Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Author Spotlight + GIVEAWAY: Cathleen Armstrong


Cathleen Armstrong is the author of a delightful series entitled "A Place to Call Home," and I am very pleased to welcome Cathleen to The Power of Words today.

In my review, I described book #2, One More Last Chance (click title to see review), as "charming and entertaining, with good characterization and well-developed plot - a 'feel good' story that often had me reading with a smile." Cathleen's great sense of humor comes through in her writing and I enjoyed this story so much that it made my 2014 Favorites List!

Cathleen is graciously sharing a copy with one of you, details at the end of this interview. And she has obviously put a lot of time and thought into this interview, so I hope you'll enjoy all that Cathleen has to share . . .


Q:  Please tell a little bit about yourself, Cathleen. Married with kids? Do you work full-time and write when you can squeeze it in?

I’ve been married to my high school sweetheart forever and we have three grown children, and eight amazing grandchildren. Given another few hours, I would cheerfully bore you senseless describing how amazing each actually is. We live in the San Francisco Bay Area with our incredibly bossy corgi. I write full time—and before that I went to school full time, and before that I “mommed” full time. I don’t seem to be that good at multi-tasking.


Q:  What are three "fun" or "unique" things about you?

This question makes me smile—and wish I skydived (dove?) or competed in triathlons or something, but alas. So, here goes…
        1) I have a passion for travel, and a secret goal of visiting all seven continents. Right now I lack Africa, South America, and Antarctica. However, a visit to South America may be on the horizon.
        2) I am a rabid San Francisco Giants fan, and have been since long before they won three of the last five World Series. (Did I mention they won three of the last five World Series?)
        3) I once went parasailing in Maui with Alice Cooper. (Yet, that Alice Cooper.)


Q:  Short answer…

  • If I could travel anywhere it would be on an African Safari. (Photo only)
  • The best present I ever received was a surprise birthday weekend in a beach house filled with all my family.
  • Farthest place from home I’ve ever been was Australia.
  • The Last Movie I watched (in a theater) was The Hundred Foot Journey.
  • My favorite movie is an old one—The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. (A writer has a home on a bluff overlooking the sea, a handsome ghost dictating a best seller word for word, and a faithful housekeeper always making her tea and urging her to take naps. What’s not to love?)
  • Favorite snack: popcorn—with lots of butter




Q:  Tell us about the book we're featuring today, One More Last Chance, and also about the series of which it is a part.

        One More Last Chance is the story of Chris and Sarah and how change happens whether you like or not and sometimes in ways you never dreamed it would.
        Sarah Cooley was born and raised in Last Chance. She’s come home to heal after an engagement gone wrong, and she wants to find Last Chance just as she left it—the same little town where she felt so safe growing up, But of course, things do change, even Last Chance.
        The diner, which is the town gathering place, has a new owner, Chris Reed, and he intends to turn it into a destination restaurant, drawing diners from all over the Southwest.
        Sarah sees him as an interloper, a culinary carpet-bagger at first and doesn’t much like him or his ideas. But when his seven-year-old niece gets more-or-less dumped on his doorstep, that starts to change, and both Chris and Sarah begin to pull together as Livvy burrows into their lives.
        The series, A Place to Call Home, is about that heart’s longing to find a place to where one can belong. Without my really planning it that way, each book has one character who is newly arrived in Last Chance, and one who has come back home. Both are looking for a place where they can find acceptance, and redemption, and a place to call home.


Q:  What will draw readers to the to the lead characters, Chris and Sarah?

I like Chris and Sarah. They are proof that opposites do, indeed, attract. Chris is a big bear of a guy, responsible to the bone, deeply devoted to his family, and perhaps just a little too serious. Sarah, on the other hand, is maybe a little spoiled, a little used to having things go her way. She’s petite—barely reaches Chris’s shoulder— and is generally happy and outgoing. Having two older brothers has taught her how to hold her own, and teasing steady, dependable Chris quickly becomes a favorite pastime.


Q:  Does locale really influence the societies it produces? (One of my own study questions.)

        Oh, I think it must. I have only lived in the west, so I can’t speak for the other regions, although I’d love to hear what the people who live there think. But the west was not welcoming. Summers in the desert were searing, and winters in the mountains came on suddenly and without mercy, Water was hard to find, and not always palatable. So people who challenged that inauspicious environment had to be tough, and optimistic, and resolute. They learned they had to depend on each other in order to survive.
        Early in One More Last Chance, Chris finds himself wondering if people tempered by the harsh, unforgiving landscape, beautiful as it was, might be just a little inflexible themselves. I’d say that was likely.


Q:  “Change” plays a prominent part in this story. Do you find change difficult to embrace? Any ideas for coping?

I have a daughter who was born looking forward to the next thing, eager to experience the new and different. She did not get that from me. I guess I love getting things just the way I want them, and having it stay that way forever. But of course, life doesn’t work that way. Whether you love change, or hate it, it happens, and I think learning to accept that is the first step in dealing with change. The second is realizing that there will be good in the new. The third is learning to let go, really let go, of the old. Looking back instead of forward is not at all useful. Ask Lot’s wife. (Actually, you needn’t bother. She’s not saying much these days.) I guess my number one strategy for coping with change is to keep your eye on the pillar of cloud by day, and pillar of fire by night, and keep putting one foot in front of the other. You’re not the one with the roadmap, but there is a promised land out there somewhere.


Q:  What faith elements did you weave into the story?

Redemption and forgiveness, and the acceptance of both always play a huge part in my stories. The name of the town, Last Chance, is a symbol that until we draw our last breath, God is offering us another chance.



Q:  What’s on the book horizon for you?

        Well, Book 3 in the A Place to Call Home series, At Home in Last Chance, just released on January 6. Kaitlyn Reed and Steven Braden, the two characters most likely to have run out of chances in Books 1 and 2, get their own story. And if ever there were characters in need of redemption, forgiveness, and acceptance, these two are those characters. I’m really excited about this book, and the early reviewers seem to like it, too.
        Book 4, Last Chance Hero, is a manuscript in its final stages of creation, and will be off to the publisher in the next few weeks. I don’t know the publication date, but if it goes like the others, it should be out in early 2016.


Q:  How can we support and/or pray for you?

        Well, there is plenty to pray for in the previous question! J Getting to write books people like to read is a blessing I’ve always dreamed about, but each day proves to me how inadequate I am to accomplish it on my own. I truly could not do anything without God’s constant presence and guidance, and I am so aware of that.
        Also, within the next months, I will be leaving the San Francisco Bay Area, which I dearly love, so I’ll have plenty of opportunity to take my own advice on dealing with change. (Don’t you hate that?)  Prayer would be greatly appreciated!


Q:  Anything else you’d like to add?

Yes! The absolute, bar-none, best thing about publishing a book is getting to connect with people I’d never in a million years connect with otherwise, both through the book itself and through opportunities like this one. I’d love to get to know your readers better, and maybe find out a little bit more about them.! So please do drop by my FaceBook page (Author Cathleen Armstrong) or my website (CathleenArmstrong.com) and leave me a message. I’d love to hear from you!

May God bless you richly with his grace,
Cathleen


Carole:  Cathleen, you are a charming and gracious lady with a strong faith, and I think I speak for all of us when I say how much we have enjoyed you being here. Please come back soon!


____________________

GIVEAWAY

To enter the drawing for One More Last Chance, simply answer the following question that I asked Cathleen:


What is one travel desire, goal, or dream that you have?

BE SURE TO LEAVE YOUR E-MAIL ADDRESS in a safe format - [at] and [dot] - to be entered in the drawing. If you're willing, it's also helpful to share about this giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter.

"Likes" on my Facebook page, ThePowerofWordsBookReviews, are greatly appreciated, as are followers on Google+, Pinterest, Twitter, and this blog.
  • Contest ends at midnight PST on Sunday, February 22.
  • Winner will be chosen by Random.org and contacted by e-mail. Respond within 48 hours of notification or another winner will be chosen.
  • Eligibility: US and Canadian residents

74 comments:

  1. One of my travel desires and dreams is to ride my horse on the beach.
    Thanks for the chance to win a copy of One More Last Chance. It sounds like a book that I will enjoy.

    cindialtman(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. What a beautiful goal, Cindi! I've never ridden a horse, but they are so majestic. I hope you get to achieve that goal one day.

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  2. I have always wanted to visit the battlefields on the East Coast. And Pearl Harbor and Normandy. I'm such a history buff!

    kathrynlvoss(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. You really are a history buff, Kate! I live on the south side of Atlanta close to where the Battle of Jonesboro was fought, and have even seen the reenactment once. I think Pearl Harbor would be haunting, but I'd love to visit it some day.

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  3. I enjoyed reading this interview with Cathleen. I loved her answers in how to cope with change. This sounds like a great book. Thanks for the giveaway Carole. My email is starlitestudios.art@gmail.com.

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    1. Mary, I really hate change and Cathleen's thoughts were excellent. My husband loves to remind me that the only thing certain about life is change, and I always want to throw something at him! I need to print out Cathleen's answer where I can see it every day! It's always good to see you here, Mary.

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  4. I love the cover of this book and it sounds like a great read!
    I want to visit every one of the states in our great United States. I lack four so that is my goal ...to visit the last four states to complete this accomplishment.

    mauback55 at gmail dot com

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    1. It's funny, Melanie . . . My husband had to travel a lot in his work and hated it, while I was so very eager to travel. I think it's wonderful that you've been to every state but four and hope you are able to achieve that goal. If you see my comment, what four do you lack?

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  5. I just found out I could visit a Castle in Colorado Springs, CO.. I've always wanted to visit a Castle... :) only 6 hours away ... On my list!
    dkstevensneAToutlookDoTCoM

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    1. I believe you'll accomplish that goal soon, Deanna! Castles are fascinating to me. My daughter leads a campus ministry in Germany, and on one of my visits, we toured a couple of castles. One was where Hitler occasionally visited, which gave me chills. But the other was a lovely castle on Lake Constance, Germany's southern border, which is actually the oldest castle in the world.

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  6. I did have the travel goal/desire to travel to Russia when I had family living there for a short while. That didn't happen. Perhaps it is God's will I not trave a great distance. I think seeing Ireland and London would be nice, too.

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    1. Vera, visiting Russia would have probably been an unforgettable experience, but not an easy trip. I'm with you on the idea of Ireland and London, although I'd rather see the English countryside than London - Yorkshire, the Cotswolds, etc. Thanks for stopping by, Vera.

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  7. Oops - forgot - godleyv [at] yahoo {dot}com

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  8. Our travel goal would be to make it to Germany! My husband's descendants are from there & our last name is the name of a city. I would love to treat him to a dream vacation there! At the very least, somewhere tropical (even just to Hawaii) would be great!
    I can understand that there is no place like home! I live on the Oregon coast but grew up in Illinios. We went back to visit some years ago & it sure did change! But maybe my perception of it changed, I saw things as an adult & not a child growing up :-)
    This book sounds good & I would love to add it to my bookshelf. Thank you for doing the interview today & for the chance to win a copy of "One more Last Chance"
    teamob4 (at) gmail (dot) com

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    1. Trixi, I hope you get to take that German dream vacation one day. It's a beautiful country. My daughter leads a campus ministry in Tubingen and I've been blessed to visit her twice. My favorite part is the Old Town section. I never tired of walking on cobblestone streets, drinking coffee at street cafes, etc.

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  9. I want very much to visit Scotland. And also Germany-- to try to see where my great-grandparents lived before immigrating to the USA. Of course, I'd also love to see all the places that played a big part in the US Civil War. Can you tell that I would love to do some traveling? ;)

    Thanks for the giveaway, I'd love to read this book! :)

    crazybooklover7 [at] yahoo [dot] com

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    1. Aeryka, as I mentioned in previous comments, my daughter leads a campus ministry in Tubingen, Germany, and I've loved my two visits with her. Scotland also has great appeal - any of the British Isles, actually. Not the big cities as much as the countryside, though. Hope you're able to do some of your desired travel soon, Aeryka!

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  10. To travel to Maine on Amtrak and stop along the way; a leisurely vacation for me and my husband, and return home, of course! Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House lanehillhouse[at]centurylink[dot]net

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    1. Kathleen, you just hit one of my most desired travel locations - Maine. I was instantly drawn to New England when I saw pictures of the area in grammar school geography class. Thanks to my husband's work travel and later, my daughter's summer job, I've been blessed to visit a few times - from Nantucket to Chatham, Cape Cod, and as far north as Portland, Maine. I'll never get enough of New England in this lifetime! Hope you and your husband get to make that trip, Kathleen!

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  11. Forgot to mention ~ I follow you on this blog (I love your upright in the field! And the posies; lilting strains of Clair de Lune in the air) ~ Google Friend Connect and receive your e-mails, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook. Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House lanehillhouse[at]centurylink[dot]net

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    1. I'm glad you like that piano picture, Kathleen. I've been a church pianist for almost 50 years, and when I came across that picture, entitled "Forgotten Tunes," it really resonated with me. Makes me think of all the beloved hymns which are so rarely sung today.

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  12. My dream, since reading Mary Slessor as a young girl, has been to go to Africa. I dont really know what part... I just have a desire to go there.

    I read the first book in this series. Would love to read the second.

    Thanks so much for the giveaway. And as always I love reading your author interviews.

    Thanks Cathleen for your hard work in providing good Christian fiction for us to read.

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    1. Amy, Africa is one place I've never wanted to visit, but I can understand your wish to go there. It's funny how reading can make such a strong impression and plant a desire within us. For me, I've never particularly liked the southwest, but Cathleen's writing has changed that. I hope you eventually get to achieve that goal, Amy.

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  13. Oh yeah... and the email as always forgotten
    amylsmith at bledsoe dot net

    And follow you in all avenues :-)

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  14. I fulfilled my travel desire by visiting friends who live in China. Unfortunately, they will be moving back to the States sometime this year.
    Janet E.
    von1janet(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. I bet that was a memorable trip, Janet! Glad you got to visit them during the time they were there.

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  15. On my wish list of where to visit is Ireland. My ancestors came from there and I would love to try to find any relatives there. This book sounds great. I would love to read it !

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    1. Deanne, I would love to visit Ireland - or any of the British Isles for that matter. I've always been drawn to Ireland's music, folklore and scenery. With your ancestors coming from there, a trip would be especially meaningful.

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  16. I've always wanted to visit the Magdalen Islands in QC, Cananda :)
    I'm sure I'll get to go someday!

    sbissonnettes_23 at videotron dot ca

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    1. Canada is also on my wish list, Samantha, and the Magdalen Islands are beautiful in pictures I've seen. PEI and Nova Scotia are also places I would especially enjoy seeing. Thanks for visiting, Samantha.

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  17. Hi, Carole!

    Thank you for stopping by from the Book Nook.
    My reviews have changed greatly in 6 years.
    When I was first reviewing I did not know what I was doing :)
    So, there is a big difference from my earlier reviews to those of today.
    Although I am still learning. I don't think we ever stop learning.
    Then I stopped blogging completely for a while.
    I began reviewing books again in 2014.

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  18. In my travel dreams I would love to visit Prince Edward Island in Canada, Ireland, France and the Carribbean.

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  19. My vacation dreams include Prince Edward Island, Ireland, France and the Carribbean.
    worthy2bpraised at gmail dot com

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  20. To visit my brother out in Montana...
    rita dot navarre at yahoo dot com

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  21. I would love to go back to Disney World. It is fun,pleasant and educational ! I love the fireworks and the parades ! Lois Leentjes

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  22. I love the book cover!
    I want to go to the New England states and plan to do so this fall!!
    jarning67(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  23. Thanks for the interesting interview and the opportunity to learn more about Cathleen and her writing - Cathleen and Carole!!

    Like Cathleen, I love to travel. I'm not able to travel much now - due to mobility issues, however, I haven't given up on my dream to go to the Holy Land.

    I haven't read any of Cathleen's books, "One More Last Chance" sounds like the perfect place to start!! Thanks for the giveaway opportunity!!

    Shared post!!

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  24. My husband and I were trying to visit all of the Presidential Museums. But in the last year he has become unable to travel. So I guess we will quit for how. The one we enjoyed most was Harry S. Truman's Birthplace and Museum. My e-mail address is bride57no1at yahoodotcom.

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  25. I have always and forever wanted to go to Ireland! Sigh! Maybe someday. 😃

    Stephanie C.
    grumpysmurf817(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  26. I have recently heard about thsi author and book! It looks really good! One of my dreams is to own a ranch, or at least one horse. And to be a great rider!

    sierrafaith327(at)gmail(dot)com

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  27. A travel dream I have is to someday go to Russia or New Zealand!

    harveyeverafter (at) gmail.com

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  28. I have always wanted to visit Ireland. If it were the US then I would say Washington State.
    eppersonkatrina(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  29. My Dad was stationed in Japan while in the Army. I would like to go see where he was stationed. He passed away five years ago and I didn't ask him enough questions about this time in his life!
    pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

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  30. I have wanted to go to Calgary Canada to watch the International Grand Prix Show Jumping competition for years. Otherwise I love the beach and have always wanted to visit Hawaii.

    I loved the first Last Chance book, haven't read the 2nd or 3rd yet and am so excited to hear there will be a 4th as well! I love book series!

    annby at centurylink dot net

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  31. I have wanted to go to Calgary Canada to watch the International Grand Prix Show Jumping competition for years. Otherwise I love the beach and have always wanted to visit Hawaii.

    I loved the first Last Chance book, haven't read the 2nd or 3rd yet and am so excited to hear there will be a 4th as well! I love book series!

    annby at centurylink dot net

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  32. Hi Carole. My desires are only dreams. I would so love to visit Amish country in PA. And for overseas, I would love to visit Wales and Ireland since that is where my Ancestors came from in the beginning. Where Lloyd, my maiden name started.But I've hardly seen any of the interesting places here in Texas. Would love to win Cathleen's book. Thanks for a chance. Maxie > mac262(at)me(dot)com <

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  33. Great interview! Thanks for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday!
    Tina

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  34. I would love to visit Israel and walk the streets and country sides where Jesus walked.

    shelffullofbooks at gmail dot com

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  35. Italy would be my dream place to go. jnut1(at)yahoo(dotcom)

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  36. I've already fulfilled my lifetime wish to visit Scotland! I'd love to go there again but would also like to visit the New England States!
    jarning67(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  37. One of my goals is to be more self sustainable. I'd love to have a homestead with all the animals and land that goes with them. My husband thinks I am crazy, though!

    thejorns (at) gmail (dot) com

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  38. Great interview! Would like to do some more traveling and devote more time to my writing.
    Lori P
    jlipayer(at)charter (dot) net

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  39. Japan! Would love to see where my husband's ancestors lived and perhaps find some relatives and see a wonderful new country!
    sonja dot nishimoto at gmail dot com

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  40. My travel dream is to attend the Calgary Stampede rodeo in Canada. I am a HUGE rodeo fan, and that is one of the biggest and best. Plus, I love the cowboy and horse culture of Alberta, Canada; and one of my favorite TV shows, "Heartland," is set there. I would love to visit their filming location while I'm in town!

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  41. Oh, and I forgot, my e-mail address is
    myfacebookemail23 at yahoo dot com

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  42. I would love to visit a castle in Ireland. In the USA, I would like to visit Montana. It is always so beautiful in travel series and sounds great in books I read that take place there. Enjoyed your interview.
    Carol Smith. penelope223(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  43. I would love to go travel to Japan because I was born there but I would like to go as an adult and take my husband and daughter with me! a_stonecipher(at)yahoo(dot)come

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  44. One of my travel desires would be to walk the paths and by-ways that Jesus walked in Jerusalem and surrounding area.
    jeaniedannheim (at) ymail (dot) com

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  45. I have always dreamed about going to Ireland. My husband has been there during his military service and I'd love for him to show it to me! Thanks for the interview and giveaway! momrain(at)aol(dot)com

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  46. Love the interview , I would love to take a trip out west . This book sounds so good . Have not read any thing by her , but always looking for new authors . Thanks and I woukd love to win this book.
    lizd225(at)gmail(dot)com

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  47. Thanks for the interview!! My dream for the moment is to go on the youth mission trip to Detroit, Michigan this summer. Long term-Open a greenhouse/plant nursery with my cousin with a special "relaxation" garden just for visitors to hang out in the midst of the flowers. I read At Home in Last Chance (reviewer) and l hope to read this one!!

    olsen(.)nicole8(@)gmail(.)com

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  48. For almost 50 years, it's been my dream to visit the Grand Canyon since reading the book, Brighty of the Grand Canyon in elementary school.

    seventysevensusieq[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  49. I like your short answers... especially with lots of butter! And... I will have to hunt up your old movie. I love them too. So simple and to the point without wading through undesirables.
    I actually copy and pasted the cover of book 3 to my home file last Saturday of things I love, titling it, "I like this haircut ~"
    I am looking forward to hearing of your future adventures. We moved 10-1/2 hours away when we retired in 2009 to be in the middle of our children in three states. So blessed!
    One thing I hope never changes at booksmusicandlife is "Forgotten Tunes," your header photo. This is so soothing and I love it so much. Whether my favorite Clair de Lune or Ragtime, this photo makes me smile.
    Blessings to you both ~ I would love to win this book in your series.

    "What is one travel desire, goal, or dream that you have?" It has been attained ~ our lovely home on a hilltop ~ next stop? I've Got A Mansion, Just Over the Hilltop...

    Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House lanehillhouse[at]centurylink[dot]net

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  50. I have the first of the series on my Kobo. I'm really looking forward to reading the whole series. It sounds really good!

    sbissonnettes_23 [at] videotron [dot] ca

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  51. I would like to take a cruise to Alaska. Thanks joygibson(at)highland(dot)net

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  52. I would like to take a cruise to Alaska. Joygibson(at)highland(dot)net

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  53. I have always wanted to visit the Great Wall of China.

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  54. One goal of mine is also a dream. I would love to eventually retire on my husband's property in Pennsylvania (it is on an apple orchard). I would love a little home there with a nice sized garden, lots of chickens and at least one Jersey cow. I would love to just enjoy living a bit off the land and enjoying some peaceful time reading and wiring.

    For now I am enjoying my life as a wife, mom and most importantly child of God. :)
    KellysShining(at)gmail(dot)com

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  55. Our biggest traveling dream is to travel across the United States. So far, we've hit 26 states. :)
    michdtucker at gmail dot com

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  56. i'd love to go on a 7-day Caribbean cruise.thanks!

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  57. i'd love to go on a 7-day Caribbean cruise!

    kmcgrew213@aol.com

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  58. My grandparents came from Sicily to America and I've always thought I'd like to travel there.

    conniesowards at aol dot com

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  59. I live in Philippines. And unfortunately we don't have snow days just rainy days. :) But i really love reading books while listen music. :))

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