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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Interview & Giveaway! June McCrary Jacobs | Author of A Holiday Miracle in Apple Blossom!


Welcome to Christian Bookshelf Reviews, June!! Will you tell us a little about yourself?

June:  Hi, Melanie. Thanks for inviting me to share with your readers. I’m an author, sewing designer, and freelance technical editor living in the San Joaquin Valley of California. My debut novella, ‘A Holiday Miracle in Apple Blossom,’ was released on October 8, 2013, by Cedar Fort Inc. The book won Cedar Fort’s 2013 Holiday Tale Contest. I like to blog about sewing, books, and my other adventures.  

1.)  What is your novel, ‘A Holiday Miracle in Apple Blossom’, about?

June:  The novel opens with a first grade girl, Mary Noel Simmons, being hit by a car. Tragically, her little dog, Cocoa, dies in the accident. Even though Mary Noel suffers some serious physical injuries, the most worrisome injury is the trauma she experiences in losing her best friend—little Cocoa. She withdraws from her parents, doctors, and teacher, and exists in silence for a few weeks.

In an effort to help Mary Noel’s family with her astronomical medical bills, the girl’s first grade teacher, Amber Kellen, and Mary Noel’s father’s employee, Paul Watkins, work together to organize a fundraiser called ‘Angels for Mary Noel’. The Apple Blossom community pulls together to help this family in need, and the fundraiser is an overwhelming success.

Mary Noel begins the healing process by speaking again to the relief of her parents and everyone else in the community. As an added bonus, Amber and Paul form a very special bond—so there is a dash of romance in this holiday tale. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’ll stop my summary here.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1462113524/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=1462113524&linkCode=as2&tag=chrisbooksrev-20&linkId=XKP5333WUV7JL4PQ2.)  When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? 

June:  I’ve loved to read and write since before I was in Kindergarten. When I was in sixth grade I decided I wanted to write a book when I ‘grew up’. My declaration about my goal was, sadly, met with very little enthusiasm from the adults in my life. With patience and encouragement from my husband and friends, I worked on my writing as the years passed. It took me a while to reach my goal, but I’m very glad I persevered. 

3.)  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

June:  I don’t consider it a quirk, but I think people are surprised to learn that I do a lot of research before I put anything down on paper (or in the computer!). They say, “What research is there to do for contemporary fiction?” For instance, before I named the town, ‘A Holiday Miracle in Apple Blossom’, I researched the State of Vermont to find out what their state tree is (apple). I decided to include the word apple in the town’s name. Next, I searched extensively to see if there was a town named Apple Blossom in existence in Vermont. There wasn’t, so now I had my setting. I prefer to fictionalize my setting along with the characters and events in the book.

4.)  What do you like to do when you’re not writing? 

June:  I love to read, sew, quilt, embroider, design sewing projects, and walk for exercise. I like to cook and ‘invent’ new recipes. I enjoy visiting parks, art galleries, and antique/vintage shops. I love touring historic homes and learning about the origin of the home and the families who lived there. We like to visit history and art museums and botanical gardens. I enjoy photography and frequently use the photos for my blog. I love listening to or watching baseball, particularly the San Francisco Giants.

5.)  What is your favorite genre to read and why?

 photo quilt-detail_zps662dd5df.jpg
June:  I have always enjoyed inspirational fiction because the values portrayed in those books align with how I try to live my life. Under the inspirational umbrella, I like romance, historical fiction, and Amish fiction the best.

6.)  What is your least favorite genre to read?

June:  I’m not a horror, fantasy, or sci-fi reader—never have been. Being frightened is not entertaining or relaxing to me. I read to learn or to relax.

7.)  Is there a place you’d like to visit, but haven’t yet? 

June:  We would like to travel outside of California to visit the historic homes of the presidents of the United States along with their presidential libraries. I’d love to visit the Smithsonian Institute and the Baseball Hall of Fame someday. The monuments in our nation’s capital are on our wish list too.

8.)  Do you have a favorite song and/or movie?

June:  I enjoy many different types of music. One of my favorite songs is ‘Appalachian Spring’ by Aaron Copland. I also love the music of Joaquin Rodrigo.

9.)  What is your favorite holiday? 

June:  I love holidays, but I find Thanksgiving to be an especially meaningful day because it gives me a chance to slow down and reflect on the blessings I have in my life. I also remember, with love and affection, the special people in my life who are no longer with me—my Grandma McCrary, my Uncle Ansel, my dear friends Sharon and Joanne, and many other relatives who have passed on. Thanksgiving is not a sad day for me; instead I’d call it an ‘inspirational’ day of remembrance.

http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=27774&picture=autumn-landscape10.)  What is your favorite season and why is it your fav?

June:  Autumn is my favorite season for several reasons. First of all, it’s when we were married. It’s the season for Thanksgiving and the preparations for the holiday season begin. I love the autumn colors to be seen in California during that time of year. Golds, oranges, yellows, browns, purples, reds—breathtaking! We love baseball, and it’s exciting to watch the playoffs and the World Series—especially when our favorite team wins as they did this past fall. (Go Giants!)  Finally, after a long, hot summer, it usually cools down in the valley where we live starting in mid-October.

11.)  Some this-or-that questions:

Snowstorms or Thunderstorms?  Neither. I’m a California girl, so heavy rain is about as stormy as I like it!

Chocolate or Vanilla?  Strawberry!

Tea or Coffee?  Definitely Earl Grey tea or orange-cinnamon spice tea.

Call or Text?  Email.

Cats or Dogs?  Dogs make me smile.

Early-bird or Night-owl?  Very early-bird.

Mystery or Romance?  I enjoy both genres, but would probably choose a good, clean romance over a thriller.

Sneakers or Sandals?  Almost always, sneakers.

12.)  Are you currently working on any new novels? If so, could you give us a hint?

June:  Thanks for asking me about this, Melanie. I’m very excited to mention that my first full-length contemporary inspirational romance novel, ‘Robin’s Reward’, will be released this spring (probably in April 2015)! I’m not certain of the exact release date at this time, but I will notify you when I know for certain so you can pass it along to your readers. The novel is set in the coastal mountains of Northern California and follows Robin in her search to follow God’s plan for her life. She experiences lots of bumps and obstacles along the way.

13.)  Thank you so much for being here! Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers and where can we find you on the web?

June:  I enjoy hearing from readers or other people who like to sew, quilt, craft, and stitch. I enjoy making new Friends (or Fans) on Goodreads—what a fun place for sharing books and ideas with each other. Please connect with me on the internet at the following platforms.

--My website and blog can be found at:  http://www.junemccraryjacobs.com.  I write about books, book reviews, textile shows, museum exhibits, and sewing tips there with a new post each Wednesday. The first Wednesday of each month I post free patterns and instructions for one of my original-design sewing or crafting projects for readers’ use and enjoyment.
--My Author’s Facebook Page:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/June-McCrary-Jacobs/153549754836128.  If you Like my Facebook page, you’ll receive automatic notifications of new postings and the free projects, etc.
--My Goodreads Author Page:  http://www.goodreads.com/June-McCrary-Jacobs
--My Email Address is:  junemccraryjacobs@gmail.com

June:  Once again, thank you, Melanie. It’s been fun working with you on this project. I hope 2015 is a healthy, happy, and successful year for you and your readers! 

Enter for a chance to win a e-copy (PDF, epub, or Kindle/mobi) of A Holiday Miracle in Apple Blossom by June McCrary Jacobs! Giveaway is open internationally. Ends 2/12

How to enter: Sign into the Giveaway Tools form below (it might take a moment to load) and submit each entry you complete. Commenting alone will not get you entered – you must click enter on the form. Happy entering!

Open only to those who can legally enter. Winning entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by Giveaway Tools and announced here as well as emailed and will have up to one week to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Giveaway Tools or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. I am not responsible for any packages lost or damaged in the mail. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.


  1. I can sew a lick, but am envious of those who can. The picture of the quilt in this post is beautiful. I've always been drawn to antique hand made quilts and the stories that they tell. Thanks for the opportunity to win the book.

    1. I meant to type that I CAN'T sew a lick.....

  2. I do like your hobbies! I'm a 40+ year sewer/quilter myself.. would love to read your book!

  3. Hi, Amy ~ I don't know who made this quilt, but it's gorgeous. Thanks for stopping by. Best, June

  4. Hi, Deanna ~ I always enjoy meeting a fellow sewer/quilter. Thanks for introducing yourself and for your interest in my book. Regards, June

  5. We have something in common. I do lots of research too. Not in writing but in my work. Very fascinating. sonja dot nishimoto at gmail dot com

  6. Hi, Sonja ~ Thank you for your comment. Having online databases and Google at our fingertips has made information much easier to locate nowadays. Many years ago it took forever to do research when I had to use the Guide to Periodical Literature to find magazine articles for my university projects. Does anyone else remember those 'low-tech' days? Sincerely, June

  7. We have a couple things in common...I'm a California girl, too. I like that we've actually had some rain this season (finally). And our dogs make me laugh all of the time. But give me a cup of coffee and a good thriller. You can have the tea and romance.

  8. I can sew very basically with a sewing machine and hand sew as well. I always admired my . Grandmothers quilts she used to make. As for me I can't sew them. The quilt pictured is gorgeous. I Love to read inspirational fiction to relax as well and have my cup of tea while doing so. I would love to have an opportunity to read your lovely book.

  9. Hi, Linda ~ Your comment about the coffee and thriller versus tea and romance made me chuckle! I enjoy a good thriller by one of my favorite authors (Lisa Scottoline, Sue Grafton, Nevada Barr, Marcia Muller, Sara Paretsky) too. Here's hoping for much more rain in the Golden State this winter. Thanks for stopping by. Sincerely, June

  10. Hello, Deanne ~ Thank you for your comment about sewing and quilting. I actually enjoy hand sewing over machine sewing because I find the hand stitching to be very relaxing. I appreciate your kind words about my book. All my best, June

  11. I really enjoyed this interview. Can't wait to read the book!

  12. Hi, Kim ~ I'm glad you enjoyed the interview. It was nice of you to stop by--I love connecting with readers. I hope you like the book. Sincerely, June

  13. June, Do you find yourself binging on one activity or taking turns or doing a bit of all of them?

    1. Hi, Jan ~ I try to make time for each of my hobbies every week. If I'm on a deadline for writing, designing, or technical editing, I prioritize and try to remain organized. I've been busy with this blog tour for a few months along with polishing my upcoming release, 'Robin's Reward', so my sewing machine has been neglected. I always make lots of time for keeping up with my family and friends and for reading for pleasure! Thanks for stopping by. Best, June

  14. Hi Melanie. June is new to me. I would love to win her book. Great interview. Thanks for the give-away.
    Maxie . mac262(at)me(dot)com <

    1. Hi, Maxie ~ Thank you for your comment. I'm so glad you enjoyed the interview. It was fun working with Melanie on this post. Best of luck to you in the book giveaway. Regards, June

  15. I love the picture of the quilt in this interview. Since I'm planning to start quilting soon I am looking very close to all pictures I sumble about. :-)

    1. Hi, Agnieszka: I'm glad you're going to take up quilting. It's a fun and rewarding hobby. If you're interested in seeing the quilt for Mary Noel that I designed to go along with 'A Holiday Miracle in Apple Blossom', check out the photos and instructions on my website at: http://www.junemccraryjacobs.com/mary-noels-quilt-project/
      Good luck on your quilting! Sincerely, June

  16. Replies
    1. Hi, Cynthia ~ Thanks for stopping by. I read Christmas stories year round. Right now I'm reading a cute historical romance called, 'A Pony Express Christmas'. I recently read two Amish fiction Christmas stories, 'Snowfall' by Shelley Shepard Gray and 'An Amish Christmas Quilt' by Charlotte Hubbard. They were both good reads. Best, June

  17. Hi, Melanie ~ I wanted to let you know that my new book I mentioned earlier in our interview, 'Robin's Reward', is scheduled for release on April 28th, 2015. Here's a link to the announcement: http://www.junemccraryjacobs.com/book-release-date-for-robins-reward/
    Thank you for passing this along to your followers. All my best, June


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