Monday, March 31, 2014

Monday's Devo: Rebuild Your Walls

Our Sunday School class has just returned from a marriage retreat we've had planned for months. We planned it far enough away that parents wouldn't be tempted to cart their kids to ballgames or other events that might interrupt their focus on their relationship. We were encouraged to plan ahead to commit and attend. We had fourteen couples, friends who've walked with us through life for more than twenty years. We were challenged and touched with deep blessings!

(puffy eyes from happy tears, feeling the joy after 25 years of God's faithfulness!)

After the Israelites were taken into captivity in Babylon, upon their return back to the Holy City, Nehemiah was ready to rebuild the walls. 

Sometimes life just happens, and you might wake up one morning to wonder how you got so far from home. You might wonder how everything you'd strived for seemed swept away in a wave, or simply slipped away so slowly you didn't realize it for too long. But now that you've taken account of your life, you might find yourself shocked to find you've been taken into captivity--into EXILE.

Some people call that MID-LIFE CRISIS. The look back is about as long as the journey forward toward the thing you've lost, yet treasured most. You see the walls have crumbled. Your once beautiful city is in decay and ruin. Shambles abound at every turn, but to get back to the love you once had, the faith you once knew, seems monumental.

Nehemiah says: Just START.  Start with rebuilding your walls.

Many scoffed and there were even military attacks on those rebuilding the walls. In our culture there are plenty who join in tearing down walls that protect the fortress of your faith, the holiness of your love, and your marriage. But, look around you, there are bound to be those who are ready and willing to lend you a hand, to rebuild the walls that protect. Nehemiah chapter 3 reminds us of men who did just so. It lists these men by name, and after each name comes the name of the man "beside him" and "next to him" and "after him" who joined in the task.

All the while, they were ridiculed.

Nevertheless, stand up. Put your hand to the task. 
Bend your knees in prayer. And begin. Workers will come along aside you.

Chapter 4: 14 says "When I saw their fear, I rose and spoke to the nobles, the officials, and the rest of the people: 'Do not be afraid of them; remember the Lord who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses.'"  In one hand they carried their work load, in the other their weapon as they rebuilt the walls together.

And in this way, they encouraged, worked, guarded, and protected the Holy City. And where they were weak, they rallied and cried, "Our God will fight for us." (Chapter 4: 20).

So, if you woke up one day mid way through life, through marriage, or career--and found yourself in exile--come home and rebuild your walls. 

God will fight for you. Others will come along beside you.
_____________

Blog post by Anne Love-
Writer of Historical Romance inspired by her family roots. 
Nurse Practitioner by day. 
Wife, mother, writer by night. 
Coffee drinker--any time.
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Friday, March 28, 2014

Book Report: Caught in the Middle by Regina Jennings

Caught in the Middle by Regina Jennings:

~~Relaxing and Engrossing
~~Fun and Heart Warming

Regina Jennings turns out another historical romance to add to your shelves!

The last person Nick Lovelace expects to save his life--is buffalo hunting, sharp shooting Anne Tillerton from back home in Prairie Lea.

The last person Anne ever expected to ask for help--was the trouser dressed, suit pressed businessman, Nick Lovelace.

In an unlikely twist, Anne is thrust into leaving the buffalo hunt and into becoming a foster mother for a little boy who pulls on her heartstrings in ways no one else has been able to achieve since Anne's past has been shrouded in rumor and painful secrets. Only for Sammy will Anne trade her canvas and boots for lace and linen.

Nick Lovelace has put all his business eggs in the basket of one manipulative wealthy woman, who has it in for Anne. "Caught between their own dreams, a deepening relationship, and others' expectations, can the pair find their way to love?"

And, I must say, who doesn't love a heroine named Anne?!

Author Bio: Regina Jennings is homeschooling mother of four from Oklahoma. She enjoys watching musicals with her kids, traveling with her husband and reading by herself. When not plotting historical fiction she plots how she could move Highclere Castle, stone by stone, into her pasture and how she could afford the staff to manage it.

Besides Caught in the Middle, Regina is also the author of Sixty Acres and a Bride and Love in the Balance.  Her novella An Unforeseen Match was included in the best-selling collection A Match Made in Texas. She loves to hear from readers at her website - www.reginajennings.com and on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.

Readers:  you're invited to leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy, limited to continental United States, check back at next week's book report to find out the winner! 
What's your favorite state for a Historical Romance?
What's your favorite Decade for a Historical story?
_____________

Blog post by Anne Love-
Writer of Historical Romance inspired by her family roots. 
Nurse Practitioner by day. 
Wife, mother, writer by night. 
Coffee drinker--any time.
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Thursday, March 27, 2014

BIG CHANGES Coming

It's Thursday and March is winding to a fast close!! But with the onset of spring and April comes some really exciting and fantastic changes here at the CCC Blog.

THE BIG ANNOUNCEMENT will come on April 1st, so stay tuned. We're ridiculously excited and hope you are too.

In the meantime, what's in your cup this morning? :)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

How to Write a Book - In 10 Easy Steps


Last week, one our readers asked us to expand on the writing process, from concept to completion and marketing of. I've spent some time thinking about. 

From the original idea (like the one rolling around in my head about the brothers at odds over the woman who is willing to kill them both), to research (studying the concept of a woman hit-man in the 19th century), to plotting (figuring out the major plot points of the book), to the first draft (pure writing evil in itself), to the edits (happy days!), to the submission to agent (no pressure), to the proposals sent to publishers (equally no pressure), to a contract, a marketing plan, and other pending deadlines.

In reality, there's a deeper truth behind the writer process.
And here's where I'll expose all writers in 10 easy steps:
1. Wake up after a late writing or an early morning writing jaunt

This is truth people. Waking up is simple. It starts by a long moan of agony, the repetitive slamming of your palm against your iPhone alarm clock, and falling off the bed as you try to catch your phone before it slams into the nightstand and cracks it screen. Yep. We're awake now.


2. Brew Coffee, then drink
It's no secret that coffee is the drink of writers. Like whiskey to an Irishman, or Coke to an American, or Poweraid to an athlete. Without coffee, no book is written, or at least written well.


3. Ignore all housework
This includes laundry, cleaning bathrooms, and sometimes showering.


4. Wear your lucky shoes--or find your muse
Your muse is that something that inspires your creative juices. For some it's their pet, others it's chocolate, for myself, it's red shoes. Or red. Red makes me happy. It's the color of blood. I write historical suspense. Deal.



5. Find a picture of your hero...and stare for a long time
You need to know your hero. Connect with their eyes. You will feel what your heroine feels. Then hopefully you have someone scheduled to check in on you so they can wake you up from your hard swoon.



6. Find your personality
Spend hours uncovering your character's inner personality--starting with comparisons to mythic models like Zeus or Hercules or Thor. You know them. The wimpy types.



7. Shrewdly consider the fact that now is the time for more coffee
If you've only had 3 cups you're well below the functional level. Drink up, baby.



8. Have a chocolate break
 ... and take some time to read the creative genius of other authors and realize how horrible your writing is and question why your agent ever signed you in the first place


9. Call one of your besties
You know the one. She works from home (very hard btw) and never sleeps, knows everything and is great at keeping you from committing literary suicide.


10. Waste time loading selfies on Facebook 
Because we all need time to ourselves right? 


And that my friends, is how you write a book. That is all the behind the scenes, real life events that occur...from conception to completion, in 10 easy steps.

_________________________________

Jaime Wright - 

Spirited and gritty turn-of-the-century romance stained with suspense. Youth leader. Professional Coffee Drinker. Works in HR and specializes in sarcasm :) - Represented by: Books & Such Literary Agency

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

History's Lens: Mint Memories

I've been driving past the remains of this old mint distillery since I was a kid. The swamp lands below the hills behind our house were perfect for raising mint, as were many low lying lands in northern Indiana. There are a few old distilleries still standing, but this is one of a very few left and is located on the old Stuckman farmland East of Nappanee, IN.

Mint was used for medicinal properties, and later in gum and toothpastes. The plants were grown in the black dirt of the "muck lands" and cut like hay. It was swept into rows until it was wilted, then it was steamed. The mint-impregnated steam was condensed to collect the peppermint oil.
Most of these fields have long since been turned over to corn or beans, but several years ago a new mint field was planted not far from our house. The first year, it was allowed to "go to seed" and flower so that it would yield more the following year. We discovered that our honey harvest had a minty flavor, and it sold like hotcakes that year!

Weeds mixed into the mint harvest accounted for an inferior purity, and some farmers were thought to dilute their oil to make a better profit. Proof of superior purifying processes produced labels like this one:
Peppermint is not native to North America, but was brought by the colonists. By the turn of the century, it's believed that over 90 percent of the world's mint supply came from Southern Michigan and Northern Indiana.

My favorite mint memories: Grandma Emma's garden mint tea, and driving through St. Joe County, IN in the summer with the windows down when the mint is in bloom. Making garden mint tea is a tradition in our family. The next time my mother makes me a cup, I will wonder how many centuries the species spanned. I will wonder what mint farmers carried the precious plants along with them to the new world. The next time you brush your teeth, or bite into a stick of Wrigley's gum, remember where it came from.

Do you have mint memories?
_____________

Blog post by Anne Love-
Writer of Historical Romance inspired by her family roots. 
Nurse Practitioner by day. 
Wife, mother, writer by night. 
Coffee drinker--any time.
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Monday, March 24, 2014

Separation Anxiety

My son is going through separation anxiety. Lately, I've lost significant real estate in my  bed as the kid likes to sleep horizontally with his toes tucked under my side. But there's something about waking up with a view of dark eyelashes, blushed cheeks, and parted lips breathing softly that melts a mother's heart. Especially, when his little hand reaches out and fingers my hair as he sleeps--to be sure I am still there.

I am determined not to be the mother who has to train their 4 year old child to sleep alone. Enter Nanny 911. Of course, considering mine is still in the early-toddler stage, I have a few years. But the reality is, he wakes up in sheer panic. Panicked screams as though he has been left alone in a black void of darkness and more than the boogey-man threatens his existance. At some point, he'll learn that mommy is still here, and he'll remain in his crib. Which has rockin' cool Dr. Seuss sheets, by the way. But now that he has two year molars threatening his little mouth, I can't help but think it's a combination of panic and pain.

Someday as he learns to be alone, as he learns to trust that mommy and daddy will come back, as he learns that separation is not only okay, but needed, he'll also learn that in the walk of faith, the exact opposite is preferred. Isn't it interesting that the sin-filled earth got it all wrong again? In life, we have to learn to be independent, self-reliant, sleep alone, have FAITH that mommy is in the next room. In our Spiritual life, the Lord wants us to experience separation-anxiety. We SHOULD panic when we get too far away from Him. We SHOULD go into hysterics when we suddenly find we've walked into blackness by ourselves. We SHOULD flip out when something is too hard and we can't do it alone.

So I'm teaching my son to be independent and tonight he curls in his crib beneath his "bah" (blanky). No wonder we get mixed up. I think right now, it's a beautiful picture when my son's panicked cries rip through the peaceful solitude of our evening and his daddy bounds off the couch to go rescue him (eventually to wind up on mommy's lap where he belongs ;) ). The man practically wears a Superman cape around the house and it's reflected in my children's eyes. As our son grows, the cape might wear out ... he won't need Superman (or woman) as often ... he'll try to wear the cape himself. But I pray that he'll remember his daddy - the hero of his personal story - and realize that even when he's thirty-four and alone and scared, one cry and his Heavenly Father will be there. The true Hero. The Parent we should never separate from. The One who will never stop holding us to his chest and whispering "shhhhh" as the storm rages on.

_________________________________

Jaime Wright - 

Spirited and gritty turn-of-the-century romance stained with suspense. Youth leader. Professional Coffee Drinker. Works in HR and specializes in sarcasm :) - Represented by: Books & Such Literary Agency

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Friday, March 21, 2014

Book Report: A Heart's Rebellion

It's been years since I read a Ruth Axtell novel, and when I went back to relocate it, I realized it was her debut novel. So it was a joy to pick up this beautiful book (I don't like pink all that much but seriously, I'd wear that dress ... with my red Chucks of course).

Pros about A Heart's Rebellion:

Everything.

Cons about A Heart's Rebellion:

Nothing.

I really honestly went into this book with a jaded doubt, mainly because I have my preferred queens of Regency romance in the Inspirational category. But Ruth Axtell did herself proud. While not as meaty with the era as Julie Klassen or Sarah Ladd, it's still rife with beauty, romance, captains, India missionaries, rakes, rogues and ruffians.

It was nice to have a hero who didn't start out striking me as intensely attractive. I mean a hero with flaming orange hair is hard to wrap my head around. And the heroine had spectacles which I found charming, but apparently (I did not know this) were a shameful accessory in Regency times. (Jaime whips off black coke-bottle glasses)

The plot was simple, it wasn't super layered or crazy with dark shadowed gothic lore. It was pure romance, and our dear little heroine Jessamine Barry was quite the seeker-out of trouble. But I liked that it wasn't so much because she was headstrong, as much as she was swept into the societal adrenalin of courts and handsome charmers.

It's worth a thorough read and it's a buy that won't disappoint!


Winner of Michael Reynolds "Flight of the Earls" is ... AMY C
_________________________________

Jaime Wright - 

Spirited and gritty turn-of-the-century romance stained with suspense. Youth leader. Professional Coffee Drinker. Works in HR and specializes in sarcasm :) - Represented by: Books & Such Literary Agency

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Thursday's Coffee Blessing
(It's St. Patrick's week, so I'm stuck on the Irish theme.)
Irish Coffee Blessing: 
Through the storms of life, may the only thing brewing be your coffee.
(I found this on a pin, but it had a typo, so I had to remake it using my new mug!)
Have a blessed day!
_____________

Blog post by Anne Love-
Writer of Historical Romance inspired by her family roots. 
Nurse Practitioner by day. 
Wife, mother, writer by night. 
Coffee drinker--any time.
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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Writer's Weekends, Words, Whines, & Woes

We did it. We finally convened on my house for our annual writer's weekend! Ohhhhh the memories of our weekend together. Anne joined me on Thursday night and our dear friend, Laurie joined us on Friday, making our circle complete...minus one, our Halee. (another introduction for another day)

So you want an inside peek into what happens when three fledgling writers get together to brainstorm? 

We all crack open our laptops, pull up our books and start ... TO PANIC!!
It's great.
Really.

Anne and Laurie had the first real looming deadlines. Both of them were preparing for a huge writing contest and their entries were due--now. Poor Laurie hadn't even started to write her synopsis. Picture reading an entire book then summarizing its entire context in one page. Yep. That's a contest synopsis.
So Anne popped open her laptop and we let Laurie talk it out. Take us through her book from chapter one to chapter end. It left us swooning. She read us the last two pages and then called for a waiter to mop Anne off the floor. I had already passed out--almost--literally. We realized Jaime had imbibed in too much coffee and not enough coffee.

Anne. She had the contest to prep for and her next book to flesh out. Her first draft is UH Mazing. Pure genius. But like all writers, she needed more direction, more depth, more bad things happening to good people to make this story pop. We plotted, planned, giggled, swooned some
more and determined that yes, worse things COULD happen to her heroine and make the story just THAT much more interesting. Not that she needed us. Anne is already well on her way toward writing her breakout debut novel. I just know it. And the way we carried a dreamy Laurie into the house after, promises that Anne writes a knock out hero. :)

We moved on to my deadline. I have a proposal due for an unwritten book which means plotting out an entire book so I can write a synopsis on a story that's yet to be told. After, Anne and Laurie performed CPR on me, I was able to catch a breath, wipe away the tears, and focus. They plotted, pressed, interrogated me. Who is your hero? What drives him? What's his biggest lie that he believes? Who is your heroine? Why is she this or that? Who is the villain? Who is the decoy villain? What's their darkest moment and what makes it even worse?

But we did it! After copious amounts of coffee, chocolate, giggles, and tears, Laurie and Anne nailed their contest deadlines and are officially entered! My synopsis is completed and I'm starting my book with the looming deadline of September for completion. (And trust me, September will come FAST!)

How do writers write alone? I have no clue! I couldn't do this without them. My sisters!

Who drives you forward in life?


_________________________________

Jaime Wright - 

Spirited and gritty turn-of-the-century romance stained with suspense. Youth leader. Professional Coffee Drinker. Works in HR and specializes in sarcasm :) - Represented by: Books & Such Literary Agency

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Happy St. Patrick's Day--a day late!

No, this isn't a post about the history of St. Patty's Day, but I came across this lovely old photo of Irish fishermen wearing Aran sweaters.

Isn't this a great vintage photo?

I learned that the sweaters are classic Aran sweaters knit by island women on the Aran Island of Ireland off the coast of Galway. It's thought that the women made the sweaters for the fishermen to survive the terrible weather conditions of the island, and that the patterns came down through centuries. The patterns, such as "Tree of Life", "Ladder of Life", and "Marriage Lines" all represented  different struggles of life.

So, next time you go to Ireland, or go fishing, or pull on a cable knit sweater--think of these interesting origins--and may the luck of the Irish be with you!  
_____________

Blog post by Anne Love-
Writer of Historical Romance inspired by her family roots. 
Nurse Practitioner by day. 
Wife, mother, writer by night. 
Coffee drinker--any time.
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Monday, March 17, 2014

Monday's Devo by Anne

If your husband died, your brother-in-law and your father-in-law also died--would you trust your future to your mother-in-law's culture--or her God?

Ruth, in the Old Testament, was faced with such a choice.

with permission: www.freedigitalphotos.net

We can only speculate that her own family and her own Moabite culture didn't offer her as much as the prospect of returning to Israel with her mother-in-law. Or one might suggest that she was moved by her mother-in-law's grief and couldn't bear to leave her alone. Perhaps she had the feeling that she'd already lost everything precious, and needed a fresh start. Had she heard about the idea of the cultural kinsman-redeemer? Or did she hope the family's remaining land might offer her some means of providing for herself and her MIL?

I'd like to believe she worshipped Yaweh. I want to believe that only a deep trust in the God of Israel was enough to make her follow Naomi. She proclaims to Naomi, "your God will be my God."

If she believed a cultural people could save her, she could have just stayed home. But I believe it was the God of her MIL's people who gave her hope of redemption, and that it was to HIM that she entrusted her future.

Fruendshaft is a German word from my Mennonite ancestors that basically means the brotherhood community of believers. It's an unspoken cultural way of taking care of those in the faith community. Broadly, others might think of this concept when recalling a traditional barn-raising, or quilting--where believers gather to meet the needs of a few. The Hebrew culture had a similar provision in their kinsman-redeemer practices, but Boaz comments to Ruth that he knows she is of noble character.  Though she does boldly approach Boaz and asks him to become her kinsman-redeemer, her noble character report implies she wasn't being manipulative about it.

Boaz's mother, Rahab, also adopted Yaweh as her God. I'd like to believe that Boaz was particularly sensitive to first generation faith that rivaled simple observation of cultural rules.

In fact, the more closely related kinsman-redeemer than Boaz, at first agreed to the cultural rule of redeeming the land--until he realized it included two women that might have meant his own family members would have gotten a smaller piece of their family inheritance.

So, why did Boaz have to remind the Brotherhood, the Fruendshaft, to treat Ruth right?

If they knew the rules, why would they need reminding to keep them? 

Were they perhaps more interested in protecting their possession than living in the Spirit of Yaweh?

I love the story of Ruth because she entrusted her future to Yaweh, and not just a cultural people.
It is only in embracing the good news of a Redeeming God that can save--not cultural touch points like community rules, moral codes, or doctrines.

Who do you entrust your future to?
_____________

Blog post by Anne Love-
Writer of Historical Romance inspired by her family roots. 
Nurse Practitioner by day. 
Wife, mother, writer by night. 
Coffee drinker--any time.
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Thursday, March 13, 2014

When Life Happens

Hi all!
Wow! What a week it's been. Anne's ridiculous 2 day trip home to her house which is 5 hours away, my massive days at work, a toddler that kept me up all night, and some serious winter blues. AND! I have a proposal due with sample chapters to my agent and Anne is preparing a wicked good entry for an upcoming writing contest.

SO! That explains our slightly irregular posting this week.

Cleaning house: the winner of last week's book by Mesu Andrews is...LIBRARY LADY!! Congrats!

This week, we're going to take a break with Friday's book report, recharge, and come back at you next week with some posts about our weekend together and life, love, and the pursuit of good reading :)

See you then!

_________________________________

Jaime Wright - 

Spirited and gritty turn-of-the-century romance stained with suspense. Youth leader. Professional Coffee Drinker. Works in HR and specializes in sarcasm :) - Represented by: Books & Such Literary Agency

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

I Quit

I quit second guessing myself ... I write because I love it, not because I want to be Edgar Allen Poe or Emilie Bronte

I quit playing by the rules ... especially in my first draft. Just write. Who cares if I overuse the word "just" or my first chapter is as boring as page one of Webster's Dictionary.

I quit rationing coffee ... dumbest. idea. ever. bring it on

I quit thinking my writing stinks ... maybe it does, but I don't need to know that

I quit harboring feelings of guilt ... just because I don't rip out two manuscripts a year doesn't mean I should feel guilty about it

I quit hating my heroine ... it's not her fault she annoys me, it's mine - rewrite her

I quit chocolate ... psych. not really

I quit looking ten years into the future wondering if this was worth all the pain ... if nothing else, it's my hobby - who wonders that about their hobby?

I quit comparing myself ... it's like comparing a milk cow to a beef cow - they both serve different purposes and both are nutritional ;)

I quit writing ... I'm just going to create

I quit ... quitting.

'Nuf said.


... anything you're deciding to "quit" today?


_________________________________

Jaime Wright - 

Spirited and gritty turn-of-the-century romance stained with suspense. Youth leader. Professional Coffee Drinker. Works in HR and specializes in sarcasm :) - Represented by: Books & Such Literary Agency

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Monday, March 10, 2014

Monday's Devo--Unplanned Detours

Elaborate plans must sometimes go awry.

Before my trip to visit Jaime and meet Laurie for our writer's weekend retreat, I'd checked, planned, and booked the best routes I could find for my traveling budget. I love riding Amtrak for my trips for many reasons:
~~I can avoid traffic/driving stress
~~Cheaper than flying
~~Closer to Jaime's than the airport
~~I can write while I ride.
~~The people are much more laid back the flyers
~~I love the scenery
~~It appeals to my nostalgic senses
~~It connects me to America's past

However, for every positive, there are always challenges. This weekend my smooth schedules with Amtrak hit their limit and my train was not one, not two--but ELEVEN hours late. First, I was homesick, then I was anxious, then annoyed, then worried I'd wear out my welcome at Jaime's (never!)--and finally, resigned myself to roll with it.

For every inconvenience, I started looking for blessings. I work in a service profession, so I was surprised by the blessing of being the recipient.
~~I was most worried about arriving to Chicago at 3 a.m. and finding my way to a hotel. Don't forget I live on a dead end dirt road, and I'm the baby of the family who is used to following wherever the leader directs. But I was traveling alone. I was pleasantly assured of my safety when a Chicago policeman escorted me to my taxi.
~~A nice girl from New York split the cab fees with me.
~~The hotel let me check out later than usual because of my travel arrangements.
~~I had a super awesome king sized bed and room service breakfast.
~~The valet and the cabbie on my hotel departure were super nice and helpful to this country girl.
~~My taxi and food was mostly reimbursed.
~~I had one more day to adjust to Day Light Savings Time before I go back to work tomorrow!
~~I have an awesome partner at work who willingly picked up the slack while I made new connections back home.
~~My husband was awesome encouragement through my moments of frustration.

Oh, and the reason for the epic fail on the train delay--avalanches and mudslides.

It reminded me of James 4:
Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”

And Philippians 4:6-7:
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

How have your plans been interrupted lately?
Take time to stop, and look around for something new...take a new attitude...the Lord willing...
_____________

Blog post by Anne Love-
Writer of Historical Romance inspired by her family roots. 
Nurse Practitioner by day. 
Wife, mother, writer by night. 
Coffee drinker--any time.
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Friday, March 7, 2014

Book Report & Giveaway: In the Shadow of Jezebel, by Mesu Andrews

I ventured out into a genre I rarely read. Biblical Fiction. There's a reason I don't read it often and it has nothing to do with a lack of great story or writing. I am always hesitant when taking Biblical characters and "adding to" or "projecting upon" a story already told in the words God chose to tell it--whether we find it lacking content or not. SO, with the disclaimer that I firmly believe Biblical fiction is a projection of what MIGHT have occurred and certainly not a retelling of actual events, I will proceed with my review. :)

Mesu Andrews is an amazing writer, descriptive, captivating and intriguing. In the Shadow of Jezebel, it tells the story of Jehosheba, daughter of the King of Judah who has married Jezebel's daughter. The story is filled with intrigue as Jehosheba, trained to be a priestess for Ba'al is instead married off to the high priest of Yahweh.

The book was easy to read and it read fast. It's a captivating conjecture of times of the nation of Judah under pagan influence, cruelty and manipulative power plays. The characters are well developed, from Queen Athaliah to Jehosheba's half brother "Hazi". Romance is palpable and it has a definitive middle-eastern flair for sabotage.

The Old Testament is a volume ripe with story, wars and the woven thread of a God serving justice and love to a people He had chosen. In the Shadow of Jezebel, is a unique take on the divisive times of Jezebel and how her influence traveled into generations of wickedness against Yahweh, the God of Israel.

Read this as a highly fictionalized concept of the life and times of the southern Kingdom of Judah and a beautiful princess torn between two worlds and the g(G)ods they serve.

Leave a comment and enter to win your copy!

_________________________________

Jaime Wright - 

Spirited and gritty turn-of-the-century romance stained with suspense. Youth leader. Professional Coffee Drinker. Works in HR and specializes in sarcasm :) - Represented by: Books & Such Literary Agency

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Thursday, March 6, 2014

Thursday's Coffee: On Amtrak!

Jaime just left Chicago last night. I'm just behind her on the Amtrak train to visit her. This year we have our dear friend and critique partner, Laurie Tomlinson, joining us on Friday! I was so excited I woke up fifteen minutes before my alarm and left the house, forgetting my second cup of coffee. But the train has very good coffee and great leg room to spread out. The down side is the several hour lay-over I have in Chicago. So, I'm writing from the cafe outside the Corner Bakery in Union Station downtown Chicago. And no, this country girl from a dead-end dirt road will NOT be venturing out on the streets during this lay-over! I should be in Wisconsin Dells by suppertime and Jaime and I will pick up pizza for her family at our favorite place. Can't wait to reunite with her sweet kiddos, and just TALK all evening!!
_____________

Blog post by Anne Love-
Writer of Historical Romance inspired by her family roots. 
Nurse Practitioner by day. 
Wife, mother, writer by night. 
Coffee drinker--any time.
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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Chicago Crazies

I'm in Chicago writing a blog post at 11pm after 10 hours of meetings and 2 hours of book plotting for a proposal due in a few weeks to my agent. I'm brain dead. But! Help is on the way!

Enter Anne Love. Arriving at MY HOUSE Thursday night! Yes! It's that time of year. Our writer's retreat! And this year we're joined by Laurie Tomlinson. Sheeeeeesh. This work week in Chicago is bringing them to my doorstep fast.

So forgive this pathetic blog post written on my cell phone. Just keep checking back here for an insider's look into a writer's retreat weekend. Fun stuff to come!

Bucket List: Visit Ancestral Homes

Vacation dilemmas at our house: mountains vs. beach?
See old things vs. see new things....

But a bucket list is supposed to be your personally individualized vacation plan--not someone else's. I have about three or four family homesteads that are still standing that I'd like to visit. One of them is this beauty I discovered this week:


This is the Evans's House. Robert Evans bought 300 acres on Big Elk Creek in 1730. He built a forge here in 1775. Under ownership of his son, John, this forge was thought to be the only one other than Paul Revere's to supply rolled copper in 1812. A three-story fieldstone structure constructed in several phases. The larger addition dates to about the 1820's and the smaller center section appears to be earlier. There was a tannery, grist and saw mill, and copper rolling mill on the property.

I also found an advertisement...wait for it...anyone can rent this property for $1 a year, in exchange for spending $250,000 over five to seven years to restore this lovely old structure. Sigh. If only....

Next: I'd love to visit this ancestral home of Phillip Sherman. After settling in the Massachusetts Bay Colony he became a follower of the dissident ministers, John Wheelwright and Anne Hutchinson. The movement caused him and other followers to become banished. He joined the Quakers and settled on the north east end of Aquidneck Island in what is present day Portsmouth, Rhode Island. For more, click the link: Phillip Sherman.

His original home built in 1670 still stands:

Rhode Island road trip!

Third on the Bucket List Roadtrip is Squire Boone's homestead where Daniel Boone was born.
My husband's family lines trace back to Daniel's grandfather. The home is located in Berks County, Pennsylvania, and was built between 1731 and 1741.

I've already visited this ancestral home of Hans Herr built in 1710 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. What a gem! Read more: Hans Herr House.

The best thing would be to write some stories about these places!
What's on you bucket list?
_____________

Blog post by Anne Love-
Writer of Historical Romance inspired by her family roots. 
Nurse Practitioner by day. 
Wife, mother, writer by night. 
Coffee drinker--any time.
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Find me on: Goodreads
Find me on: Twitter