood in his way.

Eliza hitched up her skirts and ran after him, reaching the fringe of the mob just as Papa reached the jailhouse door. Peering over the heads of the men in front of her, she hugged her arms about her chest and shoved her hands beneath them to stop their shaking. She fixed Papa in her gaze as if she could somehow protect him by doing so. He was all she had left...

About The Author

Lynn Dean is a native Texan who blends her love for God, history, and the American Southwest as naturally as the ingredients for a great chili to serve up a story that's hearty and satisfying. She took it as high praise when one reader described her writing style as being "like Louis L'Amour or Zane Grey, but for women." 

Lynn is a graduate of Texas A&M University's College of Architecture and Environmental Design. While serving as an interpretive guide at a historic home museum, she fell in love with 19th century history, which inspired her to write Discover Texas, an interactive history curriculum for private Christian schools. Some of the real-life stories she uncovered while researching now form the basis of her historical fiction. More Precious Than Gold, her first novel, placed in the Touched by Love Award in the historical romance category and also finaled as Adventure/Western/Historic Fiction in the 2012 Grace Awards for Faith Based Fiction. 

Purchase More Precious Than Gold at:

Lynn Dean is giving away a copy of More Precious Than Gold. 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, May 28, 2014

This Week's 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 winners we’d like to offer a special thanks to:

Sylvia A Nash who offered her Cozy Benjamin’s Ghost.
And K.D. Harp who offered her Romantic Suspense Code Prodigal. 

And now: We're pleased to announce this week’s winners:

Jackie W. has won Sylvia A Nash’s Cozy Benjamin’s Ghost.
And Lynn won K.D. Harp’s her Romantic Suspense Code Prodigal.

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, May 27, 2014

Welcome, Yvonne Anderson!

It's wonderful having you visit. Tell us, is there a story behind your book, Ransom in the Rock?
This is the 3rd book in the Gateway to Gannah series. Though the titles are connected and consecutive, a reader can jump in anywhere in the series and not feel lost. Each of the books has a theme, or a particular spiritual truth that the story illustrates. The title of this one describes the story line, but on a different level it points to the theme: the Christ’s payment to redeem our souls.

What started you on your writing journey? 
Some might say temporary insanity. The problem is, it’s been going on for quite a few years now, so it’s not looking all that temporary. Writing was never anything I wanted to do, but rather, something I felt compelled to do. I resisted at first, and I’ve tried to quit a few times. But God kept nudging me to keep going, and finally I gave up arguing with Him.

What distracts you from writing the easiest?
I hate to say it because it sounds like whining, but you brought it up, not me: The answer is, my husband. He’s been wonderfully supportive of me in this writing affliction of mine for many years, but… well, he’s retired. And always working on a project around the house he needs help with. The thing is, in his world, people are paid by the hour, time-and-a-half for overtime. He sees me putting in the hours but not making commensurate pay, and it doesn’t make sense to him. If he needs a hand with something, it doesn’t seem to him like a big deal to interrupt me to help because I’m not accomplishing anything anyway. It used to frustrate me no end, but I’ve finally gotten to the point that I can deal with it.

Which character in your new release most interested you while you wrote? Why?
A secondary character, a man named Faris (pronounced fah-REES), has some tough decisions to make. But despite his shaky history, his primary concern is doing the right thing no matter how much it hurts. And it hurts a lot—not just Faris, but several others as well. When I started this story, I knew I’d need someone to fill this role, but I had no idea what sort of man would show up for the job. Once I started writing, he became a more important character than I’d expected, and he soon gained my respect and affection.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Writing Christian science fiction despite the fact that I was never interested in either Christian fiction or sci-fi. Or writing, for that matter.

Are there things you put off doing because you dread them?
Cleaning house. I can’t stand clutter and keep things picked up and put away--compulsively, according to my family. But actual cleaning, like vacuuming, dusting, washing floors, moving things around to clean under and behind? I’ll often let those chores go undone for months on end. (Rest assured, however, I do clean the bathroom regularly.)

Are there spiritual themes you like to write about?
For me, there’s no point in writing fiction unless it illustrates a spiritual theme. After all, this writing thing was God’s idea from the beginning. The Story in the Stars, the first book in the Gateway to Gannah series, illustrates that God is the Creator of all things and sovereign over all peoples. Book #2, Words in the Wind, shows God’s word to be the only reliable source of truth. I’ve already mentioned the theme of Ransom in the Rock; and you’ll have to wait until the fourth book in the series is released to find out its theme.

Why didn’t you answer any of the previous questions involving your favorite something (favorite season, childhood memory, family meal, vacation destination, etc.)? 
Because I don’t have a favorite anything – no favorite color, food, movie, song, book, or anything else. I can’t decide if that means I’m wishy-washy or merely as easily entertained as a toddler. Did I just say, “I can’t decide…”? Perhaps that’s my problem: indecision. But really now, is it a bad thing to not have favorites? I don’t know. Honestly, this isn’t my favorite topic. Let’s move on.

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
I plan to release the fourth (and last) title in this series in the fall. I wanted to keep the pattern of alliteration in the titles and name it The Promise in the Prism, but Dassa, one of the characters in all four books, wouldn’t let me. She insisted I call it The Last Toqeph. She’s the ruler of all Gannah, after all, and accustomed to getting her own way. I did eventually go with the title she wanted, but only because I realized she was right. It was a rational decision on my part; I did not bow to the pressure.

So after that, what then? Is there life after Gannah? Yes, indeedy! Next on the drawing board is a short nonfiction book about working with venison from the field to the table titled Deer in the Dining Room: The Hillbilly’s Guide to DIY Bambi Butchering. I’ve been talking about doing this for years, but now that I see how doable self-publishing is, I’ve decided to go forward with it.

I have another speculative fiction story taking shape in my mind as well. All in God’s time…

Buy the Book here:

About Yvonne:

A resident of Western Maryland, Yvonne Anderson writes fiction that takes you out of this world.  She also does freelance editing; contributes to the writing blog The Borrowed Book; oversees Novel Rocket’s Launch Pad Contest; and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, International Thriller Writers, and the Independent Author Network.

Connect with Yvonne here:

Yvonne is giving away a copy of Ransom in the Rock. 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.

Happy Reading!

Caroline Brown

Monday, May 26, 2014

Ransom in the Rock by Yvonne Anderson

How much is a life worth? And who will pay the price?

Fifteen-year-old Lileela returns from the planet Karkar, embittered at what she perceives as abandonment by her parents. Why do they want her back now? And why does Karkar demand such a huge payment for delivering her? Neither she nor her family suspects that Karkar’s true mission is revenge. The tiny New Gannahan settlement has no hope of repelling an invasion—no hope, that is, except for the One the Karkar can’t see.

Book Excerpt:
Her chest tight with dread, Lileela opened the closet.
         She could only bring one outfit. One outfit? How insane was that? No way in Karkar could she narrow her wardrobe to one item. It was almost enough to make a girl scream. But, tempting though it may be, fifteen was a little old to be throwing a tantrum like a toddler.
She chewed her lip, trying to think. 
It should be a multi-piece ensemble. Though technically one outfit, she could wear separate parts on different occasions, making it seem like more. But then, she’d have to coordinate it with something Gannahan, which would putrefy the entire look.
She’d never survive this.
Swallowing a sob, she climbed the stepstool to reach the control that activated the display. One by one, each item in her closet appeared on the screen then faded away to reveal the next.
This was going to be a tough decision.
Great. Aunt Skiskii was here already.
“We need to get to the shuttle bay.”
Ignoring her, Lileela watched the delicious parade of apparel march past her vision. If she took the knee-length brushed yueeed jacket and the Eutarian silk blouse—no, not that silk. The paler one, with the little flecks of—no, maybe the solid would be better.
“What’s this?” Skiskii’s voice could cut through glass.
Lileela limped down from the stool and exited the closet, leaving the display running. “What’s what?”
“These cosmetics in your case. What are they doing here?”
Lileela tipped her head back to look her aunt in the pale yellow eye. “I’m taking them. What else would they be doing there?”
Skiskii’s ears tilted. “Weren’t we told they don’t wear cosmetics on Gannah? And you’ve scarcely left room for clothes. You said you were bringing one civilized outfit, but I don’t see it.”
        “I haven’t packed it yet.” Lileela slipped between Skiskii and the suitcase. “Still trying to decide which one I want.
Skiskii’s exasperated sigh reverberated around the room. “What have you been doing all day, buying every eyeliner on the ship? You’ve got a lifetime supply in there.”
“That’s the plan. If they don’t wear cosmetics on Gannah, that means I can’t buy it there, which means I’ll have to bring my own. Because I’m not about to walk around with a naked face the rest of my miserable life.”
Skiskii’s lips parted as if she was about to shriek again but then her ears tipped outward. “Well. Well. I suppose it can’t do any harm. But we do need to get to the shuttle bay, so let’s grab whatever else you’re bringing.” Two swift, long-legged steps put her in the closet. “Let’s see...” Pressing an icon, she changed the display to one that showed thumbnails of the entire contents.
Row after row of miniscule images filled the wide screen. Lileela was proud of her wardrobe, but it did make choosing difficult.
She watched her auntie—actually, her cousin; Skiskii was her father’s first cousin on his mother’s side—scan the selection. She’d miss the old thing. More than she cared to admit. That was one reason she had such a hard time deciding what to bring. It wasn’t just clothes she’d be leaving behind.
“Here.” Skiskii pressed a selection. “This is perfect.” She chose the very jacket Lileela had been thinking of, along with fashionably snug trousers of the same length and a filmy but triple-layer ruffled blouse, the color of which picked up the mauve of the jacket’s piping. To Lileela’s delight, she added a floor-length skirt besides.
Lileela couldn’t have chosen better herself. “Oh, grab that cream-colored sash, too. And I’ve got the most darling bangles to match the jacket buttons.” She scurried to her jewelry armoire and flung it open.
That was another thing she would sorely miss. What sort of accessories would she find on Gannah? Trying to remember if her mother wore jewelry, all she could recall was a ring. The signet of her authority as toqeph.
The closet rack whirred as it spit out the clothes Skiskii selected. While she removed them from their hangers and folded them, Lileela boxed the earrings and brooch, all connected to one another with a neck chain, wrapping the delicate links around the box’s spindles to keep them from tangling.
Her hands trembled, and she took a slow, deep breath, trying to calm herself. The breath turned into a sob.
Skiskii left her folding and reached for Lileela, pulling her into a long-limbed embrace. The grinding noise in her throat was supposed to be comforting, and to a Karkar child, it might have been. But it only made Lileela’s tears flow more freely. She was no longer a child, though on Skiskii’s planet she was the size of one. And she was only one quarter Karkar, though she could barely remember living anywhere else.
“I don’t want to go, Auntie!”
Skiskii’s dinner-plate-sized, six-fingered hand stroked Lileela’s dark, curly-bobbed head. “I know you don’t, dear one.” She crooned like a Cephargian alley cat yowling in pain. “I know you don’t. But Gannah is your home. You were born there, your family’s there.”
Lileela pulled away. “You’re family, and you’re not there. I don’t remember my parents anymore, and I’ve never even met my younger brothers and sisters. Why do they even want me?”
Skiskii’s ears wobbled. “Your parents love you. They’ve missed you. The family’s not complete without you.”
“That can’t be.” Lileela pulled out a tissue and wiped her eyes. “There’s got to be some other reason.”
Skiskii sat on the vanity bench, but she still had to look down at Lileela. “They do love you. You’ve been gone for so long, and they want you home so they can get to know you again.”
For a moment, Lileela felt her auntie’s sorrow at never having had a child of her own. But that moment was short, fleeing before her greater self-pity.
“Your neurological treatment has been a considerable expense to them, you know.”
Lileela pouted, a feat that never failed to impress the blank-faced Karkar. Especially when she managed to produce a few tears in the corners of her eyes, like she did now. “Why should that worry them? They’re rich, they own all of Gannah, but people there don’t use money. It wouldn’t burden them to keep me on Karkar the rest of my life.”
Skiskii’s answer was cut short by an urgent beep followed by a whistle from the speaker above the door. Then an electronic voice intoned in tinny Karkarish, “Lileela Pik. Please report to Shuttle Bay Three immediately. Lileela Pik. Shuttle Bay Three.”
Skiskii hopped up and turned back to the half-packed suitcase. “We’ve got to scoot. We should have been there a quarter hour ago.”
Lileela slammed the jewelry box into the bag. “All right. If you don’t want me any longer, I’ll go down to that awful planet. But—”
“That’s not the case, and you know it.” Skiskii’s ears twitched in irritation. “Stop acting like the spoiled brat I’ve allowed you to become.” She snapped the bag shut.
Lileela let out a shriek. “Wait, I need shoes!” As fast as her labored, deliberate gait allowed, she moved to the closet and up the stepstool. “I know which ones I want, it’ll only take a sec.”
When the shoes she selected emerged, she tossed them to her auntie, who stuffed them into the suitcase and closed it again with swift movements.
Skiskii snatched the case with one hand and ushered Lileela out the door with the other.
Lileela went, but she scowled all the way. “This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard of. Just one decent outfit, one real pair of shoes, and no cosmetics. They’re going to make me dress like a barbarian—”
In the hall outside, Skiskii slid the bag into the rack in the back of the scootercart. “Yes, yes, just get in. I’ll drive.”
“Oh, my tote!” Lileela limped back into her room, grabbed her purse and returned to the scootercart while continuing her rant. “A barbarian, I tell you. They’ll have me dressing in scratchy old sacks and eating with my hands.”
 The cart lurched forward, slamming Lileela into the seat. “Eating nasty roots dug out of the filthy, wormy ground, and then picking my teeth with a stick. After all you and Uncle Ogliziizl have gone through to teach me how to be civilized, they’re going to want me to go back to—”
“That’s enough, Miss Lileela.” Skiskii’s stern voice would have sent Lileela cringing to the far side of the scootercart if she hadn’t known her auntie was all bark and no bite.
Skiskii pulled the horn, and people in the hall moved out of her way. “I know you don’t want to go, but we have no choice. The arrangements have been made, and it’s out of our hands.”
Lileela crossed her arms and scowled at her shoes. They were cute shoes, too. She was certain never to find anything like them on Gannah. “So what am I, a commodity to be traded by agreement between planets?”
Skiskii sighed. “We’ve been through this, Lileela, and I won’t explain it again. Your parents have finally come up with the means of paying for your care. And it’s a king’s ransom. You should be touched that they’d—”
“Pay so much for my release? Some release. They’re buying me from Karkar so they can use me for a slave. My father used to beat me, did you know that? He beat me with a rod, then made me sit in a drab, gray room for hours on end, just because he didn’t like the way I was dressed, did I ever tell you that?”
“He did not. Don’t expect me to believe that.”
“He did! And I was little then. How do you think they’ll treat me now? They’re Gannahan, they’ll do terrible things to me!”
Skiskii cornered a little too abruptly, and Lileela had to grab her tote to keep it from flying out of the cart.
“They’re your parents, they love you. The League of Planets has ordered us to turn you over to them now that they’re able to pay off their debt. I have no doubt you’ll be well cared for there.”
“Humph.” Lileela smoothed a curl back from her forehead. “I’ll remember you said that when I’m imprisoned and forced into hard labor.”

Skiskii negotiated another turn, a little more carefully this time, onto the last hall before the shuttle bay elevators. “It will be nothing like that, and you know it.” She patted Lileela’s leg. But her worried ears and tearful eyes belied her comforting words.

Buy the Book here:

About Yvonne:

A resident of Western Maryland, Yvonne Anderson writes fiction that takes you out of this world.  She also does freelance editing; contributes to the writing blog The Borrowed Book; oversees Novel Rocket’s Launch Pad Contest; and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, International Thriller Writers, and the Independent Author Network.

Connect with Yvonne here:

Yvonne is giving away a copy of Ransom in the Rock. 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.

Happy Reading!
Caroline Brown

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Breathing on Her Own by Rebecca Waters

Molly Tipton and her husband are looking forward to retirement but Molly's life suddenly spirals out of control when her oldest daughter is involved in a terrible accident. An icy road and a sharp turn leave one woman dead, another clinging to life.

While two families grieve, details emerge that reveal Molly’s daughter was driving under the influence. As she prepares her daughter for the prospect of a vehicular homicide lawsuit, Molly discovers her oldest child is not the only one injured and under attack for past mistakes. If it is true time heals all wounds, what are we to do with our scars?

Book excerpt

Chapter 1

Molly Tipton followed her husband through the wide glass doors of the emergency room to the nurse’s station. A male nurse, on the telephone at a desk at the back of the cubicle, didn’t look up. Molly’s heart pounded. She brought her hand down hard on the bell in front of her.        
“We were told our daughter Laney was in an accident and brought here.” Travis’s voice sounded steady, but Molly saw his lower lip twitch. “Laney Tipton.”
            “Camden. Alana Camden,” Molly corrected. Laney and Rob had been married for over ten years, but Laney would always be Travis’s little girl. At least to him.
            “That’s right. Camden.” Travis rubbed his forehead as he turned to Molly. “How often have I done that?”
            The nurse, whose nametag read “Howard,” typed the information into the computer. “That’s Camden with a ‘C’? Here we go.” Howard looked up. “Her husband is with her. If you’ll take a seat, I’ll check on her status.” Nurse Howard motioned to the plastic chairs lining the waiting room walls. He sounded calm. Maybe Laney was okay. Rob was with her. Travis guided her to the seating area as Howard disappeared through a security door leading to the examination rooms.
            Molly reached into her purse for her cell phone. “Should I call Lissa?”
            “Let’s wait. It’s almost two in the morning. There’s nothing she can do and we don’t even know exactly what happened.” Travis the practical. Travis the analytical. Travis the wise. Molly put her phone away. A moment later the security door opened and Rob emerged, weary and bent. Molly and Travis leaped to their feet to meet him.
            “How is she?”
            “What happened?”
            Rob pulled his mouth tight. “They’re taking her to surgery right now.”
            “Surgery? What kind of surgery?”
            “They have to stop some internal bleeding.” Rob’s eyes began to tear up. “She doesn’t look good.”
            Molly’s heart quickened. She forced herself to breathe. “Where are the kids?”
            “At home in bed. My sister came over.”
            “What happened, Rob?” Travis put his hand on the younger man’s back.
            “You know Old Creek Road? Where the hill comes down and you have to make that sharp left turn? I guess she didn’t make the turn and slid off the road.” It was a dangerous road. Only last fall, a truck carrying milk from the local dairy farms had flipped over at the turn, killing the driver.
            “I bet it was icy,” Travis said.
            “What was she doing on Old Creek Road?” Molly asked. “That’s clear on the other side of town.”
            “I don’t know. Laney called around eleven and said they were leaving River Rats. She was driving Tori back to where she was staying and said I should go on to bed.” Rob drew in a deep breath. “The next thing I knew, the police were pounding on my door.”
            Tori! Laney said she was meeting friends after work. Molly had picked up the children after school and kept them for the two hours before Rob came home. But she didn’t know the plans had included Tori Johnson. She hadn’t even known Laney’s college friend was in town.
Tori was like of a female version of Eddie Haskell from Leave it to Beaver.Oh, yes, Mrs. Tipton, I believe that our primary concern our first year of college should be to focus on our studies.
            The first time she’d picked up Laney for a long weekend home, Laney hefted a full laundry bag into the back seat, most of which proved to be the large shaggy rug from her room. “What happened to your rug?” she had asked.
            “Tori Johnson happened. She threw up all over it.”
            “I hope she’s not contagious.”
            “She didn’t have the flu, Mom. She was drunk. She just walked into our room and puked all over my rug. She’s gross.”
Over the course of their freshman year, Laney’s attitude toward Tori had changed. Molly attributed it to Andrea, Laney’s roommate. Tori was like the Pied Piper, pulling Andrea and Laney to do her bidding.
“I think she just needed that first year to grow up,” Laney said.
            Grow up indeed! It was just like Tori to talk Laney into driving her out to wherever she was staying without consideration for how far out of the way it would be. Or that Laney had a loving husband and two beautiful children waiting for her at home. Or that Laney would have to navigate unfamiliar country roads late at night with snow and ice everywhere. No, Tori hadn’t grown up at all. She was still the same selfish girl she had been in college. This was all Tori’s fault. Tori was the reason Molly’s precious daughter was lying on some cold surgical table having who knows what done to her. A shiver went up Molly’s spine. She hugged her arms around herself just as Howard reentered the room.
            “Mr. Camden? You and your family can come with me upstairs. There’s a private waiting room outside the surgical suite.”
            Molly and Travis followed Rob and Nurse Howard to the fourth floor. The room was small but more comfortably appointed with two soft brown chairs and a loveseat. A crucifix hung on the wall opposite the door, reminding Molly they were in a Catholic hospital. It also reminded her of what her friend Marianne called the power of prayer. Molly sat down on one of the brown chairs and shoved her face into her hands.
             “You okay?” Travis asked.
            “Just praying,” Molly whispered.
             For the first twenty minutes, Travis flipped through a magazine. Then, he investigated the coffee pot in the corner.
“This stuff is like mud. I’m going to find us some fresh coffee, Molly. Rob, can I get you anything?
            Rob shook his head.
            Molly got up to check out the pot. The liquid in the pot was dark, old, and burnt, evidence of a vigil held in this very room just hours earlier. She dumped the remains in the small stainless sink and began rinsing the glass carafe.
“Rob,” Molly asked tentatively as she searched the cabinet for a paper towel, “if they went out to eat, what were they doing at River Rats? I mean, isn’t that a bar?”
            “They were going clubbing. You know, dancing and stuff.”
            That didn’t bother you? Molly bit her lip to keep from asking, but Rob seemed to read her mind.
            “Tori was in town for some meeting so Laney and Andrea met up with her. It was a girl thing. I didn’t want to go.”
            Molly finished cleaning the pot and turned it over on a paper towel to dry. There were no filters and not enough ground coffee in the tin for more than a cup. Thankfully, Travis was successful in his quest.
Ten cups of coffee later, Molly was still awake. She had leafed through every magazine in the room. “What time is it?” she asked of no one in particular.
            “A little after five,” said Rob, without looking at his watch. “I wish someone would tell us what’s going on.”
            When the door opened half an hour later, the doctor stepped into the small room. Molly stood up, set her jaw, and put her hands together, ready for the worst.
“She’s stable. We were able to stop the bleeding. We had to remove her spleen.”
            “Then she’s going to be okay?” asked Rob.
            “We’re not out of the woods yet.” The doctor motioned the three to sit down. Molly and Travis moved to the loveseat. Rob and the doctor sat on the chairs facing them. “Mrs. Camden suffered damage to her right leg. She has several broken bones in her right arm and rib cage as well. We’ve called in Dr. Toma, the premier orthopedic surgeon around here. We won’t know the full extent of her injuries for a few days. There’s possible damage to the spinal cord. We will just have to take it one day at a time.”
            “Can we see her?” Molly asked.
            “She is in recovery right now. We’ll move her to intensive care shortly. I can let you see her through the glass for a few minutes once she’s there, but you can’t go in yet.”
Peering through the glass, Molly could barely stand the ache in her chest. She drew her hand over her heart, watching as her daughter lay on the ICU bed. Laney’s face was swollen. A large tube was in her mouth. Smaller tubes ran in and out her left arm and hand. Wires connected the young woman to an array of machines lining the wall behind the bed.
Rob stood at the glass partition, his hand touching the glass in a futile attempt to touch his wife. His mouth pulled tight as he fought back tears.
Molly looked to her own husband. Tears were flowing freely down his cheeks.
            “She is breathing on her own,” the nurse on duty said. “That’s a good sign.”
            Slowly the tubes will come out and she’ll open her eyes. It’s a process. Molly tried to comfort herself.
            “Make yourselves comfortable,” the nurse suggested as she led the three to a new, larger waiting area down the corridor from the ICU. “If you need anything just touch the help desk button on the phone. To make an outside call, dial seven first.”
So much information, when all Molly wanted to hear was that Laney would be okay. She bit her cheek to keep from crying as she took in their new surroundings. This room was fitted with at least ten of the comfortable brown chairs. Mounted in the corner of the room was a television. A remote rested on a table. Would there be news of the accident on the local morning news? Would she have the strength to watch it if it were?
            A uniformed deputy sheriff came through the door before anyone had a chance to sit. He introduced himself as Hank Steadman and shook hands with Travis and Rob. “How’s your wife, Mr. Camden?”
            “She’s in the surgical ICU. They stopped the internal bleeding, but the doctor said she’s not out of the woods yet.”
            “They’re a good bunch of doctors here,” he assured them.
            “Officer, was it ice on the road?” Travis asked.
            “I’m still investigating.” Deputy Steadman turned to Rob. “It was the middle of the night, Mr. Camden. Did you know where your wife was at that hour?”
Molly’s head jerked up. What was this man insinuating? Trouble between Rob and Laney?
“She went out with some friends for dinner and then called me from River Rats to say she was on her way home,” Rob stated without reservation.
Deputy Steadman made a notation in his book. “I should have my initial findings filed today, but you probably won’t be able to pick up a copy of the typed report until Monday at the station.”
Travis stepped closer to the officer. “But it was the ice, right?”
“We should be able to finish the full investigation next week.” The man continued to address Rob. “The final report will be filed once we have all the details. You can pick up personal items at the station.”
            The officer shifted. “Look, I hate to ask, but, did you know the other woman in the car with Mrs. Camden?”
            “The other woman?” asked Rob.
            Deputy Steadman looked at his notes. “A Victoria Johnson.”
            “Tori was in the car?” Molly asked. Laney wasn’t alone. She hadn’t dropped Tori off at some unknown destination before the accident.
            “Yes, ma’am. We have an Illinois driver’s license for her, but so far we haven’t been able to contact anyone at her residence.”
            “I’m pretty sure she lives alone,” said Rob.
            “Her parents live in the St. Louis area,” offered Molly. Tori’s parents were quiet, unassuming, and likable. It was largely because of the Johnsons, Molly and Travis had decided to let Laney move off campus and into the house with her friends their junior year.
“Nancy and Paul. Their names are Nancy and Paul Johnson.”
            “Thank you. That should help.”
            “How is Tori?” asked Travis.
            Officer Steadman studied the three faces before him. “I’m afraid she didn’t make it. She was pronounced dead on the scene.”
            Molly’s stomach clenched as the room spun. The brown chairs took on odd shapes and moved in circles before her eyes. “I need to sit down,” she whispered, even as Travis grasped her arm and lowered her into one of the chairs. She had blamed all of her daughter’s pain and suffering on Tori.
What was it the nurse had said about Laney? She’s breathing on her own. Laney lying in the bed connected to all of the machines and paraphernalia in the room didn’t seem so bad. She was breathing on her own. A good sign.
But Tori?

Tori wasn’t breathing at all. 

About Rebecca

Rebecca Waters and her husband, Tom, have been married for forty-two years and have three grown daughters. Her daughters are all married and mothers themselves to seven precious little ones.

Rebecca taught in the public school system for nineteen years, kindergarten through grade two. After receiving her doctorate from the University of Cincinnati, Rebecca taught college students seeking to be teachers at Cincinnati Christian University for the next fourteen years. She sees teaching as a ministry.

Since retiring from Cincinnati Christian University in December of 2012, Rebecca has been actively engaged in writing. Rebecca sees writing as both a gift and a ministry. Although she has published in professional journals in the field of education, Rebecca now turns her pen to fiction and children’s books. She also enjoys freelance writing opportunities. Her most recent nationally published articles may be found in Chicken Soup for the Soul and the Home Health Aide Digest. She has had articles in The Lookout Magazine, published by Standard Publishing as well.

Rebecca’s first novel, Breathing on Her Own, was released by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas on March 24, 2014

To buy Rebecca's book

Rebecca Waters is giving away a copy of Breathing on Her Own.  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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