Margaret McWhorter enjoys a laid-back Freshman year in high school flirting with Jimmy Willmore, swimming and hanging out with friends—until that day. Her brother, Sean, suffers a stroke from taking a steroid. Now he’s lying unconscious in a hospital. Margaret’s angry at her dad for pushing Sean to be a great quarterback, but a fire of hatred burns inside her to make the criminals pay.
Looking for justice, she takes Jimmy and her best friend, Emily, through a twisted, drug-filled sub-culture. A clue sends them deep into the woods behind the school where they overhear drug dealers discuss Sean.
Time and time again they walk a treacherous path and come face to face with danger. Even the cop on the case can’t stop them from investigating. All the while Margaret really wants to cure Sean, heal the hate inside, and open her heart to love.
Award-winning author Gail Pallotta’s a wife, Mom, swimmer and bargain shopper who loves God, beach sunsets and getting together with friends and family. She’s been a Sunday school teacher, a swim-team coordinator and an after-school literary instructor. A former regional writer of the year for American Christian Writers Association, she won Clash of the Titles in 2010. Some of her published articles appear in anthologies while two are in museums.
Write a Haiku about your book.
Stopped Cold in his tracks
The busy world standing still
Our God is watching
In 140 Characters or less, tweet about your book.
Readers say Stopped Cold’s emotion packed, an important story, touches on tough subjects, makes you think, has action, love of family and pressure from all sides
What makes your novel standout from the crowd?
Margaret McWhorter’s spiritual quest. She’s on an earthly journey looking for the drug dealers who sold her brother a steroid that caused him to have a stroke. Along the way she finds first love and devoted friends. In her search for peace she finds we don’t have to be number one for God to love us.
Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
Readers jump into a mystery, experience the excitement of winning in sports, know the warmth of true friends and family, and have the reassurance that God loves them for who they are.
Who or what inspired your last book?
Over the years I’ve seen heartache when people aren’t able to be the best. In several instances the drive pushed them to destructive behavior. I’m not sure if this phenomenon crossed my path more than that of others or not, but some of the problems associated with it were so terrible they touched my heart in a sad way that never left me. Stopped Cold shows the huge difference between having to be the best and doing one’s best and challenges readers to use their God-given gifts.
When I thought of being number one, even though I realized people compete in everything from football to pie-tasting, sports came to mind. What if an athlete took a steroid? Then what if three amateur sleuths reminiscent of the fun-to-read Nancy Drew / Hardy Boys mysteries chased the drug dealers? That’s what happens in Stopped Cold.
How did you know you should become an author?
I’m still not sure about it. It involves a lot of hard work, disappointment and strange looks from some people when you tell them. But there’s an upside. My husband says I have pretend people running around in my head, and I have to let them out.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you “grew up”?
A private detective.
Favorite quote from a movie?
Several come to mind. Being a southerner, I can’t forget this one:
“Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn,” Rhett Butler played by Clark Gabel from Gone with the Wind.
I don’t think anyone forgets this one:
“Go ahead, make my day,” Harry Callahan played by Clint Eastwood in Sudden Impact, a Dirty Harry movie.
Another that sticks with me:
From the song, “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?” “How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand,” sung by the nuns in The Sound of Music.
What’s your favorite season/weather?
Summer. I love sunshine, the beach, the swimming pool, getting together with friends outside—everything that comes with summer. If I get too hot, I jump in a cool pool or get in the air conditioning.
What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
A glint danced in Emily’s eyes. “You’re probably sorry
Jimmy left. In case you haven’t noticed, he’s totally into
I couldn’t have stopped my grin if I’d wanted to. “You think
“Oh, yeah.” Emily nodded. “I’m glad he’s going with us
“So am I. Thanks for asking him.”
“You’re welcome.” Emily shifted her gaze to my plate. “You
have to keep up your strength. We’re not leaving until you
Seeing Candy, the talk about the temple, and the shame of
telling Jimmy about Sean had squashed my appetite. “Emily,
I can’t. My stomach’s churning.”
Emily’s dark eyes turned stern. “You have to.”
I rubbed my stomach.
“Think of something soothing and eat.”
My thoughts turned to the warmth I’d seen in Jimmy’s eyes
the day he told me he was keeping Sean in his prayers. The
first nibble of my french fry tasted better than I thought it
would. Now, the chicken sandwich. Yum.
Emily grinned. “After you eat it all, I’ll take you home.”
Since Sean had been in the hospital, Emily looked after me.
Guess she realized there was no one else to do it. “You
sound like my mom, but for a ride, I’ll do it. I’m too tired to
wait on the bus.”
Emily laughed. “I’m more like a big sister.”
I cleaned my plate. “There.”
Emily and I strolled out of The Grill to her car. The
conversation Candy had with the football players replayed in
my mind and fueled my hatred of the drug dealers. Seemed
like Candy thought steroids were a big joke. Did she really
know something about the temple?
Emily turned on the radio and kept her eyes on the road. “I
love this song.”
It was a soft, love tune. Tears pooled in my eyes. With all of
the hurt and anger in my heart there wasn’t room in my life
for such songs. “It’s pretty.”
She pulled up in my drive. “Here ya’ go.”
Grateful for the lift home, I got out. “Thanks so much,
I kicked at a clump of leaves as I strolled toward the house.
Soon winter would bring weather as cold as the ice in my
heart. My athletic bag seemed to weigh a ton with the wet
towels in it. I dropped it on the stoop. A cool breeze
whipped around the corner as I fished in my purse for my
The door slammed behind me blocking out the wind,
but nothing could get rid of the loneliness in the air. Mom
and Dad were at the hospital. If I had any courage at all
that’s where I’d be, but I wanted to walk in room 101 and
find Sean sitting up talking. That wasn’t going to happen. The
sorrow of it overwhelmed the anger that kept me going, and I
exploded with sad sobs.
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