This is getting exciting. I have sixteen blogs or sites lined up for the blog tour that runs from November 9th through 14th, plus a post on the 17th. You can find the blogs listed on this blog's right-hand sidebar.
There will be a rafflecopter drawing for the posts Monday the 9th through Saturday the 14th only. But, scattered among the sixteen posts will be five excerpts and an author Q&A. I hope you catch them all and enjoy learning more about Too Old for Christmas.
Monday, October 26, 2015
In this sequel to The Calling, Sheriff Luke Atwell and his deputies face individual and collective challenges from outlaws, gunfighters, renegade Indians, card sharps, and a thieving medicine show in a Kansas town in the 1870’s. The personal lives of the lawmen also change and nature takes its destructive toll on the town and its residents. When a black neighbor’s family is attacked and the oldest son killed, the sheriff gets the help of federal law enforcement and they chase a band of marauding ex-Confederates out to undo the changes resulting from the Civil War.
Purchase your copy here: www.amazon.com/Ill-Wind-James-P-Hanley-ebook/dp/B015YCXIXO/
Jim Hanley is a Human Resources professional, adjunct professor and short story writer, Jim has had over 70 stories appear in print and online publications.
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The air was crisp and a wind blew the dust around their feet but Atwell and his neighbor paid no attention, and they occasionally swatted at the swarming flies circling them. Abner was the first to see the smoke drifting eastward, shredded by the breeze. He called out to Atwell as the flames were slightly visible in the direction of his place. Both men dropped their tools and ran toward their horses, galloping the distance to the nearby farm. That morning, Peggy had clothing arriving at the store and Rebecca had offered to watch Sammy while he played with Micah. Abner leaped from his horse to where his wife was sitting, blood dripping from a deep cut on her forehead. Atwell looked around for Sammy but only saw the bodies of pigs scattered about and the burning hay gathered on the side of the barn. The dry grass was at a slight distance from the barn wall so the flames did not carry over. The wind was moving away from the barn, which further kept the building from catching fire. The sheriff ran to where Abner and Rebecca were sitting on the entrance steps to the house. She was hysterical and could only shrug to convey that she didn’t know where Sammy and Micah were. Atwell and Abner turned to search the area and saw the prone form of Abner and Rebecca’s oldest near the side of the house. Abner was the first to reach his son and when Atwell came alongside, Abner said, “He’s gone. I can see that. Find your boy.”
As he moved from where he stood, the sheriff heard Rebecca call to him, “Micah, find Micah, too.”
Atwell ran to the other side of the barn where vegetables were beginning to show in the overturned soil. Bleeding pigs littered the ground and the live ones squealed with fear. Micah, with blood across his cheek and flowing from his mouth, was shaking Sammy as if to wake him from a sleep. When the sheriff got to their side, the black child sobbed. “Is he dead?” he asked in a youthful squeak. Atwell could see a dangling tooth in the boy’s mouth.
Putting his ear to his son’s chest, the sheriff heard a heartbeat. Suddenly, Sammy’s eyes opened; he screamed and slipped back into unconsciousness. Atwell saw that the child’s arm was unnaturally bent, probably broken, he thought. Bending over his son, Atwell lifted him gently and put him over his shoulder and then took hold of Micah’s hand. When Rebecca saw her bloodied son, she moaned. The boy ran to her and she gripped him so tight he let out a yell.
“Be careful, Rebecca, he could have broken bones,” Atwell said.
Abner was still at the side of his oldest boy, soaking the boy’s face with his tears.
Atwell called out to his neighbor, “Abner, take Thomas inside. I’ll get the wagon and we’ll bring Rebecca and the boys to town where Doc Eylward can tend to them.”
Putting Sammy on the ground, the sheriff hitched the barn horse and Abner’s mount to the wagon and tied his animal to the back. He went to Rebecca to encourage her to sit up front but as she stood to go, she collapsed. Atwell picked her up and put her in the back of the wagon. Next he placed Sammy and Micah in the rear as well. Rebecca awoke and gripped her son while stroking Sammy’s head. Atwell couldn’t find Abner so he headed toward the house. Inside, he saw that Thomas was laid out on the table. Abner stood over his oldest boy, tears pouring onto the inert young man. Atwell gently touched his neighbor’s shoulder and told him they needed to get the children to town.
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Saturday, October 24, 2015
About The Fourteenth Quilt:
Annie, Celia and Lynn are all that are left of the Relief Society quilting class, but they are still determined to make baby quilts for the new mothers at church. Annie, who is just south of eighty years old, calls the quiltsters (short for quilting sisters) together to ask for more. She wants to make lap quilts to give to some of the “forgotten” oldsters she sings to each week at the nursing home—something to wrap them in love at Christmastime. It’s a good idea, but the trio discovers that life and making quilts don’t always go as planned.
The quiltsters discuss recipes and quilting ideas including a crocheted cat mat to use up their fabric selvage and trim scraps, all of which they share in the book.
Sarah and Brian meet at the university. Their first date is after Sarah’s First Saturday Block of the Month class she attends with her mom at the local quilt shop. Their romance grows, and they plan their future together—a plan that will require them to be separated for six months before their wedding. But, can they bear to be apart that long?
What wraps together this Christmas tale? The Fourteenth Quilt.
Q & A with Robyn Echols:
Q: What prompted you to write The Fourteenth Quilt?
Robyn: In 2012 I and two of my friends decided to make baby quilts for the new mothers at church and lap quilts for the residents of the nursing homes where one of those friends performs each week. Shortly after we gave away thirteen lap quilts six days before Christmas, we felt prompted to make one more. The fourteenth quilt ended up taking quite a journey in the seven days between the time the decision to make it arose and when it was delivered. After it was all over, I said to myself, “Someone should write a book about this.” So, I did.
Q: Is the book only about this quilt at Christmastime?
Robyn: No. The story actually starts in the spring of the same year the fourteenth quilt was made. It includes some of the quilting adventures, successes and disasters experienced by the three quilters. If you are looking for a novel about highly accomplished quilters whose work turns out museum quality every time, this isn’t it. At times our quilting experiences are best described as a comedy of errors.
Q: What is the “young love” in the sub-title all about?
Robyn: The daughter of one of the quilters fell in love that year. The story of the young couple in the book is almost entirely fictional. Only the scene where they crossed paths with the fourteenth quilt is based on real events.
Q: Speaking of fictional, how much of the book is based on real events and how much is made up?
Robyn: The scenes involving secondary characters and barely mentioned characters are fictionalized. They are there to support the overall plot of the book. All the names except for Archie the cat have been changed to protect the guilty – er, the innocent. Most of the quilting experiences of the three quilters along with the scene at church the Sunday before Christmas are fictionalized versions of real events. In other words, who could make this stuff up?
Q: Explain the references to blog posts at the end of some of the chapters.
Robyn: I did not take a lot of photos to support this book. After all, I had no idea it was a story worth retelling until the end. However, during the time these events took place I took some pictures and wrote up some blog posts on my personal blog. Because of the publication costs, I did not attempt to include these images directly in the book. Instead, I chose to dedicate the month of September 2015 to posting or reposting six articles or photo collections to support the book on my Quilt Gateway blog (I took the name from the Gateway Quilt Guild to which I belong). You can access them by going to http://quiltgateway.blogspot.com and searching through the history for the month of September 2015.
Q: Do you plan to write more books about quilters?
Although I quite often touch on quilting in some of my stories, I have no plans at this time to write a book primarily about quilters. Then again, I had no idea I would write The Fourteenth Quilt until I lived the story.
At the bottom of the post I have added a bonus Q & A interview including pictures with the real woman behind "Sarah" in The Fourteenth Quilt.
At the bottom of the post I have added a bonus Q & A interview including pictures with the real woman behind "Sarah" in The Fourteenth Quilt.
About Robyn Echols:
Robyn Echols has been writing since she was in junior high school. By choice, she spent most of her evening hours in her "dungeon", as her mother called her downstairs bedroom, writing stories, only joining her family in front of the television upstairs when her favorite programs were playing. She has spent hours learning and teaching family history topics, and focuses on history from a genealogist's perspective of seeking out the details of everyday life in the past.
Now Robyn resides with her husband in California near the “Gateway to Yosemite” and has fun researching and writing the books that she hopes will interest and entertain her readers. She writes Young Adult/New Adult and contemporary fiction under Robyn Echols and adult historical romance under her pen name, Zina Abbott.
The author is a member of Women Writing the West, American Night Writers Association, and Modesto Writers Meet Up. She currently lives with her husband in California near the “Gateway to Yosemite.” She enjoys any kind of history including family history. When she is not piecing together novel plots, she pieces together quilt blocks.
Quilt Gateway blog (See posts for September 2015)
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Questions and Answers for Sarah in The Fourteenth Quilt:
The character Sarah in The Fourteenth Quilt is based on a real person. Almost all of the story of the romance is fictional. However, there was one scene in the book from the viewpoint of Lynn that is written pretty much as the real “Lynn” experienced it. You will find a few more details about it in the Quilt Gateway blog post dated September 22, 2015 which you can see by clicking HERE.
As for the real person behind Sarah, here is the rest of the story:
Question: How did you and the man on whom the character Brian is based actually meet?
Sarah’s answer: I could give the quick easy answer, but he is a romantic and wanted me to tell the longer version. I had ended a long relationship with my high school sweetheart that same year, and my older sister encouraged me to set up an online dating profile since I had never dated as an adult. The very first, and only, date I went on was with "Brian". We went to a cafe and talked until we ended up being asked to leave because they were closing. We've been together ever since.
Question: In the book you two planned a big wedding with all your family present and your father walking you down the aisle. Did you ever have that wedding ceremony?
Sarah’s answer: It wasn't what I would call big, but it was beautiful. One of the most emotional and beautiful moments of my life was my father walking me down that aisle and giving me away. It was one of the rare times I've seen him shed tears of joy.
Question: Did “Brian” actually join the military?
Sarah’s answer: Yes he did. It can be a challenging life sometimes, but we are a proud military family. He continues to impress with his impeccable record and has reached the rank of Sergeant. His favorite award, as there have been a few, is probably when he won Soldier of the Year in his battalion. Its an award given to the soldier who can complete a land navigation course, vigorous physical standards, a medical safety course, and display their knowledge of the Army to a board of officers.
Question: What are you doing these days?
Sarah’s answer: We bought a house and are fixing it up little by little. I spend my days learning what it means to be a new mom to my baby boy. When I have the time I try to teach myself how to use the sewing machine my mother bought me. When that becomes a challenge and I need a break, I'll work on the very large blanket I've been crocheting for my husband. I'm hoping that once my baby is big enough, or perhaps when we move closer to family, I'll have time to volunteer at the library again.
Question: Is there anything else you would like to share with the readers of The Fourteenth Quilt?
Sarah’s answer: My mother has been working on my wedding quilt since before she even knew I was going to get married. At first I just wanted her to make me something pretty, but she insisted it be perfect and just what I wanted. So we spent countless hours looking at different fabrics. She named me after her favorite flower, which became my favorite flower, and so we had to include them in the quilt.
What she came up with was a beautiful quilt that I cannot wait to arrive. It’s even more beautiful because I know she made it with love. She loves her son-in-law, the man who secretly met with my parents to ask my father for his blessing before proposing to me, and it shows in the quilt. I'm so proud of my mother for making such a beautiful blanket, which took years to evolve into what it is today. She was so excited to be finished with it she almost sent it to me instead of putting it in the quilt show, but I insisted she enter it and I know she had a great time.