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Archive for January, 2016

Welcome to Home Thoughts, Sandra Ardoin. I’m very excited to hear you have a new book out. I read The Yuletide Angel last year and enjoyed it very much. Please tell us something about A Reluctant Melody: 

Kit Barnes’ alcoholism ruined more lives than his own. Now sober, he wants to make amends by opening a mission for drunkards. But the most suitable location belongs to Joanna Cranston Stewart, a love from his sordid past. Friends of her late husband blame Joanna for his death. Although eager to flee from the rumors, she will let the walls of her rundown property crumble around her before she allows Kit back into her life. When a blackmailer threatens to reveal Joanna’s long-held secret, will she risk losing everything she owns to Kit … including her heart?

For readers who might be new to Sandra’s books, here’s her short bio:

ARM Cover Sandra Ardoin_HeadshotSandra Ardoin writes inspirational historical romance. She’s the author of The Yuletide Angel and A Reluctant Melody. A wife and mom, she’s also a reader, football fan, NASCAR watcher, garden planter, country music listener, antique store prowler. Visit her at www.sandraardoin.com and on the Seriously Write blog. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, and Pinterest. Join her email community to receive occasional updates and a free short story.

What was your inspiration for this story? In 2014, as I wrote my Christmas novella The Yuletide Angel, I wanted to give my hero (Hugh Barnes) a personal problem to overcome, so I created a brother and a break in their relationship. Of course, I needed to know the reason for the break. For that, I chose to make the brother, Kit, a recovering alcoholic who had betrayed Hugh by seducing the woman he’d planned to marry. The more I wrote Kit into the story, the more curious I became about him, the woman in both men’s lives, and Kit’s future.

A Reluctant Melody is a story about second chances and God’s grace and mercy. From a spiritual standpoint, I wanted to get across the news that God’s forgiveness is available to anyone who seeks it through Christ.

What are you working on now and when can readers expect it? I’m working on the first book of a three-book series set in Texas in 1886/87. The series takes place in a rowdy, churchless town near a once popular cattle trail. As with most of my stories, they will have an element of mystery/suspense. As of now, I have no contract. Hopefully, that will change soon. I’m also considering a novella series about three women who each set out on an adventure and discover more about themselves than they expected. Those are still in the planning stage. Ah, so many projects, so little time!

Readers, please leave a comment for Sandra for a chance to win an electronic copy of A Reluctant Melody.

For those of you who don’t want to wait, here’s a link where you can purchase. Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Reluctant-Melody-Inspirational-Historical-Christian-ebook/dp/B01A67A2MM

Drawing in one week, readers, and it will be announced here. Until then, stay warm. Spring is just around the corner….trust me.   Mary

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2015-09-07 17.06.32

The Peabody Hotel

Write what you know…is a quote usually attributed to Mark Twain. Twain might have been a great American novelist, but his advice better suits authors of the 19th century. What are authors supposed to do in the 21st century when expected to produce two or three novels a year? As books become shorter and faster-paced, some writers are releasing books faster than that. If as a full-time professional writer you only write about subjects you’re familiar or experienced with, won’t you run out of story fodder? On a personal level, how many stories about a schoolteacher, living on the edge of Amish country, who loves gardening, animals and American history will readers tolerate? Perhaps more practical advice for this day and age would be: Write about what fascinates you, or perhaps the person you hope to one day become.

I have reached the stage when retirement isn’t a distant pipedream. As much as I love Ohio, winters have grown intolerable. My husband and I are determined to live three or four months of the year in the warmer and sunnier South. Recently we’ve combined our quest for inexpensive spots to “snowbird” with my new mystery series. The setting for my first story was easy…New Orleans, a city we visited while family lived in the area and many times since. After several stays in Cajun country I was playing the washboard with spoons and cooking gumbo from a roux. My second mystery, What Happened on Beale Street, allowed me to indulge my love of the blues while researching Memphis and the Mississippi delta where rice and cotton fields stretch to the horizon. For my current work in progress, I prowled the streets of Natchez, a charming town overlooking the mighty Mississippi where the police captain turned out to be the nicest person I ever interviewed. As we check out new places to live, I’m discovering wonderful spots for fictional dead bodies to wash ashore or characters to go missing.

What Happened on Beale StreetIf you’re looking for new story ideas, why not consider places you’ve always wanted to visit? Start with research at your local library and on the internet. Then create the characters of your dreams. Maybe you can give them the talents you always longed to have. Your enthusiasm will turn your story into a page-turner readers can’t put down. And just think…when you visit the area to tweak the details, your trip becomes a tax deductible expense. Sounds like a win-win situation, no?

What Happened on Beale Street , book 2 of Secrets of the South Mysteries, releases in late March in print and April 1st in electronic versions in bookstores and online everywhere.  Book one, Midnight on the Mississippi from Harvest House Publishers is available now.

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