Mâtowak: Woman Who Cries – Excerpt and Giveaway

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As I mentioned last Friday, author Joylene Nowell Butler is on tour this month with MC Book Tours featuring her new mystery novel, Mâtowak: Woman Who Cries. It will be released November 1st by Dancing Lemur Press L.L.C.

My blog is today’s location on the tour, and I’m offering a tantalizing sneak peek from Chapter 12. I think you’ll enjoy it.

You can follow the rest of Joylene’s daily tour schedule by clicking here to find other excerpts, Q&As, chances to win copies of her book and more. If you click on the bright red Rafflecopter link at the end of this page (below the excerpt), there’s an opportunity to enter to win one of three print copies of Mâtowak: Woman Who Cries (available to people in the USA only) and one eBook copy (available internationally). The giveaway ends November 22nd.

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Synopsis:

A murder enveloped in pain and mystery…

When Canada’s retired Minister of National Defense, Leland Warner, is murdered in his home, the case is handed to Corporal Danny Killian, an aboriginal man tortured by his wife’s unsolved murder.

The suspect, 60-year-old Sally Warner, still grieves for the loss of her two sons, dead in a suicide/murder eighteen months earlier. Confused and damaged, she sees in Corporal Killian a friend sympathetic to her grief and suffering and wants more than anything to trust him.

Danny finds himself with a difficult choice—indict his prime suspect, the dead minister’s horribly abused wife or find a way to protect her and risk demotion. Or worse, transfer away from the scene of his wife’s murder and the guilt that haunts him…

Now here’s the promised excerpt…

Chapter 12

A chill targets my spine, and my eyelids feel as if they’re stuck open. I wrap my sweater tightly and fold my arms across my chest.

Blink, Sally.

Through the French doors and across the way to my husband’s study, an officer rummages through Leland’s desk, then his filing cabinet. How many are upstairs going through, well, who knows what really? How many are in the kitchen and the garage?

Bad images cloud my judgment. Why is Corporal Killian disrupting my life? I trusted him. I thought he liked me.

Blink, Sally.

Does he sense my fear?

I focus on comforting visions. Images of blackberry bushes rise in front of me. My gloved hands sweep the stems aside. I concentrate on relaxing by slowing my breathing. Out of my peripheral vision, on the fringe of the room, I see someone hunting through the wet bar and the cupboards beneath. He knocks about on the shelves with only his shoulders and head visible. The small refrigerator door swooshes open, he looks in. Another officer says something to him and he shuts the door.

What are they after? What have they been doing since I left this morning? I should never have left. I should have stayed and—and—and…

I pull a tissue from my pocket and face the fireplace. Next to it are the French doors leading out back. I dab at the moisture on my upper lip. A gust of wind swirls the white flakes outside, throwing them to and fro. I feel like the snow, my thoughts blowing in many directions.

I twist to the left away from Pinscher’s and Killian’s scrutiny and, through the other French doors, see a man pass from the breakfast room to the kitchen. He disappears. The upright freezer door opens. The door and adjacent wall block my view, but I imagine him unwrapping each package, then rewrapping sloppily and tossing them aside. He does this until he’s opened every package. He returns them to the freezer. I see all this in my mind. After they leave, I’ll have to rewrap everything. A voice inside of me says you’re being absurd. Of course they wouldn’t go through my—freezer. The door closes. Now I sense him going through the pantry…

Fifteen minutes have passed according to the grandfather clock near the entrance wall. I’m grateful I sit in my gathering room and not in my bedroom. The idea that a stranger would go through my lingerie drawer is almost too much to bear. I feel violated. My skin crawls. Killian speaks to someone. I turn in time to see Lacroix. I recognize him immediately, though I haven’t seen him since our sons died. He’s coming this way. I look to Killian for support. He’s too busy eyeing his boss. Lacroix sits down across from me but something distracts him near the room’s entrance. I drop my hands to my lap and, remembering my Law and Order shows, try hard not to appear frightened.

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** The Rafflecopter giveaway **
(Click the link!)

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author-joylene-nowell-butlerJoylene lives with her husband and their two cats Marbles and Shasta on beautiful Cluculz Lake in central British Columbia. They spend their winters in Bucerias, Nayarit, Mexico. For more on Joylene and her writing, visit her website and blog then connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and her Amazon Author Page.

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Cover Reveal for FOREIGN EXCHANGE by Denise Jaden (plus a Special Giveaway)

 

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Author Denise Jaden’s next book, FOREIGN EXCHANGE, is due to be released this October. Denise is here today to let us in on the cover reveal, and she also has a special giveaway for us, involving Stephanie Perkins’ ISLA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER. Read on to find out more. 

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First, here are a few of Denise’s thoughts on Foreign Exchange and its cover…

 

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I’m so incredibly excited to share my cover of Foreign Exchange with you! This book holds a very special place in my heart. I wrote it during a very difficult year of my life, and the characters and their stories were a real bright spot for me.

Because this book is so important to me, I’m giving away something VERY important to me to go along with this cover reveal. I was fortunate enough to receive an early copy of the highly-anticipated Isla and the Happily Ever After by one of my all-time favorite authors, Stephanie Perkins. ISLA and Foreign Exchange are both romances with swoon-worthy boys, and they’re both set partially in Europe. So I want one lucky person to receive my advanced copy of ISLA to get you excited for Foreign Exchange!

Read on, check out my cover, and read the first chapter of Foreign Exchange below. It’ll all help you in earning extra entries to win my copy of Isla and the Happily Ever After!

And here is the beautiful cover…

 

Jamie Monroe has always played it safe. That is, until her live-for-the-moment best friend, Tristan, jets off to Italy on a student exchange program. Left alone with her part-time mother and her disabled brother, Jamie discovers that she is quite capable of taking her own risks, starting with her best friend’s hotter-than-hot older brother, Sawyer. Sawyer and Tristan have been neighbors for years, but as Jamie grows closer to the family she thought she knew, she discovers some pretty big secrets.

As she sinks deeper into their web of pretense, she suspects that her best friend may not be on a safe exchange program at all. Jamie sets off to Europe on a class trip with plans to meet up with Tristan, but when Tristan stops all communication, suddenly no one seems trustworthy, least of all the one person she was starting to trust—Sawyer. 

 “Foreign Exchange is a fresh contemporary YA that will keep readers compulsively turning pages until the very end. Combining international intrigue with a steamy forbidden romance makes for a can’t miss read.”
 – Eileen Cook  Author of Year of Mistaken Discoveries. 
“A pitch perfect voice and delicious chemistry kept me turning those pages!”
– Tara Kelly, author of Amplified and Encore
“Foreign Exchange is heart pounding and suspenseful…the teenage dream of escaping the boredom of suburbia by travelling Europe and spending quality time with a hot guy shifts into a dangerous nightmare.”
 – D.R. Graham, author of Rank and the upcoming Noir et Bleu MC series.
 

One of the entries in the Rafflecopter below will ask you a question from the above chapter!

This contest is open internationally!
Don’t forget…this copy of ISLA could be yours…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

* Note – If you cannot access the Rafflecopter Widget through this blog, access it HERE.

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The Plot… er, the Snow, Thickens (There’s a Giveaway, too!)

Chilly west coasters are coping with the intrusion of an Arctic ridge of high pressure. It’s creating strong outflow winds and bringing frigid temperatures from the Interior of the province into our normally balmy south coast. As the front pushes towards the coast it’s meeting warmer Pacific onshore currents, producing… what else? More snow.

Just what I always wanted! I already have as much as I need, thank you very much. It has the perennials nicely insulated, shrubbery beginning to bow under the weight, and the early Snowdrops buried in icy graves. Now I’m starting to worry about what’s coming next.

Funny… that’s what it’s like when I’m reading a mystery story. The foreshadowing is there, the clues start piling up, and while I wait for the damage to hit, I’m gnashing my teeth that I didn’t pay more attention earlier in the season… um, in the story.

By the look of the forecast, I might as well throw another log on the fire and make myself some hot chocolate. This story has to play itself out and I want to stick around to see if the ending fulfills the earlier promise. The plot is thickening as we speak!

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Is it my imagination, or are there other plot similarities to be found in weather situations? I’m offering a $10 Starbucks gift card for the most creative comparison. Leave yours in a comment under today’s post before tomorrow (Thursday), 6:00 p.m. Pacific time, and I’ll reward the most innovative writer with the means to wrap cold hands around a hot mug. 🙂

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Interview: Author Christine Lindsay

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Today I’m pleased to share an interview with debut author Christine Lindsay.

I discovered just recently that Christine and I are almost neighbours. We both live in BC’s Central Fraser Valley just outside Vancouver, which is on the Pacific coast of Canada, about 200 miles north of Seattle.

Christine says it’s a special time in her life as she and her husband enjoy the empty nest, but also the noise and fun when the kids and grandkids come home. Like a lot of writers, her cat is her chief editor.

She writes historical Christian inspirational novels with strong love stories. She doesn’t shy away from difficult subjects such as the themes in her debut novel SHADOWED IN SILK, which is set in India during a turbulent era. Christine’s long-time fascination with the British Raj was seeded from stories of her ancestors who served in the British Cavalry in India. Shadowed in Silk won first place in the 2009 ACFW Genesis for Historical under the title Unveiled. Shadowed in Silk is being released by WhiteFire Publishing in two stages this year, first as an eBook on May 1, 2011, and as the printed version September 1, 2011.

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Christine has kindly offered to give away of a copy of SHADOWED IN SILK in either the ebook or paper format to someone who comments on this post before 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, May 3rd. If the winner chooses the ebook it can be claimed this week. If the winner’s choice is a paper copy, a coupon will be issued for when it’s available in print.

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CG:             SHADOWED IN SILK is your debut novel. Please tell us about the story.

CL:  After the Great War, Abby Fraser returns to India with her small son, where her husband Nick is stationed with the British army. Nick hasn’t written in four years, and when Abby finally catches up with him, she discovers that he has become a cruel stranger.

Major Geoff Richards is broken over the loss of so many of his men in the trenches of France. While Geoff is a devoted Christian, he struggles with anger over the way his British peers treat the Indian people he loves. Geoff also can’t help but notice that Nick Fraser is mistreating Abby and her little boy. Meanwhile Geoff is ordered to search out a Russian spy, throwing him into Abby’s social circle.

Abby discovers that Tikah, one of the servants, is more of a wife to Nick than she is. This other woman is Muslim, and she also is mistreated by Nick.

Amid growing political unrest within India, and threats from Afghanistan, tensions rise.

Abby and Geoff, caught between their own ideals and duty, stumble into the path of the Russian spy, and straight into the fire of revolution.

Shadowed in Silk deals with—and I think delicately—a tough subject, spousal abuse. It’s about how women are often mistreated in eastern cultures as well as western.

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CG:            Where did the idea for this story come from?

CL:            I’ve always loved novels set in India, especially those by the great MM Kaye. But the story of Abby came about from watching my mum who was abused by my father when I was growing up. However, I want the readers to know there are no overt graphic scenes of violence in the book. In fact I’ve been told that I deal with the subject in a delicate manner. And there is so much more in the book. There is romance, and great adventure, as well as true historical events that shook the British Empire.

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CG:            This isn’t your first published work, is it? Would you like to share a bit about your contribution to THRIVING AS AN ADOPTIVE FAMILY? 

CL:            I contributed to the non-fictional book compiled by David and Renee Sanford who are adoptive parents. I am a birthmother—a woman who relinquished her child to adoption. Adoption changed the way I look at everything, especially how I view God. I wanted to show how birthmothers often feel invisible.

It used to be that a great many birthmothers couldn’t even talk about their experiences, or the pain of giving up their child. Most birthmothers relinquish their child out of tremendous love for their baby. I wanted people to understand that.

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CG:            Everyone has a story about “the call” and “how I found my agent/editor/publisher.” Can you share a bit of the journey that led you to your publisher, Whitefire Publishing?

CL:              Shadowed won the 2009 ACFW Genesis under the title Unveiled, and that garnered a lot of buzz for me and my book. But most of the CBA houses passed on it. At the same time, my agent decided to leave the business, and another very well known agent was ready to sign me up.

But after I gave this new agent the bad news, that about six of the major houses had already turned SiS down, she had to back out of her offer. I was pretty devastated. I’d been writing seriously for about ten years.

So there I was about two years ago—agent-less, and with a book no one wanted. I went on a missions trip to India, and was willing to give up my desires for a fictional career in order to do non-fictional work for free. That was when God seemed to bring my dead and buried fictional book back to life, and I got the call from WhiteFire. It just goes to show that you can’t out-give God.

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CG:            How long did it take you to write SHADOWED IN SILK?  Was the first draft close to the finished product or did it go through multiple revision transformations?

CL:              Multiple revisions for sure. I was working full-time when I first started researching this setting and era.  And the actual writing took a while because of my job. It probably took about four years in all, on a part-time basis. But I’m glad I didn’t give up on it. As people are reading it, they are delighted with the exotic setting and historical detail, and I’m pleased with how it all turned out.

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CG:            Are you a writer who plots and outlines first, or do you dive in and figure things out as you go?

CL:             I outline first, but as I write I often find the story takes on a life of its own, as I’m sure you’ve heard before. The characters start to come alive. So I am a bit of both—an outliner, and a seat of the panster.

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CG:            Give us a glimpse of where you do most of your writing.

CL:             In our new townhouse there is a nice little office that overlooks a pasture. I sit on our old couch and tap away on my laptop, usually with the dog at my feet, and the cat beside me.

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CG:            Were there doubts, low times or obstacles for you along the way? How did you overcome them?

CL:            Oh my goodness, were there doubts, etc. Many, many times. But each time I would relinquish my hopes and ambitions to God in the same way I surrender myself to Him as a living sacrifice each day. What’s the sense in banging your head against the wall, if something you want isn’t God’s plan for your life?

So I was always willing to give up my dream if the Lord wanted me to do something else. But each time I asked Him if I should quit, He would do something amazing to encourage me to keep on. One year He arranged for me to win a scholarship to the ACFW conference.

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CG:            Do you have any advice for writers who are a step behind you in their pursuit of publication? Anything that you wish you’d known before you waded in yourself?

CL:             It will probably take you a lot longer than you think to polish your craft, and for the Lord to set up certain things for you to be noticed, to be in the right place at the right time. It will cost you much more than you realize in time, energy, and maybe even cost you financially. To become a writer can often mean giving up things in order to follow that calling. It’s not about making money. In fact you could make more money at your old day job. Ask God first if He wants you to do this. And surrender yourself to Him every day, and keep in mind—it’s all about Him. Nothing else is worthwhile.

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CG:             I understand SHADOWED IN SILK is being released as an e-book now, and then in book form in September 2011. What are your marketing and promotion plans.

CL:            Promotion is harder than writing the book. Very uncomfortable. WhiteFire will use every connection they have—and they have many. Because it’s a small traditional press just starting out, they have a small line, and can easily promote each of their books fairly.

As for me, I am getting the word out on a more personal basis. Naturally, I’ll do all I can online to make Shadowed be noticed. But at the same time I never want to be pushy. It’s my desire that in every communication I have with readers, that I encourage them in some manner. It’s not about me just selling my book. I want to remain true to my prayer—to help others come to know God better. That means my book may not sell very well. But the Lord will provide my daily bread.

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CG:            Where can people buy copies of SHADOWED IN SILK?

CL:            The paperback format will be released September 1st but is currently available for pre-order at Amazon.com. The ebook version is available now in all formats from eBookIt and in Nook format from Barns & Noble.

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CG:            What’s next? Do you have another story in the wings?

CL:            I have two—one is the sequel to Shadowed in Silk, and it’s called Captured by Moonlight. It will continue on with two of the characters from SiS, and will have lots of danger and suspense as well as romance.

The other book I’m working on is a historical romance set in Washington State in 1910. I call it Sofi’s Bridge for the time being. It’s about a young woman who feels duty-bound to ignore her artistic gift. And in 1910 it wasn’t very acceptable for a woman to want to design bridges.

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CG:            Anything I haven’t asked you that you’d like to take the opportunity to mention?

CL:              Like I said before, you can’t out-give God. After my reunion with my birthdaughter, I began to relive the pain of giving her up in the first place. God comforted my heart by encouraging me to write. So my birthdaughter became my muse. Through no planning on my part, it just all sort of happened quickly, the Lord arranged for my daughter to be the model on the front cover of my debut novel. Only a tender-hearted Father would do something so intricately kind.

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CG:          Thanks for sharing your publishing story with my readers, Christine. I wish you God’s continued blessings  and much success with SHADOWED IN SILK.

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If you have any questions for Christine, please leave them in a comment below. And don’t forget… someone who comments will win a copy of Christine’s new release, SHADOWED IN SILK. 🙂


          Christine’s email: Christine.lindsay.writer@gmail.com

          Websitewww.christinelindsay.com

          Contributor to: International Christian Fiction Writers Blog

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One Writer’s Admission and a Giveaway

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Fifty-three. That’s how many books I have on a particular shelf in my office, and that doesn’t include reference books or any borrowed from the library. All of them tell me how to write a novel. I counted them because I thought it would bolster my confidence. After all, if I’ve read that many books about writing, surely I must know something about how to write. Right?

Then again, the more how-to books I read, the closer I edge to the precipice of information overload. I don’t like to admit the truth, but here it is: the more I read, the harder it is to remember what I’ve read, and that’s frustrating.

But this week I discovered an excellent check list on Rachelle Gardner’s blog — in fact, not one, but two extensive lists about what “an editor looks for when reading a manuscript.” The perfect refresher course for my foggy brain. On Monday her post was all about characters. On Tuesday the topic was the story itself.

I can’t begin to reproduce all the information, but please consider clicking over to read Rachelle’s posts for yourself. You shouldn’t miss them.

Then come back here and tell me which point you found the most valuable. From the comments left here between now and 11:59 p.m. (Pacific time) Thursday I’ll choose one person at random to receive their choice of one of the following books… ‘oldies but goodies’ that are either duplicates or I’ve read more than once and am finally willing to part with to make room on the shelves for new purchases. (What? You didn’t think I was going to stop reading, did you?)

Negotiating With the Dead: a Writer on Writing (Margaret Atwood) 2002

The Maeve Binchy Writers’ Club (Maeve Binchy) 2008

The Writing Life (Annie Dillard) 1989

Thunder and Lightning (Natalie Goldberg) 2000

Writing Historical Fiction (Rhona Martin) 1988

So, what are you waiting for? Go click on the links to Rachelle’s posts, then come back here and tell me which point you found the most helpful.

I’ll announce the winner Friday morning.

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I’m somewhere else today

I’m not here today because I’m there… there being Keli Gwyn’s “Romance Writers on the Journey” blog, where Keli and I are having a cosy chat. Please click on over and join us. There’s virtual popcorn to munch as you read, and at the end of the interview there is a draw. Keli will draw the name of one lucky person who leaves a comment on her blog by midnight September 14 (Pacific Time) and that person will win my “Writing on the Run” kit. I hope it’s you! 😉

Update: I’ve been advised by Keli Gwyn that the winner of the draw is a fellow Canadian, Tricia Saxby. Congratulations, Tricia! I’ll be sending the writing kit off to you shortly.

And the winning caption is…

Wow! Picking a winner was harder than I expected it would be. There were some very imaginative entries. I enlisted outside opinions and we finally came to a consensus, although not without almost reaching the fist-fight point. The compromise was to post the runner-up captions as Honourable Mentions.

BEST WRITING-RELATED CAPTION and winner of a $15 Starbucks Coffee gift card:

  • “I wonder if any of these are red herrings I can use in my novel?” (Carol Benedict)

Congratulations, Carol! I’ll e-mail you for a postal address and get your prize out to you soon.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS

Best caption for a book title:

  • “Lurking Beneath the Surface: A Thriller” (Patti)

Best screen-writing application:

  • “You can’t all be in the script!” (Norma McGuire)

Best non-writing-related caption:

  • “Um, Bob….you did not tell me this was an all you could eat buffet.” (Joseph)

Thanks for taking part in our fun contest, everyone. I think I’d be smart to consult with all of you when it comes to finding a title for my next novel! 🙂