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.

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Monday, September 11, 2017

ALL SHE LEFT BEHIND - Jane Kirkpatrick - One Free Book

 Bio: Jane Kirkpatrick is the New York Times and CBA bestselling author of more than thirty books, including A Light in the Wilderness, The Memory Weaver, This Road We Traveled, and A Sweetness to the Soul, which won the prestigious Wrangler Award from the Western Heritage Center. Her works have been finalists for the Christy Award, Spur Award, Oregon Book Award, and Reader’s Choice awards, and have won the WILLA Literary Award, USABestBooks, the Carol Award for Historical Fiction, and the 2016 Will Rogers Medallion Award. Jane lives in Central Oregon with her husband, Jerry. Learn more at www.jkbooks.com .

Based on true events, award-winning author Jane Kirkpatrick uses engaging storytelling to relay the intriguing account of Jennie Pickett, a young woman who dreams of practicing medicine in Oregon. Already well-versed in the natural healing properties of herbs and oils, Jennie longs to become a doctor but the Oregon frontier of the 1870s doesn’t approve of women attending medical school.

To support herself and her son, Jennie cares for an elderly woman using skills she has developed on her own. When her patient dies, Jennie discovers that her heart has become entangled with the woman’s widowed husband, a man many years her senior. Their unlikely romance may lead her to her ultimate goal—but the road will be winding and the way forward will not always be clear. Will Jennie find shelter in life’s storms? Will she discover where healing truly lives?

Jane Kirkpatrick invites readers to leave behind their preconceived notions about love and life as they, along with Jennie, discover that dreams may be deferred—but they never really die.

Welcome back, Jane. I love your headshot. Tell us a little about All She Left Behind.
It’s a book I’ve been thinking about for twenty years. Jennie is so little known, in part because her husband was so prominent, but she made a difference in her own right. She wanted to be a doctor but it was a long journey of overcoming challenges before she hung out her shingle, working with women and children.

Why did you decide to write about the life of Jennie Pickett?
When I learned that she was one of the first women to graduate from a medical college in Oregon I was intrigued. As I explored more, I realized she attended college after she was the mother of three children! This was highly unusual for a woman, let alone a wife and mother. I wondered how that dream was nurtured through the years and how she overcame the barriers.

You generally write stories about strong women of the West. Why and when did you decide to start writing about these women?
Way back in 1995! I always loved biographies but there weren’t many written about women. Then I learned about this fascinating woman who lived and worked with an Indian tribe that I also lived and worked with. I couldn’t find information about her—only her husband, brother, and father, and if she had sons, I know I’d have learned of them too. But women’s history is often lost. Because I couldn’t find letters or journals or newspaper accounts, I thought of her life as “reflected” in the life of the men who surrounded her. I interviewed descendants of both the tribe and her and began to piece together a remarkable life. I knew I’d need fiction to discover who she really was—and who so many women were whose history must be as Virginia Woolf said: “both invented and made up.” It turns out these lost women were both strong and courageous in their ordinary days and are inspirational for our lives today.

What was the most interesting thing you learned while researching Jennie Pickett’s life?
The degree to which alcohol use and abuse damaged the lives of settlers, and how women and children were especially negatively affected. I also found it interesting that medical students usually “read” with a physician for a year or more before attempting to enroll in medical school, which was usually two years long followed by a year of surgery study, usually back east. Becoming a pastor—which Jennie’s husband was—took six or seven years, but perhaps work with the soul is more complicated than work with the body. At least Jennie thought so.

What lesson(s) do you hope readers will take away from reading your book?
That some things are worth doing regardless of how they turn out. And also that even though we may not heal the troubles in our own family, that should not deter us from following God’s call in our lives to work to heal the lives of others.

In what way would you say your faith is worked into the book?
As a former mental health professional whose family struggled with substance abuse and other family challenges, I often thought I “should” be able to fix things; after all, I’m trained! But my faith tells me that I can only do what I’m called to do, and God provides the healing. I think Jennie came to understand that as well. A second insight came with the realization that Jennie didn’t practice very long, but that does not negate the power of the influence she had in part because she listened to that call and followed it. In my own life, I took a risk because I thought God was asking me to do something that didn’t seem realistic. And my life changed forever because I trusted. It was stepping out onto a cloud of faith believing I wouldn’t fall through. Jennie’s journey reminds me of that faith.

What are you working on next?
It’s the story of yet another fascinating woman, Carrie Strahorn. She came from a wealthy family and married a printer who then took her from Illinois to the wilds of the West. Together they traveled fifteen thousand miles by stage on behalf of the railroad to identify potential town sites and promote land buying to populate those seemingly remote places. She wrote a memoir, and it was the happy-happy presentation of those adventures that intrigued me because there must have been some rough times. I’ve ridden in a stage and it is not pleasant! So, what was really going on between the lines? That’s my working title: Between the Lines. I wanted to explore their relationship and what eventually was the triumph of her life.

How can readers connect with you?
Visit me at www.jkbooks.com and contact me there. Also, please sign up for my monthly e-newsletter, called Story Sparks, which contains words of encouragement. I’m also on Facebook and Twitter, though I confess I’m more active on the former than the latter. I also lead retreats, speak at various events around the country, and would love to meet readers face-to-face. My schedule will tell people where I’ll be next, and that’s at the website jkbooks.com. Thank you so much for your interest!

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

Readers, here are links to the book. 
All She Left Behind - Christianbook.com
All She Left Behind - Amazon paperback
All She Left Behind - Kindle
All She Left Behind - Amazon Audiobook

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:

Sunday, September 10, 2017

WINNERS

Beth (MT), Linda (CA), Connie (KY) is the winner of Picnics and Promises by Various Authors.

Cheri S (MI) is the winner of An Unexpected Afterlife by Dan Sofer.

Becky (MO) is the winner of Targeted for Danger by Various Authors.

  1. Trixi (OR) is the winner of A Twisted Strand by Lynne Tagawa.

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 08, 2017

RULE OF LAW - Randy Singer - One Free Book

Bio: Randy Singer is a critically acclaimed author and veteran trial attorney. He has penned more than ten legal thrillers, including his award-winning debut novel Directed Verdict. In addition to his law practice and writing, he serves as a teaching pastor for Trinity Church in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He also teaches classes in advocacy and ethics at Regent Law School and serves on the school's Board of Visitors.
Find out more about Randy at http://www.randysinger.net.

Welcome, Randy. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
I would say I write a fair amount of things I have experienced and my own personality into my characters. As a lawyer, I see a lot of crazy stuff and will catch myself thinking: That’s got to make it into my next book.

In particular, this book starts with a SEAL Team rescuing hostages captured by the Houthi Rebels in Yemen. I am actually representing some clients who worked for the UN and were captured in Yemen so a lot of those details come from real life.

At another point in the book, the main character turns the beach into her sanctuary using a prayer ritual that I’ve used before. The hearings and legal proceedings take place in the courtrooms I inhabit. The lawyers posture and get nervous and make dumb mistakes just like. . .well, like other lawyers I know.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I am a pretty quirky guy so this is really hard to answer. The problem is that quirky people don’t think the things we do are quirky. They seem natural to us.

I like my habits. My morning ritual of coffee, quiet time, journaling, and exercise. I like my books and pens and papers stacked neatly on my desk, all in a row, like little soldiers. I like my legal files organized a certain way. I dictate all my first drafts of my books. I don’t want any pictures or plaques or diplomas on my walls—plain, institutional off-white is just fine for me. I carry my index cards with my to-do list in my back pocket. Sometimes, I will write something on the list just to cross it off.

And for some reason, people think I’m quirky.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, my dog Lambeau wants me to get his bed out because he goes to bed at the exact same time (8 pm) in the exact same spot every night.    

When did you first discover that you were a writer?
When I wrote my first novel. I somehow managed to make it through high school, college, and law school without realizing I had a gift for writing. I certainly never tried creative writing. But I was always a storyteller. In the courtroom. In my sermons. Around the dinner table. With friends. Then, when I was in my 40s, I discovered that this is what writers do—give birth to stories. Years later, I still love the whole process.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
Wow, it’s a huge range. I like novels of all types. I also read a lot of biographies and books about famous (and infamous!) lawyers and judges. I like other non-fiction that makes me think as well, especially historical stuff. I’m not the kind that has to finish a book. If I’m bored after a couple of chapters, on to the next one.

I’m with you on that. Life’s too short to waste it on a novel that hasn’t caught my attention. How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
As the lawyers would say: This assumes facts not in evidence. Who says I’m sane?

Actually, this is a great question, especially for somebody who is juggling three jobs (pastor, lawyer, author). Here are the things that work for me: (1) Start every day with the Lord and my Bible. Prayer, journaling, Bible study, and coffee first thing in the morning—it’s the absolute best part of my day. (2) I trust the fabulous people I work with to do their part. And I really enjoy the teams that I’m part of at church, the firm, and with my publisher. (3) Exercise—this gives me energy and a fresh perspective. (4) Setting and reviewing goals to keep me focused on the big things and not sweating the small ones. (5) Focusing, as Scripture says, on the things that are true, noble, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy (which means not focusing on the things that cause us to worry and bring us down).

How do you choose your characters’ names?
I’m not good at names so I get help. My wife, Rhonda, is excellent and can always think of several good options. I also ask friends. It basically takes a village to name my characters.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
That’s a hard question. Being a good husband and father is probably number one.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
This is easy—my black lab: Lambeau. Nobody has it easier than that guy and he pretty much runs the house. Plus, he’s just a happy fella.

What is your favorite food?
Pizza. And there’s not even a close second.

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Because I am a pastor who wants his novels to make a spiritual impact, I had to resist the urge of sounding preachy in my novels. I have worked really hard to make the spiritual aspects of my books seem natural and organic, rather than sounding like I have an agenda or a formulaic way to weave religion into the story. I studied the way Jesus used stories and the way great authors would capture the heart without seeming like they had an agenda. Basically, I became an insatiable student of the craft. I believe this helped me become a better and more natural storyteller as both an author and a pastor.

As a side note, I am so grateful that I write for a publisher (Tyndale) that allows me and encourages me to make the spiritual elements a normal part of the story. I think authors who leave out the spiritual are creating stories that are less realistic because they are missing such an essential part of our lives.

Tell us about the featured book.
It’s a book about a team of Navy SEALs that go into Yemen to rescue some hostages only to discover that their mission has been compromised. Good men die and the rumor begins to circulate that the president knew the mission had been compromised, but sent them anyway for political reasons. Our heroes are two lawyers (Aren’t lawyers always heroes?)—one is a young woman who was dating one of the SEALs and another is a crusty (and ethically-challenged) old warhorse of a lawyer. They join forces to take on the president and her cabinet.

Is the president above the law?

As we say on the back of the book: The stakes are huge, the alliances shaky, and Paige Chambers will be left to wonder if the saying on the Supreme Court building still holds true.

Equal justice under law.

It makes a nice motto. But will it work when one of the most powerful people on the planet is also a defendant?

Please give us the first page of the book.
Sanaa, Yemen
They descended like vultures from the C-17 transport plane, silhouettes against a quarter moon in a tar-black sky. Invisible, silent predators. Arms and legs spread wide, free-falling for the first few seconds, the wind rushing past their arched bodies at 120 miles per hour. Adrenaline surging with every heartbeat.

Twenty men had stepped out of the cargo hold at 31,000 feet, into the frigid air above the sovereign territory of Yemen. Twenty-two seconds later, at 27,000 feet, they snapped their chutes open, checked their Nav Boards, and adjusted their flights. They would float through the thin and biting air for nearly twenty minutes, landing within a few hundred yards of the first rally point on a desolate mountain plateau nearly five kilometers outside the city of Sanaa.

The men were part of a Tier 1 special forces “asset,” the best America had to offer. Among them were a farmer from New York, a swimmer from California, a hunter from Texas, a lacrosse player from Connecticut. They had trained their entire adult lives for a moment like this, a presidential mission, one the suits in DC were following in real time. The president herself would monitor progress from the mahogany-lined Situation Room, watching video from the team leader’s camera, listening to every spoken word on the command net, the radio frequency used by the team leader and headquarters staff
.
These men were part of the famed SEAL Team 6, officially known as the Naval Special Warfare Development Group or DEVGRU, and this team, from the secretive Black Squadron, would be notching their own place in the history books tonight. It wasn’t quite bin Laden, but unlike other covert operations, this one would not go unnoticed. In fact, if all went according to plan, the world would later watch selected portions of the video. They would see the lethal efficiency of this team. Freedom for condemned prisoners. A statement that America was entitled to respect.

The mission was code-named Operation Exodus, a name Patrick Quillen and his men secretly disliked. They wanted to call it Alcatraz, because it would be a spectacular jailbreak, but then the president weighed in, followed by the PR geeks. The Houthi rebels running Yemen had provided no trials or due process for the two noncombatants the SEAL team had been sent to extract. The Houthis had threatened to execute the prisoners by hanging them on Easter Sunday. It was a blatant violation of international law, a thumbing of the nose at the United States and Saudi Arabia. The president had dispatched this team to put things right, to set the captives free. Operation Exodus was born.
 
The first prisoner was an American journalist named Cameron Holloman, a flamboyant reporter for the Washington Post, one of those pretty boys who inserted themselves into wartorn countries and dreamed of Pulitzers. He had flown into Saudi Arabia and snuck across the Yemeni border so he could report on the plight of the people caught in the crossfire between the Saudi air raids and the Houthis’ counterattacks. But after two weeks in Yemen, he had been

What a way to leave us hanging. I can’t wait to see what happens next. Thank goodness, my copy of the book is on my dining room table. How can readers find you on the Internet?
They can go to www.randysinger.net. If they go to www.randysinger.com they will find a harmonica player with my name. His songs, by the way, are really good.

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

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Rule of Law - Christianbook.com
Rule of Law - Amazon paperback
Rule of Law - Kindle
Rule of Law - 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: