Skip to content

Month: September 2017

Want a Free eBook?

If you subscribe to my newsletter, you’ll receive the ebook of On The Ropes for free!

I originally wrote this book to be included in a box set about stories that involved some sort of hidden identity. Doing a character in witness protection was an easy choice. When I sat down to start writing, this story just flowed out of me and enveloped me from the very first day.

I fell in love with Ruth’s protector, the German Shepherd named Major. I rooted for Victor to win the love and trust of Ruth. And, I felt every tear as Ruth struggled with her new identity in the wake of the event that launched her into witness protection.

I am THRILLED to offer this to you as a thank you for signing up for my newsletter. I hope you enjoy the story and pray that it blesses you in some way. Click here to sign up for my newsletter, and you’ll receive an email with the link to download your copy today. (If you are already a subscriber, don’t worry! You’ll receive a link in October’s newsletter so that you can download your copy!)

Subscribers to my newsletter are also entered into a monthly giveaway of a $25 Amazon gift card, have access to my subscriber-only birthday club, receive sneak peaks, and are privy to special announcements!

The Back Cover:

Doctor Ruth Burnette has everything she has ever dreamed possible: the perfect job, a twin sister who is her best friend, and a fiancé who is retiring from professional boxing as the middleweight champion of the world.

Then came that fateful night when she witnessed a mafia execution. When her sister is murdered she knows she’ll battle to the last round and never, ever throw in the towel. Now she’s down for the count, in witness protection, anxious, alone except for the faithful company of her German Shepherd at her side.

As the time draws near to when she has to leave her safe little corner she stays on her toes. She has to testify against one of the darkest criminals in New York, she shores up the courage to face the accused from the witness stand. Unexpectedly, he’s not the one who worries her. She wonders what coming face-to-face with his son, VICTOR KOVALEV…her former fiancé …will bring.

Will Ruth have a fighting chance against the Kovalev family, or will Victor keep her pinned ON THE ROPES?

Excerpt from the Book:

Brenda dashed up the steps to the podium. “Oh, Mara, thank God I found you.” She held out yesterday’s newspaper. “Jeremy told me that a reporter came and talked to him, but he didn’t tell me that he’d given her pictures, too!”

Her stomach turned to water and her pulse pounded in her neck painfully. She stared at a picture of her face taken while she tied the tank top onto Jeremy’s leg, right there on the front page of the lifestyle section of the Gainesville newspaper. How many thousands of people got that newspaper daily? How many online sources ran the headlines?

Brenda said something, but she couldn’t hear her through the roaring in her ears. The safety she had felt moments earlier vanished as if it had never existed. “I have to go,” she whispered, dropping the cord she clutched in her hand. Leaving her friend standing on the stage, she jumped down and ran down the aisle.

When she burst through the doors and into the hot Florida sunshine, she felt the world start spinning around her. “What to do, what to do, what to do?” she whispered over and over again. Seconds later, the phone in her hand vibrated, startling her so that she nearly dropped it. She recognized the number and answered, saying by way of a greeting, “Get me out of here.”

“I’m on my way,” Federal Marshall Dean Tucker replied. “Forty minutes.”

“That’s too long,” she sobbed.

“Do you want me to send local law enforcement?”

“Yes, yes.” Disconnecting the call, she rushed across the street. Bursting into her house, she ran to the bedroom, grabbing a bag from the closet floor. It contained her life. Her entire thirty-year life was in one leather satchel. She went into the kitchen and put two days’ worth of dog food in a plastic bowl, sealed the lid, and added that with a couple bottles of water and an empty bowl to the bag.

When she looked at her phone, she saw that only five minutes had gone by. Major followed close at her feet as she went into the living room, whining as he clearly sensed her distress. “We’re okay,” she said to the dog, not even sounding convincing to her own ears. “We’ll be okay.”

At the knock on the door, Mara’s heart stopped, but Major jumped up and ran to the door, wagging his tail frantically. Ben must have seen her run across the street, or Brenda found him and told him what she’d said about hiding from an ex. She opened the door and Major burst past her, throwing the screen door open with his weight and launching himself at the man standing on her porch.

After meeting Major on the ground and petting him and hugging him to him, the man greeted her in an all too familiar voice, saying, “Hello, Ruth.”

Her heart felt like it stopped beating. Victor Kovalev rubbed Major’s fur and looked up at her. He hadn’t changed in six months. He still wore his black hair cut short to combat the natural curls. While his mouth smiled, his light brown eyes looked at her with a serious, almost cautious, expression. She licked her dry lips and looked past him, expecting to see a car full of hit men unloading on her lawn.

Clearly, Major offered no protection against her enemy. Feeling betrayed, she stepped out onto the porch. She’d known this day would eventually happen, hadn’t she? “Major, down,” she said sternly. Immediately, Major stopped dancing and jumping around Victor, and lowered himself to the ground, his entire body vibrating with excitement. Should she run? Should she wait for the police that Marshal Tucker called?

She couldn’t outrun him. Instead, she would stay outside, surrounded by neighbors who would hear if she needed help — witnesses to her coming death. She clenched her fists so he wouldn’t notice her hands shaking. “The police will be here any moment.”

“Well then,” he said in his rich baritone voice, “I guess I better get this over with.” He reached into his pocket and she opened her mouth to scream.

Pin It
Leave a Comment

Monday Morning Chat: My Writing Schedule

Hello! Welcome to Monday morning coffee and chat!

Today I’m answering a two-fer:

Do you write during the holidays?

What is your writing schedule?

Love the questions! I hope you learn more about me as a writer through my response:

 

halleeLOGOspinefinal


I’m so grateful for your visit, today.
You would bless me if you added me to your Subscribe via any Reader feed reader or subscribed Subscribe via Email via email.
You can also become a fan on Become a Facebook Fan Facebook or follow me on Follow me on Twitter Twitter. I would love to see more of you!


1 Comment

Interview with Author Linda Yezak and a Giveaway!

Welcome to Readers Write to Know! I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance, and the authors visiting my blog answered them! This week, I am pleased to introduce you to Carol Award finalist Linda Yezak! The collection she is currently in – Coming Home – A Tiny House Collection sounds absolutely fascinating — and she is giving away a copy to one of you readers! So, check out her interview, and at the end, see how you can enter to win!

Tell us a little bit about yourself: I scored low on the “How High-Maintenance Are You” test floating around on Facebook. I buy expensive makeup. That’s the extent of it. I’d rather be fishing than just about anything, I love almost all spectator sports, and given half a chance, I’d still try to climb a tree despite the fact I turned 60 this year. I love to cook, enjoy needlework, and adore being with people. Anyone who knows me knows the rest: I’m a coffee addict with the amazing talent of walking with a foot in my mouth.

Tell us about your current release: Ane Mulligan, Pamela Meyers, and I along with four other authors jumped into the tiny house craze with Coming Home: a Tiny House Collection. Each novella in the collection includes a tiny house in some way, but all the stories are different, from romance to women’s fiction—even a mystery/suspense. My novella, Kayla’s Challenge, involves a young woman who is one I-do away from marrying the man her parents chose for her. She decides to move away from Georgia and get out from under their thumbs. When she arrives in Texas, she has great visions of buying land and raising horses, until she discovers the price tag. Will she be able to break free and become the mature adult God wants her to be?

Whats the first major news headline that you can remember and what do you remember? The first major headline that made an imprint was when President Kennedy was assassinated. I was in grade school during the era of “duck and cover.” Periodically, we would have drills invented by someone who thought tucking our heads against the wall in the elementary hallways would keep us safe from nuclear blast. That and the Vietnam War were the biggest events around, along with the Cuban Missile crisis. I was only vaguely aware of the war and the Cubans, but when the president got shot, even I paid attention. Our teacher wheeled in a TV set, and we got to watch some of the events before they released everyone to go home. I don’t remember my teacher’s name, but I remember that she cried. Everyone seemed in a state of shock. First time in my young life I deliberately watched the news.

What inspired you to start writing, or did you always want to write? Back in the ’90s, when my dad had cancer and Billy’s company moved us 150 miles away from home, I couldn’t go back to work because my folks needed me. Writing was a means to keep occupied, but I didn’t have the slightest interest in making a career out of it. It was just something I’d always done and turned to it again to stay busy.

During the subsequent years, Daddy died, Mom adjusted to being a new widow, and I dealt with an illness no one would diagnose for the next six years and wrote. I finished my mystery, Shattered Crystal, and, with all the optimism of a typical newbie, sent the raw manuscript off for publication.

The novel got rejected before I drew my next breath.

For some reason, that was all the incentive I needed to learn the craft and try again. My next novel, Give the Lady a Ride, released in 2011. It was a finalist in the Carol contest and won the Grace award for Christian Romance. I’ve been hooked ever since.

How did you make the initial step into writing your first novel. What were some of your major roadblocks and how did you overcome them? I used to play bridge on Pogo, and one of my regular partners had a disease that would ultimately kill her. She couldn’t speak and her husband couldn’t see, but she could make her computer talk for her, and they managed. This was during the time when Daddy was sick, and I was writing Shattered Crystal. Every time I finished a chapter, I sent it to “Lima” and her husband. They were always full of praise and encouragement, always wanting to know when the next installment would be.

“Lima” died before I finished the book. That was my first experience with the death of a cyber-friend, and it was every bit as painful as if she lived right next door. Getting over that and all the subsequent traumas of losing Daddy and such were definite roadblocks.

Life gets in the way. That was the first time, but it certainly wasn’t the last. Much later, when I was writing The Cat Lady’s Secret, my mother was seriously ill and no one could figure out what was wrong. During that time, our son died unexpectedly. My own illness decided to kick up a fuss because of all the stress. My cute little comedy novel became a comedy-drama.

Each of my novels have a story behind them, not all of them bad. But life does get in the way. We just have to keep writing.

What do you do when you hit a roadblock and have NO idea what to write? I have a favorite story generator site that I could spend hours on: Writing Exercises, out of the UK. It gives ideas for plot, characters, opening lines, unusual dialogue. It hasn’t failed me yet.

Find Linda online:

Website, Newsletter, Facebook Fan Page, Pinterest, Twitter, Amazon Page

Find Linda’s latest release online:

Linda is giving away an ebook of Coming Home – A Tiny House Collection! See how you can enter to win:

halleeLOGOspinefinal


I’m so grateful for your visit, today.
You would bless me if you added me to your Subscribe via any Reader feed reader or subscribed Subscribe via Email via email.
You can also become a fan on Become a Facebook Fan Facebook or follow me on Follow me on Twitter Twitter. I would love to see more of you!


Pin It
11 Comments

Monday Morning Chat: My Favorite Time Period

Hello! Welcome to Monday morning coffee and chat!

Today I’m answering the question:

You wrote a series set in World War II. Is that your favorite time period?

Love the question! I hope you learn more about me as a writer through my response:

 

halleeLOGOspinefinal


I’m so grateful for your visit, today.
You would bless me if you added me to your Subscribe via any Reader feed reader or subscribed Subscribe via Email via email.
You can also become a fan on Become a Facebook Fan Facebook or follow me on Follow me on Twitter Twitter. I would love to see more of you!


Pin It
Leave a Comment

Parenting Autism: The Surprising Moments of Overwhelming Emotion

I’m normally a rather pragmatic person. I rarely am overcome with emotion. I handle everything in life with a stoicism that most people cannot understand. My daughter jokingly says I don’t “feel anything” — and longs for memories that don’t exist of me crying through the pinnacle moments in her life.

So, the first time I watched the first two episodes of of the show Parenthood, and watched one of the sets of parents struggle with the diagnosis of their son on the autism spectrum, the overwhelming emotion that had me sobbing into my couch pillow really surprised me.

Really surprised me.

After this wave passed, I sat there, stunned, and wondered what had just happened. As I analyzed it, I realized it was because, for the very first time in this autism journey, I found someone, albeit a fictional someone, who knew exactly what we’d been going through and how I personally felt — even if those emotions were buried deep inside a pragmatic stoic core.

I couldn’t keep watching it. I made it through the first season, but it did too much to the inside of me to keep going.

That was six years ago – right as we were beginning this autism journey and I didn’t know what our future would look like. Recently, I saw that Netflix had it in the lineup, so I rewatched the first episode.  Now, I didn’t end up sobbing into my pillow, but I definitely felt tears slide down my face as those raw feelings of fear and anger and uncertainty felt fresh and new all over again.

I know, in my pragmatic self-analyzing way, that what overwhelmed me was this idea that I’m not alone as a mother, we’re not alone as parents, and Scott isn’t alone as an autistic kid trying to work his way through this world that doesn’t operate properly on his plane of existence. Because, this isn’t an easy journey. It’s hard, and it’s unfair, and we have to work through all of these episodes in his life where he just wants to die because life here is so hard and he’s so very tired of trying to be this triangle peg fitting into a round hole.

Added to the turmoil that comes with that, one day he’s going to be a grown man and every single think we don’t do right could very possibly negatively affect that in a much, much bigger way than it would with our other children — we know this. It is part of this whole life. And we accept it and steadfastly cover him with prayer about it.

One thing that any parent of a child with medical/special needs knows is forms. Everywhere we take our child as it pertains to their diagnosis or condition, comes with a brand new set of forms that all ask the same questions over and over again. And, every time I fill them out, I find that those are the times when my emotions over being the mother of this incredible kid who suffers so much in this world hit me in extreme.

Part of my issue is because I have to fill out form after form, or squiggle pencil marks into little ovals over and over again, as if to claim, “THIS IS WHAT’S WRONG WITH MY SON!”

I don’t want to focus on all the things that are wrong, that set him apart. I want to focus on all of the things that make him remarkable and his accomplishments that supersede all expectations from before. But yet, that’s not what the forms are looking for. So, I start off angry — angry at nothing and no one in particular — just an emotional reaction to something that should be very vanilla.

I’m weird. I know.

And then I start feeling that now familiar overwhelming feeling that we’re not alone in this world. If this question exists on a standardized questionnaire, then someone else must have experienced it, too! Probably lots of someones. And suddenly, the idea that someone out there – this time NOT fictional – understands, can emphasize, could come to me one day and say, “Listen sister, don’t worry. Here’s what I know. Here’s how we rocked it. Here’s how we saw that God had our backs the whole time!”

And I start crying. Me, this stoic unfeeling person who is always taking charge in emotional situations because she’s the one who can think clearly — suddenly I’m sobbing over a stupid form that the therapist or doctor is barely going to glance at because there are enough check marks or squiggly ovals filled in that the answer is obvious.

Not because I’m angry because I have to fill it out again — but simply because it means we’re not alone. I’m not alone. Scott’s not alone.

And someone out there understands.

halleeLOGOspinefinal


I’m so grateful for your visit, today.
You would bless me if you added me to your Subscribe via any Reader feed reader or subscribed Subscribe via Email via email.
You can also become a fan on Become a Facebook Fan Facebook or follow me on Follow me on Twitter Twitter. I would love to see more of you!


Leave a Comment

Interview with Author Sue Barr and a Giveaway!

Welcome to Readers Write to Know! I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance, and the authors visiting my blog answered them! This week, I have author Sue Barr. I loved this interview so much – I felt a flood of emotion as her answer about benefiting a reader in his or her spiritual journey really resonated with me. Sue is giving away a copy of her latest release! Read on to see how you can enter to win.

 Tell us a little bit about yourself: I grew up in rural Saskatchewan (Canada) in a town called Shellbrook. We had a whopping population of twelve hundred. Believe it or not, we were the ‘large’ town where farmers came to shop. I met my husband in 1981 – a dashing air force pilot – and we married in 1983. We have two sons and the family has expanded to include wives and grandchildren. I came to the Lord when I was sixteen and have stubbed my spiritual toes more than once, but God is faithful and my relationship with Him is ‘rock’ solid.

Tell us about your current release: I’ve always loved Pride & Prejudice and have watched/read all variations. One day I wondered, ‘Whatever happened to Caroline Bingley after P&P ended?’  As you know, once an author asks the ‘what if’ question, words begin to flow.

Caroline is the villainess all Jane Austen fans love to hate. Manipulative, arrogant, she’s a social climber of the highest order, but I believed she’s redeemable. From the start I planned on her falling in love with Darcy’s vicar and my job was to make him interesting enough to engage our spoiled miss. Enter Lord Nathan, third son of a Duke who came to the Lord after resigning his commission and is now Mr. Darcy’s new vicar. Through him, as well as fond remembrances of her saintly grandmother, Caroline begins a journey toward salvation and love. I’m not saying there aren’t any bumps along the road, there is. You can’t have a romance novel without some conflict and angst…

If you knew ahead of time your book would benefit only one person on their spiritual journey, would you still write it? I would. I’m not in this to make tons of money, nor find fame. I love the song by Francesca Battistelli – “He Knows My Name”. It really speaks to my heart. The Shepherd left his flock to find the lost sheep and if my book brings one person to a closer or new relationship with the Lord, the angels will rejoice – and so would I.

Do you feel pressured to compromise your standards in order to reach a larger audience or be more successful? No, I truly don’t because that’s not what I’m writing for. I have goals I’d like to reach and I’ve attained almost all of them. When I first started writing in 2009 I was not living a Christian lifestyle – one of my spiritual stubbed toes – however, God pursued me and gently led me back to a loving relationship with Him. It was then I made a conscious decision to never hide my light beneath the bushel. My goal is to honor God and write the story He places on my heart.

What’s the first major news headline that you can remember and what do you remember? ‘The Goal of The Century’, when Canada beat Russia in ’72. True blue Canucks know exactly what I’m talkin’ about. Like most Canadians, I was glued to the television. Less than a minute left in the game and Paul Henderson scored on Vladislav Tretiak – what a sight to behold as the legendary Howie Meeker made the call.

Who was your first Screen/Musical Crush? Elvis. ‘Nuff said.

How did you determine whether to self-publish or seek a traditional publisher? I sold my first manuscript in 2010 and had four more stories published before I came back to the Lord in 2014. Even though I was with a publisher, I found that when it came to promoting my books, I did most of the work. When I had my rights from my previous publisher reverted back to me in 2015, it was almost a no-brainer decision to self-publish. I maintain control of my covers, back blurb, release dates and marketing promotion.

At times I bang my head on the desk because it would be soooo much easier to let others do the heavy lifting, like editing and formatting, and just let me write, but something holds me back and I have to believe that something is God.  Who am I to argue?

Do you have your plotline and character development already laid out before you begin writing a book, or do they develop as you write? In my personal life I lay out plans month in advance. I live by my calendar, but when it comes to writing… I’m a true-blue pantser desperately wishing to be a plotter. When a story begins to percolate in the back of my mind, I see the whole thing like a movie laid out in glorious Technicolor from start to finish.

With CAROLINE I dovetailed her story with the ending of Pride & Prejudice. I didn’t want to mess around with original canon, and had a parameter of six weeks to work with, which forced me to tighten the timeline and surprisingly gave me something to write toward. This is the closest I’ve come to plotting out a book. I believe I shall try that again. It was fun.

Who were some of your favorite authors as a child? Are you ready? The list is long and varied. At the age of four I started with Dr. Seuss, Beatrix Potter, then came the Bobbsey Twins (I still have one hard copy), Nancy Drew Mystery series and the Hardy Boys books. My parents bought me all the classics. They came as thick double editions, example: Hans Christian Anderson on one side and Grimm’s Fairy Tales on the flip side. I believe there were twelve in total, making twenty-four books. From these I read Alice in Wonderland, Robinson Crusoe, Oliver Twist, Aesop’s Fables…I could go on, and on. In my teens, I moved on to Harlequin and gobbled up Barbara Cartland novels like candy. My father cautioned me to marry a man who could keep me in books. I did.

I’m always intrigued by how writers get started…did you always have these books inside you and knew that you wanted to write them or did the idea just pop into your head one day and you decided to put pen to paper? My husband has encouraged me to write for as long as I’ve known him. I’m not sure what he saw because I didn’t have the desire. Fast forward twenty-eight years. A co-worker sent part of a screenplay to me and as I read the scene, I mentally pictured a sub-plot and emailed that scene back to him and remember thinking, “I could write a book.” I went home that night, told my husband I was going to write a book and stared at the computer screen. I had no clue where/how to start. The first line in the story went something like this: ‘The blinking cursor taunted her.’

From there, I composed thirty-eight thousand words of the worst novel ever written. Charlotte’s Fall is still in my database, lurking in the shadows, NEVER to see light of day.

Find Sue online:

Blog:  http://suebarrauthor.blogspot.com
Web: http://suebarrauthor.com
Facebook: http://facebook.com/AuthorSueBarr
Twitter: http://twitter.com/SBarrAuthor

Find Sue’s latest release online:



On Barnes & Noble:
CAROLINE (Pride & Prejudice continued..., #1)

On Kobo:
 

 

 

Sue is giving away a copy of her latest release! Check out all the ways you can enter:

 

halleeLOGOspinefinal


I’m so grateful for your visit, today.
You would bless me if you added me to your Subscribe via any Reader feed reader or subscribed Subscribe via Email via email.
You can also become a fan on Become a Facebook Fan Facebook or follow me on Follow me on Twitter Twitter. I would love to see more of you!


Pin It
7 Comments
WordPress SEO fine-tune by Meta SEO Pack from Poradnik Webmastera