the big day is here!

When an author pens a novel or a novella, it can seem like an eternity before the book is released. But there is much work to be done behind the scenes during that time frame…

underground railroad picture

Finish writing the book;

Get a sneak-peak at the cover artwork (one of the most exciting things!);

Receive edits and make any changes;

Read through the final copy for any last-minute corrections;

Stalk the UPS man waiting to receive author copies (another super-exciting event!); and,

Celebrate the day the book is released to the masses (the most exciting!)

underground railroad arrives!

Just a couple of days ago, my novella Freedom’s Flight, became a reality. Included in the fabulous new Barbour Collection, The Underground Railroad Brides Collection, I was joined by eight other authors, as we told stories of those seeking to escape slavery and those assisting them on their way to freedom.

One of the things from a reader point-of-view that I love most about Barbour Collections is that the novellas are short enough to devour in a sitting – even if your time is limited.

From an author point-of-view, I love the camaraderie between authors, as we seek to pen novellas that will combine to make an anthology that readers will savor and desire to read again and again. And most importantly, produce a product that glorifies God. For that is the ultimate purpose for any Christian writer.

Check out the official book trailer:

Here is a tidbit about the stories and their authors that you’ll find in this collection:

Emma Underground by Barbara Tifft Blakey 
Schenectady, New York—1851
Emma Trebor desires to reconcile with her husband, but he is hiding something from her. How could she know the investigator she hires is secretly a bounty hunter and her husband is his target?

Follow the Christmas Star by Ramona K. Cecil
Madison, Indiana—1850
Deeply involved in the abolitionist movement, Edith Applegate struggles to reconcile her desire to help bring people out of bondage and her growing affection for a former Southern slave owner.

Under the Sails of Love by Lynn A. Coleman
Savannah, Georgia—1860
Charlotte Kimbrel, a Southern Belle, has been smuggling slaves. Captain Zachery Browne’s ship sails slaves to freedom. Hostilities between the states are developing. Will Charlotte successfully travel the Underground Railroad by sea?

The Bakery Bride by Cecelia Dowdy
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania—1859
Grieving over her beau’s unjustified death, Ruth—a recently manumitted slave who is illiterate—assists her upper-class boss as an abolitionist. Can she heal from the pain of slavery and learn to love again?

Place of Refuge by Patty Smith Hall
Abbeville, South Carolina—1857
Underground conductor Hudson Wallace is surprised when Jorgine Emerson asks him to transport her slaves to freedom, but is it a trap? Can Jorgine’s deep conviction win Hudson over?

Free to Love by Terri J. Haynes
East Towson, Maryland—1850
Winnie is hiding a secret—Hiram, a fugitive. Their lives cross at an Underground Railroad station. Can they overcome danger and find freedom in love?

The Winter Quilt by Debby Lee
Newport, Indiana—1840
Relocated to an unfamiliar town, Coral Martin yearns for stability. Carpenter Josiah Williamson helps her find meaning working on the Underground Railroad. Will their love survive when forces threaten to tear them apart forever?

The Song of Hearts Set Free by Darlene Panzera
Jersey City, New Jersey—1851
Budding abolitionist, Annie Morrison, discovers the man she’s fallen in love with may be a slave catcher in disguise.

Freedom’s Flight by Penny Zeller
Tennessee—1850s
When she discovers the handsome Reverend Matthias Sorenson assisting runaway slaves, can Annalise Van Houten convince him to allow her to help? Or will mistrust prove fatal for all involved?

If this novel sounds like an awesome read…it is!

The Underground Railroad Brides Collection is available at your favorite local bookstore, Christian Book Distributors, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

 

 

 

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Interview and Giveaway with Darlene Franklin

I am excited to have Author Darlene Franklin as my guest this week! Darlene’s latest book A Bride’s Rogue in Roma, Texas is up for grabs to one lucky commenter! More on that later. For now, let’s find out about this awesome-sounding book and the author behind it!

Here is a blurb about A Bride’s Rogue in Roma, Texas…

Penniless and brokenhearted following her mother’s death, Blanche Lamar is surprised to receive a mysterious summons from a father she’s never met. Then ship purser Ike Gallagher informs her that her father, Captain J.O. Lamar, has died and left her the steamboat Cordelia as her inheritance.

In spite of her reservations about life aboard a steamboat and without other resources, Blanche agrees to travel downriver from Roma, Texas, and talk with her father’s lawyers. She soon discovers a different side to her father as she’s befriended by the curmudgeonly pilot, Old Obie. As Obie teaches her to pilot the steamboat, he also encourages her to trust her growing feelings toward Ike, something she’s resisting.

But as circumstances conspire to tear Blanche and Ike apart, they must act on faith or sink a possibility of a future together.
Doesn’t that sound like a wonderful plot? I haven’t yet read this book,  but I have it on my TBR list! Now, let’s take a minute and get to know Darlene Franklin…

Hello Darlene! Thank you for being my guest this week. What was your inspiration behind A Bride’s Rogue in Roma, Texas

The publisher (Barbour) had asked for romances set in actual towns, so I chose Roma, Texas, as my setting. Add to the discovery of Roma’s importance as the westernmost port of steamboat trade on the Rio Grande the account of a female pilot, and I had the basic inspiration for my story. My heroine is a pilot, of course, and what self-respecting steamboat story is complete with a poker game? So my hero is the resident gambler.

Ooh, your book sounds sooooo good, Darlene! Speaking of books, what is your favorite book of the Bible and why?

Good question! Almost any one of Paul’s epistles, probably either Romans or Philippians. Romans explains our faith in such straightforward language. It also contains some of my favorite verses. Chapter 5 also speaks to me about the role of tribulations in making us hopeful. I have memorized chapter 8, which starts with the affirmation there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus and ends with the promise that nothing can separate us from His love. Those verses have been lifelines for me more than once.

I agree, Darlene! Both Romans and Philippians are great books of the Bible and are so full of the riches of Scripture. I’m going to switch topics now. J  If you were suddenly given one million dollars, what charity would you like to found and why?

An unexpected question! I might set up a charity to raise awareness among the Christian community regarding mental illness and to help families with mentally ill dependents. My daughter suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder. Resources for respite care were few and far between. Especially among Christians, mental illness is often misunderstood. With the statistics of one out of every four Americans struggling with it, it touches nearly every household.

Sorry about the unexpected question, Darlene! I have to admit this is one of my favorite questions to ask my guests. Your charity is definitely a worthwhile and needed charity. Thank you for openly sharing about your daughter.

Darlene, where can readers connect with you?

I have a weekly blog: http://darlenefranklinwrites.blogspot.com. I’m also on Facebook, and I have an author’s page at Amazon.

Thank you, Darlene, for being my guest. It is such an honor to have you here!

About Darlene: Award-winning author and speaker Darlene Franklin lives in Oklahoma near her son’s family.

Darlene loves music, needlework, reading, and reality TV. She has published several titles with Barbour Publishing, including her two latest releases, A Bride’s Rogue in Roma, Texas, and Merry Christmas, With Love, in Postmark: Christmas. She has also written two books in the Texas Trails series with RiverNorth Fiction, Lone Star Trail and A Ranger’s Trail. She’s a member of Oklahoma City Christian Fiction Writers.

And now, readers, here’s your chance to win a copy of A Bride’s Rogue in Roma, Texas! Leave an encouraging comment for Darlene. A winner will be chosen at random. Sorry this giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. If you are a subscriber to this blog, you will receive two entries.  The contest ends on October 11, 2012.

Book spotlight and giveaway with Gina Conroy!!!

I’m thrilled to have my author friend, Gina Conroy, as my guest once again. Today, we are spotlighting her new release, Cherry Blossom Capers and you have a chance to win a copy by leaving a comment for Gina (U.S. residents only, please). For all the details, see below…

Four townhouse neighbors encounter romance and mystery near our nation’s capital. In State Secrets, White House assistant chef Tara Whitley and FBI agent Jack Courtland stop a plot to sabotage a State dinner—and find love still hidden in their hearts. In Dying for Love, attorneys and opponents Ciara Turner and Daniel Evans uncover love while searching for justice. In Buried Deception, archaeologist Samantha Steele and security guard Nick Porter dig up love while uncovering a forged artifact. In Coffee, Tea and Danger, amateur sleuths Susan Holland and Vince Martini find love while investigating a string of mysterious accidents.

I haven’t yet read this book, but I think it sounds SOOOOO good!

And now, for some interview questions with Gina!

What inspired you to write this book? Several years ago when I was homeschooling, we took the kids on a cross-country trip up the east coast. I remember walking through Mount Vernon’s Mansion wondering if all the antiques were real and what would happen if one of them was a forgery? The mom character with her rambunctious kids came first, NOT that I would know anything about that sort of thing. Then came the snarky, but lovable, brooding security guard. Again, not that I would know anything about sarcasm…

What did you find the most difficult aspect of writing a mystery? Making all the clues match up and make sense in my head! The research and clue dropping had to be precise, and at times even I got confused as to whodunit. There was a lot of police procedure involved where I counted on my police officer friend, Steven Hunt, to educate me in all areas of background checks, firearms, and cop lingo. When it came time to reveal the villain, it took more mental power than I had imagined to make sure everything lined up with the facts. Just thinking about all the double and triple checking I had to do makes my head hurt.

Aside from writing, what else are you passionate about?I love to encourage fellow writers and people to pursue their dreams. In fact, I started the pursuit of another lifelong dream of mine. Ballroom dancing. While I won’t be on Dancing with the Stars anytime soon, I am enjoying the physical and mental challenge of dancing. Not to mention it’s a great work out and lots of fun!

Where can we find you on the web and what should we expect?  For a more personal account of my life and triumphs and trials as I pursue my dreams along side my kids’ dream, you can find me blogging at Defying Gravity.

I share my writing insecurities and celebrations, but also share fun stuff about my family like when my kids got a Disney audition call back! After all, my blog is all about helping people follow their dreams, and I have to include my own children!

Gina’s bio: Gina Conroy used to think she knew where her life was headed; now she’s leaning on the Lord to show her the way.  She is the founder of Writer…Interrupted at http://writerinterrupted.com/  where she mentors busy writers and tries to keep things in perspective, knowing God’s timing is perfect, even if she doesn’t agree with it! 😉 Her first novella, Buried Deception, in the Cherry Blossom Capers Collection, releases from Barbour Publishing in January 2012. On her blog Defying Gravity at http://www.ginaconroy.com/ginablog/wordpress/ she chronicles her triumphs and trials as she pursues her dreams while encouraging her family and others to chase after their own passions. Gina loves to connect with readers, and when she isn’t writing, teaching, or driving kids around, you can find her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Gina-Conroy/198614450154235 and Twitter at https://twitter.com/ginaconroy

Gina and the other authors will be guests tonight at 10pm EST at www.choicesradio.com or on iTunes–podcast available after tomorrow.

Want to have a chance at winning a copy of Gina’s new book? Here are the full details…

All you have to do is leave a comment for Gina.  Confirmed subscribers (be sure to check your email to confirm your subscription!) receive two entries.  The giveaway ends on Thursday, February 16, and a winner will be chosen at random. Entries are limited to those residing in the United States.

**Be sure to stop by each Thursday for book spotlights and chats with some of my favorite author friends. I have a wonderful lineup coming up in the next couple of months. On Mondays, I do movie reviews – you might want to check out this past Movie Monday review of Marriage Retreat at https://pennyzeller.wordpress.com/2012/02/06/movie-monday-marriage-retreat-2612/. On Tuesdays, I share humorous or inspirational postings about the everyday life of a wife, mom, and author. You can check out some hilarious spelling word sentences I unearthed in my daughters’ school notebooks here: https://pennyzeller.wordpress.com/2012/02/07/need-a-good-laugh/

Have a fantastic rest of your week!