Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Goal Setting


It's the end of another month. Can you believe April has flown by?

Those folks who know me, know I love to make goals at the start of each month. Most of the goals have to do with my writing, but I also set other goals as well.

When I set these goals, I have a couple of criteria that I use.

1. Is the goal quantifiable? How else will I know if I attain it if I can't quantify it? Don't set a goal like "Write a lot of words." Put a number on it. Write 5K words a week, or 30K for the month.

2. Is it realistic? "Write 100K words this month." That's quantifiable, but it isn't realistic. Take into account your responsibilities, your schedule, and your life before you set your goals.

Since I set goals on a monthly basis, then there is always a time element. If your goal has no deadline, you don't feel compelled to work at it.

There's also an accountability angle. I tend to post my goals on my personal blog, or my Facebook Page, or tell my family about my goals. If there's no accountability, I cut myself too much slack.

So, since it's the eve of a new month, here are some of my goals for May:


  • Write at least 25K words on a new story.
  • Write 8 blog posts
  • Clean out my closet and gather five bags of things to be donated from around the house.
  • Plant my flowerbeds and flowerpots


How about you? Are you a goal setter? What are some of your goals for the month of May?

_________________________________________

Author of Historical Romance

Reluctant Bookkeeper 

Homeschool Mom (for 1 more month!)

Earl Grey Aficionado 

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

What's Your TV Secret Pleasure?

May 5th my secret television pleasure will return to my family room! 24 was that show that I watched religiously, jumped with every gun shot, winced with every uppercut, started at every downed terrorist, and hyperventilated every time Jack Bauer looked like he wouldn't live to the 24th episode. My husband rode the journey with me, with far less emotional attachment, but nonetheless, the days before children ... every Tuesday night ... we attached ourselves to that guilty pleasure of 24. AND IT'S BACK!! May 5th I will be, at 7 o' clock sharp, planted in front of my television. Ok wait. I have kids now. Make that at 8 o' clock sharp, once kids are in bed, I'll turn on my dvr and watch Jack Bauer make his return from his obscure disappearance into the wind. The world will hunt for him, bullets will fly, violence will abound, and I will sit and watch in horrified glee.

This is what television can do to us. Of course, most of you will probably go "ew" to my Jack Bauer obsession. Unless you're my fan-mate, Melissa Tagg, in which case, she'll don her "This Girl Loves Her Jack Bauer" t-shirt just as I don mine, and we'll sit in pure rapture.

So what's your guilty TV pleasure? I asked a few folks this week and it ranged from the Duggar's 19 Kids and Counting to NCIS to Little Honey BOO BOO!?!?! 

But no judgment here. I'm curious, what am I missing that to you is a must see of good moving-picture fiction (or reality show, 'cause truth be told, it's still mostly fiction).




_________________________________

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, April 28, 2014

Psalm 23

by permission: www.freedigitalphotos.net
A Psalm of David...the 23rd

The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.

He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.

He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
Forever, and ever.
Amen.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Book Report: The Pelican Bride by Beth White

Winner of Tracie Peterson's "A Sensible Arrangement" - Carolina Anda

Beth White's debut book, The Pelican Bride, wins high marks on my favorites list!

~~It's Romantic & Clever
~~Historic & Intricate

Set in colonial Louisiana on the Gulf Coast of 1704, this first in a series of a family saga will pull you in and make you anxious for her number two in the series. If you aren't versed in pre-American Revolution history, you might take a little time to read White's A Word to the Reader at the end of the book, or brush up a little on your own. White has done her homework, as any teacher would do! At her day job, Beth teaches music in an inner-city high school, in historic Mobile, Alabama.

What could be so bad to make the lovely French born mademoiselle, Genevieve Gaillain, leave her homeland, cross the Atlantic, and marry a stranger in the untamed swamps of the Gulf Coast fledgling colony? She has no illusions that the move will be easy, but she hopes the new start will provide the opportunity to leave the horrors of the old world and gain a chance to worship quietly, without persecution for her outlawed religious beliefs.

When Genevieve falls in love with Tristan Lanier, an expatriate cartographer, their sweet romance is quickly pulled into a quagmire of loyalties between their secret pasts, and the demands of that serving their King requires while balancing relationships with the local military, Indians, Spanish, and British. And if those loyalties aren't enough complication, suspicion rises that a sinister enemy lurks within the colony.

Will Genevieve's secret be the undoing of the future of the colony and her newly found love?

White's debut is a page-turning delight that kept me reading every word and anxiously awaiting her next release, Book 2 of The Gulf Coast Chronicles, set in1776. In the fresh setting of the South, White gives an amazing view into colonial life in a style reminiscent of Laura Frantz.

We invite readers to comment for a chance to win a free copy.
White reminds her readers how soggy the south can be on the coast. I spent eighteen days living in a tent giving medical care after Hurricane Katrina, in the very region of nearby present day Biloxi, Mississippi. We spent a long wet night in a military tent while the outer bands of Hurricane Rita buzzed through. It's a once in a life time experience I hope I won't have to repeat, but the climactic scene of this book, brought it all back afresh!

So, readers, any campers out there? 
Do you camp with style & comfort, or the old gritty & primitive way?
What's the most rural place you've been to, or vacation you've been on?
If you've ever "roughed it", did it reconnect you to your settler ancestors and predecessors?
-------------
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, April 24, 2014

#TBT - Throwback Thursday - A Classic Tale of Horror

One of my first classic reads EVER was The House of Seven Gables, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, better known for writing The Scarlet Letter. I remember curling my thirteen-year-old frame into an old chair and sitting from 8 am to 11 pm until the book had finished. A tale of horror, cursed house, a man hung for witchcraft, and death of the worst sort. It was my first horror novel ala Mr. Hawthorne and it captivated me.

As far as classics go, I'm always surprised that such a delicious read doesn't make the list of top 10 classics very often. Usually it's Jane Austin, Emily Bronte, Charles Dickens, etc. But then, I was always good for picking out the more obscure classics and adding them to my faves list (enter Ivanhoe -- a story for another day).

Hawthorne penned one of the first great All-American horror novels because, as you  may not know, Frankenstein and Count Dracula are not, nor will they ever be, American tales of fright. In the delicious way of Hawthorne, he takes the reader on a journey through generations of a gabled house who's walls are truly alive and who's dark recesses hide family secrets that may wound...or even kill.

What obscure throwback classic do you hail as a favorite?

_________________________________

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, April 23, 2014

Where ya' from?


The picture at the left gives you a big, broad hint as to where I'm from. Though I currently live in Minnesota, I wasn't born or raised here.

Dorothy Gale and I have the same home state. (And no, it's not in black and white.) Superman/Clark Kent and I have the same home state. Other famous people from my home state are:

Amelia Earhart
Buster Keaton
Martina McBride
Mark Schultz
Danny Manning
Walter Chrysler
Kirsty Alley
Annette Benning
Don Johnson
Dennis Hopper
Erin Brockovich

Sunflowers, buffalo, meadowlarks, Jayhawks, and wheat fields. You guessed it. I'm from the great state of Kansas. I was born in Salina, in the center of the state.

So, where do you hail from. Do you currently live in the same state in which you were born? What's the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the state of Kansas?

________________________________________
Author of Historical Romance

Reluctant Bookkeeper 

Homeschool Mom (for 2 more months)

Earl Grey Aficionado 

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Taking a Sick Day

It's that season for me. I got sacked with a cold and the stomach flu. So nothing super impressive from me today except hoping you all can avoid this bug! .... Jaime

Monday, April 21, 2014

It's Friday, But Monday's Coming!

A throw back statement about Easter used to be "it's Friday, but Sunday's coming..." 

Even though Jesus died on Good Friday and our hearts were downcast, we can celebrate because we know that Easter Sunday is coming, and we can live our lives knowing Christ's resurrection power. But think about it, what was life like for the disciples on Monday?
by permission: www.freedigitalphotos.net
Who are you in this year's Easter story?

Every year at Christmas and Easter, I strive to find some new nugget of truth in the age old story of our Messiah and Savior.

Last year, I was amazed to learn....that I relived the story mostly through Peter. And the story  goes something like this:


Yes, I've followed Jesus. Sat at His feet. Supped with Him. Broke bread with Him. Walked with Him. Prayed with Him. In fact, I was even the first of my disciple friends, when asked who He is, to declare, "why Lord, you are the Christ." (I was secretly proud I'd gotten the answer right before the other disciples...)

And as I saw that He was the chosen Messiah, long prophesied, now come--this revelation changed me to my very core. Even my name was changed, from Simon to Peter. He said I would become the rock, the foundation of His church--whatever He meant by that, I wasn't sure exactly. But it sure sounded great, important---I even wondered which side of His throne I might sit on.

My whole life was changed by this Son of Man. I left fishing. Why, I was so swept up in His teaching, His example, His power--that when He walked on water and bid me come to Him, I dared to believe I could do the great things He did. I even took up a sword in His defense. I declared I would follow Him even unto death.

But that was before Friday.

Friday, everything changed. What a fool I was. One minute we were having supper, basking in His loving care for our band of brothers, amazed still at His example. The next--they had seized Him and we scattered to the shadows. None of us knowing where the others had fled.

The streets of the city grew strangely quiet. Soldiers feet could be heard about, scraping the cobblestones as they went, searching for sympathizers. 

I followed at a safe distance and finally fell in place with a group of street dwellers warming by a fire. Fear gripped me, for I knew not what would become of Him, or of our band of brothers. Where would I go if I had not my brothers but had made such a fool of myself among my friends and family? Suddenly, everything we'd learned, everything He'd said seemed suspect--overstated, surreal, nearly bordering on psycho-babble, or merely a well-meaning man who'd falsely raised our hopes only to leave us empty in the end. How ridiculous I must have appeared to everyone!

The words slid from my mouth, no, my innermost being, and past my lips--"No, I never knew him."

Cold shame seeped to my bones. Bile seared the back of my mouth and throat. Tears burned my eyes even as I set my jaw firmly in place with the realization that----it was over, and try as I might, it had all failed.

I wasn't a rock. Would never be a rock.

And my sorrow only sunk deeper as Friday melded to Saturday, our day of preparation. Our mourning was compounded by our persistent fear and terrible shame. Disillusioned, we stumbled through the motions.

Slumber after those terrible days was fitful and I awoke early Sunday. Mary was banging on my door to tell us the unbelievable greetings that "He lives!"

My joy, my shame, my curiosity, my hope all welled up together as we met Him once again. And when I saw Him--at once I knew, He loved me still. Though I'd been so afraid to declare His glory. Though I'd only wanted to keep His love selfishly private.

When He looked into my eyes, to my very soul--I knew His great mercy--for I did not deserve His forgivenessBut in a glance He'd already given it and more, pushing me further, drawing me deeper into His Kingdom and I knew it had all been.....THE TRUTH. All of it. It had all been very REAL.

"Simon Peter," He said," do you love me more than these?"

"Oh Lord, You know that I do.I wept.

"Tend my sheep. Feed my sheep. Follow Me."

He said that when I was young, I could go and do as I wished, but as I am older I will be taken where I do not wish to go.

Then I knew it. The TRUTH about Him would sweep me deeper into His kingdom, to tell of His teachings, His love to all the world...no matter where it would take me. And so, we waited for His Holy Spirit to come as He promised. And after His breath came from heaven, I was compelled to share with all who were thirsty to hear it--and even those who might refuse to believe it. Crowds gathered to hear it.

And when the story went public, my earlier shame cast aside, my fears of appearing foolish and wrong melted away as we baptized over 3,000 souls.

And a part of my old self died that day as we told His story.

And so a rock was found under my feet....

....I am Peter.
-------------
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, April 18, 2014

Book Report & Giveaway: A Sensible Arrangement, by Tracie Peterson

Celebrating Tracie Peterson's 100th book! YES THAT'S RIGHT! I cut my Inspiration fiction reading teeth on Tracie Peterson. I almost fainted when I found myself in the same room with her. Of course the fact I was also six months pregnant and anemic might have had something to do with it.

Anyway, A Sensible Arrangment is a great read. I really loved the fact her heroine was in her 30's. You don't see that as often and Tracie captured the young hip version of this historical heroine ("hip" isn't probably the correct terminology, but cut me some slack) while also giving her the maturity due someone in their thirties who'd experienced the trials of life.

It IS an arranged marriage story. BUT Tracie doesn't go the route of arranging a marriage to save a ranch. Instead our hero is a bank manager trying to save face with the powers-that-be of the bank who find an eligible bachelor less than seemly to hold such a powerful position. Married and settled is far more preferred. Of course, there is the ranch aspect. This is the West (Colorado) to be precise. And Jake wants to ranch while Marty, our heroine, wants to b as far away from it as she can. That's where she came from, and what she's running from. The memories of a marriage that ended to soon. So it wouldn't be a good idea to tell her new husband she holds his dreams in her hands, would it?

OK! no spoilers! The romance between the two is classic Tracie Peterson, as are the Spiritual threads, the gently woven plot that keeps you turning pages and the well-scripted scenery.

She has not disappointed with this one-hundredth book, only proven why Peterson is the MASTER of everything Historical Romance.

So if you were going to be married in an arranged marriage, what State would you hope your intended lived in? Leave your answer in the comments and enter to win the book! 
Lis K is the winner of last week's give away, watch for an email!
_________________________________

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, April 17, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Martyrs Mirror

Most Anabaptist Mennonites can tell you that the Martyrs Mirror holds a record of all the martyrs from the time of Christ through the Reformation to 1660 for their confession of faith. It includes accounts of more than 4,000 Christians who suffered a martyr’s death because of their simple, nonresistant faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was first printed in 1660 by a Dutchman.



Many Mennonite homes held a copy, and contained a record of family marriages, births, and deaths. We have one in our home. Ours isn't a vintage antique like this first edition copy though, bummer. What many Mennonites may not know is that it was one of the most important documents in print in Colonial America.


In 1745, Jacob Gottschalk arranged with the Ephrata, Pennsylvania Cloister of believers to translate the book from Dutch into German. The work took 15 men three years to finish and in 1749, at 1512 pages, it was the largest single book printed in Colonial America before the Revolutionary War.  The first edition printed 1300 copies to support the faith of the growing nonresistant Mennonite Church.

How could such a book play a role in the foundation of our nation? After the French and Indian War ended in 1763, Americans in the 13 colonies became divided in their support of Great Britain. About a 1/3 supported King George III of England, called Loyalists. Another 1/3 supported the Revolution and were called Patriots. The remaining 1/3 were neutral citizens, including nonresistant Mennonites and many others.

Public Domain: image of Dirk Willems who turned back to save his pursuer, who later put him to death

The Ephrata Cloister of Mennonites printing the large volume were literally located in the wilderness and used something close to 10,000 pounds of linen rag to make the 500,000 pages of paper for each volume. This type of printing effort was not to be repeated until mid 19th century. Being printed for the importance of the content, it was a financial disaster that play a crucial role in the Revolution. 

A large portion of unbound sheets were confiscated by the Continental Army supplying the Patriots with wadding for their muskets, quite an ironic fate for a book that existed for the sole purpose of the testimony of nonresistant faith. It's even reported that some believed the supply of wadding might have altered the outcome of victory.


All sides had losses, but today we live in a free country. 
Let us not take our liberty for granted. 
As we move toward the cross of Jesus Christ this Easter week, what moves you about the sacrifice for faith? Are you surprised to learn this tidbit of history, or have you read it before?
_____________

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, April 16, 2014

Book or Movie?


I remember the first time I watched Gone With The Wind. I was mesmerized by Scarlet O'Hara, the burning of Atlanta, the sheer scope and size of the movie. I think I was about 12 the first time I saw it.

A few years later, I checked the novel out of the library. I was floored that the story-line differed so much from the movie. When it was all said and done, though the book was wonderful (Pulitzer, anyone?) I found I preferred the movie to the book.

I felt the same way when Hallmark made a movie from Julie Garwood's book For The Roses. Again, the book differed from the movie. Hallmark changed handsome, manly, hunky Harrison--the prototypical historical romance hero--into a nerdy little fop that had NO resemblance to the book's hero. The nerve! In addition, in the movie, they killed my favorite character off! This does NOT happen in the book. In this case, I preferred the book to the movie.

Then there are some book-to-movie stories that I think are fairly even, I love them both. Robert Parker's Appaloosa. Larry McMurtry's Lonesome Dove series, Tolkien's Lord of The Rings.

And I've come to the conclusion that my favorite version of a story tends to be the one I experience first. And if I have a choice of one over the other, I always want to read the book first. I guess I'm more of a 'word person' than a 'picture person.'

So, do you prefer books or movies? Does it matter which one you experience first? Are you more about the words or the visuals? What is your favorite book-to-movie, and which one were you most disappointed with?





_________________________________________
Author of Historical Romance

Reluctant Bookkeeper 

Homeschool Mom (for 2 more months)

Earl Grey Aficionado 

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

When it's Time to Give Up

I think sometimes we just walk through the desert and all we can hug are cactus. 
(If there are any cactus growing)
But I think God allows us to walk in the desert because if we don't, and we're always in green pastures, our need for Him dissipates. And then I think at the same time, the enemy likes to see our discouragement and make it even more dry than it ever was before.

It's sort of like writers block and the only way to break writers block is to keep pushing forward and not allow our discouragement to make us quit. Because were passionate about what we do. If we are passionate about Jesus it should be the same pushing forward and pushing through and realizing that it is our strength that makes us strong. Admitting a weakness is sometimes the best thing we can possibly do.

Our struggles are not meaningless. There is a purpose and a time and place for everything.Whether it's husbands, wives, children, parents, or yourself wallowing in depression.Goals not being achieved at the speed we desire.Our independence hampered by the needs of others.Or maybe just exhaustion because of the pace at which the world turns these days.

We live in a fallen world and yet we expect perfection because God has planted that desire in our hearts. And He planted it knowing He is the only one who can provide it.So we need to stop looking for an emotion.Stop searching for a feeling of peace.Stop waiting to feel better when everything is better.And realize that maybe we need to hunker down, in the bow of the ship, with Jesus standing with His arms outstretched to calm the storm in His time, at His beckoning. And as we ride out the storm, or trudge through the desert, or embrace the cactus, and all we see are mirages of hope that always seem to be just out of reach...He whispers "be still".

But not to the storm.And not to the desert.And certainly not to the cactus.But to us.
Stop fighting. Stop wishing for something we do not have. Stop expecting peace during worship, revelation during Scripture, and hope during the day. Because really, we're looking for a feeling.
Instead we should just look for Him.And the rest will come.

Experience the desert or storm lately?

_________________________________

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, April 14, 2014

Senseless Loss, Meaningful Suffering

You've heard the phrase, "such a senseless loss."  

We might hear it said over the premature death of someone. Cancer. A preventable accident. An act of violence. The suffering of hundreds, millions, at the hand of an overlord. Tragedy.

Senseless.

Which is to say, we can't find the meaning in it.
Meaningless....almost.

Or is it instead, full of meaning? Working an eternal work of God's glory within us as we wrestle with Him in our suffering. In our grief and loss. Our pain and sorrow.

King Soleman looked around his kingdom at all the suffering, the oppression, and pain, and declared there is nothing new under the sun. The world has known pain and suffering since its birth. Meaningless, meaningless. meaningless, he declared.

Senseless.

Or is it instead, full of meaning? Doesn't the way of the cross of Jesus Christ instead  give life to our sufferings? The very opportunities God uses to encounter us. To meet us. To walk with us. To raise us up to new life in Christ.

About this time, the week before Christ's death on the cross, the disciples sensed it was coming. Something big. Really, really big.

John 12:23-25
New International Reader's Version (NIRV)
"23 Jesus replied, 'The hour has come for the Son of Man to receive glory. 24 What I’m about to tell you is true. Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only one seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 Anyone who loves his life will lose it. But anyone who hates his life in this world will keep it and have eternal life.'"

by permission: www.freedigitalphotos.net

They'd witness God's great power, sat at the feet of their servant King Jesus, walked with him, talked with him.

Yet hours after Christ's death, it seemed senseless, and for naught. 
Doubt, fear, anger rushed in to replace hope and faith in His teachings and His love.
Suddenly the really, really big thing seemed empty and hopeless.

Like Christ, we beg for our cups of suffering to pass from us.
And like Him, when we turn loose of our own will, our own life, He produces meaning.
He makes us live again.
He raises us up with Him.
And in this, is the mystery of the cross and the way of Christ.
And it's really really BIG. So big, it's hard to grasp.

For meditation in song, click the link: "Though You Slay Me" by David Crowder

May you find new meaning this week as you prepare for Easter and as you are reminded of Christ's suffering and atoning act upon the cross.
_____________

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, April 11, 2014

Book Report: Dare to Love Again by Julie Lessman

Another Lessman Romance...

~~ The Queen of spunk and spitfire has done it again!

If you like a heroine with attitude and a hero with grit, you'll find it in Lessman's Dare to Love Again. True to form, she'll have you giggling at the first "Mr. Cranky Pants."

Socialite Allison McClare strikes out on a mission to teach the underprivileged children of Barbary Coast. But her uptown style draws unwanted attention from unsavory characters who make the dark streets their home.

Detective Nick Barone has better things to do than babysit a socialite with no street smarts and no sense for her own safety. Sparks fly when he finds the unyielding Miss McClare under his supervision.

But will Nick Barone, with a long e, join the ranks of the other frauds Allison has cared for in the past? "Or is he the one who will let her dare to love again?"

Julie Lessman: Award-winning author of “The Daughters of Boston” and “Winds of Change” series, Julie Lessman was American Christian Fiction Writers 2009 Debut Author of the Year and voted #1 Romance Author of the year in Family Fiction magazine’s 2012 and 2011 Readers Choice Awards. She has also garnered 14 RWA awards and made Booklist’s 2010 Top 10 Inspirational Fiction. You can contact Julie and read excerpts from her books at www.julielessman.com.

 Book one of this series is Love at any Cost, which I read on my last vacation. Apparently I like to read Julie's books while I'm on vacation. I wish I was on the cruise boat this week like I was when I read book one! I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did.

You are invited to make a comment for a chance to win a free copy (US only).
They say opposites attract. 
For a chance to win, what are the most opposite attractions between you and your spouse, or your parents, or your friends, that you can think of?
_____________

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.
Find me on:Facebook
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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Throwback Thursday


This picture was taken in 2009 in Guernsey, Wyoming. The handsome dude in the center is my husband, Peter. On the right is my son James, and on the left is my daughter, Heather. They are standing in ruts made by covered wagons traveling on the Oregon Trail. Can you imagine? I was stunned when we climbed up the trail and saw how deep and wide these ruts were. Thousands of wagons. Thousands of oxen and horse hooves. Thousands of boots.

When I see historical sites like these, I can't help but try to imagine what it must've been like, all my earthly goods packed into a wooden box on wheels, traveling hundreds of miles from everything familiar, headed toward a great unknown. The hardships, the loneliness, the fear and uncertainty.

Have you visited the Guernsey Wagon Ruts? Have you visited an historical site/museum that had you trying to imagine what it might've been like to live in another time?

You can learn more about the Oregon Trail Ruts at http://www.nps.gov/oreg/planyourvisit/site7.htm
_______________________________________________________________

Author of Historical Romance

Reluctant Bookkeeper 
Homeschool Mom (for 2 more months)

Earl Grey Aficionado 

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Tried and True Topics ~ And a Winner!


In historical romance, there are some story lines that seem to be perennial favorites. There are certain subjects that historical romance readers like.

Examples include:


  1. Mail Order Brides
  2. Marriages of Convenience
  3. Inheritance stories
  4. Cowboys marrying the boss's daughter
  5. Marrying to save property or for the sake of children. 
What do you think it is about these kinds of stories that make them so appealing? What keeps them from being trite and tired? I know I love marriage-of-convenience and mail-order-bride stories. I love 'instant family' stories. I think it's the hope of a happily-ever-after in the face of impossible circumstances. I love it when the hero and heroine are married as early in the story as possible and they have to figure out how they're going to become a family.

What historical romance story lines do you like? Do you think there are some that are overdone? Is there a story that you'd love to read?

**** A little bit of housekeeping. Last week I announced I'd give away a couple of copies of A Bride Sews With Love in Needles, CA. One to a commentor, and one to the commentor's friend. The winner is: Kristine Klein! (Chosen scientifically by asking my husband to choose a number between one and twelve.) Congrats!

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Author of Historical Romance

Reluctant Bookkeeper 

Homeschool Mom (for 2 more months)

Earl Grey Aficionado 

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

My Children Are Not My Responsibility

 I refuse to take responsibility for my children.

When I was in my late teens and early twenties, if you'd asked me what I wanted to be most in the world, toward the bottom of the list you would have found "mother". I wasn't stupid. I knew that to have children meant to give up ... your life. Since we're on the topic of lists, if you looked at my top ten characteristics, "nurturing", "selflessness", "empathy", "playful" are not adjectives used to describe me. "Driven", "independent", "resourceful", "funny as it relates to human beings above the age of 12", and "sarcastic" tended to top out the word sketch instead.

It took my husband and I nine years to rectify ourselves to the idea we were fast on the track to being alone and un-visited in the nursing home when we were ninety-two. No grandchildren (peace and quiet!) and a life one-hundred percent our own. It was quite glamorous. I backpacked Europe, wrote two books, indulged in trips to Montana, Colorado, Wyoming, Washington, Idaho, and Illinois (oh yeah!).

And then, it happened. I became willing to commit felony murder. I would kill anyone who touched, took, or toyed with a miniature, blonde-haired, blue-eyed version of her father. I became driven to learn more about Mickey Mouse, Bubbleguppies, and Bob the Builder all for the sake of a brown-eyed mini-me who could charm me into melted ooze with the curved up tilt of his mischievous grin. I became...responsible.

Darn.

And to top it all off, I turned into a doomsayer. What if I died of breast cancer at thirty-nine? What if someone backed their car up and hit my daughter? What if there was a house fire and I had time to rescue only one of them, who would I choose? What if I died, my husband remarried, and she loved her own children more than mine? What if my daughter dates some boy who pretends to be all
wonderful spiritual but uses her and then tosses her away? What if my son is enticed into drinking with his buddies at sixteen and I have to go bail him out of Ju-V? What my daughter decided Jesus was a crap shoot and she was better off running her own life? What if my son turned his back on Biblical truth and took a jaunt down the seedy side of life? What if my husband died and I was left to take applications for his replacement at his funeral? What if I...

What if I didn't take responsibility for my children? What if I returned to the days when I was fancy free, living on a prayer, joyful in the future and hopeful for all the cool things God was gonna do? I realized, I was living my entire life on some screwed up idea that I was somehow in control. From the moment I stepped foot in Italy and went on a frantic search for gelato, to the minute my daughter tried to suck in her first breath and was rushed to the NICU. From the moment I climbed the foothills of Annapurna in Nepal, to the minute I asked my sister-in-law to take my newborn son home and make her his own because my post-partum depression consumed every ounce of myself.

I have NEVER been responsible. Never. Entrusted with, yes. Responsible, no. The overused verse on every plaque in the Christian bookstore still rings with truth: "I know the plans I have for you". His plans. His timing. His responsibility.

I don't regret having children. Au contraire.  My Kokomo Jo teaches me every day how to empathize, nurture, and engage in silliness. My Peter Pan is skilled in the art of mischief and mayhem and snuggles that melt the independence right off a mother. And while I hold their precious lives in my open hands, I lift them upward. They are not mine. They never were mine. They are the Lord's responsibility--ultimately--and He has given me the privilege of shaking up my life, plopping them in my arms and saying "I have plans to prosper and not to harm you, plans to give you hope, and a future".

What responsibility have you lulled yourself into believing is yours, when really, it  belongs to the Lord?

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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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