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Happy Tuesday, Readers. Today we welcome Sharon Srock to Home Thoughts. Sharon has a brand new romance out called Pam. At the end of this interview you can win a free electronic copy of Pam. Just leave Sharon a comment! She also has a free novella download available too! But first, here is a little something aboutPam:

perf5.500x8.500.inddPam’s divorce broke her heart. The cruelty of her ex-husband broke her spirit. A bottle of sleeping pills almost took her life. Four years later the scars of Alan Archer’s emotional abuse are beginning to fade under the love of her new husband. When Alan returns to Garfield, Pam must learn that buried secrets and carefully cultivated indifference do not equal forgiveness. Alan Archer has returned to Garfield with a new wife and a terminal heart condition. His mission? To leave a Christian legacy for his children and to gain Pam’s forgiveness for the sins of his past. Two hearts hang in the balance waiting for the delicate touch of God’s healing hands.

What do you hope readers will take away from your story?
That forgiveness isn’t always easy, but it is required. When we hold a grudge, when we bury that hurt we tell ourselves that we’re making “them” suffer. The reality is we are only hurting ourselves.

What are you working on now?
THE WOMEN OF VALLEY VIEW: SAMANTHA is currently under review with my publisher. I’m writing, furiously, on THE WOMEN OF VALLEY VIEW: KATE. Story threw me a curve this week and I’ve got some serious editing I need to do before I go any further.

Author Sharon Srock went from science fiction to Christian fiction at slightly less than warp speed. Twenty five years ago, she cutSharon Srock her writer’s teeth on Star Trek fiction. Today, she writes inspirational stories that focus on ordinary women using their faith to accomplish extraordinary things. Sharon lives in the middle of nowhere Oklahoma with her husband and three very large dogs. Her books include: The Women of Valley View: Callie and The Women of Valley View: Terri, both of which are currently available. The Women of Valley View: Pam released  11 April 2014.

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Connect with her at www.sharonsrock.com..

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SharonSrock#!/SharonSrock Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6448789.Sharon_Srock

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/sharonlsrock/boards/

Please visit her AMAZON page to find current info on her books: http://www.amazon.com/Sharon-Srock/e/B009OB2HSO/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Free PDF: MEET THE WOME OF VALLEY VIEW:

http://pelink.us/wovvbonus

Free Novella: FOR MERCIE’S SAKE

http://www.amazon.com/For-Mercies-Sake-Sharon-Srock-ebook/dp/B00I6MYBSG/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_d_3

Thanks so much for visiting, Sharon. And readers, leave a comment here to be entered in a drawing for Pam. Drawing in one week!  If you don’t want to wait, here’s the link to get your copy:

Enjoy your Easter holiday!  ~ Mary

Happy Tuesday, readers, and welcome to April. Today is the release of A Plain Man, my Amish romance from Harvest House, along with the debut of Romance on the River for free. That’s right, free for Kindles or other electronic device downloads. And this is not an April Fool’s joke. Romance on the River is a sweet little short story set in Marietta, Ohio in the early days of the Civil War…a bit of a prequel to The Quaker and the Rebel. If you’re thinking you might like to try my brand of historical fiction without going into debt, you can’t beat free.  Romance on the River

Here’s a summary: Summer 1861—Emily Harrison is finding life a bit overwhelming. Alone on her family’s farm, she must take on the roles of both housekeeper and farmer. She cares for the garden, makes plans for planting the fields, and milks the cows, all the while creating havoc in the home her mother used to keep immaculate. That is in addition to providing a safe house as part of the Underground Railroad. In the midst of this whirlpool of swirling tasks, she is getting ready to greet very important dinner guests—the love of her life and her pastor and his wife. Will Matthew finally propose? What news does Reverend Ames bring that turns Emily’s world upside down? How does the new war between the North and South impact her life? And…will the goose be cooked in time?

Here is the link from Amazon for your free download. Remember, Romance on the River is available for other electronic reading devices as well.

I hope you’ll get your free copy and let me know what you think! Have a super week, readers, and don’t forget my Amish romance A Plain Man is also available today for electronic download from all outlets.  ~ MaryQuaker and the Rebel, The

A Plain Man

A Plain ManHappy Thursday, readers,
There is nothing more exciting in an author’s humble life than when a new book releases. Day after day, writers sit cloistered in our offices pounding away at keyboards. Lunch in another room of the house becomes the highlight of our days. But today I’m tickled to announce my newest Amish romance is here. A Plain Man is the story of a prodigal son who comes home. Although Caleb Beachy tried the Englisch world for several years, he is a Plain man at heart. When he returns to the Amish lifestyle, he discovers there’s more to embracing his faith and reconnecting with the community than driving a horse and buggy and giving up his Levis. He struggles with his domineering father, the oppressive rules of his district and with the paralyzing guilt from past mistakes. Josie Yoder was just a girl when he left, but she’s all grown up now and still has a soft spot for Caleb. But Caleb carries enough shame and self-loathing to derail even a well-established relationship. Josie might be the love of his life, but will past sins end up destroying their fledgling romance?

I hope you’ll enjoy the story of a wounded heart finding joy, health, and healing in God’s infinite grace. Sign up for my newsletter from my website: www.maryellis.net for a chance to win one of 10 signed copies of A Plain Man on April 15th. If you’re already signed up, you’re in the drawing! For an additional chance to win, please leave me comment here on my blog!  A Plain Man is already available at CBD now and will release April 1st at Amazon and in stores. Here’s the links:

http://www.christianbook.com/a-plain-man-mary-ellis/9780736949804/pd/949804?event=Fiction

http://www.amazon.com/Plain-Man-Mary-Ellis-ebook/dp/B00I2YDBVQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1395331248&sr=1-1&keywords=a+plain+man

Have a great week, readers, and happy spring!! Mary

 

Quaker and the Rebel, The

Happy Wednesday Readers! Without further ado, here is the winner of Vow Unbroken, by Caryl McAddo from last week’s drawing:  Linda Dietz. Linda, please contact me privately if I don’t get ahold of you first.

While preparing to write The Quaker and the Rebel, book one of my Civil War series of romances, I was pleasantly surprised to discover Ohio’s pivotal role. Being a northern and decidedly “Yankee” state, Ohio provided a multitude of soldiers and officers to the Union Army. Several leading generals hailed from Ohio including Ulysses S. Grant, William T. Sherman and Philip Sheridan. Five Ohio-born officers would later serve as President of the United States. As the third most populousstate, Ohio sent 320,000 volunteers to the Union ranks, behind only New York and Pennsylvania. Since only two minor battles were fought within its borders, the state was spared the destruction suffered by Virginia, the Carolinas, Georgia, and Pennsylvania. However Morgan’s Raid in the summer of 1863 spread terror among the citizens. Morgan’s division of Confederate cavalry rode through southern and eastern counties until his capture in Columbiana County. My central character, Alexander Hunt, is a fictional composite of John Hunt Morgan and John Singleton Mosby, who wreaked havoc in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

Ohio also had a crucial role in the Underground Railroad. No actual railroad existed for their path to freedom and it certainly wasn’t underground. Slaves on southern plantations passed information by mouth of mouth. Guides pointing out the way were called “conductors” and homes offering hiding places were called “stations.” Most runaway slaves traveled on foot at night, often guided north by the stars on their way to Canada. Follow the “drinking gourd” became a common refrain among escaped slaves. Approximately 40,000 runaways traveled through Ohio, assisted by Quakers and others with abolitionist views in 700 safe-houses throughout the state. Once across the river in a “free” state, slaves still faced capture by bounty hunters due to the passage of the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850. My Quaker heroine, Emily Harrison, continues her clandestine Underground activities while working as a governess for a wealthy planter. What joy I had doing research close to home, and how proud I am of Ohio’s role during this turbulent period of America’s past.

Have a great week, readers!

 

Good Monday morning, readers. Today I am delightful to welcome Caryl McAdoo, a fellow Seymour Agency sibling to Home Thoughts. Caryl’s debut romance, Vow Unbroken, releases tomorrow 3-4. If you leave a comment at the end of the post, you’ll be entered in a drawing for a free copy.Caryl McAddo

Caryl, please tell us a little bit about your book: A spunky young widow hires a veteran with a bad reputation to help her get her cotton to market in Jefferson, and sparks fly—but can she marry a man without the blessing of her estranged father? Susannah Baylor believes her cotton crop is sold to a local businessman and waves goodbye to her neighbors’ wagon train. Four days later, the charlatan buyer tries to bilk her offering only half what he originally agreed to pay. Left with few choices, she reluctantly hires Henry Buckmeyer to help get both her wagons along the Jefferson Trace, the hard trail between her Northeast Texas farm and the cotton buyers at the port. It won’t matter that it’s her best crop ever if she doesn’t get a good price; she’ll be forced to sell off the land her husband and his brother left to her and the children. Henry’s reputation as a drunken lay-about is well known, and she’s prepared for insolence, but not for his irresistible good looks or gentle manner. Romance soon entwines her heart with his, but she’s made a vow to marry only with her father’s blessing, and learning Henry doesn’t really know God further complicates everything. Plenty of dangers arise on the trace—but none so difficult as the desires of her heart. Will love overcome all? Can she get her crop safely to market and sell it for enough? In this heartening and adventurous tale, Susannah’s family, fortitude, and faith are put to the ultimate test.

Sounds divine! Now I’ll tell you a little bit about this debut author: Caryl McAdoo and her husband Ron—high school sweethearts—live with four grandsons in the woods south of Clarksville, the county seat of Red River County in Northeast Texas. She enjoys four-wheeling over the 916-acre McAdoo Ranch, horseback riding, and singing the new songs God gives her. For every blessing in her life, including ten children (counting in-loves) and fourteen grand-sugars, Caryl credits her relationship with the Lord, and her heart’s desire is to glorify Him.

I asked Caryl 3 questions: What prompted you to write Vow Unbroken…what was your inspiration? Mary Sue Seymour, my agent, was my sole prompt to write VOW UNBROKEN. We met at a little East Texas writers’ conference, and she liked my writing from a sample chapter sent, but it didn’t fit her favorite genre. She told me, “If you write
me a historical Christian romance set in 1800s, I will sell it.” Reminded me of if you will build it, they will come. They did, and so did Mary Sue!  My inspiration came from a colleague’s read at our Red River Writers’ Workshop in Clarksville. The retired teacher researches and writes of this area’s rich history. He’d read about the early farmers who joined together in wagon trains to carry their harvests to market. Sounded like a hard journey for a young widow with two wagonloads of cotton who missed the train! Voila!

What to you hope your readers will take away from the story (besides pure enjoyment!) and what did you learn about yourself during the writing? I hope readers will get to the last page of VOW UNBROKEN and know how great and faithful and merciful and awesome our God is; that they will know they are closer to Him and trust Him more after reading my book. I pray every reader will take away a better understanding of how very much God loves them! From writing VOW, the Lord made it crystal clear to me that if He forgives me and the Blood has wiped my slate clean, then I’m bound to also forgive myself or I mock that precious Sacrifice at Calvary.

What are you working on now? The next Lone Star Novel HEART STOLEN is already complete and at Howard. The third of the Red River County Chronicles HOPE REBORN is more than halfway done, but I started a new contemporary novel that needed some titles as there are many writers in it. When the title THE BEDWARMER’S SON came up with this first line ‘He sold us right before he married that fancy lady from England then bought us back the next Spring.’ And refused to be forgotten, so I dropped all the rest and that is my new work-in-progress, set in 1858 and 1928. I love how a story wants to be written, won’t leave you alone! I suppose it’s Holy Spirit in me, wouldn’t you agree? He always has a purpose and I always try to listen and trust and follow where He leads!

http://www.CarylMcAdoo.com

http://www.facebook.com/CarylMcAdoo/author

http://www.CarylMcAdoo.blogspot.com

VOWUNBROKENCOVWhere can readers find your book: 

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Vow-Unbroken-Novel-Caryl-McAdoo/dp/1476735514

Deeper Shopping http://www.deepershopping.com/item/mcadoo-caryl/vow-unbroken/5982209.html

Readers, answer this question for a chance to win a free copy of VOW UNBROKEN: What have you faced that seemed too big to ever accomplish, but with God’s help, you surprised yourself and did it?

Drawing in one week! Good luck everyone, and have a great week. ~ Mary

Happy Thursday readers, a frequent question writers are asked when they’re first published: Is this the first book you ever wrote? Often on television talk shows we hear about so-and-so’s first book hitting one of the coveted bestseller lists. Although there are exceptions to the rule (J.K. Rowling comes to mind….) in most cases, the book in question is the first published work. The writer might have penned any number of novels before creating a story that resonated with an editor or agent, and then finally with readers. For me personally, I was first published in romantic suspense set in the South. Then I happily changed genres to Amish romances since I’d been fascinated with their simple lives for years. After twelve novels set in the Amish world I was ready for another change, but didn’t wish to venture too far from romance. Everyone falls in love, right? Including people in bygone eras whose lives were simpler than how we live now.

So I decided to dig out two historical romances I’d written first, a dozen years ago. “Should you do that?” asked my practical husband. “Can you go back to something you wrote before you learned all the ‘rules’ and developed your voice?” He was giving me the same look like the time I announced, “I think we should retire in Costa Rica where the cost of living is less.” I assured him that I could do this. After all, I loved those stories when I created them, even though my agent said no one was interested in Civil War fiction at the time. The Quaker and the Rebel, first in the Civil War Heroines series, was my first baby. I dusted her off and breathed in new life with better plotting, sentence structure, and inner conflicts, and reduced redundancies and unnecessary verbiage. Bottom line? The rewrite took twice as long then if I burned the manuscript and started from scratch, and required more high-test coffee than I drank in four years of college.Quaker and the Rebel, The

I know what you’re thinking: Hubby was right. But I ended up preserving every sweet nuance and historical detail that had originally intrigued me, in an easy-to-read structure and format. The best of both worlds! Would I do it again if I discovered two more novels waiting to be revived in my sock drawer? Only if I’m sitting on the beach in Costa Rica, sipping a cool drink, with plenty of time on my hands.

The second book in the series, The Lady and the Officer, releases this summer from Harvest House Publishers.Lady and the Officer, The

Happy reading….Mary

Yes, it’s time once again for “Everything you wanted to know about Amish authors but were afraid to ask.” Of course, maybe you aren’t afraid to ask but just haven’t known whom to ask. Well, wonder no further. Jennifer Beckstrand has gathered eight Amish authors together to ask them the burning questions. If you have a question for our authors, please send Jennifer a message via her website (link at end), and we will do our best to answer it in a future blog.

We all have childhood memories of special books. What are some of the books that inspired you as a child?

Mary Ellis: I adored Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I got the impetus to become a writer “when I grew up” from Jo March. I received my first copy around 8 (a highly abridged illustrated edition.) I now own several editions, my favorite being a 1904 copy published by Little, Brown, and Company of Boston. On my bucket list is to find a first edition released by the University Press in Cambridge, Mass. I have been to her childhood home, Orchard House, where she penned her lovely tale in Concord, Mass. Okay, now you know I’m a Louisa groupie!<img alt=”” src=”http://feministclassics.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/jw_smith_pix_bookcover.jpg” width=”170″ height=”237″ />

Vannetta Chapman: My grandmother was a writer, and I can remember sitting with her books in my lap. They were home economics books that had been translated into many different languages. I couldn’t actually read them, but I’d hold them and flip through the pictures. It was very special knowing my grandmother had written them.

Kelly Irvin: All the Little House on the Prairie books, A Wrinkle in Time, Little Women, The Changling, Harriet the Spy, The Oregon Trail. Nancy Drew mysteries. LOL. I read everything I could get my hands on as a kid. I lived at the public library, going to story hour every week and working as a volunteer shelving books when I was old enough. I think I read every book at the Robert Louis Stevens children’s section of the Abilene Public Library!

Shelley Shepard Gray: I mainly remember reading all of the Nancy Drew books, followed by all of the Agatha Christie novels. I don’t really write mysteries, but those books definitely inspired me to want to create characters that people want to get to know. Those books also spurred an interest in collecting books. At one time I had all the Agatha Christie books lined up in chronological order. That’s kind of a big deal for me, since I don’t even put soup on the same shelf in our pantry.

Amanda Flower: Charlotte’s Web, The Baby-sitters Club, Anything by Beverly Cleary, James and Giant Peach

<img alt=”” src=”http://mybookwormblog.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/charlottes-web1.jpeg” width=”146″ height=”222″ />Amy Clipston: My favorite book when I was a little girl was Elizabeth by Liesel Moak Skorpen. It’s out of print now, but I have a copy that I cherish. I also knew Good Night Moon by heart. My mother would turn the page, and I would recite it. When I was in junior high I read The Outsiders until the book fell apart. I also knew the movie by heart. I recently bought a set of S.E. Hinton books for my older son. He hasn’t opened one yet, but I’m not giving up hope yet!

Jennifer Beckstrand: Where the Red Fern Grows was one of those life-changing books for me. I remember sitting on the rug in Mrs. Hershey’s fourth grade class enthralled as she read to us. I think I have read that book to every one of my children. One of my favorite memories is sitting on the bed with my boys reading the last pages of the story, all three of us crying like babies when the dogs died.

Charlotte’s Web and The Outsiders are other tear-jerkers that really had an impact on me.

Amy Lillard: I think I had a lot of different reading material than most. I loved the Hardy Boys Mysteries (Not Nancy Drew but the Hardy Boys). I also loved the Miss Pickerell series, about a little old lady who manages to get into all sorts of trouble. But my favorite of all was a book called Shadow Castle.

What are your 4 or 5 favorite classic novels?

Mary Ellis: Gone With the Wind, Cold Mountain, Killer Angels, Great Expectations, The Stand

Vannetta Chapman: Jane Eyre, Little Women, Anna Karenina, Grapes of Wrath<img alt=”” src=”http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/7/79/To_Kill_a_Mockingbird.JPG” width=”145″ height=”214″ />

Kelly Irvin: That is so hard! To Kill a Mocking Bird. Gone with the Wind. Anna Karenina, Doctor Zhivago, The Count of Monte Cristo, Gaudy Night

Shelley Shepard Gray: Gone with the Wind, To Kill A Mockingbird, Little Women, Murder on the Orient Express, Cannery Row

Amanda Flower: Charlotte’s Web, To Kill a Mockingbird, Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Stuart Little

Amy Clipston: The Outsiders, Farewell to Arms, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends, A Light in the Attic, and Falling Up

Jennifer Beckstrand: Pride and Prejudice–my all-time favorite book, The Count of Monte Cristo, The Help, My Name is Asher Lev, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Ender’s Game, Ella Enchanted

Sorry, I can’t choose just 5!

Amy Lillard: I love To Kill A Mockingbird. That’s my all time favorite. I read it every year or so. I also love 1984, Of Mice and Men, and Lord of the Flies. All very different from what I write.

I love seeing what we all have in common as well as our differing tastes. To Kill a Mockingbird and Little Women show up quite a bit.

Have you ever used a personal experience in one of your books? Would you like to tell us about it? 

Mary Ellis: I use personal experiences in just about all my books. The trick for the reader is to figure out what’s fact and what’s fiction in my stories.

Vannetta Chapman: Oh, golly yes! Whenever my mind draws a blank — I just put in something from life! In my new release, Murder Simply Brewed, the romance is very similar to the story of me and my husband. :)<img src=”http://www.jenniferbeckstrand.com/wp-includes/images/smilies/icon_smile.gif” alt=”:)” />

Kelly Irvin: Yes. My March release, Love Redeemed, draws on a personal experience. Without revealing too much of the story, I can share that I lost a brother who drowned in a boating accident in 1991. It’s taken that many years, but I was able to drawn on those emotions and the experience of what my parents went through to help my characters as they struggle through a similar loss. I do think, however, that we draw on all our experiences when we write, even if it’s not readily apparent. Who we are and what we’ve done throughout our lives colors everything we write, even if it’s subconsciously. My writing voice is mine because of everything that has happened to me in my life.

Shelley Shepard Gray: I’ve added all kinds of little ‘Shelley’ things to my books. I’ve had badly behaved dogs (our beagle once pulled a ham from a table two minutes before a dinner party), kitchen mishaps, characters enjoying pie and donuts. (I really love donuts) I’ve also had most of my characters be voracious readers because I am.

Amanda Flower: Well, my first protagonist India Hayes is an academic librarian at a small liberal arts college near Cleveland, and I’m an academic librarian at a small liberal arts college near Cleveland. Strange, right? And in the Appleseed Creek Mysteries, Chloe Humphrey is twenty-four and moves with her cat to Amish Country. Oddly, I moved to Amish Country with my cat when I was twenty-four. How weird are those coincidences?

Amy Clipston: Since my husband has had two kidney transplants, I featured a liver transplant in my book A Place of Peace. My memoir, A Gift of Love, which details my husband’s kidney transplants and my kidney donation, will be available in March. Also, my father had a massive stroke, and I feature a character who is a stroke victim in my novella A Spoonful of Love.

Jennifer Beckstrand: They say that art imitates life, which in my case means: I’ve never been shy about putting my most embarrassing moments on paper.

Anna Helmuth, the feisty eighty-two-year-old Amish grandmother in Huckleberry Hill, loves to knit and cook. Even after sixty years of cooking for her family, Anna likes to pull out her new recipe book and experiment with a recipe she’s never tried before. Anna has many talents, but cooking is not one of them. In fact, she has a well-earned reputation for being the worst cook in Bonduel, Wisconsin. I’m not saying that I am as bad a cook as Anna, but my life definitely provided some inspiration for the character.

Several months ago, my husband and I hosted some friends for dinner, and I broke the first rule of entertaining: Never try out a new recipe on dinner guests. I wanted to make something new and exciting to serve my guests, and the reviews for “Sweet and Sour Meatballs” sounded positively delicious. Trouble came with the cryptic ingredient called “chili sauce.” I bought a quart of the most likely chili sauce I could find and dumped it into the crockpot with my meatballs. As dinnertime approached, I tested my bright orange meatballs and realized that my concoction was going to be a tad spicy. Okay, mouth-on-fire spicy. Inedibly spicy. In desperation, I poured a pint of whipping cream into the crockpot because dairy is supposed to cool spicy food. It didn’t even make a dent and added about a thousand calories to my shame. I was forced to serve the meatballs-from-heck to my friends, who didn’t complain but didn’t eat much either. I take comfort in the fact that those meatballs certainly looked lovely served over noodles. A version of this story appears in Huckleberry Hill. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Amy Lillard: My latest release, Gabriel’s Bride, has several personal experiences in it, though I borrowed them from other people. What does that make them…? Second hand personal experiences? J Though I have to admit Rachel Yoder is more like me than I care to examine.

You can learn more about these great authors on their websites. We would all love it if you would like our Facebook pages too!

Vannetta Chapman: http://vannettachapman.com/

https://www.facebook.com/VannettaChapmanBooks

Amanda Flower: http://www.amandaflower.com/

https://www.facebook.com/authoramandaflower https://www.facebook.com/IsabellaAlanAuthor

Amy Clipston: http://www.amyclipston.com/

https://www.facebook.com/AmyClipstonBooks

Mary Ellis: http://www.maryellis.net/

https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Mary-Ellis/126995058236

Shelley Shepard Gray: http://www.shelleyshepardgray.com/

https://www.facebook.com/ShelleyShepardGray

Kelly Irvin: http://www.kellyirvin.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Kelly.Irvin.Author

Jennifer Beckstrand: JenniferBeckstrand.com

https://www.facebook.com/jenniferbeckstrandfans

Amy Lillard: http://amywritesromance.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Amy-Lillard-Author/177732292332322

 

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