April 29, 2008
My friend and fellow author Shirley Connolly is visiting us today. Tomorrow we have a special treat for you, when Shirley returns with her heroine, Amethyst Rose, to guest blog here on My Book Bag.
Shirley will give away a copy of her new release, Flame from Within, to one of you! Go here to find out how to participate in the scavenger hunt and get your name in her drawing. Deadline for entries is Saturday, May 3, so don’t dawdle!
Come on in, get all comfy-cozy, and let’s talk with this wonderful woman and exciting author!
Shirley’s historical romance novel, Flame from Within, officially releases tomorrow! Be sure to check it out on Amazon, on Shirley’s website, or at her publisher site. In the meantime, let’s talk to the author herself for a moment:
Thank you for stopping by My Book Bag, Shirley! I’m thrilled to have you, and honored to introduce you to my readers. Tell us a little about Shirley Connolly, the lady next door.
A. The lady next door. You know, Delia, the people next door seldom see me! I am always so busy at my computer. Let me see. What do I do when I am not at my desk….
I love to watch old classical movies when I’m vegging out. Watching the old movie actors of old and listening to them as they get into character. Or reading literature or historical romance novels. When I have the time, I love to do that. I also enjoy meeting with my lady friends and teaching Bible Studies to them or sharing back and forth. They keep me on my toes. I love coming together with small groups and doing retreats. When I have the time, I like to prepare them. I like to move my furniture around—and think vintage because I love old things…anything antique. That also inspires me. And singing…you will find this lady next door coming up with some harmony something whenever there is music playing somewhere. I’ll even put words to music if it doesn’t have it. I love to do that. That’s pretty much me…if I’m not outside talking to my chickens.
Q. That said…you have a book being released tomorrow! You must be so excited! Tell us about Flame from Within.
A. Officially it is tomorrow, but I discovered it came out at Amazon much earlier! I was thrilled about that! In fact, the first day the sales were way up! (But you know how that goes! Yes, let me share a little blurb.
A voyage across the sea begins a journey of healing for Amethyst Rose’s soul and a discovery of love and faith she thought she’d never find. When a Yankee-induced fire destroys her family and her home, this young plantation-bred Vicksburg darling finds herself on the run with a desire to perhaps give up life. Angry towards a God she’s never known and the men in blue, her only choice left is to move in with her elder and controlling sister, who runs a bordello in The French Quarter of New Orleans—a decision guaranteed to destroy her personal respect and tarnish her family name. With her bitter hatred towards all Yankees plunged into high gear, nothing seems to matter anymore. Nothing, that is, until, on a riverboat en route to New Orleans, Amethyst Rose (Aimee) finds herself intrigued by the presence of not one, but two Union officers and a Frenchman. Each in his own way find ways to tug at the heart and perhaps soul of this woman lost.
It can be ordered on Amazon, and thank you for letting me do that, Delia!
Q. What was your inspiration for this book?
A. Believe it or not, a romance novel back in the 1970s. I wanted to see an inspirational. So I decided I would some day write one myself. It was some such thing about New Orleans. Who knows what it was! LOL. It took me long enough to write the thing!
Q. I understand you have other works already contracted with Vintage Romance Publishing. Looks like you’ve been a busy lady! How long does it take you (on average) to write a book, from first word to putting it in the publisher’s hands?
A. Well, for someone like me…forever! That is because I am so terrible at grammar. You wouldn’t think so since I took SCBWI and even graduated with a diploma and everything. But I am a slow rememberer! (I make up words too! J I think I am going to write my own dictionary and make up a name for it!)
It takes me about a year to write a book (then forever to get it right. Ask my editor!).
Q. What’s next? Can you talk about what you’re working on now?
A. I am still cleaning up one I finished. Again. Then I am working on an agent packet. I think it is time to get an agent. I also have my devotional series I am working on. I also want to do a Regency and a Western…oh, Man! But it takes lots of research to do everything I want to do so I am in the middle of research too. I do a lot of things at once. Maybe that’s my problem.
Q. What do you enjoy most about writing? Least?
A. Most…doing historical fiction, researching and playing with words, and fixing so that it gets better. Isn’t that weird?
Least…maybe having to wait for it to come out. Definitely finding mistakes later when I can’t do anything about them. Oh, how hard that is!
Q. You’re probably tired of answering this question, and I apologize for asking it yet again but…where do you get your ideas?
A. No problem at all. From everywhere!!! In the bathtub, while I’m sleeping, while I’m watching a movie, while I’m singing to my chickens, while I’m eating dinner, while I’m doodling… everywhere! Isn’t that where everyone gets their ideas?
Thank you for being with us, Shirley. We enjoyed your visit, and look forward to reading Flame from Within.
Shirley is a wife, mom, and grandmother of three, respectively. Shirley writes historical fiction romances laced with nuggets of inspiration not only for the believer but for the nonbeliever as well. She also writes light-hearted non-fiction devotionals to help believers to keep looking up but to introduce the nonbeliever into a simple relationship with God. Her hope is to get her books out there! Her motto: “I am a Christian who loves to write books, not a writer who only loves to write for Christians.”
Maggie Anderson could not believe the terrifying event was happening to her. Yet she was more concerned about the consequences of failing to complete an errand for her abusive boyfriend than about the gun pointed at her head. And when the carjacker orders her out of the car, safe and unharmed, she realizes a door has opened for her to escape the tyranny under which she’s been existing.
Through a chain of events that could only have been divinely inspired, Maggie winds up in Clayburn, Kansas – a tiny farming community unlike anything she’s ever experienced. Neither did New York ever offer her the kind of love and friendship folks in Clayburn shower on the stranger in their midst. Among the most welcoming of Clayburn’s residents is Trevor Ashlock – a handsome widower who has spent the past two years mourning the loss of his wife and child.
Could it be this city girl will find herself a hayseed plowboy to have and to hold? Or will her ex find her first? If he does, Maggie knows he will destroy her newfound happiness and either take her life or make her wish she were dead.
Remember to Forget is a heartwarming, thought provoking tale that will not be easily forgotten. Fictional though it may be, Clayburn, Kansas becomes so tangible it’s hard to remember it exists only in the pages of Raney’s novel. It is peopled with characters real enough that I longed to meet them in person and make them all best friends. The sweet romance makes the heart “go pitty patter,” and the finely woven spiritual thread is handled with grace and finesse.
This was my first Deborah Raney book. It definitely will not be my last!
Reviewed by Delia Latham
Sheri Marsh has had it up to here with the Mule Hollow matchmaking posse.
Much as she likes the sweet group of older women who fancy themselves the town’s very own love connection, their meddling has gotten way out of hand – especially now that those little arrows are aimed at Sheri.
What’s wrong with a gal wanting to be on her own? Footloose and fancy free, that’s Sheri’s idea of a good life. Besides, she’s already been burnt once—no sense going near the fire again.
Desperate to get the well-meaning but maddeningly persistent matchmakers off her back, the feisty manicurist hatches a plan. In order to make it work, she’ll need a boyfriend, and handsome newcomer Pace Gentry—a genuine bronc-bustin’cowboy—will do quite nicely.
But playing Sheri’s beau is not in Pace’s plans. A fairly new Christian, he has given up a life he loved in Idaho’s Great Basin. Having reluctantly followed the Lord’s leading to Mule Hollow, he wants to be obedient to the call, but the taciturn cowboy isn’t exactly a people person. He’s fighting the bit in his mouth just like the wild Mustangs he tames for a living.
Still, he finds himself repeatedly thrown into his beautiful neighbor’s path, and unwittingly becomes embroiled in her determined effort to teach the meddling matchmakers a lesson. Somewhere along the way, Pace realizes he likes being around Sheri. He’s troubled by that attraction, since he considers her something less than a virtuous woman.
When he finds out he’s just a pawn in the game Sheri’s playing, it looks like their budding relationship will die before it blooms.
Meeting Her Match is a masterful piece of storytelling. Debra Clopton has a natural handle on humor, and Sheri Marsh’s fiascos keep the reader in stitches throughout the book. Under Clopton’s talented pen, the well-rounded characters come alive and readers will miss them after the last page. A well-written, warm, funny story peopled with lovable, very real characters that won’t be soon forgotten.
An exhilarating horseback ride into the wonderful world of Mule Hollow, Texas. Don’t miss it!
Reviewed by Delia Latham