Monday, June 15, 2015

Interview + GIVEAWAY: Jody Hedlund


Surely most fans of historical romance have already discovered the wonderful writing of Jody Hedlund . . . and if not, I can almost guarantee that it will only take the reading of one book to become hooked.

I hope you will enjoy this visit with Jody today, as she shares about her newest release from the Beacons of Hope series, Hearts Made Whole (click on title to see my review). Romance, historical detail, character depth, adventure, lighthouses - this book has it all and I highly recommend it.

Also, one of you will win a copy of Hearts Made Whole, so enjoy Jody's interview and enter to win at the end.


Q:  You talked on your website about how your mom facilitated your love for reading at an early age, Jody. What were one or two books that you treasured most?

Anne of Green Gables and A Little Princess


Q:  How did you come up with the idea for Hearts Made Whole?

        Historical textbooks are full of stories about men like George Washington, Thomas Edison, Andrew Carnegie, and so many more.  And while such men are truly remarkable, all too often their stories overshadow equally courageous and remarkable women. One of my goals as an author is to help bring forgotten women of the past to life.
        In the Beacons of Hope series, I'm focusing on historical women light keepers who have often been kept in the dark by the more prominent stories of their male counterparts.
        As I researched for writing a lighthouse series, I came across a fantastic book called, Ladies of the Lights: Michigan Women in the U.S. Lighthouse Service. The book is a tribute to the approximately 50 or so women who served either as primary or assistant keepers in Michigan Lighthouses.
        I based the heroine in Hearts Made Whole on one of those women light keepers. It's my hope to bring her and the other women keepers out of the historical shadows and into the spotlight.



Q:  What is the story about and who are the main characters?

        This story is set at a lighthouse in southern Michigan on Lake St. Clair where the heroine, Caroline Taylor, is the acting light keeper. However, in the time directly following the Civil War, women weren't allowed to be light keepers if a man was available instead. Men were almost always given precedence.
        Along comes the wounded war hero, Ryan Chambers, who having a little bit of lighthouse experience is looking for a place where he can be isolated and nurse his physical and emotional wounds.
        Of course, when the two meet, they're both competing for the same job. Caroline needs to stay in the position in order to provide for her four younger siblings. And Ryan needs the job so that he can save to repay his war debts.
        As is always true for my books, when the hero and heroine meet both danger and romance abound!


Q:  Each of your lighthouse books is set at a real lighthouse that once existed in Michigan or still does exist. Tell us a little about the lighthouse in this second book.

        In my first lighthouse book (Love Unexpected), the lighthouse was set at Presque Isle which is on Lake Huron on the north eastern side of the state. For the second book, I picked a lighthouse in a completely new location with the intention of giving readers a different flavor of climate, geography, and the population.
        Windmill Point Lighthouse once existed on Lake St. Clair near Detroit, a much more urban and highly trafficked area than the remote wilderness of Presque Isle. Windmill Point Lighthouse was a strategic beacon that helped ships cross from Lake Huron over into Lake Erie as those ships transported raw goods from the Northwest states to eastern cities and seaports.
        The lighthouse is named after the old ruins of a windmill where early frontiersmen brought their grain for grinding. Also, legends attribute the area to being an old battle field of a savage encounter between the early French settlers and Indians. As many as 1000 Fox Indians were slaughtered on the banks of Lake St. Clair. Later settlers to the area uncovered bones, arrowheads, tomahawks, and other gruesome mementos of the battle.
        Today, all traces of the original windmill, lighthouse, and burial grounds are long gone. If you visit Grosse Pointe in the Detroit area, all that remains is a small conical structure with a white flashing light.


Q:  Many of the heroines in your books are inspired by real women. Is that true of the heroine in Hearts Made Whole? If so, what women provided inspiration?

        The woman light keeper in Hearts Made Whole is inspired by Caroline Antaya. Caroline lived at the Mamajuda Lighthouse on the Detroit River a short distance away from Windmill Point Lighthouse.
        Caroline's husband served with honor in the Union army during the Civil War, losing several fingers on his hand at Gettysburg. Eventually after returning from the war, her husband was named as keeper of the Mamajuda Lighthouse, but he passed away of tuberculosis.
        Part of what really impressed me about Caroline Antaya's situation was that she had been doing a fantastic job as a light keeper. But the district lighthouse inspector trumped up charges against her saying that she was in ill-health and incompetent. He took away her position simply because she was a woman and gave it to a man instead. Fortunately, her community rose to her defense and enlisted the help of a Michigan Senator to help her get her position back and she went on to serve as a light keeper for another three years.
        In those days, when women were regularly discriminated against because of gender, Caroline's story is inspirational and an encouragement to persevere in the face of injustice. I admired Caroline's will to stand up for herself and to pave the way for women coming after her to use their God-given talents and abilities in roles and jobs that had previously been closed to women.


Q:  What do you hope readers take away from Hearts Made Whole?

        Readers familiar with my books will know that I'm not afraid to tackle really tough issues. That's especially true in Hearts Made Whole. Since the hero is coming home as a Civil War veteran, he's facing some post-traumatic stress as well as debilitating war wounds that leave him addicted to his pain medicine.
        At the same time the heroine is struggling to act as both father and mother to her four siblings while holding down a job as light keeper. She has the overwhelming job of trying to take care of everyone and everything while always remaining strong.
        Both characters come to a point where they recognize they can't face all of their overwhelming troubles on their own and cry out to God their desperate need for Him. I hope that readers will take away a desire to turn to God in their most desperate needs too and know that He is there waiting to comfort and help them.



Q:  What stories can your readers look forward to in the days ahead?

In October, look for my historical called Luther & Katharina with Random House (Waterbrook) It's a book based one of the greatest untold love stories: the courtship and marriage of the great reformer, Martin Luther to a runaway nun Katharina von Bora. He's a heretic wanted dead or alive, and she's a noblewoman without a family or home. Amidst the dangers of pope, princes, and revolting peasants, the two must wage war to find a love of their own.


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

My oldest son just graduated from high school and so I'd love prayer for him and for my husband and I as we prepare to send him away to college in August.


_________________________

GIVEAWAY

To enter the drawing for Hearts Made Whole . . .

1) If you're on Facebook, please visit my book review page at ThePowerofWordsBookReviews and "like" it if you would care to (not required).

2) Answer the following question or leave a comment for Jody:


Are you new to Jody's books? If you're already a fan,
do you have a favorite that you would like to recommend?

BE SURE to leave your e-mail address in a safe format - [at] and [dot] - for the drawing. And if you'd like to receive e-mail notifications of reviews, author interviews and giveaways, please subscribe to my blog in the upper right corner.

Contest ends at midnight PST on Monday, June 22. Winner will be chosen by Random.org and contacted by e-mail.

Eligibility: US residents

73 comments:

  1. I have read Judy's books. But I could not pick just one book. I love all of them.

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    1. I'm with you, Cynthia, although A Noble Groom was my first read of Jody's and it's hard to beat. Please don't forget to leave your email address for the drawing - and thanks for visiting, Cynthia.

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  2. I've read Captured By Love and Love Unexpected and loved them both.Thank you for the chance to win. 💚💙💜❤️

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    1. I thought both of those were excellent also, Lucy.

      Thanks for visiting, and please leave your email address for the drawing.

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  3. I am a tremendous fan of Jody's work! "A Noble Groom" is my favorite so far, but I really love each and every one she has written.

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    1. A Noble Groom was my first read of Jody's and remains my favorite, but only by a slight edge! All of hers are different, but excellent in their own way.

      Thanks for visiting, and please leave your email address for the drawing.

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  4. I have only read Jody Hedland's ya novel An Uncertain Choice, but I excited to to explore her other novels as well. All her books are now on my "to read" list!!

    Thanks for the giveaway! sydneyjames68@gmail.com

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    1. I'm not crazy about medieval settings, but if Jody's YA stories are as well written as her historicals - and I can't imagine that not being the case - then I would probably enjoy them as well. Best wishes in the drawing, Sydney.

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  5. I read Jody's first few books and really enjoyed The Doctor's Lady, and A Noble Groom! You really can't go wrong with any of her books.

    pattymh2000(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Patty, I had forgotten The Doctor's Lady . . . Must read it soon! A Noble Groom is one of my favorites and I thought the cover was swoon-worthy. As always, thanks for visiting, Patty.

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  6. I love Jody's books. She has such a flare for writing. I don't have a set book that I enjoy reading of hers' but that I love all her books.

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    1. Tammy, the phrase "consistently excellent" comes to mind with Jody's books. She does indeed have a flare for writing, and I can't imagine all the time she must put into research. It certainly shows.

      Don't forget to leave your email address for the drawing, Tammy. And thanks for visiting today.

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  7. I've read The Preacher's Bride.

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    1. Kathy, there's a couple of Jody's earlier books that I need to read, and that's one of them. So glad you mentioned it.

      Be sure to leave your email address for the drawing. Thanks for visiting today, Kathy.

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  8. Jody Hedlund has become one of my favorite recently new-to-me authors! I LOVE Unending Devotion.

    psalm103and138[at]gmail[dot]com

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    1. Another excellent novel, Caryl! I love seeing which particular books stand out to different people. Best wishes in the drawing, Caryl.

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  9. I've not had the pleasure of reading any of Jody's books as yet, but hope to change that, especially if I win the contest. Thanks for the chance!

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    1. Vickie, if you enjoy historical romance, then you've certainly got some great reading ahead of you when you pick up any one of Jody's books. With the exception of the Beacons of Hope series, all of her books are stand alone. The books in this series have some overlapping characters, but they really stand alone also. Good luck in the contest, Vickie.

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  10. I love Jody's books and I have been reading since her first book, The Preacher's Bride. I haven't read everyone of her books yet, but the ones that I haven't read yet are on my TBR. You can't go wrong with one of her books. I just finished Love Unexpected and it was great!! Thanks for the review of this new book and the chance to win a copy.

    Sheri
    hspruitt at frontiernet DoT net

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    1. Well said, Sheri, and I couldn't agree more. Thanks for sharing and best wishes in the contest.

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  11. Forgot to leave my e-mail address; sorry. vjameson at netzero dot net. Thanks!

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  12. I'm already a fan of Jody's. Love the historical detail that she includes in her books. Could recommend so many, but why not start with the first one, The Preacher's Wife. A powerful story for sure and made me an instant fan.

    ckbarker at gmail dot com

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    1. It's hard to pick just one, isn't it, Cheryl? I've read everything from A Noble Groom on, but need to read Jody's earlier ones. Best wishes in the drawing, Cheryl.

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  13. I loved the couple of books I have read by Jody Hedlund! I am excited to add another one to my to read list. Thank you for sharing this giveaway!
    Cagoar(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. So glad you've been enjoying Jody's books, Cindy. I can highly recommend everything she writes. Thanks for visiting and good luck in the drawing.

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  14. I haven't had the pleasure of reading any of Jody's books, but I hope to read them soon. bonnijean dot marley @ gmail dot com

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    1. Bonnie, if you enjoy historical romance, I can't imagine you not liking Jody's writing. Hope you get to read one of her books soon. Good luck in the drawing.

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  15. I've not yet read any of Jody's books, but they sound so good!

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    1. Trixi, there's more out there than we could ever read, but I hope you get to discover Jody's writing soon. I can highly recommend anything that she writes. Good to see you again, Trixi.

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  16. Ok, forgot my email (as usual, lol!)
    teamob4 (at) gmail (dot) com

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  17. I LOVE Jody's books, but my all-time favorite, as of right now, is Captured By Love.

    grace (dot) olson (dot) 5973 (at) gmail (dot) com

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    1. Grace, I've just about decided that my favorite book of Jody's is whatever I'm currently reading! They're that good, aren't they? Good luck in the drawing.

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  18. I have a few of Jody's books on my bookshelf that I have not gotten to yet. I love that she highlights the Michigan lighthouses. I have a special affinity for them as I grew up in Michigan and my husband proposed to me at the top of the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse. This story sounds sooo interesting. Thanks for the interview and giveaway!
    momrain(AT)aol(DOT)com

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    1. What a treasured memory, Loraine! Jody does an excellent job at weaving storylines around historical detail and I think you'll especially enjoy her lighthouse stories. Thanks for sharing and best wishes in the drawing, Loraine.

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  19. I'm new to her books, but they look really great! I'd love to get my hands on one! mdp94 (at) bellsouth (dot) net

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    1. Morgan, if you enjoy historical romance, then you really need to try one of Jody's books. Thanks for visiting and good luck in the drawing.

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  20. I have not read your books yet but would certainly like too! Denise
    berniercarroll@hotmail.com

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    1. There's some awfully good reading waiting on you, Denise, especially if you enjoy historical romance. Good luck in the drawing.

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  21. How do you choose a favorite when Jody is a great writer and her books are wonderful!

    mauback55 at gmail dot com

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    1. Melanie, I'm almost to the point that whatever book of Jody's that I'm currently reading is my favorite! A Noble Groom was my first read and will always be special, though. Good to see you again and best wishes in the drawing, Melanie.

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  22. The Doctor's Lady is my favorite, I think, although I've loved three of her books. :)
    Visited your FB page.

    frequentreader19 (at) gmail (dot) com

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    1. That's one I'm eager to read, Melanie. Thanks for visiting and good luck in the drawing!

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  23. I've read several of Jody's books. The Noble Groom is my favorite, at least so far. I hope to someday read all of Jody's books. This lighthouse series looks very good and I'm really looking forward to Luther & Katharina.
    pmkellogg56[at]gmail[dot]com

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    1. Pam, The Noble Groom was the first book I read by Jody and it will probably always be my favorite by a slight edge. Loved the cover, by the way! And like you, I'm very eager to see what Jody does with Luther & Katharina's story. Best wishes in the drawing, Pam.

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  24. My favorites are Captured by Love and The Noble Groom.
    rdewey17(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Excellent choices, Rebecca - but then, you can't go wrong with any of Jody's books!

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  25. Love Unexpected, the first in her lighthouse series, was my first exposure to Jody's books. I LOVED her characters and the story she told. I look forward to Hearts Made Whole!

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    1. Pam, I've always been drawn to lighthouses and this series has been fascinating because of the historical detail. But try Jody's earlier books because they're great also.

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  26. I liked Love Unexpected about two people each needing help from one another. They hastily marry and find themselves having to learn to accept each other and make sacrifices. I love stories about lighthouses which ships depend on to help them reach shore safely. I collect lighthouses because they remind me of a beacon of light that penetrates the dark and guides you to safety. I'm glad there is another book in this lovely series. Thanks for the chance to win.
    Jhdwayne(@) peoplepc(dot)com

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    1. Deana, I've always been drawn to lighthouses for the same reason. There's an old gospel song called "The Lighthouse," with the symbolism being that Jesus is our lighthouse, rescuing us from sin - and I think that's why they have such significance for me. I used to collect them also, until I ran out of places to display them. Now I just wear lighthouse t-shirts!

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  27. Hi Everyone! Thank you all for sharing! I really enjoyed hearing about your favorite of my books! I hope you'll all enjoy Hearts Made Whole! Blessings to you!

    And thank you for having me on your blog, Carole! I appreciate you!! :-)

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    1. It is an honor to have you here, Jody, and I hope more readers discover you through this interview. First of many, I hope!

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  28. I am fairly new to Jody's books--I have only read Love Unexpected--but I absolutely loved it and am looking forward to reading more soon!

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    1. So glad you discovered Jody's writing, Mackenzie! Love Unexpected is a great place to begin.

      Be sure to leave your e-mail address for the drawing. Thanks for stopping by, Mackenzie.

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  29. I am new to Jody's books but she certainly sounds like a very talented author!
    pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

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    1. Jody is very talented indeed, Beth. With the exception of this current series, all are standalones. Hope you'll try one soon.

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  30. It's always such a pleasure to visit your blog, Carole. I have really enjoyed reading Jody's books The Preachers Bride and A Noble Groom. I definitely am behind and need to catch up on reading her wonderful books !
    I am looking forward to reading more of her books soon !
    Deanne Patterson
    Cnnamongirl(at)aol(dot)com

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    1. You are so kind, Deanne, thank you. I enjoy meeting fellow readers online, my sisters in Christ, and it is always good to see you here. A Noble Groom was my first of Jody's books and it will always hold a special place. Still have a few of her earlier ones to read, though. Best wishes in the drawing, Deanne.

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  31. I have read several of Jody's books and have yet to be disappointed. :) I have not read either book in this series and would love to win a copy of the latest one.

    thejorns at gmail dot com

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    1. Jessica, I've read all of Jody's books from A Noble Groom on and, like you, have never been disappointed. I have a feeling that you're going to enjoy this series. Best wishes, Jessica!

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  32. I enjoyed reading this post and learning more about Jody Hedlund. Since I am a teacher, I was interested in her response to loving books at an early age. Thanks.
    Susan in NC
    susanlulu(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. So glad I found you, Susan! I rarely get email notifications about your comments, but your name just popped up on my overview screen.

      Some of my most treasured memories are of my mom reading to me, and then later, bringing me a new book twice a month on her payday. My love for books ingrained at an early age!

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  33. I really enjoyed reading Out of the Storm. I think it's great the way Jody Hedlund is paying tribute to the women who ran or helped run the lighthouses in that day. Thank you for the opportunity to enter this giveaway.

    princessdebbie1_2000@yahoo.com

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    1. Debbie, thank you for visiting! Stories involving lighthouses are among my favorites, and that Jody writes about the women involved makes them even more memorable to me.So glad you're interested in her books, and best wishes in the drawing.

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  34. I love the Michigan Bride series, especially A Noble Groom. Beside great reads, these are some of the most beautiful book covers. I always appreciate a nice cover.

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  35. Sorry, i forgot my email. tlhcoupon(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  36. A wonderful interview - thank you, Jody and Carole!! I am fascinated with lighthouses and have pics of many that I've seen while traveling. I lived in the Detroit area for a year - in the 70's, wish I had known about the Windmill Point lighthouse then.

    I love the fact that Jody is highlighting courageous women of the past in her books, and that she isn't afraid to tackle tough subjects. My fave books are those that deal with tough topics and contain a lot of emotion. Can't wait to read "Hearts Made Whole", it sounds like such an exciting book - as does "Luther and Katharina".

    bonnieroof60(at)yahoo(dot)com
    Shared post!!

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  37. I have seen Jody's books in the stores but haven't read any... yet. Would love to bring this one to Nicaragua with me during our 6 months of yearly mission work.

    missionwife at hotmail dot com

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  38. Hello Carole. I am already one of your followers. Love you blog. Jody, how many lighthouses have you visited. On of my daughters visited some lighthouses on a vacation in 2009. I have some of Jody's books but haven't got to read them yet.
    Would love to win this one. Maxie > mac262(at)me(dot)com <

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  39. OK carole. This one will be short. I already wrote a long one and when published it was deleted and said must leave a comment. Have not read one of Jody's books but would love to win this. Maxie > mac262(at)me(dot)com <

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  40. Yes, I am new to Jody but don't want to be for long. I love historical fiction and will check out my libraries for her books. My husband and I saw many lighthouses in Maine on our honeymoon. I have seen winter pictures of some of them on Lake Michigan. I cannot even imagine keeping one of those in January! Thanks for sharing this interview and the books.
    ~ linda
    lindawoven [at] beingwoven [dot] org
    @ http://the-reader-and-the-book-reviews.weebly.com/blog/scarlett-gray-joins-the-parade-by-suzanne-stamboulieh-a-give-away
    and @ http://beingwoven.org

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