Showing posts with label mystery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mystery. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Colorado Author Sandy Nadeau

Hi Sandy! Welcome to the Book Loft. Is there a story behind your book Red Gold

Red Gold developed out of a dream job my husband and I always wanted to do. Run a guest ranch in the Colorado mountains. We love four-wheeling adventures, fishing, and photography. I wanted to incorporate all the things we love and share the beauty and excitement of our mountains. As I was writing it, I struggled with the working title I had. I just wasn’t happy with it. My husband is so great at brainstorming with me, so one night while out in the hot tub under the stars, he said, “How about Red Gold?” It was so perfect for the title. Wish I’d have thought of it. *grin*

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

I had two of them. Of course I love my main character, Mandy Phillips, but the teenage guest, Jenny, became near and dear to my heart. Thirteen is such a tough age. I remember it well with my daughter. I really rooted for Jenny, even if I did keep getting her into more and more trouble. Poor girl.
Mr. Shonee is the other. He is such a grouch, but it was fun to take him to his limits of cantankerousness and watch him grow. Discovering along the writing way why a character is the way they are is really fun.
  
What started you on your writing journey? 

So many things. I think it was in my genes. My grandmother wrote, my mom is a poet and writes tons of stories from her growing up years (yes those are a treasure). I wrote a lot in high school, but all that work got tossed out by a teacher when I was sick on the day we were to pick it up. My mom still gets upset by that. I don’t really remember what I wrote. 

When my daughter was three, I took a home study course on writing. It really put the bug in me. Stories just kept cropping up in my mind. I worked a lot of years at it, with a twelve year stint as a columnist for a local newspaper. I also researched a lot of our town history back then and wrote all that up for a county contest on local history. (I didn’t win.) 

I learned about the Colorado Christian Writer’s Conference held in Estes Park, CO and attended that for many years trying to learn more about the craft. Back then, Tracie Peterson encouraged me to join this new writers group called the American Christian Romance Writers, but I just struggled with a lack of confidence back then and never looked into it. Note to self: follow advice when given by Tracie Peterson! A few years passed and I heard more about ACFW (the name now changed to the American Christian Fiction Writers). I met Colleen Coble, love her books, and at her encouragement, I finally joined the national group. Smartest thing I ever did. I’ve learned more about writing in this group than any other time in my life. I love the people involved in it. 

It's always fun to ask this question. If you could paint or sculpt like a famous artist who would it be and why?

Maybe not famous, as what most would consider fame to be in the art world, but my Mom and Dad would be the ones. Mom is an incredible artist, even at the age of 86. She always was an artist- painting in oils- realistic, detailed landscapes, wildlife and stills. She also can do the most amazing relief carvings you’ll ever see, all by hand tools, no motorized Dremels or anything. 

Dad is an amazing wood carver making stylized birds out of various woods, some he mounts on old wood pieces, they’re just beautiful. He started making wooden kitchen utensils years ago and sells so many when he travels around to various art shows in the Midwest. They are the best artists I’ve ever known. Their talent is incredible. And no, I didn’t get much of that talent, but I do write. 

What is your favorite season of the year? 

Any time that we can hop in the car and explore new areas. If we have to lock in the four-wheel drive, so be it. Just get us out there!

What do you like most about the area where you live and/or grew up?

Where do I begin? Growing up in the 70’s, in Minnesota, I listened to a lot of John Denver music. Between his songs and family vacations in Colorado, something stirred in me to fall in love with mountains. Who knew that at the age of 28, that dream would become a reality? 

Every opportunity, we would pack up a cooler full of food and snacks, load up our daughter and the dog and head for the hills. We discovered way more about the state without a map. Getting into the back country where not as many people can get or bother to go is amazing. There is so much in this state that no one sees and it is beyond the imagination for beauty. 

Discovering “new territory” is our favorite thing. Finding a herd of rams or elk, maybe a coyote hunting out in a field, the jagged peaks of the fourteen thousand foot mountains, the extreme clear blue sky at this elevation, an old worn out town long left abandoned when the gold played out in the area or the winter was just too harsh to continue on… Our favorite saying comes in a hushed whisper as we look out on these scenes surrounding us and say, “Good job God”. Not a day has gone by that we don’t totally appreciate where we live. I could probably do without the mountain lion tracks in front of my house. That makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up, let me tell ya.

Where is your favorite place to travel/vacation in?

If I’m not making my way around Colorado, then give me anywhere tropical where snorkeling is the adventure of the day.

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

Every single time we explore this state, it leads to a blog post on my part. I love adventures and I love to write about them. To incorporate my life experiences into a story is such fun for me. You can’t help but be inspired when you see a mountain range in the distance or the critters. We go “hunting” with our cameras. We made our way through the low hanging brush to get to a stream for photo ops and there stood the biggest bull moose with a huge rack. Quite startling, but inspirational. Moose show me that God has a sense of humor. I love His creation. I can look out my kitchen window and often see the mule deer with their huge ears, and even the elk. One year we were blessed to witness the birth of twin fawns right out behind our back yard. Another year we watched a couple of fox raise four young. That was a real treat. We don’t have to go far to be inspired.  

Wow. I am awed. What a backyard!
Are there spiritual themes you like to write about? 

I really don’t know how to write without a spiritual theme. But it’s really fun when, as you write, a theme you hadn’t planned on begins to surface. I read mostly Christian fiction and I continually find things in there that help me in my walk, in my struggles, maybe even how to pray about something difficult. If I can do that for even one person, I will have accomplished much.

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

Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.”

Words to live by. I have to trust Him, I can’t do it alone. My understanding of things is tainted by much in this life. When I focus on Him, pray, seek, love, then I can follow easily and confidently that He is in control. It’s not always easy, but that’s the path I choose.

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


Well, I’m working on one. Hope to have it ready to sell it soon. I’m really in love with this new story. It’s a romance between a firefighter and a gal on the rescue squad. She’s given up dating firefighters since her dad died fighting a fire. She struggles with her anger at God and my hero just wants to love her and help her find God’s love again. It’s full of adventure- are you surprised- as they battle fires, rock slides, accidents that the department has to respond to throwing them together more than she’d like. My hubby used to be a firefighter and an EMT, as well as the Director of Emergency Medical Services for our community in our former town in Minnesota. I picked his brain a lot for this one. The story follows their work and their relationship ups and downs. There’s some humorous spots in it too. 

Sounds interesting. Nice to have your resource person in house. 
Thanks for sharing with us today!

Connect with Sandy Nadeau at:


Sandy Nadeau is giving away a copy of Red 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.



Monday, March 24, 2014

Red Gold, a Mystery by Sandy Nadeau

Mandy Phillips loves her life running an adventure ranch in the Colorado mountains. When Mr. Shonee, their crotchety old neighbor, tries to stop them from building a kid size old west town up by the old mine on their property, their dreams of expansion are crushed. Unusual events begin to make a mess of the summer season. Is Shonee trying to sabotage all they have worked for? Or is something even more sinister going on? 

Things begin to break down when a young guest finds a beautiful red rock while exploring the grounds, which turns out to be a valuable stone called Rhodochrosite, Colorado’s State Mineral. Before they can investigate further, a young teenage guest that Mandy had befriended disappears and Mandy finds herself having to save the girl from old mine shafts, kidnappers, and mineral thieves. 

But who will save Mandy? Mandy must now rely on her faith in God to help her keep her guests safe, solve the mysteries surrounding her ranch, save her neighbor from himself, and discover the secrets of the Red Gold. 

Excerpt


     The stench of burning brush assaulted her.
     No! Mandy ran for the porch, grabbed the wand of the triangle suspended from the roof, and clanged the warning. Dread and panic crept up. Her heart raced.
     Smoke billowed over the ridge. She knew flames inched towards the dry brush that lay between them and the guest ranch.
     “Jon!” Mandy screamed for her husband as she clanged the triangle, and then dashed into the house.
     The screen door slammed shut.
     “Jon!” She grabbed the phone and ran back outside to the triangle. Visions of losing everything rose in her mind.
     Barney, their black and brown Australian Shepherd, stood outside the door flinging himself into the air and barking frantically.
     “What’s going on?” Jon’s thundering steps came from the house.
     She dialed 911 and clanged the triangle while waiting for the operator to answer. “Fire!” she yelled to Jon. “There’s smoke coming up from over the ridge to the south.” Beads of sweat ran down her forehead.
     “What’s your emergency?” The dispatcher’s voice came over the phone.
     Mandy stopped clanging. “Fire to the south of High Country Safaris off County Road Five. Hurry!”
     Jon sailed past her, not even touching the porch steps.
     Ranch hands ran from the barn and the bunkhouse, some men still pulling on boots.
     Mandy pointed to the smoke rising over the ridge.
     “I see it, Miss Mandy,” Mike hollered. His boots stirred up a cloud of dust as he changed direction. “I’ll get the water truck.” He ran towards the garage with George, another ranch hand, on his heels.
     Mike and George hopped in the passenger seat. They tore up the service road towards the rising smoke.
     The others grabbed shovels, picks and axes.
     Mandy threw the phone onto the porch chair and headed to her old Willy’s Jeep.
     Barney jumped off the porch ahead of her and ran in circles.
     She pointed a warning finger at his spot under a tree near the porch. “Go lay down, barney. You stay! I mean it.”
     Barney whined, sat back down, but his front paws bounced side to side. He obeyed, but panted heavily and watched after the crew going into the smoke. The dog let out an occasional bark as she left.
     “Lord, please, stop this fire…please.”
     A blaze could take off, especially after such a dry winter and all the dead trees from the beetle infestation. Spring rains had been sparse in the mountains of Colorado, and the sun was hot at their 7,900 foot elevation. 
     The vehicle bounced off every rock and pothole in the old dirt road, but she didn’t care about the jarring her body endured. Her knuckles grew white as she gripped the steering wheel.
     Over the ridge, Jon and the hands were flanking the fire.
     A deep chill ran up her spine, and her palms went cold.
     Shovels and pick axes flew up and down with rhythmic movement as the men worked to throw dirt onto the crawling flames.
     She scanned the potential route of the fire. It wasn’t that large, maybe over an acre, but as the wind picked up, it would only get worse. If the fire made it into the trees, there would be no way to stop the flames before they finished off the forest. And their ranch.
     Mandy pulled to a stop next ot the other vehicles.
     Mike had parked the water truck close and was hauling the hose towards the flames.
     She got out, found a shovel and ran. “Where do you want me?” She screamed over the motor on the water truck. Smoke drifted into her nostrils. Her eyes watered. The acrid smell caused her nose to scrunch up.
     “Right flank,” Jon yelled back.
     Mandy went to the end of the line and began to shovel away pine needles and other debris to get to the dirt to throw on the flames.
The fire had crawled its way through the dry winter remains at a steady rate. They had to get a line cut around the front.
     Mike sprayed water as a couple guys dug into the earth, revealing more embers, trying to get a handle on the battle.
     “How could this have started?” Mandy’s words huffed out with shortened breaths.





About The Author


Sandy Nadeau loves to go on adventures, photograph them, and equally loves to write about them. She and her husband do a lot of four-wheeling in the back country of Colorado and share those experiences with others by taking them up in the mountains. With a background in writing about her community for a local newspaper, she also has had several magazine articles published. She loves to write novels about adventure, mystery, romance, but most importantly sharing God’s love. She is currently a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and Vice President of the ACFW South Denver Chapter. Married for 37 years, she and her husband are loving life as grandparents to their nine month old grandson. Travel is their favorite thing to do and they don’t get to do it as often as they’d like. Adventure awaits around every corner, over every hill and mountain.

Purchase Red Gold at:


Sandy Nadeau is giving away a copy of Red 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.





Tuesday, February 11, 2014

SE Ohio Author Carole Brown

Hi Carole! What gave you the idea for the book Hog Insane?

Hmmm. I don't really know. 

I was into writing short stories for different contests I saw online and wanted something fun and catchy with unique characters. I, along with the rest of my family enjoy bikes, and threw the bike touch into the mix. Given from a grouchy and jealous protagonist point of view, it made for lighthearted reading. The whole short story focused on a different event, which, of course, has been expanded in the novel.

Which character in your new release most interested you while you wrote? Why?
Probably Denton Davies in Hog Insane. He’s a grouchy man, just a tad overbearing, but oh, so in love with his wife, Alex. Why he can’t see that his little actions irritates her, is beyond me, and I’m his author! Lol. Still, he’s got a detective’s mind, a suspenseful nature, and he can allow that even though he may not care for a person doesn’t mean they’re guilty. Necessary when detecting! 
I did so love creating some of the characters who were suspected. Giving them “bad” traits and actions made them seem more human, more susceptible to doing the wrong thing. And incidentally resonates with many actions in people’s lives.
What distracts you from writing the easiest?
Writer’s block. When I experience it, I’m so totally distracted with games and people, even household chores are more appealing than struggling with getting past that mountain slide of block! Of course, I know if I push ahead, the light will dawn; it’s just getting the initiative to do so that’s the problem!
I love to ask this question. If you were a style of music, what style would you be?
I love a variety of music from country to old-time rock and roll to gospel, blues, instrumental and opera. Just depends on my mood. Being a writer I have a lot of different moods so if I’m feeling down, I sure don’t want to hear a bunch of sad songs. That’s a guaranteed way to bring the tears. And perversely, if I’m having trouble dealing with life or writing problems I can’t bear to hear how wonderfully happy the singer is with his new love! Lol. Still mostly, I’m a positive person in spite of the moods!
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Had to ask my husband this one, because believe it or not, I usually am fairly predictable. I love making lists and checking off items. I love doing things a certain way. I have learned, living with a type A personality hubby, to go with the flow, but it’s hard at times. Lol.
Still, the quirky things: hubby says I slam my pillow down whenever I get in bed: meaning, I plump and turn and shove and push it into the shape I want and is comfortable before resting. Even then, I might rearrange it several times till it’s just right. Never would have guessed that was quirky! J
Quirky is just a husband's point of view (*smile*). Are there spiritual themes you like to write about?  
Hope and forgiveness are dear to my heart.
Hope springs eternal in the heart. It is the essence that gives life. It is the thing that brightens the darkness!
And without forgiveness, no one can truly be free.  God’s forgiveness makes us spiritually free; forgiveness given to others gives us peace with the injustices; forgiveness to ourselves gives us happiness.
In my opinion, two of the greatest topics in the world.
When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
Hoping to have the second book--Bat Crazy--in the Denton and Alex Davies mystery series out in June, then a third one--Daffy’s Duck--around December.
Then I’m also hoping--dreaming--of the release of Book 1 of a Spy Series set in WWII. These stories are about three sisters, their participation during WWII and their romantic tales with their own personal spies. They are especially dear to my heart, and I can’t wait to see them in print.
I’ll continue to work on other books I want to finish and hopefully will be published soon!
  • My agent would love to see a contemporary suspense series I’ve started, published.
  • Readers are asking for a second book after The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman.
  • My husband is pushing for me to finish the historical, light suspense (he gave me the idea for it!). 

Lol.
We won't keep you any longer. Get busy and thanks for sharing today!
Connect with Carole Brown at:


Carole Brown is giving away a copy of Hog Insane. 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, February 10, 2014

Hog Insane by Carole Brown

Newly retired, all Denton Davies wants to do is to fish and recapture his wife’s love. Instead, a dead body, a missing motorcycle, a strange key, and dope await them at their first stop in the Smoky Mountains.

None of the campground people, or even the sheriff, pretend to like Denton and his snoopy questions, and everyone seems to be lying. Does a missing motorbike hide evidence what might incriminate the murderer?

The self-centered campground manager seems greedy enough to have hidden the motorcycle for the murderer. So why doesn’t he know where the bike is now? And why is the sheriff ignoring obvious clues? Why leave a bribery note where Denton’s suspicious eyes can see it?

Denton wrestles with his personal demons of self-blame over his nephew’s death while riding a bike. His wife, Alex, resents Denton’s riding roughshod over her feelings.

When he thinks her love is fading, he’s determined to woo her back. But if he doesn’t find the young man’s murderer, their love may stretch to the breaking point.

Excerpt


Chapter One
“You what?”
            “I bought—”
            “I know what you said,” I growled. A vision of my wife’s closet back home, filled with rows of shoes—basic colors like black, blue, brown, and white, and a rainbow of colors—flashed across my mind’s eye and nearly blinded me. Alexandria Davies had more shoes than any middle class lady should admit to.
We strolled toward the campground restaurant. The lights from the office behind us cast weird shadows on the shortcut path. I scowled and opened my mouth to let Alex hear why she didn’t need that eighty-sixth pair of shoes.
An explosive crack split the air around us and blasted the fussing right out of my head. I dropped to the mossy ground and pulled Alex down with me, breathing hard, my eyes searching the shadowy darkness closing in on us.
The throbbing rumble of a fast approaching Hog drowned out the creaks of nightlife, as the bike tore down the road that ran parallel with the path we were on. In a blur of silver and black, the sole rider wove from side to side in an imbecilic pattern.
Before I could dwell on it, a small, dark car roared by, twenty feet or so behind the bike. All the windows were dark except one, and something protruded from it. Something long, narrow, and ominous.
I blinked and hugged the edge of the road even tighter. Couldn’t be a gun. 
Nah. Ludicrous. 
The car roared past us, and I turned my head to get another glimpse. No sign of a gun now.
Alex mumbled beneath me. I scrambled up and helped her to her feet.
“Denton Davies. What on earth is the matter with you?” She reached up and ran her fingers through her hair, then grimaced as she slid her hands over her clothes. With a quick glance at me, her eyes revealed sudden concern. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah. I’m fine. You?”
She indicated the hole in her sleeve and stuck out her foot. “What do you think?”
I eyed the long black scratches on the absurd-looking pink things semi-covering her feet, but my mind remained on the bike and car. Could the biker be the guy we were looking for?
Selena Mathias’ worried words from a week ago played like a circus calliope in my mind. He’s in trouble. I know it. I need your help. Please.
“How can you just stand there? Don’t you care you’ve ruined my shoes and my clothes?” Alex propped a fist on her hip. “Just because you’re upset about the shoes I bought today—”
I took her arm and guided her toward our RV. “Sorry. I thought someone was shooting at us.”
She gave me one of those looks. “Sounds like you’re trying to live the last mystery book our reading group discussed.”
“Hardly.” Our love affair with mystery books was the farthest thing from my mind. The image of the bike and those morons chasing the guy on it refused to fade. Had they been a bunch of teens having fun? Like Michael, my favorite, seventeen-year-old nephew, when he died? Kids having a blast.
            “Insane biker.” If I never saw another one, it’d be too soon.
            A quiet sigh escaped Alex’s lips, and she muttered, “I’d love to ride a bike.”
How can you say that? You know what happened to my nephew. You know how I blame—
            “Denton, stop condemning me with your thoughts.”
            I lowered my voice to a menacing growl and repeated the words aloud. “They’re insane. And dangerous.”
            Michael. Michael. The son I never had. The one I taught to ride a bike. I wanted to gnash my teeth.
The risks they took, the craziness they engaged in—yep, I’d had my own run-ins with plenty of bikers, and most of them hadn’t improved my opinion. “What about Michael? You know how—”        
            “Denton, It’s been ten years. It wasn’t your fault then, and it’s certainly not now.”
            That didn’t make the guilt go away.
“If I’d never taught him—”
            “Nonsense. His mother spoiled him rotten and never disciplined him.”
             Taffy, our tan and white Jack Russell, jumped in the air, nosed my arm, and I glanced down at the female terrier. I extended my hand so could she lick it, her way of begging for attention, and then gave her head a quick rub. “Come on. There’s no sense in letting this ruin our walk.”
            Alex gave me the once-over, starting at my shoes and moving up, her lips curling a fraction.
I choked back a retort. I should have never put on the ratty shirt and jeans this morning. Though they were comfortable and great for travel, Alex hated them. That alone started a downward spiral all the rest of the day.
            What a laugh.
            “Alex, you’re the light of my eyes. You know that, don’t you?”
            Her lips thinned, but at least she didn’t walk away from me.
            “You need some time to relax from all that . . . uh, energy.”
            “Energy? You’ve always said you admire my, uh, energy.”
            She was mocking me.
            Besides, I couldn’t have built my business without it.”
            True. She might be a pint-sized woman, but she was a battle tank when it came to determination. And her determination to stay unhappy drove me bonkers. I drew in a breath and tried to calm myself.
            “I can’t stand to see you unhappy.”
            She swiveled toward me. “Then you should have thought about that before you ran roughshod over my plans.”
So, she was still driven to show me my plan of traveling twelve months a year wasn’t all I’d painted it to be.
            I watched her figure sway away from me. Women.
Lifting my arms in a man’s universal expression of defeat, I hurried to catch up with my wife. As we walked up the tree-shaded lane, birds twittered their evening good-nights and rustled the brush as they settled in for the coming night, belying the noisy vehicle interruptions minutes ago. A whippoorwill whistled its lonesome call, and several quail cooed love notes to each other as we reached our destination.
            I tied Taffy to a porch pillar and patted her head. “Stay close.”
 When we stepped inside the restaurant, I sniffed at the aroma of fresh bread and something vanilla-scented wafted toward us. Hmm. Now if the food tasted as good as it smelled . . .
A tall white-haired woman greeted us and led us to a table by a large window overlooking the lake. Yellow checked placemats held polished silverware and wild flowers sat in the middle of each of the wooden square tables. Pretty snazzy for a down-home type restaurant. Well, at least the campground manager hadn’t exaggerated.
            When the waitress approached for our orders, I knew what I wanted. “A T-bone, medium, baked potato with lots of real butter. And is homemade bread what I smell? I’ll take some. ” I pointed at the words on the menu.
            Alex laid down her menu and leaned forward. “I thought we decided to change our eating habits on this trip? Steak and all that butter isn’t good for you. Why don’t you try . . .” Alex picked up her menu. “. . . grilled chicken with stir-fried vegetables and a salad with light dressing?”
            She looked up at the waitress who scribbled on her pad. “I’ll have the same, and let’s try some homemade wheat crackers.”
When the waitress walked away, she gave me a smile. “You did promise, remember? One of the conditions of this—trip.”
            I growled a little, but what could I say? I had promised in a moment of weakness, and she was right, even though I didn’t want to admit it. Grilled chicken was far better for my health, but it wasn’t what I craved, unfortunately. Her gentle voice though weakened my insides. Married as long as we were, her voice still caused my bones to melt. Even when she unhappy with me.
            The door slammed, and a young man rushed up to the hostess. If I’d ever seen a case of nervousness, this young man displayed it. Even from where I sat I could observe his heaving chest, the sweat-beaded brow. The hostess led him to a table by a window, but he shook his head and pointed to a corner table. Once seated, he ignored the menu she’d placed in front of him and gave the whole room a prolonged study.
            I bent toward Alex and kept my voice low. “Hey, look at the young guy in the corner. See the leather chaps and jacket?”
            She shifted to study the young man. “What are you thinking? Selena’s nephew?”
            “Of course not. He wouldn’t pop up out of the blue. ” Exasperation threaded my tone. “But it could be the biker we saw awhile ago. What’s the matter with him?”
            Alex smiled in the man’s direction.
His darting glance skimmed her face, then returned to rest there, eyes narrowed. After a moment of study, he returned her smile. His haunted eyes glowed with questions. Uncertainty. Terror.
            Her left eyebrow lifted, and an amused chuckle escaped her lips. “He looks terrified, and he could be the biker who tore down the road while we were getting shot at.”
             “Quit laughing,” I motioned at her to cool it. “Yeah, that one. We weren’t the target. I think he was.”
            The waitress set down our salads, and after a short blessing, Alex picked up her fork and stabbed at a bit of lettuce. “A car probably backfired.”
            Was she right?
            I kept my eye on the young man. He ordered coffee and pie, but after one bite, he laid down his fork and sat with his hands cupping the mug.
            Ten minutes later he left.
            When we finally headed back to our RV, the night had settled down in earnest. Taffy needed her nightly walk, so we strolled on one of the paths leading around the lake.
            Alex breathed in, then puffed out a little. “It seems strange to be on our very first vacation after our retirement.”
            Her voice held an edge of tension I wished wasn’t there.
“Not strange at all. I’m glad to retire early. It’s what we’ve worked for.” I stopped walking and looked at Taffy, who stood stiff, her head cocked to one side.
            “Come on, ole girl. Let’s keep walking.” I tugged on her leash, and she trotted beside me for a few feet then stopped again.
            I frowned. “What’s the matter with you?”
            Taffy ignored me and pulled on her leash, her hackles raised, a low growl rumbling inside her throat.
            “Denton, what’s wrong with her? Something’s bothering her.” Alex squatted and smoothed Taffy’s head. Our small dog glanced over her shoulder and growled. “Do you think it’s a bear? Or is someone out there watching us?”
            “Why on earth would they do that? Let‘s let her loose for a bit. Maybe she’ll get it out of her system. ” I really didn’t like to let her off her leash in unfamiliar territory, but I bent to unhook her anyway. As soon as I loosened her, she took off.
            We scurried to follow. Taffy loped about fifty feet, then disappeared into some underbrush. Alex bent to crawl after her, but I gripped her arm. “Wait. There’s a narrow path snaking its way through all the brush up here. It’ll be much easier.”
            I whistled softly, and Taffy whined in response. I jerked my head to the left. “Over here. Sounds as if she’s found something.”
            We hurried to catch up with her and came upon a small clearing. In the center a firepit had been dug and several picnic tables sat scattered around. A couple of large trash bins stood on either sides of the area.
            We’d left the lights of the campground behind. The round, bright moon illuminated the field until it almost looked like daylight.
Taffy ran back to us, her bark a shrill call for attention. I hushed her and moved forward, but something caught my eye. At the opposite end of the clearing, an object protruded from the woods line. Long. Dark. Could it be the bear Alex had mentioned? 
            I held out my arm. “Stop. I want you to stay here. There’s something over there, Alex.”
            She must have read my mind and clutched at my arm. “What if it is a bear? You can’t go over there with no weapon.”
            What to do? Taffy ran twenty feet or so and looked back. When I didn’t come after her, she turned and scampered to us.
            “She wants me to see what she’s found.”
            “Well, whatever it is hasn’t moved. Maybe it’s waiting there for us to approach.” Alex joked, but her voice quivered.
            Courage exploded inside me, and I picked up a large stick. “I don’t think Taffy would tackle a bear. I’ll be back in a sec.”
            As I approached the dark object, I realized it couldn’t be a bear. Too narrow. But maybe a wild cat? Nope. Too dark. I squinted.
            Was that a foot? It looked like . . . I stared for a minute then hurried forward.
            Taffy stood stiff-legged beside a man’s body sprawled half in the clearing, half in the brush. Bike gloves covered his hands. His black leather jacket scrunched up a little on his back and showed a bit of his belt. His booted feet lay toe down, as if his feet had dug into the ground.
            I squatted and pressed two fingers alongside his neck. No pulse.

            But I had known there wouldn’t be. The bullet hole in his head said it all.



About The Author


Carole Brown has written four children’s character building books besides her debut novel, The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman.
A Genesis semifinalist, Carole loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy. She is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas.

Carole and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled across the country. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons? 

Purchase Hog Insane at:

Amazon

Books A Million


Barnes & Noble
Carole Brown is giving away a copy of Hog Insane. 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.





Friday, January 10, 2014

A Warm Welcome to Teresa Pollard

I'm happy to welcome Teresa today to our blog site. Your book has an interest premise. Tell us:
Is there a story behind your book Not Guilty?  
Yes, and it’s a pretty amazing story, but not the one you’d expect. I was sitting in church one Sunday evening listening to a sermon on an entirely different subject, when all of a sudden this entire plot came to me. I rushed home to try to get it down on paper, and wrote frantically for about three days. I had about eighty handwritten pages. I knew it wasn’t a completed novel yet, but when I showed them to my friend Candi, she gave me about twenty pages of suggestions for additions. I didn’t get the least bit angry, but told her if she had that much to say, she had to help me do it right. So we spent a year writing. Then we began to show it to people we knew. The first person I showed my copy to said, “Teresa, you don’t know this, but you have just written my story.” I was shocked. She told me the story of her attack and pregnancy, but she said the gossip and rumors in our church had hurt her as much as the original attack. She always sat a few rows behind me in church, but I didn’t really know her at all.  I think somehow the Holy Spirit had let me feel her pain that night.

The odd thing is that I’ve since had two other women, and Candi has had one, who told us almost the same thing. We’ve learned that there are about 32,000 rape pregnancies a year and of these roughly half opt to keep their babies. But the gossip and rumors of Christians can cause unnecessary pain to these women.  I think that’s why God gave me this story.   .  

What started you on your writing journey?   
I’ve always been a voracious reader.  In 1979, my friend Linda Anderson gave me a grocery bag of Harlequin Romances.   After reading several dozen of them, I gave them back and said, “Every one of these has exactly the same plot: poor girl meets rich man, they instantly fall in love but misunderstanding piles on misunderstanding until they fall into each other’s arms and kiss on page 230. I could write a better novel than these.” So she dared me to try. I wrote my first novel in 1979 and have been writing since. Not Guilty was written in 1982, but published in 2013.

What distracts you from writing the easiest?  
I guess I’m not a typical writer.  I always say it has to be a spiritual gift because I’m a writer who hates to write.  So I’m easily distracted.  I don’t write every day.  I don’t journal.  I don’t write notes.  I write when I’m so heavy with a story that I can’t not write it down.  Until I do, I feel like I’ll explode.  I know that doesn’t make much sense, but it’s true.  


What kind of books do you enjoy reading? (Book recommendations very welcome!)
As I said before, I’ll admit that I’m not actually that discriminating about what I will read as long as it’s clean. But I think I love mystery and suspense the best, again with the caveat, as long as it doesn’t spill over into horror and gore.  My favorite authors are Terry Blackstock, Dee Henderson, Bodie and Brock Thoene, Jim Rubart, and Frank Peretti.

If you were a style of music, what style would you be?
I’d have to say Southern gospel.  I used to sing in churches and at the local Rescue Mission on a regular basis. I love the Gaither’s music and most often one of their songs would be my choice to share.   

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?  
If you asked my children that, they would probably say that about everything I do is quirky.  I’ve been a clown in parades, and children’s events for school and church. I’ve climbed a rock wall on a cruise ship.  I eat my hot dogs with pickles and sauerkraut, and I’m a bubble bath and Diet Pepsi addict, so I guess it depends on your definition of quirky.

What makes you smile and/or laugh out loud?
This is a very good question for me.  For years I never smiled much.  I had crooked teeth as a child, and I never wanted to open my mouth.  Several years ago, I prayed for the Lord to teach me to smile.  I never dreamed He would teach me to smile through my tears.  When my husband left, and my daughter died, the last thing I wanted to do was smile or laugh, but I found that it was the only way to get through the heartache.  Now I’m told I laugh and smile all the time.  My Grandson CJ is the one who makes me laugh the most.  He is always up to something.

What is a favorite memory from your childhood? 
I spent most summers on the Rappahannock River with my godparents Mama Lil and Daddy Harry Holmes when I was growing up.  We went fishing and crabbing and swam every day.  I loved to swim, and I was pretty good at it, so it was the one time I felt accepted by those my age.  Those times were pretty idyllic to me.  

Are there spiritual themes you like to write about?   
Basically everything I write has a spiritual theme.  I want all my writing to glorify God and draw people to Him.  But I want to tackle the subjects that other Christian writers shy away from.  The real issues that people face every day, and that can lead them to God or to destruction have to be addressed in a godly fashion.  By closing their eyes to these issues, Christians are losing our generation to Satan.  We need to reclaim God’s dominion over all areas of our lives, not just the ones some Christians deem worthy of discussion.  

Share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you. (and why it's special)  
There are so many, but Psalm 32:7 is one of my favorites.  It says, “You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance.”  I’ve claimed this verse since I was a small child.    


When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
I have two books out already. Tokens of Promise came out in June, 2013. It’s an imagination of the love story of Tamar and Judah based on Genesis 38. My next one due out is called Not Ashamed, and it’s a sequel to Not Guilty. Charity Wright grows up and comes home from Africa to confront her biological father, but before she can, she is caught up in a murder mystery. Can she let go of her anger and prejudice, or will they blind her to the truth and cause her to fall prey to a killer?    



To buy the book, go here:

amazon   
barnesandnoble



About Teresa:
Teresa Pollard is from Richmond, Virginia, and was saved at a young age.  She has a Masters Degree in English and Creative Writing from Hollins College, and has served as a Sunday School teacher and children’s worker for most of the last forty years.  Married for forty years, she was devastated by divorce and the death of her youngest daughter, but God has blessed her with a new home and another grandson, and she now resides in Dacula, Georgia.




Connect with Teresa here:
www.teresapollardwrites.com


Teresa is giving away a copy of  Not Guilty. 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 tomorrow's post)










Happy Reading!
Caroline Brown

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Not Guilty by Teresa Pollard

Back Cover Blurb:
Rape is a Four-Letter word.

But it is one that Christians need to discuss more openly.

It’s 1974, and Carrie Shepherd, daughter of the minister at Windspree Community Church, is a college senior with plans to be a missionary in Africa.  Raped by a masked assailant, Carrie is so traumatized she tells no one until she realizes she’s pregnant.  Refusing to have an abortion, she must find the courage to face her family, her fiancĂ©, her friends, and a gossiping, angry congregation which may include her attacker.

Can Carrie find a way to cope with the secrets, silence, and shame that threaten to tear apart her family and church?



Read an Excerpt:


Chapter One

September 24, 1974

As Carrie Shepherd stepped down from the city bus, she admired a newly erected “Welcome to Windspree, Home of the Whispering Warriors” sign with stone columns and freehand-style lettering. It was surrounded by multicolored leafy branches waving as if to dry the fresh paint. She made her way past the sign and up the log steps to a footpath which laced through the woods
toward her house.

She loved her parents’ home in the suburbs. Close enough to everything to be convenient, but far enough away to keep from being too busy. The road that went up the hill to the Shepherd’s two-story stone and cedar house was the shorter of the two routes, but the footpath was less steep and much prettier. She never minded the quarter mile it added to her trip because she welcomed the opportunity to be alone with her Lord and His creation.

Ambling along the path, she barely noticed the beautiful autumn leaves; her mind drifted back two years to a Foreign Mission study on the Ivory Coast. She shuddered as an image of men with mutilated bodies practicing voodoo washed over her for a second.

No doubt, our lives will be much different in the field. But the Lord will be with us in all that we do; wherever we go. It’s so hard to understand why people would rather be used by Satan than to serve you, Lord. Give me understanding so I can reach them.

Soon after their wedding, and right after college graduation, she and Joe would be heading for the wilds of Africa as missionaries. Her thoughts turned to Joe and their wedding, and she firmly thrust aside any lingering uneasiness she felt about Satanic forces. I’m safe here and the Lord will protect us when we get to Africa. I have too many positive things to plan to dwell on the negative. She began to contemplate the details of the ‘wedding to beat all weddings.’

She could envision Joe in a white tuxedo, standing at the altar of the church, surrounded by white: white Easter lilies, antique white candles, the floor made white with the petals of dozens of white roses, and herself coming down the aisle toward him, a picture of white on white, in her Grandmother Carrie’s lace-on-satin wedding gown. In her daydream, even her father’s hair was white, though she realized nothing could ever be bad enough to turn his salt and pepper hair totally white in such a short time. She couldn’t pass up this chance to look at Joe’s picture in her wallet for the twelfth time today. She missed him terribly. As she focused on his face, she thought, I know it’s silly. It hasn’t even been a full month since he left for seminary. He’s been home every weekend, and he’s only a hundred miles away. A hundred tiny miles. But the distance felt infinite. She continued gazing dreamily at the photo. His piercing blue eyes looked back and bade her miss him all the more. Carrie loved Joe’s eyes. With a look, he could call her, correct her, or love her, and she was compelled to respond.

“Ooh,” she mused dreamily as she put her wallet back into her purse, ”If Easter is as pretty as this day, maybe we ought to have our wedding outdoors. The birds’ singing would make such a beautiful accompaniment to Andrew’s voice.“ Even as the words came out of her mouth, she suddenly realized how quiet the birds had become. She was startled when a small group of sparrows flew from a bush into higher branches of a nearby tree. A few of the birds had been so close to her she felt the air moving as they darted past. It took her a second to catch her breath. “W-well, pardon me. I didn’t mean to come so close. I wouldn’t hurt you. You d-mmph.”

As one large hand encompassed her face, another grabbed her shoulder like a vice. Uselessly, she dropped her books, kicked and tried desperately to grab above and behind herself at the head of her attacker. It was all happening so fast, her mind staggered. He threw her to the ground with the cool determination of someone driven not by malice, but by a job to be done. There was little anger evidenced in his onslaught, even as Carrie frantically grabbed for the gray knit ski mask that kept his identity hidden from her.

He calmly collected her hands and drew them into one of his and held them there as easily as a father holding back the hands of a toddler straying too near a flame. His grasp didn’t hurt her, he just possessed tremendous strength. In Carrie’s mind, he was huge. Her efforts were thwarted at every turn, as he had his way. He tore her clothes as if they were made of tissue paper. She screamed and yelled and kicked with all her might, jerking her tiny fists as if convinced she could actually free them. By now, he had already restrained her legs so that the only weapons left to her were her mind and her mouth. “Satan, I rebuke you!” she cried, using what little strength she had left. His body tensed and he breathed in spurts, like a bull preparing for the charge. Her rebuke had angered him, and he became deliberately cruel. He was relentless in the pursuit of his goal, and Carrie was helpless to do more than just cry out, “No, No! Oh, my God help me, NO!” Mercifully, she fainted, and her torment was over. Or had it just begun?




To buy the book, go here:

amazon 
barnesandnoble



About Teresa:
Teresa Pollard is from Richmond, Virginia, and was saved at a young age.  She has a Masters Degree in English and Creative Writing from Hollins College, and has served as a Sunday School teacher and children’s worker for most of the last forty years.  Married for forty years, she was devastated by divorce and the death of her youngest daughter, but God has blessed her with a new home and another grandson, and she now resides in Dacula, Georgia.




Connect with Teresa here:
www.teresapollardwrites.com


Teresa is giving away a copy of  Not Guilty. 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 tomorrow's post)










Happy Reading!
Caroline Brown

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Missouri Author James O'Shea

Welcome to the Book Loft, Jim! Is there a story behind your new release, The Linen God?

I had always known of a famous religious relic called the “Shroud of Turin” growing up, but had always thought it was a Medieval forgery. The 14’ long Jewish burial cloth bears the inexplicable image of a crucified man and despite 150,000 hours of scientific study, the source of the image has still not been determined.

A couple of years ago, at the bequest of a friend, I attended a presentation by the head of an organization who’s goal was to prove scientifically the supernatural source of the image. What I heard that night was fascinating and, on the way home in the car with my wife, “The Linen God” was born.

What distracts you from writing the easiest?

I would say social media is the biggest distraction for me. I am most effective when my laptop is NOT on-line when I’m writing. It’s too easy

What kind of books do you enjoy reading?

I enjoy most mystery/thrillers and some historical fiction.

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

The Manny character by far. He was not only obsessed with scientifically proving the Shroud of Turin was the burial cloth that covered Christ in death, but also had to deal with the his attraction to his best friend Grace during his final year of Catholic seminary. From there, his life gets even MORE complicated!

I understand you are a long time resident of Missouri. What do you like most about the area where you live and/or grew up?

St. Louis is a huge city of many great neighborhoods, so it’s easy to find the type of lifestyle that works best for you. Plus we have four distinct seasons and rarely have cold/snowy winters.

Your winter sounds better than mine. Are there spiritual themes you like to write about?  

My favorite theme is the interesting dynamic between science and faith. I believe most people see them diametrically opposed, so my writing aims to demonstrate the fact that science is no threat to faith. In fact, I’m convinced that science will ultimately prove the existence of God.

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

“Why seek ye the living among the dead?” Luke 24:5 is a metaphor for the central plot theme of “The Linen God”. To say more could be a spoiler.

How has your book been doing?

Extremely well. Although I haven’t seen any solid sales data yet, social media interest has been extremely high and reviews for “The Linen God” have been great! A very interesting thing I’ve noticed is the high level of interest amongst English-speaking people in the Middle East. I have some theories, but I’m not certain what to attribute that to.

It does sound like something that will get people talking. When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?


“The White King” is due out in 2014, and is another thriller that tackles the faith/science dynamic. The plot revolves around a radio talk show host who specializes in the paranormal, and the impact of a sudden uptick in bizarre paranormal phenomena across the world on his life and faith.

It all sounds intriguing. We'll look forward to it! Thanks for sharing.

Connect with James O'Shea at:




James O'Shea is giving away a copy of The Linen God. 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.

 


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