Tuesday’s Teaser with Linda Shenton Matchett

Thank you for being here today, Linda. Let’s talk about your new book, Love’s Rescue.

Describe your main characters.

(a) Parisienne Rolande Bisset has recently come to faith in Jesus Christ and is struggling to shed the guilt of her past. Trapped in a life of prostitution, she is seeking a way out, while trying to stay alive during the chaotic and dangerous last days of the occupation of Paris. She is alternately trusting and cynical having been exposed to both the best and worst of life. Despite the hurt she experienced from her family, she loves them and wants to reconcile.

(b) Part of a “high-society” American family, Simon Harlow is a Special Forces officer who used to see life in black and white. Four years fighting overseas for Uncle Sam has proven that life is often viewed in shades of gray. He wishes he were more like his best friend, Eddie, whose “shoot from the hip” approach to life has both intrigued and annoyed him.

What is the problem your characters face in the book?

Love’s Rescue is about how we all need rescuing by God no matter how “well-placed” we are. That all human beings fall short of God’s plan for us, and that without a personal relationship with Jesus we’re lost. Nothing we can do can save us. Both Rolande and Simon suffer from pre-conceived notions about other people which can lead to confusion, misinterpretation, and hurt. Rolande must embrace God’s grace fully and accept that she is a new creation in Him. Simon must shed his judgmental version of faith in order to accept that Rolande is a new creation.

What do you want readers to know about your characters?

It was challenging to write Rolande. She comes to Christ during the story while still working as a prostitute and must learn to trust in God to provide for her. I wanted to show how her understanding of sin changed as she grew as a Christian. It was also difficult to write Simon, because he could have easily come off as a critical jerk who thinks he’s perfect. Hopefully, that didn’t happen! 

Love’s Rescue

Read an excerpt

Paris, August 1944

Rolande Bisset ducked her head and pulled the brim of her starched cotton sunhat lower over her face, not so much to block the sun’s glare, but to avoid the merchants’ ogling and shoppers’ sneers. She hurried past the darkened shops, most no longer operating since the Germans arrived four years ago. Would she ever smell freshly-baked croissants or peruse a succulent collection of vegetables again?

A scorching breeze sent her hat’s veil dancing. Perspiration trickled between her shoulder blades and threatened to ruin her cobalt-blue silk suit. Her pumps had seen better days, but thanks to leather rationing, a new pair was not in the offing. The Occupiers needed the material for their boots.

Intent upon reaching her destination, Rolande failed to see a rotund woman approaching. They collided, and the woman’s elaborate chapeau slid from her upswept hair and poked Rolande in the face before landing on the pavement.

“I beg your pardon, madam.” Rolande bent to retrieve the confection of flowers, birds, and ribbons.

The woman narrowed her eyes. “Watch where you’re going, collaborateur.” She snatched the millinery masterpiece from Rolande’s grasp and drew her skirts close. Looking down her nose, she plunked the hat on her head and marched down the sidewalk.

No longer hungry, she continued down the avenue past Aux Cerises Café where the outdoor tables were filled with German soldiers. One of the men whistled and smirked, his Aryan features marred by a long scar that ran from his eye to his jaw. Her stomach clenched, and nausea threatened.

Pigs. Men were all pigs.

She continued along the avenue until she came to the tiny market her older brother owned. He never acknowledged her presence in the shop, but neither did he forbid her to enter. His wife typically looked at her with a mixture of pity and contempt.

The brass bell jangled above her head as she pushed open the door and stepped inside. Vacant shelves greeted her, and she sighed. Most patrons were smart enough to come first thing in the morning for the best selection, but she had been entertaining.

Little did he realize, Standartenführer Wilhelm Wagner was one of her most reliable sources for information. Tipsy when he arrived; before he left at the end of the evening, he was deep in his cups. With minimal prodding, he’d told her about the anticipated invasion by the Allied troops. Sure, the rumor had been circulating among civilians, but to hear it from a military man made the possibility plausible.

Liberation, at last.

“I set this aside for you.”

Rolande’s head whipped around.

Her sister-in-law, Louise, stood behind her, a brown-paper package in her hands. She looked toward the door then shoved the parcel into Rolande’s arms. “You are later than usual, and I was concerned there’d be no food remaining. There are a few potatoes and carrots in the bin, but nothing else.”

“You’re very kind.”

“It’s nothing. Now, hurry before Henri returns.”

“Je vous remercie. Why are you doing this?”

Louise waved her hand and frowned. “There is no time. He is due any moment. Give me your ration book.”

Rolande handed her the book. Her sister-in-law tore out the required stamps, then pushed the pamphlet back into Rolande’s hand.

“How much do I owe you?”

“Nothing. We are famille, no matter how Henri acts.”

For the second time that morning, Rolande’s eyes filled with tears. She was getting soft. That would have to change for her to survive the Occupation. Dipping her head, she tucked the package into her canvas bag then threaded her way through the shop to the front door where she came face-to-face with Henri.

Visage dark, he scowled. “Did anyone see you come here?”

“The whole world, Henri. It is a public street. Would you like me to wear a disguise in the future? Perhaps sunglasses and a wig.”

“Non. What I would like is for you to find somewhere else to purchase your food.”

Louise gasped. “Henri. She is your sister.”

His lips compressed into a thin line, and he crossed his arms. “She is dead to me.”

Rolande drew back as if he’d slapped her. He’d always been condescending, but to declare her dead…the words cut through her.

“Fine. I will not bother you again.” She pushed past him into the stifling heat. Where would she find food? Two other shops in town had already refused to serve her.

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About Linda

Linda Shenton Matchett is an author, speaker, and history geek. A native of Baltimore, Maryland, she was born a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry and has lived in historic places all her life. Linda is a member of ACFW, RWA, and Sisters in Crime. She is a volunteer docent and archivist at the Wright Museum of WWII and a trustee for her local public library. She lives in central New Hampshire.

You can find Linda online here:

Website/Blog: http://wwwLindaShentonMatchett.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LindaShentonMatchettAuthor

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/lindasmatchett

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/lindasmatchett

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Linda-Shenton-Matchett/e/B01DNB54S0

BookBub Page: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/linda-shenton-matchett

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/authorlindamatchett

Friday’s Feature with Angela K. Couch

Tory’s Daughter

Burying his wife is the hardest thing Joseph Garnet has ever done—until he’s called to leave his young son and baby daughter to fight Iroquois raiders. When one of the marauders tries to steal his horse, the last thing he expects is to end up tussling with a female. The girl is wounded, leaving Joseph little choice but to haul her home to heal—an act that seems all too familiar. Though Joseph doesn’t appear to remember her, Hannah Cunningham could never forget him. He rode with the mob that forced her two brothers into the Continental Army and drove her family from their home—all because of her father’s loyalties to The Crown. After five years with her mother’s tribe, the rebels and starvation have left her nothing but the driving need to find her brothers.

Compelled by a secret he’s held for far too long, Joseph agrees to help Hannah find what remains of her family. Though she begins to steal into his aching heart, he knows the truth will forever stand between them.

Some things cannot be forgiven.

Thank you for being here today, Angela. Let’s talk about Tory’s Daughter.

Tell us about your favorite character in your new book.

I am a huge fan of Hannah because I love her spunk, but I’m going to say Joseph is my favorite. He was a secondary character in book one, The Scarlet Coat, and I enjoyed him too much not to give him his own story. He’s a little rough around the edges with a wry sense of humor, but a good man trying to do what is right…whether or not he figures that out.

Do you read the reviews and comments of your readers? How important are reviews to authors?

SO important! Not just to let us know how we are doing, but reviews are something I even look at as a reader before picking up a book. Be honest, but please, write a review. Even if it is only two words long (as mine often are!)

How much of yourself do you put into your books?

Some books more than others. More so with my heroines. Sometimes it’s not so much my personality or reaction…but what I wish it was.

Some people believe that being a published author is glamorous, is that true?

LOL. Maybe if you are glamorous to begin with. I mean, there are moments, but the average day is still all about keeping your bottom in a chair while you try to pound out the next book. Love it!

Get your copy of Tory’s Daughter!

Tory’s Daughter is on sale now for $1.99 and is available on Amazon

About Angela

Angela K Couch is an award-winning author for her short stories, and a semi-finalist in ACFW’s 2015 Genesis Contest. Her childhood was spent listening to her father read chapters from his novels, and Angela decided young to follow his path. As a passionate believer in Christ, her faith permeates the stories she tells. Her martial arts training, experience with horses, and appreciation for good romance sneak in there, as well. Angela lives in Alberta, Canada with her “hero” and three munchkins. Visit her at www.angelakcouch.com, or follow her on Twitter and Facebook!

Tuesday’s Teaser with Kathleen Neely

The Street Singer

Today I have award-winning author, Kathleen Neely here to talk about her new book. Welcome, Kathleen. Let’s begin talking about The Street Singer.

How would you describe your main characters?

I’m pleased to introduce you to Trisha Mills and Adda Marsh.

Trisha, a student in her final year of law school, is no stranger to loss. After losing her parents in an auto accident, she was raised by her grandparents in an old house at the foothills of the mountains in rural Asheville, NC. When they died, she found herself without a family. It left Trisha with a passion for any remembrance of her past.

Adda Marsh has an extraordinary singing voice, at least she did before old age compromised her vocals. She won’t be nominated for another Grammy, as she once was when the world knew her as Adaline, but she could still gather a crowd from her spot on the corner of an Asheville street. Adda would never use the name Adaline again. It carried too many memories, and most of them were not good.

What problems do your characters face?

Although generations and ethnicity separate Trisha and Adda, they have a connection. Trisha’s grandfather played Adaline’s records when he taught Trisha to dance. They both loved her music. How is it possible that this once-famous singer now entertains people from a street corner and lives off of money from the donation box?

Nostalgia, compassion, and a spunky spirit drive Trisha to uncover the story, despite the friction it creates with her fiancée, Grant Ramsey. When attorney Rusty Bergstrom agrees to help Adda, Trisha begins to examine her life, her feelings, and her future.

What would you like your readers to know about your characters?

No character is completely good or completely bad. Each is flawed, and each is driven by a different source.

— Trisha longs to hold on to the past.

— Adda does what she needs to do for daily survival, but protects her box of memories.

— Grant is programmed through his political family to filter everything through the eyes of the media.

— Rusty practices law to right wrongs and help people.

Read an excerpt of The Street Singer

Adda sat on the mattress to catch her breath before lifting the lid off of the remembering box. It was the fullest. There was a lot more to remember than there was to eat. Some of the remembering was good. But mostly it was hard.

Adda picked up a photograph of her family. She never questioned where they got it, or how they had afforded such a fine picture. It was black and white with a white border around the whole thing. Little curvy cuts made up the white paper frame. There was her mama and daddy, standing straight in the middle, all nine of their children surrounding them, everyone smiling for the picture.

She started with the one on her left because that was the way she was told to read—left to right. Leila, Jamal, and Rosa were first, next to Mama. Then Daddy was standing with Berta, Kande, Kioni, and Luther, beside him. Adda and Minny were in front of Mama and Daddy. They were the littlest. Adda figured she must have been around four years old, and Minny just a tad younger.

Adda looked beyond the people and saw her growing-up home. There was that old house with the two windows that always stayed open, trying to get some air inside those three rooms. The front porch had big rocks pushed under the corner poles to keep it level. Adda remembered the time Luther slithered under that porch, hiding when he was a’feared that Daddy was gonna whoop him. Didn’t take Daddy no time to find him cause that dry old dust started Luther coughing. Daddy whooped him, once for disobeying and twice for hiding.

The big pole furthest from the door had the clothesline attached. Then it stretched out to a big old Elm tree. There were no clothes hanging on it, which was a strange sight. Adda never remembered the clothesline being empty.

She placed the picture face down and pulled out a frayed piece of fabric, no bigger than a hand towel. The floral pattern was faded beyond recognition, but Adda saw it clearly. She had those tiny pink roses burned in her mind, their green swirly stems all sewed with hand stitches. Mama had sewn the blanket when Berta was a little child, but when she tried to hand it on down, Berta threw a fit. Adda kept sneaking to use it, and Berta would snatch it back. That was about the finest thing inside that little old rough wood building. Adda held the scrap to her face and brushed its softness against her cheek. Mama. Why didn’t you help me?

About Kathleen

Kathleen Neely resides in Greenville, SC with her husband, two cats, and one dog. She enjoys time with family, visiting her two grandsons, traveling, and reading. She is a retired elementary principal.

Among her writing accomplishments, Kathleen won second place in a short story contest through ACFW-VA for her short story “The Missing Piece” and an honorable mention for her story “The Dance”. Both were published in a Christmas anthology. Her first novel, The Least of These, was awarded first place in the 2015 Fresh Voices contest through Almost an Author. She has numerous devotions published through Christian Devotions.

Kathleen continues to speak to students about writing and publication processes. She is a member of Association of Christian Fiction Writers.