Friday, March 14, 2014

A Place to Call Home, by Merrrillee Whren, with Giveaway


Welcome to Week 2 of the new Freelance Friday Feature.

This week I’m pleased to introduce you to author Merrillee Whren and her book “A Place to Call Home.”

Welcome, Merrillee! Tell us a little bit about yourself.

WP: Why do you write?

MW: I write because I have characters in my head who want me to tell their stories. They won’t quit bugging me until I do.

WP: What's on your nightstand?

MW: My nightstand has a box of tissues, a clock radio, a TV remote and a coaster. Not a book in sight. I don’t read before I go to bed.

WP: Why did you decide to self-publish?

MW: I chose to self-publish because in 2003 A Place to Call Home won the RWA Golden Heart for Best Inspirational Manuscript in 2003.

The following year a different book, The Heart’s Homecoming, became my first sale to Steeple Hill Books, which is now Harlequin Love Inspired. In subsequent years I wrote and sold more books to the Love Inspired line. During that time Love Inspired lowered the word count for their books, and I realized that A Place to Call Home with its longer word count would no longer be a fit for Love Inspired. I always wanted to find a home for my Golden Heart book. So not only was the hero of the book looking for a place to call home but so was my book.

Enter indie publishing. I was inspired by author friends, who all have had great success with indie publishing. But my journey was slow and cautious. I started by hiring a cover designer. Then over the next few months I joined several online groups associated with indie publishing and absorbed as much information as I could.

I worked to revise the manuscript, but as any wise writer knows, you need an editor. I began inquiring about freelance editors and contacted several before making a decision. I also had a number of readers who looked at the manuscript for typos and inconsistencies. During this process, I decided that I wasn’t going to tackle formatting the manuscript and hired someone to do that also. Finally in April of 2013 A Place to Call Home went live at the following places:

WP: Wow, that’s quite a story, Merrillee. Good for you! Are you a plotter or pantser?

MW: Pantser

WP: Coffee or tea?

MW: Tea

WP: Money being no object, where would be your dream writing getaway?

MW: Ritz Carlton, Amelia Island, Florida

WP: What is your favorite marketing task that has resulted in a sale/sakes?

MW: I have no favorite marketing task and am too new to indie publishing to have discovered what makes for more sales.


Merrillee photo Merrillee Whren is an award-winning author who writes inspirational romance. She is the winner of the 2003 Golden Heart Award for best inspirational romance manuscript presented by Romance Writers of America. She has also been the recipient of the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award and the Maggie Award for Excellence. She is married to her own personal hero, her husband of thirty plus years, and has two grown daughters. She has lived in Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Chicago and Florida but now makes her home in the Arizona desert. When she’s not writing or working for her husband’s recruiting firm, she spends her free time playing tennis or walking while she does the plotting for her novels.

Back Cover Blurb:


After serving six years in prison for the false charge of manslaughter in the death of his wife, Kurt Jansen must overcome a world of bitterness if he wants to start a new life. But his first priority is securing a restoration job to pay a private investigator to find the real killer and a lawyer to get his kids back.

Hiring a convicted wife-killer isn't what kind-hearted Molly Finnerty bargains for as part of the prison ministry she supports. However, she begins to believe Kurt's claim of innocence and gradually finds a great deal to like about him—perhaps more to like than she should.

Can they overcome the past and find forgiveness and love?

Buy links:

Social media links.

Short Excerpt:

Kurt Jansen sat in his rusty, red pickup and stared at the Victorian house surrounded by tall pines and bare-branched hardwoods. Faded black shutters hanging cockeyed by a single hinge and peeling white paint on the clapboards testified to many years of neglect. The place didn’t look much better than the penitentiary where he’d spent the last six years, but it was better than staring at prison bars.

The structure resembled his life. A life in disrepair.

He stared at the photo in his hand. His heart twisted at the innocent faces of his two children. He vowed to put aside all the bitterness and anger from his unjust incarceration in order to get this restoration job. This was the first step to seeing his children again—the children he hadn’t seen since they were six months old. He put the photo back in his wallet.

Approaching the house, he wondered whether the inside looked as bad as the outside. Outward appearances didn’t always tell the whole story, in houses or in lives. Piles of melting, dirty snow lay alongside the lane, sidewalk, and in the shady parts of the surrounding acreage. Despite his vow, his heart felt like the snow—cold and corrupted. Resentment and despair still hovered in the dark corners, even though he’d prayed to God to take them away.

Stepping onto the wooden porch, he let the vision of an elderly lady with white hair, glasses, and sensible shoes flit through his mind. The image suited the proprietress of the future Hawthorne Valley Inn of Hawthorne, Massachusetts. Was she the answer to his prayers? Even though he prayed, he still wasn’t sure whether God answered prayers.

The floorboards creaked as Kurt stepped toward the door. He wanted to pray that the Lord would help him get this job, but he couldn’t bring himself to voice the words. Instead, he released a harsh sigh and rapped his knuckles on the weathered wood of the warped screen door. It rattled in the frame.

Moments later, the inside door opened. A tall, slender young woman, dressed in blue jeans and a gray sweatshirt spattered with several colors of paint, answered the door. She stared at him through the screen with wary, pearl-gray eyes. “May I help you?”


The Giveaway:

Merrillee will be giving away an eBook copy of A Place to Call Home and will draw a winner  on Thursday, March 20. To enter, just leave a comment and include contact information so she can let you know if you’re the winner.

Thank you, Merrillee, it’s been fantastic having you here this week. And I think I want to read this book! The plot is intriguing.


  1. Thanks, Peg, for having me on your blog.

  2. thanks for the chance to read this novel, peg.

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

    1. Hi, Karen, good to see you here. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Peg, you have some of my fav authors on your blog. Love it. Merrilee's boo sounds good.


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