10 Book Giveaway
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It's Easy to JOIN go to TBCN 
It's Free to join the Book Fun and these drawings. Click on Links Above the Book Covers. Answer the authors question to enter drawing.


Nora :o)
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins! 


By Ann H. Gabhart
Published by Revell
195 Pages

ABOUT BOOK: It is 1864 and the nation is still torn apart by civil war when Heather Worth discovers she is with child. She has been working as a laundress with her husband's army unit, but when the army gets orders to march south to Tennessee, Gideon insists Heather go home to have their child under safer conditions. Heather agrees, but returns home to another kind of devastation--deaths in the family and a father who refuses to forgive her for marrying a Yankee. With nowhere else to turn, Heather seeks refuge at the Shaker village of Harmony Hill, where her great aunt Sophrena lives. There, after many peaceful years at Harmony Hill, Sophrena is having doubts about her Shaker path. Both women are in need of love and forgiveness--whether given or received. With Christmas coming, can the miracle of new life fill their hearts with unexpected joy?

Ann H. Gabhart's many fans will be thrilled to return to Harmony Hill at Christmastime for this stirring story of healing and hope.

REVIEW: I’m thankful for the review copy of a book that plants readers in 1864 on the battle field of the Civil War. It was a turbulent time for our nation, as families were torn apart and everyone was on a quest for peace.

Heather Worth left her family to become a washerwoman for the war effort. It was the only way to be part of the war effort and be close to her husband Gideon.

Heather and Gideon are thrilled at the prospect of being parents after the war was over. Both are very surprised when this happens sooner than they’d planned.

It was time to send Heather home to await the arrival of their little one. Both agree they didn't want this innocent one to be born on the battlefield. Heather arrives home to have her baby and finds things not as she had left them. Everything was affected by the war.

Heather finds herself at the door step of her mom’s sister Sophrena. Things got more tense and intriguing as Heather learns the ways of the Shaker community. Heather is anxious as she awaits her baby’s arrival in the Shaker Village.

Aunt Sophrena anticipates something too, the Sacrifice Day. The Shakers have a day they set aside to Forgive and make atonement's for wrongs done. It was a day spent in confession and concentrated prayer. Sophrena had struggles she hadn't expected to have. They became more complicated after the arrival of her niece.

Heather faced her fears and navigated the Shakers strange beliefs with God’s help. She was very thankful they hadn't turned her away in her hour of need. Her thought as she looked at her child, “had Mary held the Christ child close to her heart when the Wiseman came bringing their gifts and thought the same? that her own love and that of Joseph’s were better gifts than the gold, frankincense and myrrh. Then there was the love of God evidenced by a new start in heaven. Surly that was the best gift of all.”

This is a heartfelt Christmas story that is filled with family, hope, faith and love! All the elements that drive home the Christmas message that, “the greatest of these gifts is love.”

Nora St.Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!


It's Easy to JOIN go to TBCN 
It's Free to join the Book Fun. Click on Links Above the Book Covers on the Front page of TBCN. Answer the authors question to enter drawing.


Nora :o)
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins! 





It's Easy to JOIN go to TBCN 
It's Free to join the Book Fun and these drawings. Click on Links Above the Book Covers. Answer the authors question to enter drawing.


Nora :o)
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins! 


By Melody Carlson
Published by Revell
167 Pages

ABOUT BOOK:  Rachel Milligan is caring for her seven-year-old niece, Holly, at her home in Chicago when she receives devastating news: Holly's parents have been killed in a plane crash. Because Rachel is Holly's only known relative, she assumes that she will be her beloved niece's guardian. However, custody is awarded to Lydia, a distant aunt who happens to be Amish. Just a week before Christmas, Rachel takes Holly to the Amish community in the hopes of persuading Aunt Lydia to relinquish custody. Instead, Lydia sets out to teach Holly to live according to the Amish way. As family secrets emerge and old wounds are healed, Rachel realizes that she will do whatever it takes to ensure that Holly has the loving family she needs.

REVIEW: This author has a gift of writing Christmas stories that leave you a warm feeling in your heart and bring a big smile to your face. Melody's Christmas books are a treat to read each year. I'm so thankful for this review copy of a book that grabbed my attention with its beautiful cover.

This adventure starts out in Chicago and takes readers through Amish Country in Ohio. Seven year old Holly will capture your heart along with her Aunt Rachel. This is the hardest adventure either of them have been on. It's a bit overwhelming for them both but they lean on God for direction.

This author has a few surprises for readers and re-enforces the fact that family is what you make it. It's also important to keep the main thing the main thing. I recommend Melody's Christmas story to kick off your holiday reading!

Nora :o)
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins! 


It's Easy to JOIN go to TBCN 
It's Free to join the Book Fun. Click on Links Above the Book Covers on the Front page of TBCN. Answer the authors question to enter drawing.


Nora :o)
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins! 


ABOUT AUTHOR: ANN H. GABHART, the author of several bestselling novels, has been called a storyteller, not a bad thing for somebody who never wanted to do anything but write down stories. She’s published twenty-six novels for adults and young adults with more stories on the way. She keeps her keyboard warm out on a farm in Kentucky where she lives with her husband, Darrell. They have three children, three in-law children, and nine grandchildren. To find out more about Ann or her books visit Check out her blog, One Writer’s Journal, or follow her on Facebook, , Twitter, , or Pinterest,  

What was your favorite scene in Christmas at Harmony Hill? Which was the most fun to write?

I liked the scenes around the fires. Sophrena and Heather sit and sew by the fireplace in the cabin as they each explore their place in the Shaker village and what they believe. At the same time, Gideon and Jake are sitting around a campfire in their soldiers’ camp, talking about what might be ahead for them on the morrow as they eat their weevil infested rations. I can see the flickering flames and feel the worries of their hearts.

Most fun to write was the opening scene with Sister Sophrena as she rises to begin a new day putting her hands to work for the good of her Shaker family. But her discontent is evident even as she tries to deny it. Sophrena captured my imagination through the words she wrote in the Shaker journal in The Gifted. I wanted to know more about her story so I brought her back as a main character in this Shaker Christmas story. It was fun letting her come to life again in her first scene in Christmas at Harmony Hill.  

What do you love most about the Christmas season, Christmas day?

I love the special spirit of Christmas that makes people smile at strangers and drop money in the Salvation Army kettles. I like how children’s eyes sparkle when they look at Christmas trees and how I can almost see them imagining what it might have been like in that stable all those years ago as they rearrange the pieces in a Nativity set. I like watching the church children act out the Christmas story even though I’ve seen the same scenes portrayed by different children many times over the years. I like the way families take time to gather together and enjoy their family ties. I like that Christmas is when we celebrate receiving the Greatest Gift – a gift of immeasurable love.

What keeps you sane in the middle of craziness? Hope in the middle of stress and Life’s storms?

Prayer can bring a kind of calm in the midst of the storm – that peace that passes understanding. A walk in the woods or fields with my dog, Oscar, can help de-stress me. I know I can count on my sisters’ love and help if things go wrong. Then, escape into a good story, whether one I’m writing or one I’m reading, can make the real life problems fade into the background for a little while.  Last, I’m a writer who has been through some discouraging times of rejection of my work and so I long ago found a way to keep hope alive in my heart. I look ahead to the next story, the next day, the next answered prayer.

What inspired you to write this novel?

That’s sort of a long story, but since you asked, here goes. LOL. I never planned to write but one Shaker novel, my first one, The Outsider. But then my editor at Revell Books, Lonnie Hull DuPont called to encourage me to revisit my Shaker village. At first, I was reluctant because I worried about being pigeon-holed as a Shaker writer and thus unable to explore other historical eras and backgrounds. So even though having an editor tell me she wanted me to write anything was a new and exciting experience, I still was leaning toward no. But when she hinted, almost promised, I would gain more readers for any of the other stories I might someday write, I agreed. More readers–that was a very nice carrot to dangle in front of this stubborn writer’s nose.
Ann w/her Agent & Editor after brainstorming
Not long after that, Lonnie and my agent, Wendy Lawton, came to visit me out here on the farm. Naturally we did a lot of book talking and one of them said wouldn't a Shaker Christmas book be fun. Carried away by the enthusiasm of the moment, I said sure, that would be fun. Before a writer writes the first words of Chapter 1, she believes she can write anything. Even if she has never written a novella. Even if she can remember only reading one very short paragraph about the Shakers and Christmas. After all, it is fiction, isn't it? That means you can make stuff up, doesn't it? When the time came to write the story, I did more research and was able to get an idea of how the Shakers observed Christmas in the 1860’s. I was also inspired when I read about a day the Shakers observed in the week before Christmas that they called Sacrifice Day. On this day of atonement, the Shakers had to ask forgiveness of any brother or sister they might have wronged in the preceding year and they had to forgive any wrongs done to them. From then on, those slights and injuries plus any and all grudges had to be forgotten and never brought to mind again. Since the need for forgiveness is an underlying theme in Christmas at Harmony Hill, the Shaker Sacrifice Day worked well with my story line.  

Can you give us a sneak peek into what you are working on now? When will it be out?
Shaker Home

I am at the very beginning of a new Shaker book, tentatively titled The Innocent. That’s subject to change. At this point, nearly everything about the story is subject to change. It’s 1865 and Carlyn Kearney’s husband hasn't returned from fighting in the Civil War. She knows he is probably dead, but with no absolute proof of that, she continues to wait. Eventually she seeks sanctuary in the Shaker village. All is well until there is a rash of deadly accidents in the village. But Carlyn has seen things that make her wonder if the deaths are actually accidental. I’m still in the plotting stage, but hope to spin a few mysterious threads into this Shaker story. It’s scheduled for the summer of 2015. 

Meanwhile, I just finished up the first round of edits on Love Comes Home, my third Rosey Corner book. This story picks up with Kate and her sisters at the end of World War II. The war is over but life is still throwing some curves at my Merritt sisters in Rosey Corner. Love Comes Home is scheduled for publication in July 2014. Before that, the newly repackaged final book in my Heart of Hollyhill series, Summer of Joywill make its appearance in March 2014. 

What was your favorite show on T.V. when you were growing up? Why is it your favorite? If you didn’t watch TV what were your favorite books?
Jeff and Lassie TV Show

I liked Lassie with the original boy owner, Jeff. Cute boy, heroic dog – what more could you want? Especially when you’re ten or twelve. Later with the younger Timmy, I didn’t like the show as much.
I also had plenty of favorite books. Black Beauty. Little Women. The Hardy Boy mysteries. I was always ready to crack open a new book and get swallowed up by the story.

If money weren't an issue where would you like to go and do?
My Grandchildren

That’s a hard question to answer since it’s difficult for me to imagine having so much money that it’s not an issue. But on vacation a few weeks ago, we watched The Bucket List for the second time. Perhaps if money were no object, as was true for the character played by Jack Nicholson, that’s what I would do. I’d make a list of all the things I’d like to see or do and then set out to mark them off the list. I’d hike to the lodge on top of that mountain in the Smokies and spend the night. I’d ride a mule down to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. I’d visit the Canadian Rockies. I’d take a cruise to Alaska. I’d walk on the beach with my grandchildren and store their laughter in my heart. I could go on and on. And while money is very necessary for some of those adventures, it could be I’d have to wish age and energy weren't an issue either!!

Out of all the sounds in the world which are your favorite?
Laughing w/grandchildren

Without a doubt, the sweet laughter of a happy child.  

There are so many types of weather; which is your favorite? Which do you try to avoid? 

I love to feel the kiss of sunshine on a spring day with all the promise of warmth it gives me, and then I love the sunshine filled days of autumn when the Lord is blessing us with some concentrated warmth before the onset of winter.
Sun on spring Flower

What weather do I want to avoid? 

That would be when gray winter skies are spitting snow pellets that the freezing wind blows sideways. On those days, I’d want to be inside curled up by a fire with a cup of hot tea and a good book. 

We all live busy lives and all of us are in different seasons of life; that is a given. What part of your day requires the most patience from you to get through? Causes you to pray the most?
My Mom

Right now I’m going through a season of caretaking as my mother suffers from advanced dementia. It has been a very sorrowful time as I’ve watched my mother go from an independent, loving and capable woman to someone who no longer knows her family and is often unhappy or angry. Someone has to be with her at all times and my sister and I, with the help of a couple of hired care-tenders, have been sitting with her now for over three years. The hours I must care for her each day definitely takes every bit of patience I have and I sometimes have to remind myself that the Lord will give me the strength to deal with her illness. In 2 Corinthians 12:9 Paul writes “And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” I have definitely kept a prayer line open for my mother and for me and her other caretakers. I’ve also been blessed by the prayers of others–my church family and my internet friends who so generously pray for my mother and me even as many of them are struggling with their own loved ones suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s.

Any parting comments Ann?  

It’s always fun to visiting The Book Club Network. I love books and I can tell that you all do too. I very much appreciate each and every one of you who spends a little time letting my stories come to life in your imaginations. 

Merry Christmas to all of you and may the year ahead overflow with so many blessings that you’re swamped by goodness and love.


THANKS for stopping by Ann! MERRY CHRISTMAS to you too! Thank you for your prayers and support it means to much. 

It's great to know you and your books better. I'm thrilled about the Giveaway Opportunity Revell Publishers has at TBCN Starting November 20th. There will be a 5 book giveaway and discussion. You've come up with three fun questions to ask readers. I'll be interested in that discussion.

Stop by The Book Club Network (TBCN) NOVEMBER 20th
Check out the Front page CLICK the Link that will take you to the entry author page. 


Nora :o)



ABOUT BOOK: Tommy Barnett is the Senior Pastor of one of the fastest growing churches in America: Phoenix First Assembly of God in Phoenix, Arizona. With an average weekly attendance of over 16,000, Phoenix First is a soul-winning church, committed to reaching the city, country and world for God. The church has become known as “The Church with a Heart” because of its more than 260 ministry outreaches, and each year, thousands give their lives to Jesus Christ and hundreds are baptized.

Pastor Barnett and his son Matthew also co-founded the Los Angeles Dream Center, an inner-city church and outreach center that touches the lives of 35,000 people each week. Its over 175 ministries reach out to gang members, drug addicts, unwed mothers, children without parents, the homeless and needy, motorcycle groups, AIDS victims, and many others.

With the tremendous growth of Phoenix’s ministry to the homeless and needy, the Phoenix Dream Center was born in April 2006. Pastors Tommy and Matthew Barnett’s vision expanded yet again in August 2008 with yet another center – the New York Dream Center.

Tommy Barnett has authored and contributed to several books, including: Dream Again, There’s a Miracle in Your House, Portraits of Vision, Multiplication, Enlarge Your Circle of Love, Adventure Yourself, Hidden Power, and his newest Reaching Your Dreams. He also has produced more than fifty church growth tape packets, including The Saturday Soulwinning Society, which has been used all over the world by literally thousands of churches and leaders in the last twenty-eight years to teach their people how to win souls to Christ.

Pastor Barnett currently resides in Phoenix, Arizona. He and his wife, Marja, have three grown children and seven grandchildren.

ABOUT BOOK: What can you do in 30 minutes? Have lunch? Watch television? Check Facebook?  
How about change your life?

Why do some people achieve far more than others? We all get the same 24 hours in a day, yet a special few seem to have superhuman abilities when it comes to accomplishing great things in life.

Tommy Barnett, a proven master at “getting things done,” says the key to maximizing your productivity is to make use of small, manageable moments in your day—just 30 minutes at a time.  In this remarkably practical book, Tommy shows how to begin a whole new life of fruitfulness.

REVIEW: It’s hard make changes in your life. The task can be overwhelming, but if you view it though half-hour segments it’s easier to wrap your mind around. I’m thankful for the review copy of a book that was up-lifting, easy to use, and one that had practical steps I could take to accomplish the goals he talked about. The chapters are broken down into seven areas you can grow in. For example there are The Power of a Half-Hour to Impact your life, …to Chart Your Life Path, To Strengthen Your Faith, To Build Your Character, To Advance Your Dreams, To Improve Your Relationships and To Change the World.

Under each heading are 30 minute steps you can read about to achieve your goal. For example under the heading of To Improve Your Relationships this author has; Bless Others, Connect with Impact, Strengthen Marriage, Build a Healthy Family, Raise Kids Right, People are just people! Not only are these steps easy to follow the author has antidotal stories to drive home the message, and show how a half-hour could change everything.

Pastor Tommy Barnett shows readers how to, “use your small increments of time wisely-not just the big slices of time that are devoted to both routine daily activities and major life events. He goes one to quote, “Harvey Mackay who said, “Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it, you can never get it back.” So, true!

I like Harvey’s  remark about time and how this authors perspective of why time matters. I hadn’t really spent much time thinking about this it made me stop in my tracks. “We take a lot of things for granted in our lives, such as gravity, air, daylight and time. Yet time is one of God’s most precious gifts to us. It is the most significant non-renewable resource at our disposal. We have less of it remaining with each passing day. When God gave this gift, He intended for us to use it carefully; intentionally, wisely and productively.”

This author is the Senior Pastor of Phoenix First Assembly of God, lays out a study lesson for each subject he discusses. We live in such a fast paced society where it seems overwhelming to undertake anything new! Tommy Barnett helps break down each subject into small and practicable steps. Anyone can find 30 minutes to make a difference in their life and in those others around them.

Nora St.Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!  


Stones for Bread
By Christa Parrish
Published by Thomas Nelson
ISBN# 978-1401689018
336 Pages

About Book: A solitary artisan. A legacy of bread-baking. And one secret that could collapse her entire identity.

Liesl McNamara’s life can be described in one word: bread. From her earliest memory, her mother and grandmother passed down the mystery of baking and the importance of this deceptively simple food. And now, as the owner of Wild Rise bake house, Liesl spends every day up to her elbows in dough, nourishing and perfecting her craft.

But the simple life she has cultivated is becoming quite complicated. Her head baker brings his troubled grandson into the bakeshop as an apprentice. Her waitress submits Liesl’s recipes to a popular cable cooking show. And the man who delivers her flour—a single father with strange culinary habits—seems determined to win Liesl’s affection.

When Wild Rise is featured on television, her quiet existence appears a thing of the past. And then a phone call from a woman claiming to be her half-sister forces Liesl to confront long-hidden secrets in her family’s past. With her precious heritage crumbling around her, the baker must make a choice: allow herself to be buried in detachment and remorse, or take a leap of faith into a new life.

Review: I’ve read all of Christa Parrishs’ Books. Each one took me on an unexpected journey. I’m thrilled to receive a review copy of Stones for Bread that took me into the world of Artisan bread making and so much more.

This novel introduces readers to Liesle whose whole world evolves around bread; forget the chocolate give me bread is my motto. Christa does just that as she show cases intriguing characters that make bread. She also helps the reader learn about the history of bread baking. I loved the surprise of Artisan bread recipes the author give readers within the novel. Each recipe includes notes from her main character Liesle. The notes are tips on making the bread - I know these will help me when I try to bake these yummy treats.

This story reminded me of the special times my family and I had  while growing up when we had cooking weekends, which involved making Italian treats including the spaghetti sauce. I too remember when I was told (like Liesle in the story) “it was time to make the bread (sauce in my case) without help!” It was a special time. I saw through Liesle that bread baking is an art; and an act of love.

Amazing to read how Liesle’s whole world is surrounded by bread. She lives above the bakery she owns called Wild Rise Bake House where she is the chief baker. It was amazing what some people go through to bake some special breads and how others don’t really appreciate the time and effort it takes to make the bread taste the same every day and/or the fact these people bake every day of their lives.

Single dad, Seamus and his 6 year old daughter enter Liesle’s world in an unexpected way. Liesle (and I) adore little Cecelia, whose not afraid to share what’s on her mind with anyone who’ll listen. Liesle has been working so hard she forgot there was more to life than just work. Could she make room for more in her life? Could she take a chance at being loved? Risk Heartache? Complications?

She remembers her mother’s words about baking bread, “it’s who you are, and it provides nourishment to both heart and the soul of who we make it for. It is a piece of ourselves.” Would Seamus and  Cecelia, understand why she does what she does?

I went to Publix bakery today and smiled big when I saw a woman handing out samples of Rosemary Artisan bread.  It was yummy! I asked the baker about the work that went into making the small loaves in the case. She said it takes a lot of work but it’s worth it. The Rosemary one was her favorite! I look forward to checking out the recipes in this book that include Artisan bread.

Leisle’s world was safe and hidden until Seamus and Cecelia found her and then one of her assistants sent her contact information to the food channel to be a contestant on the show, “Bake-off.” The spotlight shines bright when the producer calls from the show and wants her bakery to be featured in the bake-off. When she accepts life as she had known it is over.

This is a great book for book club. Not only is this a great story with a lot to talk about and characters I cared about it includes recipes that lend to book club fun. It would be great fun to have bread bake-off event for the ladies in your group for all to enjoy. The discussion questions Christa has in the back of the book help you to go deeper with the characters and their situations. I highly recommend this as a book club pick and activity. It’s a win, win!

This author mixes up the right blend of food, family cooking memories and drama, throws in a dash of fun with Cecelia, and a little romance with Seamus to create a heartwarming read that will touch your heart and give you a new appreciate for the lost art of bread making. The fun will continue as you work your way through the recipes that will warm you from the inside out! You’ll never look at bread the same way! Thanks Christa for another adventure where I have been touched by your characters and their situation and learn about the unexpected.

Nora St.Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins

Below is a link to where you can make Artisan Bread in 5 minutes (not including baking time!) Fun!


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Critical Reaction
Bethany House Publishers (November 19, 2013)
Todd M. Johnson

Todd M. Johnson has practiced as an attorney for over 30 years, specializing as a trial lawyer. Todd's career experience blends with his passion for writing in his novels published through Bethany House.

A graduate of Princeton University and the University of Minnesota Law School, he also taught for two years as an adjunct professor of International Law, and served as a US diplomat in Hong Kong.

The Deposit Slip, Mr. Johnson's first novel, debuted in 2012. Todd's second novel, Critical Reaction, will be released in November 2013.

Todd lives outside Minneapolis, Minnesota, with his wife Cathy and children Ian and Libby.


After decades of turning out plutonium for the arms race, the Hanford Nuclear Facility has long been shuttered, though its deadly legacy cannot be fully contained. The men who guard the facility from sabotage or monitor its buildings for radiation leaks are told the risks are under control. They believe it, until the worst happens: a thunderous explosion in the dead of night.

Two workers, lifer Poppy Martin and new hire Kieran Mullaney, believe themselves lucky to survive the blast. But as the debris is cleared, they discover their safety is not assured. Dead ends and closed doors halt their efforts to discover what really happened--and what radiation may have poisoned them. When stalling and threats force them into the hands of experienced trial lawyer Ryan Hart, they learn that theirs is no ordinary lawsuit. There is something still hidden in the desert of eastern Washington, and someone is willing to go to extreme lengths to make sure it never sees the light of day.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Critical Reaction, go HERE.

NOTE: I'm in the middle of reading this book. It's gripping so far! I'm thankful for the review copy and I will be posting my review when I'm finished! Bethany House Publishers will be giving away 10 copies of this book next month. You can enter December 20th at TBCN You must join the group in order to enter the drawing.

Nora St.Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins 


Enter Today | 11/18 - 12/7

Christa Parrish is celebrating her fourth novel, Stones for Breadwith a KitchenAid Mixer giveaway.
#StonesforBread KitchenAid Mixer
Contest #ChristaParrish

Easy steps to enter:

1. Follow Christa Parrish and TNZ Fiction on Pinterest.

2. Then Pin the Stones for Bread book cover (below), the contest graphic (above), or both, and link to this post (using this URL: #StonesforBread KitchenAid Mixer Contest #ChristaParrish

3. Then fill out THIS SHORT FORM to let us know. (There are also some additional ways to earn extra entries, as well as an option for non-Pinterest users. It's true—people like that do exist!)

Questions? Email info @ litfusegroup dot com.

Winner will be announced on 12/9 on Christa's Facebook Page.

Exciting times. I've read Christa's new book. I enjoyed it on many levels. She has 11 bread recipes to try and a heartfelt story. It's a win, win! I'll be posting my reviews on the 23rd. I wanted you to know about this contest!

Nora St.Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins! 


ABOUT AUTHOR: Melody Carlson has written around 200 books for teens, women and children. That's a lot of books, but mostly she considers herself a "storyteller." Her books range from serious issues like schizophrenia (Finding Alice) to lighter topics like house-flipping (A Mile in My Flip-Flops) but most of the inspiration behind her fiction comes right out of real life. Her young adult novels (Diary of a Teenage Girl, True Colors etc.) appeal to teenage girls around the world. Her annual Christmas novellas become more popular each year. She's won a number of awards (including the Rita and Gold Medallion) and some of her books have been optioned for film/TV. Carlson has two grown sons and makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and yellow Lab dog. To find out more about Melody Carlson, visit her website at

What was your favorite scene in A Simple Christmas Wish? Which was the must fun to write?

The scene that comes to mind is early in the book when “Aunt” Rachel and her young niece Holly drag a Christmas tree into Holly’s parents’ sleek upscale Chicago apartment. Rachel knows that her brother and sister-in-law (who are on vacation) wouldn't approve of the over-sized clunky tree or the homemade decorations she and Holly create, but the two of them have fun and make a memory (before their whole world is turned upside down).

You've written a lot of Christmas Stories, one of my favorite ones is Christmas at Harrington’s what inspired you to write that story? What do you hope readers take away from that novel?

The inspiration came from a character that popped into my mind. Out of the blue, I imagined a Mrs. Santa—a woman with some serious troubles who reluctantly takes a department store job. Then I heard an alarming statistic about how many women are released from prison with nothing more than the clothes on their backs. I knew that was going to be part of the story. As with all my Christmas books, I want readers to simply enjoy the story, but I also hope to remind everyone (including myself) that the people around us need grace and love more than judgment and criticism. Especially at Christmastime.

Nora: Thanks for answering this question Melody!

Did you have a say in choosing the cover for this book? How did the process work? The girl on the front cover is adorable, the whole cover is eye catching and screams pick me up and look inside.

I love that cover too! And, yes, I do get a say in the covers and I've been very fortunate with my Christmas novellas. For A Simple Christmas Wish I had suggested a snowy
Amish countryside scene with a horse-drawn buggy in the background. But the little girl on the front was totally their idea. I loved it immediately and even offered to make changes to the book to include the scarlet red coat. I’m very pleased with this cover. And over the years I've come to realize how important covers are to books.

What do you hope readers take away from A Simple Christmas Wish?

Audrey in my office
Again, I hoped to provide readers with an enjoyable read. Isn't it great to slow down in the midst of holidays and just lose yourself in a story? Beyond that, I hoped to show the contrast between two very different cultures—in the hopes that we both can learn something from one another without passing judgment.

There are many things about the Amish lifestyle that I admire. The slower pace and can-do spirit for starters. And in this age, when Christmas is so commercialized that stores are stocking Christmas decorations before Halloween is even over, a reminder to slow down and simplify can be refreshing.

Nora: So true the book store I work at started playing Christmas music last weekend! Yikes!

Can you give us a sneak peek into what you are working on now? When will it be out?

Harry & I having a moment together outside

I just finished the final edits on next year’s Christmas novella. It’s very different from anything I've done so far, but I had such fun with it. I’m curious to see what kind of cover it will receive. It’s called The Christmas Cat and the main character is a tenderhearted young man with a very strong aversion to felines. But, of course, a cat (or make that a bunch of cats) will cross his path before the story’s done.

Nora: Can't wait to read this one.  I have two cats that are polar opposites of each other. Cats are fun!


What was your favorite show on T.V. when you were growing up? Why is it your favorite? If you didn't watch TV what were your favorite books?

That’s a tricky question because TV shows came and went. But Bonanza comes to mind for several reasons. It was the first TV I ever saw in color (on my grandparents’ TV) and that in itself was amazing. Plus it was my grandpa’s favorite show and I loved watching it with him. But also it was long enough (an hour) to have a fairly involved story-line—I think that appealed to the young writer in me. And, oh yeah, Little Joe (Michael Landon in his younger days) wasn't too hard to look at. J

If money weren't an issue where would you like to go and do?

Melody & her husband
I've been blessed to have traveled a lot (been around the world and toured Europe a couple of times). But my husband’s travels have been more limited. Because he has Irish/Scandinavian roots, I would love to take him to Ireland (which I've visited and loved) as well as Norway and Sweden (which I have not visited). And it would be fun to take about a month to see and experience everything.

Nora: That sounds like fun!

Out of all the sounds in the world which are your favorite?

What a great question! Because I love sounds and sometimes think if I had to choose between being blind or deaf, I would keep my ears. But hopefully that won’t happen. I think my favorite sound might be the ocean. We have a little beach cabin where that sound soothes me to sleep at night. We just left it yesterday and I still miss it.

There are so many types of weather which is your favorite? Which to you try to avoid?

Melody loves to travel
Another great question. I actually love almost all types of weather. Snow is great as long as it doesn't stay too long. Rain is good because it smells so delicious afterward. I like a good storm too. Where we live, we get a little bit of everything. Well, except tornadoes and I’m not sure I’d like that. I think my least favorite is really hot weather because it makes me want to stay inside. And I like being outside.

We all live busy lives and all of us are in different seasons of life; that as a given what part of your day requires the most patience from you to get through? Causes you to pray the most?

My biggest challenge is watching loved ones suffering. Whether it’s due to a bad choice or just life circumstances, it’s hard for me to see people I care about struggling. Of course, it drives me straight to prayer because usually there’s nothing I can do about it. Well, besides loving them...and waiting for life to get better. But it’s not easy and it often wakes me up in the middle of the night. But that’s a good time to pray too.


Nora : I agree with you Melody!

THANKS for stopping by Melody. It's great to know you and your books better. I've enjoyed and have been touched by your Christmas stories. I'm thrilled about the Giveaway Opportunity Revell Publishers has at TBCN Starting November 20th. There will be a 5 book giveaway and discussion. You've come up with three fun questions to ask readers. I'll be interested in that discussion.

Stop by The Book Club Network (TBCN) NOVEMBER 20th
Check out the Front page CLICK the Link that will take you to the entry author page. 


Nora :o)



ABOUT AUTHOR: Jen Turano, acclaimed author of A Change of Fortune, A Most Peculiar Circumstance, and A Talent for Trouble, is a graduate of the University of Akron with a degree in Clothing and Textiles. Her fourth book in the Ladies of Distinction Series, A Match of Wits, will release from Bethany House in the summer of 2014. She is a member of ACFW and makes her home outside of Denver, Colorado with her husband and teenage son. Visit her website at or Facebook page at

How did you come up with the idea for A Talent for Trouble?
I realized the moment Mr. Jeffrey Murdock pulled his sister, Miss Felicia Murdock, away from her friends in the middle of a ball in book one, A Change of Fortune, that she just might demand a book of her own.  At that point, all I knew was that Felicia was a bit of a disaster especially since she traveled throughout society dressed in outlandish gowns but… the question of why kept plaguing me.  As Mr. Grayson Sumner’s character began to develop at the end of A Change of Fortune and A Most Peculiar Circumstance, I decided to see what would happen if I put the two of them together.  They clicked right from the start so I began writing their story and A Talent for Trouble took off from there.
What was your favorite scene in A Talent for Trouble?  Which was the most fun to write?
My favorite scene is when Grayson is following Felicia around the slums of the city as she drives her pony cart with her trusty, yet ancient pony, Thor around.  When she ends up in a pub and decides to sing a little tune – well, I just love that part, especially Grayson’s reaction to her singing.  The scene I enjoyed writing the most was Felicia trying to drive Grayson’s high-spirited horses, right after she makes the claim that her mother finds her to be very proficient with the reins.  
Did you have a say in choosing the cover for this book?  How did the process work?
Bethany House is responsible for all my covers, but I do fill out a character/setting sheet to give them an idea of what my heroine looks like, her personality and where the book is set.  This cover is one of my favorites and I love that the background is set in Central Park – especially since Felicia does manage to land herself in trouble there.  My editor sends me the final selection and I have to admit, I was thrilled with this cover.
Can you give us a sneak peek into what you’re working on now?  When will it be out?
I’m currently finishing up edits on book four – A Match of Wits.  It’s Miss Agatha Watson’s story, and yes, I know…finally – it’ll come out later in 2014.  I can also announce that I just signed a new contract with Bethany House for an additional three books.  This series will be a little different than The Ladies of Distinction Series because the heroines will not be ladies from society, but working class women.  Miss Harriet Peabody is the heroine in the first book and she forms an unlikely alliance with Mr. Oliver Addleshaw, a character I loosely based on Andrew Carnegie.  It’ll release in 2015.  
When you sit down to relax and read, what genre do you turn to?  Do you prefer hardback, paper, or digital when you read?  Why?
My favorite genre to read is historical romance, but…I can’t read historical when I’m in the midst of a first draft, so I read a lot of YA, thrillers, mysteries and contemporary romances.  I’m really not picky about genre – although I do have to watch with thrillers because before you know it, that light-hearted romp I’m trying to write turns a little, er, dark.  I once added a serial killer to one of my books and my poor editor had to make the gentle suggestion that I might need to consider pulling that out of the story – it sort of ruined the whole light-hearted business.  I reserve buying hardbacks for my absolute favorite authors, but do prefer paperbacks over digital, although I do have an e-reader and use it occasionally.  I’m old, what can I say?
What was your favorite show on TV when you were growing up?  Why was it your favorite?
Bonanza – because I was totally going to marry Little John when I grew up.
What two jobs have you had that would surprise people?
My cute Sasha
I was a lifeguard throughout high school and when I was in college, I worked in the Geography Department.  It was a rather boring job until the professors discovered I could type and then I was typing my fingers to the bone because all of them had manuscripts they’d scribbled out that needed to be typed.  I credit that job with why I can type so fast because, honestly, those professors were less than patient and…demandingJ
If money weren't an issue, where would you like to go and do?
I know there are thousands of exotic locations throughout the world, but quite honestly, my favorite place in the whole world is the east coast of the United States.  I adore Maine, Rhode Island, and upstate New York.  I enjoy finding quaint little restaurants and out of the way country stores.  I love to mosey through antique shops, especially if they’re housed in old barns, but I seldom buy anything except old photographs.
Out of all the sounds in the world, which are your favorites?
Children giggling and frogs croaking.
There are so many types of weather.  Which is your favorite?  Which do you try to avoid?
I love cool days, especially in the fall, and I adore snow.  I absolutely loathe hot weather which is why I’ll never live in Florida.
We all live busy lives and all of us are in different seasons of life.  What part of your day requires the most patience from you to get through?

My agent Mary Sue (red Dress)w/other Seymour Clients

I find the hour leading up to dinner to be the most trying.  I’m an early riser.  I take my dog for her walk right after breakfast, around 7:00 am, then take my power walk and get to my computer by 8:30 or 9:00.  I usually write or edit all day, so by the time I stop to get dinner ready, I’m normally a little tired and, occasionally, grumpy.  I also don’t like to cook…at all.  I have no talent for it, I never have, and I like to believe I inherited that non-ability from my mom – she couldn't cook either.  So, it’s difficult for me to pull together a meal and get into a pleasant frame of mind to see my guys when they get home from work and school.
Jen, any final comments for readers?
I’d really just like to take a moment to thank all the readers for the completely unexpected outpouring of support they've given me over this past year.  I wasn't expecting to get to meet so many fabulous readers and it’s those readers who inspire me to keep on writing –so again, thank you and Happy Reading!

I'd love to hear from you - my website is or my Facebook page at .

THANKS for stopping by Jen! It's great to know you and your books better. I'm thrilled about the Giveaway Opportunity Bethany House has at TBCN Starting November 20th. There will be a 10 book giveaway and discussion. You've come up with three fun questions to ask readers. I'll be interested in that discussion.

Stop by The Book Club Network (TBCN) NOVEMBER 20th
Check out the Front page CLICK the Link that will take you to the entry author page. 


Nora :o)