Tune in on Thursday at 4:00 pm Central! To listen in – go here and just click on the player in the top right corner.

Join me on Thursday afternoon for an hour with authors Shelley Shepard Gray and Mary Ann Kirkby – leave a comment to win a copy of their books.

The first half hour will feature Shelley Shepard Gray: Shelley Shepard Gray writes Amish romances for Harper Collins’ inspirational line, Avon Inspire. Since HIDDEN was published, Shelley has gone on to write several more novels for Avon Inspire. Hidden was followed by two more novels in her ‘Sisters of the Heart’ series, which is set in Adams County, Ohio. In 2010, her new series, Seasons of Sugarcreek, debuted. Winter’s Awakening, Spring’s Renewal, and Autumn’s Promise will be released in February, April, and August, respectively. In addition, GRACE, a Christmas Sisters of the Heart novel, will be published in October, 2010. Currently, Shelley is under contract to write her third series with Avon Inspire, which will be published in 2011.

Before writing romances, Shelley lived in Texas and Colorado, where she taught school and earned both her bachelor’s degree in English literature and elementary education and later obtained her master’s degrees in educational administration. She now lives in southern Ohio and writes full time. Shelley is married, the mother of two teenagers, and is an active member of her church. She serves on committees, volunteers in the church office, and is part of the Telecare ministry, which calls homebound members on a regular basis. Shelley looks forward to the opportunity to continue to write novels that showcase her Christian ideals.

Shelley is active on Facebook and also has a website, www.shelleyshepardgray.com.

About her latest book, Spring’s Renewal: Tim Graber arrives in Sugarcreek to help his aunt and uncle with spring planting. At first, Tim doesn’t fit in with his many cousins and their crowded lifestyle. But when he meets Clara Slabaugh, the local school teacher, he understands why the Lord brought him to Sugarcreek. Clara is shy and quiet. Scarred from a fire when she was small, Clara has resigned herself to living alone and caring for her mother, who tells her that no man will ever see past her scars, and that Clara needs to keep teaching in order to make ends meet. Her father passed away years ago, and her mother depends on her. But the scars mean nothing to Tim. He appreciates her quiet nature and her wonderful, loving way with children. Yet Tim has a sweetheart back home in Indiana. As these two hearts struggle to determine their path, tragedy strikes, and every other worry seems insignificant in comparison. Though they now face a life they never imagined, will Tim and Clara have the faith to step out and risk everything for a chance at true love?

The second half hour will focus on I Am Hutterite’s Mary-Ann Kirkby: Mary-Ann Kirkby was born on a Canadian Hutterite colony near Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. One of nine children, Kirkby was raised in the Hutterite tradition, similar in some respects, to that of the Amish or Mennonites. At age10 her life was turned upside down when her parents abruptly left behind the comfort and security of the colony and relocated their family to a lonely farm house in the “English” world. The transition to a startling fast-paced society was overwhelming for a young Mary-Ann as she clashed head on with popular culture.

Growing up in the isolated self-sustaining Hutterite community of Fairholme Colony, Kirkby had little contact with the outside world. A primarily agricultural community dominated by male leadership, Kirkby’s childhood dreams included a happy marriage with healthy children, good food, strong friendships and a deep devotion to her unique way of life. Those dreams where shattered when her parents packed up their large family and moved to a new world, full of unknowns.

Thrust into a foreign universe that she didn’t understand, Kirkby worked hard to adapt to a new way of life and a new identity by abandoning the culture that had defined her. She struggled to reinvent herself by denying her Hutterite heritage in an attempt to avoid the stigma and cruelty associated with being different.

A graduate of the National Broadcasting Institute Kirkby made her way into the world of journalism as a news anchor and reporter. She was the senior reporter responsible for aboriginal issues at CTV in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan and worked in Ottawa for several years as a freelance journalist and as Media Relations Consultant for the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations. The recipient of two Can-Pro Awards, Kirkby has made a career of telling other people’s stories. She is gifted singer, a sought after speaker and member of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers.

Finally embracing her role as a daughter of two cultures Kirkby has used her talents to chronicle her own life story. Her first book, “I Am Hutterite,” was published in Canada in 2007 and will be released in the U.S. by Thomas Nelson Publishing in May 2010. The book has garnered rave reviews as readers react to the Kirkby’s honest and compelling story told in her charming style. “I Am Hutterite” won the Saskatchewan Book Award for Best Non-Fiction in 2007.

About her fascinating book: Mary-Ann Kirkby revisits a hidden past and weaves it into her ground-breaking memoir “I Am Hutterite: The Fascinating True Story of a Young Woman’s Journey to Reclaim Her Heritage.” This compelling story will keep you glued to every page vicariously reliving the memories of Kirkby as a young child, now a storyteller in her own right as an award-winning author and news reporter. She was awarded the Saskatchewan Book Award for Best Non-Fiction and received notable acclaim in the first edition of “I Am Hutterite,” published for the Canadian audience in 2007. With outstanding reviews and affection from readers who were awed by her courageous story, she has partnered with Thomas Nelson Publishers to bring her book to the United States. Releasing in the U.S. in May 2010, Kirkby’s memoir will resonate with anyone who has ever experienced a desire to fit in. But perhaps those who will enjoy this book best are those eager to peel away their own defenses and embrace the simple truth that beneath every human exterior beats a heart longing for understanding and acceptance. For more please visit: http://www.iamhutterite.com

Don’t forget to leave a comment {HERE} for your chance to win a copy of EITHER BOOK! (Don’t forget to leave your email address!)

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