Jo Huddleston: Going The Extra Mile

JO PK b2 copy (2)

Everyone’s Story welcomes author Jo Huddleston, who I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know through our connection on ACFW over the years. I had the honor of guest appearing on her blog this past March when my novel was pretty much still a debut (the link to Jo’s interview is below **). Now it’s my turn to host the fabulous and most kind Jo.  I hope you enjoy her feature. Both Jo and I look forward to hearing from you.




Promise Me


Jo is offering 1 ebook of Promise Me,  to 1 randomly chosen commenter, so please do leave a comment. The winners will be announced here on Friday, June 24th between 5-6 PM EST.

** Please note regarding BookGiveaways: email contact information within comments are no longer required. However, if I have a question regarding yours I’ll leave a comment for you to forward it in order for you to chance winning.



A tease of Jo’s Promise Me from Chapter One, Page One:

August 1960 – Morgantown, West Virginia

“Good night, Chet. Good night, David. And good night for NBC News.” The program signed off with the Texaco Gasoline red star logo across the screen.

In Dean Loreen Fletcher’s apartment, Patrick Fitzgerald sat closest to the television when NBC’s Huntley-Brinkley Report ended. He stepped to the floor-standing console and turned off the television. He took his time returning to sit on the sofa beside Adriana Montagna. A somber silence settled over the living room and its six occupants.

Patrick scooted forward to the edge of the sofa cushion. “I don’t want my first job after graduation to be in Vietnam.”


Someone Who Influenced My Writing and My Life

by Jo Huddleston

As we live life, many and varied folks pass through our days—some in reality, others we read or hear about. Of those many, a few make a lasting impression on us. They impress us with their lifestyle, their personality, and their words. I remember my seventh grade homeroom teacher who personified sophistication, my high school principal whose life was an example of accountability, a boss who wasted no words but walked the straight and narrow every day.

I especially remember Karen Ball. Karen is an editor, agent, and published novelist who loves being immersed in words. I met Karen at the first writers’ conference I attended, when she was an acquisition editor for fiction at Tyndale House Publishers. She loves, among other things, people, words, and Siberian huskies.

At that time I had been published in magazines. I had an idea for a book of prayers that women would pray and took five of those prayers with me to the conference. I was an introvert on steroids and completely out of my comfort zone. I mistakenly made a 15-minute appointment with Karen at that conference.

Karen could have dismissed me by telling me she only worked with fiction, but she didn’t. She spent the entire 15 minutes focused on me and my five pages of sample nonfiction writing. She even asked if she could take them back to Tyndale House with her. That request was so significant, although I didn’t realize it then.


In the following weeks, Karen communicated with me, finally telling me Tyndale wanted to publish two books of my prayers. At a later writers’ conference, she told me she’d wanted to be my editor on the two books but Tyndale had said no. After all, she worked with fiction and my prayers were nonfiction.

I saw Karen annually for several years, catching up with her at writers’ conferences. She’s such an excellent example of a positive attitude. Every time I’ve been in her presence, she’s effervescent—bubbly and smiling. My mood improved just being around her.

I haven’t seen Karen for years now, but I keep up with her through her writing. She currently is the owner of Karen Ball Publishing Services, LLC and is a literary agent with the prestigious Steve Laube Agency.

Karen is co-creator of Write from the Deep with Erin Taylor Young. On their website, they’re self-described as “Let’s face it, life is hard no matter what your profession or station. Everyone goes through deep places, and we all want someone willing to walk with us.” Their goal is to help writers to “be encouraged, refreshed, and equipped.”

Karen Ball has down times as we all do, but she presents herself to others as if each day is a blessing, a day to celebrate life. At my first writers’ conference, she encouraged me, when she could have easily sent me on my way. That day she was a true example of what we call the Golden Rule as stated in the Bible: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12, NIV).

And isn’t that what life is all about? Treating others as we hope they will treat us? Yes, many times, life would be simpler if we ignored instances where we might go the extra mile to profit someone else. When I first met Karen Ball, she didn’t choose simple, but shared with me through her heart of love.

When I think about Karen and that first day I met her, she continues to inspire me in my writing life as well in my life generally. Even on days when I think I can write no more, having known Karen Ball encourages me to continue writing.

Jo’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

See who has influenced Amazon Bestselling author Jo Huddleston’s writing. (Tweet This)

How the Golden Rule came to life for Inspirational author Jo Huddleston. (Tweet This)

Win #BookGiveaway of Jo Huddleston’s Promise Me. (Tweet This)

Author’s Bio:

Jo Huddleston is an Amazon Top 20 Bestselling author of books, articles, and short stories. Novels in her West Virginia Mountains series and her Caney Creek series are sweet Southern historical romances. Her novels are endorsed by Amanda Cabot, Cara Lynn James, Sharlene MacLaren, and Ann Tatlock. The redeeming story of God’s pursuing love is the foundation of her novels, and in them you will find inspiration, hope, and gentle stories that are intriguing and entertaining. Jo is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and the Literary Hall of Fame at Lincoln Memorial University (TN).

Places to connect with Jo:






**If you’d like to check out Jo’s interview on me, please visit Jo Huddleston’s Sweet Southern Romance blog.


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Jo and I look forward to your comments. The comment area is below. 

Click “Comments.”

30 comments to Jo Huddleston: Going The Extra Mile

  • I love the way God works with our mistakes!

  • Karen is a sweetheart! So glad she took the time with you and submitted your nonfiction work to Tyndale, Jo. Love your stories of an era gone by.

  • Jan Hall

    I was in the Army during the Viet Nam war. I was blessed not to go there. My first husband did. He still doesn’t like to talk about it.

    • elaineadmin

      Hi, Jan. Oh, wow, I think you were definitely blessed not to fight in Viet Nam. Without debating the merits of that particular war, any war is heartbreaking. Thank you for protecting our country with your service in the army!! And thanks for your Tweets on Jo 😊

    • Jan, I’m not on Twitter, but thanks for tweeting on me! Thanks for coming by and leaving your comment.

  • Hi Jo:

    It’s a little bit disheartening to read historical fiction in which the hero is the same age in 1960 as I was in 1960. I think that makes me history.

    I remember that Huntley-Brinkley signoff with the Texaco logo very well. In fact, if you are in the mood, you can watch the final ‘Goodnight’ here:

    ” target=”_blank”>

    Do you remember the Texaco singers at the start of Milton Berle?

    I’m nostalgic about the fifties but I have no love for the sixties. I may need to start with Book 1 and not jump right into 1960.

    Please place me in the drawing. With me there is the chance for history to read itself!


    • elaineadmin

      I hear you, Vince! I’m beginning to get thrown off balance when the “kids” I work with are having to research the olden days of the ’60s and ’70s. Hmm. LOL–wonder how they’ll feel when one day they will hear of others researching the ’80s or ’90s or … the turn of the 21st century. Then again, I’m trusting that He planted me right where He did and when He did for a reason.

    • Vince, yes, I remember the Texaco singers on TV. I feel fortunate to have experienced life in the 1950s. Thanks for commenting.

  • Two things to which I want to comment. One, is the last sentence from the excerpt “I don’t want my first job after graduation to be in Vietnam.” When I read that one line chills went up my spine and memories of that awful war flooded through me.
    Secondly, I enjoyed reading about your relationship with Karen. It began with fear and grew into love. How beautiful!

  • Marilyn R

    I enjoyed the visit with Jo Huddleston. I have read a couple of Jo’s historical books and enjoy going back in time. Promise Me sounds like another delightful read. None of my cousins wanted to talk about what they experienced in Vietnam when they came home. Time marches on for all of us one day at a time. I hear those of you about the 60’s and the new generation now. I enjoy books filled with God’s love, grace, and mercy He extends to each one. God bless.

  • Hi Jo:

    I meant to comment yesterday that I was driven to read Karen Ball because she has written books in total Deep-POV — which I would say takes a Herculean effort.

    Have you written, even parts of your novels, in Deep-POV? Do you have an opinion on the POV?


    • Vince, yes, I write parts of my novels in Deep POV of my main characters. I think using Deep POV is a great way of revealing our characters’ thoughts and making the character more real and more interesting to readers. Using Deep POV helps readers to better identify with characters and care about them (or hate them, whatever the case may be).

  • Connie Saunders

    I am also beginning to read “historical fiction novels” that are set in my formative years or teenage years and I wonder, how could my life have passed so quickly? I look forward to reading Promise Me.

  • Deana Dick

    Thank you for the great interview. Jo I have just discovered you as an author and I absolutely love your writing. Donna’s Detour was such a wonderful book .

  • elaineadmin

    Another week wraps up for Everyone’s Story. Thanks so much, Jo, for making it a great week for us. Thanks too for sticking it out during a week of graduations, school endings, Father’s Day, and lots of crazy weather for many–a time that pulls viewers away from their computer screens!

    Thanks too for the lovely BookGiveaway of PROMISE ME.

    And the winner of Jo Huddleston’s Giveaway novel PROMISE ME is…

    Deana!! Congratulations, Deanna. And happy reading. Both Jo and I will be in contact with you via direct email.

    Blessings to all.

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