Today I am so pleased to welcome JD Chambers to Joyfully Jay. JD has come to talk to us about her latest release, Depth of Focus. She has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving JD a big welcome!


I am one of those poor unfortunate souls whose favorite holiday is Thanksgiving. The entire country goes into Christmas mania beginning the day after Halloween, and I’m wishing we could have a sea of orange and gold, décor of fall leaves and spiced cider for a full month, at least, before bringing in the red and green.

When I was younger, we never strayed from our Thanksgiving feast. My mom is a traditionalist, and we had the exact same turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, cranberry relish, sweet potatoes, homemade rolls, and oodles of pies every single year. Which was not a bad thing! My mom can cook a mean Thanksgiving dinner!

But when I gained a family of my own, as children are wont to do, mine revolted. They don’t like turkey. One won’t eat potatoes of any kind. Nobody but me eats the dressing – which don’t even get me started on. What to do?

Over the past couple of years, my son has developed an interest in learning to cook and bake, and has been my self-appointed Thanksgiving helper. Each year, we get a little more adventurous than the last, straying from our family classics and trying new recipes – some with greater success than others. The success, though, doesn’t really matter in the end. What matters the most is that my son and I have come up with our own non-traditional Thanksgiving tradition, and I love it.

When the time came for me to figure out something special to do for Travis and Caitlyn’s first Thanksgiving without their mom, I looked to my own experience with my family, and I think the results for this sweet family is perfect. It’s different and fun, and incorporates not just family by blood-relations but the family they make for themselves. I hope you enjoy the book and are inspired to try a little adventurous feasting of your own!


Caitlyn saw him through the glass and held up a finger. Travis pointed to his wrist, where no watch had ever been, and Caitlyn rolled her eyes. He decided to wander around the front while he waited.

“I’m sorry if they were a pain.” He softened his voice out of habit and a general fear of Mrs. Clemens as he spoke to the librarian whose name he still couldn’t remember, but whose eyes he couldn’t forget.

“Not at all,” the librarian said with a mellow voice and a smile. “I love that the kids in town hang out here.”

“It doesn’t make extra work for you?”

“If it instills a love of reading in them, it will have been worth it.” The way he spoke made Travis wonder if “Speaking in a Library” was a required class in library school. It seemed to come easily to him. His voice was naturally smooth and soft without lowering his volume.

“But they don’t even look at books. They get on the computer and play games.”

“And sometimes wander the shelves,” he said with a wry smile. “I like to think a little bit rubs off through osmosis. And some of it is just learning that libraries and books are nothing to be scared of, and that some social and cultural institutions are good things.”

Travis’s lips twitched at the librarian’s passion and enthusiasm. It had been too long since he had truly smiled, but there was something endearing about the man. He was very short, Travis noticed now that less of a counter separated them, but he seemed to have the energy of a much larger person packed into that compact space. He probably wouldn’t appreciate the comparison, but he reminded Travis of a little bald leprechaun. Or maybe the love child between Mr. Clean and the Energizer Bunny.

“Ugh, what did you do this whole time, Travis?” Caitlyn’s voice startled him from what he then realized was his obvious staring at the new librarian. “Run wild in the woods?” She reached up and picked a twig from Travis’s hair and brushed it aside. “Your butt is all muddy.”

Travis tried to steady his voice while keeping it low. “As a matter of fact, I went to the creek. It was peaceful. And quiet. Like a library is <em>supposed</em> to be.”

Caitlyn scoffed and walked out the door.

“Thank you for watching her,” Travis told the librarian before turning to follow his sister.

“She’s always welcome. As are you.”

Travis stumbled over the door threshold but refused to look back.


Growing up, Travis hated his small town, Slat Creek, and everyone in it. His only goal was to escape for good, and at the age of twenty-one, he thought he had finally achieved it. But when his sister struggles with the death of their mother, he has to return home to care for her.

Whitman grew up believing in the healing power of books, but it wasn’t until he moved to a small town in Oregon as their new librarian that he sees that belief in action. He’s living his dream professionally. But personally, he’s lonely and wondering if he made a big mistake, until he meets a sad teenager and takes her under his wing.

Might an observant and helpful librarian be enough to tempt Travis to stay?


JD Chambers wanted at various times to be Indiana Jones, Pat Benatar, and Wonder Woman when she grew up. She never considered writing down the stories she crafted in her head. They provided nothing more than entertainment for long drives or sleepless nights, until one particular story insisted it didn’t want to reside only in her noggin. She hasn’t stopped writing since.

JD finds unlikely heroes, humans courageous enough to be themselves, and spreadsheets incredibly sexy — the last one much to her husband’s chagrin. Together, they raise three teenagers and the world’s most mellow Chihuahua on the Oregon Coast.


JD has brought a $5 Amazon gift card to give away to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Wednesday, November 28th at 11:59 pm ET.

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FILED UNDER: Excerpt, Giveaway, Guest Post