Guest Author: Deeanne Gist & Giveaway!

I’m very excited about my guest blogger today.  She’s Deeanne Gist, and she writes “edgy” inspirational historical romances.  Her delightful books have received HUGE amounts of critical acclaim.  She’s won two consecutive Christy Awards, is a three-time nominee for the RITA Award, and has been nominated for or won an astounding number of other awards, too.

And here’s just one example of the reviews Deeanne consistently garners, this one for Deep in the Heart of Trouble, which received a Top Pick from RT Books Reviews:

“Gist does it again! Her signature prose is consistent and she delivers a thoroughly delightful and entertaining story that’s worthy of our time and attention. Not only won’t you want to put this book down, you’ll want to enjoy this story again and again.”

Deeanne has a new book out called Love on the Line, a historical romance starring a rural telephone operator and a dashing Texas Ranger.

And now I’m going to turn things over to Deeanne, so she can tell us all about her new book.

ONE RINGY-DINGY…

We have an old rotary pay phone hanging on a wall in our gameroom. I’d always get tickled when teenagers came over and asked how to use it. Yet I found myself in that exact same position while researching my new release, Love on the Line. It’s about a turn-of-the-century switchboard operator and a Texas Ranger who goes undercover as a telephone repairman.

The only exposure I’d had to switchboards was from the old Laugh-In episodes with Lily Tomlin (dating myself here). Suffice it to say, I had a lot to learn. Not just about switchboards, but about how telephones worked back in the day. Since my book is set in a rural Texas town, there were party lines. I wasn’t sure how those worked either.

Then, of course, my hero was an undercover telephone repairman. So, I also had to learn how to repair the phones, string the lines, climb a telephone pole, etc. It was quite the education. Did you know they didn’t use safety straps back then? The men simply climbed the pole, then wrapped one leg around it to hold them steady while they did their work. Crazy!

And the telephone operator did much more than connect two parties together. She served as News Central and answered a huge range of questions. What’s playing at the opera house? Who came in on the afternoon train? Where’s the doc? Are the streets outside of town dry or muddy? I lost my cow, will you find out if anyone has seen her?

Talk about having to know everybody’s business! And the party lines were a hoot. Several people would share the same line. Each family had a specific ring. For example, the Smiths might have three short rings. But the Jones had two shorts and one long. Even still, everyone on your line heard the ring and if they wished to pick up and listen in, they certainly could.

Bottom line, I no longer rib the kids when they don’t know how to use our rotary. I simply show them how it works and feel rewarded that I’m passing along a little slice of history to this generation of techno-wizards.

Vanessa, here.  Deeanne, thanks for that lovely glimpse into the past.  Readers, I bet that whetted your appetite for Love on the Line, didn’t it?  And here’s the blurb to pique your interest even more:

Rural switchboard operator Georgie Gail is proud of her independence in a man’s world … which makes it twice as vexing when the telephone company sends a man to look over her shoulder.

Dashing Luke Palmer is more than he appears though. He’s a Texas Ranger working undercover to infiltrate a notorious gang of train robbers. Repairing telephones and tangling with this tempestuous woman is the last thing he wants to do. But when his stakeout puts Georgie in peril, he realizes more than his job is on the line.

Sounds awesome, doesn’t it?  And what an original sounding story!  For more about Love on the Line, visit Deeanne’s beautiful website.  While you’re there, make sure to check out her blog and sign up for her newsletter.

For my readers today, Deeanne is giving away a copy of Love on the Line.  Just tell me if you remember having a rotary phone in your house, or whether you’ve only ever used a mobile or walk-around phone.  One person who comments will win a copy of Deeanne’s wonderful book.