River With No Bridge

Ever hear of the inholders? I hadn’t, either. Montana native Karen Wills Cunningham, who will enlighten us. She’s living evidence that one CAN go home again!

One Writer’s Path

Born in Montana and spending summers here while growing up, I recognized early on that this is my spiritual home. But I came of age in the sixties and life led me down unplanned paths. Then, to quote Dante, “When I had journeyed half of our life’s way, I found myself within a shadowed forest, for I had lost the path …”

My midlife crisis led to a liberating decision. With my son and daughter off to college, I sold our home, closed my law practice, and moved to the Wills family cabin just a few miles from Glacier National Park. I intended to realize my lifelong dream of being a writer.

If I’d been in love with Northwest Montana before, the year I spent alone in the remote, primitive mountain cabin brought me to a deeper commitment. Then a comment by my mother planted the seed for River with No Bridge. As we drove around Lake McDonald one day, Mom said, “Someone should write a novel about the inholders.”

Inholders were people who already owned land inside what would become Glacier National Park in 1910. I started researching the area’s history from the late 1800s and found a treasure trove in the George C. Ruhle Library in Park Headquarters. Interviews of and books about “old timers,” natives, mountain men, and settlers fascinated me. Their lives were hard, but they loved the panorama of the Rockies, glacier lilies in spring, wildlife, and the challenge of making homes in the wilderness.

I’d written a children’s story about an Irish tinker’s daughter who sails for America to join her father. I decided to make the Irish girl, now an orphaned young woman, the protagonist of my novel. River with No Bridge became an immigrant story with themes of survival, tolerance, revenge, and love of nature.

In 1882, Nora journeys from Boston to Butte, Montana, to marry a good man, a miner. But novels of ongoing happiness lack drama, so I created hard times including heartbreak, tragedies, and a period of poverty for Nora to overcome. She is helped by a half-Chinese/half-white man who convinces her that the region of the North Fork of the Flathead River promises healing for them both in a wilderness paradise. It will be a paradise difficult to win…

The beauty of Northwest Montana and its history of courageous natives and newcomers inspired me to write River with No Bridge. My midlife crisis has ended happily, and the stories continue. You may contact Karen at  karenwills.com

An Inherited Genre

Please welcome author Luana Ehlrich, our first spy/thriller author. I love the part her father plays in her passion for this genre–he allowed her to read the thrillers he brought home in her youth. Wow – what a wonder to share a genre with him!

Anyone who signs up for Luana’s newsletter will be able to download a FREE copy of Titus Ray Thriller Recipes with Short Stories.

Link to newsletter with FREE book:  https://www.subscribepage.com/TitusRayNewsletter

Luana, your protagonist, Titus Ray, intrigues me – please tell us about him.

Titus Ray, a CIA intelligence officer with the Agency for almost twenty years, is a loner and battle-hardened veteran of the covert wars. When his mission in Iran is blown, he escapes from the secret police and is forced to seek shelter with some Iranian Christians. Before he’s smuggled out of Iran, he makes a decision to become a believer himself, and once he returns to the States, he’s faced with figuring out how he can live a life of faith in the world of espionage, while battling his own demons and carrying out the responsibilities of his career.

Titus Ray tries to maintain his religious compass while entrenched in the world of espionage. What do you think is central to that struggle and his success?

Titus grew up in a home with no religious affiliation. His father, an alcoholic, was emotionally absent from family, and the only time Titus ever heard God’s name was in cursing. When Titus is forced to live with a group of Iranian Christians for three months, he’s amazed at their ability to be joyful in the midst of persecution. As he observes their faith, their love of the Bible, and their relationship to Christ, he desires to have such a relationship for himself. After he makes his commitment, that relationship becomes a thread running throughout all the books in the series.

A thriller isn’t a typical genre of Christian fiction. How did you come up with the idea for this series?

This type of series came to mind when I first heard about the persecution of Christians in Iran about six years ago. Because I’ve always been an avid reader of mysteries and thrillers, I knew my first book would be in this genre. However, when I heard about the Iranian Christians, I began asking several questions, the backstory of my first book, One Night in Tehran.

What would happen if a veteran CIA intelligence operative in Tehran  became a believer? How would his conversion affect his career? How would a man trained to lie and deceive follow the teachings of Christ in the real world?

Could you give us a sentence or two about each book in the series?

 In One Night in Tehran, Book I in the series, Titus goes on the run from an assassin and encounters an Iranian couple in Oklahoma who may have ties to the killer. He also gets involved in a murder investigation with beautiful local detective, Nikki Saxon, who considers him a suspect in the case.

In Book II, Two Days in Caracas, Titus travels from Costa Rica to Venezuela in search of Ahmed Al-Amin, a Hezbollah assassin, before he murders a high-profile government official. Along the way, a family crisis jeopardizes his mission, an Agency division head threatens to destroy his career, and he becomes more involved with Nikki Saxon.

In Three Weeks in Washington, Titus races across two continents pursuing Jihadi terrorists who plan to attack the nation’s capital with chemical weapons. Titus puts his own life on the line when he exposes an Iranian deep-cover operative with close ties to American government officials and jeopardizes his relationship with Nikki.

In Book IV, Four Months in Cuba, Titus arrives in Santiago de Cuba determined to rescue his fellow operative, Ben Mitchell, from the Los Zetas drug cartel. Within days, he discovers it won’t be a simple rescue mission, and in the months that follow, he almost loses his life, as well as his faith.

Book V, Five Years in Yemen, will be released in the fall of 2018. The prequel to the series, a novella, is also available. One Step Back gives readers the backstory of One Night in Tehran.

All the books in the series are available on Amazon as print books, eBooks, and audiobooks.


A Larger View of Love

February, the “love month”… Our guest this week developed a larger view of love over thirty years ago. Sonia Solomonson shares her experience here. Solomonson, a former religious magazine editor, is a freelance writer/editor and also a life coach who can be found at www.way2growcoaching.com. Perhaps you or someone you know can relate to her story:


I’m never allowed to forget. Every year, newscasters remember the day the Challenger blew up—32 years ago this past January 28. It also marks the day I was in divorce court.

As I think back to the years leading up to that day in court, I remember the mounting difficulties in my marriage. The first years seemed good, until things changed and I began to realize the high price I was paying for tamping down who I was created to be and letting my pastor husband control me and our life. It took me seven years to build up the courage to make a move, seven years of asking that we go to counseling and seven years of his saying “No.”

I knew no one who had gone through this, and my shame kept me from talking with family or friends. I prayed fervently for answers. I shed many tears through those years. Finally the fear of staying in the relationship was greater than the fear of leaping out on my own. In addition, I had looked into the future and seen myself as an unhappy, beaten-down and bitter old woman. I didn’t much like that picture. I still loved my husband; I just could not live like that anymore.

I’ll be honest: It was frightening, difficult and lonely at times. At times I felt like the cardinal in the photo below: I was skating on ice with no solid ground under me. My image was that of being afloat on a huge ocean with only an empty plastic milk jug to hold me up. It wasn’t until a few years later that I realized that jug was only a prop—and the ocean in which I was afloat was really God’s love holding me up! And I did come out on the other side of the pain—which is why the transformation of caterpillar to cocoon to butterfly is so meaningful to me today.

Now I realize things I didn’t know then. When I read Jeremiah 29:11, I see that God intends good for us all. God doesn’t want us to live in a harmful or diminished situation. “For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.” God has created each one of us for so much more than what we can imagine. And I wonder if it doesn’t hurt God’s heart when we let our God-given gifts be squelched and put down? When we don’t care for our bodies, our selves and our gifts.

Another verse from Scripture surfaced for me in the post-divorce years, and I realized I’d misunderstood it. In Mark 12:30-31we read, “‘…you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” For years I heard and understood that we should first love God, then love our neighbor; and if there were any love left, love ourselves. But read this carefully: “You shall love your neighbor AS [you love] yourself.” So, if I don’t love myself well, I won’t be able to love my neighbor or “the other” in my life. It is God’s love that allows us to love ourselves and thus, love the others in our lives. And so I trust God every day to teach me how to love and care for myself—and then share that love with others.

I remember worrying at first that self-love was selfish. We women are so wired for relationship, so the biggest challenge for us is not as much selfishness as it is to learn self-love and self-care. That is not to say we women aren’t ever selfish, of course. But most women I meet have a tougher time loving themselves. And so I throw out this challenge to each of you: Live with Mark 12:30-31 and Jeremiah 29:11 and let them settle deeply in your heart. See what difference those verses might make in your life.

Sonia C. Solomonson

February 21, 2018

Red Sky Over America

Tamera Lynn Kraft shares with us the background for her novel, Red Sky Over America

When Ohio Almost Started the Civil War

By Tamera Lynn Kraft

Before the Southern states seceded from the Union in 1860, a small Christian college in Ohio almost caused the Civil War. It all started in 1850 with the Fugitive Slave Act. Before 1850, slaveowners in slave states could not easily retrieve their slaves if they escaped to free states. Many of the escaped slaves settled in Ohio. When the Fugitive Slave Act was enacted, slave owners not only could chase their slaves down in states like Ohio, but abolitionists in free states were forced to hand over these slaves or be convicted of a crime.

That didn’t sit well with most Ohioans, but the students at Oberlin College were enraged. Oberlin College was the only college at the time that allowed both blacks and women to graduate with a college degree alongside white men. A religious fervor had filled the campus, and Charles Finney from the Second Great Awakening had become the college president. Oberlin students felt it their duty to live out their Christian life in the culture of the times. Graduates became missionaries overseas, preached abolition in the South, and women’s suffrage and equal rights for all.

Since the Fugitive Slave Act, many escaped slaves settled in Oberlin and were warned by residents whenever slave catchers were around. In September, 1858, a federal agent arrested a fugitive slave, John Price, in Oberlin and transported him to nearby Wellington, intending to take him to Kentucky. Half the town of Oberlin chased the agent down and took Price back. He was secretly moved to Canada by an Oberlin College professor. Twenty men were arrested and charged with impeding the capture of a fugitive slave.

The trial caused such an uproar in Ohio, there were discussions about seceding from the United States. The federal agents were arrested for kidnapping because they violated Ohio’s constitution against slavery. Ohio Governor Salmon P. Chase was an abolitionist, but he talked the crowds out of seceding. Many wanted him to run for president in 1860, but he stepped aside for a moderate anti-slavery candidate, Abraham Lincoln, who had a better chance of winning.

Red Sky Over America

In 1857 the abolitionist daughter of a slave owner studies at Oberlin College, a school known for its radical ideas. America goes home to Kentucky during school break to confront her father about freeing his slaves.

America’s classmate William goes to Kentucky to preach abolition to churches that condone slavery. America and William find themselves in the center of the approaching storm sweeping the nation and may not make it home to Ohio or live through the struggle.

“Red Sky Over America tackles the most turbulent time in history with thorough research and fascinating characters. Tamera Lynn Kraft has woven a tale about the evils of slavery that should never be forgotten.” — Mary Ellis, author of The Quaker and the Rebel, The Lady and the Officer, and The Last Heiress.

You can purchase Red Sky Over America at these online sites:
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B079GQQ9KY/ref=x_gr_w_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_bb-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B079GQQ9KY&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2
Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/red-sky-over-america-tamera-lynn-

Tamera Lynn Kraft has always loved adventures. She loves to write historical fiction set in the United States with strong elements of faith, romance, suspense and adventure. She has received 2nd place in the NOCW contest, 3rd place TARA writer’s contest, and is a finalist in the Frasier Writing Contest and has other novels and novellas in print. She’s been married for 39 years to the love of her life, Rick, and has two married adult children and three grandchildren. Tamera has been a children’s pastor for over 20 years.


You may contact Tamera here:


Website: http://tameralynnkraft.net


Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/cdybpb
Word Sharpeners Blog: http://tameralynnkraft.com
Facebook: http://facebook.com/tameralynnkraft
Twitter: http://twitter.com/tamerakraft

Singing the Winter Blues Away

What a treat to have Margaret Kazmierczak, my online author friend from across the Atlantic, with us today. Brew yourself a cup of hot tea and enjoy her musings on winter. And leave a comment if you’d like to win an e-copy of her memoir – with a definite U.K. flavor and humor. 

Why do we call it the middle-of-winter blues – blue? I see no blue outside nor inside! Personally, I believe we ought to change it to the middle of winter greys. The sky is grey; the atmosphere is grey, people’s faces are grey, clothing is grey, the snow, if we get it in the South of England, is grey and slushy, and the days are grey with fewer hours of daylight – do I need to go on?

We eat more than we should and decide that we need to lose weight. So then we get the weight loss blues/greys.

Woe is winter with its rain, cold, damp, grey weather. Welcome to my England – actually, that’s not true as my winter is far from grey. The only grey is my hair! But it was not always like this. I too suffered from the blues for a long time until I realised that January 1st was just another day and February a step closer to brighter mornings–therefore, I didn’t need to put a blue-grey tint to these months.

Grey is a matter of opinion or perspective. Winter always leads to spring. Nature needs to die to reinvent itself. The gorgeous colours of Autumn give way to the life spine of a tree, its scars highlighted by the sun.

Landscapes become visible without the foliage concealing the beauty beyond. There is crispness as you walk, a fresh painting of a spider’s web glistening in the low sunlight. Ice producing dazzling displays of rainbows in fragmented puddles.


Snowflakes whirl in the wind, dancing to the heavenly music of the angels.


Birdsong greets me to a new awakening.


The flowers now gone promise to rise again in Spring in a celebration of hope.How can this season be blue/grey?

We need a break in the seasons, to reassess our lives. Are we at the ending of a story, or at the beginning? Winter allows for both, the blues followed by the yellows. How long you remain in the blue will depend on your winter.

Winter is a great reminder; it tells me of how fortunate I am to live in a country where we have heating at the click of a switch. We can snuggle under duvets in the safety of our homes. Water comes out of a tap, and the air is relatively unpolluted. Christians can freely worship, and there are life choices we can make each day without fear.

I need winter to remind me that without death I cannot begin again. Nothing is permanent…only God.

January is often a difficult month for many, with the bright lights of Christmas doused. It is easy to sink into the dull months and respond accordingly. But what if we shone brightly during the downpours and sing in the rain, so to speak? How many sad faces could be turned upside down into a smile?

I don’t do New Year resolutions, but maybe this year I shall target the blues with a sunshine beam to get the happy juices going in my fellow human beings. Perhaps the seeds will break through early this year if we turn our faces to the Son and remember that after the blues (the passion) comes the resurrection. Now, that is something to celebrate!

One of my favourite experiences is walking into my home after escaping the frozen outdoors and feeling the warmth hug me. Peeling off my coat, scarf, hat and boots and flopping into a comfy chair with a steaming cup of hot tea. It is by far the epitome of joy in winter – a spirit lifter.

And that is indeed one of the greatest gifts you can give to someone else who is suffering from the middle-of-winter blues. To be a spirit lifter. To share a picture of hope in a person’s life. To show the beauty of winter in all its glory, because nature never stops creating breathtaking pictures.

Excited About Memoir

I’m absolutely delighted to welcome Gail Johnson to Dare To Bloom this week. The two of us share a love for the genre of memoir, and she clarifies that here. What do I mean? The deep, underlying belief that our stories matter, and that the sacrifice involved in telling our stories has the power to free us…and others.

As I’ve often quipped when facilitating a memoir writing workshop: “Our stories are the best gift we can give.” Enjoy, and Gail will give one free print copy of her memoir to a commenter. Thanks for participating! 

Excited About Memoir

Nonfiction never entered my head until 2016 when I couldn’t shake the need to write my memoir.

Of course, I had no idea about writing a memoir. I had studied fiction for years. So how could I take those skills and write my story? Interestingly, the same skills I learned as a fiction writer can be used in nonfiction writing. I don’t claim to be an expert, but I would like to share why I’m excited about this genre.

Dig deep.Write scared. gailjohnsonauthor.com


But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive (Genesis 50:20 KJV).

Memoir writing is cathartic, exhausting, and painful. But through my journey, I realized scars can be a life-changing testimony of God’s ability to heal the unspeakable. I found purpose in spite of my pain. My memoir wasn’t about my story alone, but HIS story through the heartache, healing, and recounting of my journey. As a Christian writer, my purpose was to share the redemptive story in my own way. Mine was memoir. Yours may be fiction. Either way, there is a reader in need of hearing the good news.


Memoir scared me. In memoir writing there is no hiding. The character was me. The story was mine. And the whole world would know the truth between the pages. But, I knew there was only one way to get to the heart of my reader. Vulnerability.

And from the feedback I’ve received from my readers, it was worth mining the deep.


As a reader, I love books that speak to my heart. As a writer, I wanted to speak to the heart of kindred spirits. What did I want to share with them? What did I want them to remember after reading my story?

Just as in fiction, I wanted to offer hope in the middle of my heartache. I wanted to give them a satisfying ending, and I did that by sharing the promises of God.

Vulnerability gailjohnsonauthor.com


Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed (1 Samuel 2:3 KJV).

Does this mean everyone must write a book to find closure? Not necessarily. But in my case, I needed to see the big picture. My thoughts and notes were scattered throughout multiple journals. When I had finished reading my manuscript, the words solidified the lessons learned. The simple task of closing a book took on a spiritual meaning.

So, if you have a memoir buried within you, I encourage you to write it. Connect the dots. Publishing it will be your choice. Write on, dear one.


You may contact Gail at the sites below:
Gail Johnson Book Pic 300 dpi







Star of Wonder

Star of Wonder

When I was a child, Christmas meant three things: Santa, pictures, and a tree.

Santa was easy—the Sears catalogue was handed around to each child in turn, and we could choose three items: one toy, one game, and one other thing. That one other thing could be clothes—although it rarely was—or something fun like a toboggan or ice skates.

The picture-taking ritual happened on Christmas Eve as we hung our stockings, a solemn procession to the mantel, posing with stockings in hand. We went into the living room with stockings in hand and exited empty-handed. And on Christmas morning, the tradition was repeated, except this time we entered with nothing in our hands to discover a treasure trove of gifts.

The tree was a mysterious part of our ritual. First it went up, then it was tied to hooks in the wall so it wouldn’t tip over, then the star went on top. It was a wonderful creation, although its condition declined over the years as the heavy foil nicked and chipped. In front of the star, a simple blonde-haired, blue-eyed angel, whose pink lips faded with the years and the forty-watt bulb that lit it from inside.

No matter how bent the star or how tired-looking the cherub, nothing could diminish the wonder of staring at the top of a tree that seemed ready to burst through the ceiling, listening to Christmas music on the radio while we hung the ornaments and tinsel.

I could just about imagine that my father managed to capture the same star that led the shepherds and wise men to Bethlehem on that first Christmas morning so long ago.

Star of wonder, star of light, star with royal beauty bright, westward leading, still proceeding, guide us to that Perfect Light.

 Petty Cash prelim coverAbout Petty Cash:

Carly Turnquist, forensic accountant, is headed off for another mystery. She and hubby Mike head to Cape Cod as emotional support for their daughter Denise and her dentist husband Don who finds himself in the middle of a potential practice dissolution. But when their host fails to make an appearance, and a tropical storm blows through the area, things are topsy-turvy. Then when their host’s body washes ashore, Don is suspected. After all, they’d had several arguments witnessed by a number of people. Can Carly figure out who the real killer is before her son-in-law is shanghaied into a life sentence?

About Leeann:

Leeann Betts is still a child at heart when it comes to Christmas. She Leeann Betts writes contemporary suspense, while her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, pens historical suspense. She has released six titles in her cozy mystery series, By the Numbers, with Petty Cash releasing in aaaLeeann Betts_02 croppedDecember. In addition, Leeann has written a devotional for accountants, bookkeepers, and financial folk, Counting the Days, and with her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, has published a book on writing, Nuggets of Writing Gold, a compilation of essays, articles, and exercises on the craft. She publishes a free quarterly newsletter that includes a book review and articles on writing and books of interest to readers and writers. You can subscribe at www.LeeannBetts.com or follow Leeann at www.AllBettsAreOff.wordpress.com All books are available on Amazon.com in digital and print, and at Smashwords.com in digital format.

Website: www.LeeannBetts.com Receive a free ebook just for signing up for our quarterly newsletter.

Blog: www.AllBettsAreOff.wordpress.com

Facebook: http://bit.ly/1pQSOqV

Twitter: http://bit.ly/1qmqvB6

Books: Amazon http://amzn.to/2dHfgCE and Smashwords: http://bit.ly/2z5ecP8




“Johnny Come Lately”

I’m excited to welcome Linda Matchett to Dare To Bloom, because she loves the World War II era–a kindred spirit! By leaving a comment, you qualify for a free e-book copy of A Doctor In the House.

Linda, tell us about your new Christmas historical fiction. 

Countless books and articles have been written about the cozy relationship between Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt during WWII, however their troops didn’t always enjoy the same chummy feeling.

The two world leaders had known each other since Churchill was First Sea Lord at the Admiralty, and recognizing that Britain’s combined military strength was greater than America’s, Roosevelt cultivated relations with England by inviting the King and Queen for a U.S. visit in the late 1930s. After the war began and against the wishes of his isolationist-leaning citizens, Roosevelt continued to develop the friendship by creating the Lend-Lease program to provide supplies to his unofficial allies.

The desire for neutrality and not “getting involved in a war that isn’t ours” was strong. Then one day after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Germany declared war on the U.S., and the country was forced into the conflict fighting on two fronts.

After a period of training, many of the American troops assigned to stations around the world encountered condescension and hostility from the British. Nicknames such as “Johnny-come-lately” and comments such as “late to the last war and late to this one” greeted the new arrivals in 1942. British morale was low, and the soldiers were poorly paid and bedraggled. In contrast, the Americans were well-paid, wore brand-spanking new uniforms, and had access to goods and equipment unavailable to the English. The catch-phrase describing the “Yanks” was “overpaid, over sexed and over here.” The Americans didn’t help matters by complaining about the food, weather, and a country they considered old-fashioned.

However, nothing erases prejudice like exposure, and authorities embedded British and American troops into each other’s units, improving relations dramatically. According to one American soldier, “When you fight with them and next to them they are really all right.” The British agreed. One Tommy commented he worked with “a very nice set of fellows indeed.”

By Linda Shenton Matchett

The Hope of ChristmasA Doctor in the House (part of The Hope of Christmas collection): Emma O’Sullivan is one of the first female doctors to enlist after President Franklin Roosevelt signs the order allowing women in the Army and Navy medical corps. Within weeks, Emma is assigned to England to set up a convalescent hospital, and she leaves behind everything that is familiar. When the handsome widower of the requisitioned property claims she’s incompetent and tries to get her transferred, she must prove to her superiors she’s more than capable. But she’s soon drawn to the good-looking, grieving owner. Will she have to choose between her job and her heart?

Archibald “Archie” Heron is the last survivor of the Heron dynasty, his two older brothers having been lost at Dunkirk and Trondheim and his parents in the Blitz. After his wife is killed in a bombing raid while visiting Brighton, he begins to feel like a modern-day Job. To add insult to injury, the British government requisitions his country estate, Heron Hall, for the U.S. Army to use as a hospital. The last straw is when the hospital administrator turns out to be a fiery, ginger-haired American woman. She’s got to go. Or does she?

Buy Link: Available from www.amazon.com/dp/B077656725


Linda Shenton Matchett is an author, journalist, blogger, and history geek. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry, Linda has lived in historical places most of her life. She is a volunteer docent at the Wright Museum of WWII and a trustee for her local public library.


The Essence of Advent

Since people have already started preparing for the holiday season, I’ve invited Lynn Watson to share about her Christmas devotional with us today – first of all, here’s an enticing trailer to watch:  https://youtu.be/ZT5_uGmptZM

Also, Lynn is giving away one copy of The Essence of Joy, either print or Kindle, to a commenter (Kindle only outside the USA.)

These Christmas readings provide ample food for thought. The reader-friendly style invites us to contemplate many aspects of the nativity story–especially the scents and tastes of the season. Several sections would be perfect for sharing as a group devotional. I was also impressed with how Lynn shares the spotlight with her cover artist. 

Take it away, Lynn…

Fictional character Cinnamah-Brosia was born in the first book in this series, The Essence of Courage. She has transformed Miss Dot’s Café (her Gram) into The Coffee Cottage. She and her friends hang out there, invite you in and share their stories of challenge and triumph as each chapter begins.

courage-book-cover-frontI approached my friend Allisha to create the character. Don’t laugh, but ‘C-B’ began as a super-hero character – a pretty cool one, I might add. But we doubted she would be believable or very well liked. Many drawings later, the cover features her at the patio table warmly inviting readers to enter.

When it came time to plan the next cover, I asked Allisha, “Are you in?” She agreed.

“This cover needs to say Christmas, but not scream it. We need friends in the picture, and The Coffee Cottage. Let’s include hints about the devotions and suggest some of the aromas. Above all, this cover needs to connect to the first book.”


Front bookcover2

Just imagine the concepts she drew and we discarded before being rewarded with this beautiful cover illustration!

The Essence of Joy features Cinnamah welcoming guests for a Christmas party in the section, “Mint – The Joy of Giving.” Cinnamon and citrus on the wreath highlight “Citron – The Joy of Legacy” and “Cinnamon – The Joy of Integrity”. The blue framed piece on the cottage wall relates to “Frankincense – The Joy of Forgiveness.”

Allisha Mokry earned her BFA from Memphis College of Art. I trusted her imagination, instincts, and artistic gifts to create the characters and the covers. With encouragement to draw and develop as God led, her confidence blossom as I watched. I’m so proud of her and the work she has created. You may viisit Allisha on Facebook /artfulexplorations, and order The Essence of Joy at: https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/069296391X/.

The Essence of Courage:

You may contact Lynn at  www.lynnuwatson.com