October 6, 2014

Nora Bonesteel: a guest post and giveaway with Sharyn McCrumb, author of "Nora Bonesteel's Christmas Past"

If you would like a chance to win a copy of this brand new title from Sharyn and Abingdon Press, just leave a comment with a way to contact you if your name is randomly drawn on Friday morning, October 10th. To find out a little more about the book, just keep reading. Enjoy!

When someone buys the old Honeycutt house, Nora Bonesteel is glad to see some life brought back to the old mansion, even if it is by summer people. But when the new owners decide to stay in their summer home through Christmas, they find more than old memories in the walls.  Nora agrees to help sort things out, and is drawn into a time and place she never expected to revisit.

Meanwhile, Sheriff Spencer Arrowood and Deputy Joe LeDonne find themselves on an unwelcome call on Christmas Eve to arrest an elderly man for a minor offense. As the officers attempt to do their duty, it begins to look like they may spend Christmas away from home.

In a story of Christmas, spirits, memories and angels unaware, New York Times best-selling author Sharyn McCrumb revisits the mountains and the characters of her beloved Ballad novels.

Between the pages of the novels we adore, we meet characters we love and some we love to hate. We recognize their kindness, compassion, stubbornness, and tenacity. We love that they have the courage we don’t, the patience we lack, the humor we desperately want. For better or worse, we relate—or want to relate. And when that last page turns, we miss them. They stick with us, and yet they have been silenced. Until now. What if we can revisit with these characters that have captivated our minds and stolen our hearts? What if we could hear more from…
Nora BonesteelinNora Bonesteel’s Christmas Past

This necklace? Why, I’ve worn this little stone cross for nearly as long as I can remember. The string of beads it’s on is new, though. My neighbor Charlotte Pentland made it for me, back when she was studying geology at East Tennessee State. She was most particular about telling me what stones she used to make it. The dark mottled green beads are serpentine, her favorite stone. Mountain DNA, she calls it. Charlotte says that a long time ago—before the Atlantic Ocean existed, in fact—these mountains of ours were connected to the mountains in Scotland, Ireland, and Wales. She says that a vein of this serpentine mineral snakes its way all along the path of the mountains, breaking off at the northern end of New Brunswick, Canada and picking up again in the mountains of Ireland—they’re all the same mountains. Our frontier ancestors didn’t know that, but when they settled here, they were right back in the same mountains they had just left.
The lighter green stones with a dash of pink in them are Unakite, because they come from these Unaka Mountains, where I live. People call Unakite the seer’s stone, because they say it helps you attain the Sight. I didn’t need any help there, but they are pretty little stones, so I let her put them on, too.
The pendant, a little stone cross was given to me when I was a child, the time I went wandering out alone on the mountain and got lost. I wasn’t too afraid at first, because it was summer and the weather was good, but when suppertime came and went, and twilight came, I sat down on a rock at the bottom of a steep ridge, and began to cry. A little while later, I realized I wasn’t alone. Beside me stood a stranger—a small, dark-haired woman, wearing a deer skin dress and moccasins. Her skin had a coppery glow, and she was smiling at me, to let me know I needn’t be afraid.
“Are you lost, child?”
“Yes’m,” I said. “I must have got turned around somehow. I can’t figure out which way is home.”
She nodded. “Well, I suppose I could set you on the right path, child—unless you’d rather come with me.” She pointed to a vine-covered opening in the embankment that I hadn’t seen before. “Through that cave there.”
“You live in a cave?’
“Not in the cave, but through it. On the other side, you will find a beautiful land where it is always summer, and the tomatoes and corn are always ripe and good. Where I live, no one ever gets sick and no one ever grows old. Would you like to come and live there?”
I shook my head. “My grandmother will be worrying about me. I need to go home.”
She nodded. “Perhaps that would be best. Follow me and I’ll take you back to the edge of the woods by your farm. But take this.” She reached into her pocket and took out this little stone cross. She pressed it into the palm of my hand. “You are young yet, child, but someday… someday if you find that your bones ache, and you can’t see to thread your needle, and you dread the coming of the winter cold, then you hold that cross in your hand, and call for me. I’ll come to you, and we’ll see what choice you make then.”
I’ve kept this little cross ever since that day, and now that so many years have gone by, I understand what she meant. I may see her again someday, but not for a while yet. Not for a while.

Sharyn McCrumb is author of The Rosewood Casket, The Ballad of Tom Dooley, and many other acclaimed novels.  Her much-loved “Ballad” novels weave together the legends, natural wonders, and contemporary issues of Appalachia. Readers have come to love the characters, mountains, and mystery brought to life by the award-winning southern writer. Nora Bonesteel’s Christmas Past is her first-ever holiday novel.



  1. This sounds like such a wonderful read. Love the cover.


  2. So looking forward to the release of this book...
    Ginger Stevens

  3. I can't wait to get my copy!


  4. The serpentine necklace sounds beautiful

    Susan Graben

  5. Thanks for the story of the fairystone beads. I love the characters you have created. I'm sure I'll love this new book.

  6. Can't wait to read this new book. I have missed Nora!

    Elisabeth Peery

  7. This is a wonderful book... just like going home to visit with all your favorite folks again... with a bit of magic and some trickster antics thrown in!

  8. I want to read this so badly. It looks and sounds amazing!


  9. So wanting to read the latest on Nora....from this side of the pond in England.

  10. Just love Sharyn's work. Am looking forward to reading this new Christmas novel. Here's hoping to be a winner.
    Thank you for sharing
    Anne Rightler

  11. Sounds like a wonderful book...as always.
    Pam Tabor

  12. Can't wait to read this. Sharyn is a top notch author.
    Melissa Willis

  13. I ordered a copy for my daughter for Christmas--she loves ghost stories. I read it and was tempted to keep it for myself!

  14. I especially enjoyed Spencer and Joe's visit with the elderly couple on Christmas Eve.
    Kathy Wiser

  15. I love Sharyn's writing, and am keeping my fingers crossed that I might win a copy of this one, because it sounds like a real page-turner. Love me some Nora!


  16. I love your Ballad stories. You write as only someone who is from there can.

  17. Drove over to Lawndale from Stanly County to pick up my college roommate to come to ASU for the book launch. She retired as an EC teacher last week so this was her first spur of the moment trip. We had a delightful time ending with a lovely event listening to stories by Sharyn and Charlotte. Both of us were keeping our fingers crossed for that necklace but the fates did not favor us. We are sharing the book--she is up first so I eagerly await my turn.
    Susan Sharples

  18. Drove over to Lawndale from Stanly County to pick up my college roommate to come to ASU for the book launch. She retired as an EC teacher last week so this was her first spur of the moment trip. We had a delightful time ending with a lovely event listening to stories by Sharyn and Charlotte. Both of us were keeping our fingers crossed for that necklace but the fates did not favor us. We are sharing the book--she is up first so I eagerly await my turn.
    Susan Sharples

  19. My first adventure with this author was back in the dark ages. I found a copy of Bimbos & Zombies. I only own 3 of her books in total but her writing does intrigue me. I'd love to be the one chosen to win this new title.

  20. I love the Nora Bonesteel books! I am so excited you've brought her back. Laura Hansen


  21. Very much looking forward to reading this. Nora is one of my favorite characters from your books. Great video too! Michele Tollie-Porter

  22. Love the idea of Mountain DNA. Looking forward to spending Christmas with Nora and her friends.


  23. Sharyn McCrumb has not lost her touch, lyrical and magical blending of science and the world of the unknown.

  24. Nora is my favorite Sharyn McCrumb character, with Spencer a close second. Thanks for the sneak preview!
    Brenda Keen

  25. I've been eagerly waiting to gift myself with this book. Soon it will happen. I love the poetic language about the Appalachians ("my" mountains) connecting all the way to Canada & then to Ireland, Scotland, & Wales (my ancestry). A friend in England teaches about the ability humans have to share DNA with the natural world. Makes sense to me.

  26. Received my book yesterday and I absolutely loved it! Of course I knew I would. My daughter's love the ballad novels too. Would be great Christmas gifts!

  27. I love the necklace with the fairy stone - and the story of how Nora got it! eastwoodvss(at)gmail(dot)com

  28. I love Nora, and all the Ballad books, especially. If anyone is the Bard of Appalachia, it's Sharyn McCrumb!--Em Maxwell
    Here's hoping to win!

  29. Thanks to everyone for stopping by the blog to participate. I neglected to announce the winner of the giveaway over the weekend, so if you are curious OzarkMountainMama won the copy of Nora Bonesteel's Christmas Past.

    Congrats, Mama, and best of luck to everyone else in the next giveaway I host on the blog.


  30. I am so excited to of won a copy of "Nora Bonesteels Christmas Past". Thank you so much!!