Thursday, April 29, 2010


Sometimes it feels like my life is traveling down a fast lane at about 99 mph, as things happen even before I realize or see them coming. For instance, I just now looked on and discovered my September release titled Tender Vow is already up for pre-order, and I never would have known it if I hadn't just "happened" to be checking on some stuff at Amazon! WOWZER-DOWZER! This is cool, but it also reminds me of my December 1 deadline for book one of my next series and how quickly that will descend upon me. Don't worry, I'm not letting life slip me by, not by any means. I'm actually having a BLAST serving the Lord and spreading the gospel through the written word. It's a dream come true for me.

Anyway, should you be interested in PRE-ORDERING Tender Vow and thereby receiving it before it hits store shelves (probably end of August), why, just go ahead and help yourself. You'll find it listed on my profile page, and all you have to do is click on the book, and it'll take you straight to Amazon.

I must say I'm rather geeked! Oh, and FYI, here's the brief synopsis of Tender Vow:

Michigan-born brothers John and Jason Evans take a ski trip to the Colorado Rockies, but only one comes home alive--John was tragically killed on a daring descent down Devil's Ridge, an infamously dangerous slope.

In an attempt to soothe his guilt and grief, Jason sets out to make amends with his widowed sister-in-law, Rachel, by offering to help with her two small children, doing odd jobs around her house, and trying to ease her own heavy burden of grief. A new Christian, he is bent on growing his faith and helping Rachel see her way through the fog of pain and confusion.

Left to raise her three-year-old daughter and newborn son on her own, Rachel Evans is anything but willing to become her brother-in-law's charity case, particularly since they have a history she'd rather forget. She's determined to make it on her own but soon finds that God has other plans for he--and for Jason.

Can she accept the Lord's leading and still honor her late husband's memory?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I AM SUCH A DORKSTRESS! (Find out why...)

Cecil and I drove separately down to Wabash, Indiana early Sunday afternoon. (I had research to do for my next series set in Wabash 1926-'30.) About halfway to our destination, a 4-hour drive, this is what my brain kept telling my body: "HEY! It's time for your nap, don't you know that? It's SUNDAY! Close your eyes!" My body kept saying back, "No, no, it's wrong, I'm driving." It turned into somewhat of a battle, the eyes going hazy glazy then suddenly popping open as round as a plate.

I SHOULD have simply swallowed my pride, called Cecil who was a couple car-lengths ahead of me and just admitted that I needed to pull over for a half-hour nap, but I didn't. So, instead I started pinching myself, but apparently not hard enough. Next, I started hitting my legs, shoulders, arms, and the top of my head. I mean, I was giving myself some pretty good bops and punches. It TOTALLY woke me up! No kidding. I HURT MYSELF!!!!

Just then the phone rang. I fished for it in my purse, thinking one of my daughters might be calling. "What are you doing to yourself back there?" It was Cecil.

"Uh, what?"

"Are you tired or something? Do you need to pull over?"

"No, I'm fine. Okay, I was a little tired, but now I'm wide awake."

"I saw you hitting yourself all over the place."

Talk about embarrassed. It made me wonder who else saw me! In a second--once I convinced him I was perfectly fine and would call if I needed a break--we hung up. Just as soon as I hung up, though, I started laughing hysterically. I couldn't help it, I just kept thinking what that must have looked like from a rearview mirror. I had to call him right back and tell him that now I couldn't stop laughing. Cecil not only thinks I am a crazy woman, he KNOWS it!

I remained wide awake the rest of the trip, listened to the radio, talked to the Lord, enjoyed the ride.

Now, here's an interesting tidbit I learned while getting ready for bed that night. You can give yourself a giant bruise if you hit your thigh hard enough.

Friday, April 23, 2010


Three sisters, ages 92, 94 and 96, live in a house together. One night the 96-year-old draws a bath. She puts her foot in and pauses then yells to the other sisters, "Was I getting in or out of the bathtub?"

The 94-year-old yells back, "I don't know. I'll come up and see." She starts up the stairs then pauses and asks, "Sisters, was I going up the stairs or coming down?"

The 92-year-old is sitting at the kitchen table having tea, quietly listening. She shakes her head, sighs, and taps on the wood tabletop, thinking to herself, "My, I sure hope I never get that forgetful, knock on wood."

She then stands and yells to the other two, '"I'll be right up to help you two, but first I must see who's at the door."


Two elderly ladies had been friends for many decades. Over the years they had shared all kinds of activities and adventures. Lately, their activities had been limited to meeting a few times a week to play cards or go out for lunch. One day, they were playing cards when one looked at the other and said, "Now, don't get mad at me for this. I mean we've known each other a long time, but here's the thing...I've thought and thought about this, but I just can't remember your name! Please, would you mind telling me your name?"

With crossed arms her friend glared at her for at least three minutes, her eyes turned to slits. After a long pause, she uncrossed her arms and said, "How soon do you need to know?"

Monday, April 19, 2010

HEY!!! It's AVAILABLE! Here's a brief synopsis of my most recent release, the third and final installment in my Daughters of Jacob Kane series. Whoopie!

Abbie Ann Kane, the youngest of Jacob Kane's three daughters, is a busy woman. Between running the Whatnot, the family's general store, being active in the Women's Christian Temperance Union, and assisting the elderly citizens of Sandy Shores, Michigan, she has little time for frivolous matters. And those include matters of the heart. When the recently divorced Noah Carson comes to town with son Toby in tow to pursue a shipbuilding business, Abbie Ann tries to keep her distance, but as is often the case, God has other plans.

Monday, April 12, 2010


Kids are so hysterical, aren't they? Before Sunday dinner a few weeks ago, my three grandkids (ages four, two, and almost 2) were zooming around the coffee table, whooping and hollering, and generally making quite a racket. We adults were smiling and laughing at their antics, also wondering where they got all that energy. Suddenly, the oldest stopped dead in his tracks and shrieked, "Uh-oh! I gotta go potty."

"Well, okay, then, let's go to the bathroom," his mommy said, scooting off with him down the hall.

A few minutes later my daughter came back out quietly laughing to herself. "What's so funny?" I asked her.

She explained that when they got into the bathroom he was so excited over the game of 'race-around-the-coffee-table' that he'd decided she should start calling him Race Car.

"That's my new name, Mommy. Race Car," he exclaimed.

"Well, okay," she said. "Go potty, Mr. Race Car."

And so he did. Then, looking down at his "stream", he said, "And that there is my oil!"

Friday, April 09, 2010

My EXCITING Interview With ChristianBook.Com...

Hello, adorable friends! If perchance you are interested in reading my ONLINE interview with ChristianBook.Com, all you have to do is click HERE!!!

Is there anything sweeter than little darlings dressed up for Easter morning? Just thought I'd share our sweet grands' pics with you. Take a "scroll" down Easter Bunny Lane at the MacLaren's house before and after church...

Love you all, and HAPPY SPRING!

Friday, April 02, 2010


This interview was posted on Lena Nelson Dooley's blog, so I thought I would post it here as well. To read it at Lena's blog, simply go to lenanelsondooley-dot-blogspot-dot-com.

ABBIE ANN by Sharlene MacLaren

As an author, I know it takes a lot of people to birth each book. Who were the people involved in the birthing of this book, and what were their contributions?

Well, with every one of my books I would have to say my beloved husband plays a huge part in my books coming to fruition. Without his loving support, I wouldn’t be able to spend so much time at my computer. My daughters are also key supporters. Sometimes when it gets down to crunch time they even bring meals. It’s so nice to “feel the love” when I working!

If you teach or speak, what’s coming up on your calendar?

I give a number of library talks in which I share my writing journey, a bit of the writing process, and give a few pointers on how to set and reach publishing goals. I have a couple of TV and radio tapings coming up but sadly don’t have airdates yet.

If you had to completely start over in another place, where would you move, and why?

Well, I was born and raised in West Michigan. Yes, cold winters, but summers, glorious. Think sand dunes, spectacular Lake Michigan beaches, gorgeous sunsets, swimming and boating—and GRANDCHILDREN!!!! IF I were ever to relocate, it would have to be to a neighboring city or state. My kids and grands all live within minutes of hubby and me. Now, I ask…how could we possibly leave when we have everything we could ever want or need right here in our little corner of the world? (Sorry, not the answer you were looking for, but, oh well. Grins…)

There is no right or wrong answer. If you could only tell aspiring novelists one thing, what would it be?

Never allow those rejection letters to discourage you to the point of quitting. Okay, you can quit for a day or so, but then jump right back into it. If you have a strong urge to write, and you believe in your heart God gave you a passion for it, then chances are good you’ll publish someday. The trick is to keep plugging away. Honing your skill takes hours of hard work and study, not to mention attending conferences, reading in your genre, joining critique groups, and learning the industry. Pray, pray, pray. If God wants you published, it will happen, but bear in mind, it’s all about Him and His perfect timing.

You’ve been asked to be in charge of a celebrity cruise. Who would you ask to take part, and why? (AS in what program, singers, etc. [it doesn’t have to be writing related])

Okay, this will probably sound corny to most, but I’ve never gone on a “Christian” cruise, so that would be my choice. I’d invite the Gaither Vocal Band to head up the music and I’d ask Mark Lowry (hilarious guy) to emcee the entire event from beginning to end.

You'd have to ask James and me to go. We love the Gaither Vocal Band and Mark Lowry. Tell us about the featured book?

Abbie Ann is the third and final book in my current series, "The Daughters of Jacob Kane". Here’s a very brief synopsis: Abbie Ann Kane, the youngest of Jacob Kane's three daughters, is a busy woman. Between running the Whatnot, the family's general store, being active in the Women's Christian Temperance Union, and assisting the elderly citizens of Sandy Shores, Michigan, she has little time for frivolous matters. And those include matters of the heart. When the recently divorced Noah Carson comes to town with son Toby in tow to pursue a shipbuilding business, Abbie Ann tries to keep her distance—but God has other plans in mind.

Please give us the first page of the book.

Sandy Shores, Michigan
February 1907

Abbie Ann Kane marched through blinding snow on her way to Kane’s Whatnot, howling winds curling their icy fingers around the buildings of downtown Sandy Shores, hissing and spitting and stinging her nose and cheeks. She pulled her woolen scarf tighter about her neck, but the bitter air still managed to find a hole through which to pass, making her shiver with each hurried step.

The Interurban railcar rumbled past, its whistle alerting pedestrians and horses to make way for its journey up Water Street, Sandy Shores’ main thoroughfare. Through its frosty windows Abbie made out a scant number of passengers, even caught a glimpse of someone drawing letters on a foggy pane, probably some bored youngster, she mused.

Turning her gaze downward, she headed into the strong, easterly gusts, passing Joe’s Barbershop, Tim’s Shoe and Boot Store, Mildred’s Tailoring Shop, and then Ed’s Meat Market. Two more doors and she would reach her destination, the Kane family general store. Normally, her sister Hannah would be working today, but Abbie had taken primary responsibility for Kane’s Whatnot since the birth of little Rose-Ann Devlin on January 15. The little girl was Hannah and Gabe’s third child, and Hannah had her hands full also caring for 18-month-old Alex and their 11-year-old adopted son, Jesse. Taking responsibility for Kane’s Whatnot was the least Abbie could do, never mind that she barely had time to turn around what with her Sunday school teaching job, her recent appointment as president of the local Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, assisting Grandmother Kane with the household chores, and visiting the elderly Plooster sisters as often as possible. Poor things depended on her to keep them abreast of all the town’s news.

The bell above the door tinkled as she pulled open the wooden door, a cold blast of air scooting past her ankles. Her father looked up from his place behind the brass National cash register. “Ah, you’re back from lunch, and not a second too soon. I have an appointment with a client at one o’clock. Can you take over from here?”

“Of course, Papa. Just let me hang up my wrap.” Besides owning Kane’s Whatnot, her middle-aged father with the graying hair and matching beard also partnered with Leo Perkins in the insurance business, the Kane and Perkins office building situated directly across the road from the Whatnot. Both businesses thrived in this lively little resort town situated on the beautiful shores of Lake Michigan where the winters could be bitter but the summers delightfully warm and cheery.

The line at the cash register wound around the center aisle. There was Maxine Card and her young daughter Lily, their arms full with candles, two loaves of bread, a wooden bowl, and a mixing beater, Landon and Florence Meir each toting grocery items, and Fred and Dorothy Link, Fred hefting a sack of flour over his shoulder and Dorothy holding some canned goods and a few miscellaneous items. Abbie moved past her father to hang her winter gear on a hook in the small closet behind the counter, which also served as a washroom. After doing so, she glanced in a tiny mirror to rearrange the side combs in her flowing black hair, rubbed her icy fingers together, and joined her father on the other side of the curtain, the potbellied stove at the back of the store not giving off near enough heat to quell today’s sub-zero temperatures.