Sunday, September 24, 2017

WINNERS!!!

Elma(SC), is the winner of All She Left Behind by Jane Kirkpatrick.

Caryl K (TX) is the winner of The Day the Angels Fell by Shawn Smucker.

Elly (IN) is the winner of Gathering the Threads by Cindy Woodsmall.

If you won a book and you like it, please consider giving the author the courtesy of writing a review on Goodreads, Amazon.com, Christianbooks.com, Barnes and Noble, or other Internet sites. 

Also, tell your friends about the book ... and this blog. Thank you.

Congratulations
, everyone. If you won a print book, send me your mailing address:
Click the Contact Me link at the top of the blog, and send me an Email.


If you won an ebook, just let me know what email address it should be sent to.

When you contact me, please give the title and author of the book you won, so I won't have to look it up.


Remember, you have 4 weeks to claim your book.


WINNERS FOR SEPTEMBER 16

Heather (PA), is the winner of The Christmas Admirer by Laura V Hilton.

Dianna (TN) is the winner of Defiance by L R Burkard.

Jennifer M (TX) is the winner of Mercy Triumphs by Jana Kelley.

  • Janet E (FL) is the winner of Rule of Law by Randy Singer.

  • If you won a book and you like it, please consider giving the author the courtesy of writing a review on Goodreads, Amazon.com, Christianbooks.com, Barnes and Noble, or other Internet sites. 

    Also, tell your friends about the book ... and this blog. Thank you.

    Congratulations
    , everyone. If you won a print book, send me your mailing address:
    Click the Contact Me link at the top of the blog, and send me an Email.


    If you won an ebook, just let me know what email address it should be sent to.

    When you contact me, please give the title and author of the book you won, so I won't have to look it up.


    Remember, you have 4 weeks to claim your book.

    Friday, September 22, 2017

    MANY SPARROWS - Lori Benton - One Free Book

    Bio: Lori Benton was raised east of the Appalachian Mountains, surrounded by early American history going back three hundred years. Her novels transport readers to the eighteenth century, where she brings to life the Colonial and early Federal periods of American history. When she isn’t writing, reading, or researching, Lori enjoys exploring and photographing the Oregon wilderness with her husband. She is the author of Burning Sky, recipient of three Christy Awards, The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn, Christy-nominee The Wood’s Edge, and A Flight of Arrows.
    Find out more about Lori at http://loribenton.blogspot.com.

    Welcome, Lori. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
    I believe every character I write is a part of me—I’m not sure it could be otherwise—but of course some characters are more like me than others. That said, I never intentionally write “me” into any of my characters. I believe it’s a process that happens organically and I’m only aware of it as I look back on their creation.

    What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
    Well, I guess quirky is in the eye of the beholder… or committer! Some might call taking your bow out into the mountains to target practice on the beer and soda cans hunters leave scattered around in the fall a quirky thing. I think it’s perfectly normal!

    When did you first discover you were a writer?
    When I was about nine years old. My best friend wrote a story and showed it to me. I was an avid reader, but it had never crossed my mind to write a story myself. It seemed like something too fun to pass up, so I wrote one too. I’ve been writing, more or less ever since.

    Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
    Wow, it’s pretty wide. I’ll read Christian fiction of nearly every genre, mysteries, nonfiction of nearly every type, historical fiction, YA dystopian, and time-travel stories, just to name the genres off the top of my head. I’m sure there’s more. And I love audio books!

    How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
    By getting away from it all for personal retreats to seek the Lord. There really is no other way. If I’m near the computer then the work is always calling to me.

    How do you choose your characters’ names?
    It varies. Sometimes they come with their names attached and I have no idea where they got them! Other times I search and search and it takes trial and error. I read old ship manifests, delve into my family tree (it goes back to the 1600s in this country alone), watch the credits on movies filmed in the country where my character hails from, the names of actors, producers, directors, writers on TV shows as they are coming on. I have my antennae up all the time, waiting for the right name to come along.

    What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
    Signing my first book contract after 20 years of working toward that goal.

    If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
    Perhaps a lion. They get to sleep a lot, and they have nice hair.

    What is your favorite food?
    Not sure I have a favorite. I seem to make tacos a lot for dinner though!

    What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
    Writing concisely. I learned how to deal with it (not overcome it, I still do it) after a writer friend took one of my bloated, over-written manuscripts in hand and slashed it to bits with her digital red pen. When I saw what she felt could be cut and realized I wasn’t really losing anything vital to the story by its omission, I took it even further and reduced a nearly 400,000 word manuscript to about 125,000 words, without losing more than a scene or two. Yes, I do mean 400K. I’m not kidding when I said I overwrite my first drafts. I still do. Just not that badly.

    Tell us about the featured book.
    Many Sparrows (WaterBrook Multnomah August 2017)
    When settler Clare Inglesby is widowed on a mountain crossing and her young son, Jacob, captured by Shawnees, she’ll do everything in her power to get him back, including cross the Ohio River and march straight into the presence of her enemies deep in Indian country. But not alone. Frontiersman and adopted Shawnee, Jeremiah Ring, promises to guide Clare through the wilderness and help her recover Jacob. Once they reach the Shawnees and discover Jeremiah’s adoptive sister, Rain Crow, has taken custody of Jacob—renaming him Many Sparrows—keeping his promise becomes far more complicated, the consequences more wrenching, than anyone could have foreseen, and Clare faces her greatest challenge. Can she be still and let God fight this battle for her?

    Sounds really interesting. Please give us the first page of the book.
    May 1, 1774
    Ohio River near Yellow Creek
    Jeremiah Ring had witnessed death as often as the next man on the Allegheny frontier, but in all his thirty years he had encountered no deaths more dismaying than those confronting him now.

    The dead had been laid on the wet spring earth near Joshua Baker’s tavern and trading post, made as decent as such desecrated bodies could be. Now the living moved among them as men whose joints had aged a score of years, tongues held captive by grief and outrage. Jeremiah’s friend, the Mingo, Logan, wept in silence beside the body of a young woman, his sister Koonay.

    Jeremiah felt his gorge rise as it had at first sight of Koonay. Someone had draped a blanket over her after cutting her down from the tree in which her body was found hanging, but they’d all seen what was done to her. Koonay had been heavy with her second child, but not even the unborn had escaped this slaughter. No one had yet found her firstborn, a daughter, two years old, though they knew she’d been with her mother in one of the canoes that crossed the Ohio River to Baker’s post, a thing done in friendship many times before.

    It wasn’t only Koonay whom Logan grieved. Jeremiah choked back his own sorrow, watching the man absorb the slaughter of nearly all the blood kin he’d had in this world—his older brother, his mother, his nephew, his sister, her unborn child. The few warriors who’d accompanied them, slain along with his kin, had been Logan’s friends.


    How can readers find you on the Internet?

    Readers, here are links to the book.
    Many Sparrows - Christianbook.com
    Many Sparrows: A Novel - Amazon
    Many Sparrows: A Novel - Kindle

    Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. You must follow these instructions to be in the drawing. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory or country if outside North America. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

    Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

    The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

    If you’re reading this on Goodreads, Google+, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link:

    Thursday, September 21, 2017

    ENCHANTED ISLE - Melanie Dobson - One Free Book

    Welcome back, Melanie. Why did you become an author?
    I’ve enjoyed dreaming up story ideas and keeping a journal since I was a child.

    When I was nine, I typed out my “autobiography” (it was only a few paragraphs J) and eventually went to college for journalism. After a few years working in public relations, I felt as if God was prompting me to pursue my dream to write fiction. It took seven years—and multiple manuscripts—before my first novel was published. I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue writing down the ideas that spark in my mind and heart.

    If you weren’t an author, what would be your dream job?
    Probably an archeologist or history professor. A job where I’m continually learning new things and visiting new places.

    If you could have lived at another time in history, what would it be and why?
    I don’t think I would want to live during another time, but my daughter is planning to invent a time travel machine when she grows up. I’m planning to borrow it and travel back to the time of Christ so I can sit at His feet and learn. Then I’ll journey forward through the centuries, stopping along the way to meet a long list of people and experience firsthand their stories of sacrifice, courage, and adventure.

    That sounds like the beginning of a novel to me. What place in the United States have you not visited that you would like to?
    One of my dreams has always been to explore Montana! Our family just got back from a week kayaking, hiking, horseback riding, and swimming in Glacier National Park. It was an amazing experience.

    How about a foreign country you hope to visit?
    I’ve always wanted to visit New Zealand. About fifteen years ago, my husband accepted a job there, north of Auckland, and we shipped over our things. Right before we left, we received a phone call that the company’s contract fell through so our things came back via boat, and Jon took a job in Berlin, Germany instead. One day we’ll go!

    I’ve always wanted to go to Australia and New Zealand. What lesson has the Lord taught you recently?
    1 Chronicles 28 says: “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged by the size of the task, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” I’ve been so encouraged by this verse recently as the Lord has been showing me that if I am faithful to do the work that He’s given me to the best of my ability, I don’t have to be anxious or discouraged at the sometimes seemingly overwhelming size of these writing or editing tasks.

    Tell us about the featured book.
    Enchanted Isle is a historical mystery and love story inspired by an amusement park that I loved as a child. Sadly this park is now abandoned but the wonder and beauty of it is still very much alive in my mind.

    As I began crafting this story, I visited England’s Lake District, near the border of Scotland, and I quickly realized that this magical, rugged land of lakes and fells, legends and lore, would be the perfect location for Enchanted Isle. And so I began to build my park on an island there, each ride inspired by the legends and beauty of the sea.

    The story begins in the spring of 1958 as Jenny Winter embarks on a two-month adventure to a quaint village in the Lake District. Adrian Kemp, a handsome and enigmatic local, makes the sightseeing even more beguiling—and he invites Jenny into one of the area’s most enduring legends.

    When Adrian shows Jenny his late father’s abandoned dream, a deserted island amusement park, she glimpses a kindred spirit in this reckless, haunted young man. Yet as she opens her heart to Adrian, the two stumble into a labyrinth of mystery leading back a generation to an unforgettable romance and an unsolved murder that still casts a shadow over the lakes. As long-held secrets come to light, it’s left to Jenny and Adrian to put the past to rest and restore a lost dream.

    I just finished reading the book last week. Please give us the first page of the book for my blog readers.
    August 1935, Lakeland, England
    Gilbert Kemp whistled as he trekked down the steep hill to Windermere, whistled as he circled the water’s edge toward the boathouse. Not that he was happy about retrieving his older brother from the park tonight— Simon should have been home hours ago—but earlier this evening, Liz had said yes. Yes, she would marry him and stay here in this district of lakes. Yes, she loved him, just as he loved her.

    The thought of Liz leaving for America had completely wrecked him, but now, with a simple question, everything had changed. They would be married in the spring, along these daffodil-spiked banks of this lake.

    A sound—the trill of a tawny owl—echoed through the beech trees along the bank. He glanced across the sparks of starlight on Windermere’s surface, toward the island where Simon Kemp and Curtis Sloan had sparked their own version of magic. An amusement park that thrived in Great Britain as the economy struggled to recover from its depression.

    Most of the rides were hidden back in the trees, but he could see the light from the Torrid Typhoon, a wooden roller coaster that peaked above the forest and then plunged down toward the water, the cars surfing through the waves of trees.

    Tonight the park had closed for the season, most of the summer visitors returning home after their holiday, but his brother was still on the island. Maria, Simon’s wife, was worried and for good reason. Simon’s behavior had been odd the past month, even for an eccentric man. His park was making money, hand over fist it seemed, but paranoia had begun to plague him. Several nights ago, he’d even told Maria that Curtis was stealing from them.

    Tomorrow, he’d take Simon to a doctor over in Kendal. The man, he suspected, would tell his brother to hibernate during the winter season. Then Simon would return to his typical eccentric self when he and Curtis reopened their park next spring.

    How can readers find you on the Internet?
    I love to connect with readers! The best places to find me online are at on my website (www.melaniedobson.com) or on my Facebook author page (www.facebook.com/MelanieDobsonFiction/).

    Thank you, Melanie, for sharing this book with me and my readers. I loved reading it. The well-defined characters with different personalities and quirks really interested me. The setting shone through the happenings, giving me a feeling that I was there in the Lakes District, too. And I always love a romance and a mystery in the book. With this one we had a few bonuses.

    Readers, here are links to the book.
    Enchanted Isle - Christianbook.com
    Enchanted Isle - Amazon
    Enchanted Isle - Kindle
    Enchanted Isle - Audio Book

    Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. You must follow these instructions to be in the drawing. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory or country if outside North America. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

    Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

    The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

    If you’re reading this on Goodreads, Google+, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link:

    Tuesday, September 19, 2017

    RESCUED HEARTS - Hope Dougherty - One Free Book

    Bio: Hope holds a Master’s degree and taught at East Carolina University and York Technical College. Her novels include Irish Encounter and Mars…With Venus Rising. A member of ACFW, RWA, SinC, she writes for SeriousWriter.com. Residing in North Carolina, she and her husband enjoy visits with their daughters and twin sons.

    Welcome back, Hope. God has really been moving in your writing life. What do you see on the horizon?
    I’m not sure about specifics in the future, but I’ll share some points from my prayer journal. I’m praying for courage to be the writer God called me to be. I’m also praying to use my knowledge, history, and expertise for His glory and better stories.

    Tell us a little about your family.
    Thank you! My husband and I just celebrated our twenty-ninth wedding anniversary. We have four children: Anna is pursuing her dream to be a fashion designer in New York City; Hattie just earned a Master’s degree in Elementary Education with a STEM emphasis and teaches fourth grade; our twin sons, Lane and Quinn, just commissioned as second lieutenants in the U.S. Army after graduating from UNC-Chapel Hill and West Point.

    Has your writing changed your reading habits? If so, how?
    Because I write romance, I’m reading more in that genre than I have since high school. I’m also trying to read more writing craft books.

    What are you working on right now?
    I have a rough draft of a sweet romance set in Charlotte, North Carolina. One of the minor characters in Rescued Hearts makes another appearance in the new story.

    What outside interests do you have?
    I love sending and receiving real mail, traveling, cooking, playing the piano, and crocheting. I volunteer for several community groups and church committees. I love watching the Pittsburgh Steelers win and listening to live music.

    How do you choose your settings for each book?
    The stories usually choose the setting. Irish Encounter, for example, came from a daydream I had about Ireland, but with Mars…With Venus Rising, I specifically chose Mars, Pennsylvania, a United States setting after the international location in Irish Encounter. I chose Mars then began thinking about quirky vignettes that matched the eccentric little town.

    Rescued Hearts came to me during a bike ride near my house. Questions popped into my mind: What would happen if a bike rider saw an abandoned house? What if she noticed a kitten tangled in a vine? What if, while she tried to free it, a man dragged her inside the house? Those questions wouldn’t leave me alone until I began writing the answers.

    If you could spend an evening with one historical person, who would it be and why?
    Interesting question. I’m a history person, so it’s hard to choose. But wouldn’t a conversation with Corrie Ten Boom be fascinating? She faced horrible tragedy and terror and suffering with such joy. I would love just to soak up her wisdom. 

    That would be amazing. What is the one thing you wish you had known before you started writing novels?
    I wish I’d been more prepared for the marketing side of writing. I’m not a business-minded person.

    What new lesson is the Lord teaching you right now?
    He’s teaching me to embrace things that might not be my cup of tea. This empty nest chapter is not one to which I’ve been looking forward.  Granted, empty-nesting has perks, but I enjoy my children and love when we’re all together.

    Marketing is a dreaded aspect of the writing business for me. I enjoy connecting with readers and speaking about the stories, but I don’t like asking for opportunities or asking for Amazon reviews. In fact, I just shuddered.

    What are the three best things you can tell other authors to do to be successful?
    The most important thing is pray for the Lord’s guidance. Read in the genre in which you’re writing and read writing craft books also. Write every day even if the words end up in the delete basket.

    Tell us about the featured book.
    Rescued Hearts
    is a Romantic Suspense book. It’s set in North Carolina and tells the story of Mary Wade Kimball who innocently stumbles into a criminal hideout when she’s riding her bike one afternoon. Brett Daniels is the undercover deputy who jeopardizes his mission to rescue her.

    Please give us the first page of the book.
    The air changed, rustling a cool breeze that ruffled wisps of hair escaping from under Mary Wade Kimball’s bike helmet. She relished the drop in temperature as she detoured from the paved road onto a sandy path. Enjoying fresh air and nature was the perfect antidote to the four-hour drive from Charlotte in her little Honda.

    She smiled to herself. The quick bike ride should smooth any remaining cricks her time in the spa chair had failed to erase. Glancing at the pedals, she wiggled her toes, tipped with a new hot pink color, Feelin’ Cheeky.

    Thank you, Agnes, for the pedicure. Just what I needed today.

    Clouds formed on the horizon to her right. “I see you, clouds. I’ll be back to Agnes’ in a few minutes. Plenty of time before the storm.”

    A hurricane churned several miles off the coast, but forecasters warned that although the projected path fell safely north of the local area, the weather could be affected with wind and rain as soon as tonight or tomorrow morning. The cooler temperatures signaled stormy weather might arrive sooner rather than later.

    Pushing the pedals, she slogged the wheels through the sand, feeling a burn in her thighs. A puff of air tainted by a nearby cow pasture assaulted her nose. She pedaled harder to leave the sharp odor behind and noticed an abandoned farmhouse nestled into the edge of trees at the end of an overgrown path.

    A movement caught her eye.

    Tangled in a honeysuckle vine threading through a hydrangea bush mewed a tuxedo kitten. Prickles on the back of her neck rose, similar to when a stranger had held open the grocery store door for her earlier in the afternoon. She’d smiled and thanked him, but he remained silent, assessing her with the most unusual eyes she’d ever seen.

    Although her memory colored them silver, they must have been light blue. Right? A shiver shimmied up her spine at the recollection. Who was he? Agnes had never mentioned a newcomer in town, and if anybody would know, Agnes would.

    Someone like that guy sticks in a mind. A few locks of sandy brown hair hooked behind his ears. An elastic captured the rest in a three- or four-inch ponytail. In his worn, wrinkled clothes, he stood well over six feet tall with the girth of a wide receiver. The beginnings of a scruffy beard, overtaking what was once a goatee, covered his face. Formidable. Unyielding. No-nonsense.
    Maybe a little scary.

    How can readers find you on the Internet?

    Thank you, Hope, for sharing this new book with us. I love to read romantic suspense novels.

    Readers, here are links to the book.
    Rescued Hearts - Paperback
    Rescued Hearts - Kindle

    Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. You must follow these instructions to be in the drawing. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory or country if outside North America. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

    Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

    The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

    If you’re reading this on Goodreads, Google+, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link:

    Monday, September 18, 2017

    THESE HEALING HILLS - Ann H Gabhart - One Free Book

    Bio: Ann H. Gabhart is the bestselling author of several Shaker novels—The Outsider, The Believer, The Seeker, The Blessed, and The Gifted—as well as Angel Sister, Small Town Girl, Love Comes Home, Words Spoken True, and The Heart of Hollyhill series. She lives with her husband a mile from where she was born in rural Kentucky. Learn more at www.annhgabhart.com .

    About the Book: Packed with history, These Healing Hills by bestselling author Ann H. Gabhart introduces readers to the fascinating and difficult life of frontier nursing.

    When the soldier Francine Howard planned to marry after WWII writes to tell her he is in love with a woman in England, Francine is devastated and in need of a change. She seeks a fresh start in the Appalachian Mountains, training to be a nurse midwife for the Frontier Nursing Services.

    It is in these mountains that Francine crosses paths with Ben Locke, a soldier still very much suffering from the horrors of war. With his future shrouded in as much mist as his beloved mountains, he’s at a loss when it comes to envisioning what’s next for his life.

    While Francine and Ben find they are from completely different worlds and possess very different values, they both learn that things don’t always go the way we plan. Ann H. Gabhart invites readers to witness the healing power of love and step forward to tantalizing new possibilities.

    Welcome, Ann. Tell us a little about These Healing Hills.
    Francine Howard’s life is turned upside down when the soldier she planned to marry after World War II writes to say he’s fallen in love with a woman in England. She needs a new direction. Already a nurse, she jumps at the chance to train as a midwife in the Frontier Nursing Service in the Appalachian Mountains. The recruiter promised Francine her own horse and dog along with adventure and the chance to serve people in need of health care. Life in the mountains is harder than Francine ever imagined, but at the same time the mountain views buoy her spirit, and the mountain people touch her heart.  

    Ben Locke has spent many years in the army longing to once more breathe the mountain air of his home. At the same time, he knows a man has few opportunities in the mountains other than subsistence farming or coal mining. While neither appeals to him, he still wants to feel the mountains beneath his feet again. And then he meets Francine, someone from a completely different background, and things get even more complicated for him.

    Ben and Francine must both find healing in the mountains as they move toward the future.

    Why did you decide to write about the Frontier Nursing Service?
    While poking about for a new idea for a story, I happened upon a book about Mary Breckinridge, the founder of the Frontier Nursing Service. She was a woman with a vision. After losing her two children at young ages, she wanted to make a difference in the health of mothers and children. So after much training and research on the best place for her health initiative, she established the Frontier Nursing Service in the Kentucky Appalachian Mountains where very little medical care was available in 1925. At first, all the midwives were from England due to no midwife schools in America, but when WW II broke out in Europe, the English midwives felt compelled to return home to help with the war effort. So Breckinridge started her own Frontier Nursing School in the mountain town of Hyden, Kentucky, to train new midwives. She had always actively sought contributions to fund the Frontier Nursing Service, but now she and others also began recruiting applicants to the school. The more I read about the women, who came to the program from easier lifestyles but were enchanted by the mountains, the more I wanted to let my character be one of these women. And then I liked getting to know the mountain people through my research. Great history, mountain settings, and strong characters all made a great jumping off place for me to start writing this story.

    How did you so vividly capture the Appalachian area? Did you visit?
    I’m a lifelong Kentuckian and while I don’t live in the Appalachian area, I’m very familiar with that part of Kentucky. I have often visited the state parks in the mountains and have read many stories set in Appalachia. I did visit Wendover, Mary Breckinridge’s home in the mountains that was designated a National Historical Landmark in 1991. It’s a bed and breakfast now where people can visit and learn more about the history of the Frontier Nursing Service and the beauty of the mountains. The Frontier Nursing School is still actively training students in nearby Hyden, Kentucky. A book by James Still, The Wolfpen Notebooks, that I bought at a book fair many years ago was very useful in helping me capture a little of the mountain speak. It also helps that I grew up on a farm, and although it wasn’t in the mountains, farm folks everywhere have some similar ways and a respect and love for the land.

    What was the most interesting thing you learned while doing research for this book?
    The firsthand experiences of the nurse/midwives as they treated their patients were eye-opening for me. I admired their dedication in fording flooded rivers and riding horses along icy trails and through snowstorms—or whatever obstacles nature threw at them—in order to reach the homes of their patients. I also liked the family feel of the Nursing Service and how the nurses respected the mountain people in spite of their different ways. Then it was inspiring to think about the difference one determined woman with a vision made in the lives of so many. From the FNS beginnings in 1925 to 1975, the FNS nurse/midwives recorded delivering 17,053 babies with only 11 maternal deaths. That is an amazing statistic in an area that Mrs. Breckinridge chose for her service because of the high childbirth mortality rates.  

    Do you relate to Francine in any way?
    I’m certainly no nurse. I do love a mountain vista, and Francine fell in love with the mountains too. I never think I base my characters on me in any way. My characters come to my stories as separate people with stories to share. That said, I’m sure my personality or feelings do sneak into my characters from time to time. Oh, and with Francine, there is how she loves her dog, Sarge. I’ve loved dogs ever since I begged my parents to let me have a dog when I was eight or nine.

    What lesson(s) do you hope readers will take away from reading your book?
    I don’t set out to write a story full of lessons. I write to share stories with readers. If they are introduced to interesting history or fascinating places or perhaps new ways to think or feel, that’s a bonus. I hope following along the story trail with my characters will encourage them in their own walks through life. Perhaps in this story, These Healing Hills, a reader might understand how the Lord continues to work in our lives even when things aren’t going the way we think they should. As Francine’s grandmother tells her, where one door closes another opens. Or if not a door, a window somewhere. Sometimes blessings await us on the far side of disappointments. And then I want readers to feel that rhythm of nature Granny Em tries to get Francine to notice in the mountains.

    In what way would you say your faith is worked into the book?
    My faith is an integral part of my life and my worldview. Not that I don’t stumble at times and have questions. Some of my characters are that way too with a sure belief even when they are challenged by life happenings. Other characters are exploring what they believe and either finding faith or strengthening their wavering faith. We are all on different life paths. I feel blessed when I’m writing and a bit of a Bible verse or a Bible story comes to mind that perfectly fits my character’s situation. I try not to be preachy in my stories, but I do like weaving faith threads through the story in a way that seems a natural part of the characters’ lives.

    What are you working on next?
    Right now I am working on another historical novel based on a true story about the 1833 cholera epidemic in Springfield, Kentucky. At that time, most people thought cholera was caused by bad air, and so when an epidemic broke out those who had the resources to do so would desert the area. George Sansbury, a hotel owner, was one of the citizens anxious to leave town when the first cholera death was reported in Springfield. He gave his slave, Louis, the keys to the hotel and left him in charge. Louis, who was unaffected by cholera, buried the fifty-five victims of the disease and also took care of some who were sick. Move forward to 1854 when George Sansbury died and his property, including his slaves, was to be sold. The people of Springfield raised money to buy Louis Sansbury’s freedom and set him up in a blacksmith shop.

    With that true seed of an idea, my story is the fictional account of how that might have happened. When she was seven, Adria Starr lost her family to cholera, but she has never forgotten how Louis helped her and found her a home with the local schoolteacher, Ruth Harmon, whose husband died from cholera. Now these many years later, Adria must make a decision about her future. Will she marry her childhood sweetheart and stay in Springfield or find adventure and purpose in other places? Ruth has never remarried but when a new preacher, Will Robertson, comes to their church, she feels new stirrings of love. Will lost his wife to childbirth fever and is going through a spiritual crisis even as he continues to lead the church and tries to take care of his young daughter. Their campaign to free Louis changes all their lives. 

    How can readers connect with you?
    Readers can contact me or find out more about my books and about me by visiting www.annhgabhart.com. That’s also where to find links to my blogs, One Writer’s Journal and the Heart of Hollyhill blog. Interested readers can sign up for my newsletters at my website too. Every newsletter has a giveaway chance, and I also do frequent book giveaways on my blog. I enjoy interacting with readers on my Facebook page, www.facebook.com/anngabhart, where I do weekly posts like the popular “Sunday morning coming down,” Shaker Wednesday with tidbits of Shaker history and photos, and the fun Friday smiles. I’m on Twitter @AnnHGabhart. I have book research boards and more at Pinterest, user name AnnHGabhart. So feel free to drop by any of those places and see what’s going on.

    Thank you, Ann, for sharing this new book with my readers and me. I know they’ll want to read it as much as I do.

    Readers, here are links to the book.
    These Healing Hills - Christianbook.com
    These Healing Hills - Amazon.com
    These Healing Hills - Kindle

    Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. You must follow these instructions to be in the drawing. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory or country if outside North America. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

    Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

    The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

    If you’re reading this on Goodreads, Google+, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link:

    Friday, September 15, 2017

    GATHERING THE THREADS - CINDY WOODSMALL - One Free Book

    Bio: Cindy Woodsmall is the New York Times and CBA best-selling author of nineteen works of fiction and non-fiction with more than a million copies sold. Her connection with the Amish community has been featured in national media outlets such as ABC's Nightline, the Wall Street Journal, and a National Geographic documentary on Amish life. Cindy and her husband reside near the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains.
    Find out more about Cindy at http://www.cindywoodsmall. com.

    Welcome back, Cindy, so glad to have you on my blog again. God has really been moving in your writing life. What do you see on the horizon?
    My heart was fully vested in Amish stories for the last fifteen years, in great part due to the seeds planted because of my friendship with a Plain Mennonite friend during childhood and into my teen years. But there are other facets of my heart that I haven’t searched or given freedom to rise to the surface and share its creativity. That’s what I see on the horizon, telling contemporary “Englisch” stories. I have my first such story coming out this October, but I think that’s the surface of a very deep ocean. Time will tell.

    Tell us a little about your family.
    My husband of forty years and I are now empty nesters. We have two married sons who live close by, and we have five grandchildren we love having time with. We also have a third son, the youngest of the siblings. He’s unmarried son and lives in New York. All three were homeschooled, the older two until ninth grade and the youngest until third grade. I love that we live in a country that allows us to educate our children as we see fit, and that as a parent we can choose when it’s in their best interest to enter a public or private school system. Each has a college degree—bachelors or doctorate. Two are in the healthcare field and one is in the arts. I love my daughters-in-law more than I could have imagined! And I’m writing novels with my daughter-in-law Erin. It gets crazy around here at times, but I’m so very grateful and caught-off-guard by how much my daughters-in-law have opened their hearts and lives to me.

    Has your writing changed your reading habits? If so, how?
    I think writing has changed my reading habits a lot. I used to read whatever book cover caught my attention, and sometimes I thoroughly enjoyed the book and sometimes I didn’t. Before I started writing, I couldn’t really understand what the problem was with the books I wasn’t enjoying. I thought it was me, and I’d stick with the book through the whole story, and close it thinking—hmm, what was wrong with me that I didn’t enjoy that? Now I know, it wasn’t me. It was the writing. Some authors put their heart, skill, and time into writing a book, and others slap it on paper and call it a day. I’m quick to know which is which nowadays, and I’ll set a book aside. I consider it a huge honor when readers give me the most valuable part of their life—time. I do all I can to make sure I’ve given them a story that is worthy of that precious gift of time.

    What are you working on right now?
    I’m writing on a story called Soft Dusks and Noonday Fire. It’s set in my home state of Georgia in the Golden Isles, which is a small set of islands off the Georgia Coast. It’s a contemporary, non-Amish story that means so much to me. Its relationships, humor, and heartache feels a bit like Steel Magnolias and Fried Green Tomatoes.

    How do you choose your settings for each book?
    I feel as if the settings choose me. Most of my Amish stories have settings in the Maryland and Pennsylvania areas where I’ve lived or stayed with Old Order Amish friends. St. Simons Island, in the Golden Isles, is in my home state, where my daughter-in-law Erin spent her summers because her mom grew up there, so as she talked about it or we visited the area over the years, it then called to me.

    If you could spend an evening with one historical person, who would it be and why?
    Martin Luther King Jr.! Oh, what a fascinating, eye-opening conversation that would be. I’d be a sponge, seeing things impossible to grasp through media and books. He understood the depth of injustice against an entire race. He understood the laws set against his race, and yet he rallied black and white people behind him to fight a culture steeped in acceptance, complicity, and apathy. There were outliers and exceptions, but he knew that for the most part, he was rallying a movement against the most powerful and wealthy people in the most powerful and wealthy country. Wow.

    What is the one thing you wish you had known before you started writing novels?
    Writing is done in solitary. Our writing space is often quiet for long periods, and I like that part, but I wish I’d understood that even when a work space looks and sounds peaceful, there is a tremendous amount of pressure being applied, constantly. I blamed myself for feeling lots of stress, as if—because the house was quiet and the workload is done in silence all feelings of pressure were of my own making. It wasn’t. I can see that now, and because I see it, I can better prepare myself mentally and emotionally.

    What new lessons is the Lord teaching you right now?
    Although I can keep everything in my outer world running smoothly, my emotions and focus tend to scatter easily. I equate my emotions and focus to someone walking through fallen leaves in autumn—they scatter in every direction. Like many families, my family is feeling the pressure on all sides—illness, extra family responsibilities, career workload, etc. I’m learning how to keep my brain focused no matter where my emotions are.

    What is a piece of advice you can tell other authors to do to be successful?
    Don’t be afraid of failure. When we’re faithful to a hard thing, we are teaching others that there is no such thing as failure. Faithfulness is its own success. Someone is watching you and learning that it’s okay to pour your heart and soul into something, whether it bears the desired fruit or a different kind of fruit.

    Tell us about the featured book.
    Finally back in the Old Order Amish world she loves, will Ariana’s new perspectives draw her family closer together—or completely rip them apart?

    After months away in the Englisch world, Ariana Brenneman is overjoyed to be in the Old Order Amish home where she was raised. Yet her excitement is mixed with an unexpected apprehension as she reconciles all she’s learned from her biological parents with the uncompromising teachings of her Plain community. Although her childhood friend, ex-Amish Quill Schlabach, hopes to help her navigate her new role amongst her people, Ariana’s Daed doesn’t understand why his sweet daughter is suddenly questioning his authority. What will happen if she sows seeds of unrest and rebellion in the entire family?

    Meanwhile, Skylar Nash has finally found her place among the large Brenneman family, but Ariana’s arrival threatens to unravel Skylar’s new identity—and her sobriety. Both Ariana and Skylar must discover the true cords that bind a family and community together and grasp tight the One who holds their authentic identities close to His heart.

    Please give us the first page of the book.
    Summer Grove, Pennsylvannia
    Ariana’s head roared with voices, those in the kitchen around her and others from far away, even from hundreds of years in the past. Voices of real people she’d talked to or had heard preach or teach, as well as the voices from the many books Nicholas had asked her to read. The voices grouped in clans, their murmurings growing fervent, in­sisting precisely what she needed to believe, who she needed to be, and why she needed to march to the beat of their drum.

    Ariana needed to know herself well enough to pick a tribe she agreed with and shut down the rest with her own reasoning. But she couldn’t parse what she believed, and they hounded without mercy.

    Marred flatware jangled endlessly as her nine siblings, five of her four­teen nieces and nephews, her Mamm and Daed, and Skylar sat around the table in rickety chairs. The mid-January wind pushed against the house and seemed to come right through the walls.

    An old galvanized bucket sat in the sink because the water pipe to the kitchen was broken again. If the pipes to the sink in the mudroom hadn’t been working, getting breakfast on the table would’ve been a lot more work.

    Rickety furniture, cold winds seeping in, and broken pipes didn’t bother her. Money and work could easily fix those things. What nagged at her was much deeper. She was finally in the very home she’d pined for while away, and yet only a fragment of herself seemed to be here.

    Interesting. How can readers find you on the Internet?

    Thank you, Cindy, for sharing this new book with us. I’m so glad my copy is at the top of my to-be-read pile on the table.

    Readers, here are links to the book.
    Gathering the Threads - Christianbook.com
    Gathering the Threads: A Novel (The Amish of Summer Grove) - Amazon paperback
    Gathering the Threads (The Amish of Summer Grove) - Amazon large print hardback
    Gathering the Threads: A Novel (The Amish of Summer Grove) - Kindle
    Gathering the Threads - Audio book

    Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. You must follow these instructions to be in the drawing. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory or country if outside North America. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

    Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

    The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

    If you’re reading this on Goodreads, Google+, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link:

    Wednesday, September 13, 2017

    THE DAY THE ANGELS FELL - Shawn Smucker - One Free Book

    Bio: Shawn Smucker lives with his wife and six children in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The Day the Angels Fell is his first novel. You can find him online at www.shawnsmucker.com, where you can also sign up for his newsletter.

    He will capture readers’ imaginations with this masterfully written debut novel that combines elements of mystery and magical realism.

    It was the summer of storms, strays, and strangers. The summer that lightning struck the big oak tree in the front yard. The summer his mother died in a tragic accident.

    Twelve-year-old Samuel Chambers would do anything to turn back time. Prompted by three strange carnival fortune-tellers and the surfacing of his mysterious and reclusive neighbor, Samuel begins his search for the Tree of Life—the only thing that could possibly bring his mother back. His quest to defeat death entangles him and his best friend, Abra, in an ancient conflict and forces Samuel to grapple with an unwelcome question: could it be possible that death is a gift?

    Haunting and hypnotic, The Day the Angels Fell is a story that explores the difficult questions of life in a voice that is fresh, friendly, and unafraid. With this powerful novel, Shawn Smucker has carved out a spot for himself in the tradition of authors Madeleine L’Engle and Lois Lowry.

    Tell us a little about The Day the Angels Fell. Where did you get your inspiration to write this story?
    I was cowriting a memoir with a man in Istanbul, Turkey, who was dying of cancer. The goal was to finish the first draft before he passed away, so it was an intense three weeks, and we spent a lot of time together. For the first time in my life, I was face-to-face with mortality—he was forty-nine years old, a husband, a father of two children—and I wondered how I would feel if that was me, preparing to die.

    When I got home from the trip I started talking to my children about what kind of story they would like, and together we came up with the basic structure for The Day the Angels Fell. As I began to write the book, I realized that doing so was my way of working through this fear of death I had taken on. And writing it really helped me come to grips with my own mortality.

    Which character is your favorite and why?
    My favorite character is Abra. She’s a strong, determined girl, fiercely loyal, courageous in the face of death. In other words, she’s who I would like to be. I also like the old Samuel Chambers because I have a feeling he’s very much how I will be when I’m an old man—a little grumpy, a little bit of a hermit, but mostly a soft, sentimental type.

    How did you choose the setting for your novel?
    The setting is the farm where I lived for five years, really the earliest place I can remember. It’s always had mythic attributes to it, at least in my mind—there was the farm with its shadows and huge barns and open spaces; there was the church across the street and the creek behind it; there was the cemetery and the road that went off into the country. This setting has always meant so much to me.

    Would you classify your book more as a mystery or as a fantasy?
    I don’t think of it as a fantasy, although there are certainly fantastical elements. What I wanted to do was write a story that an old man looking back on fifty or sixty years later might find hard to believe, which is what’s happening here. I guess I’d say more mystery, although not in the classic whodunit sense. The mystery is Samuel and Abra trying to find out more about the mystery of death, which is, I think, a mystery we are all very concerned about.

    Did you write The Day the Angels Fell for pure enjoyment, or is there some lesson you hope readers will take away from reading your book?
    I’d like young readers, any reader, to think more about their own death, to think about why it’s scary for many of us. Our culture does everything it can to keep death at arm’s length, especially with children. I’d like us collectively to consider what death actually is, what it might lead to, what its greater purpose could be.

    In what way would you say your faith is worked into the book?
    My personal faith is strongly rooted in hope. I think what this book really is, at its core, is me trying to find hope even in the darkest edges of life.

    Who is the primary audience for The Day the Angels Fell?
    The primary audience would be people who enjoy whimsical tales about childhood that are a bit melancholy, a bit nostalgic. Also, people who would like to explore the idea of death being a part of life.

    What are you working on next?
    I’m working on a lot of things! I co-write and ghostwrite nonfiction for individuals and publishing houses, so there’s always something going on there. We’re currently working on the edits for the sequel to The Day the Angels Fell. And I’m exploring some ideas for my third novel, which will be for the general market.

    Thank you, Shawn, for sharing this new book with my readers and me.

    Readers, here are links to the book. 
    The Day the Angels Fell - Christianbook.com
    The Day the Angels Fell - Amazon
    The Day the Angels Fell - Kindle
    The Day the Angels Fell - Audio book

    Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. You must follow these instructions to be in the drawing. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory or country if outside North America. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

    Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

    The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

    If you’re reading this on Goodreads, Google+, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link: