EXCERPT and GIVEAWAY
A Life for a Life
by Lynda McDaniel
A Life for a Life by Lynda McDaniel is currently on tour with Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours. The tour stops here today for an excerpt and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.
When a young woman is found dead in the North Carolina mountains, the county sheriff says suicide. Della Kincaid disagrees. A former reporter in Washington, D.C., she knows how to hunt down the real story. But she’s now living in Laurel Falls, N.C., creating a new life for herself. Without her usual sources, she turns to an unlikely cast of characters - friends, customers, ex-husband, and forger. With their help, she uncovers how unbridled greed has spawned a series of crimes and sorrows. Along the way, Kincaid discovers what the Appalachian landscape and people mean to her.
My life was saved by a murder. At the time, of course, I didn’t understand that. I just knew I was having the best year of my life. Given all the terrible things that happened, I should be ashamed to say it, but that year was a blessing for me.
I’d just turned fifteen when Della Kincaid bought Daddy’s store. At first nothing much changed. Daddy was still round a lot, getting odd jobs as a handyman and farming enough to sell what Mama couldn’t put by. And we still lived in the house next door, though Mama banned me from going inside the store. She said she didn’t want me to be a nuisance, but I think she was jealous of “that woman from Washington, D.C.”
So I just sat out front like I always did when Daddy owned it, killing time, chatting with a few friendly customers or other bench-sitters like me. I never wanted to go inside while Daddy had the store, not because he might have asked me to help, but because he thought I couldn’t help. Oh sure, I’d go in for a Coca-Cola or Dr. Pepper, but, for the most part, I just sat there, reared back with my chair resting against the outside wall, my legs dangling. Just like my life.
I’ve never forgotten how crazy it all played out. I had forgotten about the two diaries I’d kept that year. I discovered them while cleaning out our home after Mama died in April. (Daddy had passed two year earlier, to the day.) They weren’t like a girl’s diary (at least that’s what I told myself, when I worried about such things). They were notes I’d imagined a reporter like Della or her ex-husband would make, capturing the times.
I’d already cleaned out most of the house, saving my room for last. I boxed up my hubcaps, picking out my favorites from the ones still hanging on my bedroom walls. (We’d long ago sold the collection in the barn.) I tackled the shelves with all my odd keepsakes: a deer jaw, two dusty geodes, other rocks I’d found that caught my eye, like the heart-shaped reddish one—too good not to keep. When I gathered a shelf-full of books in my arms, I saw the battered shoebox where I’d stashed those diaries tucked behind the books. I sat on my old bed, the plaid spread dusty and faded, untouched in a couple of decades, and started to read. The pages had yellowed, but they stirred up fresh memories, all the same. That’s when I called Della (I still looked for any excuse to talk with her), and we arranged a couple of afternoons to go over the diaries together.
We sat at her kitchen table, where she’d placed a pot of tea and a plate of homemade cookies, and talked. And talked. After a time or two recollecting over the diaries, I told Della I wanted to write a book about that year. She agreed. We were both a little surprised that, even after all these years, we didn’t have any trouble recalling that spring.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]
Praise for the Book
"Thoroughly enjoyable and intriguing with descriptive powers and beautiful mountain scenery. Intense family and friend dynamics with character vulnerabilities and complex relationships that steal the reader’s heart and make this mystery a must-read." ~ Pam Franklin, International Bestselling Author
"Between Della, who’s struggling to adjust to her new life, and Abit, a boy mislabeled, but oh, so special, McDaniel's mystery novel delivers a pair of unforgettable crime-solving characters. Using her keen knowledge of the charm (and less than charming features) of life in the North Carolina mountains, she lured me into her story and kept me there. I hope Della, Abit, and the gang will be back!" ~ Virginia McCullough, award-winning author of Amber Light
"A Life for a Life is a rich read, on so many levels. From expert plot turns to painstaking character development, I was captivated and riveted. Like jumping into a swift flowing river, I was all-in from page one and did not want out till the very end. For those who don’t typically buy mystery novels, you’ll want this one - for yourself and for those you love. It’s far more than a mystery ... it’s a book about life. A great read for summer breaks, book clubs and anyone wanting to be swept away by this journey!" ~ Jenny Capella, Amazon Bestselling author of Your Dream Team: How to Start and Run a Mastermind Group
"Marvelous read! A compelling story told through the eyes and voice of two remarkable narrators who seem like polar opposites but are deceptively similar. They possess the same hopes and dreams for a new life. Not only are they courageous and determined, but most importantly, they share a special friendship. They describe their home life in such great detail that you feel like you have been transported to a small mountain town and are fortunate enough to catch a stunning beautiful glimpse into living and working in the deep woods. The intricate plot the will have you guessing until the end." ~ Yvette Klobuchar, author of Brides Unveiled
About the Author
My writing career began more than 30 years ago. Over the years, I’ve written more than 1,200 articles for major magazines, hundreds of newsletters, and dozens of blogs. I’m proudest of the 15 books I’ve written, including A Life for a Life. The way I see it, books are to writers what pentathlons are to athletes: Endurance. And I’ve got it!
My other books include Words at Work, which I wrote straight from my heart, a much-needed response to all the questions and concerns people have about writing today. (It won top honors from the National Best Books Awards.) That same year, I wrote Contemporary Hawai’i Woodworkers: the Wood, the Art, the Aloha, a coffee-table art book featuring 35 artists; it won several awards, too, and sold out quickly. Since then, I’ve written two Amazon Bestselling Books: How Not to Sound Stupid When You Write and Write Your Book Now! (with Virginia McCullough). In 2015, I wrote Aloha Expressionism by Contemporary Hawai’i Artists featuring 50 more artists living on those beautiful islands.
I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, but I’ve lived all over this country - from the Midwest to the Deep South to Appalachia to the Mid-Atlantic to the Pacific Northwest. Whew! I finally settled in Sebastopol, California, a place that reflects the values I learned while living in the mountains of North Carolina, all those years ago.
What’s next? I’m busy with the sequel to A Life for a Life so I get to enjoy Abit’s, er, I mean V.J.’s company again.
Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to one of 5 ebook copies of A Life for a Life by Lynda McDaniel.
Plus, enter the Goodreads giveaway for a chance to win a print copy of A Life for a Life by Lynda McDaniel (US only; ends 10 October).