Hey Y'all!

It took me awhile to get here, but alas I'm finally joining the blogosphere of bloviation. It took a rant floating around in my head to send me toward this journey, but so be it. We'll have some fun here too. I promise. Thanks for stopping by! Don't forget to leave me a comment or two. ~ diane


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Just in Time for the Holidays!


I'm so thrilled to tell you about my new book! A Christmas Peril is Book #5 in my Teacup Novella series and features a "story within a story" with a new twist. Here's the official blurb:

Lucy Alexander’s Teacup Novellas were inspired by a collection of vintage teacups her Aunt Lucille bequeathed to her. She’s excited about writing the next book in the series, a Christmas tale loosely based on her aunt and uncle’s love story set in the 1940s. But when a hostage situation lands Lucy’s boyfriend in the hospital, she sets her work aside to keep a bedside vigil with Mark. As the long hours of waiting stretch on, Lucy starts to read her beloved aunt’s handwritten diary. Shocked to discover a frightening story so eerily similar to the one she’s living, Lucy longs to find hope and encouragement in the pages of Lucille’s diary.

December 1944  - “The most wonderful things seem to happen when you least expect them,” writes Lucille Alexander after a serendipitous meeting with Gary Reynolds, a handsome lieutenant home on leave from the war in Europe. The two are inseparable in the five precious days he has left before heading back overseas just weeks before Christmas. On their last morning together, Lucille accompanies Gary to the train station, already dreading the long separation ahead. But that would be the least of her worries after her brave lieutenant rushes to help an elderly woman in distress.  

Lucy finds a strange and unexpected solace in her namesake’s ink-stained journal. Though seventy years have passed between them, would their stories have the same ending?
 
If you've read any of the other novellas in this series, you may or may not know that I wrote these books as a tribute to my own Aunt Lucille. In real life, Lucille was married to Harold Hale, my father's older brother. That's Lucille and Harold on the bottom section of my book cover (above). Aren't they the cutest?! And that's Lucille in the picture to the left. She always, always wore a bow in her hair made to match whatever she was wearing. I loved those bows. Signature Lucille. As is her beautiful smile!

Now, just so you know . . . A Christmas Peril truly is a work of fiction. That's why I named Lucille's handsome lieutenant "Gary" instead of Harold, because their stories are really nothing alike. So even though I've borrowed a few characteristics and personality traits, and set their story in the early 1940s, the plot line is pure fiction. Good. Glad we've got that settled.

And the pretty brunette on the cover above? That's Lucy! Imagine my surprise to find this stock photograph of someone who's almost the exact, spitting image of the girl who's been in my mind through all these novellas! So tell me. Is this how you pictured Lucy?

Last but not least, we are so excited about the release of The Teacup Novellas Collection - all five novellas in one volume! The Kindle version should be available in just a couple of days . . . BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE!

For all those who've asked for these stories in paperback, we'll be releasing the hard copy version of The Teacup Novellas Collection in time for Christmas! Drop me a line and I'll notify you when they're available. And check out the beautiful cover my daughter Hannah designed while we were in New York a couple weeks ago.

*** Special Christmas offer from OBT Books ... If you've got some book lovers on your Christmas list, we'd be more than happy to send you signed copies of our paperbacks. For more information, email me at the address below.

In the meantime, I wish you and yours a very happy Thanksgiving!

Blessings,
Diane
Email:  dianemoody@comcast.net
Website:  www.dianemoody.net


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Elmo's Back!

I'm so happy to announce that Ken (a.k.a. McMillian Moody) has just released Book Three in his Elmo Jenkins series. The Old Man and the Tea takes us on another ride with our favorite reverend and his oddball cast of characters. Here's the blurb:

Elmo Jenkins is back for another fun-filled adventure at First Church. Tag along as his cadre of quirky friends continue to amaze, stupefy, and entertain Reverend Elmo. Be there when Erlene gets thrown in the slammer for conking a policeman with her dentures. Discover how Eddie Hughes breaks both his nose and his big toe. And suffer with Elmo as Bonnie puts him on a health food regimen.

Thurm, Julianne, Father Ted and the rest of the gang are back along with new friends Sergio, the limo driver, and the mysterious Elijah Enoch. Through it all Elmo discovers some life-changing spiritual truths, and chances are, you will too.

It's another hilarious ride through the halls of First Church you won't want to miss. - OBT Bookz


Ken dedicated The Old Man and The Tea to "the elderly saints who take the time and the energy to mentor younger believers." In this day and age when everything has to be cutting edge, it's nice to stop and recognize that we'd never be where we are today without the contributions and sacrifices of those who've gone before us. Elmo's latest adventure portrays the importance of those relationships.

Of course, Elmo wouldn't be Elmo without some humorous predicaments along the way. Some of those situations have been lifted right off the pages of Ken's years in the ministry. But far be it from me to say which ...

The Old Man and the Tea is now available HERE on Kindle. If you haven't read the first two books in the series, you should! Ordained Irreverence, Book One; and Some Things Never Change, Book Two.

Treat yourself to a fun read today!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Tea Time Again!

If you're like me, life has a way of rearranging your schedule and taking all your best laid plans and tossing them into the blender. I used to get really frustrated whenever I'd fall behind on my writing agenda (not to mention my lack of blog postings!) But what's more important - staying on schedule or doing life with those you love?

And so it is, at long last, we're ready to release At Legend's End, Book 4 of my Teacup Novella series. If you know me at all, you know I am NOT a hot-weather girl. Nashville has all four seasons, but I'm always wishing for snow when summer rolls around. Which is why I enjoyed writing this story set in a small fictional town on the coast of Maine. We visited Maine while celebrating our 30th anniversary a couple of years ago and fell in love with Kennebunkport. I couldn't wait to "set" one of my books in a town like it.

If you've read my other Teacup Novellas, you know they are "stories within a story" written by Lucy Alexander, an author who suffered horrendous writer's block until she inherited a collection of vintage teacups from the estate of her beloved aunt. In At Legend's End Lucy introduces us to Olivia Thomas, a never-married 40-something who's weary of the rut she's in ...

When her best friend prayed for God to “blow your socks off,” Olivia Thomas had no idea that prayer would be answered only a few hours later. Stunned by such an unexpected gift from someone she’d helped years ago, Olivia suddenly finds herself with unlimited possibilities. She packs her bags and heads to Caden Cove, a tiny coastal town in Maine, where she hopes to figure out what to do with the rest of her life. Little does she know her reservation at the Captain MacVicar Inn has put her in the path of a historic legend.

Trevor Bass owns Caden Cove’s only bookstore and dabbles in real estate. All the locals know the grouchy bookseller is an avowed bachelor, which explains their utter shock when he invites a “tourist” to visit their book club. The mere hint of romance sends the town into a frenzy wondering if the object of Trevor’s affections could be the next victim of the legend’s curse. Will history repeat itself once more in Caden Cove?
Part of the fun of writing these stories is  researching the history of these teacups. In this story, I enjoyed learning about Josiah Spode who was the first potter to commercially produce underglaze blue-printed earthenware. You'll just have to read my story to find out the significance of this particular teacup's role in the history of Caden Cove. How's that for a teaser?

For a limited time, At Legend's End will be available on Kindle at Amazon.com for 99 cents! Click HERE to check that out. I hope you enjoy your trip to Maine with Olivia as much as I did!

Oh, and one more thing ...
Look for Teacup #5 later this fall, in time for Christmas. I don't know about you, but I think it's time to see what's going on with Lucy and her UPS guy ... and that's all I'm gonna say about that!

Happy reading!
Diane

 
 

 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Teacup Novella #3 is Brewed & Ready!


At long last, novella #3 in my Teacup series just released! It's called Home to Walnut Ridge.
The idea for this story first came to me years ago when I envisioned a middle-age pastor roaring through a little town like ours on a Harley. Preachers, pastors, and other ministers come in all shapes and sizes, of course, but I wondered how that would go over with church members - especially in a small town? That alone isn't much of a plot, so I decided to give some challenges to Buddy, my former-pastor biker. A wife who left him while he was on a mission trip overseas. A spiteful deacon who rallied his fellow church members to give Buddy the boot. And just for fun, I threw in a few oddball biker pals who join forces to do random acts of kindness in their small town. He dubs them his "Elders."

But the real story is about Buddy's youngest daughter. Leaving Washington after her dream job turned into a nightmare, Tracey Collins has come back home again to Walnut Ridge, her family's estate. Her life is about to take a dramatic change with both a new career (restoring old furniture with her sister Alex) and a most unexpected romance with one of her father's Elders. Two years ago attorney Noah Bennett traded his BMW for a Harley and hit the road, leaving behind a past he hasn't yet resolved. He ended up in Tennessee where he met up with an unusual group of bikers led by a guy named Buddy. Then Buddy's daughter Tracey moved home and his life would never be the same.

Oh, and did I mention there's a mystery of historic proportions surrounding the discovery of a rather unusual teacup? Sorry, but you'll have to read the book to find out what that's all about.

This novella was truly a collaborative effort. My good friend Sharon Jacob (for whom the fictional town is named) taught me all about furniture restoration. Sharon and her friend Julie are the amazing duo behind Vintage Shabby Chicks. These two aren't just talented painters restoring furniture.They also serve on the board of Beautiful Feet Global Outreach which helps support the Rose of Sharon Orphanage in Zimbabwe, Africa. Sharon and Julie donate a percentage of their profits from Vintage Shabby Chicks to BFGO which was founded by our mutual friend, Melissa Irwin. Love you, ladies!
 
Sharon also introduced me to Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paints. Marian Parsons, a.k.a. Miss Mustard Seed, kindly allowed Tracey and Alex to use her beautiful products on their projects. Let's just say I can't wait to set aside my keyboard for a while and get all painty-chippy on some projects of my own.
 
Buddy and his biker friends wouldn't know squat about motorcycles if not for Terry Young, my friend of almost 30 years from Naples, Florida. Terry and her husband Ivan are long-time Harley riders who graciously tried to educate me on all-thing-Harley as well as the unique camaraderie among bikers. Who knew that rumble you hear when Harley riders first rev up their engines is likened to potato-potato-potato? I love that! That's Terry and Ivan to the right. Pretty hot, huh?

Then last January I had lunch in historic Leiper's Fork, a charming little town near Franklin, Tennessee. While there, I stepped inside the cutest little barn and immediatelyb knew I'd found the perfect setting for Tracey and Alex's new shop. The actual barn is home to David Arms Gallery, a gifted artist whose unique work is so much more than just art. I wish I could take you there right now and let you experience the faith and hope message so beautifully conveyed in each of his paintings. Lucky for you, you can visit his gallery, read his story, study his symbolism, and enjoy browsing his website. I invite you to take some time and visit every single page. I promise you'll love it. We were so thrilled when David gave us permission to use the picture of his cabin on our cover art. Thanks, David!

That just about covers it. Home to Walnut Ridge available on Kindle at Amazon.com. I hope you like this newest novella in the series! Tomorrow I start work on Teacup #4!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

My New WWII Historical Novel


At times, the process of writing and publishing books is not all that different from giving birth. And in the case of my newest novel, Of Windmills & War, I can tell you this was one big baby to deliver! But it truly was a "labor" of love and I am so pleased to tell you about it.

Most of you know my dad is a proud World War II veteran. He served as a B-17 co-pilot with the 390th Bomb Group of the Eighth Air Force, stationed in Framlingham, England. Those experiences had a tremendous impact on my father, who was only 21 years old when he flew those missions.  
My dad, Glenn Hale,
U.S. Army Air Force, 1944

Mom and Dad attended the 390th Reunions every fall since 1984. After Mom died in 2007, my sister Morlee and I started attending these events with Dad. We've made so many good friends and always enjoy our weekends with these great men and their descendants.

I began to notice how often these veterans spoke of Operation Chowhound. I knew it was a food drop to the people of Holland at the end of the war, but I didn't know much else about it. What piqued my interest was the fact that every time the subject came up, the men who spoke of it would choke up. Every single one of them. Why? Because for the first time, these young men were delivering life and hope instead of death and destruction.


I tried to imagine what it was like for these young men to serve in the war back then. Many of them were still teenagers. Yet, day after day they flew those huge Flying Fortresses into skies swarming with enemy aircraft, dotted with deadly flak and constant anti-aircraft fire. Yet they did their jobs and through their efforts, Germany and Japan were defeated.

I also tried to imagine what it would be like growing up in a country like Holland during the German Occupation. Most of us know about the bombing and the cruelty of their occupiers, but what was it like to live in such constant fear? What was it like to be so consumed with hunger you could think of little else? And what was it like for the young men and women who committed themselves to fight for their country through the Dutch Resistance? 
With Dad and my sister Morlee
after taking a ride on the Liberty Belle (2009)

These are the questions that began to camp out in my soul as I started writing my story. Most people have never heard of Operation Chowhound, so I consider it a huge blessing to be able to tell the story of this amazing event woven through the lives of my characters. But please don't think this story is only about the hardships of war, because it's so much more. It's part "coming of age" in the late 30s/early 40s, and part love story against the colorful, historic background of that pivotal time in the history of our country. 

And check out the gorgeous cover our daughter Hannah designed! I'm absolutely in awe of how beautifully it conveys the ambiance of the story. Thanks, sweetie!

If you get a chance to read Of Windmills & War, I'd love to hear from you. And if you're looking for a great Christmas gift for someone special on your list, you can find it on Amazon HERE. The paperback version should be available in about a week or so. I would be honored to sign a gift copy for you or someone on your list!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Elmo Rides Again!


I am SO EXCITED to announce the release of Ken's new book! Some Things Never Change picks up right where Ordained Irreverence left off, following the further adventures of Elmo Jenkins, the newest full-time staff member at First Church.

In the first book, soon-to-be-seminary-graduate Elmo blundered his way through his internship at First Church, learning the ins and outs of working on staff at a mega-church. He met lots of fascinating, oddball characters in those crazy months and even found love along the way.

Ken (writing under the pseudonym of "McMillian Moody") has received so many wonderful emails and reviews on that first book and rightly so. Many of the situations and characters were based on experiences he encountered over 15 years in church ministry. There are many heartfelt scenes in Ordained Irreverence, but more than anything it's a light-hearted, hilarious rendering of daily life on a quirky church staff.

With even more of those memories for Elmo to explore, Ken has crafted a sequel that doesn't disappoint. I'm a tough critic when it comes to story lines, and even though I admit to being rather partial to this particular author, I LOVED this book! I laughed, I cried, and I was even shocked a couple of times.

If you never read Ordained Irreverence, I'd suggest reading it first so you'll understand the cast of characters. Then treat yourself with a second visit to First Church in Some Things Never Change. There, you'll go behind the scenes of a church trying to fight the controversial battle so many churches even now are facing - that of trying to remain relevant and genuine to a new generation of believers without abandoning those older men and women who've poured their hearts and lives into a church they love. Granted, that might not sound even remotely funny, but if anyone can find a spark of humor in such a serious situation, it's certainly Elmo Jenkins.

Here's an excerpt from the book's description:
The whole gang is back for the bumpy ride along with some colorful new characters. Be there when Elmo surprises Bonnie on their wedding day. Tag along when Dunston finally takes Elmo fishing. Feel the thrill of riding in a red Viper with a friar at the wheel. And help Elmo figure out that creepy little statue named Ferty . . . who's stalking him? It's another unforgettable visit to First Church you won't want to miss.

Congratulations, Ken! I'm so proud of you!


(P.S. There might or might not be a surprise cameo by a character from my book Blue Christmas. But I guess you'll just have to read the book to find out!)

Friday, August 24, 2012

Will Somebody Please Slap Me?

I can't believe how long I've let the dust collect in this pitiful little blog! Almost 5 months!? I keep trying to talk myself into just shutting it down, but it almost feels like I'd be cutting off an arm or something. If that makes sense? Oh, how I wish I was disciplined enough to write something here every day. Instead, life gets in the way, and once again I find myself banging my head on my keyboard. Where or where did these past 5 months go?!

Okay, to be fair, life has been a bit crazy. After I finished BLUE LIKE ELVIS, I jumped into a cookbook project. I badgered our extended Hale family (my mother's side of the family) and collected a bunch of great family recipes and memories. Naturally, it took waaaay longer than I'd planned to compile it, but I was absolutely thrilled with the finished product. In the middle of it all, I threw my back out - which actually worked well since I had hours and hours of recipes to key in. Then, our dear friend Fred Weisbrodt saved the day by giving us a killer good deal on the production and printing, including tabs for the dividers. Didn't it come out nice? With 300 recipes, even if you don't know anyone in our family, these would make a great gift. If you'd like a copy, email me. We had plenty of extras printed. Just $15 which includes shipping!

In June, I loaded the cookbooks and my bags and flew to Amarillo with Dad and my sister Morlee for a Hale Family Reunion. It was so great seeing everyone again and so much fun to share the cookbook with those who'd contributed all those yummy recipes!

When I got home, I jumped back into my latest book project, a World War II novel based on an unforgettable mission which my father took part in. (More about that in a later blog.) I have LOVED working on the book with Dad! I just pray I can do the story justice.

We finally FINALLY got the house repairs completed following our tornado damage back in March. And finally FINALLY, the kitchen redo is done. Loving it! Now I'm looking forward to setting up my office in Ben's old room. That said, the older I get, the longer it takes to go from visualized idea to finished project.
In the meantime, I also made a trip to San Diego with our daughter Hannah, helping her relocate there. Such a beautiful city and I'm so glad I got to spend that week with her, getting her settled in her new home. God graciously gave her two new roommates who are just adorable and quite the kindred spirits. Thankfully, she has a job she can take anywhere, so that was a blessing. Yes, California is a longgggg way from here, but I know it's where she needs to be right now. Keep her in your prayers, okay?

And I am SO EXCITED about Ken's new book, the sequel to ORDAINED IRREVERENCE. I just finished editing the second draft and I can't even put into words how much I love love love this story! Writing sequels can be treacherous, but this one blew me away. More to come about SOME THINGS NEVER CHANGE in the next few weeks!

I do apologize for neglecting this poor blog for so long, but I trust you can understand now that I've been a bit distracted and busy. As the summer heat seems to be in its way out (YEA GOD!), I'm looking forward to fall and all it has in store. How about you?

Blessings!
Diane