Gail's Book Nook

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Looking Out the Window: Catherine Castle Talks about Her New Book, The Nun and the Narc. Gives Away a Free Download and Shares a Yummy Family Recipe

Welcome, Catherine. I'm so happy to have you here today.

First, tell us a little about yourself.
I’ve been married to my high school sweetheart for 43 years. I’m an avid gardener, who is constantly fighting weeds—the bane of my garden. I love going to movies, reading, quilting, and collecting cookbooks, especially the community ones you find in antique stores. There are always great tried and true recipes in those books.

It's great to have a variety of interests? Were you an avid reader as a child? If so, what did you read?
One of the first books I remember reading was a Little Golden Book about Cinderella—the Walt Disney version with the mice and birds who sewed the dress for her. As a teenager I devoured books. Pearl S. Buck was one of my favorite authors as was Laura Ingalls Wilder and her Little House on the Prairie series. I also loved science fiction books, mysteries and romance stories.

Reading's a wonderful pastime, and it's great to start early. Let's talk about your writing. Why do you write?
I write because the ideas are in my head and I have to get them out. I also love the creative aspect of the task.

Tell us about your latest book.
The Nun and the Narc is an inspirational suspense romance about a novice who gets caught up in a drug deal when she tries to stop it. Sister Margaret Mary is a bit stubborn, and perhaps not the best nun material, according to Mother Superior, but she’s determined to follow her commitment to take her final vows. Then while on a house building mission to Mexico, she gets captured by drug lords and imprisoned with undercover DEA agent Jed Bond. Sparks fly between the two and destinies are changed.

Amazon readers have described the book  “…as an inspirational tale with a definite twist.”  “Something a little different in the romance genre.”  “Romance, intrigue, danger, and inspiration all rolled into a neat package...”  And The Night Owl review said, “Catherine Castle takes readers on an adventuresome journey with this inspirational mystery… If you are looking for a fun mystery then this is a good choice whether you are looking to unwind at the end of the day or relax on your day off.”

What inspired you to write this particular book?
The Nun and the Narc was written originally as a contest entry, and it didn’t start out as book about a nun. The heroine was a missionary. Somewhere along the way the story stopped working and, at the suggestion of my critique partner, I changed the heroine to a novice. I’d always loved stories about nuns, and even though I knew it would be a harder sell in the inspirational market, I went ahead with the story because it took off after I changed the character to a nun.

It's great when the characters take over. What themes do you write about?
When I begin a book, I don’t have a theme in mind. The story is what’s important to me. As a romance writer I always write about finding true love, but I don’t say, “My theme is going to be about a guy and girl falling in love as they are dealing with death, or self esteem, or injustice, and I’ll have these motifs in the book.”  I like to let the theme develop naturally from the story and then look back and discover where my characters, and their struggles, have taken me theme-wise.  For me, it’s much easier to write the story than to force the story into a preconceived theme.

What is your writing schedule and where do you write?
I have no set schedule, except what deadlines, self-imposed or otherwise, dictate. I do tend to set aside blocks of time, or whole days for writing, because I hate being interrupted when I’m deep into a character’s head. I have a very cluttered office that I normally write in, but, when my husband traveled for work and I went with him, I often wrote in hotel rooms. That was really great. No interruptions, no dinner to fix, no dust bunnies screaming to be vacuumed, just an uncomfortable chair, a desk, and my computer.

Are you a plotter or a pantzer?
I’m a bit of both, depending on what I’m writing. I’ve written a whole book out of sequence, which I would never do again. I’ve plotted in detail, started out with just an idea, and even dreamt a book. I find plotting makes the book go faster because I don’t have to sit in front of the screen and think too much.

What are you working on right now?
I’m trying to decide which of my partial books I should work on to submit to the editor. I have several different directions I could go now as I have a historical inspirational, and a couple of contemporary sweet romances waiting in the wings for my attention.

 If you could interview any character in one of your books which one would it be? What shocking thing might that character say? Why?
I haven’t thought about this much, but I had a friend who said although they love Sister Margaret, they’d like to know more about Mother Superior. She does hint to Sister Margaret that she knows more about being in love than Margret might imagine. I think Mother Superior’s shocking admission might be about a romantic relationship she had before joining the convent. Why would she reveal this? To make her more real to Margaret and readers. We sometimes expect more out of the high profile clergy and those who have publically dedicated their lives to Christ, expecting them to be perfect. Nuns, priests, ministers and missionaries are people after all, with faults, foibles, and temptations like the rest of us.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Keep writing and learn everything you can about your craft, and start your social media way before you ever send your manuscript out. Getting a handle on that while you are going through the editing and publishing process can be crazy.

What would you be doing if you weren’t writing?
I can’t imagine not writing, but, I suppose it would be doing more gardening, quilting, and traveling. Oh, and house cleaning. LOL

To Nourish Our Bodies Catherine Shares a Wonderful Family Recipe

Grandma Maude’s Sugar Cookies:
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 cup shortening
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
4 cups self-rising flour or more to make a soft dough (if using regular flour add 3 tsp baking soda and t tsp baking powder)
Mix ingredients and let stand overnight. Roll quite thin and cut.
Bake 5 minutes at 375 degrees. Makes about 9 ½ dozen cookies.
This recipe has been in our family for four generations now. It’s a must serve at Christmas. When I married my husband he wanted me to bake these cookies, but his grandma didn’t use a recipe. So, she agreed to figure out the ingredients and amounts. When she died six months after I married her grandson, her sons found a handwritten recipe on her desk that I still have today. Because they knew she was writing the recipe down for me, I inherited her baking sheets, a can of Fluffo shortening, the battered Era Potato Chip can she used to store the cookies, and the official job of cookie maker. Forty-three years later, I still bake these cookies every Christmas, and I still use the items I inherited from Grandma Maude (except the Fluffo) when baking her Sugar Cookies.

Yum, and what a sweet story.

To Nourish the Soul Catherine Shares a Favorite Bible Verse

But those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isa. 40:31

About The Nun and the Narc:
Where novice Sister Margaret Mary goes, trouble follows. When she barges into a drug deal the local Mexican drug lord captures her. To escape she must depend on undercover DEA agent Jed Bond. Jed’s attitude toward her is exasperating, but when she finds herself inexplicable attracted to him he becomes more dangerous than the men who have captured them, because he is making her doubt her decision to take her final vows. Escape back to the nunnery is imperative, but life at the convent, if she can still take her final vows, will never be the same.
Nuns shouldn’t look, talk, act, or kiss like Sister Margaret Mary O’Connor—at least that’s what Jed Bond thinks. She hampers his escape plans with her compulsiveness and compassion and in the process makes Jed question his own beliefs. After years of walling up his emotions in an attempt to become the best agent possible, Sister Margaret is crumbling Jed’s defenses and opening his heart. To lure her away from the church would be unforgivable—to lose her unbearable.

An Excerpt from The Nun and the Narc:

Jed’s head whipped around just as the car plowed through a market stand of live chickens. Poultry, wooden cages, and feathers scattered over the car. An angry hen dropped through the car’s open sunroof, squawking and flapping in front of Jed, beating his head with its wings.

Margaret reached over, grabbed the bird, and threw it back out the sunroof opening. But it was too late. The car glanced off an adobe wall into a second market stand and careened toward another building. Jed jammed on the brakes. The car spun three hundred and sixty degrees before screeching to a stop.

The impact threw Margaret sideways against the passenger window. She hit her head on the glass, the blow blinding her for a second. Jed’s body slammed into the steering wheel setting off the horn. The wail echoed in Margaret’s head as she struggled to remain conscious. Warmth trickled down the side of her head. Margaret managed to focus her eyes as the noise stopped. Two Jeds leaned toward her, in slow motion. She blinked to clear her vision.

“You all right?” he asked.

“I think so.” Something warm and sticky seeped down her face. She reached up and wiped her temple. “I’m bleeding,” she said as she stared at her fingers. The words sounded slurred. At the sight of the blood on her fingers, her stomach rolled. She swallowed to keep the bile down.
“Listen. It won’t take them long to get here. Let me do the talking.”

“You won’t have to worry about that. I feel really odd.” Margaret lowered her head between her knees. “I think I’m going to faint.”

“It might be a whole lot easier if you do.”

Bio for Catherine Castle:
Catherine Castle has been writing all her life. Before beginning her career as a romance writer she worked part-time as a freelance writer. She has over 600 articles and photographs to her credit, under her real name, in the Christian and secular market. Besides writing, Catherine loves traveling with her husband, singing, and attending theatre. In the winter she loves to quilt and has a lot of UFOs (unfinished objects) in her sewing case. In the summer her favorite place to be is in her garden. She’s passionate about gardening and even won a “Best Hillside Garden” award from the local gardening club.

Connect with Catherine:
Amazon author page
Buy links:

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Winner of The Newspaper Code

Once again, I scrambled up the names then drew one...

The winner is...

Drum roll...

Congratulations! Wanda Barefoot!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Looking Out the Window: Lisa Lickel Talks about Her Latest Book, Gives Away a Copy and Shares a Recipe

It’s my great pleasure to welcome Lisa Lickel today. To enter to win a copy of The Newspaper Code leave a comment and e-mail address.

Hi Lisa, first, tell us a little about yourself.
Thanks for having me here, Gail. Always fun to visit! I grew up in a family of teachers and readers, so it was a big shock to learn that not everyone liked school or…gasp…books. How can that be? Although I’ve always been an avid reader, writing never occurred to me until I started working with our local historical society to put together an anniversary book. A friend taught me about press releases, and I wrote some articles for the newspaper. Then I took an online course from the Christian Writers Guild and started selling articles before I finished. I moved on to novels from there. I’m still learning, still growing.

You're writing some terrific books. Tell us about your latest.
The Newspaper Code is the third book in the cozy mystery Buried Treasure series. It takes place only a few weeks after The Map Quilt concludes, so readers get to see how Judy and Hart are handling being parents after the baby’s tumultuous birth. Judy and Ardyth discover the body of an elderly woman who’d been working with the newspaper editor, Olivia, on the story of some missing funds from the Civil War-era. Since Robertsville is struggling financially, that money would come in handy. Could the old newspaper in the lining of the map quilt have the answers to what happened?

What inspired you to write this particular book?
Since working on some stories a few years ago about lack of funding in local communities, I decided to join that thought with my love of history. What would it mean to discover money had been hidden away years ago during a time of crisis? What if that money had never been found…until now? The school building in my dad’s home town really was condemned for a time, causing young families to move out. How can communities grow if they can’t attract and keep people? And what does it mean to those whose livelihoods are threatened – those are the ideas behind The Newspaper Code.

In three words describe your style of writing.
Contemplative, Character-driven, Curious

What is your writing schedule and where do you write?
It’s supposed to be a part time job for me, but ends up being more than full. Sometimes I can spend a couple of hours right away on my own work, but because I also am currently writing for our local newspaper, I have to take those assignments when they come, and my bread-and-butter comes from working with other writers. It’s often feast or famine with work, so I do what I can while still running the household, trying to keep up with the dust bunnies and keeping us fed. I write wherever I feel like it, which is great – either with the laptop, notebook, or main computer in our living room.

Do you have to juggle writing with a job, family responsibilities or other obligations? How do you balance it?
I stopped trying. Works better that way. Get to the end of a sentence, go throw laundry in or take something out of the freezer. Hubby knows when I go “huh?” that he may actually be talking to one of my characters. He stopped trying to make sense of me long ago.

Are you a plotter or a pantzer?
I used to say plotter all the way, but since working on this current novel, strange things have been happening that are completely outside the purview of my (hastily) plotted synopsis. Granted, there was a lot of wiggle room, but the stakes are higher with the appearance of people I hadn’t met before. Poor Jeb LaPorte is no longer the baddest dude in Buena Vista. I hope he doesn’t come after me.

What are you working on right now?
Well, with your help and encouragement, Gail, I’m working on a manuscript that I started four years ago. It’s grown and matured in theme, so I suppose I wasn’t really ready to write it back then, even though I pitched the idea to a few publishers. Each of them had some good advice, and newspaper headlines this year have filled in those gullies of wishy-washiness of packing peanut-ideas I had before. There’s nothing like writing with your own personal cheerleader.

LOL. I can’t wait to see that book in print. When it comes out, you’ll have lots of cheerleaders. If you could interview any character in one of your books which one would it be? What shocking thing might that character say? Why?
In light of a recent review of Mark in Meander Scar, I guess I’d give him a chance to defend himself. I know—never waste time being upset by them, but really, this reader didn’t take the time to get to know Mark. He’s not a Plan B-type of guy. He gets what he goes after. It never occurred to him that God wouldn’t be on the same page, and so…to answer why his faith would go down the drain so quickly: “Self-doubt is cruel enough, but when there’s even the slightest change that God isn’t real, it was enough to make me doubt everything. It didn’t last long, but I’d never even considered the concept before and with all the pressure, I plead insanity, if only for a couple of days.”

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Everybody, anybody can and should write. But deliberate over your goals, audience, whether you want to make it a business or a hobby. My son, who loves and excels at anything to do with the outdoors had rare insight when we thought he should consider a career in Wildlife Management. He said if he made the thing he loved most into work, then he wouldn’t enjoy it anymore. Very true. By making writing a business, you’ll be forced to work at it. Remember that when you think about what you love about writing.

What would you be doing if you weren’t writing?
I’m a pretty fair secretary, still. And/or I’d probably be creating desktop publishing material either on the job or for local printers, as I’d been doing.

Nourish the Body with character Judy Winter’s Recipe

Judy and the Chicken Casserole
Right from the first book in the series, The Last Bequest, Judy Winters only thinks she can cook. Everyone who knows her loves her anyway. In The Newspaper Code, Judy, now married to her neighbor, Hart Wingate, makes a casserole with curry that doesn’t quite turn out like Hart planned.
Here’s a recipe from The Last Bequest, when Judy attempted to make a casserole for Hart, whom she’d accidentally fallen on. She’d always heard that salt was bad for you, and she had never heard of savory, and couldn’t find paprika or pepper in Louise’s kitchen. Besides, they were such small amounts, what difference did it make?

If Judy followed the recipe, she would have made this:

1 large chicken breast, cooked and cubed
2 T. diced onion
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced
1 large potato, peeled and cubed
1 can of green beans, any style
1 can 98% fat free cream of chicken soup
1 1/2 tsp each: salt, parsley
½ tsp savory
½ tsp. course ground black pepper
Sprinkle top with paprika
Mix in a 1 ½ quart casserole dish. Bake in 350 degree oven for 45 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Serves 5

That sounds delicious. Thank you.

Nourish the Soul with spiritual help
One of Lisa’s favorite Bible verses: Matthew 6:34: Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

About The Newspaper Code
 Judy Wingate’s NOT-BFF, Olivia Hargrove of the Robertsville Reporter, discovers a Civil War-era secret newspaper code that may lead to a seven million dollar windfall. Not long after Judy and Hart’s baby is born, Judy and Ardyth are embroiled in another murder. This time it’s 99-year-old Esme Espe, the queen of the Petunia Society, Robertsville’s Garden Club. Dead-heading petunias has become a serious undertaking in Robertsville. Esme’s gruesome murder by garden claw soon catches the attention of the Robertsville Reporter’s chief editor and nosy correspondent, Olivia Hargrove. Clueless Olivia decides to befriend Judy and burrows into her life. Judy still holds a grudge but in order to learn more about Olivia’s secret project with the dead Esme, Judy reluctantly agrees to spend time with Olivia who is in desperate need of advice…and a makeover. Circled letters of a Civil War era newspaper vex Olivia, and when she learns Esme found an historic discrepancy in the town treasury, she and Judy must solve the riddle in the newspaper and race for the treasure before the murderer gets to it first.
Judy’s best suspect is the new guy in town. But how can she tell Olivia her boyfriend might be a murderer?

Excerpt from The Newspaper Code
Judy tucked under one of the French braids she’d styled around Olivia’s face. “And I have a daughter now, so I better get back in the habit before she starts asking me. Okay, how’s that?”
Wow, who knew Olivia had a real face under all that. Heart-shaped, too.
“Um, okay. I guess.” Olivia gave a cursory glance at the mirror. She raised her chin and looked at Judy’s reflection. “How many boyfriends have you had?”
Ah, so she’s back to thinking about Adam Gordon. Let’s follow this tack. “I’m probably not the best person to ask about boyfriends,” Judy warned.
“Besides the one who was a murderer,” Olivia added.
Judy felt the tingle of anger. No matter how nice Olivia looked on the outside, tact was not part of her inner make up. She acted more like one of Judy’s students.
Don’t take it personally, she reminded herself.
But maybe I can turn this to my advantage. “Graham was my first adult boyfriend,” she said. “That’s one of the reasons I didn’t know he couldn’t be trusted—I didn’t have any experience with boys. Men.”
“So, you’re saying I can’t trust my feelings about Adam Ray because I don’t know any better.”
Judy cleared her throat and finished the other braid before stepping back. “That’s pretty blunt. Why don’t we talk about the things you know for sure, not what you think or feel?”
Olivia nodded. “I can do that. Let’s see. We went to college together.” She frowned. “He was three years ahead of me. I guess I don’t even know for sure that he graduated, though I could look it up on line.”
“If he took a teaching job at a college, let’s assume he finished college and graduate school.”
“I had no idea what he was doing after college until he sent that letter inviting me to collaborate.”
“Those were his words? He wanted to collaborate?” Judy smothered a laugh. “I haven’t heard that one before.”
“You think it’s just a line?”
“I don’t know. I’m sorry, that wasn’t very nice of me. What else did the letter say?”
Olivia pulled the towel from around her neck and replaced the wire rims with the cat’s-eyes. “Here, you can read it for yourself.”

Bio: Lisa Lickel is a Wisconsin writer who lives with her husband in a hundred and sixty-year-old house built by a Great Lakes ship captain. She loves anything historical, collects books and dragons, and writes inspiring fiction. She is the editor-in-chief of Creative Wisconsin Magazine, a workshop leader, feature article writer, book reviewer, contest judge, and a freelance editor who loves to encourage new authors. Find her at

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Winner of Escape to Big Fork Lake

It was so difficult to choose a winner. I scrambled up the names then drew one.

It is...

Drum roll...

Congratulations!  Sue Harrison!

Please come back tomorrow for an interview with the lovely Lisa Lickel. She'll give away a copy of her new book, The Newspaper Code.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Looking Out the Window: Mary Ball Talks about Her Romantic Suspense, Escape to Big Fork Lake. She'll Give Away a Copy.

Mary will give away EITHER a print book or an e-book. To enter to win, leave a comment and an email address.

Hi Mary, what a pleasure to have you on Peering Through Life’s Window. Tell us a little about yourself.
 I enjoy creating fiction novels and Christian articles.

Inspirational Suspense and Mysteries are my favorite, but anything I write (unless it’s non-fiction) has to have romance. I’m just a romantic at heart. My main goal in scribing is to show how people face adversity and overcome through divine mercy and grace.
My days are filled with keeping my grandsons. My schedule also includes doing what I can to support my husband’s ministry. Hubby and I enjoy singing southern gospel, and we go to other churches and re-habitation facilities when time permits. I enjoy the outdoors, especially fishing. Between all that, I must scribe. There’s always a story or devotional floating around in my head.

Wow. You have lots of talents. Many writers enjoyed reading as a child. How about you? If so, what did you read?
Yes, I loved the book fairs and to get among a shelf of books (still do) my favorite books were the, “Nancy Drew Mysteries.”

I loved Nancy Drew also. Tell us about your latest book.
My coming soon novel is Stone of Destiny.

The sapphire is said to symbolize mental clarity, faithfulness and truth. For centuries, the legion of the Harrison family revolved around a ring. The family stone believed to have divine favors that transform lives-sometimes forever.

 Taylor has given up on everything but her work. After becoming the youngest CEO of Mugful’s Beverage Company, she believes life is complete. That is until her grandmother asks her to oversee renovations at the family home, in addition to searching for a missing heirloom.

 First contact with what she believes is an insignificant ring, lost for fifty years, sends her life spinning. Taylor experiences strange dreams. Feelings surface; she doesn't understand; mere thoughts that should remain unspoken, are voiced. 

 Taylor’s emotional journey begins, testing a heart as cold as the ring itself-forcing her to question everything she believes.

 Is this a fairy-tale or her soul, reaching out for a different world, a life she can only find through faith and a divine trust in God?  

What inspired you to write this particular book?
My Grandson loves to read those magical novels geared toward the young teens. One day as he was reading I thought “Wouldn’t it be nice to write a novel about another kind of wondrous happening that often surrounds a Christian’s life.”

So Stone of Destiny was born. I chose the Sapphire gem to be the focus heirloom because sapphire is my birthstone. Then later during the first preparation for publication the editor–in-chief of Prism Book Group told me to research the Christian meaning of the sapphire. I was so amazed that it meant mental clarity, heavenly joy and truth. To me that was affirmation of the story.

How interesting. In three words describe your style of writing.    
Simplicity, faith and overcoming.

 What themes do you write about?
I tackle faith and turning your life over to the Lord.

What is your writing schedule and where do you write?
I haven’t got a schedule, I write as often as I can, when I can. My life is hectic with an aging parent (lives next door) who has dementia, church and family duties, but I try to transcribe something at least, every other day. Right now while writing this I’m also making deviled eggs. :-) I either write in my office/singing room or on my laptop.  

What are you working on right now?
My WIP is dubbed Redemption in Big Fork Lake. This novel takes us back to Big Fork Lake to visit Sam, Noah and Belle. The main Character is Rob. The subject is Alcoholism. I’ve spent countless hours reaching for this novel- for me it’s emotionally draining.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Never give up. Write and re-write then submit your work until someone notices.

Tell us something just for fun. How about the most embarrassing thing that’s happened to you?
 Hum… there’re several. My husband says I’m accident prone.  One would be me falling on the floor at church while stepping up on stage to sing. Thank God, I chose to wear a long dress that day.

Oh my, I'm glad you didn't get hurt, and you can laugh about it now. Thank you, Mary.

About Escape to Big Fork Lake
Will an inheritance bring new happiness or a trap for murder?

 Bad luck seems to follow Sam Blacker. She loses her job and faces daily struggles keeping her drunken neighbor away from her. When an unexpected inheritance gives her a chance for a new beginning, Sam, a city girl at heart, is hesitant. However, after a brutal attack she has no choice.
Making a decision that will forever change her life she flees to the small fishing town of Big Fork Lake, Alabama and soon finds herself in the arms of Noah Frye. A tumultuous relationship with Noah sparks buried desires of the heart, even if he is a Christian, surely, she can get around that little problem.

As Sam and Noah’s passion grows trouble lurks in the shadows, waiting and watching. Inescapable, Sam’s bad luck returns when she stumbles upon a murder and becomes the only suspect. Will she have to run again, this time to stay out of prison? Worse, will she lose the best man she’s ever found? And what about the newfound hunger in heart to know God—can she truly trust in Him?

 Besides creating a life for her fictional characters Mary L. Ball enjoys fishing, singing gospel music with her husband and supporting his ministry. 

Learn more about Mary and her books at

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Winner of Beyond the Past

So hard to choose...

I mixed up the names and drew one...

Hats and Horns! Congratulations...

Cherie Kasper

Stay tuned for more great book giveaways starting on Tuesday!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Looking Out the Window: Jo Huddleston Talks about Her New Book, Beyond the Past. She'll Give Away a Copy.

To enter to win a copy of Beyond the Past, make a comment and leave an e-mail address.

Welcome Jo. First, tell us a little about yourself.
We live in a college town, which made it convenient for our children to earn college degrees. We love living in the South and vacationing on the seashore of the Gulf of Mexico. We lost a fourteen year old cocker spaniel. I won’t get another pet because the pain of that loss is too great for me to go through again.
Tell us about your latest book.
Beyond the Past is book 2 in the Caney Creek Series, which is a Southern inspirational historical romance.

Emmajean Callaway’s life in Atlanta plummets from bad to worse. Can big brother, Jim, lead her back to the family who loves her and also hold the imploding Callaway family together?

Jim Callaway looks forward to 1951 and the chance to forge a relationship with Caroline after twenty years apart. He’s sidetracked when his sister and his best friend need his help. His baby sister, Emmajean, skids into jail on drug charges in Atlanta. The ordeal of incarceration and trial diminishes her and she needs rescuing, not only physically but spiritually. She struggles toward recovery and restoration with her lawyer’s help as he champions her inside and outside the courtroom. Jim’s nephew Art is one step ahead of the truant officer, wrecks his car, and officials suspect alcohol is involved. Art awaits his fate at the hands of the juvenile court judge. Jim and Caroline continue their bumpy journey as they seek realization of their dreams, wondering if they really can overcome obstacles to their being together after so many years. Considering the needs of his family and friends, does Jim have time for romance?

What inspired you to write this particular book?
The setting of the Caney Creek Series is the Southern Appalachian Mountains of East Tennessee where my ancestors and I were raised. I’ve listened to older generations tell stories at family reunions about time before telephones and automobiles. Their stories fascinated me and caused me to want to write about a time before I was born. The series began in 1928. Book 2, Beyond the Past, takes place in the early 1950s.

How do you get to know your characters?
Before I write a story, the characters have been in my mind for a good while. I don’t plot my stories, but work them in my mind until I know the characters, what they’ll do and why. Most times I know the ending of the book when I start it because I know the characters so well. Sometimes a character surprises me and goes one way when I intended for them to go another way. But that just requires my creativity to work a little harder to keep up with them.

What themes do you write about?
Family relationships, love, forgiveness, and redemption through God’s grace. In all three books of the Caney Creek Series, the readers follow the Callaway family. The readers live their triumphs, sorrows, achievements, and losses. They walk along with them as they meet faith challenges and fight to regain a rightful place in God’s plan.

What is your writing schedule and where do you write?
My writing schedule is most effective if I write in the mornings. After a quick breakfast I get to my computer, usually still in my PJs and write 2-3 hours. I do email, FB, etc. in the afternoons when creativity is unnecessary. I write at a desk in a corner of a bedroom, which is anchored with laptop, printer, and files.

Are you a plotter or a pantzer?
I don’t write/outline a plot but work my stories out in my mind. I do sometimes write a short synopsis before I begin to write—as I think the book will go. I'm more a seat-of-the-pants writer.

Does your faith affect your writing? How?
If not for my faith in God, I wouldn’t be a published author. I don’t believe in coincidences but in God-incidents. It may appear that I come up with my ideas for stories but I know God allows me to see the ideas He places before me. I turn my writing over to God and tell Him that if He wants my story published, it will be. Of course, I write my faith into my characters in various ways.

What are you working on right now?
I'm writing book 3 of the Caney Creek Series, Claiming Peace. This is the final book of this series and I’m tying up all looses ends, making sure the series ends with everyone where they should be. Claiming Peace is scheduled to release in September 2013.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Read all you can about the craft of writing. If possible find a writers’ conference near enough to be affordable for you to attend. Soak in all you can in the workshops and from the speakers, editors, and publishers even at meal times. Be prepared for rejection. They won’t be rejecting you but what you wrote. Margaret Mitchell received over twenty-five rejections for Gone With the Wind! They told her nobody wanted to read about the Civil War.

Jo Huddleston's debut novel, That Summer, released in December 2012 as the first book in The Caney Creek Series. Book 2, Beyond the Past, released April 2013. Book 3 is scheduled to release September 2013. Jo holds a B.A. degree with honors from Lincoln Memorial University (TN), and is a member of their Literary Hall of Fame. She earned a M.Ed. degree from Mississippi State University. Professional membership: American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW).
Jo’s career has spanned a variety of work. She was a high school teacher and guidance counselor, a political campaign secretary, two-time business owner and a real estate agent.  Her writing career includes more than 200 articles and short stories, which have appeared in over 50 well-known Christian and secular publications such as Guideposts and The Upper Room. She contributes online to Christian Devotions at

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Looking Out the Window: Linda Weaver Clarke Celebrating July 4th with a New Release, The Rebels of Cordovia

The Stories of Robin Hood is Inspiration for The Rebels of Cordovia

See below to read a free chapter

We celebrate Independence Day, remembering the freedom we fought for centuries ago. Many patriots had to pay for this freedom with their lives and we are grateful to those who fought for our liberty. In this new novel, you get a glimpse of what another country had to fight for, as well. The freedom of speech, the freedom of equality, and the freedom to worship as we please! No one could have a greater gift than this.

This tale will entertain those who enjoy bits of adventure, humor, mystery, and a tender love story. The stories of Robin Hood have enchanted readers for years. In our youth, we enjoyed hearing the escapades of Robin Hood and were spellbound by each story and how he cared for the people. How awesome would it be to live during that time period just because of Robin Hood! In The Rebels of Cordovia, a similar story is created but centuries after the legend of Robin Hood. But this time, there are two major groups of rebels fighting for the rights of the people. Daniel, a good-looking rogue, would be the leader of the Freemen. Robin Marie, a young woman, would be the leader of Robin’s Rebels. Each leader is an expert archer and swordsman. With bits of adventure and delectable kisses, this tale will entertain anyone who enjoys a sweet romance.

In The Rebels of Cordovia by Linda Weaver Clarke, the time period is set in the late 1700s. Centuries after the legendary Robin Hood, a group of men and women find themselves fighting for the same cause: for their rights, for freedom of speech, and equality. Robin’s Rebels realize they must fight against the tyranny of a wicked king and help the people survive this oppression. In the small country of Cordovia, groups of rebels begin springing up, but its Robin’s Rebels who get the attention of the king.

In this battle for freedom, a tender love story begins to blossom. Daniel, a rogue and a leader of the Freemen, doesn’t realize that the sweet feminine woman he has met and is falling for happens to be the leader of Robin’s Rebels. Realizing the importance of uniting all the rebel groups, Daniel tries to recruit Robin’s Rebels but they refuse. Now he has to find a way to convince them. When he finds out the leader is actually a woman, what will his reaction be?

What people are saying:

Author Anna Del C. Dye wrote: “What a fun and interesting tale The Rebels of Cordovia is. A very good story to keep you glued all the way to the end. I really enjoyed the romance mingled with the fights. It is a well-paced tale to give you entertainment next to a warm fire in the rain. Linda writes a good, clean, and sweet romance, for young adults and adults alike. You will enjoy this story to the end.”

Read a sample chapter here:

The Rebels of Cordovia by Linda Weaver Clarke
Genre: Sweet romance
ISBN: 978-1484147658
Purchase Book Link:
Price: $12.95, Ebook: $2.99