Within Golden Bandsis the sequel to my 2014 debut novel.It’s not necessary to read Land of My Dreams first, but I hope the reader wants to know what came before, because life sometimes interferes with our plans. This book went through three phases before I truly knew the story I was to write. Family matters and publisher changes stalled my efforts. I believe this is God’s time for this book. People who are pro-life must speak up. Within Golden Bands reveals one woman’s quest to build a family by adoption. Along the way, are others who cannot raise the children they bear, yet they choose life.
In some ways, Bonny MacDonell’s story is my own. She believed Kieran accepted her probable infertility before marriage. I suspected I had a problem. My husband and I discussed adoption before we married. Unlike Bonny and Kieran, I was the one who struggled. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to adopt. However, I wanted to bear a child when all of my friends were pregnant. My husband was ready for adoption long before I was.
Bonny and Kieran’s story is complicated by an elusive stalker. The unknown assailant attacks Kieran and leaves him in a remote part of their sheep farm on the banks of Loch Garry, Scotland. In his absence, Bonny experiences a devastating miscarriage. Throughout their struggle to discover God’s plan, their lives and farm are threatened. And oh, does Kieran grapple with accepting a child not of his own blood.
As they search for God’s will, they question and pray. At times, the battle seems too hard. They grow weary. As a newly married couple, their relationship is strained at times. When faith and love are not enough, where do you turn? I hope you’ll want to know Bonny and Kieran’s story. I believe they will capture your heart.
My fascination with historical books began at an early age. I loved reading and watching the Little House on the Prairie series. It captured my attention and seemed like such fun to live during that time period. I was hooked.
Of all my novels, I’ve only created one that was contemporary. That one has never seen a bookshelf, as it’s buried in my file cabinet. It’s a youth mystery I wrote when I was a young teenager. Back then I was reading a lot of Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew. 🙂
There’s something about the 19th Century that still draws me in. It looks like a simpler life even though they had to work hard to eke out a living. Perhaps it’s the thought of fewer distractions that makes it so appealing.
My newest novel is set in Kansas in 1875.
I loved delving into the topic of mail-order brides. Here’s what the back cover for Taming Julia says:
In 1875, Kansas bachelor Drew Montgomery’s sole desire is to serve God, but his congregation’s ultimatum that he marry or leave, forces him to advertise for a wife by proxy.
Jules Walker strides into Drew’s life wearing breeches and toting a gun and saddle–more cowboy than bride. After years on the trail, she’s not exactly wife material, but she longs for home and family, and will do anything to ensure Drew never discovers what she really is.
How about you? What genre is your favorite?
Jodie Wolfe creates novels where hope and quirky meet. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), Romance Writers of America (RWA), and COMPEL Training. She’s been a semi-finalist and finalist in various writing contests. A former columnist for Home School Enrichmentmagazine, her articles can be found online at: Crosswalk, Christian Devotions, and Heirloom Audio. She’s a contributor and co-founder of Stitches Thru Timeblog. When not writing she enjoys spending time with her husband in Pennsylvania, reading, walking, and being a Grammie. Learn more at www.jodiewolfe.com.
As clearly as if in a waking dream, she saw herself married to Thomas, saw herself loving him with all of her heart and soul. Which, of course, was impossible. Painfully so. Quickly, she dropped her gaze, blocking his scrutiny. Surely her eyes would give away both her foolish feelings and her dirtiness.
He reached up with his fingertips and gently tilted her chin upward, forcing her to look him in the eye. “Forgive me, but … I need to see if that was just my imagination.”
She swallowed hard. Look away, Anna …
And now, a little more about this novel.
Wings Like a Dove by Camille Eide
Have you ever felt as if you didn’t belong?
Growing up, Anna lived through many upheavals and displacements and has never truly felt at home anywhere, but at least she always had her family. Home was wherever she and her mother and siblings were. But since her family has come to America, she has found this new country not as welcoming as she had been made to believe. This feeling intensifies when, turned out of her home, she finds herself in a place where Jews are despised. But this time, Anna is far from family and friends. She is wired for community, thriving best when part of a larger whole, but now, alone in this strange, hostile environment, she faces not only danger without, but also heartbreaking loneliness within.
Unwed and pregnant, adrift and alone, Anna finds not only solace and refuge among the rag tag family of orphans and their kind caretaker, but also champions. Thomas and the boys have taken a stand against the wave of bigotry in their community and refuse to be bullied. In their home, Anna may have found refuge and shelter against hate, but then again, she may have only landed in the eye of a storm. Finding out where she belongs in the world will have to wait. What she needs now is to protect herself, her unborn child, and this family she has grown to love… even though it means leaving her heart behind with these boys and the man who would do whatever it takes to raise them into men of faith, compassion, and honor. A man who longs for Anna in ways she is desperate to forget.
Anna faces hatred and danger, but her biggest fear is that she will never truly belong, never feel anchored again.
If you’ve moved a lot growing up or in life, what anchors you?
About the Book:
Can the invisible walls that separate people ever come down?
In 1933, Anna Leibowicz is convinced that the American dream that brought her Jewish family here from Poland is nothing but an illusion. Her father has vanished. Her dreams of college can’t make it past the sweat-shop door. And when she discovers to her shame and horror that she’s with child, her mother gives her little choice but to leave her family. Deciding her best course of action is to try to find her father, she strikes out . . . hoping against hope to somehow redeem them both.
When Anna stumbles upon a house full of orphan boys in rural Indiana who are in desperate need of a tutor, she agrees to postpone her journey. But she knows from the moment she meets their contemplative, deep-hearted caretaker, Thomas Chandler, that she doesn’t dare risk staying too long. She can’t afford to open her heart to them, to him. She can’t risk letting her secrets out.
All too soon, the townspeople realize she’s not like them and treat her with the same disdain they give the Sisters of Mercy — the nuns who help Thomas and the boys — and Samuel, the quiet colored boy Thomas has taken in. With the Klan presence in the town growing ever stronger and the danger to this family increasing the longer she stays, Anna is torn between fleeing to keep them safe . . . and staying to fight beside them.
About the Author:
Camille Eide is the award-winning author of inspirational fiction including The Memoir of Johnny Devine. She lives near the Oregon Cascades with her husband and is Mom, Grammy, and enjoys the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest. She also loves the liberating truth and wisdom of God’s word, and hopes that her stories will stir your heart, strengthen your faith, and encourage you on your journey.
Her other titles include:Savanna’s Gift(Christmas), Like There’s No Tomorrow, Like a Love Song, The Memoir of Johnny Devine, and The Healer(exclusive to newsletter subscribers).
Welcome to Donna Schlacter! We’re featuring a Spotlight on Double Jeopardy, her historical novel that releases TODAY. She’s sharing a segment for you to enjoy, and offering an e-book contest as well. I hope this release makes a big splash, Donna!
January 7th, 2020 is release day for my first traditionally-published full-length historical. Set in 1880, Becky Campbell leaves her wealthy New York lifestyle in search of her father, only to learn he was murdered in the small town of Silver Valley, Colorado. Unable to return to her mother in humiliation and defeat, she determines to fulfill her father’s dream—to make the Double Jeopardy profitable.
Zeke Graumann, a local rancher, is faced with a hard decision regarding his land and his dream. After several years of poor weather and low cattle prices, he will either have to take on a job to help pay his overhead expenses, or sell his land. He hires on with this Easterner for two reasons: he can’t turn his back on a damsel in distress. And he needs the money.
Becky isn’t certain Zeke is all he claims to be, and after a series of accidents at her mine, wonders if he isn’t behind it, trying to get her to sell out so he can take over.
Zeke finds many of Becky’s qualities admirable and fears he’s losing his heart to her charms, but also recognizes she was never cut out to be a rancher’s wife.
Can Becky overcome her mistrust of Zeke, find her father’s killer, and turn her mine into a profitable venture—before her mother arrives in town, thinking she’s coming for her daughter’s wedding? And will Zeke be forced to give up his dream and lose his land in order to win Becky’s heart?
Leave a comment to enter a random drawing for an ebook copy of Double Jeopardy.
1880 Silver Valley, Colorado
Dead. Dead as her dreams and her hopes.
Dead as a doornail, as her mother would say.
Just thinking about the woman drove a steel rod through Becky Campbell’s slumping back. Perched on a chair in the sheriff’s office, she drew a deep breath, lifted her shoulders, and raised her chin a notch. She would not be like the woman who birthed her. Pretty and pampered. A silly socialite finding nothing better to do with her days than tea with the mayor’s spinster daughter or bridge with the banker’s wife.
No, she’d much rather be like her father. Adventuresome. Charismatic. Always on the lookout for the next big thing.
Now her breath came in a shudder, and down went her shoulders again. She tied her fingers into knots before looking up at the grizzled lawman across the desk from her. “There’s no chance there’s been a mistake in identification, is there?”
He slid open the top drawer of his desk and pulled out a pocket watch, a lapel pin, and a fountain pen, which he pushed across the desk to her. “He was pretty well-known around here. I’m really sorry, miss.”
Becky picked up the timepiece and flicked open the cover. Inside was a photograph of her family, taken about ten years earlier when she was a mere child of eight and Father stayed around long enough to sit still for the portrait. Her mother, petite and somber, and she, all ringlets and ribbons. She rubbed a finger across the engraving. To R. Love M. Always.
Yes, this was his.
And the lapel pin, a tiny silver basket designed to hold a sprig of baby’s breath or a miniature rosebud—a wedding gift from her mother twenty years before.
She looked up at the sheriff, tears blurring her vision. “And his ring?”
The lawman shook his head. “No ring. Not on his body or in his shack.”
“But he always wore it. Never took it off.”
He shrugged. “Maybe he lost it. Or sold it.”
“I doubt he’d do either. My mother gave it to him when I was born.”
She peered at him. Had he stolen her father’s ring?
Or maybe Sheriff Freemont was correct. Maybe something as important as her birth hadn’t meant much to her father. Maybe she didn’t either. Was that why he left?
Because surely his absences couldn’t be explained by any rift between her parents.
Although, what Matilda Applewhite saw in Robert Campbell—Robbie to his friends and family—Becky had never understood. Her mother, who ran in the same circles as the Rockefellers and the Astors, with presidents and admirals—yet much to the consternation of her family, chose a ne’er-do-well like Becky’s father.
Becky set the two items side by side on the scarred wooden desk, next to the fountain pen. The same one he’d used to write his letters to her. Signing them, Give your mother all my love too. Your devoted father. She needed no more information. No more proof.
Not what she hoped for when she left New York a month prior, against her mother’s wishes, with little else to direct her steps than a ticket to Silver Valley and her father’s last letter. Written a year before, but as full of life, promises, hopes, and wishes as ever.
She collected the only three material evidences of her father’s existence and dropped them into her reticule then stood. “Thank you for your time, Sheriff. I appreciate my father’s death must be a difficult business for you.”
He stood and dipped his head. “Yes, miss.”
“Do you know how he died?”
He cleared his throat, not meeting her gaze. “Still investigatin’, miss. Lots of things to look into.”
She bit back a groan. Unlike in the city, where manpower and resources seemed limitless, out here, there was just the sheriff and sometimes a deputy. “Thank you again. Please keep me updated.” She turned to leave. “Where is he buried?”
“Over by the church. Just ask the preacher. He can show you.”
Not like she was in any rush to see her father’s final resting place. She stepped outside and scanned the street. Surely the man who was more gypsy than family man would hate to think of his physical body buried beneath the dust of any one place.
A morose sense of humor invaded her. At least it was a way to get him to stay in one place longer than it took to eat a meal.
Sheriff Fremont joined her on the front step. “You’ll likely be returning home now, I ’spect.”
She looked up past his dimpled chin, his bushy mustache, his aquiline nose, into eyes as dark as coal. “No, sir. I have no plans to return.”
“What will you do?”
She blinked several times as she pondered the question, which was a very good one indeed. She’d not thought beyond the ache building in her bosom for the father she’d never see again. At least when he went off on yet another adventure, she had the unspoken promise of his return at some point, in the distant future. And always a letter. Or a postcard. Never many words on either, but confirmation he was alive and she was still important to him.
At least, important enough to sit a few minutes and pen a few words.
She stared at the dusty mining town. More tents than wooden structures. More mules than horses. More assay offices than churches.
Two men tumbled onto the boardwalk opposite her, rolled down the two steps to the street level, and lay prone in the dirt littered with horse apples. The barkeep, a barrel-chested man, his formerly white apron now stained beyond redemption and a dingy cloth slung over his arm, burst through the swinging doors. “And don’t come back here. We don’t need the likes of you in here bothering our customers.”
The man turned on his heel and disappeared back into the saloon. Within ten seconds, the tinny notes of a piano filtered to her ears.
The two in the street lay still.
Had he killed them?
A pack of boys ran from a nearby alley, grabbed a hat from one the men’s heads, and raced down the street, jabbering and hollering like their britches were on fire. Three mongrels loped after them, tongues lolling and tails held high.
She turned back to the sheriff. “Is there a decent boarding house in town?”
One eye squinted as he peered at her for a long moment before nodding slowly. “So, you’re going to stay?”
“I have no reason to return.”
She glanced at the two men in the street. One climbed to his feet, swaying unsteadily, while the other puked into the dust without even lifting his head. The acrid odor wafted across to her, and she wrinkled her nose, breathing through her mouth. Until the smell coated her tongue. Then she snapped her mouth shut.
Maybe this wasn’t the town for her …
No. She would never give her mother opportunity to say I told you so.
“Well, we got us a hotel above the saloon over yonder, and just about every drinking establishment in town rents out rooms, but I wouldn’t recommend those places. Mrs. Hicks over at number fourteen Front Street rents out a few rooms in her house. Tell her I sent you.”
“Thank you, Sheriff.” She took a couple of steps, her drawstring bag banging against her thigh. “I’ll also need directions to my father’s claim so I can get that transferred into my name. As his next of kin.”
“You’ll need to check with the Land and Assay Office, two doors up from the mercantile. But I don’t know what kind of a title he bought. Some can be transferred, but most who come out here can’t think past their next pay lode, so they don’t spend the money to buy that kind.”
She tipped her head. “You mean I might need to buy my own father’s property?”
He shrugged. “Not that I know much, but that’s what I’ve heard. I wish you luck, miss. You’ll need it if you plan to stay here.” He tipped his hat to her before closing his door.
Becky drew in a breath of the warm May afternoon then released it in a sigh. First the cost of the train ticket, then her meals and occasional hotel rooms along the way. And now this. Was there no end to the ways her dwindling cache of gold coins could disappear like snow in July?
First things first—a proper place to stay tonight. She picked up her carpetbag waiting on the bench outside the sheriff’s office and walked in the direction the lawman had indicated toward the home of Mrs. Hicks. Her heels beat a rhythm like a drum corps in a parade. She nodded to women and couples she passed but averted her eyes from the solitary men.
And there were many. Of all sizes and shapes, ages, and deportment. Several ogled her from the chairs they occupied outside the six—no, seven—saloons she passed, and that was only on her side of the street. A lone barber lounged in one of his three chairs, not a customer in sight, testifying to the fact that the men hereabouts were more interested in cards, booze, and loose women than in personal hygiene.
A fact she confirmed when one lout stood his ground and refused to let her pass. Cheap perfume, rotgut whiskey, and sweat mingled to create an odor that made her eyes water.
Another man stepped up behind the drunk. “Micky, are you troubling this young lady?”
Micky swayed in place, twisting the brim of his hat in gnarled fingers. “She one of your flock?”
“Doesn’t matter. Apologize and move on.”
The drunk tipped his hat to her in apology and stepped back against the building, allowing her to continue. The preacher, his collar white against the severe black suit, nodded, and she acknowledged his courtesy with a tiny smile. “Thank you. Reverend?”
The clergyman dipped his head. “Obermeyer, Pastor Obermeyer.”
She held out her hand. “I’m Becky Campbell.”
He blinked a couple of times then his brow raised. “Oh, you’re—”
“Yes. Robbie Campbell’s daughter.” She glanced over her shoulder. “The sheriff told me you could show me where my father is buried.”
He held her hand and sandwiched it between his own. “Please accept my condolences on your loss, Miss Campbell.”
“Thank you.” That now too-familiar ache swelled in her bosom. Would it never ease? “If I may call on you another time? I’m off to find lodging.”
He tipped his head to one side. “Oh, you’re staying?”
Why did everybody think that because her father was dead, she would leave?
Or was this wishful thinking on their part?
If so, why?
She nodded. “I am.”
He shook himself like a hound dog awakening from a nap. Had he stretched and yawned, she would not have been surprised. “Good. Good.” He pointed down the street. “The church is there. The parsonage is the tiny house behind. I’m in my study most days. Come any time.” He tipped his hat. “Perhaps I’ll see you in church tomorrow?”
“We shall see. Thank you for rescuing me from that horrible man.”
His shoulders slumped. “So many have too much time and money on their hands.” He quirked his chin toward the others walking along the street. “Many work all week then come into town and spend it on a Saturday, only to go back and repeat the same cycle next week.”
Sounded like a hopeless cycle. But what could she do about it? Nothing. If she wanted to make it on her own here, she had her work cut out to stay out of the poorhouse. She surely wouldn’t ask her rich-as-Midas mother for assistance. Maybe once she got on her feet … “Thank you again. Good day.”
She gripped her carpetbag and continued on her way, pleased that at least two men in this town—the sheriff and the parson—were raised by genteel women. She should count herself lucky she’d met both today. Having even one on her side might come in handy at some point. And having two—well, that was just downright serendipitous.
Three blocks through the business section, then a right for two blocks, and she soon found the house she sought. Narrow but well-kept flower gardens lined both sides of the walkway. She unlatched the gate, headed for the door, and knocked. Her gloved hands sweating, she longed for a cool drink of lemonade or sweet tea. As she raised her hand to knock again, the door swung open and a tall, thin woman of indeterminate age peered down at her.
Becky tossed her a smile and introduced herself. “The sheriff said you might have a room for rent?”
“I’m not certain. I plan to stay until I settle my father’s estate, at least. Possibly longer.”
The stern look on the woman’s face eased. “Sorry for your troubles. Four dollars a week including meals.” She peered past Becky. “And I only take respectable women. No children. No men. My name is Joan Hicks.”
While the amount seemed high, Becky had little choice. “My name is Becky Campbell.”
“Oh, you’d be—”
Becky sighed. Either her father was famous, or infamous. The former, she hoped. “Yes. His daughter. And yes, I’m staying in town until I get his claim sorted out.”
The wrinkles around the landlady’s eyes deepened, and her mouth lifted in a smile. “Actually, my next question was if you want dinner tonight?”
“I would. Thank you. What time?”
“Dinner’s at five. Perhaps you’d like to see your room and freshen up.”
She was going to like this obviously kindly, no-nonsense woman. So unlike her own mother. “Thank you.”
The interior of the house was dark but cool, and Becky followed Mrs. Hicks up two flights of stairs to one of three doors that opened off the top landing. The landlady stood aside and held out her hand, palm up. “Payment due in advance. Pot roast for dinner.”
Becky dug the four coins from her reticule and handed them over. “Thank you.”
“No keys for any of the rooms. I got the right to inspect the room with an hour’s notice. No cooking or smoking in the rooms. Privy is out the back door.”
Becky swallowed back a lump of disappointment. She’d expected indoor plumbing, just as she enjoyed in New York, but the modern conveniences hadn’t made their way this far west.
Or at least, not to this house in Silver Valley.
She entered what would be her home for at least the next week, longer if she could figure out how to make her remaining money stretch further. She set her bag on a dressing table, and then she closed the door. When she sank onto the bed, the springs creaked beneath her weight. She sighed.
A pang of—of what? Homesickness? Missing her father? Wishing things were different?—caught her off guard, spreading through her like a flooding river, threatening to wash away all hope. So much for her dreams of prospecting with her father in the mountains of Colorado. Of catching up on all the years they’d missed.
Rather, that she had missed.
She doubted her father had lacked any adventures or excitement.
His life had been so different from her own.
She dumped the contents of her drawstring bag onto the bed and sorted through them. Sixty-three dollars which, along with the hundred or so in her carpetbag, should tide her over for a while. If she didn’t have to buy her father’s claim. If she didn’t have to pay top dollar for every single thing she needed.
Because if there was one thing still alive in her, it was the desire to understand her father. To understand what drove him to leave the comforts of home and travel to this remote place. Was it the lure of silver? Was he simply tired of his refined life? Of his wife?
Available at Amazon.com and fine booksellers in your area.
Donna lives in Denver with husband Patrick. As a hybrid author, she writes historical suspense under her own name, and contemporary suspense under her alter ego of Leeann Betts, and has been published more than 30 times in novellas and full-length novels. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Writers on the Rock, Sisters In Crime, and Christian Authors Network; facilitates a critique group; and teaches writing classes online and in person. Donna also ghostwrites, edits, and judges in writing contests. She loves history and research, and travels extensively for both. Donna is represented by Terrie Wolf of AKA Literary Management.
I’m always grateful for new friends gathered during the year, and 2019 has brought me a written friend from Idaho. I’m so looking forward to getting to know her better during the new year, and am delighted to share her new historical novel with readers. Happily, I’ve read this story, and still think about its characters. If you enjoy historical fiction of this era, this book belongs on your reading list!
Jan is offering a free paperback copy of ALL MY GOOD-BYES to one commenter here. Now, she shares with us a little of her family history behind this novel.
I Wish I’d Known
It dawned on me the other day that I was born just 9 years after the end of WW2. This boggles my mind. As I have been researching for my latest release, set in those years, I had it set in my mind that the war was far removed from me. But the more we discover about our pasts, the more we realize how things that happen long ago effect who we are today.
If it had not been for certain circumstances of the war, I would not be here at all. I don’t mean to sound mysterious, okay maybe I do, but legacies were cut short for many of the men and women who fought and died then. World War II changed the course of history for families everywhere.
I had to research to find out how my life came to be, because my parents both were gone by the time I became interested in their stories. I never bothered to prod them about their experiences as they lived through the depression and the war. I took for granted that life had been as smooth as mine. I never realized there were so many secrets unspoken, so many unpleasant memories tucked down deep. By the time I felt the weight of the past calling me to write, it was too late to ask those close to me all the important questions.
This is now a sort of mission for me – to encourage folks to talk to their aging parents and grandparents and even great-grandparents. Some may still not want to explain their experiences, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. Most of them have rich stories that should be written down and passed down to the next generation. How tragic that so many of these stories are being lost as the people of those war years die.
One thing I discovered as I pulled out family photos and documents is that most of them were not marked with names and dates. It would have been so much easier to put the puzzle pieces of my family together if those items had been identified. This is something each family can do when they are together for the holidays – catalog all those pictures of places and people.
As I finished up my historical series, I was so thankful for the treasures of knowledge I had gained. But I long for more. I want my children to know where they came from and the solid, courageous, and honorable heritage they can be proud of. I tell what I know, even when they look bored or roll their eyes.
But I’ve noticed one thing…the little ones are fascinated by the stories I tell.
Like me, my grown children may not be all that interested until it’s too late, but when I’m not around to tell them anymore, my books will be. This is why I must keep writing them. It’s my way to leave the story legacy of the family for the future.
I hope if you haven’t gleaned those experiences from your loved ones that you will take a few minutes to make a plan for the new year. Go through your closets and find the old albums and use them to start conversations with your elders. Or if you are the elder, initiate a reveal of those special memories.
My book All My Goodbyes is based on the life of my mother and I hope the parts I had to guess about are close to accurate. It is a work of fiction but with real life entwined, with a surprise at the end. I hope you will read it to inspire you to uncover your own legacy.
I would love for you to follow me on Facebook at Jan Cline author. Also, you can check out my website and sign up for my monthly newsletter to receive a free short story. Jancline.net
This new contemporary title comes from Joy Avery Melville, an author I “met” online. Here, she describes her novel writing process. She’s offering a signed paperback copy to someone who leaves a comment. Enjoy!
When God nudged and steered me into writing Contemporary Christian Women’s Fiction, He allowed me the privilege of writing a strong thread of romance into the story.
I set out to write what I thought would be stand-alone novels, only to discover characters, who decided they wanted to keep the story moving into a series by bringing in sub-plots.
Since my books are character driven, I take my time to get their backstories cemented in my mind and heart. Then they take over, moving the novels forward chronologically.
The research for Meant For Her—once I surrendered my will about the genre issue—took me seven months. The story developed over six weeks with some days out for traveling. Before edits and revisions, the book boasted 125,000 words. I’d never written such a lengthy novel in so short a time.
Meant For Her came about from overhearing a local TV news broadcast. The Lord kept bringing it to my mind long after the events had taken place. When I decided to follow His leading, He gave me what I call dot-to-dot connections. People came into my life when I most needed them for research and for human resources.
It took a lot of people along the way to bring about the final Meant For Her. I am very grateful for the help, encouragement, and prayerful support so many have poured into my life.
Promotion and marketing were the farthest things from my mind during the writing and revision process, but God gave me just what I’d asked for the week the book was to release. My prayer was for open doors and opportunities I wasn’t aware were available. I was deluged with more than I could have asked or hoped for. (Doesn’t Scripture tell us that – why was I surprised?)
I so appreciate the opportunity to be here with Gail Kittleson today. She opened her heart and blog for this occasion!
One of my favorite things to do these days is answer readers’ questions about Meant For Her and/or my writing. Feel free to ask!
Here’s a taste of the novel:
Had it all truly been ~ MEANT FOR HER?
Kidnapped, raped, brutally beaten, and left for dead, Candi Reynolds becomes a prisoner of fear. Faced also with the impact of the unexpected break-up with her fiancé, and an unwanted pregnancy resulting from the attacks, she believes God has forsaken her. Choosing to move back to the Michigan horse farm, owned by her older brother, Dr. Cam Reynolds, Candi essentially goes into seclusion.
Dr. Patrick (Mack) MacKevon, Carri’s ong-time friend, watches from the sidelines at the farm where his horses are stabled, while Candi struggles to regain a sense of normalcy. His own big-brother tendencies develop into a much deeper emotion over the months he prays for her.
Is it possible for Candi to put all of the pain and trauma behind her and renew her former relationship with the Lord? Will she allow her heart to open enough to discover authentic love, while making decisions of victory on her personal journey to joy?
I’d like to introduce Anna Jensen, a British-born writer who has lived in South Africa for twenty-four years. She lives in Durban, on the east coast with her husband, son and daughter. She had her first book ‘The Outskirts of His Glory’ published in May 2019. Using stories of family travels in and around South Africa, devotional content, and poetry, the book offers insights into the surprising ways God speaks to us through his creation.During this Thanksgiving month, I think you’ll enjoy Anna’s thoughts on gratitude.
November. Gratitude month. Thanksgiving day. Being from the UK and now living in South Africa, I don’t have the long tradition of seasonal gratefulness. I’ve seen it depicted in Hollywood movies but haven’t felt personally connected or involved.
That’s begun to change as I now have an American mom-friend. Each November, Stephanie undertakes thirty days of gratitude. She shares what she is particularly grateful for; her family ‘grow’ a gratitude tree from sticks and paper leaves upon which are transcribed intentional moments of thankfulness.
My friend challenges me; I rarely list all that I am grateful to God for. And yet, in a quick concordance-count of the number of times the word ‘thanks’ appears in the Bible, I find 110 instances. Thanks are given for God’s goodness, for His provision, for His protection. Thanks are given abundantly, loudly, untidily, continuously. Thanks are given to God as Lord, as Father, as Healer, as Saviour.
As I write, the sky has darkened over the sea, thunder grumbles in the distance and rain is beginning to fall. Where I live, we have barely any rain during winter and by the time we reach November, everywhere seems a little dried-up and weary. Furthermore, South Africa is experiencing the worst drought in living memory. Lakes have dried up, leaving behind gaping cracks and starving livestock. Nationwide prayer meetings have been held to implore God to forgive and be merciful, as the book of Chronicles suggests.
So, when I look out and see the horizon shrouded by grey streaks of falling rain, I’m immensely thankful. Gratitude rises like the sweet fragrance of freshly doused vegetation, incense to a God of mercy and kindness.
The rain stirs me to be thankful more often, to notice the many simple, taken for granted gifts; I wake in the morning with breath in my lungs and health in my bones; I have a car to drive on a well-paved road as I take my children to their amazing schools. My husband has a job when many don’t. We have food on the table, and in the fridge and in the cupboard.
After prolonged dryness, the blessing of rain reawakens life that has lain dormant. So it can be with our souls. In Hosea 3:6 the promise is given that the Lord ‘will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.” My heart often needs the tenderness of these rains, needs to be softened by the showers of God’s presence and restored to life by the whisper of His Spirit.
I am so grateful that our God waters the earth when it is most in need; I am even more grateful that He waters my heart when I don’t even realize it is dry.
Happy Thanksgiving. Today and every day!
I’m a British ex-pat who has lived in South Africa for a little over twenty years. My husband and I live with our two teenage children on the east coast, a few miles north of the city of Durban. We overlook the Indian Ocean where we have the privilege of watching dolphins and whales at play.
My first book ‘The Outskirts of His Glory’ was published in May 2019. The book is a Christian devotional and poetry collection exploring the many surprising ways that God can speak to us through His creation. I have drawn on my travels in and around South Africa, as well as further afield, to hopefully inspire each of us to slow down and perhaps listen more carefully to the ‘whispers of His ways’ (Job 26:14) that are all around us.
Since publishing ‘Outskirts’ I have had the privilege of speaking at a number of local churches and even have a weekly slot on a Christian radio station. I have also continued writing by contributing to a variety of blogs and online writing communities as well as developing my own website and blog.
Suzanne Bratcher, whom I met in Mogollon Rim Country a few years ago, is now releasing the second in her series, set in Jerome, AZ. She’s here to introduce us to this popular tourist destination and to gift an e-book to one commenter. Enjoy!
Jerome, Arizona, population 444, claims two titles: “largest ghost town in America” and “billion-dollar copper camp.” An hour’s drive from my home in Flagstaff, Jerome was one of my favorite getaway spots for almost thirty years. When I first went to Jerome in 1978, it was a genuine ghost town with more buildings abandoned than occupied. The rugged unpaved road that crossed Mingus mountain into Prescott attracted aging hippies on motorcycles and four-wheel drive enthusiasts like my husband. A vacant hospital, an echoing school, and empty houses with sagging roofs all tickled my imagination with stories. The Douglas Mansion, home to the tiny Jerome State Historic Park, introduced me to the history of the once dirty, noisy copper camp that mined copper, silver, and gold.
Fast forward to five years ago when I decided I wanted to write a series. Though I’d moved to Arkansas by then, Jerome leapt onto my computer screen: ghost town, billion-dollar copper camp, and home to a sophisticated pre-Colombian culture. I had my setting with an interesting twist for three books. Next two characters stepped on stage: antiques expert Marty Greenlaw and historian Paul Russell, ordinary people caught in a confusing web of greed and murder. The Copper Box, Book 1 of the Jerome mysteries, is Marty’s story set against the ghost-town backdrop. The Silver Lode, Book 2, which grew out is Paul’s story set against the copper-camp history. Paul and Marty are the main characters of the trilogy, but each book is a stand-alone mystery.
Today I’m giving away an e-book of The Silver Lodeto a commenter, so here’s a quick synopsis:
Beneath the ghost town of Jerome, Arizona, a labyrinth of abandoned mine tunnels hides a vein of silver ore mixed with pure gold. The discovery of that silver lode caused a murder decades ago. Are more coming?
Historian Paul Russell is about to lose his job and the woman he loves. He doesn’t have time to search for the legendary silver lode. But when a student drops a seventy-year-old cold case on his desk, a murder connected to the silver lode, the mystery offers Paul the perfect opportunity to work with Marty Greenlaw and win her back.
As Paul and Marty search for the silver lode, suspicious deaths begin to happen. When Paul’s son disappears, the stakes become personal.
Alice K Arenz is sharing one of her new releases with us–perhaps you can do a little early Christmas shopping! And, she’s giving away an e-book to one commenter.
Please tell us how this book idea came to you, Alice.
Last fall, my publisher put out a list of ideas for different boxed sets to be published during 2019. The moment I saw the “Secret Santa” listing, I signed up. Then, I questioned why I’d done it. I didn’t have long to wait to find out.
Within hours God gave me the title Hiding From Christmas, and He’d encouraged me to pick up paper and pen—which I only do when paying bills!—and I had nearly the first chapter! That had to hold me for awhile because I’d also signed up for a Romantic Suspense due May 1 of 2019 and the Secret Santa wasn’t due until September.
I kept the paper handy, though, and continued writing little bits and pieces of ideas that would just miraculously pop into my head. When I finally started the real writing, I must admit to being overwhelmed. I thank God every day for seeing me through to the end.
What obstacles did you conquer during the writing?
Creating a company for my characters was, well… in a word, difficult. I’ve made up things before, but nothing as elaborate as the company Ornamental! You’re talking to someone who hates research, okay? This book had me researching something—most times MANY things—every single day! And that’s just the writing.
I have a condition with my ears where I “over hear” things. As in, something that doesn’t make much noise to most, is overwhelming to me. During the writing of both Dark of Night and Hiding From Christmas, there were constant sounds of construction, heavy equipment, etc., that would throw off my balance, making it difficult to even sit in my office chair. Yet another PRAISE GOD moment—moments!
How is this publication unique from others you have written? How does it compare with others already published?
It’s unique in that it’s a Christmas book—and the tremendous amount of research that went into the book, most of which wasn’t even used.
Um… Maddie Kelley is almost 25, the youngest protagonist I’ve ever had. She loves baking and cooking—something I don’t do much of anymore. She gets excited over kitchen appliances, things like that. Oh, and I also used memories from my life, which I don’t usually do.
I’d say that the closest book to Hiding From Christmas would have to be The Wedding Barter. They are both romances, with Hiding a bit lighter, more fun. You can’t compare either of these to the romantic mysteries/suspense. Though the two Bouncing Grandma books (The Case of the Bouncing Grandma, The Case of the Mystified M.D.) are lighter, funny cozies—and all four books are set in the fictional town of Tarryton, Missouri.
What would you say to someone considering this read for themselves or for a gift?
If you want a light, fun book with just the right amount of romance this book is for you. Maddie doesn’t know where she fits into the company founded by her great-grandfather and his best friend, or in life, for that matter. She is passionate about baking, her little rescue kitten, and wanting to keep a promise to her deceased father. According to one of my editors “She’s real!”
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