Monday, May 14, 2012

Lena Nelson Dooley

It's my pleasure to introduce Lena Nelson Dooley, author of Mary's Blessing. I met Lena in 2010, at the ACFW conference in Indianapolis and know first hand, of her generous spirit and love for other authors. Lena is an award winning author with more than 690,000 books in print.

Lena loves James, her children, grandchildren and great grandson. She loves chocolate, cherries, and spending time with friends. Travel is always on her horizon. Cruising, Galveston, and the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas, Mexico. Helping others becomce published really floats her boat, with eighteen signing their first book contract after her mentoring. Three of her books have been awarded the Carol Award silver pins, and she has received the ACFW Mentor of the Year award.

Lena is currently under two 3 book contracts with Charisma House/Realms. In addition to her writing Lena is a frequent speaker at women's groups, writers groups and conferences.

Mary's Blessing - When her mother dies, Mary Lenora must grow up quickly to take care of her brothers  and sisters. Can love help her shoulder the burden?

Mary Lenora knows she is adopted. As she was growing up, her mother called her "God's blessing." But now that she's gone, Mary no longer feels like any kind of blessing. Her father, in his grief, has cut himself off from the family, leaving the running of the home entirely in Mary's hands.

As she nears her eighteenth birthday, Mary can't see anything in her future but drudgery. Then her childhood friend Daniel begins to court her, promising her a life of riches and ease. But her fairy-tale dreams turn to dust when her family becomes too much for Daniel, and he abandons her in her time of deepest need.

Will Daniel come to grips with God's plan for him? And if he does return, can Mary trust that this time he will really follow through?

Welcome to Ink Dots, Lena. It's a thrill to have you 'visit'. Tell us a little about your family. My husband and I have been married almost 48 years. We have two daughters, two sons-in-law, two grandsons, two granddaughters and one great grandson. We all live in Texas, except one grandson who is overseas in the army. Wow, 48 years! Congratulations, and what a blessing to be surrounded by your loved ones. 

Mary's Blessing is an historical romance. What's the main theme you wish readers to take away when they read this book? One theme of Mary's Blessing is how to deal with a poor self image, but the main theme is forgiveness. I'm a storyteller who takes her characters through hard situations and shows how they learn to trust God in all things.

You enjoy travelling. Have you ever been to Australia?  I fell in love with Australia decades ago, long before the rest of the people in our country did. I have never been there, but I would love to go. However, I have visited your country through the written word. I've read every novel I could get my hands on set in Australia and I've read non-fiction books about Australia, and I have had a large collection of National Geographic Magazines about Australia. I'd love to see Ayers Rock and Coober Pedy. The tropical rain forest and the Great Barrier Reef, the Snowy Mountains and Tasmania. Actually I'd love to have a motor home and spend a couple of months just going where we want to and visiting with the Australian people. You would need months, maybe years to do all that! I hope you get to visit someday soon. Until then, we'll have to get to know you better through your many books. 

Here's a taste of Lena's Mary's Blessing. If you would like to read more of Lena's stories, please leave a comment below and you will have the chance to win a print copy of book one in this series, Maggie's Journey. 

Mary's Blessing

Chapter 1
Outside Oregon City
April 1885

                     "Pa?" Mary Lenora Murray shouted back over her shoulder as she picked up the picnic basket. "You ready to go?" Why does he always drag his feet when we go to church?
                      Her father came through the mud room into the kitchen, letting the screen door slam shut behind him. He smelled of heat, hay, and sunshine, with the strong tang of muck from the barn mingled in. By the looks of his clothes, attending church was the farthest thing from his mind. His ratty trousers held smudges of several dark colors. She didn't even want to guess what they were. And the long sleeves of his undershirt, the only thing covering his torso, were shoved above his elbows. Grayed and dingy, the shirt would never be white again, no matter how hard she tried to clean it.
                     Mary bit her tongue to keep from scolding him as she did her younger brothers and sister when they made such a racket entering the house. No doubt her would give her some excuse about having too much work to go to church. Not a big surprise. She'd heard it all before too many times.
                     He set a bucket of fresh water before the dry sink and gripped his fingers around the front straps of his suspenders. That always signalled he was about to tell her something she didn't want to hear.
                   "I'm not going today." This time, he didn't really make any excuses. Just this bald faced comment.
                    She took a deep breath and let it out slowly, trying to calm her anger. She'd give him a sweet answer even if the words tasted bitter in her mouth. "The new pastor is coming today. We're having dinner on the grounds after the service. Remember, I told you when we got home last Sunday." She flashed what she hoped was a warm smile at him and prayed he couldn't tell it was fake.
                   "What happened to the last one? He didn't last very long, did he?" Pa started washing his hands with the bar of homemade soap she kept in a dish on the shelf. "Don't understand why that church can't keep a pastor. Someone musta run him off."
                    Mary couldn't keep from huffing out a breath this time. "I told you about that too." She clamped her lips closed before she asked the question that often bounced around in her mind. Why don't you ever listen to me? At seventeen. she was close enough to being an adult to be treated like one, and she'd carried the load of a woman in the household for years.
                   "His wife died, and his father-in-law begged him to bring the grandchildren closer to where they live, so he headed back to Ohio. Living in the same community as their grandparents, he'd have a lot of help with the younger ones."
                    Mary had never known her grandparents, none of them. Not her mother's parents. Not her father's parents. Not the parents of whoever gave birth to her. She didn't wonder about any of them often, but today, her heart longed for someone who really loved her.


Here's where you can find Lena Nelson Dooley