Author Jo Huddleston

Sweet Southern Romance

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Win a Book!


When you leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, September 15, 2013 you'll be entered in the DRAWING for a copy of the book mentioned below. If you mention in your comment that you’re a follower (see in the left column “Join This Site” and “Follow by Email”), I’ll add your name a second time in the drawing. You must be eighteen, have a U.S. mailing address, void where prohibited. You can read details about my book giveaways at Disclaimers.     

Serenity to Accept by Elizabeth Maddrey

Guest blogger is Elizabeth Maddrey. Elizabeth began writing stories as soon as she could form the letters properly. Though her love of math steered her into computer science for school, she has always had several stories in progress. Elizabeth lives in the suburbs of Washington D.C. with her husband and two active little boys. 

Welcome Elizabeth, please tell us a little about yourself.

This is one of those questions that make me cringe – it’s like being on a job interview (and I always hated that). Let’s see, I’m outspoken and have a sense of humor that would probably go over a lot better if I was British (or at least lived in England). I’m a mother to two amazing boys and wife to an amazing husband (lots of amazing men in my world). I don’t mind scrubbing toilets but I dislike vacuuming. I love to cook but could do without having to scour the pots and pans afterward. I adore fall, spring, and winter (in that order) and would be perfectly happy if I could find somewhere to live that never got above 80 in the summer.

What fun or unique things can you tell us about yourself that we don’t know?

I’m a science nerd at heart. I have a PhD in computer science, and (until recently) taught programming at the college level (online). I love cats, but my husband is terribly allergic to them so I have to find friends with cats so I can get a cat fix now and then. I have lots of freckles and now that I’m older, I love them (never particularly cared for them as a child). I read in just about every genre and one of these days will probably try to write in all the genres that I love.

Please describe yourself with three words.

Smart, focused, loyal.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?

Reading is probably the top of the list for any spare time activities. I usually end up reading between 110 and 120 books a year. Besides reading, playing with the boys (or reading to them!), experimenting with a new recipe, and crocheting are high up on the list.

How did you become involved in writing?

My mom gave me a blank book when I was five and at one point (most likely when I was pestering her) told me to go write a story. After that I was hooked.

Where do you write? Do you have a dedicated office or a corner or nook in a room?

My husband and I have our computers in a shared office in our basement. I write there quite a bit, but since I have a laptop, I also write in the playroom while there are Lego wars going on, in the theater while Skylanders are working to defeat evil, and in the living room while train tracks and car races are under way.

Do you always know the title of your books before you write them?  
Not usually, no. In fact, I spend hours talking to my editor and family about the book. We brainstorm titles ‘til we’re all tired of thinking about it. Once we finally came up with a title for the first book in the series, the others fell in place much more easily. Of course, once that series is over we’re back to square one for the next.

Please tell us about Serenity to Accept.

Serenity to Accept is the third book in the Grant Us Grace Series (Book 1 is Wisdom to Know, Book 2 is Courage to Change) but I think (hope!) it stands alone pretty well. There are some recurring characters, but the main characters were sub-characters in the previous books.

Here’s the blurb:
Is there an exception to every rule?

Karin Reid has never had much use for God. There’s been too much pain in her life for her to accept that God is anything other than, at best, disinterested or, at worst, sadistic. Until she meets Jason Garcia.

After his own mistakes of the past, Jason is committed to dating only Christians. He decides to bend his rule for Karin, as long as she comes to church with him.

As their friendship grows, both will have to decide if they’ll accept the path God has for them, even if it means losing each other.

What takeaway value do you hope your readers receive after reading this book?

There are a number of themes in this book that I hope provide some food for thought. Karin struggles with stepping out in faith, preferring instead to have all the answers about God before she’s willing to commit her life to Him. She also has a very hard time with the problem of evil – and while I don’t think I’ve solved it, I hope there are some things for the reader to consider. I also touch on the problem of being unequally yoked and how much of a relationship between a believer and non-believer is too much. But most of all, I hope readers see the thread of grace and how, at the end of the day, God’s grace is so much bigger than any of our sin.

Where did you get the idea for your book?

The idea for Serenity came to me as I was finishing up the edits on Courage to Change. I’d known I needed a third in the series and had a vague notion, but nothing really concrete beyond a title (since it’s the third book, the title in this case was already pretty well set). When I met the character Karin while writing book two, I realized I really liked her and she needed her own book. Jason has a little cameo as well in book two – and he seemed pretty custom made for Karin. As for the plot – I had a general direction when I started to write, but I’m a seat of the pants girl, so a lot of it just happened as I went along.

Did you have to do any research for this book?

I did a little research about the NICU since Karin is a NICU nurse – I wanted to be sure I described things correctly and had a generally correct idea of what her shifts would be like.

How long have you been writing? When did you sell your first book?

I’ve been taking writing seriously and actually finishing books for about ten years. I sold my first book in August of 2012.

What advice would you give to writers who have been writing a few years but still haven’t interested an agent or publisher in their novel?

First I’d say don’t stop. Just keep working on your craft and getting your stories out. And then I’d say be open to possibilities that are outside the norm. I ended up going with a small press and have been incredibly glad that I did so. I don’t have an agent and so far that’s been working fine. If I hadn’t ended up with a contract with HopeSprings Books, I was seriously considering self-publishing. And I may end up going that route at some point in the future, too. There are a lot of opportunities in the publishing world if you’re willing to step out of the box a little.

What are you working on now?

There are several couples in the Grant Us Grace series I’ve fallen in love with and, while I don’t know that they have enough fodder for a whole book, I can’t just leave them alone. So I’ve been working on some novellas. Our plan is to release one a month (possibly October, November, December 2013) and then bundle them into a 3-in-1 offering once all 3 are out. The novellas will most likely be e-book only, but the 3-in-1 will be print and e-book.

What advice would you give to writers just starting out?

Find yourself a critique partner (preferably not your mom or someone who loves you) who will be brutally honest with you and mark up your work. Not only does that help you build your thick skin, it’s so necessary to get that feedback that stretches you and improves your craft.

Please tell our readers where they can get your book.
The only link I currently have is Amazon, but it’ll be available for Nook as well as on audiobook.

Please tell our readers where they can find you online.
◦    Facebook

Any parting comment?
Thanks for having me!

Elizabeth, thanks for being with my reader and me. One of my commenters will wind a copy of Serenity to Accept, which you have offered to one of my readers.

Remember: leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, September 15, 2013 and you'll be entered in the drawing for a copy of Serenity to Accept by Elizabeth Maddrey. Please, please remember to leave your email address. I’ll need you email address so that should you be the winner I can get in touch with you. I’ll announce the winner in Monday’s blog.

The winner of last Monday's blog post for a copy of Not Guilty by Candi Pullen is ChristinaG. I'll email you to get your mailing address and we’ll get the book out to you. Thanks all for commenting. Watch for more book giveaways.

Till next time …keep on smiling.


  1. Marjorie, thanks for coming by and leaving your comment.

  2. Elizabeth, I enjoyed your interview. I'm very interested in your book because I see so much christian young people marrying non-believers. I have three great-nephews that's close to my heart and the oldest is getting to the teenager age. I'm on my knees every day praying. Your book sounds fantastic. Thank you for the opportunity to participate in a giveaway.
    Barbara Thompson

    I'm a follower and a subscriber.

    1. Barbara, I definitely is a disturbing trend! Keep praying for your nephews. God can work wonders. Thanks for stopping by. :)

    2. Barbara, glad you enjoyed the interview with Elizabeth. Thanks for reading and leaving your comment. I appreciate you following my blog!

  3. Great idea for a theme...not often used or talked about like it should be....Congrautlations on your new release, Elizabeth~