PLEASE READ THE WHOLE POST!!!
I am thrilled to announce that a new opportunity has opened up for me to live with my sister in Washington, D.C. The only issue is that I will have to leave immediately to take the job I have applied for. I know this is sudden and that I only have a month left before I would graduate so I would appreciate your prayers and support as I start this exciting but uncertain stage of my life. By the way, I just wanted to wish everyone a happy belated April Fool’s day!
Are you kidding me? I have a little more than four weeks left until graduation. I’m not going anywhere until I have my diploma in hand! Just the thought of skipping town right now gives me the heebies jeebies. However, for the heroine of The Runaway Bride, skipping town after a ruined wedding to create a new life for herself is exactly what she needs and does. That is, until Sean O’Brien ruins everything.
This entire message is really just to say… LOOK! The Runaway Bride’s cover was released! Isn’t it amazing? Tell me what you think about it and my little prank here. hehehe.
COMING JULY 2012!
The only husband Lorelei Wilkins ever wanted was Sean O’Brien, but she’s wasted too long waiting for him to love her back. When another man proposes, she accepts- until she stands at the altar…and realizes she can’t marry without love. Bolting out of town toward a fresh start, she never suspected her parents would send Sheriff O’Brien to bring her home!
After an innocent mistake leaves Lorelei and her reluctant rescuer with compromised reputations, marriage is their only option. But first they must triumph over suspicious locals, shady characters, an inconvenient groom and the bride’s own stubborn heart. Will it take their lives on the line for Sean and Lorelei to realize that only love can conquer all?
(Giveaway ends April 7, 2012)
Congratulations, Jane! I will contact you soon. In the meantime, everyone else be sure to comment on this new interview for your chance to win.
FIVE QUESTIONS, please welcome my good friend Eva Maria Hamilton! First of all, CONGRATULATIONS, Eva! Your debut release, Highland Hearts, came out this month through Love Inspired Historical. Let’s give everyone a quick peak at what it’s about then move on to the questions.
Logan McAllister survived years of indentured servitude in America to reach this moment. Now he’s returned to Scotland, ready to redeem the secret promise from Sheena Montgomery’s father—that five years as a servant would earn him Sheena’s hand in marriage. But when he arrives home, he learns that Sheena’s father has died, his contract has been lost…and Sheena is engaged to another man.
Sheena has spent the past five years trying to forget Logan, the man who abandoned her with no explanation. She won’t listen to his protests that he loves her—has always loved her. It’ll take more than empty promises to win her back…and to prove that his highland heart is hers forever.
1. What was it like to hold your debut novel in your hands for the first time?
I know I was elated to hold Highland Hearts in my hands for the first time but I was also stunned. I have plenty of Love Inspired Historical novels so I knew exactly how big it would be, etc. but somehow seeing my words in print inside that book made them appear different to me somehow – in a very good way.
2. It really is a great and surreal feeling. We haven’t been to the Highlands very often in Love Inspired Historical. What inspired you to choose this setting for Highland Hearts?
There are so many settings and time periods that appeal to me as a writer and history lover but I think the fact that Love Inspired Historical hadn’t been to the Highlands in such a very long time was exactly why I chose to write Highland Hearts.
3. That’s a great reason, Eva! What is the chemistry like when we see your hero and heroine together for the first time?
There are so many emotions coursing through Sheena when she first sees Logan. She’s beyond happy that he’s alive and back in Scotland to the point where she thinks she must be seeing things. But then she remembers what he did to her and where her life has ended up since his departure and she buries those feelings quickly as feelings of anger take over. Logan however couldn’t be happier to see the love of his life and is hurt by the way she pushes him away.
4. That was definitely one of my favorite moments in the book. If you could describe your hero and/or heroine in only three words, what would they be?
I would describe Logan as determined, noble and caring. And I would describe Sheena as dutiful, compassionate and protective.
5. Great choices. Last question…What spiritual message do you hope to convey through this book?
I hope readers come away with the message that God has a plan for each of our lives. He knows what is best for us and is in control of helping us live our lives in the fullest way that will bring us true happiness.
Thank you so much for having me on your blog Noelle! And thank you to everyone who stopped by!
You are so welcome, Eva! I’ve enjoyed having you. Folks, you know now is the time for Eva to ask and answer her own question. However, she’s taking the opportunity to ask YOU a very important question instead! Take it away, Eva!
BONUS: Now to leave you with a question that I hope you will answer since I am always looking for new names for characters, what are some of your favorite Scottish names, both first and last names, male and female?
Come on, everyone. Let’s help Eva out by playing ‘Name That Character’! Need a little inspiration? Meet the characters of Highland Hearts in this great excerpt.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Callander, Scotland 1748
Sheena Montgomery stood completely still at the top of Bracklinn Falls. The sound of rushing water filled the gorge. The rock underfoot felt hard and cold, a mirror image of her heart.
Alone, she looked past the tip of her toes dangling dangerously over the edge of the steep cliff. Several yards down the water crashed against the soft pudding stone, wearing it away. With all its fury, the water fought, eking out a way through the world. Pushing forward, not caring what it hurt in its path.
“Sheena?” a man’s voice leapt out of the silence behind her, making Sheena whirl around so fast she lost her footing. In shock, she waved her arms frantically trying to regain her balance.
The man raced forward. His strong arms pulled her away from a certain death. “There now, I’ve got you. You’re all right.”
Sheena stood staring at the man’s face, his raggedly long brown hair and beard unfamiliar to her. But his eyes, those deep brown, soul-piercing eyes. Unforgettable.
Sheena’s voice caught in her throat for a fleeting moment. “Logan?” Her eyes surely fooled her. She envisioned herself succumbing to her father’s mental illness. Because Logan McAllister had left Scotland five years ago. He couldn’t be here. She never thought she would see him again.
“I hoped to find you here, lassie.” Sheena just looked at Logan. In all the years he’d lived in the Americas, he’d never sent word. Not one letter saying he was still alive.
But she wasn’t losing her mind and wouldn’t die the same way her father had this past autumn. Logan’s arms cradled her against his warm chest. Her senses heightened. His smell, his touch, his very being, raced through her with dizzying speed. She stared at his lips, remembering their warmth.
“In our special place,” he told her, and Sheena couldn’t deny the meaning this place held for them. She remembered only too well all the times they had come here hand in hand, talking about the day they would wed.
Since the day he’d left, she’d hiked miles up this crag. Like a pilgrimage site, it became a shrine to their relationship. A place where she felt close to him again, like being in his presence, even though he was in another country.
But weeks stretched into months and then years and Sheena gave up on her silly girlhood dream, forced to acknowledge that Logan never meant to ever come back to Scotland. And yet, he stood in front of her now, grinning as if no time had passed and nothing had changed. Anger welled up in Sheena.
“Mr. McAllister.” She pulled away from him. She couldn’t say his given name as she always had before—he stood before her now almost as a stranger. Calling him Logan would show closeness, something she could no longer attest to. Besides, she would never give him the satisfaction of knowing how much she had pined for him during his absence or how much he had hurt her when he chose to leave.
He apparently didn’t agree with her logic. “We’re a little past formalities, aren’t we, lassie?” Logan’s lips formed a wry smile under his thick beard. A spark lit up the light golden flecks in the brown eyes Sheena had once adored.
“Nay, Mr. McAllister. I don’t think so.” A gust of wind sent Sheena’s auburn hair into an annoying flurry that blocked her vision. She raised her hands quickly to get control of it.
“You are a sight for sore eyes.” Logan’s wry smile turned into a full grin. “Five years left you even more beautiful.”
“Five years,” Sheena repeated, her irritation erupting, as she pulled roughly on her unruly locks to keep them in place.
“I still remembered how to get up to our waterfall.” Sheena furrowed her brow at Logan’s words, but Logan didn’t seem to acknowledge her anger. “It’s just as I remember.” He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. She didn’t move, hardly dared to breathe as she watched him to see if he did indeed look just as she remembered him.
He still wore the same socks that didn’t slouch an inch lower than his knees where green ribbons held them up, but instead of his kilt he now wore brown breeches. The color had faded somewhat, and they looked as well-worn as his brown shoes.
His buttoned-up brown vest could do with some mending, not to mention how much scrubbing the collar of his white shirt needed.
Maybe in another time and place she would have offered to do such work. But not now. Not as she watched him draw in another seemingly peaceful breath. The pleasure he derived from his surroundings radiated from him and it infuriated Sheena all the more. Especially his apparent oblivion to her feelings.
“That’s wonderful that your memory didn’t fail you,” Sheena said in an uncharacteristically sarcastic tone. “But this waterfall is one of the only things left that didn’t change in your absence.”
Logan’s eyes opened and she looked directly into them only to hear, “God has the ability to change everything, lassie, and yet keep it the same.”
“Maybe in your world, but surely not in mine.” Since Logan left, not one single thing in Sheena’s life had remained the same. “Let’s start with the year you left Scotland, Logan. In 1743 the military built a road right through Callander, just in case they needed to use it to pacify any Highlanders who sought to rebel.” And in 1746 when the Jacobites did rebel, a bloodbath ensued.
This example stood as only one of many things that had changed in Sheena’s life over the past five years.
But surely Logan knew about this. It was only Sheena he didn’t know anything about anymore. He had made it very clear by his absence that he could live without her.
“Besides all this political nonsense, what else has changed in your life? From where I stand, everything looks the same to me as it did in the past.”
“Logan, you don’t understand. Everything has changed. The past is just that and I live in the present.” She bent down and snatched up her black shoes.
“And what of that?” Logan stepped closer, giving Sheena no recourse. She couldn’t back away from him, unless she wanted to meet her Maker. And as tough as life got, she would never succumb to that.
Sheena pushed her way around Logan. “I am sure the details of my life are of no interest to you.”
“Let me be the judge of that, lassie.” Logan followed her away from the edge of the waterfall to a rock she leaned against for support to put on her shoes.
She scowled at him as she walked away, jutting her chin high into the air. “Do as you wish, Logan. You always do anyway.” Her underlying contempt for him and his actions snapped through the chilly air. She never wanted him to leave Scotland, but he had done so anyway.
“And you don’t?” Logan kept up, even with her brisk pace.
“We both know that a man is given that privilege, while a woman is not.”
“Since when have you not lived and breathed for yourself?”
“Since you left.” Sheena stopped dead and faced him.
“Then you must tell me what happened to you in the past five years, lassie, so we can reverse it.”
“I already told you, it no longer matters. Events are set in motion. Forces beyond my control and even yours, propel me toward a future that no longer resembles the past.” Sheena held fast to her skirts and walked on.
“Sheena.” Her even stride faltered at the sound of her name coming from his lips. “Whatever has happened can be undone. Nothing is ever final, not even death.” He came up beside her again. “I am here now. We can fix this.”
But Sheena couldn’t argue any longer. Being livid, she didn’t trust what would come out of her mouth. She knew cementing her new path in life after he left meant she couldn’t turn back time now. If she felt gracious, she could thank God he lived to tell of his journey, but she wouldn’t listen to his tales.
It hurt too much seeing him.
“My life is no longer any concern of yours.” Tears welled in Sheena’s eyes. If only he’d loved her enough to remain in Scotland. But he ignored all her pleading. Did what he wanted. Left. And now that he had returned, nothing remained the same.
“You are wrong. It is. It always has been and it always will be.” Logan reached out for her hand, but she pulled away.
“Nay.” Sheena turned swiftly. “Nay, it isn’t.” She ran from him.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Eva Maria Hamilton spent years studying people from all different areas of academia and brings that understanding of the human condition into each of her written pieces. An advocate for lifelong learning, Eva Maria Hamilton studied in both Canada and the United States, earning a diploma in Human Resources Management, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology, an Honors Bachelor of Arts Degree in History, and a Master of Science in Education.
(Giveaway ends March 31, 2012)
The winner of last week’s giveaway of Captain of Her Heart is…
Congratulations! I’d like to thank everyone else for entering the contest. Who knows? You may be the next to win. All you have to do is comment on this interview.
Karen, welcome to Five Questions! Today we are going to talk about your March Release from Love Inspired Historical entitled The Bridal Swap. Here come the questions but first let’s give everyone a peak at what the Bridal Swap is about.
The heiress Josh O’Malley has courted by mail is on her way to Gatlinburg, Tennessee, to become his wife. His dreams are coming true, and together, they’ll create the family he’s always wanted. But when the stagecoach arrives, it’s not his intended who exits, but her sister, Kate!
She came to end her sister’s engagement, but with her duty completed, Kate Morgan is in no hurry to leave. She can’t help but like the beautiful mountain town…and her sister’s would-be groom. If only Josh would realize that his dream can still come true—and love can be found where least expected.
1. Let’s start at the beginning of their romance. What are your hero and heroine’s first impressions of each other?
For Kate, meeting Josh is a bit overwhelming. She’s been secretly mooning over the photograph of him in her sister’s room back in New York, smitten by his good looks. Intrigued, too, by his letters, which her sister read aloud. So, essentially she’s meeting her secret, forbidden crush. Josh, on the other hand, was expecting his fiancée, Kate’s sister, to arrive. His first impression is that Kate is nothing like her sister. As the story progresses, he’ll come to realize their differences are more than skin-deep.
2. Aw! That sounds sweet and intriguing! What was your favorite scene to write?
The barn dance scene was a favorite. Josh and Kate arrive together, but she’s quickly swept up by the eager local men. Jealous, Josh doesn’t step in, assuming she’s enjoying the attention. Kate, on the other hand, feels abandoned and wonders why he bothered escorting her in the first place. By the end of the night, they’re both unhappy and the ensuing confrontation leads to a tender moment. But that doesn’t last, as the man who’s obsessed with Kate interrupts in a surprising way….
3. We’ll get to check out that very scene in the excerpt but first let’s switch gears a little. What spiritual message do you go hope to convey through this book?
A big theme of The Bridal Swap is forgiveness, particularly accepting that God is faithful to forgive us. There are some events in Kate’s past that she’s greatly ashamed of and is having trouble moving past. She learns that, no matter what our feelings, we have to trust God’s Word and His promises.
4. That’s such an important lesson to learn and is at the very core of having a healthy spiritual life. Why did you choose Gatlinburg, Tennessee as the setting and how does it impact the story?
I grew up very near Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountain National Park, so when I was planning this series, it was a natural choice. The mountains are exceptionally beautiful, the park teaming with abundant wildlife and plant life. The area is rich in history and is also a popular vacation destination. I noticed that not many books were set there, which didn’t make sense to me!
5. Now that The Bridal Swap has been published. What are you currently working on?
I recently finished a Christmas novella, Smoky Mountain Christmas, which is a bit of a departure from the series but is still set in Gatlinburg and features some of the O’Malley characters. I’m paired with the awesome Linda Ford and the title of our book is The Gift of Family, due out in October of this year.
That sounds fantastic! Thank you so much for a great interview, Karen! I don’t know about you guys but I can’t wait to read this book. Let’s start right now by stepping back in time to Gatlinburg, Tennessee by reading Karen’s favorite scene to write.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Just as she was about to exit the building, a hand caught her wrist. “Where do you think you’re going?”
Kate would know that voice anywhere. She slid her gaze up to his face. Judging by his expression, he wasn’t any happier than she was at the moment.
“I’m going outside for some fresh air.”
Josh quirked a sardonic brow. “You do look flushed. Must be from all that dancing.”
How dare he sound perturbed! She tugged on her hand, and he released it. “Isn’t that what people are supposed to do at a barn dance?”
Folding his arms across his chest, he narrowed his gaze. “My assumption was you’re supposed to spend time with the one who brought you.”
“Hah!” Jamming her hands on her hips, she glared at him. “And my assumption was the one who brought me wouldn’t abandon me to a procession of strange men!”
His lips parted in surprise. She didn’t give him a chance to reply.
Stomping out into the night, Kate strode the length of the wooden structure and turned the corner, too angry to be intimidated by the darkness. Crisp air brushed her heated skin. Crickets chirruped. Muted music and laughter passed through the wall at her back.
Glancing up, she gazed at the fat, pearlescent moon floating in the blue-black expanse. Not a cloud marred the view. Hundreds of stars twinkled above her.
A wide clearing bordered the Foster’s barn. Then the forest took over. The shadows were so thick there, the trees merged together.
“Kate.” Josh had rounded the corner and was advancing towards her. He held a kerosene lamp aloft, the golden light sharpening the planes and angles of his face. He looked wary. And a bit sheepish, which wasn’t like him. Josh was ever-confident, unwavering, a pillar of unfailing strength.
He set the lamp in the grass. “You’re right. I shouldn’t have left you to fend for yourself. I assumed you were enjoying the attention.”
“Enjoying the-” she huffed, “if that’s your attempt at an apology, you’re not doing a very good job.”
“You honestly think I like being passed around like that?” Pivoting, she swung away from him.
He seized her upper arm, halting her retreat. “That’s not what I meant-”
“Why didn’t you ask me to dance?” she whirled back. “I gave you a chance to back out, remember? But no. You insisted on coming. Why?”
He grimaced. “I’m sorry. I should’ve explained before now I’m not much of a dancer. I enjoy the music, but I’m horrible at keeping time. I tend to botch the steps, and I’d hate to put either of us through the embarrassment.”
The strains seeping through the wall changed tempo, the instruments strumming a sedate, melancholy tune. The air between them stilled, stretching taut with unvoiced awareness.
In one smooth movement, Josh slid an arm around her waist and tugged her against his hard length. His voice a mere whisper against her hair, he said, “There aren’t any spectators out here. And I really would like to dance with you, Kate. Will you do me the honor?”
Overwhelmed by the intimacy of the moment, she could only nod.
His large hands spanning her waist, they swayed as one to the sweet melody. Back and forth, feet barely moving, they danced beneath the stars.
Light-headed, Kate rested her cheek against his chest. His heart beat steady and sure beneath her ear. Josh held her reverently, as if she were made of fine porcelain. He was good at this. Making her feel cherished. His solicitous nature led her to believe he cared for her. Just like you believed Wesley cared. You were wrong then, and you’re wrong now.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Karen Kirst currently lives in coastal North Carolina with her Marine husband, three boys, and Andy the parrot. When she’s not writing or homeschooling, she likes to read, visit tearooms, play piano, watch romantic comedies and chat over coffee with friends. She’s incredibly blessed to be able to do what she loves and gives God the glory.