Monday, April 29, 2013

Meet Fred Jacob



I want you to get to know some of the characters of my novel That Summer. For the next few 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.

Beyond the Past, book 2 in the Caney Creek Series has just released. I have a couple more characters to chat with from That Summer, then I'll start with characters from book 2.

Today I’m interviewing Fred Jacob, father of Caroline. He and his family live in the small town of Newton, Tennessee.


JO: Hello, Mr. Jacob. Thank you for seeing me in your office.

FRED: You're welcome. Please call me Fred.

JO: Thank you. Do you own this Southeastern Hosiery mill?

FRED: Yes, I do.

JO: I've met your daughter, Caroline. She's a lovely girl. Do you have other children?

FRED: No, just Caroline.

JO: Have you lived here in Newton all your life?

FRED: Yes, I have.

JO: You seem a little down. Would you like for me to leave?

FRED: No, you just stay put. I am a little down today.

JO: Can you tell me why?

FRED: Do you know anybody in Newton?

JO: No, sir. I plan to leave Newton this afternoon.

FRED: I don't usually talk to strangers but I'm carrying a lot in my mind and don't have anybody except Mary to talk with about it.

JO: I'm a good listener.

FRED: It's Caroline. And it's mostly my fault. 

JO: What's mostly your fault?

FRED: A few months ago we hired a boy from a farm to work on the loading dock here. Jim is his name. Well, Caroline met him accidentally one day here in the office. She took to him like ants to honey. She was just home from Agnes Scott College after going there one year. Anyway, she got sweet on this Jim and I'd see them in her new Buick I'd given her. She'd drive him all over the place. She'd let her mother believe she wasn't seeing him and I guess I let Mary believe that.

JO: Why is it a problem if she spends time with Jim?

FRED: It's not a problem with me. But Mary thinks Caroline should spend all her time this summer with friends in our income level. My wife's very class conscious. It doesn't matter to me. Mary probably thinks I'm in a lower class than she is. I inherited this mill, so we do have enough money. But her life here is not like it was where she's from in Chattanooga.

JO: Are people in Newton as class conscious as your wife?

FRED: Well, yes, I guess they are--those who have money.

JO: Do you have friends you can talk to?

FRED: No, not about this. All the friends who come to the house are mostly friends of Mary. I'm cordial to them and they are to me, but they're really not my friends. I have friends here at the mill.

JO: What does Mary think about your friends here at the mill.

FRED: She won't invite them to our home when we have her friends over.


The winner of last Thursday's blog post for a copy of one of Linda Rondeau's books is Shelia. I'll email you to get your mailing address and get the book out to you. Thanks all for commenting. Watch for more book giveaways.

Till next time ... keep on smiling.
















Thursday, April 25, 2013

Win a Book!


When you leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, April 28, 2012 you'll be entered in the DRAWING for a copy of one of our guest’s books 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.      


A best-selling, award-winning author, LINDA WOOD RONDEAU writes out of the box. Her stories are told with poignancy and always splashed with humor. Walk with her unforgettable characters as they journey paths not unlike our own. A veteran social worker, the author now resides in Jacksonville, Florida.


JO: Please tell us a little about yourself.

LINDA: Some folks say I am a writer. I suppose since I occasionally get paid to create words on a page, that is what I am. But first and foremost, I am many other things.  I am a wife of one very patient man, I am the mother of three wonderful adult children who make me proud every day. I am the grandmother of nine fantastic grandchildren. I am a sister, aunt, cousin and friend. These are the roles that truly define who we are. As for my writing? I write primarily fiction, out of the box and a definite genre blended. Mostly my works are contemporary. I draw upon my thirty years of human services employment to fashion a variety of characters.

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

LINDA: I was a member of a folk-singing group a few decades ago called Sympatico (Spanish for harmonious).  I have done community theater for thirty years and met my husband doing the play, Juno and the Paycock. I am an avid golfer and a closet Golf Channel junkie.

JO: Please describe yourself with three words.

LINDA: Blonde, smart, creative.

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

LINDA:  Besides golfing with hubby and watching television, I enjoy the Wii, taking walks, exploring museum, and going to the beach.  Oh, and I love to browse. Won’t say shopping because I hate to spend money, but I love to look!

JO: How did you become involved in writing?

LINDA: Like most writers, I was born with a pencil in my hand and loved to tell stories to the younger children on the school bus. I loved writing policies and procedures during my social work career, but I especially enjoyed writing social histories and case studies. I found people fascinating. I wrote church plays and monologues but never dreamed I could be a professional writer until my fifties. I retired early and set my heart toward publication. I did publish many short pieces but it took eleven years before my first novel was published.  I am hooked and can’t imagine doing anything else. Hubby said to me, “I don’t care if you make a plug nickel from writing. You’ve found your passion and should stick with it.” Gotta love a man like that.

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

LINDA: I’m fortunate to have my own office. Hubby’s computer and files are in here with me but he mostly uses the laptop on our kitchen counter. He’s happy there as he can computerize and watch television at the same time.  Me? I need the quiet away from distractions like music and television. Music makes me want to dance and it’s too hard when you’re typing. And I get lost in story studying when I watch television. Even on the Golf Channel.

JO: Do you always know the title of your books before you write them?  

LINDA: No. Titles grow on me. My non-fiction book was first called Proverbs for Moms. Then I invented a caricature called Daisy and rewrote the book as According to Daisy. I changed it to Growing Up with Kids and finally settled on I Prayed for Patience God Gave Me Children. I’m working on a novel with the same title. My Christmas best seller started out as Tomorrow Will Find Me then became It Really IS a Wonderful Life. Days of Vines and Roses, however, started out with that title and stayed with that title.

JO: Please tell us about Days of Vines and Roses.

LINDA: I wanted to write a book about marriage. One day I was mowing the lawn and cried because the yard was nothing but weeds. I thought about how much we neglect our marriages, letting weeds of personal agendas crowd the blooms of our love. Thus Sylvia and Henry came to life, a romance writer and her publisher husband who have lived apart for fifteen years. Sylvia, aka Lana Longstreet, convinces Henry to move into their Connecticut home for a summer. She is on a tight deadline and their centuries old rose gardens are in peril due to encroaching vines. Henry has never stayed at the home very long, blaming badly behaving ghosts who deride him. No one else sees them. But as the couple move toward reconciliation, the paranormal activity within the home increases…bent on keeping the couple apart. A pending lawsuit threatens to put the final rift between them. Not until they both surrender to God’s higher authority do they find renewal and peace. While the book has significant drama, it is also very humorous.

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

LINDA: It is my prayer that couples will see themselves through Sylvia and Henry and pledge to prevent the obsessions that nearly destroyed their marriage.

JO: Did you have to do any research for this book?

LINDA: Much. Although I am familiar with both New Haven and Manhattan, I had to research geography. I researched the American War of Independence and Connecticut’s role in the war. I researched Satanic oppression and home possession from Christians who experienced paranormal events in their homes. While doing so, I asked for prayer cover. I researched architectural designs and, of course, gardening, particularly roses. I can’t grow a thing.  How I wish I had Charlie Michael’s talent when it comes to restoring gardens.

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

LINDA: I’ve been writing professionally since 2001. I sold my first book eleven years to the date I committed my writing to God.

JO: 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?

LINDA: Be patient. Hone your craft. Build your platform. Network. Join writing groups. Attend conferences. Don’t be in a rush to self-publish.

JO: What are you working on now?

LINDA: I have several projects going on. I am writing a Christmas novella about a Country Western Singer and a journalist who is the caregiver for her autistic brother. I am working on a revision for a contracted book, Songs in the Valley, with Helping Hands Press. I am also working on another Adirondack suspense similar to The Other Side of Darkness, my award-winning book. And I am also working on the novel based on my non-fiction book, I Prayed for Patience God Gave Me Children. I am working on compiling my seven-years of columns for a local newspaper into a non-fiction series. In addition to these projects I am working on expanding my multi-author blog, Geezer Guys and Gals, as well as my devotional blog, This Daily Grind.

JO: What advice would you give to writers just starting out?

LINDA: Patience. Patience. Patience. Pray. Pray. Pray.  Rewrite. Rewrite. Rewrite.

JO: Please tell our readers where they can get your book.

LINDA: I Prayed for Patience God Gave Me Children is currently rated in Amazon’s top 100 of devotional books and is also available wherever ebooks are sold, including Nook and Kobo

Days of Vines and Roses is also available in ebook wherever ebooks are sold. Amazon, Nook, and Kobo.

My other books can be linked from my website www.lindarondeau.com.

JO: Please tell our readers where they can find you online.

LINDA: In addition to my website above, I am on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads.

JO: Any parting comment?

LINDA: Thanks for hosting me today.

JO: Thank you, Linda, for this interesting interview and for graciously offering a copy of one of your books to a winner from those commenting on this blog.


Remember: leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, April 28, 2013 and you'll be entered in the drawing for a copy of one of Linda Rondeau’s books. You must be eighteen, have a U.S. mailing address, void where prohibited. Please, please remember to leave your email address so that should you be the winner I can get in touch with you for your mailing address. I’ll announce the winner in Monday’s blog.

Till next time … keep on smiling.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Meet Mrs. Mary Jacob


I want you to get to know some of the characters of my novel That Summer. For the next few 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.

Beyond the Past,
 book 2 in the Caney Creek Series released last week. I have a few more characters to chat with from That Summer, then I'll start with characters from book 2.


Today I’m interviewing Mary Jacob, Caroline’s mother. She and her husband, Fred, live in Newton, Tennessee.


JO: Mrs. Jacob, may I have a few minutes of your time?

MARY: Of course, but please call me Mary.

JO: I’ve met your daughter, Caroline. She’s a beautiful young woman.

MARY: Yes, she is. Thank you.

JO: Have you lived here in Newton all your life”

MARY: No, I have not. I am from Chattanooga. I met my husband there at the birthday party of a mutual friend. Fred, my husband, lived here and when we were married, I moved to Newton.

JO: Do you like living in Newton?

MARY: Yes, I suppose so.

JO: You suppose so? You’re not sure?

MARY: There are two kinds of people who live in Newton. On the west side of town are the craftsmen and those who work at the mill. On the east side of town, where we live, is where the doctors, lawyers, and business owners live.

JO: Really? What does your husband do?

MARY: Fred owns the hosiery mill, the largest employer in the town. We live on Avery Street where our back lot borders Caney Creek. The creek winds behind all the homes on the east side of town.

JO: You have the one child, your daughter?

MARY: Yes, we have one child, Caroline. She has finished one year at Agnes Scott College. That is near Atlanta.

JO: It seems she isn’t at home this afternoon.

MARY: No, she is not. I hope she is out having fun with young people of those who live on this side of town.

JO: So, you’re selective of her friends?

MARY: I most certainly am! I do not want her spending time with those below our class. She needs to uphold our standards of living and be around those of like upbringing.

JO: You don’t think you’ve raised your daughter to intelligently choose her friends?

MARY: I have certainly tried. But she is spending time with a loading dock worker at the plant. He is not our type. I have forbidden her to be around him. I am sure she has heeded my advice. If she married someone like that young man, what kind of life would she have? A very poor one, I assure you! Not a life that she is accustomed to.

JO: But if Caroline is in love with someone below your class, would you stand in her way?

MARY: I most certainly would. We don’t marry beneath us!


The winner of last Thursday's blog post for a copy of Terri by Sharon Srock is Rose. I'll email you to get your mailing address and get the book out to you. Thanks all for commenting. Watch for more book giveaways.

Till next time … keep on smiling.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Win a Book!

Thursday Thoughts on Reading and Writing

When you leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, April 21, 2013 you'll be entered in the DRAWING for a copy of the book I review 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.


Terri by Sharon Srock


Our guest today is Sharon Srock and she has graciously offered a copy of her book to the winner of a random drawing from commenters to this blog post. Sharon lives with her husband, Larry, and two dogs in Rural Oklahoma. She is a mother, grandmother, and Sunday school teacher. Sharon has one and three-quarters jobs and writes in her spare time. Her favorite hobby is traveling with her grandchildren. She is a member of the ACFW and currently serves as treasurer for her local chapter. Sharon’s debut novel, The Women of Valley View: Callie, released in October 2012. The second in the series, The Women of Valley View: Terri releases in April 2013.

JO: Welcome, Sharon. Please describe yourself with three words.

SHARON: Determined, Organized, Busy

JO: Please tell us a little about your novel, Terri.

SHARON: A day care worker hungry for a family of her own falls for a writer with all the family he needs.

Despite a bustling day care center and a new foster child, Terri Hayes hungers for a family of her own. Then a plumbing mishap leaves her homeless and questioning God’s plan. Steve Evans’s gracious offer of his basement apartment as a temporary solution is an answered prayer.

Steve is a successful writer and a good father, but Terri is horrified when Steve’s book research leads him to a harsh confrontation with the parents of her foster child.  She needs to distance herself from Steve, but her efforts fall short as his two scheming daughters plot to make Terri their new stepmother.

Will harsh words and sneaky plans drive Kelsey’s family further apart and put a wedge between Terri and Steve? Or does God have another plan in store?

JO: Is Terri’s character based on any “real live” person?

SHARON: Nope. You will find me in Terri’s struggle to accept God’s will in her life, but she’s her own person.

JO: Tell us about your journey to getting this book published.
SHARON: Writing Callie (the first book in the series) was such a compulsion for me. I couldn’t get away from it, and I did try. I thought once it was “out of my system” things would go back to normal in my organized little life. I thought that all the way up to the morning I woke up with Terri’s whole story in my head. I was pretty convinced I was going crazy. Told some friends that “I quit”. That lasted about 24 hours.

JO: What takeaway value do you want your readers to have?

SHARON: That God knows our beginning and our end. That just because the path may look different than we imagined, it’s the final destination that counts.

JO: What novel have you recently read that impressed you that both teens and adults could enjoy?

SHARON: Vanished by Irene Hannon. Great suspense for all ages.

JO: I have a list of my 5 favorite novels I’ve read. Please tell us your 5 favorite novels of all time.

SHARON:
To Kill a Mocking Bird
I love the legend of Merlin and Arthur. This is a 4 book series by Mary Stewart that for me defines the “history” of these characters.
The Crystal Cave
The Hollow Hills
The Last Enchantment
The Wicked Day

JO: What people have inspired you in your writing career?

SHARON: My critique partner, Robin Patchen.
My good friend, Kaye Whiteman. She has been my chief cheerleader, prayer warrior, and designated encourager since I first picked up a pencil.

JO: If you could have dinner with one person from today or history who would it be?

SHARON: Merlin

JO: What do you find the most enjoyable about writing?

SHARON: The whole process amazes me. There are parts I don’t like (rewriting & editing) but watching words become characters and worlds, watching readers enjoy what God and I created…
What’s not to love?

JO: Do you have a nugget of writing advice that has completely changed how you view writing?

SHARON: Find a critique partner. Writing is not a solitary journey. Find someone that understands you and work together.

JO: Where can readers find you online?

SHARON:
Visit my BLOG.
Connect with me on Facebook.
Follow me on Twitter.
Find me on Goodreads.


JO: Where can readers purchase Terri?

SHARON: 
Here are purchase links for the eBook version of Terri:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Pelican book group


JO: Any parting comment?

SHARON: There is also a free 39-page PDF file that my publisher and I put together to introduce my women to readers. It can be downloaded here.

JO:  Sharon, thank you for spending time with my readers today and telling us about Terri. One of my readers will win the random drawing for a copy of Terri.



Remember: leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, April 21, 2013 and you'll be entered in the drawing for a copy of Terri by Sharon Srock. You must be eighteen, have a U.S. mailing address, void where prohibited. Please, please remember to leave your email address so that should you be the winner I can get in touch with you for your mailing address. I’ll announce the winner in Monday’s blog.



Till next time ... keep on smiling.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Meet James


Monday Meanderings

I want you to get to know some of the characters of my novel That Summer. For the next few 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.

Beyond the Past, book 2 in the Caney Creek Series releases this week. I have a few more characters to chat with from That Summer, then I'll start with characters from book 2.

Today I’m interviewing James Hensen who is the only child of Caroline Hensen. They live in Knoxville, Tennessee not far from the University of Tennessee campus.




JO: James, hello. You’re here on the University of Tennessee campus. Are you a student here?

JAMES: Yes, ma’am, I am.

JO: What year are you in? What are you studying?

JAMES: I’m in my third year. I’m thinking of going into pre-law and then on to law school here at UT.

JO: That’s a fine ambition. Your parents are probably proud of you.

JAMES: Well, it’s just Mom. She is proud of me. My dad died when I was a baby. Mom raised me by herself with some help from my Great Aunt Martha. I’m proud of my mom.

JO: So you never knew your dad? I guess that’s been tough.

JAMES: Yes. It has always been just Mom and me. All my grandparents are dead. Mom did a good job raising me and keeping us together. We’ve done well. She and I are my family.

JO: Where are you from, James?

JAMES: Here. I’ve lived my whole life here in Knoxville.

JO: So you don’t live on campus?

JAMES: No, ma’am, I live with my mom. We have a great house. It’s really near to the campus. Mom and I get along really well. You should meet her. She’s a fine lady. And a lady she is. She’s raised me right and I’m glad she did. She says I’ve never given her a day of trouble. She might be stretching the truth there a little.

JO: She’s probably not. You’re a well mannered young man. Do you have a girlfriend?

JAMES: I think I probably do. I’ve met this girl from down near Chattanooga. She is the sweetest thing. Pretty. My mom likes her. I took her home to eat with us and my mom seemed to get along fine with her.

JO: Since it’s always been just you and your mom, do you think your mom would ever be jealous of any girls you bring home?

JAMES: Mom, jealous? No, not a bit. She always wants what I want, what will  make me happy. We don’t argue. We may disagree sometimes but we always talk it out and everything ends up with both of us still smiling.

JO: Has your mom always lived here in Knoxville?

JAMES: Yes, I think so. She knows a lot about Atlanta because she went to a girls’ college down there. But we’ve always lived here.

JO: Where is your girlfriend from?

JAMES: She’s from a small town about half way between here and Chattanooga. She was a little shy when I first met her. She’s never been to a larger place like Knoxville. We hit it off right when we met. I’m helping her learn about the area and things to do here. We can talk about anything. She’s almost like family, we get along so well.

JO: I’m sure you’re a perfect gentleman and a great tour guide for her so she can learn her way around here. Do you see a future for the two of you?

JAMES: I don’t know about that. We sure do seem to have a lot in common. I guess you never know what the future holds.


The winner of last Thursday's blog post for a copy of Love's Journey by Kelly Irvin is JanetE. I'll email you to get your mailing address and get the book out to you. Thanks all for commenting. Watch for more book giveaways.


Till next time … keep on smiling.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Win a Book!


Thursday Thoughts on Reading and Writing


When you leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, April 14, 2013 you'll be entered in the DRAWING for a copy of the book I review 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    



Love’s Journey Home
by Kelly Irvin

Kelly Irvin is a Kansas native and has been writing professionally for 30 years. She and her husband, Tim, make their home in Texas. They have two children, three cats, and a tankful of fish. A public relations professional, Kelly is also the author of two romantic suspense novels and writes short stories in her spare time. To learn more about her work, visit Kelly's website.


From the book’s back cover:
It's been seven years since her husband died, but Helen Crouch is doing just fine. She's selling her jams and canned goods at the bakery and making a tidy living. But her whole world goes topsy-turvy when a new family moves to town. Gabriel Gless
has brought his children to Bliss Creek to escape the worldly influences in Indiana.



Helen and Gabriel have so much in common--the loss of their beloved spouses, the experience of raising their families alone, their rock-solid faith--so why can't they seem to speak without arguing?

And that's not all that's going on in Bliss Creek this summer. In the middle of a punishing drought, the community is faced with the decision to uproot their families and establish a new settlement. As families struggle to say goodbye, each one must find the faith to follow the Lord's direction.

From Jo:
Kelly Irvin writes so well about the Amish community, the reader will cheer for some characters and dislike others. To those on the outside the love story seems simple to bring about with the two people having things in common. But a conflict changes even their conversations into arguments. Irvin’s characters display the strength of the Amish and her settings are vivid.


Remember: leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, April 14, 2013 and you'll be entered in the drawing for a copy of Love’s Journey Home by Kelly Irvin. You must be eighteen, have a U.S. mailing address, void where prohibited. Please, please remember to leave your email address so that should you be the winner I can get in touch with you for your mailing address. I’ll announce the winner in Monday’s blog.

Till next time … keep on smiling.