Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Looking Out the Window: Sandra Ardoin Celebrates Release Day of The Yuletide Angel, a Chritmas Novella. She'll Give Away an E-book

What an honor to have Sandra celebrating with Peering Through Life's Window on release day! To enter to win the e-book of The Yuletide Angel, leave a comment and an e-mail address.

Hi Sandra. First, tell us a little about yourself.

I write historical romance, am married to a retired man (he robbed the cradle … okay, maybe not) and am the mom of a young adult. When I’m not recording the lives and loves of fictional people, I’m cooking, cleaning, reading, gardening, watching NASCAR, or cheering on the Carolina Panthers football team.

Sounds a lot like the things I'm doing. Lots of writers loved to read as children. How about you? If so, what did you read?

Absolutely. I discovered the joy of reading in the third grade when I devoured the Little House books. As I grew older, I moved on to gothic romances—like Jane Eyre—and romantic suspense. In high school, Mary Roberts Rinehart was a favorite of mine, along with Phyllis Whitney. My favorite of the classics is Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier. Even today, I prefer a bit of mystery/suspense in my choice of books, though romance is a must.

I'm a fan of mystery too. What would you be doing if you weren’t writing?

I’d do more gardening. It’s something I’ve had to cut way back on due to lack of time. With my husband retired, we might do more day trips.

How about your writing? How do you get to know your characters?

Good question. When an idea for a story comes to me, it usually comes with some type of scene that gives me a character idea. Character traits stem from the type of story I want to tell.

For physical traits, sometimes I see the person in my mind as portrayed by a certain actor. Sometimes, I only have a vague idea of what the character looks like, so I go searching for a photo to keep in front of me. On my Pinterest board for The Yuletide Angel, you’ll find photos of how I see my hero and heroine.

I used to do in-depth character trait forms, but not so much anymore. I got hooked on Susan May Warren’s Book Buddy system of plotting, though. In that, the writer gets down to the nitty-gritty of what makes a character tick, which is all-important.

What themes do you write about?

I find I repeatedly focus on the need for forgiveness between characters or a character’s need to forgive himself/herself. I’m not sure what that says about me, but I think it’s pretty universal to a lot of stories. In my novella, my hero must learn to forgive his brother and trust him again, while my heroine deals with an issue of pride.

What is your writing schedule and where do you write?

Weekdays, I’m generally at my desk in my office—actually our guest room—by 7:30 a.m. and work until somewhere between 4:00 and 5:00 p.m. I have great admiration for those who work other full-time jobs and still have the responsibility of writing and publishing. I don’t know how they do it. I don’t work on Sunday.

Are you a plotter or a pantzer?

When I’m asked this question, I say I’m half-and-half. I need some kind of roadmap—the basic plot points and few ideas for scenes—but I’m not a writer who plots every scene before starting. First of all, I don’t have the ability. Second, I don’t have the patience.

Does your faith affect your writing? How?

It definitely does. I like to consider my writing a ministry. I’ve been writing for the Christian market since 1986—short pieces for denominational publications, etc. Although, I’d try on occasion to write a novel, I always felt the Lord telling me it wasn’t time. Christian fiction was near non-existent, at least what I wanted to write, and I feared a secular editor requesting changes to include language or situations I had no desire include. Six years ago, when God told me it was time to tackle novels, He confirmed it with a growing Christian market, my discovery of ACFW, and the completion of a full novel.

Tell us about your latest book.

Today is the release date of The Yuletide Angel, a Christmas novella set in December of 1890. It’s about a shy spinster-in-the-making, Violet Madison, who anonymously delivers gifts of food to the poor in the middle of the night. Hugh Barnes, her neighbor and a confirmed bachelor, discovers that she is the celebrated Yuletide Angel and vows to protect her—in secret. Neither of them realizes someone else waits in the shadows, threatening to ruin her generosity and reputation.

What a neat story. What inspired you to write this particular book?

I wanted to write a Christmas novella and experimented with different ideas. I actually wrote about 1,800 words on this one before choosing to start a contemporary. After almost finishing the other novella, I found it didn’t work for me. Between my dislike of the contemporary and receiving a disappointing rejection (another contemporary), I decided I needed a fresh start and went back to the ideas I’d come up with in the beginning. When I reread what I had written for The Yuletide Angel, I really liked it and the words flowed easily. My writing genre preference is historical, because I believe that’s where God wants me. I always find it amazing—and sometimes entertaining—when He nudges me back on track when I stray.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Persistence. Don’t give up. Keep writing. Keep submitting.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

I want to thank you for having me on your blog, Gail. I hope everyone enjoys reading Violet and Hugh’s love story.

Also, I’m excited to announce that I’m writing a follow-up novel. A Reluctant Melody (working title) is scheduled to release from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas’ historical imprint, Heritage Beacon (publisher of the novella), in January 2016. The story involves Hugh’s brother, Kit, a secondary character in The Yuletide Angel.

Today, I’m celebrating the release of the novella with a Facebook party from 11:00 a.m. to 3 p.m. Come on over, y’all, and let’s have some fun!

Congratulations! Having you was my pleasure.

About the Yuletide Angel

It's Christmastime in 1890's Meadomead, and someone is venturing out at night to leave packages at the homes of the needy. Dubbed The Yuletide Angel, no one knows the identity of this mysterious benefactor.

No one, except Hugh Barnes, a confirmed bachelor who finds himself drawn to the outwardly shy but inwardly bold Violet Madison, a young woman who risks her safety to help others.

When Violet confesses her fear of eviction from her childhood home, Hugh longs to rescue her. His good intentions are thwarted, however, when Hugh's estranged brother shows up in town...and in Violet's company.

But Violet faces an even bigger threat. A phantom figure lurks in the shadows, preprared to clip the wings of The Yuletide Angel.


 Passionate about horses and a fan of old westerns, it's only natural that Sandra Ardoin sets her stories in the days of the horse and buggy. Her Christmas novella, The Yuletide Angel, is no exception.

Her short stories have been published in both adult and juvenile denominational publications, and her story "Get a Clue" is part of the Family Ties:  Thirteen Short Stories collection.

Sandy is the married mother of a young adult. Visit her at and on the Seriously Write blog. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Goodreads, and Pinterest. To receive updates, fun facts, and special offers, sign up for her newsletter.


Monday, September 29, 2014

Looking Out the Window: Read about Danielle Thorne's New Best-Selling Regency Romance, Proper Attire. She Shares a Beautiful Devotional and Gives Away a Smashwords e-book, Turtle Soup

A Warm Welcome to Danielle Thorne
Congratulations on her Best-Selling New Book! A Proper Attire is now available on amazon for 99 cents
Go to to get a FREE Smashwords copy of Turtle Soup
If You Had Been There
A Devotional by Danielle Thorne
I love the stories in the New Testament. We learn so much about the life and mission of Jesus Christ and about His apostles, too. We learn how to apply the principles of the gospel to our lives as we study them.
One of my favorite scriptures comes from the New Testament, from my favorite Bible story where Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. The verse says: "And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him." (John 11:15)
You may wonder why such a nondescript verse is close to my heart. It is at the core of the story. Jesus knew Lazarus was ill; and when His disciples tried to hurry him toward Bethany, He let them know Lazarus was already dead. He not only doesn't hurry off when He hears his beloved friend is sick, He waits 4 days! By this time, the Jewish customs of burial are all but complete.

Surely some of the disciples must have wondered what good a trip to Bethany would do after so much time. When He arrives, the gut-wrenching accusation falls from Martha's lips, "Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died." She is so certain her brother could have been saved if only the Savior would have come sooner.
How often have we said those same words? "Lord, if you'd been there, things would have turned out right…"
Those familiar with the story know that Jesus not only wept to share their grief, He raised Lazarus from the dead. This marvelous miracle made it very clear to those who followed Him that He was indeed the Son of God with the power to conquer death. Lazarus died, so that he could be raised. It was an opportunity to convert others to the power and mission of the Savior.
Why do I love this story? Because it teaches me that sometimes He waits. Answers to prayers don't always come immediately. Neither does relief from pain and sorrow. I've learned that the Lord sometimes lets us experience hard things, so that He can show forth His hand after the fact. Whether it be a miracle or a lesson, when we come to know all things are done in the Lord's timing, we can practice the faith we need to press forward with confidence even in difficult circumstances.

Danielle Thorne is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. She believes we are responsible for our own talents and will be accountable to God for what we do with them. She takes responsibility for her work by writing clean, uplifting fiction in the romance and adventure genres. All of her books have uplifting and inspirational endings.
Danielle writes from south of Atlanta, Georgia. She is the author of four and five star sweet romantic adventure books, both historical and contemporary. Other work has appeared with Espresso Fiction, Every Day Fiction, Arts and Prose Magazine, Mississippi Crow, The Nantahala Review, StorySouth, Bookideas, The Mid-West Review and much more. Danielle is a former editor for Solstice and Desert Breeze Publishing. Her popular blog, The Balanced Writer, focuses on life and the pursuit of peace and happiness. Currently, she is a freelance copywriter in-between working on her next book and pursuing a second degree.
Read more about Danielle and her books here and visit her blog here
About Proper Attire
New Release: Sweet Regency Romance - .99 
An Top 100 Amazon Best Seller
Proper Attire
Pressured to marry for money, Julia Scott flees England and a cruel stepmother to determine if the West Indies is the paradise of her dreams. Attacked by pirates and desired by island natives, the only person she can trust is John Smith -- if that's her rescuer's true name. Reaching her uncle's station in English Harbor, Julia must find a way to face her feelings and deal with her traitorous family, a dashing new suitor, and the guardian angel, John Smith, who has no qualms sporting counterfeit names and less than what is proper attire.
Click here to buy on amazon

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Looking Out the Window: Linda Weaver Clarke Talks Mystery - Gives Away an e-book of Her Latest, The Shamrock Case.

A Warm Welcome to Linda
Thanks for stopping by to discuss mysteries and The Shamrock Case.
Ireland, what a great place to weave a story.
To enter to win Linda's e-book, leave a comment and an e-mail address below. 

Enjoy A Romantic Cozy Mystery: The Shamrock Case

There are many types of mysteries to choose from such as a cozy mystery, hard-boiled, soft-boiled, or the thriller. What is the difference? A cozy is an enjoyable story with a bit of humor. It can be slow paced but not boring by any means. The sleuth is always an intelligent and likeable woman. This genre is G-rated and focuses on the characters.

A thriller has non-stop action and doesn’t let up until the climax of the story. The hard-boiled mystery has violence, plenty of action, and is R-rated. The soft-boiled mystery falls in the middle of the cozy and hard-boiled and has light humor.

About the Amelia Moore Detective Series
The Amelia Moore Detective Series is closer to a cozy than the others but is not a “who-done-it” mystery. Amelia Moore, the founder of the Moore Detective Agency, specializes in missing persons. Her cases have taken her to some very interesting places and put her in some dangerous situations, but she always solves the case. With the help of Rick Bonito, her business partner, the agency is flourishing.

Praise for The Shamrock Case

“Amelia and Rick have the makings of being a lasting couple that readers will adore and root for. The Shamrock Case moves along quickly. It goes by way too fast and I’m already missing the characters.” –Socrates Book Review

When Amelia is hired to search for her client’s grandparents, the case takes them to Ireland. Kate must learn about her heritage. Who are her grandparents and could they still be alive after all these years? Why did her parents leave Ireland suddenly and move to America? Is there more to this case than meets the eye?

Yvonne, Socrates Book Review, felt as if she had visited Ireland when she wrote: “The author paints a vivid picture of the beauty of Ireland. I feel as if I just returned from a trip to Ireland myself. I could easily see the greenery and magnificence of the country. With each book, Clarke introduces us to another exotic location.  She definitely does her homework before she writes about these places.  Clarke knows both her characters and locations well and it shines through each word she writes.”

To read a Sample Chapter, visit

About the Author
Linda Weaver Clarke travels throughout the United States, teaching people to write their family history and autobiography. She is the author of several historical sweet romances, a mystery/adventure series, a children’s book, and a new cozy mystery series.

The Shamrock Case (ISBN-13: 978-1499537574, Red Mountain Shadows Publishing, 2014) can be found at local libraries or online bookstores. For more information, visit

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Meet My Character Blog Tour

Meet My Character

Sweet romance author Danielle Thorne has some thoughtful questions about my character, Margaret McWhorter, who is the heroine in Stopped Cold, an inspirational teen mystery. Before I tell you about Margaret (with her determination and loyalty to family and friends), let's talk a little about Danielle, who recommended I share more about Stopped Cold.

Danielle Thorne freelanced for online and print magazines from 1998 through 2001, adding reviewing and editing to her resume. She has published poetry, short fiction and novels. Danielle is the author of sweet romantic adventure books, both historical and contemporary.
Other work has appeared with Espresso Fiction, Every Day Fiction, Arts and Prose Magazine, Mississippi Crow, The Nantahala Review, StorySouth, Bookideas, The Mid-West Review, and more. She won an Honorable Mention in Writer’s Digest’s 2006 annual writing competition and won the 2008 Awe-Struck Short Novel Contest. In 2009, Danielle won Classic Romance Revival's Work in Progress Contest, which resulted in another contract for her fiction.
Danielle currently writes from south of Atlanta, Georgia. She was the 2009-2010 Co-Chair for the New Voices Competition for young writers, is active with online author groups all over the web and moderates for The Sweetest Romance Authors. Danielle is a former editor for Solstice and Desert Breeze Publishing, but freelance copywriting is now her day job when life isn't calling. She has four sons with her wonderful husband. Together they enjoy travel and the outdoors. Her newest book, Cheated, will come out on September 12th.

Web site:


Amazon Author Page:

Athena Gray is determined to finish her senior year without any paranormal interruptions. She's certain it's best to ignore her ability to help spirits cross over, but a new phantom in the backwoods of Omega is watching her every move.

Determined to protect her sister and her best friend Dan, Athena pays no attention to strange events at school until they follow her home.

When the mysterious spirit causes a near fatal accident, she must come to grips with an angry and jealous ghost who wants her dead because somewhere between this life and another, Athena's adversary thinks she cheated. It will take the power of family and friendship to survive her own personal haunting and reclaim her life before supernatural forces extinguish it forever.
Now here are some facts about Margaret who turns to her Christian faith as she chases after the drug dealers who sold her brother a steroid that caused him to have a stroke.

Now here are some facts Danielle wanted to know about Margaret McWhorter, a loyal sister and friend, swimmer and high school student who looks for the drug dealers who sold her brother a steroid.

1. What is the name of your character? Is he or she fictional or a historic person? Margaret McWhorter is a fictitious contemporary teen enjoying flirting with Jimmy Wilmore, swimming and hanging out with friends until her brother takes a steroid and ends up non-responsive in the hospital.

2. When and where is the story set? It's set today in a small town in the awe-inspiring Western North Carolina mountains. The scenery resembles the area around Asheville, North Carolina.

3. What should be know about him/ her? Margaret loves her brother and sees him as an ally in the midst of the pressure her father puts on both of them to excel in sports. She also loves her mother and father and wants everyone in the family to be alright in spite of this terrible crisis. She dreams of having life the way it used to be and yearns to do something for her brother and her parents to make this sad situation better. That's why she looks for the drug dealers with her friends and tries even harder to win her swimming competitions. She savors the fun times at swim meets and  when she's with her friends, especially her heartthrob, Jimmy.

4. What is the main conflict? What messes up his/ her life? In Stopped Cold Margaret's world goes into a tailspin when her brother ends up ill, and her parents are at the hospital nearly 24/7. She's faced with keeping up her grades and swimming while her heart's broken. As if that weren't enough, she's so angry at the drug dealers she can't rest until she can report their whereabouts to the undercover detective on the case. She relies heavily on her faith to help her overcome the anger and never stops praying that her brother will be healed.

5. What is the personal goal of this character? To make things right again.

6. Can we read more about Stopped Cold?
                                            Yes, you can read more about it here.   

Notice I am tagging the following three authors in the Meet My Character Blog Tour. Just follow this post as an example and check them out.

Lisa Lickel:
Vanessa Riley:
June Foster:

Stopped Cold excerpt: 

My heart thumped so hard I worried he heard it as he put his arm around the back of the seat and touched my shoulders.

“How’d your classes go today? I wanted to talk to you after English, but you got out before I had a chance.”

Thank goodness. Seeing him here was less stressful. I fidgeted with my paper cup then set it down and tore tiny pieces off the napkin in my lap. “It wasn’t bad. Everyone was so good to me.”

“Well, they better be.” Jimmy’s voice sounded protective.

My heart melted. I let my eyes meet his. They looked caring and sincere like those of a friend. I stopped tearing up the leftover napkin. “So--what happened while I was gone?” I tried to sound laid-back.

“In class, the usual, homework, tests, same old stuff.” Jimmy shifted in his seat and moved his arm.

Had something unusual happened outside of class? Did he know anything about Winstrol V? That would be strange because Mike said he didn’t, and he played football. I wanted information so bad. “What about sports?”

Jimmy leaned back and wrinkled his brow. “Funny you would ask I’ve heard some athletes are taking steroids.”

I stopped breathing.

Emily’s eyes grew wide as she leaned across the table. “Really?”

Jimmy raised his blond eyebrows. “Yeah, a couple guys mentioned it after we played soccer.”

I took in air. My insides raced as if someone turned my nerves on high, but I had to stay calm. I needed answers. I didn’t know Jimmy played soccer. “Are the soccer players taking them?”

“You’re awfully interested. Do you two want to buff up?”

I gagged and couldn’t speak.

Emily gasped. “No. Of course not. We’re just curious, that’s all.”

Jimmy shrugged his shoulders. “I have no idea. I overheard the conversation, but I didn’t join it.”

I ripped the rest of the napkin into tiny bits. “Well think. Exactly what did you hear?”

Available on amazon

Stopped Cold
On amazon

Swept Away
On amazon 

On amazon

On amazon

Death Cheater

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Looking in the Window: Updates - TBCN Give Away - Fun Blog on Friday

Give a cheer for your favorite team and enter to win a $10.00 Starbuck’s gift card and an e-book of Stopped Cold in the Teens Read Too Room on The Book Club Network (Leave cheer under the Discussion Forum)  

Join me at the Decatur Book Festival, August 30 and 31, booth 426, Sweet Romance, Mystery & Inspy Fiction

Coming Soon Mountain of Love and Danger, a Fairwilde Reflection Novella 

Jack Greenthumb finds romance in Fairwilde Kingdom—a different day—a different girl. Then a cruel mystery begins. Dad’s beaten, the family farm destroyed and Jack’s true love, Gwendolyn Bante, kidnapped. Jack’s undercover operation reveals Gwenie’s a captive atop a mountain accessible only by helicopter. Reaching her is a dangerous expedition even for a champion rock climber like Jack. However, a Greenthumb Acres employee plants a miraculous seed from Heaven for the rescue. Suspense mounts as Jack scales the perilous cliff to face a brute and a treacherous descent in this retelling of the fairy tale, Jack and the Beanstalk.

Fun for Friends Friday on Friday, August 29th - Unwrinkling without Ironing, on Lillian Duncan's Blog

Visit my Web site

Buy links for Stopped Cold

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Winner of Joe the Dreamer

Hats, Horns...