Ashes in the Wind by Peggy Levesque

5 x 5 star reviews

 Dawnlight: When the World is Changed Forever
by Kacy Barnett-Gramckow
7 x 5 star reviews

The Song: The Ultimate Love Story by Thomas Lochnicht
3 x 5 star reviews

Offer ENDS SOON! Great Stories! Great Deals!

Nora St.Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!


My husband Fred is full of surprises. Last weekend he told me to be ready in 30 minutes we were going for a ride. He wasn't going to tell me where we were going. I watched him get the cooler and put a few snacks with bottled water in there. I was thinking we'll be gone for a while. HOORAY!!

Fred then asks me, "Do you want me to tell you where we're going?" 
"If you want to!"
"I don't want to." He smiles. Then says, "I'll give you a hint. It's a place I'd never go to but I know you'll love, so that's why we're going! Besides we haven't been out on an adventure in a while." He smiles from ear to ear.

I'm good! I don't need to know where I'm going. I'm with someone I love to hang out with and we're on an adventure. It's a GREAT DAY!! We were stuck in traffic for a while due to the Easter Parade. Nothing bothered us because we were on adventure.
Cabbage Patch Characters taking Pictures with kids

Little Cabbages filled with Kids everywhere
Cabbage Patch Nurse at her Station in Museum

Then we pulled up to the CABBAGE PATCH CENTER!! OHMYGOSH! There were so many people there. It was quite the place. The grounds were covered with people set up selling gift items and food. Fred and I both wanted to try the Alligator. Grin! The FIRST thing we did was go inside and see the Museum they had set up to look at as you wanted to go inside the store. I have the History of the Cabbage Patch Doll at the end of this post. It was fascinating to read. I remember how people went crazy for these dolls one year for the Day after Thanksgiving sale. I think one person even died. Crazy! They are adorable.

Baby Land Delivery Nursery Fun
Expensive original dolls displayed in Museum
Fred makes Me Laugh
Sweet Dolls
Waiting in line to get a picture
A sweet doll caught my eye 
Fred taking a picture of me taking a picture Grin!

THANK YOU LOVE for a GREAT and MEMORABLE DAY! I know this was a sacrifice for you! THANKS for the great surprise! We didn't get to taste the Alligator because we didn't realize it was a CASH ONLY event. We had our Debit cards with us and all the vendors took cash.Maybe NEXT TIME! Grin!

I did get a memento see below. Here is also a little Cabbage doll I've had for years. Anyone know where I can get her some clothes! Grin!

My Momentoes from Cabbage Patch Center $1.99 each Oh, Yeah!
A Mini Cabbage Patch Coll

Signature on the Back lets you know it's the REAL DEAL!
Just wanted to share this GREAT day and all the FUN we had at the CABBAGE PATCH CENTER. I have a grandson if the Lord gives a granddaughter I know the place we have to take her. Grin! Below is the only Cabbage Patch doll I own. She's a Cabbage Patch mini! Does anyone know where to get clothes for this little one? I've seemed to lost them years ago. Grin!

They have a calendar of events that happen at the CABBAGE PATCH CENTER!! They have an Easter Egg Hunt this weekend. I might be back there sooner than I think! Grin!

Nora St.Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!


Early soft-sculpture: “Face in a Hat”
As a 21 year old art student, Xavier Roberts rediscovers “needle molding” a German technique for fabric sculpture from the early 1800s. Combining his interest in sculpture with the quilting skills passed down from his mother, Xavier creates his first soft-sculptures.

While working his way through school as manager of the Unicoi Craft Shop in Helen, Georgia, Xavier develops the marketing concept of adoptable Little People® with birth certificates.

Dexter wins a first place ribbon for sculpture at the Osceola Art Show.
Xavier begins delivering his hand made Little People Originals and exhibiting them at arts and crafts shows in the southeast. He finds that many parents are happy to pay the $40.00 “adoption fee” for one of his hand signed Little People Originals.

Xavier wins a first place ribbon for sculpture with “Dexter” at the Osceola Art Show in Kissimmee, Florida. Returning home to Georgia, he organizes five school friends and incorporates Original Appalachian Artworks, Inc. Xavier and his friends renovate the L.G. Neal Clinic, a turn of the century medical facility in Cleveland, Georgia, opening “BabyLand General® Hospital” to the public.

Atlanta Weekly Magazine
The growing success of Xavier’s hand made Little People Originals is documented by Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlanta Weekly, and many others. There are reports that earlier editions are re-adopting for as much as 100 times their initial adoption fee.

Original Appalachian Artworks, Inc. signs a long term licensing agreement allowing a major toy manufacturer to produce a Toy replica of Xavier’s handmade soft sculpture Originals. These Toy versions are recognizable by their smaller size, vinyl head and adoption fees usually under $30.00. At the same time, the name Little People® is changed to the “Cabbage Patch Kids®” which is used for both the Toys and the handmade Originals.

By the end of the year almost 3 million of the Cabbage Patch Kids Toys have been adopted but demand has not been met. The Cabbage Patch Kids Toys go on record as the most successful new doll introduction in the history of the toy industry. In December, they are featured on the cover of Newsweek.

The Cabbage Patch Kids join the Young Astronaut Program and “Christopher Xavier” becomes the first Cabbage Patch Kid to journey into outer space as a passenger on the U.S. Space Shuttle.

With 65 million Cabbage Patch Kids Toys adopted to date, their continuing popularity places the Cabbage Patch Kids Brand among the top 10 best selling of the year. Meanwhile the handmade Originals, with adoption fees of $190.00 and up, remain popular with collectors.

The Cabbage Patch Kids are honored by being named the first official mascot of the U.S. Olympic Team. They travel with the athletes to Barcelona for the games and many stay behind as “Friends For Life” with patients of a local children’s hospital.

The Cabbage Patch Kids are once again honored to be named the official mascot of the 1996 U.S. Olympic Team for the summer games in Atlanta. That same year Mildred, one of the earliest Little People readopts for $20,000.

For the first time ever, limited numbers of hand made Original Cabbage Patch Kids U.S. Team mascots are offered for adoption at fees of $275.00 each. These Originals represent 12 different Olympic Sports.

A nationwide public vote selects Cabbage Patch Kids as one of 15 stamps commemorating the 1980s in the U.S. Postal Service’s Celebrate The Century stamp program.

The Cabbage Patch Kids stamp goes on sale in January of 2000.

2001 Cabbage Patch Kids are now delivered in the Toys ‘R Us flagship store on Times Square. The introduction of an exclusive line of Cabbage Patch Kids coincides with the launch of the new 110,000 square-foot store.

A minute after midnight on January 1, Cabbage Patch Kid twins were born at Toys ‘R Us Times Square. Bonnie Ellen and Geoffrey Wallace in honor of Geoffrey the Giraffe, Toys ‘R Us Mascot, weighed in at 7 pounds, 4 ounces and 18 inches in length. Nine-year-old Hallie Kate Eisenberg adopted the twins, then took the official Oath of Adoption. The child actor has starred in nine movies including “The Insider” (1999) with Al Pacino and “Bicentennial Man” (1999) with Robin Williams.

The National Roll Out for TRU ‘Kids is held on July 27th at the Toys ‘R Us in Alpharetta, Ga. Every Cabbage Patch Kid in the store is adopted in less than 15 minutes.

BabyLand General Hospital ends the year in third place in the Travel Channel’s Top 10 Toylands across the nation.

BabyLand General Hospital celebrates 25 years of delivering babies.

Collector enthusiasm heightens with the introduction of an exclusive Spring Event baby. Adopting for $325, one little ‘Kid was re-adopted a few months later on eBay for more than double her original fee.
At the request of the Georgia Department of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Cabbage Patch Kids became little ambassadors at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Open House in Brussels, Belgium, which showcased a Holiday in the South. Logan Michael, wearing a cadet’s parade dress uniform, escorted his sister Lauren Grace to this event.

Xavier Roberts closes the year serving as Grand Marshal of the Festival of Trees parade in Atlanta. He holds his first public Signing Party in 15 years in Georgia. The Cabbage Patch delivered a Festival of Trees Exclusive to help raise funds for the Children’s Health Care of Atlanta. The nine-day event drew 150,000 people.

This History is from their website HERE is the LINK to their WEBSITE https://www.cabbagepatchkids.com/ Check out this place and their calendar of events.

Who Knew? THANKS Again to my husband Fred for a memorable day!

Nora :o)


 I Like Giving
By Brad Formsma
Published by Waterbrook Press
210 Pages

Back Cover: When you choose to live a generous life, you start to change and so does the world around you. Something incredible happens when giving becomes your own idea, not something you do out of duty or obligation.

When you move from awareness to action, miracles happen. As you make giving a lifestyle, you’ll realize you’re not only loving life more, you’re also creating a more generous world— a better world for all of us.

Rich with inspiring stories and practical suggestions, I Like Giving helps you create a lifestyle of generosity. Inside you’ll find:
• Giving—something you get to do, not something you've got to do.
• How to raise kids with a sensitivity to others’ needs.
• You don’t have to be a millionaire to make a difference.
• Practical ideas for giving to people around you every day.

I Like Giving is about experiencing the joy of giving. We all have something to give. Giving goes way beyond money or things. It can be a listening ear, a touch, or simply the gift of time. Giving is living

Review: I’m thankful for the review copy of a book that talked about ways to give. The author begins the book by exploring the power of one gift, then jumps into how to begin trying to give, what happens when we give, the science of giving, giving filters, tactics of giving, how giving can be a family affair, how to give as a community, in order to give someone needs to receive, and how everyone can become a gift to someone.

The author says, “There is something incredible about giving when it’s our idea…when we choose to give, we change and the people around us change. When we move from awareness to action, miracles happen…If you haven’t ever experienced the joy of giving, or it’s been a long time, this book will show you where to start…We never arrive. I’ve been discovering the joy of generous giving for many years, and I still feel as if I’m getting started….The best things in life are like that – they grow and never end.”

Brad Formsma is the creator of the website I Like Giving www.Ilikegiving.com , the site is viewed in more than 165 countries, which inspire people to live generously through its short films as well as a platform for anyone to share their experiences they’ve had in giving. Brad, his wife Laura, and their three kids live in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

I liked how this author walks people through finding giving opportunities. It’s not always about giving money. The power of one gift is transforming. Brad gives testimonies in this book that show how giving works. Great website to check out.

I've given and I've been the recipient of gifts that have changed the course of me and my family’s life. I am eternally grateful for those who gave and for the opportunities I had to bless others.  He gave me great ideas for giving in the future. This book is inspiring. The website will ignite your spirit and have you look for ways to give in your everyday life like never before. I highly recommend it.

Nora St.Laurent TBCN Where Book Fun Begins www.bookfun.org

Finding Hope Through Fiction www.psalm516.blogspot.com


10 Book Giveaway

5 Book Giveaway

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Nora :o)
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!


The Big Picture Interactive Bible
Published by B & H Kids
ISBN #978-1-4336-0503-1
1288 Pages

Kids can now be engaged in Bible reading and study as never before, seeing scenes from the Bible literally pop off the page via a free downloadable app that lets them view the images in an augmented reality format, as well as listen to narration of the event.

This full color, fully designed Bible includes features to help kids experience the Bible including call outs of key Bible stories, definitions, memory verses and more, all designed to get kids digging into and learning the Bible for life.

Together kids and parents can enjoy the Christ Connections and Big Questions and Answers call outs that show God's story unfolding from the beginning of time and how we fit into his plan.

This meets children in the visual world they are so accustomed to, bringing Bible pages to life. Over 400,000 individual participants, 40,000 plus groups, and 7,000 plus churches have already started their journey with LifeWay's Gospel Project, making this the perfect companion for the Gospel Project for Kids curriculum

Review: I’m thankful for the review copy of a new bible for kids that looks nice inside and out. Some of the features in this bible are 100 Top verses to memorize highlighted in the bible with the tag; Verse to Remember. There are 146 Full-page bible story illustrations with augmented reality that are very beautiful and eye catching. Big Bible Questions/Big Answers featured under heading – BIG Questions. I loved this feature. I would never think to ask these questions. Love they give you the answers. Grin! Helps generate discussion with family and friends.

Big Words dictionary feature makes it easy to learn the definition. Full color design throughout the bible. Icons connecting to the Gospel Project for kids’ curriculum – published by LifeWay. Kid Friendly introductions to every book of the bible and seeing the Big Picture Feature – talks about how this passage of scripture and/or story relates to the big picture in the bible.

I loved all the features and the overall look inside the bible. It’s easy to read. It’s not too busy. The Font is big and bold. I loved all of the above. There was one thing that I got hung up on and that was making the bible interactive function to work. I tried a couple of hours myself to make this work. I know I’m not computer and/or phone savvy so I sought the help of friends who were.

I was about to give up when I asked my 16 year old son to help me. Can you believe he got the thing to work in 15 minutes? Ok, I was cheering until he tried to make it work on the next page and nothing happened. I know that it’s not what I expected from the program. On the pages that did work a 3-D picture jumps off the page and a story is read. You have to hold the phone over the small picture for 15 seconds then you zoom out so your phone captures the big color picture (the whole page). Then the 3-D picture jumps out at you and stays there the whole time the story is being told. There is trouble with the interactive feature to this bible. I look forward to them working out the kinks.

I met a young man (maybe 8 years old) the other day that told me the interactive part of this bible looked to hard for him to figure out. Given what I've gone through to make it work. I agreed. But I pointed out all the good features inside this bible. I do love the pictures and so did this youngster.

All in all I really LIKED this bible very much. It grabbed my attention. It’s one I feel will be easy to share with kids even if the interactive feature is not working well. It’s beautiful, helps kids apply scripture to their lives, gives them verses that will be worth memorizing first, and the full color animated pictures all throughout the bible are amazing. Loved it and I would recommend this bible to young children I think it speaks their language and will be they use for years.

Nora :o)
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!





TO ENTER THE DRAWING GO TO TBCN - The Book Club Network www.bookfun.org.

You are more than welcome to encourage Ann here on this blog post but to Enter the Drawing you must join TBCN It's free and Easy. Then CLICK on the LINK on the top of her Book Cover.


Nora :o)
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins! www.bookfun.org
Finding Hope Through Fiction www.psalm516.blogspot.com


ABOUT AUTHOR:  ANN H. GABHART, the author of several bestselling novels, has been called a storyteller, not a bad thing for somebody who never wanted to do anything but write down stories. She’s published twenty-six novels for adults and young adults with more stories on the way. She keeps her keyboard warm out on a farm in Kentucky where she lives with her husband, Darrell. They have three children and nine grandchildren. To find out more about Ann or her books visit www.annhgabhart.com. Check out her blog, One Writer’s Journal, www.annhgabhart.blogspot.com or Jocie’s Heart of Hollyhill blog www.hollyhillbookofthestrange.blogspot.com. You can follow Ann on Facebook, www.facebook.com/AnnGabhart , Twitter, https://twitter.com/AnnHGabhart , or Pinterest, http://pinterest.com/annhgabhart/.   


Thrilled that you are here with us again - Take it Away Ann

Hello again!
Hi, everybody. It’s so much fun being back here talking to Nora and friends about my Heart of Hollyhill series. Summer of Joy, the third book in the series has just come back out to bookstores all dressed up in a brand new cover. Don’t you just love that little box record player and those 45 records? That cover takes you right back to the Sixties!
Ann's writing notebooks

A Writing Dream - First, let’s set the stage with a little writing history – my writing history. I’ve been writing since I was a kid and first fell in love with books. I wanted to write down my own stories. That was a big dream for a little country girl who had never met a writer and didn't know the first thing about writing. But I loved words and stories and so I got a notebook and pen and started. I did know that a writer had to write.

Sometimes the Lord watches over us and gives us the desires of our hearts. I sold my first story to a Sunday school leaflet in 1971 and then sold a few more stories to small magazines. Just enough to make me believe it was possible. Then I wrote my first novel and I forgot about writing short pieces. I was going to write books! Of course, the next step was writing a book that somebody besides my mother wanted to read.

Small town Main Street
Enter Jocie and Hollyhill  - At last, we come to Hollyhill. I decided I’d write one more novel. I wouldn't worry about editors or publishers or even readers. I’d write this book for myself and follow that basic writing advice to write what you know. Enter small towns and country churches.

I grew up out on a farm, but when we went to town it was to a one Main Street town lined with parking meters.

Churches sat on each end of town and in between were a couple of banks, two ten-cent stores, a hardware store, a grocery where the storekeeper let you trade farm eggs for groceries, three dress shops, a men’s clothing store, and a strip of poolrooms down on that end of the street where it was better for a little girl not to go. There was a barbershop, a newspaper office, two drugstores–one with a soda fountain, two grills, and towering above everything else the courthouse. But the most important building for me was up the side street across from the post office, the public library. Thank you, Andrew Carnegie!

Small Towns and Country Churches - I decided to set my story in my little town just the way I remembered it during the 1960’s. It was the kind of town where when you walked down the street you knew everybody you met. Then, in all small towns, plenty of eccentric characters are hanging around just waiting to be written into a story. I renamed the town Hollyhill and a good thing too. Heart of Lawrenceburg series just doesn’t have the same ring as Heart of Hollyhill series. I took the flavor of the little town I remembered and came up with characters that belonged on my Main Street. Even Wes from Jupiter fits right in the Hollyhill stories.

1962 Goshen Church 150 Celebration
My first character was a young girl named Jocie whose father, another main character, is a preacher. So it was time to go to church. My church. The church my husband and I got married in. The church we still attend. A little country church that is over two hundred years old. I know that church. I remember how it was in the Sixties when there was no air-conditioning or padded pews and church mice sometimes ran out of the piano in the middle of services.

The members were like family. Many of them were actually kin to one another, and sometimes there was a squabble in spite of the way they all loved each other and the Lord. That’s the kind of church I let David pastor. He’s a bi-vocational preacher as most of the men who led the small churches in my county were in the Sixties. So I gave him the added job of newspaper editor.
Goshen Church today
Hometown News - I grew up reading our little hometown newspaper. It came out once a week and had all the community news of who visited whom. If you tripped over your roller skates and ended up with a broken leg, you’d make the paper. On the inside pages, you could find every elementary school’s 4-H Club Meeting minutes and see photos of hometown girls and boys on the honor roll at college. A fender bender on Main Street was major news. And when you read a wedding or baby announcement, you knew the whole family back to both sets of grandparents. You were glad the headline story was who had been chosen Miss Dairy Princess because that meant nothing bad had happened in your town that week.

That’s the kind of paper theHollyhill Banner is except a few storms come along to push the Dairy Princess off the front page in my Hollyhill stories. There’s a feature in our local paper called “The Way We Were.” That’s how I tried to make Hollyhill–the way it might have been in the Sixties.
Courthouse in my hometown

My Small Town in 2014 - Things have changed in my little town. When Walmart opened out on the bypass, downtown started dying. The mom and pop stores couldn't compete. Now the only business still open from when I was a kid is a dress shop whose long-time owners keep decorating their shop windows with fashionable outfits, but it’s surrounded by empty storefronts. There’s no place to sell your eggs or fill your prescriptions on Main. The last drugstore sold out to one of the big chains last year. Where else, but out on the bypass. Even the hometown newspaper moved its offices out on the bypass.

The courthouse is still there and so are the churches. The library built a new modern building, but they stayed on Main down the street from where the post office used to be. Right, the post office built a big new building out close to the bypass.

New Library
Nobody has to come up with a nickel to park downtown anymore. The parking meters are gone. Saturday afternoons see empty streets now instead of neighbors talking to neighbors. The eccentric characters have passed into legend. The only time the streets are crowded these days is during the annual Burgoo Festival. But the little hometown I remember from the Sixties lives on in my Heart of Hollyhill books.

Heart of Hollyhill Series - Summer of Joy is the third Hollyhill books. The first, Scent of Lilacs, got the story going in the humid summer of 1964, as Jocie digs into her family’s past and stirs up a whirlwind of discoveries. Orchard of Hope ushered in a whole new story as the town suffers through a drought and wakes up to the need for Civil Rights when a new family moves to Holly County and challenges the status quo. Finally, Summer of Joy has the past coming to call with two people making their way to Hollyhill to change everything. From a river baptism to a wedding delayed by a man intent on making trouble, things are anything but uneventful in my little Hollyhill.

Old Library Bldg
It’s sometimes hard to keep writing new books about the same characters, but I got to know my Hollyhill people so well that I was able to keep going with their stories. And of course, I knew where they lived and worshiped. In Summer of Joy I wanted to wrap up some of the loose ends from the previous stories. While I was planning the story, I kept imagining people showing up unexpectedly to knock on Jocie’s door, bringing the past with them.

Each of the books can be read as stand-alone stories, but the story is much richer if the reader visits Hollyhill all three times to get to know Jocie and her family along with those odd small town characters.

Everything Changes - There’s a saying that everything changes. That’s certainly true about my hometown and about our little country church. We've remodeled the church and built a beautiful fellowship hall beside it. The pews are padded, the floors carpeted, and we've encouraged the mice to find a new place to live. But the church still has that family feel where everybody knows everybody.

Home to Hollyhill - That’s the kind of feeling I tried to create in my Heart of Hollyhill books for readers who come visit my Small Town, America. I like to think about them walking down my Main Street and seeing Jocie taking pictures. Maybe they’ll smile at Wes speeding by on his motorcycle or try to get Zella talking about the latest Hollyhill gossip. I want them to feel like they’ve gone to church with neighbors who aren’t perfect but are doing the best they can. I hope my Hollyhill stories will make them smile and maybe wipe away a tear now and again. And when they read the last page, I want them to be happy they came “home” to Hollyhill.

Thanks for letting me visit and tell you about my hometown.


THANKS Ann - I always love hearing from you. Thanks for telling us about how Hollyhill came about. It always fascinates me to hear how the author got their idea for a book. I've talked to you at Finding Hope Book Club meetings and was also amazed that you've lived in your home town most of your life. Thanks for sharing about that too. I'm THRILLED about the giveaway opportunity Revell Publishers at The Book Club Network going on right now.

Nora :o)

TO ENTER THE DRAWING GO TO TBCN - The Book Club Network www.bookfun.org.

You are more than welcome to encourage Ann here on this blog post but to Enter the Drawing you must join TBCN It's free and Easy. Then CLICK on the LINK on the top of her Book Cover.


Nora :o)
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins! www.bookfun.org
Finding Hope Through Fiction www.psalm516.blogspot.com


ABOUT AUTHOR: JULIANNA DEERING has always been an avid reader and a lover of storytelling, whether on the page, the screen or the stage. This, along with her keen interest in history and her Christian faith, shows in her tales of love, forgiveness and triumph over adversity. A fifth-generation Texan, she makes her home north of Dallas with three spoiled cats and, when not writing, spends her free time quilting, cross stitching and watching NHL hockey. Her new series of Drew Farthering mysteries set in 1930s England debuted with Rules of Murder (Bethany House, 2013) and is followed by Death by the Book and Murder at the Mikado (Bethany House, 2014). Also, as DeAnna Julie Dodson, she has written a trilogy of medieval romances (In Honor Bound, By Love Redeemed and To Grace Surrendered) and four contemporary mysteries for the Annie's Attic series. She is represented by Wendy Lawton of the Books &Such Literary Agency (www.booksandsuch.biz).

What inspired you to write Death by the Book?
I’m a longtime fan of Agatha Christie and the other writers from the Golden Age of Crime Fiction.  The mystery novels of the 1920s and ‘30s have a particular style to them that I enjoy.  The quaint English village, the old manor house, the perfectly correct staff of servants, the formal social conventions, all of it fascinates me.  So, naturally, I couldn’t resist trying to write something in this genre.  It’s been great fun!

Someone described your mystery as an “enthralling mystery that will satisfy the most ardent Agatha Christie fan.” What do you love about Agatha Christie books?

Her books have some of the most amazing plots.  And, of course, I love her recurring characters, Poirot, Marple and so on.  Sometimes I can deduce who the killer is as I’m reading, but not usually.  Of course, she once said that she just wrote a good story and then, at the end, went back at set up least likely suspect to be the guilty party.  I’ll have to try that sometime.

Why write Christian Fiction? What’s the draw for you?
Author stitched "Bloom Where your Planted"

There is something ingrained in human nature that makes people receptive to story.  Oftentimes, Jesus did not preach his message.  He told stories about a prodigal son or a rich young ruler.  Stories don't tell us what to think, at least the good ones don't, but they let us experience, they let us draw our own conclusions, and that is often more powerful than the greatest sermon.  Nathan could have reprimanded King David for his adultery and murder.  Instead he told David a story, a story of a poor man with one pet lamb.  He made David see and feel from that poor man's point of view, let him feel outraged on that wronged man's behalf, let him feel indignant towards the rich man who stole and killed that precious lamb.  Then and only then did Nathan tell him he had done as that rich man had, only worse.  Only then did he say, "You are the man."  Only then did David clearly and utterly see his wrong and repent.  Story is so powerful.  And we who write with a Christian message, even just a Christian world view, have enormous potential for speaking God's truth.

They had well known amateur detectives back then – Poirot, Marple, Wimsey, and Campion – Which are your favorites? Why?

I love all four of the ones you've mentioned.  Each in his or her way is an unlikely detective.  Poirot is a little Belgian dandy, Miss Marple is an elderly British spinster, Wimsey is the stereotypical  foppish and foolish over-bred aristocrat, and Campion seems a rather bland and forgettable nonentity. But inside each of them is a formidable sleuth, and many a killer has regretted taking them at face value.  Plus their creators, Christie, Sayers and Allingham, have given them some absolutely marvelous cases to solve and some fascinating people to suspect.  You can’t go wrong with any of them.

You feature Drew Farthering, the young heir to Hampshire county estate, who did you base him on? Why?

Drew just popped into my head one day and said, "Oh, I say, wouldn't it be smashing if you let me solve some cracking good mysteries?" I suppose he's the hero-sleuth I just wanted to read about. He's handsome and wealthy, stylish and very British. He's got just a touch of angst about his past, but not enough to keep him from being great fun.  Like all my heroes, I have a little bit of a crush on him.  Don’t tell Madeline.

Madeline Parker is a beautiful American debutante in your novels. What was your inspiration for this character?
1968 Family Photo I'm the short one

I always loved Myrna Loy as Nora Charles in the Thin Man movies from the 1930s and ‘40s.  She’s pretty and stylish, down to earth and determined to keep up with her sleuthing husband,, Nick.  In the midst of whatever mystery they’re involved in, even when the bullets are flying, she is unflappable and good natured and ready with a witty comeback.  Madeline follows firmly in her footsteps.  Besides that, though, I thought it would be interesting to match a British hero with an American heroine.  It gives me a chance to write American and British dialogue, and that’s always fun.

Can you give us a peek into the third book in this series called Murder at the Mikado?

Just when Drew thinks everything is going great and his relationship with Madeline is better than ever, an old flame of his shows up at Farthering Place.  Drew’s memories of her are not pleasant ones, and he wants to have nothing to do with her.  But she’s the chief suspect in the murder of a local actor, and she begs Drew to prove her innocence.  Madeline becomes more and more uncomfortable with Drew’s involvement in the case, and both of them are forced to deal with painful memories from past relationships, memories that will draw them closer or pull them apart.  Besides the mystery and the romantic drama and the Gilbert and Sullivan theme, this book has my very favorite cover:  Drew in white tie.  Lovely.  The book is due out July 1, 2014.


Design by Deanne

 What movie most affected you when you were young? If you didn’t watch movies what book affected you most in your youth? Why?

There are many I could name, but I think I’ll go with It’s a Wonderful Life.  I watch it every year if I can.  It’s such a powerful story, and a great reminder that we’re all precious and that we all impact those around us, for good or bad, by how we live our lives.  No matter how often I see it, it never fails to touch my heart and remind me I’m not alone.

(Deanne says, "The quilt with the writer quotes is something I designed and made. It's called "Black and Write and Read all over:) 

What is the most special thing anyone has ever done for you?
Tiny Elizabeth

Petie looking at camera


I’ve had a lot of special moments, but one I’ll never forget was when my first book, In Honor Bound, was released.  I had the publisher overnight one copy to me as soon as it came off the press because I was so eager to actually hold a real copy of the book.  I got it on a Friday.  On the following Sunday, I was sitting in church, and my pastor said he was going to do a magic trick.  He asked for a volunteer to help him, and then, even though I didn’t volunteer, he picked me.  I went up to the front and stood beside the covered table that was set up there.  To my amazement, from under the cloth there appeared a copy of my book.  Then I saw that there was a whole box of them!  My church had surprised me with my very first book signing.  I’m still so touched by their thoughtfulness.

A friend of yours has a time travel machine and will let you have it for a couple of days. What would you do with it? Any events you’d like to experience? If so which ones?

I think I’d go way, way back and watch God create the earth.  How amazing that must have been!  I’d love to see Egypt at its height, when the pyramids were new.  I’d love to see a medieval castle and cathedral being built.  How in the world did they make such amazing structures without modern machinery?  More than great events, I’d love to see just how an ordinary day was for someone in medieval England, in Colonial America, in Revolutionary France, in Regency England, in the Civil War (English and American), in the Old West, and so on.  We know a lot about the important events, but I think many aspects of everyday life get glossed over.  I’d love to just observe it for myself in a lot of different times and places.

You are shipwrecked on an uninhabited tropical island with a group of Christians – all friends and relatives of yours. You all have to work as a team to survive. Many roles have to be filled. Which role do you think you’d play?
Book Shelve in Authors office

I’d probably be organizing things so everybody helps out and everything gets done without a lot of wasted effort and supplies.  If there were sewing supplies, I’d probably be the one mending people’s clothes, too.

You've been given 48 hours to hang out with any two people (alive or dead). Who would you pick and what would you do?

 Hmmmm . . . I think I’d get Margery Allingham and Agatha Christie to teach me how they come up with their plots.  They've written some amazing ones.


I love to hear from my readers.  Bethany House has designed some wonderful bookmarks and bookplates for Rules of Murder and Death by the Book.  Just send me a self-addressed, stamped envelope (at least 7” long), and I’ll be happy to send them out to you, autographed if you like.  My address is P. O. Box 375, Aubrey, Texas  76227.

Thank you for letting me visit TBCN! 

Thanks for stopping by and letting get to know you and your books better. I’m thrilled about the 10 book giveaway opportunity at The Book Club Network 

Nora St. Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins! 


 ABOUT AUTHOR: Ruth Axtell knew she wanted to be a writer ever since she wrote her first story—a spy thriller—at the age of twelve. She studied comparative literature at Smith College, spending her junior year at the Sorbonne in Paris. After college, she taught English in the Canary Islands, then worked in international development in Miami, Florida, before moving to the Netherlands, where for the next several years she juggled both writing and raising three children. In 1994, her second manuscript was a finalist in Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart competition. In 2002, her sixth manuscript took second place in the Laurie Contest of RWA’s Smoky Mountain chapter. The final judge requested her full manuscript and this became her first published book, Winter Is Past. Since then, Ruth Axtell has gone on to publish sixteen historical romances and one novella. Her books have been translated into Dutch, Italian, German, Polish, and Afrikaans. Her second historical, Wild Rose, was chosen by Booklist as a “Top Ten Christian Fiction” selection in 2005. Ruth lives on the coast of Maine where she enjoys gardening, walking, swimming, reading romances, and gazing at the ocean plotting her next romance.

With her next book, A Heart’s Rebellion, (Baker/Revell, March 2014), Ruth returns to Regency London.

Ruth I was wondering how your passion for gardening started? I was also wondering if you included something about your passion in your books.

I first began to take an interest in flowers when I used to visit my great aunt over summer vacations. She lived in Connecticut and had beautiful flower beds. She'd been a member of the garden club and a lifelong gardener. I learned a lot from her, but it was some years before I could put it into practice (except for starting with house plants, even in my college dorm).
Ruth's Flower Garden
When planting my gardens here in Maine, I love watching seeds sprout. Then they become tender green little shoots. By mid-summer it's a lush bed of plants with barely any soil visible. By August it begins becoming a jungle!

My love of gardening began spilling over into my books when I wrote my second manuscript, Wild Rose. All my trials and travails with my first vegetable garden in the rocky, acidic Maine soil came out in that book, in which I have the hero plant a garden, and the heroine, an experience gardener, looking on and seeing him make all kinds of mistakes, before she intervenes.

I love flowers. My idea of paradise? An English cottage garden.

Since I moved to Downeast Maine in the late 90s, I have gardened in earnest. The area is a challenge to gardeners, especially if you’re drawn to English cottage gardens, since the summers are short, they can be damp or foggy, there are lots of bugs, and the soil is rocky and acidic.

Ruth's Veggie
Ruth's Garden Veggies

The first year I attempted my first large-scale vegetable garden, the few vegetables I harvested were stunted. The following year I had the soil tested and began to change the pH with applications of lime. Each year I composted, throwing in everything from kitchen waste to grass clippings, lobster, and clam shells.

Ruth's Big Tomato

Slowly, the soil improved. I also discovered what did well and what didn't (cabbage moths get anything in the brassica family including broccoli). Kale, lettuces, potatoes, all kinds of peas and beans are almost foolproof. But my idea of success is whether or not I manage to get a good crop of tomatoes: heirloom varieties preferred. So far, I've managed to harvest them by late August into September every year! My latest favorite variety is Brandywine. Someone gave my daughter a seedling last spring and it turned into one of the best producers in our garden that summer.

But back to flowers. I've about given up on cultivated roses. But Downeast Maine abounds in wild roses, from the 5-petaled fragrant pink ones to the double, fuchsia-colored Rosa rugosas, whose perfume is almost overpowering.

Over the years I've filled my flower gardens with perennials, only using annuals to fill in gaps here and there. Self-seeding annuals are great, flowers like poppies, candy tuft or black-eyed Susan, which will come back every year. Dill and chamomile are wonderful self-sowers in the herb garden, another kind of garden I've coaxed along over the years.

Flowers have played a role in many of my historical novels, from Wild Rose , where the rose is a key player, to a flower-filled Dutch-style garden at Kensington Palace in A Gentleman’s Homecoming, where a first kiss occurs.
It was a natural for me to feature flowers in my latest regency novel, A Heart’s Rebellion. The hero, Lancelot Marfleet, is an amateur botanist, as is the heroine Jessamine Barry’s father. Both are vicars. One key scene between the hero and heroine takes place during an outing to Kew Gardens just outside of London. This time a first kiss occurs in a hothouse among some very exotic plants. The heroine feels quite overpowered by the humid tropical atmosphere—or is it by the hero’s proximity? You’ll have to read the book to find out!

Wow, Ruth. Thanks for letting us get to know you and for giving us a peek into your passion. Thanks for all the fun pictures too! My grandmother loved gardening and spent hours doing it. I never found out where her passion for it started. I enjoyed watching her do it and enjoyed looking at it but never liked doing it. Grin! She lived in Florida where it's hot, hot, hot. Thanks for sharing your journey!

I’m THRILLED that your new novel, A Heart’s Rebellion is featured at THE BOOK CLUB NETWORK this month. The Contest starts MARCH 25th and will run through the end of the month. You have some great questions for readers to answer. I’m looking forward to the discussion.

You can encourage Ruth here but to ENTER the DRAWING you'll have to Join The Book Fun Network www.bookfun.org It's Free and Easy. Ruth will be at the discussion too!

Nora :o)