Book o’ My Heart

oldtheaterMy mother and father had a “meet-cute” — an event that brings a “fated” couple together for the first time, usually in a cute, romantic way. She worked at the candy counter in a movie theater in Seattle. He was a cocky, slightly inebriated sailor, just in from Korea.

He flirted with Mom’s best friend, who already had a steady boyfriend, one who was due to walk through the door at any moment. Mom to the rescue. What are best friends for? She stepped over and distracted the handsome but too happy young sailor. Her mission accomplished, she felt pretty good. When the young sailor sobered up, he came back. Several times. And then they eloped.

They eloped all the way to Biloxi, Mississippi. At the end of Dad’s furlough, he left Mom with his family in West Tennessee. My dad was not totally honest and up front with his young bride (she was only seventeen, he was nineteen). He talked long about his home (as in long, tall tale). He told Mom that his mother and step-dad lived on a ranch in the rolling, green hills of West Tennessee. They had horses and cattle.

IMG_4622In actuality, they were sharecroppers who lived in a rickety house. The cows weren’t theirs, and the horses–work horses that pulled a plow. And that house–no indoor plumbing. A fireplace for heat. Bare bulbs hanging from the ceiling. Grandma cooked on a wood stove. And they raised cotton and corn and everything they needed to live. They worked hard all day long, every day.

No rolling, green hills either. Flat. Dirty. Muddy. Mosquitoes. Snakes. Yuck.

My Mom was from a broken home. She lived with her Mom in urban Seattle and spent summers at her Dad’s in urban L.A. They were middle class. She dressed well, ate well, and was popular in school.

Culture shock. Dad went back to the Navy. Mom stayed with his eldest sister and her husband and young daughter, in a slightly better abode closer to town. With summer came heat and humidity the likes of which, Mom had never experienced. And she was pregnant.

I’ve wanted to tell this story for a long time. I’ve wanted to write it, but each time I tried, I failed. Not long ago, after I had finished re-reading the Book of Ruth, an idea popped into my head–a “what-if.” What if this happened in more modern times. What if I set it in West Tennessee…in the 1950’s? I could combine the two stories I loved so well.

I talked about it–a lot–to everyone I knew. Mom shared more memories. My older brother (the baby in the above narrative), helped me research it. I got excited about it then sat down and began to write.

Last week, it released. Annabelle’s Ruth is that book of my heart. Inspired by the biblical Book of Ruth, and also by my mother’s early experiences.

But wait–I don’t want to leave you with a negative idea of West Tennessee. Seen through Mom’s young eyes, it was not her favorite place, but she spent most of her life there and ended up loving it. My dad could never be far away from it, especially while his mother lived. And it’s roots are deep in my heart. I don’t live there anymore. I live in Kentucky with my husband of more than forty years. I love it here, but I still like to visit West Tennessee. I have family there, and it holds precious memories of Grandma, and the aunts, and numerous cousins.

It gets under the skin of my heroine in Annabelle’s Ruth, too. She finds a reason to love it, sets down roots, and stays.

I hope you’ll love the story I’ve woven from these two threads.

If you’d like the chance to win a free copy of Annabelle’s Ruth (Kindle or print — winner’s choice), then leave me a comment here, or on my Facebook author page (you can also enter the GoodReads contest on the right).

Annabelle's Ruth FRONT final Cover

 

Unlikely Merger – In Progress

11112210_858579607541022_8504991036842170166_oHave you ever worked for a company that was swallowed up by another company? Acquisitions can be painful. Sometimes even fatal (to your job). In the collaborative novella Unlikely Merger, the heroine works for an acquisitions firm. Mercy Lacewell has to learn to choose the right businesses for her father’s company to fund or buy. A wrong decision can cost the firm a lot of time and money. The stress of the position nearly grounds Mercy before she gets started.

I worked for a small civil engineering company that was bought out by a larger architectural engineering company. The buyout was a relief for the owners who were nearly at the end of their rope financially. The employees were dubious. Would we be fired to make room for corporate replacements? If we were retained, would we like our new bosses? What other changes were in store?

These are all concerns that our heroine needed to address when she sat down with prospective companies. What did this acquisition mean in dollars and cents to the employee? Bottom line–what did their future hold? She was inexperienced, but her natural abilities pushed her through this exhausting process.

One of the most difficult requirements of her new position is travel. Based in Denver, she has to fly all over the country to interview and assess the prospective businesses. Each of our chapters deals with a different location. And of course, she meets a different eligible bachelor each time. But Mercy keeps her distance, because she’s a professional, and she’s sort of an introvert. Merger? Unlikely.

IMG-20150130-WA0008But one of these guys will end up as Mercy’s forever. Once again, Write Integrity Press is releasing one chapter a day on their website. Once the last chapter is released, the readers will be invited to vote for their favorite. For more information, and to read the chapters, click the link here:

Write Integrity Press: Unlikely Merger Chapter Two

On July 1st, you can download the book, with its final chapter–the proposal–absolutely free on Kindle. It will remain free through the 5th of July and then, it’ll be 99¢.

AND at some point during the month of June, something BIG is happening here. On this blog. So watch for it. You can also “like” my Facebook author page–right over there (see right margin)–to keep up with what is happening. If you ask me in a comment, either here or on Facebook, you may win a special prize. But you have to ask.

Bonus Materials! Follow the links below for more personalized information about the key characters in Unlikely Merger.

Marji Laine:  Human Icicle

Julie Arduini: If We Could Have been Part of a Company Merger

            Carole Towriss: Dustin’s Detour Bellview Texas

            Jennifer Hallmark: Sacred Journeys by Carole Towriss

Fay Lamb: Meet the Heroes of Unlikely Merger: Dustin Rogers

What’s Up?

WorkinProgress-MeA work-in-progress. That’s what’s up with me. I’m always trying to improve myself and update my knowledge of various computer technologies. As a writer, I run into glitches all day long and have to solve problems and iron out difficult wrinkles in the system or on my webpage, etc. If I had to wait for someone else to do it…well…it might actually be quicker than me working through a learning process. But now I know how to do it myself!

As of yesterday, my website is now located right here. Moving from Blogger to WordPress was an adventure (extreme understatement). But I love the results! What do you think of it?

That is, if I can remember what I did.

I’m also nearing the end of a work-in-progress–my second book in the Legacy series, Carlotta’s Legacy. This has been a learning process also, and extended beyond my self-imposed deadline more than I care to admit. I’m pleased with how it’s turned out. I hope my editor and publisher agree.

Those of you who’ve read Amelia’s Legacy, will remember Nancy’s perky best friend Rebecca Lewis. Rebecca falls on hard times and has to make some tough decisions. She may have second thoughts, but backing down is not in her makeup. Though she’s knocked down again and again, she keeps getting back up and back in the game.

I have to admit, I’m kind of crushing on Rebecca’s love interest, Riccardo Alverá. He’s an Italian count faced with some tough decisions of his own. To prepare myself for this story, I watched several movies from the era (also set in Italy). In Love and War (a Hallmark movie), Tea With Mussolini, A Month by the Lake, and Enchanted April. There are numerous wonderful novels set in the pre-WW2 era. And fantastic YouTube films about everything from sailing on an ocean liner (in the 1920s & 30s!!) to harvesting olives.

512px-French_Broom2One of my absolute favorite websites, because it was so informative, was Anne’s Italy. And then I happened across a list on YouTube that included movies and photographs from Umbria, which is the setting for Carlotta’s Legacy. Oh the hours I spent watching these beautiful scenes! If I had a bucket list, visiting Umbria would be at the top.

As I write this post, I’m a matter of weeks away from the release of Annabelle’s Ruth. See information below. This story is close to my heart, because it’s fashioned after the Book of Ruth and loosely based on some of my mother’s life experiences. It’s set in a small town where I spent part of my childhood. Here’s a sneak-peek at the setting for Annabelle’s Ruth (Pinterest Board).

I’ll keep you posted on these releases. Follow this blog or like my Facebook author page, to keep up with what’s going on (and help me reach 500 likes this summer). For instance, next week, the Authorview post features Becky Wade and her hot new release, A Love Like Ours. You will want to be here for that.


bluetick-coonhound-2Annabelle’s Ruth is a 1950’s era “Ruth” story, set in the area of Trenton, Tennessee. Constance “Connie” Cross determines to follow her mother-in-law, Annabelle, east to Tennessee after their husbands perish in a fishing boat accident. After Southern California, 1950’s West Tennessee gives Connie culture shock. How will she adapt to her new life amid the cotton farms, rank with prejudice?

Whitewashed . . . by Amy C. Blake


Today it is my great privilege to welcome a guest to my blog. Amy C. Blake has the honor of being my very first critique partner in the writing craft–or rather–I am the one who is honored by that! We commiserated over Genesis entries and submissions to agents and publishers. We cried and ranted and sometimes came “that close” to giving up on this writing thing. But we hung in there and today, several years and many rejections later, we’re not only still here, but we’re both published writers.
Amy and I are no longer “official” critique partners, but we still help each other out occasionally, with a read-thru or a word of advice when needed. And, we help each other with marketing, because a writer can never have too much help with that.–Betty O.

Amy C. Blake–
To me, Easter is all about the intersection of truth and mercy. The truth is, as sinners, we deserve punishment for our sin, including eternity in Hell. The mercy is, as the only sinless Son of God, Jesus took the punishment for Christians and gave us His righteousness instead.
Truth: God is holy and punishes sin. Mercy: Jesus made a way for us to spend eternity with that holy God instead of getting the eternity we deserve.
In my new adult suspense novel, Whitewashed, Patience is a stickler for truth, so much so that when her childhood friend Devon started down the path of drug abuse, she screamed truth in his face and pushed him away. As a student at Verity College, Patience encounters Lily Rose–a young woman with a bad attitude and an abusive boyfriend–and Patience again spews cold, hard truth without considering how her words might do more harm than good.
Yet when Patience endures her darkest moments, trapped by a psychotic killer and on the verge of death, she begins to comprehend the verse her old friend Mabel, a woman caught in the throes of Alzheimer’s, repeated to her the night before: “In mercy and truth atonement is provided for iniquity; and by the fear of the LORD one departs from evil” (Proverbs 16:6, NKJV).
Patience begins to understand that truth and mercy go together to make the way for repentance. As Mabel’s elderly husband Moses says, “The truth shows you the sin you need to root out, while mercy helps you do the rooting.” Patience realizes speaking the truth to Devon and Lily Rose could never be enough without mercy to help them comprehend the truth.
Just as God is a God of truth who showed great mercy to His children through the death and resurrection of Jesus, so we ought to be people of truth who show mercy to those around us.  

Amy C. Blake is a pastor’s wife and homeschooling mother of four. She has a B.A. and an M.A. in English from Mississippi College. She contributed to Barbour’s Heavenly XOXO’s for Women, Book Lover’s Devotional, and Every Good and Perfect Gift. Amy wrote short stories and articles for Focus on the Family,Mature Years, Significant Living, Vista, Encounter, and other publications. She won awards at St. Davids Christian Writers Conference and West Branch Christian Writers Conference. The Trojan Horse Traitor quarterfinaled in the 2011 ABNA contest. Her juvenile fantasy novel The Trojan Horse Traitor, releases in November, 2015, and her new adult suspense novel, Whitewashed, released February 15.


Whitewashed

  by Amy Blake

Eighteen-year-old Patience McDonough has a plan. Despite her parents’ objections, she will attend Verity College in Hades, Mississippi, and live with her grandparents. She’ll complete her degree in record time and go on to become a doctor. But things at the college are strangely neglected, her class work is unexpectedly hard, Grand gets called out-of-town, and Poppa starts acting weird—so weird she suspects he has Alzheimer’s. On top of that, she has to work extra hours at her student job inputting financial data for the college—boring! But soon her job gets more interesting than she’d like: she finds that millions of dollars are unaccounted for and that something creepy is going on in the Big House basement. She discovers secrets tying her family into the dark beginnings of Verity, founded on a slave plantation, and she is forced to question the characters of people she has always trusted. Finally, confronted with a psychotic killer, Patience has to face facts—her plans are not necessarily God’s plans. Will the truth set her free?
Buy Links: 


Rachel Hauck – Authorview


My first introduction to Rachel Hauck’s writing was the book, Love Starts With Elle. I was hooked. Her combination of romance and humor was my cup of tea (or glass of sweet tea, y’all). So I am very pleased and happy to welcome her as a guest here at Authorview. I know you will enjoy her answers as much as I did.
Rachel Hauck
Author/Artist Name:  Rachel Hauck
I am a…Funny girl!
You would like me when I’m…Leading worship or speaking.
You wouldn’t like me when I’m…Tired! Or hungry. Danger Will Robinson!
What qualities I like to see in others:  Honesty, loyalty, one who appreciates a great potato chip.
Favorite way to spend an evening:  With my hubby, watching TV or in a good worship and prayer service.
Who I love to spend an evening with:  People who love Jesus. Really, there’s nothing greater. I like hanging around people who are thinkers, debaters (in the good sense) and want to talk about life, God and the Word.
Am reading (or want to read):  I read about five books at once. Ha! Right now I’m reading The Boys in the Boat and one on English children sent out from London during WW2.
If I had a hammer…“I’d hammer in the morning….”
My favorite genre is:  Romance, baby! Of course! But I love a good literary novel.
My work-in-progress:  I just finished The Wedding Chapel and am looking forward to the release of How To Catch A Prince.
My favorite food is:  Do I dare say it? French fries! And pizza. I mean who doesn’t like pizza?
I’m a collector of:    Ideas!
My favorite happily-ever-after:    Cinderella! Though we don’t know for sure she and the prince lived happily ever after…. But I think they do. 

About Rachel:
Rachel Hauck is an award-winning, best selling author of critically acclaimed novels such as The Wedding Dress, Love Starts with Elle, and Once Upon A Prince.
She also penned the Songbird Novels with multi-platinum recording artist, Sara Evans. Booklist named their novel, Softly and Tenderly, one of 2011 Top Ten Inspirationals.
A graduate of Ohio State University with a degree in Journalism, Rachel worked in the corporate software world before planting her backside in an uncomfortable chair to write full-time in 2004.
She serves on the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers and leads worship at their annual conference. She is a mentor and book therapist at My Book Therapy, and conference speaker.
Rachel lives in central Florida with her husband and pets, and writes from her two-story tower in an exceedingly more comfy chair. She is a huge Buckeyes football fan. 
Now Available!        How to Catch a Prince
She caught her prince once. 
Can she catch him again?

American heiress Corina Del Rey’s life was devastated by war. Every thing she loved was lost. But after five years of grief, she’s shed her grave clothes and started over in the sunshine along the Florida coast.
But some things are not so easily forgotten. When a secret from her past confronts her face to face, she realizes she must follow her heart. Even if it cost her everything.
Prince Stephen of Brighton Kingdom is a former Royal Air Command lieutenant turned star rugby player, trying to make sense of his life after the devastation of war.
When his brother, King Nathaniel, discovers Stephen’s pre war secret, he must deal with an aspect of his life he longed to forget. But how can he do so without exposing the truth and breaching national security?
Yet, true love has a destiny all it’s own. As the cathedral bells peal through Cathedral City, Corina and Stephen must chose to answer the call of love on their hearts.
Or let it be lost forever?

Next month on Authorview — Siri Mitchell