Freedom River

WELCOME to JoAnn Robisheaux, award-winning inspirational fiction author. JoAnn tells us about her latest CIVIL WAR release here, and is offering a paperback copy of FREEDOM RIVER to one commenter. 

I know the following statement is an open confession that I am a book reading nerd, but I’m going to admit how excited I get when I find a new author I love.  Right away, I look up all of her publications and dive in.

I hope you’ll feel the same way about my newest release, Freedom River.  It is a historical romance set during the time of the Underground Railroad. Several of the characters and events are based on actual people and real situations.

Stories of people who fought evil with goodness have always intrigued me. The abolitionists who participated in the Underground Railroad knowingly broke federal law.  They risked imprisonment in order to follow the dictates of their conscience.  I sometimes wonder if I have the same courage of my convictions that they did.

There are four main characters in Freedom RiverConstance has joined the abolitionist movement in Ripley, Ohio, but has done little more than write pamphlets and attend meetings. But her minor role changes drastically when she is the only person available to help a runaway slave.

Micah, once a student of Reverend John Rankin, one of the chief architects of the Underground Railroad, spurned abolitionist teachings and became a slave catcher.  He’s sure he’s found sufficient justification for hunting runaways, until an escapee gives him reason to doubt.

Opal was born a slave.  She never considered escaping across the nearby Ohio River until her master gave her no choice.  Will risking her life and the life of her baby for an unknown future be worth it?

Charlie was born free.  Nevertheless, he helps runaways move to the next safe station or employs the men on his farm.  But what will he do with a beautiful woman who crossed the river with a baby on her back?

I’m sure you’ll find Freedom River to be an exciting and engrossing story.  Be sure to connect with me at any (or all) of the online sites below.

Click here to buy.

Claire Sanders is an award-winning author of inspirational novels.  Her attention is always drawn to stories about someone fighting for what’s right in the face of overwhelming resistance.  That, and a life-long interest in history led to an appreciation for the abolitionists who dared to break mankind’s law in order to uphold God’s law.

Claire writes about Christians in conflict. Never one to preach, she lets the plot reveal how the characters’ faith sustains them through the struggle. To find out more and see an complete list of her novels, visit her website –   www.clairesandersbooks.com.

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Dreams Deferred

Wow…if ever a cover provoked interest, this is it! And how fun to be able to bring to life story from your own family history. Readers, June is offering an e-book to one fortunate commenter, so please leave your response for a chance to embrace June’s unique plot!

 

The Story Behind the Story

Dreams Deferred is inspired by the true-to-life story of my great grandfather and great grandmother. I chose to set it in contemporary times, nevertheless, I borrowed many of the story elements from the true story.

Frances Mathew Halbedl grew up in the European Austrian Empire and followed tradition in which the oldest son became a priest in his family’s Catholic faith. After being ordained in Moravia, he immigrated to the United States in 1866 to serve in a parish in the state of Louisiana.

My aunt and mother always told the story of how one Sunday while saying mass, he spotted a young teen, much younger than my Mary Louise. He waited several years for her to grow up, then stepped down from the priesthood to marry her. I wish I knew some of those rich details of their courtship, but since I don’t, I fictionalized their romance.

They later moved to San Antonio, Texas, and had five children, three girls and two boys—Ida, Mamie, Alice, Roy, and Clifton, who was my grandfather. Just for fun in one scene, I imagined that Matt had a dream he was riding in a car with Mary Louise and the three youngest kids. In my story, the dream helped him realize how much he loved Mary Louise.

Mathew taught music both in the public school and privately. Later he became the first principal of a high school in San Antonio. In December of 2005, my husband and I visited San Antonio and looked up Matthew and Mary Louise’s house. The large, two-story home is still there on Roseborough Drive. We weren’t able to go in because it’s a private residence. But I had so much fun envisioning Matt and ML’s lives as they lived there with their children.

We also visited Clifton Halbedl’s home, which I remember from childhood. I also had the address for Mamie’s home, and we were able to go inside. A gracious lady who spoke no English invited us in. I have tons of pictures and hope to share them on my blog.

In the story, Matt gets a job at Jefferson High School. This is patterned after Thomas Jefferson High School where my mother went to school. Her name was Mary Louise, as well, named for her grandmother.

If I’ve learned anything from writing this book, I wish I’d probed for more information when my mother and aunt were still alive, but I’m grateful for what I do know.

You may contact June here: 

junefoster.com

https://www.amazon.com/author/junefoster

https://twitter.com/vjifoster

https://www.facebook.com/authorjunefoster

 

 

Purchase Link:   https://tinyurl.com/y3g555tz

From South Africa to Canada…a writing journey

Our guest this week has the unique history of moving from South Africa to Canada a couple of decades ago. That’s a long way–and Melony’s writing journey proves as exciting as such a long trek…probably more!

Discovering Purpose Through Writing

Who would have thought I’d be in my thirties when I decorated my first gingerbread house? I was even older when I discovered there were different kinds of snow. This South African girl had no idea.

Getting on a plane in 1999 to start a new life in Toronto, Canada with my husband was one of the best and hardest things I have ever done. It’s difficult leaving your familiar life, friends, and family to venture into the unknown. Yet Toronto was, and still is, where I am meant to be. Now I have two beautiful Canadian teenagers.

When I left the beloved shores of Durban, South Africa, I also had no inkling I would finally discover on the shores of Lake Ontario, Canada, what I wanted to be when I grew up. What started out as a private blog about my health and fitness journey on SparkPeople.com turned out to be the start of another journey—becoming a writer. Blogging taught me the discipline and habit of making time each day to tap away at the keyboard. Those ramblings paved the way to a more public blog about food, fitness, and nutrition. To be honest, I thought if I wrote a book it would probably be a cookbook.

God had other plans.

One day, at an event packed with artistic and gifted people, I came face to face with the fact that I too could follow my dream to create art. I realized for the first time I could do whatever I set my mind to do.

The Lord showed me that the only thing stopping me was, well… me.

I wanted to be a writer. Therefore, I did my research. E. B. White was one of my biggest inspirations and I realized that I wanted to be a nonfiction writer. E.B. White was a contributor to The New Yorker magazine and a co-author of The Elements of Style.Natural curiosity led me to want to ask questions, interview people and uncover the good news and meaningful stories within my community.

I read somewhere that you should start local and begin as soon as possible to collect rejection letters. They said that those would bring you closer to an acceptance. Therefore, I submitted my first article to my local newspaper, and did not get that rejection I thought I’d secure. So much for that.

That first article, published in our town’s newspaper in July 2010, had me hooked on writing. Since then, my writing journey has led me to interview sports and Hollywood celebrities, local philanthropists and authors.

Aside from my published work, I also started a blog on my new author website, interviewed Christian authors, and reviewed Christian Fiction. My world expanded in ways only God could accomplish.

Along the way, someone invited me to join a brand new writer’s group, which led to co-authoring a devotional for Christian writers and speakers. These women are now my dearest friends and loudest cheerleaders. The local Christian university uses the devotional, As the Ink Flows, as a resource and part of their curriculum. God is faithful to provide people to support us in our dreams. My husband has been a pillar of strength through it all.

Aside from doing communications for various non-profit organizations and freelance clients, these days I am focusing on my fiction work.

Looking back on that day when I said, “Hey, I want to be a writer”, I did not understand then where this wonderful profession would lead. I could never have imagined how God would use it in my life.

There is nothing more fulfilling than discovering your purpose and God’s will for your life.

Has it always been easy? No.

Has it been worth it? You bet.

Melony Teagueis a freelance writer who believes everyone has a story to tell and each story is unique and sometimes wilder than fiction. She loves to uncover the good news in society and writes human interest and community pieces. As co-author of As the Ink Flows, she loves to inspire and motivate others through her written words. In her spare time, she reviews books and interviews authors on her website. She also teaches seniors in her local community to write their own personal story. She writes Contemporary Romance with a dash of humor. Member of ACFW. Melony Teague was born in South Africa and now lives in Toronto with her husband, their two children and two cats.

WEBSITE: https://www.melonyteague.com/

FOLLOW ON TWITTER: https://twitter.com/MelonyTeague

FOLLOW ON FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/melonyteague/

FOLLOW ON GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14249646.Melony_Teague

“Whether beginners or seasoned pros, writers and speakers of all types will find inspiration and gentle encouragement within the pages of As the Ink Flows. It’s a breath of fresh air for the creative soul!” — Carla Laureano, RITA® Award Winning Author

Grab your free sample copy of the e-book here: https://bookgrabbr.com/books/38096-as-the-ink-flows

GET THE BOOK:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2NmyU4v

Christianbook.com: http://ow.ly/6Z7K30nNIig

Judson Press: https://www.judsonpress.com/Products/J237/as-the-ink-flows.aspx?bCategory=JPBKS!JPINSP

Barnes & Noble: http://ow.ly/A0EP30nNIzZ

Personal Best

Another great day at the track for our granddaughter. Her team took first overall, her 4 X 100 team won their relay, and she set a new record in the 100 meter race for this meet.

Here’s her heat, just before the race starts. She’s paying attention…she wants to do her personal best. As she told me about her self-talk before the long jump, “Grandma, I told myself, ‘Jump as if your life depended on it!'”

During World War II, many individuals rose to their personal best. We could say that for Twila Fae Brunner, the heroine in All For The Cause.

Some of you have already read how she discovered her vocation and honed her skills to contribute to the war effort. She experienced some bumps along the way, but don’t we all?

Today I’ll be at the Algona, Iowa POW Museum for this book launch. It’s exciting to think that my labors have come to fruition–it was about four years ago when I discovered the museum and began researching this novel.

I can say I did my personal best in this endeavor, and also in my next novel, Until Then. This Waterloo, Iowa nurse’s story is truly a saga–five years of service in six different war theaters. You’ll be seeing more about this book during the month of May, and won’t be surprised to learn that it debuts on D-Day. Fitting.

Iowa’s April Surprises

Today, April 27, I feel compelled to share a photo of my spring flowers.

Confused? Well, this shot through our front window, including screen, shows footprints where my husband took off the drenched coverings I put over the flowers yesterday, and added new dry sheets. And an old bathrobe.

Under these lie the flowers I so tenderly planted the other day. And on top…that would be snow.

Oh joy…Iowa weather strikes again!

A friend sent this photo of her yard, with the comment, “I wish I were back in Arizona!”

But we do still have flowers. Our Christmas cactus blossoms in our south window, extra bright against the snowy backdrop of our deck.

 

Yesterday I was planting lavender and mesclun on that deck. This could be depressing. Yep. But it’s happened before, and probably will again.

Our local flower wizard tried to warn me. She DID warn me, but obviously the warning didn’t “take.” ARGH!!

And this leads me to Stan and Twila, hero and heroine of All For the Cause… World War II dragged on and on for them…just when the Allies enjoyed a victory, one enemy or another did, too. It was a long, slow slog, like an Iowa winter. (And I didn’t even endure all of it.)

But winter does end. The war did, too. And in its unfolding, Twila and Stan grew in self-understanding, in skill, in purpose, and in faith.

This week, a loyal fan wrote me such an encouraging note:Your new book has awakened my awareness of how much we are indebted to men and women who have sacrificed so much for the benefit of many.You are a gifted author!

Ah…music to my ears. This is why I write…to awaken awareness…to honor the “Greatest Generation.”

May you enjoy this story.

 

 

 

 

SURRENDERED – New Release

I’m glad to welcome Jennifer Sienes this week, who shares her new release, Surrendered, with us. Jennifer, I can relate to the jumping around that sometimes occurs with publication dates for a series! Jennifer is offering a free e-book to a commenter this week. 

Since I was twelve years old, I’ve been writing stories. I even wrote fan-fiction before it was a thing—a Happy Days episode, which I’m sure dates me. I took every creative writing class I could, starting in high school, and even declared journalism as my college major until I realized I like fiction a whole lot more than truth, because I can create the characters any way I like.

Tess O’Shay, the main character in Surrendered,came by way of accident. She was a minor character in my first novel (which will be the last published in the series) and my critique group loved her. They wanted to know if she would have more scenes. She did not. In fact, she was deleted with the rewrites.

But I couldn’t get her out of my mind—it was like she’d become a real person and refused to be ignored. Surrendered was the first novel I wrote inspired by a fictional character rather than an incident. Tess isn’t based on anyone I know, just a figment of my imagination. I loved writing this story because Tess O’Shay and Jake Holland ran away with it and all I could do was try to keep up.

The first two novels I wrote were inspired by actual events—my brother’s suicide in the first and my daughter’s near-fatal car accident in the second. These are dark themes, yet I wanted to present them with humor and hope—both of which have gotten me through some tough circumstances.

I strive to create characters my readers can connect with—three-dimensional and human—but also fall in love with. I think the best books are those that leave us wanting more.

So you may be wondering where those first two novels are today. It’s true that these three novels are a series. However, what ties them together is the same small town (Placerville, California) and one side character (the voice of reason.)

When my publisher asked me to submit to her whichever was my favorite, I submitted Surrendered. Not because it’s a better story, but because I felt it was the most polished of the three. Book two (which I wrote second) releases next May and book three comes out May 2021.

There are a few more days to get in on the Kindle preorder perks. My publisher set the ebook at an introductory price, which will go up (by $1) after April 30th. Those who preorder will also receive the prequel novella, Julia, as a gift.

Preorder Link: https://amzn.to/2tusOWH

Paperback will be available afterl April 30, 2019

Amazon gift form for Julia:

Link: https://goo.gl/forms/7AGjBUr0y6KYBo222

The form must be filled out in order to receive the novella through the publisher.

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Jennifer-Sienes-Writer-186643172596/

Instagram: instagram.com/Jennifer_Sienes

Goodreads: goodreads.com/Jennifer_Sienes

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Jennifer_Sienes

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/Jennifer_Sienes/surrendered/

Almost the end of April

This month has gone so fast. We’re enjoying the sunshine and warmer temperatures, and have planted our potatoes. Yes, the day before Easter, just one day after the Old Farmer’s Almanac says those spuds ought to be in the earth, producing more of their kind. 

Yesterday Lance spotted an eagle–he thinks maybe it’s a young one “kicked out of the nest,” and in this shot, it does look a bit quizzical. Just what am I to do with this great big world around me?

We enjoyed watching our granddaughter’s determined races yesterday…talk about concentration–she knows what to do–her very best!

Makes me think of a WWII heroine…a young woman who surveyed her world like the young eagle Lance spotted, saw everyone making their contribution to the war effort, and longed to do the same. She only needed a little guidance…and it arrived in good time. 

Then she was off, doing her VERY BEST to support the troops “over there.” 

If you’d like to read her story and can post a review on my Amazon.com page, I would be happy to forward you an e-copy. Please contact me at my e-mail: gkittleson@myomnitel.com

The Heart Changer 💗

Jarm DelBoccio, welcome! Congratulations on the release of your 

debut middle grade historical fiction The Heart Changer 💗 releasing April 26th. 
Readers, please leave a comment if you’d like a chance to win this mobi or e-book.

            As long as I can remember, I’ve been drawn to historical and biblical fiction. I’m a realist, and it shows in my choice of reading material. I’m also a visionary at heart, and at times, I wonder how the childhood of historical characters would play out. If there is little information known about them, my curiosity takes over!

            I have a soft spot for kids in the Bible who have no name and backstory, but made a huge impact on the people around them, like Naaman’s wife’s servant girl from 2 Kings 5. So, I gave Miriam a name AND a feasible backstory! I try to stay as close to the historical account as possible. Since my passion is to ‘breathe new life into the pages of history’ I delight in the ‘what-ifs’ and bring the story to life so children can relate to the Bible characters in a fresh way.

            Since Naaman’s army would have conquered the northern part of Israel, it made sense to choose Shunem for Miriam’s home town, which is also close to Elisha’s the

town near Jezreel.  Then my wheels began to turn, thinking of the little roof lodging the prophet occupied when he visited the widow and her son, whom he provided for with the miracle of the oil and flour.

Elisha also brought the boy back to life when he fell ill in his early teens. Why not include him (Jonas) as a good friend of Miriam’s and another connection to Elisha? Miriam (nameless in Scripture) would have known Elisha due to his fame in all of Israel, but he could have lived in the next village.

            Lots of research goes into writing a book. As I was finishing the final edits with my publisher, Ambassador International, one of my endorsers questioned how my MC would know the Syrian language, since I had her conversing easily with foreigners. I discovered in those days, the Syrians would have spoken Aramaic (presently it’s Arabic) while the Israelites’ native tongue was Hebrew.

            The “ah-ha” moment came when I understood the two languages derived from the same root, so they would have been able to understand each other, just as an Italian could understand a Spanish-speaking person. Then, remembering that Jesus spoke Aramaic in the first century AD, it made sense he could communicate with so many Gentiles. I love those connections!

            I was blessed with input on the setting from a missionary mom and her three daughters who live close to the Syrian border. Being close to Miriam’s age, they could give a fuller picture of life in that part of the world. This month, Spring has sprung in the desert, so my friends have been posting images of the stunning flowers across that dry land.

            The contrast reflects Miriam’s dry soul before she gave it to the Heart Changer. By the end of the story, her heart was blooming with joy!

            Also, a friend married to a messianic Jewish man vetted my references to Jewish culture and expressions from thisOld Testament account. I didn’t want to offend the Jewish population in using the word ‘Jehovah’. The Israelites considered God’s name as sacred. They would pronounce it ‘YHWH’ or YaHWaH’, removing the vowels so they wouldn’t offend.

               Of course, I’m most grateful for inspiration and direction from The Heart Changer Himself. He and I have more stories to tell! My heart’s desireis to impact lives, leading my readers discover there’s always hope when they allow God to write their story.

 

Jarm (‘J’ pronounced as a ‘Y’) Del Boccio finds her inspiration in everyday life, but in particular, when she travels the globe, observing the quirky things that happen along the way. Focusing on lives of characters from the past, Jarm is devoted to breathing new life into the pages of history.

Jarm has a background in elementary and high school education, and served for seven years as a school librarian. Grateful for the opportunity, she taught three missionary kids in an isolated area of Papua New Guinea. She is part of SCBWI and American Christian Fiction Writers, and has published articles in “The Old Schoolhouse” magazine.

“The Heart Changer,” her debut MG historical/biblical fiction, releases with Ambassador International April 26th 2019. Jarm is content with the journey God has placed her on, and lives with her husband, adult daughter and son (when he lands at home) in a tree-lined suburb of Chicago.

Find The Heart Changer herehttps://amzn.to/2SCcPnx
Jarm’s website ✍🏻: https://www.jarmdelboccio.com/

“My Passion is to Breathe New Life into the Pages of History: Illuminating the Past. Making Sense of the Present. Offering Hope for the Future.”

Joy After Noon

I’m welcoming Debra Coleman Jeter by sharing some advance praise for her novel, JOY AFTER NOON

Advance Praise for Joy After Noon

Jeter’s characters and scenery are so vivid and real that I felt I was right there sharing all their hope and fears. So looking forward to the next installment!—Jana Little

Debra Jeter does a beautiful job creating realistic characters whose lives intertwine in an honest and  purposeful way. I found myself still thinking about their stories once the book ended—Katy Owen

Joy After Noondrew me in and my heart ached along with hers as I followed her struggles. I found myself relating to many characters in the novel–cringing sometimes and laughing at others—Tracy Wilbanks

I was instantly drawn into Joy’s story. A beautiful story full of inescapably good characters – you get so pulled into their world that you miss them just as soon as the book is closed.—Paige Boggs

Debra is offering a choice of an e-book or a signed paperback of JOY AFTER NOON to a commenter. With that, take it away, Debra! Oh…

Joy After Noon is the first published novel in my new Sugar Sands series, set in the fictional beach town of Sugar Sands, Alabama. Initially, the idea behind my title, Joy After Noon, was that Joy’s life has been lonely (and joy has been elusive) since her parents died when she was sixteen. She has about given up on finding love when she meets Ray. She comes into his ready-made family and, for a time, this seems like a mistake. However, in the afternoon of her life, she finds love and joy.

When does the afternoon of life begin? Joy is much younger than I am, but she’s never been in a serious romantic relationship before, and she no longer expects one when she meets Ray. She does not consider herself particularly desirable or even attractive, and she’s thrilled that Ray finds her beautiful. Doubts emerge, though, after the honeymoon, and soon she begins to question his real motives in marrying her.

Yet, I think the concept goes deeper than this, and the afternoon of life does not begin at a particular age, or even stage of life. In the novel, Ray has been pursuing career success and material acquisitions, and experiences a significant change of direction. Some fairly disastrous events in his workplace precipitate the change—events that threaten not only his financial stability but the core of who he is.

Carl Jung says: “The afternoon of life is just as full of meaning as the morning; only, its meaning and purpose are different.” Jung goes on to describe life’s afternoon as the time when we begin to shift away from the ego being the dominant force in our life and move toward a journey that has real meaning.

I also like the following quote: In the afternoon of your life, you don’t do life. You do what resonates with the callings of your soul.

Communication and Missed Communication

In We Bought a Zoo, Benjamin Mee (played by Matt Damon) is grieving the death of his wife. At one point he remarks that a love like his for his first wife only comes along once in a lifetime. So we ask,  What would it be like to be the second wife to someone who had loved that deeply?

On the one hand, you might think he’s capable of great love and would make a wonderful husband. On the other, you might fear trying to live up to his expectations. How can you compete with a ghost?

My heroine Joy lacks self-confidence, especially in the domestic realm. Much of the plot hinges on her failure to express her fears and Ray’s failure to articulate his feelings. Like many men, he assumes Joy knows how he feels, and she’s not secure enough to tell him that she needs to hear it from his lips.

Another complication that often arises in second or third marriages lies in the step-parent’s relationship with their spouse’s children. Ray’s stepdaughters resolve to bring Joy down, and for a time their plan seems to be working—until it backfires with dire, unforeseen consequences.

My Process

I usually create an outline of key points in a story—and often even write the key scenes—before commencing to write from the beginning. I departed from this in Joy After Noon, where I started with an idea and some character work, then let the characters take me on their journey. I look forward to hearing from my readers to see if they cheered Joy on along the way.

Purchase Link for JOY AFTER NOON:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07P7S5Y7Z/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i2

Contact Debra at:

A DEBT OF GRATITUDE

              After my last post, Janet Estridge wrote to tell me that about ten year ago, she and her husband toured the USS Alabama. In the gift shop, they met Colonel Glenn Frazier, a soldier on the Bataan Death March back in 1942.
              He was signing books, and Janet had her picture taken with him. Here’s a link to Colonel Frazier’s book Hell’s Guest: https://www.amazon.com/Hells-Guest-Col-Glenn-Frazier/dp/193655416X
              On the cover with his fellow soldiers, he’s the only man wearing black trousers. He told Janet that when they rousted them out of bed he grabbed the trousers closest to him–everybody else wore brown.
             Janet wrote, “When I saw your article I just had to tell you what happened to me.” I’m really grateful she took the time–it’s great to learn another tidbit about the war.
 
             Colonel Frazier died in 2017–what an honor to meet someone taken captive in Bataan in April of 1942. Survivors of the enemy camps were liberated in January of 1945, and came home to recuperate. Some lived “normal” lives, but surely their terrible ordeal never left their minds.
 
             We owe them such a debt of gratitude.  My father-in-law was eighteen during the liberation, and like most WWII veterans, he rarely spoke about his role in the Raid on Cabanatuan prison camp until later in life. I’m glad his story surfaced during the last years of his life, and that he was able to hear “Thank you for your service.”
             If you know a World War II veteran, I hope you make the most of the opportunity to chat with them. My desire is that readers of All For the Cause will experience deepening respect and appreciation for all who sacrificed.

 

 

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