The Beauty of This Moment

Victor Hugo, the great French author who gave us Les Miserables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, wrote: “Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake.” 

Pastoral scenes remind us of the serenity that time in nature offers, but sometimes we feel as though we’ve been knackered by life.

  

Knackered comes from a slang term meaning “to kill,” as well as “to tire, exhaust, or wear out.” The origins of the verb remain uncertain, but the word may relatesto an older noun which originally referred to a harness-maker or saddlemaker, and later referred to a buyer of animals nolonger able to do farm labor, or a buyer of old buildings. Knackered is used on both sides of the Atlantic but is more common with British speakers.

When we feel worn out and “done in,” it’s good to remember Victor Hugo’s words. We can only do our best. Controlling all the outcomes lies beyond our powers. I can’t help but think how the WWII nurses of the Eleventh Evacuation Hospitalmust have grappled with this concept–they did their utmost to relieve suffering and sustain life.

But sometimes their efforts led to lesser outcomes–the undesirable natural consequences of war. They arrived in French Morocco with the best of intentions to use their training to the utmost.

They labored under impossible conditions:

And when they finally got a break from their backbreaking work, they fell asleep. That’s all a human being can do. But along the way, they found beauty…in a simple wildflower, in the laughter of their comrades, in letters from home.

And so it is with us. Whatever we’re facing, we fund little joys tucked into our days . . . we simply must look for them.

ANDREW

Andrew by Jennifer Beckstrand

Welcome, Jennifer – any plot revolving around self-recrimination and forgiveness strikes my fancy–it’s so difficult NOT to cling to our errors, no matter how distant. Of course, this creates barriers for us, but . . .

At the end of her post, Jennifer has an offer for each of you. Enjoy!

Things at the Petersheim house are getting too crowded for eight-year-old twins Alfie and Benji. As if things weren’t bad enough with three older brothers hogging all the bacon at breakfast and using more than their fair share of toilet paper, Mammi and Dawdi Petersheim have to move in because of Dawdi’s stroke. If Alfie and Benji have any hope of getting their old bedroom back, they have to get rid of their annoying brothers, and the only way to convince their brothers to move out is to make each of them fall in love. What could be so hard about that?

Alfie and Benji will do just about anything to get Andrew married off. And I mean, just about anything. You’re going to love the Petersheim brothers! 

Andrew Petersheimis a godly, hard-working man, and he knows any girl would be blessed to marry him. He can afford to be picky, and he hasn’t yet met a girl good enough to capture his heart. Mary Coblenz certainly isn’t that girl. She left the community over a year ago and now she’s back, unmarried and expecting a baby. It doesn’t matter how pretty she is or how vigorously she challenges his notions of forgiveness and Christian charity, Andrew refuses to fall in love with her. 

But maybe Andrew is just a little too sure of himself…

In Andrew, the first book in my new series, The Petersheim Brothers, I wanted to explore repentance and forgiveness, particularly the concepts of forgiving ourselves and forgiving others. When someone has offended us, do we hold so tightly to their past sins that we deny them the possibility of a brighter future? Do we ever have trouble forgiving ourselves and moving forward with faith? 

J. Holland said, “There is something in us, at least in too many of us, that particularly fails to forgive and forget earlier mistakes in life—either mistakes we ourselves have made or the mistakes of others. That is not good. It is not Christian. To be tied to earlier mistakes—our own or other people’s—is the worst kind of wallowing in the past from which we are called to cease and desist…It is not right to go back and open up some ancient wound that the Son of God Himself died trying to heal.

Let people repent. Let people grow. Believe that people can change and improve…If something is buried in the past, leave it buried. Don’t keep going back with your little sand pail and beach shovel to dig it up, wave it around, and then throw it at someone, saying, ‘Hey! Do you remember this?’ Splat!”

In Andrew, Mary Coblenz comes back to her Amish community hoping to make a life for herself, even though she’s made some serious mistakes. Andrew learns some valuable lessons in forgiveness, but will Mary’s Amish neighbors be as accepting? 

“If you love Amish fiction, romance, and humor, you will LOVE Jennifer Beckstrand. Grab a copy of ANDREW today and see how well Andrew learns his lesson in loving.”Lighthouse-Academy.blogspot.com

“Each part of the story was wonderfully crafted to make this book an awesome read. I love Jennifer Beckstrand’s books. She has a way with words that grabs you from the beginning of the story and keeps your attention. If you haven’t read any of her books, Andrew is a good one to start with!”SplashesofJoy.wordpress.com

Don’t miss Abraham, book 2 in the Petersheim Brothers series, coming November 26!

If you go to my website and sign up for my readers club, you will receive a free ebook copy of Kate’s Song, my first Amish romance. Find out more at jenniferbeckstrand.com

The Southeast Iowa Tour

It’s been a great week meeting new friends in Waterloo, Davenport, and Solon, Iowa. No matter what the group, Until Then’s WWII heroine’s story touches hearts and woos readers. Someone at one of my signings said, “I’ve read this book already, and you nailed Dorothy’s character in the first three pages–how did you do that, when what was happening went so fast?”

Well . . . things DID happen in a hurry at the battlefront when casualties started rolling in. And Dorothy allowed her training, laced by her own compassion, to take over.

Here’s a great photo of her, gorgeous even in her Army shirt and below, a shot of some who heard her story.

Then on Saturday, October 5, I got to spend a whole DAY with WRITERS at Cole Library in Mount Vernon. SUCH fun–there’s nothing like being with people intent on learning. Here’s an example of one participant’s mind-mapping exercise for her memoir. SO delightful to see such motivated writers so eager to learn.

I’m filled with gratitude for all these experiences and everyone who made them possible. Thank you, thank you!

Trapped….by Lillian Duncan

BABY STEPS

TRAPPED is my latest romantic suspense novel—heavy on the suspense but enough romance to add to the enjoyment. Being a Christian Fiction novel, there’s always a spiritual message hidden in the pages of the story as well, and this one is no exception.

Angela Matthews had the perfect life until the day she’s kidnapped and trapped in a basement with a mad man. Even though she’s rescued, she remains trapped by the memories she can’t forget.

That’s true for so many of us. Even after the “bad situation” whatever that may be is resolved, we get stuck and can’t seem to move forward with our lives. Instead, we’re angry and bitter or maybe sad and fearful or most likely a combination of all of those negative emotions.

In the story, her rescuer discovers that Angela is indeed still trapped by her horrible experience. He’s had his own share of horrible as a Chicago policeman. Because of that, he reaches out to help Angela.

One of the mantras in the story is “baby steps.” So often we think we have to go from a sitting position to a full-out run or we are a failure. This story reminds us that’s not reality. Each baby step we take toward our goal is a win. Every win brings us closer to our ultimate victory!

But TRAPPED isn’t a self-help book, it’s a suspense novel. That means there’s lots of action, not to mention twists and turns that will keep you guessing who the bad guy is until the very end!

Giveaway:Two is always better than one, especially when it comes to giveaways. So, to celebrate the release of TRAPPED, I’m having two different giveaways! One lucky winner will receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card as well as a choice of one of my books (e-book only).  Click Hereto enter. Five more lucky winners on my website will win a $5 Amazon Gift Card. To enter, go to www.lillian-duncan.comand leave a comment under the TRAPPED Giveaway Post. 

Backcover Blurb:

Angelina Matthews has everything—riches, fame, and beauty—until the day she’s kidnapped and trapped in a basement with a madman, wearing only a stained t-shirt. The dirt is his—the blood is hers. Tormented and tortured, she cries out to God. 

Help comes in the form of Nate Goodman. 

When their paths cross months later, Nate discovers Angelina is still trapped—not in a basement but in the memories she can’t escape. Nate knows all about being trapped, and getting un-trapped. As an ex-Chicago cop he’s had his own demons to wrestle, but his faith helped him to move forward. He reaches out to Angelina whose paranoid delusions have her trapped still. 

But are they delusions after all?

Lillian is a multi-published author who lives in the middle of Ohio Amish country with her husband. After more than 30 years working as a speech pathologist, she believes in the power of words to transform lives—especially God’s Word.

She loves to write stories that entertain but also demonstrate God’s love for all of us. To learn more about her, visit www.lillian-duncan.comas well as her devotional blog at www.PowerUpWithGod.com

Stopped Cold

Welcome, Gail Pallotta – Gail shares her latest Y/A novel with us, AND is offering a free Kindle e-book to one commenter. If you have children/grandchildren in this age troupe, you’ll appreciate her plot.

It’s fun to compete and win, and it’s fun to watch winners. People hold contests in everything from quilting and pie tasting to racing cars. However, a problem arises when we fail to put the importance of being number one in perspective.

Unfortunately, I’ve had the misfortune of coming in contact with young people whose inability to cope with not always winning resulted in devastating results. They range from youngsters who had difficulty coping because they didn’t come in first in a race or receive all A’s to young people who attempted or committed suicide.  The drive seemed to originate from different sources, parents, siblings, peers or within.

I wanted them to know they didn’t have to be number one for God to love them. He’d given each of them a gift or gifts to use for Him. The desire rattled around in my head for years and finally became the theme for Stopped Cold.

In “A Young Athlete’s World of Pain and Where It Led,” published on June 22, 2016, in “The New York Times,” Tim Rohan tells the story of a young football player suffering from concussions. He didn’t mention it to anyone because he thought it wasn’t the manly thing to do. He ended up killing himself.

The CDC says “suicide among teens and young adults has nearly tripled since the 1940’s.”

According to the Westminster Catechism, which I studied in the 1940’s and 50’s, man’s chief end is “to glorify God and enjoy him forever.” 

I’m a fan of healthy competition. It pushes us to do our best, and we often achieve success beyond our goals, or not, but when the game or contest ends, win or lose, we’re still a child of God. Winning or losing doesn’t define our self-worth.

About Stopped Cold 

Stopped Cold is the story of a family facing problems existing in the real world in modern times. Even though their situation may differ from that of others who struggle with difficulties, the concerns, reactions and hardships are ones many can relate to. One reader says, “Very compelling with emotions and feelings that have been felt by everyone in their lives at one time or another.”

Blurb:

Things aren’t what they seem in peaceful Mistville, North Carolina.

Margaret McWhorter enjoys a laid-back Freshman year in high school swimming and hanging out with friends—until the day her brother Sean suffers a stroke from taking steroids. Now he’s lying unconscious in a hospital.

Anger sets a fire for retribution inside her, and Margaret vows to make the criminals pay. Even the cop on the case can’t stop her from investigating. Looking for justice, she convinces two friends, Jimmy and Emily, to join her in a quest that takes them through a twisted, drug-filled sub-culture they discover deep in the woods behind the school. Time and again they walk a treacherous path and come face-to-face with danger.

All the while Margaret really wants to cure Sean, heal the hate inside, and open her heart to love.

Buy links:

Amazon.com/dp/B07R7RHF5K

Amazon long link – https://www.amazon.com/Stopped-Cold-Gail-Pallotta-ebook/dp/B07R7RHF5K/ref=sr_1_fkmrnull_8?keywords=Barely+Above+Water+by+Gail+Pallotta&qid=1558049626&s=books&sr=1-8-fkmrnull

Barnes and Noble – https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/stopped-cold-gail-pallotta/1117352035?ean=9781522398578

Kobo – https://www.kobo.com/us/en/search?query=Stopped+Cold+by+Gail+Pallotta

Bio: Award-winning author Gail Pallotta’s a wife, mom, swimmer and bargain shopper who loves God, beach sunsets and getting together with friends and family. A former Grace Awards Finalist and a Reader’s Favorite 2017 Book Award winner, she’s published six books, poems, short stories and two-hundred articles. Some of her articles appear in anthologies while two are in museums. She loves to connect with readers. Sign up for her newsletter at https://www.gailpallotta.com/mainphp.html and visit her website at https://www.gailpallotta.com

Visit her online at the following places:

Blog at https://gailpallotta.blogspot.com

Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AuthorsandMore

twitter at  https://twitter.com/Hopefulwords    (Gail Pallotta @Hopefulwords)

The high school in Stopped Cold has a twitter site. The heroine, Margaret, loves it when people follow the Meriwether Sharks at Meriwether Christian @MeriwetherCS (https://twitter.com/MeriwetherCS)

Change is in the Air

Isn’t it always? We may sense this more as leaves turn orange and gold or snow melts away in the spring, but truly, every day brings change. By and large, we’d rather not, even when it’s a good change, but change we WILL.

Last week our granddaughter reminded me that the gorgeous gold of a harvest moon has to do with the amount of dust in the air, and that if you view the moon again in the middle of the night, it will have moved higher and be silver again.

One sure sign of autumn comes to us via the busy spider, spinning, spinning before winter comes.

Credit goes to Lance for these shots in a local field of corn. They remind me that we’re always spinning, too. My dear knitter friend carries her latest project with her–when she drove me to a doctor’s appointment earlier this summer, her knitting kept her company while she waited.

When we’re busy, seeing what’s at hand to do and putting our hands and hearts to it, even thistles have their beauty:

This week, I had the privilege of meeting Jerri and Regina, descendants of my heroine Dorothy Woebbeking/Worst’s sister Elfrieda. They shared some delicate Christmas cookies from Dorothy’s father’s recipe, and showed our book talk group the actual cutter he brought from Germany to make them.

It’s likely that he and his wife included cookies like these in their CARE packages to Dorothy and her three brothers deployed all over the world during World War II. Easy to imagine their delight at homemade treats like these, and to imagine the angst of these parents as the long years dragged on.

All this brings me to a point: I love sharing Dorothy’s story with whomever will listen. And here’s an update about the places I’ll be giving book talks (Oh, the places you’ll go…) during the next few weeks.

On Tuesday the 24th, I’ll be at the Alta Vista Public Library – 10:30 a.m. Then the Waverly Public Library will host me (and Dorothy…I really feel she’s right alongside) at 2:00 p.m. the same afternoon.

On October 3rd, I’ll be with a new friend for a “book party”, and at Davenport’s East Branch library at 3 p.m. on October 3rd. After another private engagement on the fourth, I’ll visit the Solon Public Library at 3:00 p.m..

On the 5th, I’ll co-facilitate an all-day memoir writing workshop at the Cornell/Mt. Vernon public library, and on the 11th, spend time with another book club. On October 12 at 10:00 a.m. you’ll find me in Janesville at the public library, still bursting with my heroine’s exploits–like these vines overtaking a building even though the growing season is past. (Ha! What do we know?)

Stop in when you can–I SO enjoy meeting you all in person!

The Lure of Historical Romance

Here’s a genre we don’t often feature: Regency Romance, by Karen Cogan. Karen, welcome to DARE TO BLOOM. I really like the play on words in your title. And here’s the cover . . . Karen is offering a FREE download…go for it!

The Lure of Historical Romance

Do you find historical romance intriguing? I personally love a good Regency novel. The quaint customs of language and activities are fascinating  Unlike our evening at the movies, their evening at the theater lasted most of the night. Sometimes a local blacksmith might set bones for humans as well as for animals. Drinking the water at Bath, England was said to cure gout, lameness, infertility, and diseases of the skin along with many other ailments.

The speech of this time was charming. Women “took a turn” around the parlor or garden”, meaning they took a walk. They used the term “droll” to mean odd, humorous, or whimsical. If they“fancied” a crumpet or spot of tea, it meant they wanted it. This infatuation with the speech and customs inspired the writing of my Regency romances.

My most recent clean Regency novel is titled A Relative Matter. In this story, we are introduced to Anne and her young brother, Jeremy as they arrive from India to live with their grandfather in England. Though they do not know him, the kindly man proves a balm for their hearts wounded by the death of their parents. When their grandfather also dies, he leaves the estate to Jeremy. Since the boy is not yet of age, his grandfather’s nephew, a man with a mysterious past, is named guardian of the property and soon arrives to take up his duty. Though he is kind and loving to Anne and Jeremy, he has a son who is evil and cunning and stands to inherit the estate should Jeremy die. Since he intends to inherit it, he will stop at nothing to get his hands on the property.

Meanwhile, Anne keeps company with Lord Westerfield who is kind and handsome and deeply in love with her. As murder and threats of murder soon threaten young Jeremy, Lord Westerfield is the only one standing between Jeremy and death. Will he be able to protect him?

A Relative Matter is a free download at kecogan.blog and scroll down to the novel.

You may also connect with Karen at https://www.facebook.com/karencoganfanpage/

Novels and More Group:  https://www.facebook.com/Novels-and-More-438244389944940/

See my other Regency romance at: https://www.amazon.com/Karen-Cogan/e/B001JSB9XE%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/karencogan

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/cogan0238/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/karencogan2727/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/karencogan2727/

Blog: https://kecogan.blog/

The Superhero School Series

Donna Sager Cowan shares her series for Middle-GradeAuthor children with us today. Donna is happy to offer a giveaway of With the Courage of a Mouse to a commenter. Enjoy!

This series was inspired by my granddaughter asking about what my cat did every night when she stayed out. I came up the bedtime story of Catt saving her animal friends because she was a superhero.  After many retellings, I decided to write and publish the story.

But it needed more background, so I decided to start at the beginning of Catt’s story—How she became a Superhero.  Then Superhero School was born and Simon Cheddar took center stage.


I’ve always wanted to write a positive story for kids about finding that inner strength to keep going. To find the Superhero hiding inside all of us, just waiting for that perfect moment to shine. 
Using animal characters makes the story more accessible to children around the world. They can see themselves in Catt, Simon, Patty and Freddy. See their teachers, parents and grandparents in Mrs. Gee, Grandma Whisker, and even Sergeant Jones and Nigel.
Building the self esteem of kids gets harder every day. I am so thrilled with the reaction to With the Courage of a Mouse from the schools I’ve visited. The simple idea of learning from each other and our mistakes isn’t new, just a little dusty.

Finding friends in the most unlikely places, pulling together to solve the problem, and believing in ourselves is the foundation for every child’s future.

Donna Sager Cowan

Children’s Author, Speaker, Inspirer

Creator of the Superhero School series

Phone: +1 (916) 346-6192

Email:  donna@donnasagercowan.com

DonnaSagerCowan.com

To purchase your copies of With the Courage of a Mouse:

Amazon      Barnes&Noble     Kobo

Books-A-Million     IndieBound

Join the Superhero School!

The Sunflower

Behold the stately sunflower! We planted this, along with some “normal” yellow ones, for our granddaughter who is partial to this glorious blossom.

This summer, she painted some of these to decorate our yellow and white bathroom.

Such a bright spot, these sunflowers! (The photo is sideways, and I can’t get it to change.) But you get the idea.

Another bright spot this week will be my book signing at TJ’s Christian Bookstore in Cedar Falls, Iowa. This will take place on Friday the 13th during TJ’s grand opening, and I hope you can stop by.

The heroine of Until Then spent her childhood just a short distance away from the bookstore. I’m also so pleased to have the Grout Museum in Waterloo carrying Until Then on their gift shop shelves.

Autumn has arrived. . . and of course that means winter is on its way. Gotta hold these BRIGHT SPOTS close!

Jessie and James

Jennifer Beckstrand, an author of Amish fiction, joins us with her first Western release. One look at her cover entices me to discover more, AND she’s giving away a paperback copy to one commenter!

Jessie and James is my first published Western historical novel, and I couldn’t be more excited. The first book I ever wrote was a historical Western, and I’ve been wanting to write another one for ten years. (That first Western is still hanging around my house somewhere. I might decide to publish it next. J) For my research, I traveled to an old mining town about two hours from my house. Yes, it really is named Eureka, and it was a boomtown in the 1880s, the period in which my book is set. I met an old-timer in Eureka who told me some fascinating stories about mining then and now.

Did you know that you may own the ground your house sits on, but you only own it to sixty feet deep? A mining company can come in and dig a mine right under your house, and it’s perfectly legal as long as they have the permits. Many mines were dug straight down or in any direction that would get them to ore faster. In the 1880s in Eureka, often they’d dig straight down using only picks, shovels, and dynamite. A plumb bob was utilized to make sure their tunnels were straight up and down. They usually dug down 600 feet then drifted horizontally a couple hundred feet, then dug down again. Some mines went deeper than 1800 feet. Nowadays, there aren’t many mines that deep. They’re more dangerous, so they’re too expensive to insure.

In Jessie and James, James is an ex-cowboy turned geologist looking for gold. Jessie is a feisty, independent woman who runs a boarding house with her parents and thinks Eureka needs a little more fire-and-brimstone preaching to keep the incorrigible miners in line. Jessie doesn’t want anything to do with a gold digger, and she’s willing to use her shotgun to run James off. But James doesn’t scare that easy, especially when the woman on the other end of that shotgun might turn out to be the love of his life. 

You can order Jessie and James now on Kindle and paperback. 

Jennifer Beckstrand is the two-time RITA-nominated, #1 Amazon bestselling Amish romance author of The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series, The Honeybee Sistersseries, and The Petersheim Brothers series for Kensington Books. Huckleberry Summer andHome on Huckleberry Hill were bothnominated for the coveted RITA® Award from Romance Writers of America. Jennifer has always been drawn to the strong faith and the enduring family ties of the Plain people and loves writing about the antics of Anna and Felty Helmuth, the Honeybee sisters’ aendi Bitsy, and Alfie and Benji Petersheim. Jennifer has written twenty-one Amish romances, a historical Western, and the nonfiction book, Big Ideas. She and her husband have been married for thirty-five years, and she has six children and seven adorable grandchildren, whom she spoils rotten.

Website: http://www.jenniferbeckstrand.com/ 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jenniferbeckstrandfans

Twitter: @JenniferBeckst1

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jennifergbeckst/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Jennifer-Beckstrand/e/B0073GHCOG/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1488910908&sr=8-2-ent

Instagram: j.beckstrand

Bookbub: @JenniferBeckstrand https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jennifer-beckstrand