Monthly Archives: April 2013

Waiting for Spring

WaitingforSpring(1) Today we welcome Amanda Cabot to tell us about her novel Waiting for Spring. I am so excited to have Amanda here! I’ve been admiring her cover since it came out. I love that blue dress! 

Amanda please tell us about Waiting for Spring.

My most recent release, Waiting for Spring, is the second in the Westward Winds trilogy. Like the other two books (2012’s Summer of Promise and With Autumn’s Return, which will be released in January 2014), the heroine is one of three sisters who finds love, adventure and a bit of danger in Wyoming. As for the specifics, since I have a terrible time telling a story in less than 100,000 words, why don’t I share the back cover copy with you?

“After the loss of her husband and the birth of her baby, Charlotte has had a long, hard year. But she can find no rest from the ghosts of the past and flees to Cheyenne to put the pieces of her life back together.

Wealthy cattle baron and political hopeful Barrett Landry must make a sensible match if he is to be elected senator of the soon-to-be state of Wyoming. He needs someone with connections. Someone without a past. Yet he can’t shake the feeling that Charlotte holds the key to his heart and his future.

Will Charlotte and Barrett find the courage to look love in the face? Or will their fears blot out any chance for happiness?”

This sounds like a great story. Do you have a favorite character in the story, if so who and why?

Oh, my. This is like asking a mother which of her children she prefers.  Of course I love them all.  Well, except for the villain, that is. If I had to pick a favorite other than the hero and heroine, it would be Miriam.  I had such fun creating her – a woman who was expected to follow her parents’ dictates but who finds her own path to independence and in doing so, discovers true love.

What inspired you to write Waiting for Spring?

I’ve been intrigued by Cheyenne’s history ever since I moved here, and when I learned that it was once the wealthiest city per capita on earth, I knew that I had to set at least one book in Cheyenne during that period. To me, the fascination was not just the wealth but the changes that were occurring: the bust of the cattle barons’ boom and the move toward statehood.  Mix in a widow with more than her share of secrets and a man determined to become a senator and you have the seeds for Waiting for Spring.

What do you have in the works and when will it release?

Publishing schedules being what they are, I’m working on my 2014 releases. I’m waiting for copy edits on With Autumn’s Return, the third of the Westward Winds trilogy. That’ll be a January 2014 book. In addition, I’m excited to announce that I’ll have a novella in Revell’s first novella collection, also due out next January. Each of the four stories in the collection is written by a different author, and each features a woman whose life is changed when she receives a letter.  Having read that, you won’t be surprised to know the title of the book will be Sincerely Yours.

My heroine is an heiress who needs to marry a man of her own social standing within two months or she’ll forfeit her inheritance. The special letter she receives leads her to a handsome carousel carver – obviously not the man her parents had in mind for her. But the carver has a secret. As a side note, I developed an incurable case of carousel fever in early 2000, so when I started thinking about this story, I knew my hero would be one of those incredibly talented men who turned chunks of wood into fabulous painted ponies.

I certainly understand the time lag in publishing. LOL I’ve already turned in a book that won’t release until then. You are the second writer to tell me how much they like carousel’s. We have an amazing carousel in my home town. All the animals are hand carved by local artisans.

For the final question we’d love to learn something more about you. Please tell us one thing about yourself that would surprise us.

I love to cook, but for the past six or so years, I’ve made only low-fat, low-cholesterol meals.  It’s been a challenge, adapting my favorite recipes to meet those requirements, but I’ve discovered that it’s possible to have tasty food that’s heart-healthy, and – yes – that includes chocolate desserts.

Thanks for joining us today, Amanda. I enjoyed learning more about you and Waiting for Spring.

Amanda Cabot(1)

From the time that she was seven, Amanda Cabot dreamed of becoming a published author, but it was only when she set herself the goal of selling a book by her thirtieth birthday that the dream came true.  A former director of Information Technology, Amanda has written everything from technical books and articles for IT professionals to mysteries for teenagers and romances for all ages.  She’s delighted to now be a fulltime writer of Christian historical romances.  Her Texas Dreams trilogy received critical acclaim, and Waiting for Spring, the second in her Westward Winds series, was released earlier this year.

My Refuge

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Psalm 46:1

Just recently I had one of those days where nothing went right. I couldn’t speak right, hang onto things, see numbers for what they actually were, or think–no it wasn’t a medical condition, although it does sound like one.

The problem? I allowed myself to become overwhelmed. Once I realized the problem I took a step back and prayed and recited scripture in my mind. Guess what? It helped!

I have learned that when I get like this I need to stop and refocus on God. He is my refuge and strength. I can’t do what I do without Him. I need His calming presence in my life ALL the time.

I pray for the calming presence of God in your life and mine. May He be your refuge and strength. Your ever-present help in trouble. Amen

Beyond the Past

A  B.P. COVER FINALToday we welcome Jo Huddleston to share with us about Beyond the Past. Please tell us about Beyond the Past, Jo.

Beyond the Past is an inspirational Southern historical novel with threads of romance and set in the Southern Appalachians of East Tennessee. Here is a little something about the book: Emmajean Callaway’s life in Atlanta plummets from bad to worse. Can big brother, Jim, lead her back to the family who loves her and also hold the imploding Callaway family together?

Jim Callaway looks forward to 1951 and the chance to forge a relationship with Caroline after twenty years apart. He’s sidetracked when his sister and his best friend need his help. His baby sister, Emmajean, skids into jail on drug charges in Atlanta. The ordeal of incarceration and trial diminishes her and she needs rescuing, not only physically but spiritually. She struggles toward recovery and restoration with her lawyer’s help as he champions her inside and outside the courtroom. Jim’s nephew Joe is one step ahead of the truant officer, wrecks his car, and officials suspect alcohol is involved. Joe awaits his fate at the hands of the juvenile court judge. Jim and Caroline continue their bumpy journey as they seek realization of their dreams, wondering if they really can overcome obstacles to their being together after so many years.

I noticed that this is the second book in the series. what was your inspiration?

I and my ancestors were raised in the Southern Appalachians of East Tennessee. I know and care about the people and lifestyle there, which gave me a unique perspective from which to write That Summer. At family reunions I’d listen to my relatives’ fascinating stories about time before I was born. Eventually, I wanted to do this novel and tell about some of the things I’d heard. This is a novel, a work of my imagination combined with remembrances of my family’s stories.

What is next for you?

I’m writing book #3 in the Caney Creek Series, Claiming Peace, which is scheduled to release September 2013.

Thanks for sharing with us about Beyond the Past. Now for a fun question.:) What is your favorite dessert? If you don’t like sweets. What is your favorite meal?

My favorite meal is (drum roll, please) pizza.


Ah, yes–pizza is good. Now for one last question. If your book were an animal what kind of animal would it be and why?

I can’t really equate my book to an animal. I will say that if I were to be an animal I would be an eagle. I love their graceful glide. And no other bird would pick on me!

What a great choice! Thanks for sharing.

Jo has offered to give away a copy of either the first book in the series (That Summer) or Beyond the Past to one lucky commenter,

To be entered you must answer the following question. Considering the explosion of eBook numbers, if you won a contest and had your choice of a print book or an eBook copy, which would you choose and why?

Contest rules: You must have a USA address. You must answer the above question. There must be ten qualifying comments for the drawing to take place. Void where prohibited by law. New followers receive an extra entry.

JO PHOTOJo Huddleston’s debut novel, That Summer, released in December 2012 as the first book in The Caney Creek Series. Huddleston holds a B.A. degree with honors from Lincoln Memorial University (TN), and is a member of their Literary Hall of Fame. She earned a M.Ed. degree from Mississippi State University. Professional membership: American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW).

Signed copies available in the left column on my site www.johuddleston.com

Hope for the Hurting

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Psalm 25:21

The events of this week have been on my heart and mind. The world I grew up in was vastly different from what we live in today. The thought that a bomb would go off anywhere in the US wasn’t a consideration much less a reality. My children have grown up with this new reality, and I’m saddened by that fact. But my hope is in Christ.

That hope doesn’t make the bad stuff go away, but it does help me keep my attitude in perspective and more positive. I know God is ultimately in control, and that He walks beside me through the good and the bad. He will do the same for anyone.

My prayer today is that you will reach out and grasp the hope that we have in Christ and let Him have your hurts and fears. He loves us and wants us to keep our focus on Him because when we do, the bad stuff doesn’t seem quite so horrible.

Hidden Dreams

hidden dreams I’m excited to have, Darlene Franklin,  a fellow Heartsong Presents writer with us today to share with us about her upcoming release Hidden Dreams. Welcome, Darlene! Please tell us what Hidden Dreams is about.

MARY ANNE IS ON THE RUN.

Her father’s been murdered, and now the mob’s after her, too. Leaving New York City behind is the only way to stay alive. Yet Mary Anne Lamont finds herself stuck in Maple Notch, Vermont, when her car crashes straight into Wallace Tuttle’s truck. Wallace and his family offer her warmth and welcome, no questions asked. But she doesn’t dare give them her real name-not without risking their safety too.

At first, Wallace chides himself for being distracted by the glamorous flapper. Mary Anne certainly doesn’t fit his image of a future wife. But underneath the bleached bob and big-city ways is a courageous, caring woman. When the danger she’s been running from draws close, Wallace must risk everything to prove his faith in Mary Anne, in God’s plan, and the dreams they’ve come to share.

Oh, this sounds good! What inspired the story?

Reader response to my first Vermont historical series, Maple Notch Brides, was strong, and Heartsong offered me a chance to write three more books about my beloved New England. This series from Heartsong, Maple Notch Dreams, follows the Tuttle family into the 20th century.

A historical timeline revealed that the worst natural disaster in Vermont history occurred in November 1927, when the Winooskia River flooded, causing 85 deaths and destroying 1,200 bridges.

Since a covered bridge played an important role in Maple Notch Dreams, I wanted to write about its destruction during the flood. History also notes the various purposes covered bridges served; since this story was set during the Prohibition Era, its capacity for hiding moonshine, or “bathtub gin,” came into play.

Vermont is a very “green” state, with a strong Audobon Society, so I made my hero a naturalist observing endangered birds. The general idea of a flapper on the run for winning money she wasn’t supposed to have come from, of all places, a movie about the 1920s.

Wow! What is next for you? Do you have anything in the works?

There are two more books in the Maple Notch Dreams series: Golden Dreams (September) and Madame Mayor (January 2014) I also wrote the novella anthology Calico Brides (June) and have a story in Texas Brides (May)

Excellent!  Now for a fun questions.:) Please tell us about your dream vacation. Where would you go and what would you do?

I might go to the Arizona desert and see if it helps my arthritis! I have a long list of places I would love to visit – Alaska, Hawaii, the British Isles, Australia, Norway – but San Diego, California tops the list. Or maybe San Francisco. California for sure. I have wanted to make it to the west coast for my entire life (born in New England).

LOL I’m a west coast girl and have never been to the east coast. San Diego is great. I’ve been to all the US locations you named, but I have to say, I’ve enjoyed Alaska the most.

Darlene has offered to give away one copy of Hidden Dreams to a lucky commenter. To be entered into the drawing you must answer this question.

What famous bridges have you visited and do you have any special stories involving bridges? If you’ve never visited a famous bridge go ahead and mention that and I’ll count it. 🙂

Rules: There must be ten qualifying comments for the drawing to take place. You must answer the question–please enter me will not get you entered. You must have a USA address. Void where prohibited by law.

Darlene loves music, needlework, reading, and reality TV. She has published several titles with Barbour Publishing, including her two latest releases, A Bride’s Rogue in Roma, Texas, and Merry Christmas, With Love, in Postmark: Christmas. She has also written two books in the Texas Trails series with RiverNorth Fiction, Lone Star Trail and A Ranger’s Trail. She’s a member of Oklahoma City Christian Fiction Writers.

You can find Darlene online at http://darlenefranklinwrites.blogspot.com/, http://mydailynibble.blogspot.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/darlene.franklin.3 You may also be interested in my Facebook page, Darlene’s 5 Questions a Day (https://www.facebook.com/groups/542991419047696/?bookmark_t=group) where I will answer the first five questions related to the writing life posed on any given day. Group members are also welcome to contribute.

I have a novella coming out in Texas Brides, Angel in Disguise. Here is a bit about that anthology:

Back cover blurb:

Enjoy the rich history of Texas penned by an exclusive selection of Christian fiction authors—including DiAnn Mills and Kathleen Y’Barbo. This collection of nine romances brings together the lawful, the lawless, and the lonely in the Lone Star State. Watch as three Texas Rangers turn from chasing outlaws to courting women who are determined to remain independent. Experience the trials six outlaws have as they turn into respectable citizens and seek to settle down with a spouse to love.

What do you Yearn for?

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Psalm 84:2

Have you ever wanted something so much that it consumes you? A couple weeks I shared that writing is one of my passions. If I don’t write, my day isn’t the same, something is missing. I think the psalmist feels the same way toward the Lord. I want that kind of passion for the Lord all the time—A passion that drives me to dig into His word and seek Him daily. I want whatever this little tree has that caused it to grow out the rock. It’s amazing that anything at all would grow here, yet grow it did. That’s what I want to do.

I pray that I will keep my focus on Him always. That I will yearn the way the psalmist yearned to be in His presence and that I will continually grow in the Lord.

Courage to Change

CourageToChangeFront Today we welcome back Elizabeth Maddrey. It’s great to have you join us again, Elizabeth. We are going to do something a bit different that the norm today. Below is the back cover copy of Courage to Change, and following that is an interview that Elizabeth gave her character Allison. I hope you enjoy this fun format. Keep reading to the end to find out how to enter for a chance to win a copy of Courage to Change.

Should you be willing to change for love?

When Phil Reid became a Christian and stopped drinking, his hard-partying wife Brandi divorced him. Reeling and betrayed, he becomes convinced Christians should never remarry, and resolves to guard his heart.

Allison Vasak has everything in her life under control, except for one thing. Her heart is irresistibly drawn to fellow attorney and coworker, Phil. Though she knows his history and believes that women should not initiate relationships, she longs to make her feelings known.

As Phil and Allison work closely together to help a pregnant teen, Allison melts his defenses. But when Brandi discovers Phil’s new relationship, she decides that though she doesn’t want him, no one else can have him either. Can Phil and Allison’s love weather the chaos Brandi brings into their lives?

ElizabethMaddreyHeadshot I thought it would be fun to sit down with Allison and get to know her, so I invited her over for some coffee.

Elizabeth: Hi Allison, glad you could make it. I know as a criminal defense attorney you’re very busy, so I appreciate you taking the time.

Allison: I did kind of feel like I owed you, so it’s not a big deal. What can I do for you today?

Elizabeth: I just thought it’d be fun to let people get to know you a little. Maybe see what makes Allison Vasak tick. That kind of thing. So let’s start out with something easy – you mentioned above that you don’t believe women should initiate relationships. Why is that?

Allison: That’s easy? I hope we don’t get to anything hard! Some of it is just that I’m a little old fashioned. I want the man I marry to pursue me – I like the idea of that. That he would want to be with me so much that he’d be willing to risk making the first move. Beyond that? I actually initiated my only real relationship in college and, well, that turned out horribly. So I kind of figure it’s good to learn from your mistakes.

Elizabeth: Fair enough. So why Phil?

Allison: Okay, I guess that first question was easy. Wow. Well, to start out with, I really admire him. He’s gone through a lot in his life and come out on top. I mean, from what I understand about his ex-wife and their lifestyle…Jesus really changed him. And now? He’s so genuine about his walk with God, it’s hard not to love him. Not that I love him, mind you. But I think I could. Wait. He’s not going to see this, is he?

Elizabeth: No, I don’t think he’s going to see this. Your secret’s safe with me. So it’s more of an intellectual attraction?

Allison: Well, it starts there. But, come on, have you seen him? Mmm. I could watch him read the phone book and not feel like I’d wasted a minute.

Elizabeth: Ok, so definitely a connection on your end. Do you have any idea if he’s interested in you?

Allison: Honestly, shouldn’t I be asking you this? You’re the one with all the answers. But from where I’m standing, frankly, I’m confused. He’s kind of the King of Mixed Signals right now. So I’m waiting to see what happens. Though he has said he doesn’t think he’s cut out for marriage, I figure that’s just because of his first wife running him through the ringer. He just needs to be with the right woman. Who would be me, as far as I’m concerned. Just in case you were wondering.

Elizabeth: I got that. Let’s talk about him being divorced for a minute. You don’t have any problem with that as a single, never married, woman?

Allison: You’re not pulling punches today, are you? I’ll admit I struggled with it for a little while when I first realized that I had a crush on him. I mean, it’s not easy to be single and abstinent in today’s world. So part of me really thought I deserved someone who’d been working as hard at that as I had. Then I went on a date with Kevin McGregor. My college crush?

Elizabeth: Right, that was in Wisdom to Know.

Allison: Yeah. Anyway, I believe the word to describe that is “fiasco.” And that’s when I realized that there’s more to a potential mate than having the same past. I love Kevin, don’t get me wrong…it’s just that it’s a brotherly thing. It took that date to realize it – and anyway, he and Lydia are perfect for each other. And really, seeing how God brought the two of them together gives me hope. Phil and I have a lot in common, even if our pasts are dissimilar.

Elizabeth: Great, thanks. I think our time is about up – do you have any final words you’d like to add?

Allison: Not really…unless you want to tell me how things end up?

Elizabeth: …

Allison: Figures. Guess I’ll just have to wait ‘til people read the book so I can find out.

Elizabeth, what a fantastic interview! I loved getting to know Allison. She made me want to read the book.:)

If you would like to be entered for a chance to win a copy of Courage to Change you must answer Elizabeth’s following question. Have you ever had an office romance? Would you? Feel free to plead the 5th. LOL

Rules for giveaway: You must have a USA address to qualify. There must be at least 10 qualifying comments. New followers receive an extra entry. Void where prohibited by law.

To connect with Elizabeth you can find her at:

www.ElizabethMaddrey.com or on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ElizabethMaddrey