Monday, July 29, 2013

Meet the Characters

I want you to get to know some of the characters of my novel Beyond the Past, Book 2 in the Caney Creek Series. This is the last interview of characters from Beyond the Past. Soon I'll be having book giveaways on Mondays and Thursdays. When Claiming Peace, book 3 in the series releases in September, I’ll start interviewing characters from that book. 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. Please read my note at the end of this interview.

Today I’m talking with Callie in Newton, TN.

JO: Hello, are you Callie Gray?

CALLIE: Yes, I am.

JO: Have you lived in Newton all your life?

CALLIE: No, ma’am, I used to live in the country up in Maple Hollow.

JO: Did you have a big family?

CALLIE: Not very big. My family was just my parents, my sister, and me. Then when our mother died, Dad married a school teacher.

JO: Did you and your sister get along with your stepmother?

CALLIE: Not too well. She had been an English teacher in town and she was always correcting our speech. We didn’t like that but in the long run it was good for us.

JO: Callie, did you want to leave when she kept correcting you?

CALLIE: Yes, and I did. I moved into town when I finished high school. I got a job in the hosiery mill and lived in Miss June’s boardinghouse.

JO: Did you date some when you moved into town?

CALLIE: Yes, I did. Later, my sister Louisa moved in with me. We spent a lot of time with two boys we met in town and at the fair. Louisa married Jim Callaway and I married Arthur Gray.

JO: Sounds like everything went well with both of you.

CALLIE: It did until the Great Depression hit. We had some tough years. I really had a hard time when Louisa died. Her little girl was just two years old. But we had to go on living.

JO: Did you and Arthur have children?

CALLIE: Yes, we had a boy and a girl.

JO: They were good children, I’m sure.

CALLIE: Yes and no. We’ve had some trouble with Art. He skipped school a lot then had a car wreck. He’d been drinking and that got us involved with the courts. We’ll just have to do what the judge tells us to.

JO: Has your girl given you any trouble?

CALLIE: No, she hasn’t. None at all. She has one more year of high school.

JO: Callie, you seem sad? Care to share what’s bothering you?

CALLIE: I’ve received a bad diagnosis from the neurologist. I have a rare, progressive brain disease. According to how fast the disease progresses, I could live a short while or up to ten years. I’m sad when I think of leaving Arthur and the children. God has a plan for all of us and when he chooses for my life to be over, I’ll have to leave them behind. I don’t want to, but I have faith in God to take care of them.

JO: You seem to have a good attitude about it all.

CALLIE: I try not to let Arthur and the children see when I get very sick. I don’t want to burden them. This disease is mine and I try to keep my troubles to myself.

JO: That’s admirable. But sometimes we do need someone to talk to. Do you have someone like that?

CALLIE: I have Arthur. He’s always been very attentive but even more so since I got sick. But, like I said, I don’t want to burden him until I absolutely have to. At the end I’ll have to be dependent on him and I’m sure he’ll take good care of me.


The winner of last Thursday's blog post for a signed copy of The Maze by Jason Brannon is KatieJ. 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.


NOTE: Many authors are forming a "launch team" to help when a new novel comes out. Book 3 of the Caney Creek Series releases in late September. Would you like to be a member of my launch team for Claiming Peace? If you'd like to help me get the word out about my next novel, please email me and in the subject line please put "launch team" or mention in a comment that you'd like to be included. My launch team will receive the latest news about the book before it comes out, get to see the cover when it's completed, send out postcards (I'll put stamps on them) announcing the book's release to your friends, and other bits of news along the way. Please let me know if you'd like to be a part of my launch team. Thank you so much.


Till next time ... keep on smiling.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Win a Book!

Thursday Thoughts on Reading and Writing

When you leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, July 28, 2013 you'll be entered in the DRAWING for a signed 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.      


The Maze by Jason Brannon

Jason Brannon stumbled through his own maze for much of his adult life and only recently found his way out. During his stint inside The Maze, he was the author of The Cage, Lake October, and numerous other dark fantasy titles. His fiction has been translated into German, nominated for awards, and even won a few. Since locating the exit to the labyrinth and escaping, he has made a home for himself in Amory, Mississippi where he enjoys spending time with his son and writing fiction that weaves faith and fantasy together.


From the book’s back cover:
A near death experience transports Jamie Burroughs into The Maze, a realm every bit as peculiar as Lewis Caroll’s Wonderland, yet engineered with the moral intent of C.S. Lewis’ Narnia. Built by angels and demons and filled with traps and riddles, The Maze gives whoever enters a face-to-face encounter with their sins.

For Jamie, The Maze becomes a terrifying journey through a world of darkness where his soul and the lives of those he loves hang in the balance. With his family in danger and his soul in peril, Jamie is forced to reevaluate the kind of man he truly is as he struggles to escape The Maze before it’s too late.

From Jo:
Jason Brannon gives The Maze vivid descriptions as Jamie finds himself inside a frightful maze with no exit in sight. I’m claustrophobic and I shared Jamie’s heightened anxiety as he searches for a way out of the maze. Inside the maze Jamie finds help from angels and fear from demons. He is reminded of and must face his past sins. What must he do to escape the maze? Answer that and he will have solved the riddle of the maze. As mentioned in Jason Brannon’s biography above, Jason weaves faith and fantasy together in this book. There is no doubt of God’s love for the one who sins. If you read books like The Maze, you’ll love this book. If you don’t read books like The Maze, Jason Brannon’s attention to details within the maze and his ultimate moral theme will please you. I read it and didn’t have nightmares so maybe you won’t either.



Remember: leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, July 28, 2013 and you'll be entered in the drawing for a copy of The Maze by Jason Brannon. You must be eighteen, have a U.S. mailing address, void where prohibited. Please, please remember to leave your email address or I cannot enter you in the drawing. I’ll need 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, July 22, 2013

Meet the Characters

I want you to get to know some of the characters of my novel Beyond the Past, Book 2 in the Caney Creek Series. Today and next Monday I’ll interview the last two 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 Terry Fields in Newton, TN.


JO: Hello. Are you Terry Fields?

TERRY: Yes ma’am, I am.

JO: Do you live in Newton, Tennessee?

TERRY: Yes, I do.

JO: Have you lived here all your life?

TERRY: No, ma’am. I’m from Johnson City, Tennessee. When I finished law school at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and passed my bar exam, I moved to Newton to work in the law firm of Rawlings & Walton.

JO: I suppose it’s not quite as cold here as it is in your hometown.

TERRY: That’s right but it’s cold enough here in Newton.

JO: Yes it is. Do you know the Callaway family?

TERRY: Yes, I do. They’re a fine bunch of folks.

JO: How do you know them?

TERRY: I helped the oldest son, Jim, in their family with some law work.

JO: What did you help him with?

TERRY: Ma’am, my work with Jim has to remain confidential.

JO: I understand. I heard, though, that you helped him when his baby sister, Emmajean, had some legal problems in Atlanta.

TERRY: That’s correct. But that’s all I can comment on that.

JO: That’s fine. Do you know Emmajean Callaway?

TERRY: Yes, I do.

JO: Just how well do you know her?

TERRY: I know her quite well.

JO: Do you get along with her family?

TERRY: Yes. They’re a great bunch of people. All the brothers and sisters get along fine. I grew up an only child and wish I could have some siblings.

JO: I guess it’s a little late for your parents to give you that now.

TERRY: You’re right. I’m thinking I might find a way to legally get into the Callaway family and then I’d have brothers and sisters.

JO: You have a sly look on your face. How could you do that?

TERRY: Remember, I’m a lawyer. I’m sure I could come up with something.

JO: Would that something have anything to do with Emmajean Callaway?

TERRY: It just might. I’ve been thinking a lot about that lately. That young lady needs someone to take care of her.

JO: Might that someone be you? Would her big brother, Jim, approve?

TERRY: That’s what I’ve been thinking. I’m working on it. And, yes, I believe Jim would approve.

JO: You have big plans there. I hope they turn out the way you want them to.

TERRY: Thank you. I hope so too.


The winner of last Thursday's blog post for a copy of Winds of Freedom by Rebecca Lyles is Barbara T. 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.

Thursday, July 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, July 21, 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.     

Winds of Freedom by Rebecca Carey Lyles


Today our guest is Rebecca Carey Lyles, author of Winds of Freedom. Rebecca grew up in Wyoming, the setting for her Kate Neilson novels. She currently lives in Idaho with her husband, Steve, where she serves as an editor and a mentor for aspiring authors and as a coach for women transitioning from prison to life on “the outside.”


JO: Please tell us a little about yourself.

BECKY: My hubby, Steve, and I celebrated 39 years of marriage on July 13. We are blessed with three great kids, a beautiful daughter-in-law, an almost son-in-law, and three gorgeous grandchildren. I’ve been writing for more than 30 years. Until my first novel was released last year, I wrote mostly nonfiction but was foolish enough to think the transition to fiction writing would be easy. Other authors may find fiction easy, but the learning curve for me was steep, and I continue to read how-to books, blogs and newsletters and attend workshops and conferences to help me grow as a fiction writer.

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

BECKY: I’ve lived in the West all my life, so am fond of tall mountains, far vistas and outdoor activities.

Thanks to two sets of homesteading grandparents and DIY parents, I also tend to be a DIYer. I’ve hung wallpaper, covered furniture, roofed houses, and made everything from stained glass art and needlework wall hangings, clothing, cushions and curtains, to calendars, designer t-shirts, soap, lotion and notecards, to yogurt, noodles, bagels, crackers, sauerkraut and kombucha tea.

I don’t know if you’d call this aspect of my personhood fun or unique, but it might interest readers to know that after experiencing toxemic pregnancies many years ago, I began studying nutrition and healthy living. You can read more at grandmagonegranola.wordpress.com.

JO: Please describe yourself with three words.
                  
BECKY: Determined, focused, grateful.

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

BECKY: In addition to walking, hiking and camping, I like to snowshoe and cross-country ski and I love to read (all kinds of stuff), study the Bible with my women’s Bible study group and hang out with my family and my writing friends.

JO: How did you become involved in writing?

BECKY: Although my high school English teacher encouraged me to go into journalism, I earned a Church Education degree from a Bible college. Before I had a chance to use the degree, Steve and I married and started having babies. When our first child was just beginning to walk around furniture, I saw a notice in the local paper for a community service writing class. Intrigued, I signed up for the class, found a babysitter and ended up writing a couple feature articles for the newspaper, thanks to the reporter who taught the class. I’ve written articles and stories for a variety of publications over the years and published two nonfiction books and two fiction books. I also edit fiction and nonfiction for a variety of authors and publishers.

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

BECKY: I am blessed with a great office that has big windows and a wonderful view of nearby mountains. In a couple of our former homes, my writing area was a dark corner in a windowless basement. Although not the most pleasant places to work, I probably had fewer distractions without windows. Even so, I love my sunny workspace.

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

BECKY: The titles for the Kate Neilson series came together over time, but for quite a while I planned to follow Winds of Wyoming with Winds of Change and then end with Winds of Freedom. However, as I wrote the second book, I realized Winds of Freedom was a more appropriate title than Winds of Change, which should be perfect for the third and final book in the series.

JO: Please tell us about Winds of Freedom.

BECKY: Here’s the back-cover blurb:

Winter storms blast across the West and fuel the bitter wind that ravages ranch-owner Kate Neilson Duncan’s soul. In the midst of shattered dreams, she learns her best friend has not only disappeared, she’s been accused of murder. Kate vows to find her and prove her innocence. When the Duncans’ Wyoming ranch is threatened and Kate's mother-in-law becomes ensnared by evil, Kate and her husband, Mike, join forces with their foreman to fight for all that is dear to them. Can the three ranchers defeat the lethal powers determined to destroy Kate, their loved ones and their ranch?

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

BECKY: I hope readers are reminded of the power of prayer and the value of hope (Romans 15:13) as well as the need to obey God’s Word and listen to his Spirit. I also trust they gain new compassion for those caught in circumstances beyond their control—or beyond their understanding.

JO: Where did you get the idea for your book?

BECKY: The idea for Winds of Freedom came years ago when the relative of a neighbor walked into an airport restroom and never came out—as far as her husband and children knew. Although they didn’t see her exit the restroom, she must have snuck past them wearing a disguise, because they later learned she’d snuck away to start a new life. Several weeks after her disappearance, she returned to pick up her clothing and other personal items. She didn’t tell her husband where she was living or what she was doing, only that she no longer had to clean house or take care of children. To add to the mystery, she was wearing a collar around her neck.

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

BECKY: For both Winds of Wyoming and Winds of Freedom, I had to research bison. They’re fascinating animals. I also spent time online and at the library looking up facts about Wyoming and other regions mentioned in the books. Quite a bit of the action in the second book takes place in another state.

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

BECKY: My first book, which was co-written with Larry Baker and titled “It’s a God Thing! Inspiring Stories of Life-Changing Friendships,” debuted in 2000. A couple years ago, I reprinted the book and made it available in paper and ebook formats online. People are still enjoying Larry’s stories!

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?

BECKY: Be teachable and tenacious, develop a tough skin and self-edit like crazy before you send your manuscript to anyone. Better yet, self-edit plus join a critique group. One book I recommend is “Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How to Edit Yourself into Print” by Renni Browne and Dave King.

JO: What are you working on now?

BECKY: I wish I could say I’d started the third book in the Kate Neilson trilogy; however, I probably won’t get to that until next fall (after our daughter’s wedding!). In the meantime, I’m gathering ideas for Winds of Change and editing my short stories to compile and sell online. I’m also editing a former classmate’s memoir and a World War II novel by a new author.

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

BECKY: Read, read, read, including how-to-write books, and write, write, write. Whether it’s a journal entry or an email to your mom or a chapter in your book, write something every day…well, almost every day. Vacations and breaks are good for the soul!

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

BECKY: My nonfiction books, It's a God Thing: Inspiring Stories of Life-Changing Friendships and On a Wing and a Prayer--Stories from Freedom Fellowship, a Prison Ministry, are available online (print and ebook formats) and can be ordered through bookstores.

Currently my indie publisher is offering Winds of Wyoming on Amazon (ebook and print formats) to take advantage of the KDP Select program. For the first three months following release, Winds of Freedom will be in the same program (and same formats) and then will become more readily available.

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

BECKY:
Website: http://www.beckylyles.com
Email: beckylyles@beckylyles.com
Facebook author page: Rebecca Carey Lyles
Twitter: @BeckyLyles

JO: Any parting comment?
BECKY: Thanks so much for letting me visit your blog, Jo. Bless you!

JO: Thanks for the interesting interview and for offering a copy of Winds of Freedom, which one of our commenters will win in a random drawing.

Remember: leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, July 21, 2013 and you'll be entered in the drawing for a copy of Winds of Freedom by Rebecca Lyles. You must be eighteen, have a U.S. mailing address, void where prohibited. Please, please remember to leave your email address or I cannot enter you in the drawing. I’ll need you 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, July 15, 2013

Meet the Characters

I want you to get to know some of the characters of my novel Beyond the Past, Book 2 in the Caney Creek Series. 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.

Today I’m talking with Shirley Ann in Newton, TN.


JO: Hello. Are you a member of the Callaway family?

SHIRLEY ANN: Yes, I am.

JO: Is your family a close-knit one?

SHIRLEY ANN: We’re all close together and love each other so much.

JO: How many of you make up the Callaway family?

SHIRLEY ANN: We were eight in all at one time. Then our tiny baby sister and our momma and poppa died. That left five of us brothers and sisters.

JO: Do you all live in Newton, Tennessee?

SHIRLEY ANN: Just three of us do right now. My baby sister just came home from Atlanta. My younger twin brothers are in the army in Korea. They’ve been in the army so long we wonder if they’ll make a career of it.

JO: Do the three of you who live in Newton have families?

SHIRLEY ANN: Yes and no. I’m married to Henry Frank who owns the Ford dealership in town. We have three teenage daughters. The oldest one of us is my brother, Jim, who owns the hosiery mill in town. He has a daughter in school in Knoxville, Tennessee. His wife died when their daughter was two years old. Emmajean is my baby sister and she’s not married.

JO: Do you work outside the home?

SHIRLEY ANN: Yes, ma’am I do. I’m a nurse at the hospital in the Emergency Room.

JO: I suppose that’s a stressful job, isn’t it?

SHIRLEY ANN: It can be. You just have to keep you head about you and take each case as the doctors direct you. I did have a rough time recently when Jim’s teenage nephew was brought in from a car wreck.

JO: I hope he’s okay from the wreck.

SHIRLEY ANN: He is. But now he’s in trouble with the law for drinkin’ and drivin’. And his mother has an awful disease.

JO: What is her awful disease?

SHIRLEY ANN: It’s somethin’ in her brain that’s not right. It makes her mighty sick sometimes.

JO: Have your girls given you any trouble, them being teenagers?

SHIRLEY ANN:  Not at all. I’m not just sayin’ that. You can ask anyone in town and they’ll tell you the same thing.

JO: Like you said earlier, your family sounds like they’re really close. You’re fortunate. Not all families get along that well.

SHIRLEY ANN: Yes, we are fortunate. We’ve all had to go through a lot of unhappiness at times. But we all stand beside each other in our troubles and help to carry our burdens.

JO: One for all and all for one—is that the way it is with the Callaways?

SHIRLEY ANN: Yes, it is. Except we can’t look out for our twin brothers in Korea. I hope and pray that they stay safe.



The winner of last Thursday's blog post for a copy of Ties That Bind by C.J. Darlington is Diana. 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.

Thursday, July 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, July 14, 2013 you'll be entered in the drawing for a copy of the book reviewed 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.    


Ties That Bind by C. J. Darlington

C. J. is the award-winning author of Thicker than Blood, Bound by Guilt, and Ties that Bind. She has been in the antiquarian bookselling business for over fifteen years, scouting for stores similar to the ones described in her novels before cofounding her own online bookstore.

In 2006 C. J. started the Christian entertainment Web site TitleTrakk.com with her sister, Tracy, and has been actively promoting Christian fiction ever since. She is a regular contributor to Family Fiction Digital Magazine and NovelCrossing.com. A homeschool graduate, she makes her home in Pennsylvania with her family and their menagerie of dogs, a cat, and a Paint horse named Sky. For the latest info on C. J., visit her website: http://www.cjdarlington.com



From the book’s back cover:
On a quest to find her father, a young woman discovers she has two sisters who have no idea she exists.

Newly released from prison, Brynn Taylor is determined to find her father, a man she’s never met. Her only clue to his whereabouts is an address she finds in a rare volume of Jane Austen’s Sense & Sensibility which he inscribed to her years ago. Armed with a bus ticket, a backpack, and her grandfather’s gun, her search leads her to Elk Valley, Colorado where her plans and her life begin to unravel.

From Jo:
Another compelling story by C. J. Darlington who presents characters who are real, with strengths and weaknesses. One sister runs a horse ranch and tames a lovable but rebelling horse. The other sister operates a bookstore and is always on the lookout for rare and antique books. Their deceased father left them two first edition volumes of a rare book, but where is the third book that belongs to the set? Characters in this story range from teenagers to an elderly aunt, which Darlington breathes life into. This is a story of a teenage phoenix who hits rock bottom and is challenged to make her way back to love and faith.


Remember: leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, July 14, 2013 and you'll be entered in the drawing for a copy of Ties That Bind by C.J. Darlington. You must be eighteen, have a U.S. mailing address, void where prohibited. Please, please remember to leave your email address or I cannot enter you in the drawing. I’ll need you 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, July 8, 2013

Meet the Characters

I want you to get to know some of the characters of my novel Beyond the Past, Book 2 in the Caney Creek Series. 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.


Today I’m talking with Mr. Bertrand Cox, an attorney in Atlanta.

JO: Mr. Cox, thank you for seeing me in your office.

MR. COX: You’re quite welcome. What can I do for you?

JO: I would like to talk with you about Emmajean Callaway. You know her, don’t you?

MR. COX: Yes, I know the young lady. Emmajean. Bless her heart.

JO: What do you mean?

MR. COX: She left home when she finished high school and came to this big city of Atlanta. She grew up on a farm and our town overwhelmed her.

JO: In what way did Atlanta overwhelm Emmajean?

MR. COX: She was naïve and trusted everybody. But, you see, everybody may not be trustworthy. She didn’t know that, never being in a big city before.

JO: How do you know Emmajean?

MR. COX: Emmajean got dragged into some trouble. Like I said, her trusting everybody got her into some trouble.

JO: What kind of trouble?

MR. COX: I can’t get into too many particular things, her being my client and all. But because she trusted everybody, she was in trouble before she realized it. She used her one telephone call to ask her big brother Jim to help her. But he was in Tennessee. His lawyer there telephoned me and asked if I would visit her where they were holding her in jail.

JO: So that’s where you met her, in jail?

MR. COX: Yes, that’s right. She sure was scared. Jim had told her he’d try to get a local lawyer to check on her. She was all torn up, a mess. We were talking when her brother arrived and she went to him like a kitten to milk. He tried to calm her down then she came back to the table where we were talking. Jim had brought a young attorney with him and I was afraid we’d have some trouble—I thought he was going to try to practice law in Georgia, which he couldn’t do. But he didn’t. He was there to support Jim.

JO: Were you able to defend Emmajean effectively?

MR. COX: I think my assistant and I did a fairly good job for Emmajean.

JO: How did you do that?

MR. COX: I did everything I knew to do to make the jury think she was as innocent of the charges as she looked. She was my only defense witness.

JO: Isn’t that unusual for only one defense witness to be the defendant?

MR. COX: It’s been done before but not too many times. But she was the best witness I could have used. The jury identified with her and that’s what I wanted. Of course every jury has at least one member who’s pigheaded and won’t go along with the others. I wasn’t sure whether we had anybody on this jury like that.

JO: Did you think she was innocent?

MR. COX: I did. But it didn’t matter what I thought. The only opinions that mattered were those of the twelve men on the jury. I did the best job I could to make them believe in her like I did.


The winner of last Thursday's blog post for a copy of On the Threshold by Sherrie Ashcraft and Christina Berry Tarabochia is Alice. 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, July 4, 2013

Win a Book!

Thursday Thoughts on Reading and Writing

When you leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, July 7, 2013 you'll be entered in the DRAWING for an eBook copy of the book 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 enter your name a second time in the drawing. You must be eighteen, have a continental U.S. mailing address, void where prohibited. You can read details about my book giveaways at Disclaimers.


On the Threshold
by Sherrie Ashcraft and Christina Berry Tarabochia


After fourteen years of hard work, Sherrie Ashcraft and Christina Berry Tarabochia are thrilled to announce the release of their novel, On the Threshold. Interested in how a mother and daughter can write a book together? Keep reading!

Why did you ladies begin writing this book? Both of us had always talked about writing a book, but fourteen years ago Sherrie said if we were ever going to write, maybe we should work on a book together. It would hold us accountable. We lived on different sides of the state of Oregon at the time, so we did a lot of it via e-mail, and once a month Sherrie would make the 250-mile drive to Christina's house and we'd work on it in person. We wanted to share a real look at depression and trying to be good enough to please God--what that might look like in a family's life.

Fourteen years? Really? That's from the first word penned. The very first contest we entered, we actually talked about how we needed to decide how to fight off all the editors who'd be making offers. Instead, we found out we had a lot to learn! Attending writing conferences and reading craft books brought our writing to a higher level.

Tell us about On the Threshold. We loved having the chance to tell this story! In fact, we have a few more stories to tell about these characters  if readers love this one. Here's what the book is about. Suzanne—a mother with a long-held secret. Tony—a police officer with something to prove. Beth—a daughter with a storybook future. When all they love is lost, what's worth living for? Suzanne Corbin and her daughter, Beth Harris, live a seemingly easy life. Suzanne has distanced herself from her past, replacing pain with fulfillment as a wife and mother, while Beth savors her husband’s love and anticipates the birth of their child. But all that is about to change. Like a sandcastle buffeted by ocean waves, Suzanne’s façade crumbles when her perfect life is swept away. Tragedy strikes and police officer Tony Barnett intersects with the lives of both women as he tries to discover the truth. Left adrift and drowning in guilt long ignored, Suzanne spirals downward into paralyzing depression. Beth, dealing with her own grief, must face the challenge of forgiveness. Can these two women learn to trust each other again? Will they find the power of God’s grace in their lives?

And a little about you? Mother/daughter writing team Sherrie Ashcraft and Christina Berry Tarabochia bring a voice of authenticity to this novel as they have experienced some of the same issues faced by these characters. They like to say they were separated at birth but share one brain, which allows them to write in a seamless stream. Both live in NW Oregon and love spending time together. Many years ago, they were both on a winning Family Feud team! Sherrie is the Women's Ministry Director at her church, and loves being the grandma of eight and great-grandma of one. Christina is also the author of The Familiar Stranger, a Christy finalist and Carol Award winner, and runs a thriving editing business. Please sign up for their Infrequent, Humorous Newsletter at Ashberry Lane for a chance to win cool prizes.  

Where else can we find you gals online?  Buy the book on Amazon or B&N or iTunes or in any other version on Smashwords. The print book will be available shortly--sign up for the newsletter and you'll be among the first to know when it appears on all the big retailing sites OR email us about buying a paperback directly from us. (Christina [at] ashberrylane [dot] net) www.twitter.com/authorchristina www.facebook.com/sherrie.ashcraft www.facebook.com/authorchristina www.christinaberry.net/ www.authorchristinaberry.blogspot.com 

Thanks for hosting us!

Jo: Thanks to you both for visiting with my readers. Sherrie and Christina have offered an eBook of On the Threshold, which one of our commenters will win in a random drawing. 


Remember: leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, July 7, 2013 and you'll be entered in the drawing for an eBook copy of On the Threshold by Sherrie Ashcraft and Christina Berry Tarabochia. You must be eighteen, have a continental U.S. mailing address, void where prohibited. Please, please remember to leave your email address or I cannot enter you in the book drawing. Should you be the winner I'll need your email address so 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, July 1, 2013

Meet the Characters

I want you to get to know some of the characters of my novel Beyond the Past, Book 2 in the Caney Creek Series. 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.

JO: Are you Emmajean Callaway, the girl who left home after high school graduation?

EMMAJEAN: Yeah, I am.

JO: Why did you leave so quickly?

EMMAJEAN: You don’t know how it was for me growing up. I wanted to leave that behind.

JO: How was it growing up?

EMMAJEAN: Well, I lived in the country in a small house for the size our family was. I’ve got three brothers and one sister and all of us slept in one bedroom with two beds. The three boys slept in one of them and me and my sister slept in the other bed. In the summer it was so hot at night I didn’t get much sleep and in the winter the house was cold at night but my big sister wrapped her arms around me so I stayed warm, except for my head.

JO: What about your parents?

EMMAJEAN: Momma and Poppa used the other bedroom. My momma loved me so much and I loved her. She’d let me help her churn the milk to make butter.

JO: What about your daddy?

EMMAJEAN: Well, about when I started to school my poppa turned real mean. He treated the boys awful bad and our sister and me we were afraid of him. He made the boys help him on the farm he rented. We didn’t own the land or the house or barn. We almost never had any money. On Saturdays Momma and Poppa would go into town and sell eggs and vegetables on the courthouse square in Newton. They made us stay at home. My oldest brother, Jim, had to look after the rest of us while they were gone.

JO: So you left the farm. How did you leave if you didn’t have any money?

EMMAJEAN: During high school I worked some little part-time jobs in town and I saved just about all of what money they paid me. So when I graduated I bought a bus ticket and went to Atlanta.

JO: Why did you go to Atlanta?

EMMAJEAN: Well, some of my school teachers told me I could draw really good. I was always drawing things when I guess I should have been reading my lessons. So when the teachers bragged on my drawings I thought I’d go to Atlanta. You see, Atlanta had a lot of companies in the fashion industry and I thought I’d go down there and get a job drawing dresses and things for them. But I was crazy to think I could just walk in a place as big as Atlanta and get any job I wanted.

JO: Did you get a job?

EMMAJEAN: Yeah, I got a job but it wasn’t like I thought it would be. I worked at one of the fashion places but I didn’t get to draw. I was just an errand girl for everybody. I didn’t make much money, either. So to help me pay my rent I got a job as a waitress. That paid me more and I got tips besides.

JO: So then everything went okay from then?

EMMAJEAN: Well, no they didn’t. This girl and me rented an apartment together. Then at the diner where I worked this guy got real friendly with me and asked me out on a date.

JO: That sounds good.

EMMAJEAN: I thought so too. But he asked me to do some things for him and I did. He sure did pay me a lot of money for just carrying a little paper bag to cars at a drive-in. I had more money than I’d ever seen at home on the farm.

JO: So you’re living in Atlanta where you wanted to be and had a second job. You had some money. Sounds like everything was going great for you.

EMMAJEAN: It did for a while.

JO: What do you mean?

EMMAJEAN: This friend from the diner I was doing things for didn’t really watch out for me and got me in a heap of trouble.

By the way, that’s me on the cover of Beyond the Past! You'll have to read the book to find out who the man behind me is.


The winner of last Thursday's blog post for a copy of Crack in the Ice by Deanna Klingel is eyeballlucy. 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.