Leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Tuesday, September 1, 2015 to 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 sidebar “Join This Site” and “Follow by Email”), I'll add your name a second time in the drawing. U.S. mailing address required to receive a paper book. Read book giveaway details at Disclaimers. To provide you security, please leave your email address like this: johnATyahooDOTcom. Winner announced in next Thursday's blog post.
CHAPEL SPRINGS SURVIVAL
Ane Mulligan writes Southern-fried fiction served with a tall, sweet iced tea. She firmly believes coffee and chocolate are two of the four major food groups. Novelist and playwright, Ane is the executive director of Players Guild@Sugar Hill, a new community theater. President of the award-winning literary site, Novel Rocket, she resides in Sugar Hill, GA, with her artist husband and two dogs of Biblical proportion. You can find Ane at her website, Novel Rocket, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+
Read, in Ane's words, about what sparked the story of her upcoming release, Chapel Springs Survival:
Chapel Springs Revival was sparked by an overheard conversation. The sequel was a bit different. You see, one day I got a phone call from our eldest son.
"Hey, Mom. I emailed you some pictures. Take a look and call me back." Click.
He hung up. Without asking how I was. I hurried to my computer.
I opened his email, and the first photo was of a nice looking, very Latin appearing young woman. Something told me she wasn't from here. I clicked on the second photo—a photo with her in a wedding dress.
I hit speed dial.
It seems Michael, a widower with two children, had gotten himself a 21st Century mail order bride. He met her in a chat room for women in Columbia, South America, to meet and marry American men. They communicated for a year, then he flew to Columbia and married her.
Without us knowing anything.
He came back and spent the next year trying to get her into the U.S. legally.
Did I mention it was without us knowing anything?
He didn't tell us until she got here. Our two grandchildren knew. His brother knew. But we didn't. Do you remember that old margarine commercial, where the woman said, “It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature” and zapped someone?
That’s what I said. I told him for not telling me, it was going in a book. And it did.
Now, I have to tell you that any similarity between our son's story and my book stops there. Our daughter-in-law turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to our Michael. We adore her and our two step-grandsons and the newest Mulligan grandson.
Now, that wouldn't have made a good story. There was no conflict. But add Claire Bennett into that mix, and there's plenty. To find out how it turns out, be sure to pre-order Chapel Springs Survival, releasing December 3rd.
Here’s an excerpt from Chapel Springs Survival:
(The book's cover will be made using this painting done by Ane's artist-husband.)
Like shot pinball, Claire Bennett pinged against, around and between hordes of straw hats, bikinis, and plaid shorts. All along Sandy Shores Drive, shoulder-to-shoulder throngs of people crowded the sidewalk and spilled into the avenue. A party atmosphere—with noise level to match—permeated the quiet morning and their once peaceful village.
What had they done? When she and her friends envisioned the revitalization of Chapel Springs, it was a nice, controlled rise in tourist trade—not this craziness.
One bruised elbow later, Claire reached the door of her art gallery, The Painted Loon, and turned her key in the lock. A heavy hand grasped her shoulder. Her heart skipped a beat. Was she about to be robbed?
Hold on. In broad daylight? With this crowd watching? She may not be the brightest color on the palette, but she did possess a little common sense. Her gaze traveled up the beefy arm to a scraggly-bearded face with beady eyes. A rolled red bandana wrapped around his forehead, held back salt-and-pepper hair. Beside him stood a bleached-blonde motorcycle mama, dressed in a halter-top and the skimpiest shorts Claire had ever seen. Strings hung from their ragged edges and drew attention to the lumpy cellulite dotting the back of her thighs. Who was this woman trying to kid? She was fifty if she was a day.
"You're the loon lady," Motor-mama said. "We want to see your pots." They tried to shoulder their way into the gallery, but Claire stood her ground.
"I'm sorry, we aren't open yet. Please come back at ten." She threw the deadbolt, pulled down the window shade, then leaned her back against the door and drew in air. The familiar scent of lemon oil-rubbed wood with the underlying twang of turpentine surrounded her like a security blanket.
After rattling the door handle a few times, the couple retreated. Claire released her breath in a whoosh as she slipped into the back workroom, where she and her gallery-partner-slash-best friend, Patsy Kowalski, created their art. And, Claire had to admit, a problem for Chapel Springs. The review they received last year—Patsy for her paintings and Claire for pottery—had put them on the art world's radar.
Between that and the town's cleanup campaign, Chapel Springs attracted half the population east of the Mississippi. Then Rod Campbell, Nashville's newest country heartthrob, strolled into The Painted Loon one day and bought some artwork. He told a Hollywood producer about them, and the producer told one of his starlets, who was an art collector.
Now Chapel Springs was filled with stargazers. Their quiet little village by the lake had become the trendy place to visit in north Georgia. Because Claire had come up with the revitalization plan, the mayor blamed her for the ensuing problems. And problems were plentiful. College kids decided their little village was the perfect party town. Aside from their noise and litter, and traffic congestion on the main road through town, Chapel Springs didn't have enough rentable living space for more than a couple hundred overnighters.
Peeking out the back door, she found the coast clear and sprinted for Dee's 'n' Doughs. One of Dee's apple fritters and fortifying high-test coffee would go down good. Then Claire and her friends, all local entrepreneurs, could strategize a way to survive this pickle.
She slipped into the bakery's rear entrance and was immediately plunged into gastronomic delight by the heady aroma of sugar and spice. It made her want to lick the air. Dee stood next to a large industrial mixer, pouring milk into its stainless steel bowl. Claire waved but between concentration and the noise of its motor, Dee didn't look up. However, her new assistant, Trisha, who was elbow deep in a huge batch of some wonderful concoction, did look up and frowned. With the back of her wrist, she rubbed the side of her nose, leaving a trail of flour.
Claire waggled her fingers as she passed by. "I'm avoiding the foot traffic out front."
"Well, just don't touch anything."
Sheesh. Even a newcomer knew her infamous reputation for calamity. She had hoped being elected to the town council would have brought her a modicum of respect. But no such luck. She was still the town's favorite joke. If Henderson’s hadn't had a Halon fire alarm system in the cooking school, it wouldn't have been a big story.
Maybe if she ran for council chairwoman she could change her personae—become a purveyor of wisdom instead of a diva of disaster.
A mail-order bride, a town overrun with tourists,
and illegal art.
Can Claire and Chapel Springs survive?
Claire Bennett's Operation Marriage Revival succeeded and life is good. That is until the mayor's brother blabs a secret: Claire's nineteen-year-old son has married a Brazilian mail order bride. When Claire tries to welcome her, she's ridiculed, rebuffed, and rejected. Loving this girl is like hugging a prickly cactus.
Lydia Smith is happily living alone and running her spa—then the widow on the hill becomes a blushing bride. Then her groom's adult son moves in—on everything.
From the first sighting of a country music star in The Painted Loon, Chapel Springs is inundated with stargazers, causing residents to flee the area. When her best friends put their house on the market, Claire is forced to do something or lose the closest thing to a sister she’s got.
With her son's future at stake and the town's problems to solve, it's Claire's who needs a guardian angel.
To learn more about pre-orders or purchase of Chapel Springs Survival check Ane's Amazon author page.
Ane, thank you for visiting with my readers and me. One commenter will win an eBook copy of Chapel Springs Survival when it comes out, which you have offered. (Commenters, please remember to leave your email address so I can enter you in the book drawing! If you win, I'll need your email address to contact you.)
The winner of last Thursday’s blog post for a copy of Plum Upside Down by Valerie Comer is Trixi. I’ll email you. Thanks all for commenting. Watch for more book giveaways.
Till next time … keep on smiling.