Sunday, March 21, 2010

Welcome Vickie McDonough

by Vickie McDonough

Welcome to Lookout, Texas, y’all!

Just where is that, you ask?

Well, it resides only in my mind and on the pages of the Texas Boardinghouse Brides series. Lookout is a small town shaped like a capital E. Bluebonnet Lane is the spine and Apple, Main, and Oak are the arms of the letter. There’s a river that runs just west of Lookout with a ridge that over looks the town and river that is called Lookout Ridge. It’s said that Indians, soldiers, and even thieves have sat atop the ridge watching for enemies. The town’s children have attached a rope to a tree, and they swing out over the water in the hot summers, dropping into the cool waters below.

Luke Davis left Lookout 11 years ago, after his fiancée up and married the richest bachelor in town. Broken-hearted, he rode out and soon joined the army. He’s become a Christian and feels God leading him back to Lookout, so that he can forgive and forget and get on with his life. He takes the job as town marshal while he’s there, but the biggest surprise is that his ex-fiancée is now a widow with an ornery little girl who dresses and acts like a boy.

Luke’s only living family is two ornery cousins, Garrett and Mark Corbett. As youngsters, the trio got into all kinds of trouble. When they throw Luke a birthday party, they ask him if he’ll ever marry. Luke responds that he will if the right woman ever comes along.

A month later, three mail-order brides show up, each expecting to marry him—but Luke never ordered a bride. A contest ensues to see which bride will make him the best wife—not that he plans to marry anyone.

The Anonymous Bride is Luke’s story and the first book in the Texas Boardinghouse Brides series. It releases April 1st and is currently available for pre-order at Amazon and Christianbook.com

We all know Luke can’t marry but one bride, so what happens to the others? Find out in:


Second Chance Brides, releasing October 1, 2010

And

Finally A Bride will be available April 1, 2011


Visit my website at: www.vickiemcdonough.com for more information.




Here’s the opening scene of The Anonymous Bride, just to whet your appetite:

Lookout, Texas
April, 1886

Luke Davis reined his horse to a halt atop the ridge and gazed down at the town half a mile away. Lookout, Texas—the place where his dreams were birthed and had died. He wasn’t ready to return—to face the two people he’d tried so hard to forget. But sometimes God asked hard things of a man.
“I’d rather face a band of Sioux warriors, Lord, than to ride into that town again.” He sighed and rubbed the back of his neck.
Alamo, his black gelding, snorted, as if sensing they’d reached the end of their long journey. Luke reined his horse down the path to the small river that ran south and west of town. A healthy dose of spring rains had filled the crater dug out by past floods where the river made a sharp turn. Local kids used it for a swimming hole, and a new rope had been added for them to swing on. Memories of afternoons spent there were some of Luke’s favorite, but those carefree days were over.
He glanced heavenward at the brilliant blue sky, halfway hoping God would give him leave to ride away. When no such reprieve came, he dismounted at the water’s edge and allowed his horse to drink while he rinsed three days’ worth of dust off his face.
Alamo suddenly jerked his head up and flicked his ears forward. The horse backed away from the bank and turned, looking off to the right. Luke scooped up a handful of water and sipped it, watching to see what had stirred up his horse. Tall cottonwoods lined the life-giving river, and thigh-high grasses and shrubs made good hiding places. He knew that for a fact. How many times as a boy had he and his two cousins hidden there, watching the older kids swimming and sometimes spooning?
“Must have been some critter, ’Mo.” He stood and patted his horse, finally ready to ride into Lookout and see up close how much the town had changed. How she’d changed.
Suddenly, three heads popped up from behind a nearby bush. “Hey, mister,” a skinny kid yelled, “that’s our swimming hole, not a horse trough.”
Rocks flew toward him, and he ducked, turning his back to the kids. Alamo squealed and sidestepped into Luke, sending him flying straight into the river. Hoots of laughter rose up behind him as cool water seeped down into his boots and soaked his clothing. His boots slipped on the moss-covered rocks as he scrambled for a foothold.
“Foolish kids.” He trudged out of the river, dripping from every inch of his clothing. His socks sloshed in his water-logged boots. Dropping to the bank, he yanked them off and dumped the water and wrung out his socks. With his boots back on, he checked Alamo, making sure the horse wasn’t injured, then he mounted, determined to find those kids and teach them a lesson. Playing childish pranks was one thing, and he’d done his share of them, but throwing rocks at an animal was something else altogether.
“Heyah!” Alamo lurched forward. Luke hunkered low against the horse’s neck until he cleared the tree line then he sat up, scanning the rolling hills. He didn’t see any movement at first, but when he topped the closest hill, he found the rowdy trio racing for the edge of town. Luke hunched down and let his horse out in a full canter, quickly closing the distance between him and the kids.
All three glanced back, no longer ornery but scared. He’d never harm a child, but instilling a little fear for the law couldn’t hurt anything.
The two tallest boys veered off to the left, out-pacing the smaller kid. The boy stumbled and fell, bounced up and shot for town. Luke aimed for that one as the older boys dashed behind the nearest house. The youngster pressed down his big floppy hat and pumped his short legs as fast as he could. The gap narrowed. Slowing Alamo, Luke leaned sideways and reached down, grabbing the youth by his overall straps. The child kicked his feet and flailed his arms, but Luke was stronger, quicker. He slung the kid across his lap.
“Let me go! I didn’t do nothin’.” The boy held his hat on with one hand and pushed against Luke’s leg with the other hand. “You’re gettin’ me wet.”
“Just lie still. And I wouldn’t be wet if you hadn’t thrown rocks at my horse.” Luke held a firm hand on the kid’s backside, but the boy still squirmed, trying to get free. “Don’t make me tie you up.”
Suddenly he stilled. “You wouldn’t.”
“Whoa, Mo.” Luke calmed his horse, fidgety from the child’s activity. Alamo had carried him through all kinds of weather, fights with Indians in the Dakotas, and chasing down train robbers, but one skinny kid had him all riled up.
“My ma ain’t gonna like you doin’ this to me, mister.”
Luke grunted, knowing the kid was probably right, but then his mama should have taught him not the throw rocks at strangers. The next man might shoot back.
Being wet with a cocky kid tossed across his lap certainly wasn’t the homecoming he’d had in mind.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Lady's Captain Book Giveaway

Be sure to leave a comment to have your name
entered in the drawing giving away

Louise Gouge's,
The Captain's Lady

Welcome Louise Gouge

Award-winning Florida author Louise M. Gouge writes historical fiction, calling her stories “threads of grace woven through time.” In addition to numerous other awards, Louise is the recipient of the prestigious Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award for her 2005 novel, Hannah Rose. With her great love of history and research, Louise loves to visit museums and travel to her stories’ settings to ensure accuracy. Her favorite Bible verse is “He shall choose our inheritance for us” (Psalm 47:4), a testimony to her belief that God has chosen a path for each believer. To seek that path and to trust His wisdom is to find the greatest happiness in life.

Louise has been married to David Gouge for 45 years. They have four grown children and six grandchildren. She earned her BA in English/Creative Writing at the University of Central Florida in Orlando and her Master of Liberal Studies degree at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. Louise is also an adjunct professor of English and Humanities at Valencia Community College in Kissimmee, Florida.




The Captain's Lady


Captain James Templeton is a spy for America at the onset of the Revolutionary War and is sent to England to find out information from the father of the woman he loves. He is torn between duty, faith, and love. Louise Gouge has you feeling the struggles that the handsome Captain James Templeton goes through. The captain is noble in all things and grapples with his faith and his duty as a spy. How can he justify both? And not to mention loving a British Earls daughter, which is forbidden love to an American captain. Then there is the sweet Marianne Moberly. She is intelligent and ambitious and determined to have her man. You can’t help but admire her spunk. Ms. Gouge does a wonderful job taking you back to Victorian times and the turmoil that was felt in American. By the time I reached the second half of the book I couldn’t put it down. The storyline doesn’t fall flat it keeps you engaged and turning the page until the end. I highly recommend this book if you love historicals. It is a terrific read!


1) What are you wearing right now and where are you (LR, dining room) and you have to tell the truth.
You caught me when I just returned home from work (I teach English and humanities at a community college), and I’m wearing black slacks and a pink sweater and jacket ensemble with a pink and black flowered scarf. I’m sooo not a fashionista, but I do manage to coordinate my colors. I always come home and go right to my desk in my home office to begin my most important job: writing.


2) Are you or any close family members in the characters’ personalities?
This is a fun question because in the book I’m currently writing, my four-year-old granddaughter is going to make an appearance: a cute, smart, active little girl who bosses her cousins and brother around. But in The Captain’s Lady, I can’t really say the personalities are like anyone in my family. They’re more like the heroes and heroines of the old romance/adventure movies and television shows I grew up on: Robin Hood, The Buccaneer, Captain Blood, that sort of thing.

3) What does it feel like to see your books in stores all over the United States and to know you can google your name and pull up thousands of results?
Well, it’s not exactly thousands, but thanks for the compliment. LOL. Truthfully, I feel so blessed, so privileged to be writing and actually seeing my books in print. When someone spends her hard-earned money to buy one of those books, I’m truly honored. When she enjoys the story, I know I’ve done my job. So I’d say, it feels really, really good, and I thank the Lord daily for His blessings.

4) Is there any person who has been a strong influence in your writing journey?
I always think first of all of my husband, who has encouraged me since the first day I started writing. That’s the emotional support every writer needs. As far as story content, I would say Charlotte Bronte and Charles Dickens influenced me because their books are so full of human tragedy and triumph. Their stories show us that God can bring about good things in the life surrendered to Him.

5) How long have you been writing and do you see yourself always writing?
I began writing in 1984 and was first published in 1994. I do see myself writing as long as I can imagine a story and type it on my computer. My imagination has been my companion since childhood, and it keeps going strong. Writing is a healthy thing for me. I’d go crazy with all that imagination wandering around in my head with no place to go.

6) What do you think is the biggest hurdle in getting published?
This is different for every writer, and it’s getting harder. Developing a unique voice, mastering grammar and storytelling, attending conferences to network and soak up writing tips all are important. Some of us are basically introverts so it’s hard to push ourselves in front of an editor or agent. Some of us have the opposite problem and practically stalk our target editor. Because I believe God has a plan for every child of His (including writers), I think the best thing to do is follow that list earlier in this paragraph, pray and walk closely with Him, and let Him move in His wonderful, mysterious ways to bring about His plan for you. For God, there are no hurdles.




Rules for giveaway: Be sure to leave me your email address. If your name is drawn you have one week to respond to my email that you have won the book. If there is no response within a week another name will be drawn. Good Luck!!!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Max the Wonder Dog

THE WINNER OF
"LOVE FINDS YOU IN BRIDAL VEIL, OR"
IS
KATHRYN


CONGRATULATIONS!!!

STOP BACK NEXT WEEK FOR A CHANCE TO WIN
LOUISE GOUGE'S "THE CAPTAIN'S LADY"


Today I'd like to welcome Teresa Faucette and Max the wonder dog. {that's my name for him;-)}





Can you tell us the story about Max and the children at church? (preacher Max)

I teach Children's Church and we have a bus that picks children up from surrounding neighborhoods. Many of these children have not heard Bible stories or songs. However, they get restless if they sit too long. As a treat once every two months Max comes and helps illustrate a Bible story. He shares their prayers before refreshments, he bows his head until he hears amen. He is a herding dog so the shepherds watching their flock the night Christ was born was a natural story for him, Noah of course and my favorite, Jesus being tempted in the desert. After telling the story and how Jesus told the devil to "get behind Him" I asked the children what does the devil tempt them with? They came up with lying, cheating, disobeying and stealing. With each temptation I threw a treat down in front of Max and told him to "leave it!" "Now", I said, "does Max want these treats?" The children looked at Max gazing lovingly at the treats and said yes. " Is he taking the treats?" They all agreed that not only was he not taking the treats, but he wasn't even touching them. I called Max to come to me. He took a wide path around the treats and came- not eating one treat along the way. This is what we should do, when the devil comes to us and puts a sin in front of us, we need to Leave It! And when we know that a group of kids can tempt us to behave in a wrong way, then we need to take a wide path around them. I know that this lesson hit home with them because a few Sundays later one of the little girls told me that at school the devil tried to make her do something and she left it, just like Max. Valentine's Day was on Sunday this year so I decided to do the lesson on 1Cor.13. I had the last verse printed on a card with Max's picture and on the back part of a verse for them to practice that week, like love is kind, forgiving patient. I told them the next Sunday we would share what we did to show God how we could love. One little boy raised his hand and asked "Is preacher Max going to come and hear us?'. I had to explain that Max wasn't a preacher, only one of God's helpers. I don't quite know if they believed it or not.....

Is there any more funny stories that you'd like to tell about Max?

Max writes a therapy column for Cambria, England. They want to start a reading program there and Max tells about it through a dog's eyes. The paper is called WOOF.

Max is not perfect by any means. We have discovered that Mallard Duck hearth rugs are his mortal enemy. My mom has one and when he sees it, he barks and refuses to sit near it. Why?....only Max knows. He also loves my dad with all of his heart. My dad can make this obedient dog forget everything he has learned. When he sees him, he will run up to him. He can't help himself. On Veteran's Day Max was pulling a wagon decorated in red, white and blue while Dusty was riding shotgun dressed in his soldier's outfit inside of the wagon. We were giving out American flags to decorate the IVs of the patients. My grandmother was in the hospital that day so I decided to visit her before we went to any other rooms. As I entered her room Max saw Dad and took off across the room. Poor Dusty was lying on the floor of the wagon afraid to sit up! Dad laughed. So the conclusion we have reached is that Dad must be banned from all places where Max works!


What all does Max do as far as working?


Max does a variety of things as a ther
apy dog. We have an outreach program for the communities that include the schools. He can do fire safety, which includes going to a safe place and waiting for your family, demonstrating why a child (or a dog) should not use a fire extinguisher, but yell fire loudly and get out. What to do if you wake up and smell smoke (crawl, touch the door to see if it's hot) and of course STOP, DROP, AND ROLL!! He does BE a Tree or a ROCK to teach children how to prevent dog bites and the proper way to pet a dog. This is especially good in counties without a leash law. Many dog bites are experienced in these counties where owners are not responsible. He does a program called There's No Such Think as a Free Puppy, where he packs a suitcase with collar, leash, toothbrush, brush, bandana, and toy. We discuss each item and why it's important (the bandanna because Max thinks he looks hot in it) and then he closes the suitcase. He does a nutrition program where he picks items that are healthy and help children grow. He places them in a plate. Once a year we help in the fund raiser for the humane society in Charlotte. It's called PetPalooza and it's a lot of fun!

He of course visits the hospitals where he will bring you a tissue if you sneeze, a pillow if you have a headache, a blanket to warm you and a flower to say I love you. He and his best friend Dusty ( a long haired mini doxie) do a skit where Dusty is sick and Max leads him to the hospital and puts him to bed. He then Packs a suitcase for Dusty, gives him his favorite treats and then takes him home to play when Dusty is well. It's called That's What Best Friends Do. He also climbs on beds of the ones too sick to play and cuddles to them. If they cry he licks their toes, the nurses will wait until he is there if possible to change IV's because he is a great distraction. It's not only the children he helps at the hospital. The senior people love him and talk about their own dogs. he'll listen and curl up against them. I have been told many times that just having him there makes their pain ease. I know this is true because I have witnessed the smiles and laughter that he can bring. He has been there at the time of death and once he was the focal point for a birth. As I've said I have been blessed to have been there when these things have happened, although I must admit the birth was something that I wasn't quite ready for!

Max does the Paws Awhile and Read program at Mint Hill, Indian Trail and soon the hickory Grove and Monroe libraries. This is a program designted to
encourage children to read. We want children to consider books fun. They can be good or poor readers, doesn't matter. Max of course loves this because of the kids. He has done this for five years so he adds the "Max Flair" to it. He will do his head back and forth following their fingers. Sometimes they will ask him if he is done reading so they can turn the page. He will use his paw to hold the page down for them and if they get stuck on a word Max is there to hive them a lick of encouragement. One of the boys who has read with him for a year now is convinced that Max makes him smart, another will only read with Max because in his word, "I have tried the other ones, but Max is the only one who can read." Max "reads" flash cards to show that he practices reading too. Sometimes he'll miss a word and cover his face to be ashamed. The kids are quick to reassure him that it's okay, sometimes they miss words too. This is especially effective with slow readers or those not familiar with English because if Max misses words, then it's okay for them to miss a word. With this program I have had mothers come to me and say how their child has grown in their reading, some with tears in their eyes. Once at a restaurant with my family one of the little boys that reads to Max saw me. He ran to me and hugged me then started to look under the table. "Where's Mac?" I explained that restaurants did not allow dogs. He was very upset and informed the waitress that Mac was a very good dog. He saved a roll for Max and gave it to him at the next reading session he came to. The therapy dog group that I work with is so wonderful. Every dog there is special and has much to give. The handlers are caring and wonderful people every one of them.

The Veteran's program is just starting. Max and several other therapy dogs are filling out the applications, taking tests and we are hoping to get the program started by at least Memorial Day. This is a program close to my heart. My dad and most of my family have served in some way. Just recently he qualified for the Disaster-Stress Relief team. This was done by TDI and FEMA there were many dogs there and Max was one of six to qualify. I was so proud of the way he handled himself.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about Max or Lexi?

Lexi is all heart and full of love. She is going to be a wonderful therapy dog in her own way soon. Max is a very special dog whose ministry is still on going. Just last week at the library we were getting ready to leave when a little girl walked in. She saw Max and was on the ground with him hugging him and petting him. Her mom made the comment to me that Max seemed to really love children. I told her he would rather have a child around him more than anything else. At the hospital it is the pediatric ward he goes to first. The mother was so excited and told the little girl, "see honey when you go to get your heart fixed Max can come to see you!" I gave the mother my email and told her to let me know when she was going in. God does indeed lead you to paths you would never find any other way.

Do you have a schedule you’d like to me to post?

We have not set up the schedule with Hickory Grove or Monroe yet, just call the Libraries and ask them. Indian Trail is the first and third Saturdays of every month at 1:00pm to 2:00pm, Mint Hill is on the second and fourth Saturdays at 10:30 to 11:30.

PetPalooza is May 15 from 10-1 at Patriot Park.

If you are at the hospital or know someone who would like a pet therapy visit, please let the nurse know. We have some wonderful dogs and handlers who do this. I would also like to add that if anyone has a dog and can make the time to work with it, we can always use more wonderful therapy dogs and their handlers. There is more demand than supply .