Monday, April 30, 2012

Introducing Sherri Wilson Johnson
To Dance Once More

To Dance Once More is the story of Lydia Jane Barrington, a Victorian debutante. Lydia lives on a plantation in Florida under the watchful eye of her father. She's quite an independent young lady who doesn't want to fall into the trap (as she sees it) that her mother and sisters have fallen into  - marriage and motherhood. She wants to travel the world and experience life before giving her heart to a man. One day, her eyes are opened to love and no matter what, she cannot forget the blissful feeling it causes. She begins to believe that love isn't such a bad thing after all. Then she discovers a secret that prohibits any of her dreams from coming true, She begins a quest to free herself and her family from a future in bondage. Hearts are broken and lives are torn apart because of Lydia's own selfishness. Will she surrender to a call that God placed on her life and be able to experience life after all? 

Welcome Sherri. I'm thrilled to introduce you Downunder. Tell us about yourself. I am from Georgia in the United States. I live northwest of Atlanta with my husband of twenty-four years, my two children and our two dogs. I love to write, read, eat ice-cream, ride roller coasters and make people laugh. I someday hope to pet a Bengal tiger and go skydiving. I love Jesus and hope to spread His love to the whole world through my writing.

I love a good romance. Tell us how you came to write this book. To Dance Once More is a story that joins together my love of the Victorian era, the beach, and pure romance. As a young adult, I began reading romances but they were not always clean reads. I've always loved to write and once I became convicted about reading books that were not appropriate, I knew I could never write such books. I wanted my writing to glorify the Lord and my reading had to as well. I wrote my first novel in 1985 but decided it was not good so I burned it in the fireplace. It wasn't until 1993 that I began writing again and that is when To Dance Once More was born. You sound like a kinderd spirit. We share a love of the beach, romance and the Victorian era. But more about that another day....

If you share a love of history like me, you must wish you could visit another era. I enjoy the Victorian times with the balls and courting and slow pace of things so much that I think I would enjoy living in that time. Men were proper and chivalrous then, and purity, although maybe not important to everyone, was at least the social norm. I am very passionate about waiting until marriage for sex and living in the Victorian times would make it easier on people to remain pure. That's exactly why I love that era. Values were upheld across society. 

What about real life travel? Have you been to Australia? I have not been to Australia but would love to visit, as long as I could hear the wonderful Aussie accents. I have always wanted to see the Sydney Opera House, the Great Barrier Reef, and Ayers Rock. And since my absolute favourite is playing in the ocean, I think I would like to crash around in your great waves. You will love it, when you finally get here. I will be your guide and show you some of those amazing beaches, with my very best Aussie accent.

How has writing this book changed you? I thought I knew a lot about writing because I had read so many novels. With the mistakes of my first novel taken into consideration, I thought I was an expert. After receiving rejection after rejection I decided to take a writing course. There I learned a great deal about not only writing novels but also about writing proposals. Eventually To Dance Once More was accepted for publication and that gave me the courage to complete my second and third novels. It taught me the importance of admitting my imperfections and how to improve them. It gave me the confidence to put myself out there for others to read. I'm so glad you persisted, Sherri. You surrendered to the call God placed on your heart, even through difficult times.

If you would like an e-copy of To Dance Once More, please leave a comment below and I will announce the winner on Friday.  In the meantime, please enjoy this excerpt.

April 6, 1886 

The warm sun beamed through the lace curtains covering the whitewashed windows of Lydia Jane Barrington’s bedchamber. Her home at Live Oaks Plantation sat on the outskirts of Gulf Resort, Florida, a modern, bustling port. Outside, the mourning doves cooed, and the bushy-tailed squirrels scampered about the lawn. Chickens clucked while they pecked at the ground eagerly gathering corn kernels. In the distance, cows mooed, waiting for the farm hand to milk them, unaware that summer waited patiently for its chance to scorch the land. A salty breeze blew across Lydia’s porcelain face and called her from her deep slumber. Her curtains rose with the breeze and jerked down quickly, slamming back against the windowsill. She stretched with a yawn, and as morning nudged her, languorously she opened her eyes. She slid from her bed, cast the covers onto the floor, and sauntered across the sun-drenched room. Her crystal blue eyes sparkled like the sun on the ocean in the morning. Her hair, an auburn-colored cascading waterfall, was a gift from her mother’s side of the family. She went to the window and, pushing back the curtains, looked out at the plantation. The moss-draped live oaks and the towering cypress trees painted shadow puppets on the ground. The sun shone on the land as far as Lydia could see. 

Lydia put on the pastel-blue cotton dress her Aunt Rebecca had made for her, then gazed out her window and drank in the scenery. As a child, she had stared out this same window and dreamed, like most young girls, about being the lady of her own manor with many children. However, over the past year, during moments like this, she wondered what else the world had to offer beyond what her eyes could see, away from this vast estate. She did not want to be like all the women she knew who seemingly disappeared in the shadows of their husbands. She feared most of all a betrothal to someone whom her father chose for her; forced into a loveless relationship simply to increase her father’s money pouch. To her, that was nothing more than slavery, and slavery no longer existed, thanks to the Civil War.  She wanted to travel and see the entire world, not simply entertain guests who had come from exotic locations around the world. 

Twitter: swj_the writer

Friday, April 27, 2012


The winner of this week's book give-away is Crystal Mary Lindsey. 
Congratulations, Crystal Mary, 
you should receive your copy of Shawn Lamb's
 The Hugenot Sword very soon. 
Thanks to all who've visited Ink Dots this week. 
May you each enjoy a wonderful weekend, 

(photo source - noperfectdayforbananafish)
Who's your Doppelganger?

My Ink Dots guest this week once stood in as a stunt double for Bo Derek. Shawn Lamb can fence like a top musketeer and had no trouble doing what she had to, to pass as someone else in a movie scene.

Others don't need to work so hard. After a double take, people often ask my daughter if she's Taylor Swift. (Sorry, different country, different accent. Same gorgeous hair though.) And one of my son's teachers looks exactly like Rove McManus, an Aussie TV identity.

My sisters-in-law tell me how much I remind them of Anne Hathaway. 'There's Dorothy,' they say when they see Anne on the screen. 

Um.. perhaps. When she's goofy. In those scenes before she has the makeover!

I'm so glad God knows me for who I am. His knowledge of each of us is so intimate, there's no confusion when we look like another one of His people. Because He's interested in our hearts. In the unseen attitudes which define us. Behind the goofiness, the hair and smile.

But what God sees often spills into what others see too. 

A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.
 Proverbs 15:13.

What do people see when they look into your face? Do people say you look like someone else? 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Still Pretending?

When our sons were young, they loved to play Robin Hood. They'd swipe coat hangers, grip them like bows and shoot pretend arrows at pretend baddies.

Our daughter would have none of that. She fashioned a school room out of her bedroom floor and lined it with a row of diligent stuffed animals. When she wasn't busy teaching, she was walking down the aisle in a tangle of bridal frills and frou-frou from the dress up box.

Childhood games of pretend are so much fun. Even better when swords and pink tulle turn us into something amazing. Something out of the ordinary and closer to the characters we love to read about.

Not to be left out, I've relished the odd dress up party. Our little costume box has grown to 6 boxes now, and friends know to come to Crabapple House when they need something crazy for a party.

My favourite is a red cape I wore as part of an 1850s costume, when I went on a school camp with my son Tom. There was no way my posse of ten year olds would lose sight of me. I looked and felt the part, and knew I'd nailed my costume when a Japanese tourist asked if I worked in the historical park, during our bathroom break.

' Oh no.' I retied the ribbon at my chin and found my best gold rush smile. 'I just love to wear olden day costumes.'

Because you're never too old to play with aprons and bonnets. Never too old to walk the plank with a crooked eyeliner moustache. And you're never, ever, too old to dress your Beloved as the Big Bad Wolf.

Yes, if you have one, there's always a good reason to don a red hooded cape. Always.

Are you a fan of fancy dress? What was your favourite pretend game when you were young?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Shawn Lamb
Author of The Huguenot Sword

Ever played Three Musketeers with your brother using rulers or wooden spoons? Today I'm introducing Shawn Lamb, author of The Huguenot Sword. Shawn is an award-winning screenwriter and author of historical fiction. She lives in Nashville, TN with her husband and daughter, and a history of en guarde moments. Here's the blurb for The Huguenot Sword.

For Faith. For Friendship. For Freedom. In the time of Louis XIII, when being a Protestant could mean death, The Huguenot Sword roamed the streets of Paris by night, defending those faithful to the young heretical religion. The nobility scorned them as ruffians, to the oppressed Protestants they were saviors, but to the Cardinal Guards they were a pestilence needing to be terminated. The situation becomes desperate when those in power launched a bold plan to destroy the group. One wrong move can be fatal. But the ordeal of Paris pales in comparison to the possible annihilation of their faith and people at the battle of La Rochelle.

Welcome Shawn. Tell us about your family. I’ve been married to my best friend and most wonderful husband for 27 years. God blessed us with fantastic daughter, Briana. Rob and I used to work in children’s animation in Los Angeles. Rob also worked on Fat Albert and The Cosby Kids. Wow, that's really cool! Fat Albert was one of my favourite TV shows. 

How did you come to write this book? The Huguenot Sword began as a tribute to the swashbuckling movies I adored as a kid and historical fiction books I devoured. I wasn’t the typical girl playing with dolls or house. No, I ran about with a stick pretending to be D’Artagnan or Scaramouche. In fact, I studied fencing and was even cast as the fencing stunt-double for Bo Derek in a pirate movie in the early 1980s. A stunt double for Bo Derek! Now that's not a detail you read about every day! 

What’s the most fascinating thing you discovered in your research for this book? One character, who made the most impact on me is Rohan. In a time when political and religious allegiances changed as easy as set of clothes, Rohan could not be bought or cajoled or threatened. He embraced his beliefs and, though not perfect, was a man of integrity in the time where switching sides for advancement in station and political expediency was commonplace. He sounds like a great hero.

I can tell you love interesting locations. Have you been to Australia? No, my only travel outside the U.S. was to England, Scotland and Wales. I’d like to visit Australia. Only they would have to sedate me  – I have a fear of flying, and 13 to 14 hours over mostly water would make me a wreck! I hear you. I'm no fan of long haul flights either. 

What's on the horizon for Shawn Lamb? I continue to write. I’m not just the author of historical fiction, but also the YA fantasy series, Allon. I began writing it at the request of my daughter when she was in high school. She doesn’t like anything too dark, more along the lines of old fashion fantasies like Lewis and Tolkien, so that’s what I did. Two of the Allon series are scheduled for release this year, along with a new historical fiction. Congratulations! What a busy writer. 

Where can we find you on the internet? My website's There, you'll find my daughter Briana, as one of my characters, Shannon. She designed her costume, and featured in the photo shoot with Shannon's companion, a real wolf. A real wolf! That's some photo shoot!

For your chance to win a free Kindle version of Shawn's book, please leave a comment below. The winner will be announced on Friday, but in the meantime, here's a peek at The Huguenot Sword.

  Chapter One

A large man of twenty-three years, dressed in black doublet, breeches and cloak stood by the door. He peeked out the small opening of the door into the dark night. Standing several inches over six feet, he had to peer down through the opening. He shrugged the cloak over his shoulder to move for a better view. The black gloves he wore were stretched to the brink of ripping in an attempt to cover his massive hands. Thick sable hair hung like a wavy mane about his face. On the table in the center of the room were a large black hat and mask.
Beside the table stood a young man of roughly the same age, only a head shorter and thirty pounds lighter. His black outfit was almost identical to his companion and he wore the black mask. He held his hat, fingers nervous in clenching the brim. Even with the mask, his blonde hair and mustache were in marked contrast to his dark disguise. The lamp on the table burned low, yet danced in his hazel eyes, which changed shades with his mood. His focus shifted from a hallway leading further into the house to the door.
Dominic,” he hissed to get the attention of the other. “Any sign of the Cardinal’s men?”
No.” Dominic turned from his vigil to glance down the hall. “What of Arsène?”
Nothing yet, and they should be ready to leave.”
Both became alert at hearing running feet coming down the hall and a harsh call, “Make ready!”
Dominic slammed the opening shut and moved to stand beside his companion.
Arsène,” he said to Dominic upon recognizing the voice.
A third young man dressed in identical clothes appeared, only with black hair, clean-shaven, handsome features and blue eyes illuminated by the candlelight. He removed his hat, tossed it onto the table and withdrew a mask from his doublet pocket to put on.
They mimicked Arsène in donning the masks and placing their hats securely on their heads.
De Lacy?” Arsène asked Dominic.
No. Maybe we succeeded in thwarting the traitor.”
Whether we did or didn’t, does not change what must be done. Philipe, the west route,” he said to the blond man then held out his right arm. “For faith.”
For friendship,” said Philipe, taking hold of Arsène’s arm.
For freedom,” said Dominic, adding his hand to make a triangle of clasped arms.

Friday, April 20, 2012

When The Gravestone Tells The Story

Have you ever searched for something... only to find more than you bargained for?

My guest author for the week, Stephanie Grace Whitson, found inspiration, as well as names for her characters in lonely graveyards. Not surprising, as cemeteries offer wonderful story threads at every turn. I've toured my share of graveyards with my Beloved, and squirrelled away juicy details for future projects.

Most of what we learn from tombstones has a few holes in it, so filling the gaps is every writer's idea of a fun game. Unless of course you Google your name and find yourself in a digital cemetery!

Really... I mean look at this!

Did you get a shiver when you worked out the creepiness of this graveyard find?

While my husband John, and I, are very much alive and in no way associated (that we know of) with the dear already or soon-to-be departed in this picture, I can't help wonder freak out there's a grave somewhere, with my name on it.

With OUR names on it!

And the lesson in all this.... Writer or no writer, sometimes, it's not cool to poke around the resting place of dead people. You never know what you might find... waiting for you.

Have you ever Googled your name?

You might be like my friend Amanda Deed. If she Googled Amanda Deed-Ink Dots, she would be one happy blog follower this week. She's the winner of The Key in the Quilt, by Stephanie Grace Whitson. Now that's a whole lot better than your name on a tombstone!

What about you? What do you find when you Google your name? Creepy stories allowed.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Crabapple House

Do you have a favourite souvenir?

On Monday, Stephanie Grace Whitson shared her love of all things history, in particular her love of quilts. Now I've dabbled in a little quilt making, but what I love more is seeing a finished piece by those who really know what they're doing.

That's why my Beloved was happy to drive us around every bend in the road when we visited Nappanee in Indiana, in my search for a real Amish quilt to call my own. Our trip to the US marked our 40th birthdays, and we decided one and only one souvenir would be enough for us both.

And what better treasure to bring home than something we can both see and use each day. Our gorgeous quilt claims pride of place on our bed, and if it's not cool enough for another layer, we say, 'We don't need Indiana.'

Thankfully, the seasons are turning in Melbourne now, and my favourite Autumn is finally nudging her way in. While April is meant to bring a fall of leaves and temperatures, we've not really had much need for Indiana...  yet.  But I'm looking forward to colder nights, where the fire fills our room with a honey glow, the peppermint tea steams on the bedside table and we have every excuse to drag Indiana to our chins, once more.

What's your favourite souvenir?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Stephanie Grace Whitson
Author of The Key on the Quilt
(source - Stephanie Grace Whitson, & rhubarb in the garden)

This week it's my pleasure to introduce Stephanie Grace Whitson. Stephanie is the author of The Key on the Quilt She's made a career out of playing with imaginary friends, and it all started in an abandoned pioneer cemetery. That cemetery provided not only a hands-on history lesson for Stephanie's home schooled children but also a topic of personal study as she began to read about and be encouraged by the pioneer women who settled the American West.  

The Key on the Quilt
- Peek into Nebraska State Penitentiary history, where three women seek God's plan for their lives. The latest from Christy Award finalist, Stephanie Grace Whitson, the Key to the Quilt. Three women face trial, betrayal, and redemption in historic Nebraska. Convicted of murder, Jane Prescott begins serving her ten-year sentence. Will the prison doctor be able to balm her broken spirit? Mamie Dawson believes God has called her to be a matron of the women's prison dormitory. Are the attentions of a homely guard another part of god's plan for Mamie? Ellen Sullivan, the warden's wife, is teaching literacy to the female convicts. Can this endeavour change her preconceptions of these incarcerated women? What will a cryptic quilt connecting these ladies reveal about one woman's past and mean for all their futures?

Welcome to Ink Dot's, Stephanie. Tell us about yourself. Who are the most important people in your life right now? My family. My husband of nearly nine years (our first spouses died of cancer and the four of us were all very good friends) who works so hard to provide for us. The young parents seeking God’s wisdom as they raise my grandchildren, the young fathers working hard to provide, the moms learning to be the women God desires, the husbands and wives developing relationships that honor Him and serving their local churches and neighborhoods and co-workers.All together, they own center stage in my prayer life. That sounds like a busy bunch of favourite people! 

What inspired you to write The Key on the QuiltI heard an intriguing story about an actual quilt in a collection in Arizona and made arrangements to see it at a museum there. The “key on the quilt” combined with a couple of true stories I’d read years ago about the Nebraska state penitentiary women’s division from the late 1800s, and eventually three diverse women danced into my imagination and said, “tell our story.” Wow, that's some inspiration! 

How do you choose your characters’ names? Sometimes from collecting names off tombstones in historic cemeteries, sometimes from other historical archival records. I want my characters’ names to be authentic for the times, and yet they need to resonate with today’s reader. That can take a little bit of pondering as I get to know the character’s personality. Cemeteries have a way of whispering stories, don't they?

Have you been to Australia?  If yes, what fascinated you the most? Or...What would you like to experience if you had the chance to visit? I haven’t had the joy of visiting Australia but I adore travel and would love to visit someday. Of course we Americans are always fascinated by what we call the “accent” … I suppose we are the ones with the accent when we visit.   The size of Australia would be daunting to me as a visitor. I’m sure there wouldn’t be time to savor everything I’d like to experience. Sometimes, when I fall in love with a place, I really wish I could move there for a few months. Even then, I know there would be limitations in what I could learn/see/do. I know a few Australian quilters thanks to my quilting life who do astonishing textile work. If I visited I’d be about the historical sites and art museums … my husband would be about the diving. And we’d both enjoy the cuisine. You certainly wouldn't have any trouble filling your days here. I hope you get to visit soon!

What’s next for Stephanie Whitson? A Christmas novella collection called A Patchwork Christmas with Judith Miller and Nancy Moser releases in September along with book 2 in this Quilt Chronicles series titled The Shadow on the Quilt. And then book 3 will come out next spring: The Message on the QuiltAnd then … we shall see. I have proposal circulating … always historical fiction. That’s my passion when it comes to writing. The link to history. I'm so excited for you, Stephanie. I love all things history too, and quilts. I can't wait to read this series!

For your chance to win a copy of Stephanie's book, please leave a comment below and check back here on Friday to see if you're the lucky winner! In the meantime please enjoy this excerpt from The Key on the Quilt.

April 1876
Dawson County, Nebraska

                 If it wasn’t for the occasional night when he tried to kill her, Owen wouldn’t be a bad husband. Jane Marquis risked a sideways glance at him. Moonlight and shadows revealed an all-too-familiar expression on his weathered face, as Owen guided the wagon across the spring prairie toward home.

                Doing her best to suppress a shiver, Jane ducked her head and closed her eyes. Oh … God. It wasn’t much of a prayer, but it was the best she could do. God hadn’t seemed interested in answering her prayers for some time now. When the wagon lurched, she grabbed the edge of her seat with her right hand, lest she be thrown against him.

                From where she lay sleeping in a tangle of quilts in the wagon bed, Rose whimpered. She stirred but did not awaken as the wagon lurched back up out of the ruts on the trial. Thank God for that. If only Rose would sleep through until morning. By then it would be over. Owen would smile and tease her from across the breakfast table, and everything would be fine.

Friday, April 13, 2012

When History Collides with Reality

On Wednesday I shared a little about my first paid writing success. At fifteen, a $50 cheque and publication in a national magazine set me on a life altering course. My name appeared at the bottom of the page as the author of words! I couldn't wish for more. Well, perhaps the spine of an historical romance....

My family, teachers and friends all cheered my achievement and spurred me onto better things, and I wrapped that New Idea magazine in plastic and cherished my article within.

I am so glad there's no 1980's celebrity on the cover. As a lover of history, I'm happy to have shared my fifteen minutes of fame with a future king. One whose daily life has played out in the public eye for much more than fifteen minutes. 

His every step has been watched on its way to a royal throne, while I get to quietly sift through some of the details of life when his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II's, great, great grandmother, Queen Victoria, reigned. 

While I enjoy sharing this tiny 'brush' with royalty, I'm more excited about an appointment I have with an Eternal King. It's not booked in for sometime when He's free to see me. I'm already in His presence. And unlike my well preserved magazine which will ultimately fall into a pile of dust, my name is written in the book of life. Never to be erased.

Prince William has no clue about our shared appearance in the New Idea. But the record stands in my relationship with the Lord Jesus. It's etched in God's book and there's no better place to see my name. 

I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life
but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels. 
Revelation 3:5

Here's another name. Susan J Reinhardt, you're my lucky book winner for the week. Please email me @ to receive your own copy of Casa de Naomi. 
Thanks to all who entered to win. I have another great book offer on Monday, so stay tuned. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Fifteen and Chasing Dreams

What were you doing when you were fifteen?

On Monday, Paula Rose Michelson shared a little about her book, Casa de Naomi: House of Blessing. Her heroine is a fifteen year old girl who makes a new life for herself in America.

This sent a shiver down my spine, as my own father made his immigrant journey from Greece to Australia when he was only fifteen years old.  His story has always inspired me.

My grandfather had already left the family to create a simple home for them in Australia, and my father was next to leave the nest. I didn't come to appreciate how much this meant until I became a mother myself. I would often look at my eldest son during his fifteenth year and wonder how my grandmother parted with her child at such a tender age. My other son will be fifteen next year. Not a time I would wish to put him on an immigrant ship.

Then there was the dream chasing. The dream for a better life, free from the ravages inflicted upon post-war Europe. A bountiful table and strife free days were all most immigrants longed for. But to find this dream, others had to be relinquished. My dad had to forget his desire for further study, leave his homeland and some of his identity. One minute he was sitting on top his own mountain, the next, being transplanted into a new world.

When I was fifteen, I studied the Australian immigrant story in my English class. I must have been a history nerd back then already, and tried to capture some of what this meant to me as a first generation Australian.

I sent my impressions to a weekly women's magazine, to be rewarded a few months later with a $50 cheque and my first published story. My writing-dream sails filled that day. My moorings were unwound and I found myself adrift with a beautiful dream.

What were your dreams at age fifteen?

Monday, April 09, 2012

Interview with Paula Rose Michelson
Author of Casa de Naomi: The House of Blessing

(Source - Paula Rose Michelson & No Perfect Day For Banana Fish)

Today it's my pleasure to introduce Paula Rose Michelson. Paula is the founder of LAMB Ministries, which helps women recover from trauma and abuse through the effective use of scripture, and prayer. She leads a monthly writers group at Congregation Ben David in Orange, California, and serves with her husband, Ron, with Chosen People Ministries. The mother of two married daughters, and grandmother of seven grandchildren, when not writing, speaking, or teaching the effective use of scripture, you will find Paula researching her next book or meeting with friends. 

Welcome to Ink Dots, Paula. Tell us a little about your book. My book is Casa de Naomi: The House of Blessing. Fifteen-year-old Naomi wants to practice her faith in public, find her uncle, and help him raise enough money to bring their family to America. To accomplish this she agrees to companion a blind, old woman whose family plans to tour Europe and settle in the United States. Her plans are thwarted when the woman passes away aboard ship, and Naomi is handed over to immigration. While she awaits her interview, an old Tía comes to Naomi’s rescue and offers to take her in. With nowhere to go and no one to turn to, Naomi agrees and unwittingly enters the country illegally.

This is Naomi’s journey from adolescence to womanhood, from frightened isolation and captivity to the noble status of heiress with a mission and responsibility many would shirk placed upon her shoulders. Along the way, she contends with piercing memories, hurtful loss, jealous opponents, a devious lawyer, and a curious priest. Through each step of this journey, she guards two secrets she dare not share with anyone, not even Chaz, the man she has married. Will she keep his love when he discovers who she really is? Find out in the first book of Paula Rose Michelson’s saga, Casa de Naomi: The House of Blessing. I really like the sound of that story. People making new lives in far away countries always interest me. That's been my own family's story. 

Tell us a little about your family. I am the second generation of my family to be born in America. My grandparents immigrated from Jewish Schettles in Europe, which probably resembled the one seen in Fiddler on the Roof. My grandfather Louis owned a Jewish bakery off Fairfax in Los Angles. My grandfather Charlie built row upon row of apartment buildings in the San Fernando Valley. My mother was a stay at home – but very busy with charity work - mom. Wow! I love hearing immigrant stories. My own background is that of European families making a new life for themselves in Australia. 

What's the main theme you wish readers to take away when they read your book? Primarily as we think, we are. No matter where we run to we cannot escape our inner reality. I hope that people will realize how their view of others can shape their history is a passion of mine. And lastly but of primary import, is the reality that whether seen or unseen God is always at work!

If you could follow one historical person for one day and one night, who would it be, and why? As a missionary and the wife of one, who is also as Pastor/Preacher/teacher,  my passion is to draw close to our Messiah (Jesus) so I would love to be able to physically follow him!

Have you been to Australia? If yes, what fascinated you the most? Or...What would you like to experience if you had the chance to visit? If I were able to visit Downunder, my greatest joy would be meeting those like Alexandra who bought my first book before it was published. She’s given me an open invitation to stay with her and meet all her mates, and of course Dorothy, I’d love to visit you as well. Since I love to eat, I would love to go to all the great barbi places, and hope to cook and have everyone over so they can taste some Jewish food as well! Food always brings people together, and I'm sure you will love a good old Aussie BBQ. I hope we get to meet around my table someday, Paula. 

What are you working on now? 
Since Casa de Naomi: The House of Blessing is a six-book saga, and since my publisher accepted the second manuscript one month after the first novel released, I’m busy editing book two while doing signings, and presentations for book one. That's fantastic. Congratulations, and I look forward to hearing more about your coming books. Thanks for sharing your story with us here at Ink Dots. 

Where can we find you on the internet?
Please visit me at
Casa de Naomi Reflections Blog at
My Year of 5,000 Books Blog at 
Should you wish to email me you’ll find me at

Here's a peek at the first page of Paula's book. Leave a comment below and you will be in the running to win your own e-book copy of Casa de Naomi: House of Blessing! Check here on Friday to see if you're the lucky winner! You have until them to add your comment. 

A Safe Haven
            Naomi knew she was in trouble the moment the immigration official had told her, he was taking her to Ellis Island. No immigrants had disembarked there since the end of World War I. Someone had told her that the authorities could remove a passenger from a ship because of a problem with their paperwork. Yet even when she sat where the man had pointed and closed her eyes, she refused to believe that her situation was as dire as it appeared.

            Her mind brought her back to the moment her life had changed forever. She could still hear herself scream, “Abuela Sosa, please do not be dead,” sobbing while she had tried to shake the old woman awake. The next thing she remembered was that the old woman’s daughter-in-law had packed her meager belongings into her suitcase. Unable to stop herself, she demanded, “You have no need of me anymore? I gave you a year of my life! Your esposo—I mean, your husband—promised he would help me enter America and search for my uncle if I took care of his madre!” As she uttered the words, her sorrow had mounted, for the kindhearted old woman had treated her as if she were her very own kin. However, that was certainly not true of the daughter-in-law, who seemed unfazed by the old woman’s death as she dispassionately closed the lid to the girl’s suitcase and stared at her. Why is she in such a hurry to rid herself of me before the doctor examines Abuela Sosa and declares her dead? She remembered the secretive phone call the woman had answered worried that the family had somehow discovered that the last name she had given was not hers, felt a knot in her stomach, and knew her worst fears were going to come true.

            Naomi believed that immigration would never let her stay in America now, and closed her eyes. Only when the boat docked and the man grabbed her arm to hurry her onto the wharf did she open them.”

            They entered a building and turned down a dark corridor. The man pointed to a chair in a stark office. She nodded, entered, sat down on the hard, wooden chair, and clutched her worn, brown, leather suitcase to her chest. An official took a man into a room. Before the door shut, she heard his interview begin.
            She believed hers would be next, closed her eyes, and tried to think about her answers. But all she could think of was that her bright plans of coming to America to find her uncle were for naught. She remembered leaving her family in the middle of the night without an explanation or a good-bye and tears threatened to fall. I was a fool to agree to work for no wage because Mr. Sosa promised to help me achieve my dream when we arrived. She thought of all she had left, Mr. Sosa’s promise, and admitted, He lied to me!
            Her thoughts returned to Abuela Sosa’s death. She could almost hear the old woman say, as she had the day they first met, “Many get to America. But getting into America can be difficult.”
            I should not be here, she told herself while she tried to still her fidgeting. My entry into America should have been easy. Everything was attended to at the American Consulate before we left Spain—my documents, my medical history … I filled each paper out with the utmost care!
            She looked around the waiting room. She was the only one there. Aware of the stories of the chosen few who were allowed to enter the country, she tried to think of anything but the future she feared and remembered reading that the original buildings had burnt to the ground and nonflammable materials had been used when they rebuilt the facility. It must have been an awful fire. Still

            When she heard the door to the office open, she looked at the wall clock and realized that at least an hour had passed since she sat down. An official took the man they had interviewed away. He left the door open at another man’s request. Hoping she might hear the men she assumed would decide her fate; she leaned forward in her chair, saw them pace back and forth, and listened to their conversation.

            “Too bad the grandmother died,” she heard the large man say, his voice filled with what she prayed was sympathy for her plight.
            “She has no sponsor. We must send her back to Spain.”
            “But she says she has no people,” a man she could not see said.
            “I tried to call the lady but was told she was out,” the small man said.
            Naomi saw the large man wait while the man she had not seen left the office. Then he turned to his associate. “I told you not to speak about that!”
            “It doesn’t make any difference. I left a message, but there’s no one to help the girl.” He looked at his watch. “We can’t wait any longer. It’s already five thirty. The office should have closed half an hour ago.
            The large man glanced at his watch. “You’re right. We can’t wait any longer. Ask her to come in.”

            The teenager was certain they were going to send her back and muttered, “Oh, Adonai, I cannot go back there!” When she heard her own words, she thought, Perhaps in America I should speak with Adonai in English, so she pled, “Oh, God, please help me … I cannot go back there!”
            An old woman sat down next to her. “Would you like to stay in America?”
            “Si!” Naomi wondered where the old woman had come from and why she had asked her such a question. She feared that the woman might not understand her, so she switched to English. “I mean, yes, I would. I would love to stay.”
            The old woman smiled. “I will arrange it for you.”
            Naomi gasped. Maybe God is watching out for me after all!

            The small man stuck his head out of the door to the office, caught Naomi’s eye, and motioned for her to enter as he left.
            When she stood, the old woman rose as well. “Say nothing,” the old woman whispered. “Let me talk.” They walked into the office together.
            In seconds, Naomi and the old woman stood before the large man. He frowned. It seemed to her that the lines on his face were so deeply etched that he had never heard of the word smile. This man has the power to send me back to a life I wish never to see again, she told herself while she tried to steady her wobbly legs.
            The man pointed toward the chairs, which faced his desk. “Sit down please. We have very little time.” He fixed his dark eyes on the old woman. “Since you did not answer your phone, I thought you might be done with this business.”
            “You know how it is with me, Victor.” She reached into her oversized purse and handed him a sheaf of papers.
            “Sí, claro.” Victor seemed to smile with relief as he replaced the girl’s official papers with the documents the woman had handed him. “Still looking for that special one, eh, Tía?”
            “But of course.”
            He reviewed the documents. “I see you are still using the same lawyer.”
            “Yes. He is able to help me in my work.”
            Victor turned his attention to Naomi. “This lady will vouch for you so you can stay here. Would you like to stay in America?”
            “Sí, I would like to stay very much.” She peeked at the old woman. She looks just like mi tía Rosa, the same stark white hair, the same small frame, the same dignity of bearing, the same edge to her voice, and, I am certain, the same caring heart.