A Mother’s Song by Cleo Lampos

Our Book Spotlight today features A Mother’s Song by Cleo Lampos.

A Mother’s Song presents the life of Irish immigrant Deirdre O’Sullivan who has to decide whether to give two of her children life or let them die with her in the tenement. In anguish, Deirdre releases them to the care of the orphan trains as she awaits her fate. Neighbors help her to regain her strength, and Deirdre becomes an active advocate for the working women at the hotel. Yet, every day, her heart aches and yearns for the children she gave up. She never forgets that they are missing from her life.

Cleo Lampos is an author who is well acquainted with abandonment issues. Her father died when she was three, and later she had a time in foster care. But her mother always tried to keep the family together, and sought to maintain a loving structure.

Thanks for sharing your book with us.

Barbara M. Britton–Interview of the Day

Barbara M. Britton lives in Southeast Wisconsin and loves the snow—when it accumulates under three inches. She is published in Biblical Fiction and enjoys bringing little-known Bible characters to light in her stories. Barb ventures into Christian Historical Fiction with “Until June.” Barb is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Romance Writers of America, and Wisconsin Romance Writers of America. She has a nutrition degree from Baylor University but loves to dip healthy strawberries in chocolate. Find out more about Barb’s books on her Facebook Author Page or on her website http://www.barbarambritton.com/books.html

Thank you for having me on the blog today, Lillian.

Why did you become a writer?

 I never thought I would be an author. I enjoyed creative writing in high school, but no one ever mentioned writing as a career. Many years later, when I was in my forties, I taught elementary chapel at a Christian school. Since I taught kindergarten through fifth grade, all at one time, I had to modify curriculum. One day I prayed, “Lord, hit me with some creativity.” I did get my lessons plans finished, but I also got a prompting to write. I wrote three books before I wrote about a Bible story. My Biblical story was the first one to be published.

Why do you write Christian Fiction?

 I love teaching the Bible, especially to children. Bringing Bible stories to life through drama, or song, or artwork is fun. It shouldn’t have come as a surprise that the first book of mine to be published was Biblical Fiction. I taught Bible stories every week to children. I hope Christians and unbelievers learn something about the Bible through my books. I learn so much researching the Bible for my stories.

Tell us something about yourself.

 I am a terrible typist, yet I manage to get books written. I asked to be placed in typing class my freshman year of high school. I was one of two freshman placed in biology class instead. I love science, but I never had the opportunity in my schedule to go back and take typing. I write all my stories by hand on a pad of paper before I “type” them on a computer.

Tell us a little about your books.

 I enjoy writing about Bible characters that may not be familiar to most Christians. All of my stories have come from the Old Testament. I am amazed at how much of the Bible I did not know and still don’t know. I love to discover details that I overlooked in the Bible, or even a story that was new to me. I taught the story of Nehemiah many times to children. Imagine how shocked I was to discover a false prophetess who worked against him. I also had no idea the tribe of Benjamin was almost wiped out by the other tribes of Israel. My latest series deals with the incredible story of the daughters of Zelophehad. These sisters were hidden in the book of Numbers and I learned about them only a few years ago. I missed teaching their story in chapel.

Tell us about your current book.

 My latest book is a WWI Historical. The story was one I heard on a cruise ship excursion outside of Juneau, Alaska. My family and I visited the Taku Glacier Lodge on the Taku River and ate lunch while hoping to see a black bear. While we were eating, we were told that a WWI veteran and his caregiver lived at the lodge and were isolated during the winter months when the river froze. A man and a woman alone in a lodge? That is how “Until June” was born.

Why do you consider this book a modern-day parable?

 In “Until June,” a caregiver goes over and above the call of duty to help a WWI veteran overcome his injuries and learn to live life again. In Luke 10:25-37, the story of the Good Samaritan, Jesus tells the story of a severely injured man who was beaten and left for dead. Who had compassion on the man? A traveler who was considered an “enemy” of the Hebrews. The Samaritan had compassion on his fellow man—his neighbor.

My character, Josephine Nimetz, receives care and compassion from the Chambers family. When the Chambers family needs help, Josephine is compelled to help their son. It’s not an easy task for Josephine to care for a double amputee, but she does her best and shows compassion to her neighbor (literally). Josephine is my Good Samaritan.

BOOK BLURB ~ UNTIL JUNE

When seventeen-year-old seamstress, Josephine Nimetz, agrees to take care of a WWI amputee in a remote Alaskan lodge to escape the influenza of 1918, there’s enough friction to melt the Mendenhall Glacier. Her position is only until June, and it pays well enough to overlook the hardship of managing a rustic home and a shell-shocked veteran, Geoff Chambers.

Geoff makes it clear that he isn’t too fond of the “runt” sent to take care of his needs, nor of her painful mistakes. Dealing with a depressed and addicted amputee, pushes Josephine to the brink of leaving, if not for the money her salary brings.

But Josephine is a perfectionist, determined to get Geoff back on his feet—figuratively. Though, sending a rich, handsome veteran back into society may cost Josephine the man she has grown to love.

 

Johnnie Alexander–Interview of the Day

Johnnie Alexander creates characters you want to meet and imagines stories you won’t forget. Her award-winning debut novel, Where Treasure Hides, is a CBA bestseller and has been translated into Dutch and Norwegian. She also writes contemporary romances, cozy mysteries, and historical novellas.

She is a Serious Writer, Inc. and Mid-South Christian Writers Conference board member, co-hosts an online show called Writers Chat, and interviews inspirational authors for her Novelists Unwind blog. She also teaches at writers conferences and for Serious Writer Academy.

A fan of classic movies, stacks of books, and road trips, Johnnie shares a life of quiet adventure with Griff, her happy-go-lucky collie, and Rugby, her raccoon-treeing Papillon. Connect with Johnnie on her website and on Facebook.

Let’s learn a little more about Johnnie.

How or why did you become a writer?

“You have an imagination like I don’t know what.” That’s what a friend wrote in my autograph book way back in elementary school. Throughout most of my childhood, I was the heroine of the stories I made up while drifting off to sleep. For most of my adult life, I put the dream of writing stories in a box. Then the day came, when the box refused to stay shut any longer. I thank God for that!

Why do you write Christian Fiction?

I write both faith-based and general (clean/wholesome) market fiction. Even in the latter, inspirational themes organically appear. I am deeply grateful for the writing gift God has given me, and I aspire to honor Him with my stories.

Tell us something interesting about yourself.

Let’s see, in the past six years, I have moved from the Orlando area where I lived for about twenty-five years to Memphis to Tampa to Tulsa. I actually moved just last month into a different Tulsa home. It’s been a season of quiet adventure with highs, lows, and everything in between. A few highlights:

• For a time, my sister and I had our own alpaca herd;
• I shoved a huge and stubborn pig into a dog crate all by myself;
• A couple years ago, my sister and I flew to Barcelona with backpacks, Eurail tickets, and a vague itinerary. Our first week, we took the train from one European city to another. We spent the second week in Lisbon. So much fun!

Tell us a little about your books.

God has led me on a crazy path involving multiple publishers and genres. Even so, reviewers consistently comment on the emotional depth of my characters, the underlying spiritual themes, and the “can’t put it down” quality of my stories. My debut novel, Where Treasure Hides, seems especially notable for its WWII angst while my Misty Willow Series (Where She Belongs, When Love Arrives, and What Hope Remembers) resonates because of its strong sense of place and emphasis on family legacy.

Tell us a little about your current book. 

The Mischief Thief, my first indie novel published with The Mosaic Collection, is a light-hearted suspense featuring a con artist with a conscience and a minister without a ministry. Chaney Rose meets Adam Thorne after breaking into his home and taking a few items from his safe. But in a Les Miserables-inspired moment, Adam tells the arresting detective that he gave the stolen items to Chaney. So begins an unlikely friendship as the two team up to right a wrong and save a racehorse from an untimely death. This is the first story in the Rose & Thorne Series.


Why do you consider this book a modern-day parable?

Nothing is going right for Adam Thorne. His fiancée returned his engagement ring, a member of the church board handed him severance papers, and his father seems to be mixed up with a mobster’s missing racehorse. But when he meets Chaney Rose, a grifter from a family of grifters, he sees the tender heart beneath her protective wall. The grace he extends to her and the trust she places in him reflect the graciousness and trustworthiness of our Savior.

BOOK BLURB–The Mischief Thief by Johnnie Alexander

Two wrongs don’t make a right . . . except when they do.

For con artist Chaney Rose, life hasn’t been easy. In desperate need of cash, she readily agrees to find Mischief, a stolen racehorse. Hunting for clues, she breaks into the suspected horse thief’s home only to be caught—with a few pilfered items in her pockets—by the police detective who’s tailing her.

By-the-book Adam Thorne was fired from his church because of his father’s involvement with the valuable thoroughbred. In a burst of Les Miserables-inspired grace, Adam tells the detective that he gave Chaney the stolen items.

Adam wants Chaney to find his missing father. When Chaney learns that Mischief’s owner intends to kill the racehorse, she needs Adam’s help to expose the cruel plan before it’s too late.

Will a con artist with a conscience and a minister without a ministry risk imprisonment to do the wrong thing for the right reason?

Thanks so much, Johnnie for being our Interview of the Day. The book sounds wonderful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dust Between The Stitches by Cleo Lampos

BOOK GIVEAWAY!

“Use it up, wear it out.. Make it do, or do without”.

(Proverb from the Great Depression)

Two events in my life propelled the writing of the historical fiction novel, Dust Between the Stitches. At times, it seems as though my whole life had prepared me to create the plight of the people of the Dust Bowl of the 130’s.

When my mother died in 1988, she left very little earthly goods behind. In a hall closet, we found a bag of fabric from feed bags and flour sacks that were cut into 12 inch squares and firmly ironed. On many of these muslin pieces, a transfer of a bird and flower inked blue lines. All 48 states were represented. I started to embroider the state flower/birds to complete the quilt. Significantly, I developed a curiosity about the quilting practices of the Great Depression and began an obsessive collection of quilts from that era. Several years ago, my granddaughter helped to finish this abbreviated version of the State Bird and Flower Quilt of the 1930’s.

The Bird and Flower Quilt created from feed sacks.

In an old trunk, a stash of diaries from my mother’s marriage lay under white linens with deep tatting on the edges. Married in June of 1930, my father and mother began their wedded bliss just as the drought hit the West and Great Plains. My father owned a dragline, and was able to find work as he dug irrigation ditches and spud cellars in Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska and Kansas. Twenty-three different addresses in five years, then they settled in Greeley, Colorado, with my kindergarten aged brother.  Reading these diaries, letters from folks back in Iowa, and some newspaper articles brought the heart ache, insecurities and fear of the Dust Bowl into reality.

From the quilt and my mother’s writings, more research from Ken Burn’s series on the Dust Bowl and stacks of books on the Great Depression opened my mind and heart to a time when the world appeared to hold no hope. For the past seven years, I have given presentations at libraries and senior groups about the Dust Bowl, bringing in artifacts from the period.

As a retired teacher, the children who lived in Colorado during the time of Black Blizzards and deprivation intrigued me. Using stories from personal accounts of the time, I created Addy Meyers as the first year teacher in a one room school house near Greeley, Colorado. She faces the Board of Education as they assess her teaching skills. The eighth grade boys challenge her authority. The dust storms bring her to the reality of dust pneumonia and poverty. The teacher in this book becomes a student of a unique period of time.

Foreclosure of grandpa’s homestead threatens the security of Addy, grandpa and the two orphan children that Addy’s grandparents adopted. Jess Dettmann is a single man who helps them keep their wits and possibly the homestead. The homeless people who occupy the Hooverville nearby are introduced to Addy by Jess. Her compassionate heart reaches out to these resourceful families who have lost everything.

Creating a quilt from her Grandmother’s stash pile serves as a way for Addy to cope. Despair, dust and drought weave through the Great Depression and Dust Bowl producing a fabric on which vivid threads of hope will appear. Will Addy save the farm, her job and her heart on the Colorado ranch?

This novel presents the proverb: “Use it up, wear it out. Make it do, or do without.” Throughout the book, the characters learn how to utilize all of the resources around them to survive. Nothing is wasted. All is appreciated. Recycling is at a maximum. The message to the present day reader is a challenge to be creative in living frugally while surrounded by an abundance of resources. The lessons from the Dust Bowl are still relevant today.

While teaching behavior disordered/emotionally disturbed students in a Chicago suburb, I discovered that historical fiction is an excellent way to learn about the issues and people of a time period. To help students write a book report on Dust Between the Stitches, an aid has been created. The insights help junior high and high school readers to understand the dust bowl’s uniqueness in the Great Depression, and to write an organized and thoughtful book report.

To connect with Cleo, go to  www.cleolampos.com. She can also be found on FB: Author Cleo Lampos or Quilters: Mind, Heart and Soul.

BOOK GIVEAWAY!  To be entered to win a copy of DUST BETWEEN THE STITCHES, leave a comment below. Winner will be chosen on August 15. Be sure to sign up to follow Modern Day Parables so you’ll know if you are the winner!

 

Riding the Rails to Home: A Newsie Rides the Orphan Train

GIVEAWAY

Scroll to the end of this post to get the details on how you can win a copy of Riding the Rails to Home!

Riding the Rails to Home: A Newsie Rides the Orphan Train

By Cleo Lampos

How can a homeless child survive the streets of Five Points, New York City in the late 1800’s?

Stephen Reily is about to find out. His mother dies from cholera; his sister is taken to an orphanage. Stephen tries to reach out to his father who spends his time drinking ale in a pub. Destitute and desperate, this ragamuffin joins the ranks of the newsies. These are the hawkers of newspapers who work the street corners during the day and sleep, eat and attend classes at the Newsboys’ Boarding House at night. But Stephen longs for a forever family, a place to belong.

Selected to ride the orphan train, Stephen encounters difficult circumstances until Betsy and Wil chose him to live on their Nebraska farm. It is with their support that Stephen faces his fears and learns to forgive his father. Throughout the novel, Stephen fingers a quilt square taken from his mother’s quilt. The women of the plains use it as a pattern to create a comforter for a cast-off child seeking a place to belong.

Riding the Rails to Home embodies the essence of the parable of the lost sheep. The newsies were a group of waifs who had become separated from home and protection. These brassy youngsters exited in a world filled with grave danger with little help. The help from the News Boys Boarding House and the love within the home of Betsy and Wil became visual aids for Stephen to understand the love of Jesus as He searches for the lost sheep. Not only does the Savior seek the unsheltered sheep, but He hoists the wooly creature on His shoulders and takes it home. The same type of experience in finding a forever family brings Stephen to a place of being able to forgive the difficulties of his past.

Cleo Lampos is a retired educator who understands the emotions of foster children. As a ward of the state in her childhood, she experienced many of the feelings that Stephen felt. Later, as an adult teaching classes of behavior disordered and emotionally disturbed children, Lampos relied on storytelling and reading books aloud to communicate emotions and concepts to her middle school students. From this background, Lampos conceived her historical fiction novel.

Research for the book sent Lampos to the Orphan Train Museum in Concordia, Kansas. She attended the Little Falls, Minnesota, Orphan Train Reunion where she listened to stories from four surviving train riders and their descendants. Reading books written by those who rode the trains, stories of foster children, and the history of the newsies prepared Lampos to bring the late 1800’s to life with realism. Riding the Rails to Home presents an accurate expression of a difficult era.

To learn more about Cleo Lampos, visit her at http://www.cleolampos.com

To be entered to win an ecopy of Riding the Rails to Home, leave a comment. Winner will be chose on July 30. Thanks.

 

 

Once Upon An Irish Summer by Wendy Wilson Spooner

BOOK GIVEAWAY!

Once Upon an Irish Summer

Two teenagers, two centuries, one city.

1817 Ireland – Allen Hamilton crosses the Atlantic alone to find a way to save his family from imminent financial and social ruin before it’s too late. Instead he is met with prejudice, sickness, and starvation.

2018 Fort Wayne, Indiana – A gifted young artist struggles with debilitating grief after a sudden death in her family. When she unearths Allen Hamilton’s noble rise from rags to riches in Antebellum America, their shared connection inspires her own healing and renewed inspiration.

Based on a 200-year-old letter collection, Once Upon an Irish Summer brings to life and weaves together this true story of family connections across generations, mystery, hope, and a little romance.

Wendy Wilson Spooner is a professional Genetic Genealogist by day, a writer by night, and an artist in between. Her love of what we can learn from history compels her to write the true stories she unearths during her research, and she’s found that truth is indeed, much more exciting and inspiring than fiction.

You can connect with Wendy at:

https://www.facebook.com/authorWendyWilsonSpooner/?modal=admin_todo_tourhttps://wendywilsonspooner.com/

https://wendywilsonspooner.com/

What makes this book a modern-day parable?

Once Upon an Irish Summer’s main characters are present-day Beth, a gifted artist suffering from debilitating grief after a death in her family, and young Allen Hamilton. In 1817 he left Ireland and crossed the Atlantic alone to find a way to save his family. Against insurmountable odds, he did just that. And what Beth learned from researching Allen, her 4th great-grandfather, helped her overcome her own obstacles in life and move onto a better path and choices.

This is a parable of Find Your Family, Find Yourself. Knowing our roots can help us come to know ourselves in ways we could have never imagined.

BOOK GIVEAWAY!

Wendy has graciously agreed to give away an ecopy of Once Upon An Irish Summer. Please leave a comment or a question to be entered. Winner will be chosen on July 8.

Please follow the blog so that you’ll receive the Winner Announcement! Thanks!

STANDOFF by Patricia Bradley

This is my first Patricia Bradley novel but it won’t be my last! I love the way she weaves the romance into a suspense novel. But make no mistake, suspense is definitely the shining star in STANDOFF–just the way I like it!

Standoff (Natchez Trace Park Rangers Book #1)

I don’t like to give away plots in my reviews but I’ll tell you this much. The story centers around Brooke Danvers who is about to become a park ranger when her father (a park ranger) is found dead. His death is ruled a suicide but Brooke knows her father well enough to know that’s not true. And she plans on proving it–even if she is a rookie. Her old flame, Luke, shows up. Brooke thinks he’s a bartender but he’s actually working undercover.

And that’s all the teaser I’m going to give you. But there’s plenty of suspense and action to keep you turning the pages. Bradley is an award-winning novelist and it shows in STANDOFF.  I quite enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys suspense and mysteries.

My only complaint with the novel is that its Christian message is a bit on the weak side. The characters are definitely Christian but I like to see more of a spiritual message in Christian fiction books. But it’s still a good book that I liked.

I was given this book by the publisher for an unbiased review.

MESSENGER by Lillian Duncan

I’m so excited about the release of MESSENGER. This story has rattled around in my brain for a long…long time. It’s not my usual suspense but it has a lot of suspense and action in it. It’s a dystopian novel.  In case you don’t know what that means, it’s when a novel is set in an imagined society where there is great suffering or injustice. So that definitely means lots of action and suspense.
Magdalena Denton is an unlikely messenger since she’s grown up in the godless country of NewAmerica where all religion has been banned even saying the name of God is punishable by death! But when God has a message, he will always find a MESSENGER!

Life is perfect in NewAmerica. No crime. No poverty. No war. No discrimination.

Life is perfect as long as you’re a loyal citizen.

Life is perfect as long as you follow The Guardian Rules without question.

All religion has been banned, even uttering the name of God is a crime punishable by death. Magdalena Denton is an unlikely messenger, but when a patient braves the consequences to tell her The Guardians have deceived everyone about God, she’s determined to discover the truth.

Life is perfect in NewAmerica until the moment you wonder…is there a God?

Magdalena lives in a society that is controlled by The Guardians. The Guardians are in control…of every aspect of a person’s life.  In return, loyal citizens are provided with all that they need for a good life; housing; clothing, food; and entertainment.

Magdalena knows she should be happy, but she’s not. When a patient tells her that God is real and he loves her, she wants to know the truth–no matter how dangerous it is. And it’s very dangerous!

Even though I’ve classified the story as YA novel (young adult),  it’s not just for the young. In fact, it’s a timeless story that people of any age will enjoy. There’s two aspects to MESSENGER. There’s the literal plot with lots of suspense, action, and a little romance. But then there’s the spiritual lessons that are a part of the story as well.

And that’s what makes MESSENGER a modern day parable.

GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!

I usually have a giveaway to celebrate a new release and I do this time.

The grand prize winner gets an e-copy or a print copy of MESSENGER along with their choice of any other book I’ve written. Five more winners will receive an e-copy of one of books from Amazon–except for MESSENGER  or The Sisters By Choice trilogy.

To be entered, leave a comment under this post. Easy Peasy!  Winner will be chosen on March 15.

Question: Why do you like to read Christian Fiction?

By the way, I’m extending the giveaway for the $50 Amazon Gift Card until April 1. If you sign up to follow this blog, you’ll automatically be entered in the giveaway!

For All Eternity by June Foster

Giveaway!

What makes this book a modern-day parable? For All Eternity is a modern-day parable of what Jesus taught us in His word. There is nothing mankind can do to save themselves. It was accomplished for us on the cross by our Savior Jesus Christ.

Who is June Foster?

June Foster is a retired teacher with a BA in Education and a MA in counseling. She is the mother of two and grandmother of ten. June began writing Christian romance in 2010. She penned her first novel on her Toshiba laptop as she and her husband traveled the US in their RV. Her adventures provide a rich source of information for her novels. She brags about visiting a location before it becomes the setting in her next book.

She’s published with Winged Publications. Visit June at www.junefoster.com to see a complete list of her books. You may also connect with her at www.facebook.com/authorjunefoster.

About FOR ALL ETERNITY:                                                                                                 Joella Crawford never expects to meet the man of her dreams when she plows over handsome JD Neilson with her bicycle. She can’t just leave the gorgeous guy lying on the ground with a bloody leg so she administers first aid. Now she’s convinced God’s answered her pleas for a Christian husband. The accountant prays, reads his Bible, and exhibits impeccable manners. He’s perfect. Or is he?

JD Neilson falls in love with classy interior designer, Joella Crawford, despite his father’s directive to marry a woman in the one true church, Exalted Brethren. But the beautiful woman awakens hunger in his heart. No matter how hard he tries to gain status in the afterlife, he can’t understand the quiet peace he sees in Joella’s life. Can he find the strength to forsake the teachings of his childhood to embrace The Truth? If he does, will Joella accept him or has he lost her forever.

June has graciously agreed to giveaway an ecopy of FOR ALL ETERNITY. To be entered leave a comment. Last day to enter will be on February 21.

Since it’s Valentine’s Day, answer one of these questions to be entered in the giveaway:

  1. What’s your favorite romantic movie?
  2. What’s your favorite romantic book?
  3.  What’s your favorite romantic song?