Thursday’s Throwback with Ruth Buchanan

Collapsible

Check Out Book 1 in the Collapsible trilogy!

Rachel Cooper has life under control: good job, good friends, and good plans for the future. All of that collapses one early morning when she falls and breaks her ankle. Now she must face the horrors of preparing for an upcoming move and handling her tenth year of teaching while clomping around on crutches. Worse, somewhere in the shadows, the Memento Killer lurks—a serial murderer who stalks women with four anonymous gifts before moving in for the kill. When unexpected presents begin arriving on Rachel’s doorstep, she fears that she’ll soon be crutching for her life.


EXCERPT

Collapsible: A Novel of Friendship, Broken Bones, Coffee, Shenanigans, and the Occasional Murder

Chapter 1

Rachel’s total life implosion came about in this way: one Wednesday morning in early April, she tripped and broke her ankle.

She didn’t remember falling. One minute she’d been rushing to finish her drill on the agility ladder, and the next, she was going down hard. Her scream covered the sound of the snapping bone—a sickening little snick—and she found herself lying flat on her back on the gym mats, right leg elevated, foot lolling strangely. Somehow her foot had looped through the ladder on the way down, and now she rolled on the floor in a snarl of straps and plastic rungs.

This couldn’t be happening.

Coach Donovan whooped. Then, there he was, dropping down beside her, so close that she could feel the heat radiating off him. One of his giant hands cupped her calf to stabilize her leg while the other hovered in the air, poised to intercede if necessary. “I think I’m hurt,” Rachel said, alarmed to hear her voice wobbling strangely. Not that her ankle actually hurt, though. Not exactly. It just felt wrong somehow.

The buzzer went off across the room to signal the end of the final round. If she were to have even a prayer of showering and getting into her classroom before her students showed up, she needed to pack her gym bag and jump into the car immediately. Instead, she lay writhing on the floor of the gym tangled in the agility ladder, leg cradled awkwardly by her coach, heart still hammering from the final cardio push. Rachel turned her head to the side and saw a set of feet approaching. She looked up and beheld her sister’s face, dripping sweat. “What happened to you?” Ann asked.

“She rolled her ankle,” Donovan said.

Rachel felt thankful that she and Ann worked out with Donovan privately instead of as part of his workout classes. This scenario was embarrassing enough with only two witnesses.

Rachel winced as the pads of Donovan’s fingers pressed against her foot to keep it from listing to starboard. She blinked through the mist and reached a hand to swipe back gobs of clumpy red hair from her forehead. “I hope it isn’t sprained,” she moaned.

Ann grunted dispassionately, using her teeth to pull away the hook and loop strips of her boxing gloves. She pulled off the gloves and swiped her forearms across her face. She leaned down to take a closer look at Rachel’s ankle. “Yikes.”

“Ann,” Rachel gasped, “do something.” Although what exactly she wanted her sister to do, she wasn’t sure.

“There are cold packs in the mini fridge in the office,” Donovan said.

Ann jogged away and Donovan tightened his hands around Rachel’s leg. He narrowed his eyes. “Lie still.”

Rachel curled an arm over her eyes. “This is the worst,” she moaned. She could feel her heartbeat everywhere: behind her eyeballs, down her legs, through her toes, and in the tips of her fingers. “Let go of my foot for a minute.” Cautiously, she rotated her elevated foot in tiny spirals, breathing a sigh of relief when it moved. Surely if she could move it, it couldn’t be too badly hurt.

Ann reappeared, threaded her arm around Donovan’s, and pressed an ice pack against the quickly-swelling ankle.

“I think it’s OK,” Rachel said, ignoring the looks that Donovan and Ann gave her. She looked away and concentrated on keeping her breathing even. “Let me see if I can stand.”

“You’ll have to get untangled first,” Ann said. She squatted and began to tug at the straps to the agility ladder. “Scoot your hips up,” she told Rachel.

Donovan shook his head. “I don’t know, Rachel. If your ankle’s broken, you could do some real damage by trying to walk.” He moved the flat of his hand against the sole of her foot to provide further stability. “Just stay put for a few minutes until we see if—”

“I’m fine.” As Rachel struggled up to her elbows, her arms trembled beneath her. “It’s not broken.” Her sore abs convulsed in protest, and she subsided against the mats, panting slightly.

Ann worked the rest of the ladder free and pulled it off to the side, straightening it out neatly before coming back to stand over her sister, hands on hips.

“You should still have an X-ray,” Ann said, frowning.

“There’s a walk-in clinic down the road.” Donovan squatted back on his heels. “But it’ll be closed at this hour.”

“I don’t need that. I’m fine.”

“So,” Donovan said to Ann, ignoring Rachel completely. “X-rays?”

Donovan scooped his arms under Rachel, lifting her. She could no more have stopped herself from squawking than she could have reversed the flow of time. This was to remain etched in her memory as one of the least dignified moments of her life.

Given Rachel’s life, that was saying something.

Check out Collapsible: A Novel of Friendship, Broken Bones, Coffee, Shenanigans, and the Occasional Murder.

Get your copy! Amazon.com


About the Author

Ruth Buchanan is a Christian freelance writer who holds degrees in ministry and theology. She’s traditionally published in the areas of fiction, non-fiction, plays, and sacred scripts. She’s an eager reader, an enthusiastic traveler, and the world’s most reluctant runner. Ruth loves Jesus, family, church, friends, and coffee. She lives and works in South Florida. You can learn more about her work by visiting RuthBuchananAuthor.com.

Connect with Ruth on social media:

Blog

Twitter

Instagram

Amazon Author Page

Thursday’s Throwback with Mary L. Ball

Stone of Destiny

Taylor Harrison has given up on everything but her work. After becoming the youngest CEO of Mugful’s Beverage Company, she believes life is complete–until her grandmother asks her to oversee the renovations of the family home, in addition to searching for a missing heirloom. Her first contact with what she believes is an insignificant ring, lost for fifty years, sends her life spinning. Taylor experiences strange dreams. Unexpected feelings surface that she doesn’t understand. Thoughts that should remain unspoken are voiced. Taylor’s emotional journey begins, testing a heart as cold as the ring itself and forcing her to question everything she believes. Is this a fairytale, or simply her soul reaching out for a different world–a life she can only find through faith and a divine trust in God?


Where to buy:

Christianbook.com

Amazon


About the author

Mary L. Ball is a multi-published Christian author. A few of her novels include, Escape to Big Fork Lake, Redemption in Big Fork Lake, Sparks of Love, and Thanksgiving Secret. She’s live in North Carolina and enjoys fishing, reading, and ministering in song with her hubby at functions.

She’s happy to be included in “Preach the Word Network” book of the month on Aug.18, 2018 where Stone of Destiny will be featured.

Readers can connect with Mary on:

http://www.marylball.com

https://www.facebook.com/gracefulbooks

https://twitter.com/inspires4mary

https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/8757890-mary-l-ball

https://www.pinterest.com/authormary/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/mary-l-ball-29582911a/

https://plus.google.com/u/0/+MaryLBall9

Visit Mary’s singing ministry at:

http://heirsofsalvation2.webs.com

Wednesday’s Writer with Suzy Parish

Hope blooms in unexpected places

Weighed down by guilt following the death of his two-year-old son, Mac McCann accepts a year-long position training police officers in Afghanistan. Leaving his wife Sophie to grieve alone, he hopes the life-or-death distractions of his self-imposed exile will build a wall between him and his pain.

As camaraderie builds between Mac and the men on base—including a local barber and his precocious little boy—Mac’s heart becomes invested in stories beyond his own tragedy and he learns he is not the only one running from loss. But when the hour of attack arrives, will he be able to see past his guilt to believe there’s still something—and someone—worth living for?

With touching details based on true events, Flowers from Afghanistan is a redemptive journey of healing, a chronicle of hope in crisis, and a testament to the faithfulness of God through it all.


Thank you for being here today, Suzy. Your book sounds like a very touching and emotional read. I absolutely love the cover. PBG always has the best covers! Let’s get started with our interview.

When you were young, did you ever see writing as a career or full-time profession?

When I was eight or so, the local bookmobile rolled onto our street and set up shop on hot summer days. A clanky air conditioning unit kept the vehicle crisp-cool. I remember pulling a book off the shelf and sitting on the floor, reading for hours. Most days I found a raised medallion on the book jacket. It was the John Newbery Medal, a literary award given by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association (ALA). I’d run my fingers across that medal and dream I was being awarded one for a book I’d written.

Out of all the characters you’ve written about, is there one that is your favorite?

One of the characters in Flowers from Afghanistan turned out to be a particular favorite of mine. He was outspoken and uncontrollable. I never knew what he’d do or say next. He will show up in another book!

Have you ever won any awards for your writing? Pip, Tuppence and George won a spot for publication in Splickety Magazine’s Flash Fiction contest. Flowers from Afghanistan was a semi-finalist in the Genesis Awards at ACFW, American Christian Fiction Writers.

Do you have a special place where you like to write?

A local coffee shop called Angel’s Island is my current hang-out. The atmosphere is laid-back and the aroma wonderful!

Have you ever received a rejection?

Let’s put it this way, I once started a pile back when paper rejection slips were mailed. My most treasured rejection came from Guideposts Magazine. The editor took time to send a very encouraging note, which we know is rare. Unfortunately my dog ate the rejection slip. (Really) I took that as a sign that I shouldn’t track rejections, but encouragements.

What is one piece of advice you’d give to an unpublished writer?

“Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.”Winston Churchill

Do you take time to plot and outline your books? Or do you write by the seat of your pants?

I am a plotter.

Do you ever talk about your next project or do you like to keep it a secret?

I will drop a few hints, but for the most part I prefer to keep it a delicious secret.

How long does it take you to write a book? Someone recently said, “As long as it takes.” I love to research, so that time will vary from project to project.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Spend time outside in God’s creation. Give away books through Nonni’s Place, a Little Free Library in our local playground.

Where do you get your ideas for your books? Inspiration comes from brave and honorable acts that people carry out during my lifetime.

Is there a message in your book you hope readers will relate to?

A quote from one of the characters, a local barber in Afghanistan named Gul Hadi: “Awlaad-hoy-e watan, omeed-e watan.”A nation’s children, a nation’s hope. Edward Zellem was kind enough to translate my character’s parable into Dari from English. This quote was picked up and re-tweeted by Afghan citizens. I think I am happier with this line than any other in the book. I employed traditional Afghan proverbs in my novel with permission from Mr. Zellem, but this proverb was one original to my character. The first time it was tweeted out by Afghans was the first time it was read by the Afghan people! The other reason this quote means so much to me is this: it embodies a theme in the book: that nations are not all that different when it comes down to the common people. We all want to raise our children in safety and provide the best life we can for them.


Where to find Suzy

Suzy on Facebook

www.suzyparish.com

@SuzyParish on Twitter