Author Jo Huddleston

Sweet Southern Romance

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Win a Book!

When you leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, November 3, 2013 you'll be entered in the DRAWING for a copy of the book I mention 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. 

Stone of Destiny by Mary L. Ball

Our guest blogger today is Mary L. Ball. Mary lives in North Carolina. Her novels encourage readers to find the magic of love, hope and a divine guidance, waiting for each of us. She is a member of ACFW. When she’s not writing or babysitting her grandsons, Mary enjoys the outdoors. Prism Book Group published her debut novel, Escape to Big Fork Lake, which is still available on Amazon. 
What fun or unique things can you tell us about yourself that we don’t know?
Hum… I’ve always believed I’m boring, but certainly unique. I enjoy the quiet mornings, getting up before the rest of the world and sipping coffee. (Decaf of course)
I would rather be sitting on a rock overlooking the water, than flying to some exotic locale. I have never had a desire to travel anywhere that requires a passport.
I enjoy singing gospel with my husband.The simple things in life float my boat; I don’t need glitter, just the natural beauty that the Lord shares with us each day.   
Please describe yourself with three words.
Faithful, humorous and optimistic 
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?
Reading, being outdoors and spending time with my hubby.
I have a list of my 5 favorite novels I’ve read. Please tell us your 5 favorite novels of all time.
First on my list is:
Message in a Bottle – Nicholas Sparks 
The Mulberry Tree -  Jude Deveraux  (Been meaning to read it again)
Fatal Burn - Roxanne Rustard
With books, I’m like a child in an ice cream shop, so many different writers I enjoy, and it’s hard to pick favorites.  
If you could have dinner with one person from today or history (except Jesus), who would it be?
Well, since it can’t be Jesus I suppose it would be Michel de Nostredame, author of The Prophecies of Nostradamus. I would really love to talk with that guy.

How did you become involved in writing?
In the business world, I scribe correspondence. When I quit my full time job to keep my grandson I started writing Christian articles, short stories and finally novels. 
Where do you write? Do you have a dedicated office or a corner or nook in a room?
I have an office/singing room that I write in 90 percent of the time. Occasionally I’ll open my laptop in the living room.  
Please tell us about Stone of Destiny.
The sapphire symbolizes mental clarity, faithfulness and truth. For centuries, the legion of the Harrison family revolved around a ring. The family stone believed to have divine favors that transform lives--sometimes forever.
Taylor has given up on everything but her work. After becoming the youngest CEO of Mugful’s Beverage Company, she believes life is complete. That is until her grandmother asks her to oversee renovations at the family home, in addition to searching for a missing heirloom. 
First contact with what she believes is an insignificant ring, lost for fifty years, sends her life spinning. Taylor experiences strange dreams. Feelings surface; she doesn't understand; mere thoughts that should remain unspoken, are voiced.  
Taylor’s emotional journey begins, testing a heart as cold as the ring itself--forcing her to question everything she believes. 
Is this a fairy tale or her soul, reaching out for a different world, a life she can only find through faith and a divine trust in God?  
What takeaway value do you hope your readers receive after reading this book?
That prayer really is powerful and sometimes the path God places us on isn’t always our choosing; often that road turns out to be the one meant to travel on and we couldn’t recognize it for ourselves. 
Did you have to do any research for this book?
Oh my yes, I researched Panama and with my publisher’s urging I explored the meanings of the sapphire gem.  
How long have you been writing? When did you sell your first book?
I’ve been writing for years. Story writing about six years. My first novel contracted in 2011.    
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?
It took me a year and half with lots of rewrites before Prism Book Group offered me a chance. I still feel I have growing to do to become the author I want. Don’t give up! A writer never becomes an author by quitting. Send out queries and rewrite if needed. One day someone will notice.  
What are you working on now?
I had many people ask me “what happened to Rob.” He was the character in Escape to Big Fork Lake who tried (several times) to attack Samantha.  Redemption in Big Fork Lake is with my publisher, Prism Book Group. I'm in hopes it's accepted for publication.
Please tell our readers where they can get your book.
Please tell our readers where they can find you online.
Any parting comment?
Jo, I want to thank you for letting me be part of your lovely blog.  I must admit some of the questions you asked challenged me to look inside myself. I suppose that’s something we all need to do from time to time.

Mary, thank you for visiting with my readers and me. One commenter will win a copy of Stone of Destiny, which you graciously offered.

The winner of last Thursday’s blog post appeared in Monday’s blog. Thanks all for commenting. Watch for more book giveaways.

Till next time … keep on smiling.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Meet the Characters

I want you to get to know some of the characters of my novel Claiming Peace, Book 3 in the Caney Creek Series. For several Mondays I’ll interview one of the characters and you can leave comments if you want. I think this might help you when you read my novel to know how these characters feel as they move through the story. If you leave a comment on this blog that is totally related to the interview I'll give you an extra entry in the next Thursday book drawing.

Today I’m talking with Caroline Callaway in Newton, Tennessee.

Hello, Mrs. Callaway. Thank you for agreeing to talk with me.

You’re welcome. Please come into the living room.

You have a lovely home. Have you lived here all your life?

Excuse me for smiling. The answer to that question is a long story.

If you’d like to share the story with me, I have time.

Fine. I grew up living in this house with my mother and daddy. My mother was terribly class conscious. The summer after my first year of college at Agnes Scott, I met Jimmy. My daddy owned the hosiery mill and Jimmy worked there when I met him.

Are you married to Mr. Callaway who owns the hosiery mill in town?

Yes, I am.

Sorry to have interrupted. Please finish your story.

That summer, I didn’t tell my parents I spent time with Jimmy. He grew up on a farm and lacked a year finishing high school. Mother would have done whatever possible to see that I didn’t spend time with him. I suspect that my daddy knew, because some days I would pick Jimmy up at the loading dock where he worked. My daddy probably saw me do that. I had dated a few other boys, but the dates meant nothing to me, just g flirtations. But with Jimmy I could share my feelings—for the first time in my life. He's always been so kind to me.

Newton is a small town. How did you manage to keep your secret about seeing Mr. Callaway from your mother?

Oh, she hardly ever spent time where the common folks in Newton did. Many times Jimmy and I would go south of here to the Evergreen Café where my parents never went. Mother wanted me to see young people from the respectable families but I never accepted any of their invitations.

I’m sorry. That sounds like a difficult situation for you.

It was difficult but worth it, because that summer I fell in love with Jimmy and he with me.

I suppose when you two were married you moved to another house?

Well . . . .

I’m sorry, I guess I need to change the subject. I didn’t mean to pry.

No, you didn’t. You only wanted to know the end of my story. When I came home from college at Christmas, my parents had a Christmas Eve party. I convinced Jimmy to attend the party with me. I bought him a suit, dress shirt, necktie, and overcoat to wear that night. For a few weeks I hadn’t been feeling well . . . tired all the time and sometimes nauseated. Anyway, at the Christmas Eve party I felt worse than usual and asked Jimmy to take me outside for some fresh air.

I hope that helped you to feel better.

We walked back and forth on the sidewalk, bundled up against the cold. I tried several times to tell Jimmy, but he insisted that I walk so I’d feel better and he continued to talk, not giving me a chance to tell him.

What did you try to tell him?

Oh, my. I hardly know you . . . I tried to tell Jimmy I was expecting his child but he never gave me a chance to say anything. He was so concerned about me feeling better.

Oh, I have really pried. We can change the subject now.

No, I’ll finish quickly. I was so sick on Christmas morning that I had to tell my mother what was wrong with me. She told Daddy and he sent me to my great aunt Martha’s, his sister, in Knoxville. Daddy told me to have the baby and put it up for adoption and I could return home. When my baby boy came, I couldn’t give him up for adoption. Daddy disowned me and my baby, telling us to never return to Newton.

You’re smiling. Everything must have worked out well. But, if I may ask, why are you living in your girlhood home?

I had left Newton without a word to Jimmy and Daddy told my aunt not to let me write or receive any letters. While I was living in Knoxville, Jimmy married a girl he’d known before he knew me. They had a daughter who was two years old when her mother died. I raised my son, James, by myself in Knoxville. Jimmy raised his daughter, Lynn, by himself with help from his family. When my parents died in a car crash, their wills left the mill and this home to Jimmy. His daughter and our son met in school at the University of Tennessee then through them, Jimmy and I met again after twenty years apart. It was difficult to tell our children they were half brother and sister. And, as they say, the rest is history.

What a happily-ever-after story.

Yes, it is. Jimmy’s family has welcomed me and I wouldn’t trade places with another woman in the world.

Now that’s saying a lot! I’m glad you’re happy here in Newton. Thank you so much for talking with me.

The winner of last Thursday's blog post for a copy of The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman by Carole Brown is PatriciaB. I'll email you. Thanks all for commenting. Watch for more book giveaways.

Till next time … keep on smiling.