Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Guest Blogger Linda Swift with a Message of Hope and Giving and a New Release

Linda Swift is my guest at The Word Place today, celebrating the season with a new release from Willow Moon Publishing, A Time to Give. It's available as an ebook from their website in a variety of downloadable formats for $2.99.

The small roadside restaurant where Ellen works is busy with travelers rushing home on Christmas Eve. She is counting on her employer's bonus and tips to take her over the top for the gift she plans to buy today for the guy she loves. Bruce is a college student in need of a typewriter he can't afford and Ellen has been saving for months to surprise him. A mother and two young children stop in while their car is being repaired next door. Ellen learns they have a long drive ahead in a worsening snow storm and little money. She invites them to stay over with her but the woman wants to try and make St.Louis in case her husband calls. If Ellen helps them she will not be able to buy the gift Bruce requires for school. How can she choose who has the greater need?
 Linda recounts her personal experience with 'a time to give' here: 

     All of my family is musical except me. And it was after a performance of her husband's band at a casino in Tunica, that my daughter had an almost fatal accident. While standing on the sidewalk in the wee hours of morning as he loaded his equipment, she was run down by a casino employee, high on drugs, thrown onto the windshield of his car, which hit a wall and caught fire. She was helicoptered to a trauma hospital in Memphis with multiple injuries. Her dad and I arrived from Kentucky and after an all-day wait, she had hours of surgery. Our first miracle was that she lived.
      We stayed in a motel for a month, taking turns with her husband, sitting at her bedside, so that she was never alone for a moment. When word spread that she was injured, fans of her band and her husband's filled her room with flowers. There were so many and the scent was so heavy that one physician who entered remarked "Why, this is like a funeral home." A very inappropriate remark in my opinion!
      Still too weak to travel to her home in Nashville, she was moved after a few weeks to a rehab center nearby. And when she was finally given permission to travel, my husband and I went ahead to prepare her condo for an invalid. Both bedrooms were upstairs and not wheelchair accessible so we had to buy a bed for the living room. Her dishwasher didn't work and neither did the stove oven.  Remember, she and her husband traveled with their respective bands and domestic life did not have  priority. But since I was responsible for cooking nutritious meals, I needed proper equipment. 
      After a couple of days of frantic shopping for appliances, a bed, and groceries, then a frenzy of cleaning as we had been warned of her wounds getting infected, we fell into bed for a few hours sleep before her homecoming.
      Sometime after midnight, I was awakened by a loud noise like someone hitting a wall. I tried to ignore it but it only got louder. Muttering something unprintable, I staggered to the window and looked out. And there by the front steps was a lone figure doing something with wood and a hammer. At first, I couldn't figure it out, and then it dawned on me. A man was building a ramp over the concrete steps.
Something we had not even thought of!
      I called my husband to wake up and join me. And together we determined that it was the young man next door. We had met him and his wife and son when we came two days ago and had heard our daughter and husband speak of them before. They had come to Nashville from New York City because he wanted a career in music. For the time being, they were both employed at the nearby mall, where he worked a late shift as a security officer. Since they had lived in a big city, they had no car and both walked the couple of miles to their jobs as they had no other mode of transportation. My daughter and husband had loaned them their car at times for buying groceries and other necessities.
     The night was freezing cold and the guy was bundled up in a jacket, sock cap, and gloves as he determinedly hammered away at those boards until he had the ramp finished.  And as I stood there watching with tears in my eyes, I felt such gratitude for this simple gift of kindness. It was truly more beautiful than the roomful of flowers I had tended every day. And even more special because I felt it had been a financial sacrifice to buy the lumber as well as a difficult task to build it in the middle of this frigid night.
     My daughter came home, and after a fourth surgery and many more weeks of intensive therapy, she was able to walk again. And the much-used ramp was finally taken down. Now only a few scars remain to remind her and us of that almost fatal night. And this is the second miracle.
     The neighbor couple went back to New York City after a time because their family needed them there. And the full time career in music hasn't happened yet. But I remember them from time to time and make a wish that all their dreams may soon come true.
 Linda also has two Christmas themed ebooks available.

LET NOTHING YOU DISMAY ($2.10) from The Wild Rose PressTHE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS ($4.99) from Awe-Struck Publishing                                 

 What great Christmas gifts, especially for someone with an eReader! 

Thanks to Linda for sharing her story and her news. She'll be guest-blogging again soon about a terrific new release Humanly Speaking, a book of unique poems which I've read and thoroughly enjoyed!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Blogging Again

With NaNoWriMo and assorted other interruptions behind me, I'm back to blogging. And what better way to return to the boards than with two pieces of good news?

First, Champagne Books has offered me a contract for my novel The Face on Miss Fanny's Wall. The story was suggested by a visit to Miss Laura's Social Club for Gentlemen, now the official Visitor Center for Ft. Smith, Arkansas. It is a beautifully restored house that speaks to a time when women alone had few options for survival--prostitution being on of them. Looking at the pictures of some of those who had "worked" in the house in its hey-day, the thought occurred to me. "What would happen if a visitor recognized great-grandma on the wall?" 

The book, scheduled for January 2012, is both a romance and a mystery. It treats the subject tastefully and with compassion for those young women who found themselves in such a situation. Stay tuned!

Second, a fellow author, Linda Swift, is celebrating the release of a new book of poetry, Humanly Speaking: Conversations with God, just released as an ebook by Willow Moon Publishing. Follow this link to Linda's website to read more about the book, including some excerpts.(Click on the above words, Linda's website, as it doesn't show up as a link but does work as one!) I downloaded it yesterday for $5.99 and am looking forward to an afternoon of good reading.Linda will be guest-blogging here in the near future. 

During NaNoWriMo I completed just over 50K for the second in my Penelope Pembroke cozy mystery series, The Stubborn Schoolhouse Spirit. It still needs completing, while the first, The Bogus Biker, needs revising. I'm anxious to start work on the other four:  The Feedstore Floozy, The Theatrical Thoroughbred, The Possum Hollow Problem, and An Almost-Happy Ending.

First, however, I need to finish whipping another vintage romance into shape for submission by January. Dancing with Velvet is set in my hometown in West Texas during World War II and is close to my heart. 

The Showboat Affair from The Wild Rose Press releases on April 15, 2011. More on that later.