Dreams Deferred

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

 

The Story Behind the Story

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You may contact June here: 

junefoster.com

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

https://twitter.com/vjifoster

https://www.facebook.com/authorjunefoster

 

 

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

The Mennonite Queen

Writing The Mennonite Queen

Welcome Patrick Craig! One glimpse of this heroine’s face piqued my curiosity – here, Patrick tells us a little more about how she came to be. And he’s offering a signed paperback copy to a commenter. Now, readers, delve into history!

When Gail asked me to write an article about my latest book,The Mennonite Queen, she mentioned that the historical setting, Poland in the 1500s, greatly interested her. And for history buffs, Poland does have a unique place in the European scene. From conquerors to survivors—the nation has always been in a state of flux and somehow at the center of European history—and a perfect setting for this book.

The Mennonite Queen is the final book in The Paradise Chroniclesseries, but is actually the culmination of all six of my Amish books—the Apple Creek Dreamsseries and The Paradise Chronicles. In these books I deal with the Hershberger family and in particular, one character, Jenny Hershberger.

In the first book, A Quilt For Jenna, Jenny is a lost little girl found by Jerusha Hershberger Springer in a terrible snowstorm—but the setup for the book details the Amish roots of the Hershberger family in Apple Creek, Ohio and how they came there from Europe in the 1700s. Then in the second book, The Road Home, a grown-up Jenny meets and eventually marries a very distant cousin, Jonathan Hershberger, who comes back to his Amish roots with Jenny’s help.

Creating a historical background for Jonathan’s family and their departure from the Amish faith at the time of the Revolutionary war set the stage for my historical Amish novel, The Amish Princess. And then, since I had been dealing with the women of the Hershberger family (Jenny’s Choice, The Amish Heiress) I decided that I needed to tell the story of the grand matriarch of the Hershberger family going back to the 1500s in Europe and use that story to establish the Hershberger ties to the Mennonites and the Amish.

So I cast about for a historical figure that would fit into my timeline and found the perfect heroine—Isabella Jagiellon, the daughter of King Sigismund I of Poland and the writer of the first edict of toleration in European history. I created a fictional three year-period in Isabella’s life where she meets and marries Johan Hirschberg, a stable boy in her father’s service and Jenny Hershberger’s great-great-great- (way-back)-grandfather. So now I had the themes of forbidden love and growing faith and I needed an exciting place to set the story.

In the Münster Rebellion, a group of Anabaptists, the predecessors of the Mennonite church, refused to let the Catholics and Lutherans persecute them any longer and overthrew the city of Münster, Germany in 1534. This led to a yearlong siege and the slaughter of the Anabaptists who did not starve to death in the seige. I thought this would be a great place to send Johan and Isabella, so I have them flee Krakow to avoid Isabella’s marriage to the King of Hungary and journey to Münster to join the revolution. But as many of these things turn out, the leaders of the so-called “Kingdom of Heaven on earth” were madmen who led their followers into a horrible situation. The star-crossed lovers flee Münster and end up in the home of Menno Simons who, with their help, becomes the founder of the Mennonite Church, which later evolves into the Amish.

I love setting real people into fictional settings so all the characters in The Mennonite Queenexcept Johan, Magda, Frederich and two of the minor characters are real people. The court of Sigismund, the city of Münster, the events and timing of the story, the life of Menno Simons, all those I gleaned from historical research. Johan’s name comes from an actual mountain in Switzerland where the Hershberger family originated. And I also don’t believe every book has to have a “happily ever after” ending, so The Mennonite Queen does not, bu tit is emotionally satisfying. I knew this was a good book when my wife, my line and copy editor, handed me the last proof with tears running down her face.

And that is the story of The Mennonite Queen.

 

Patrick E. Craigis a traditionally published/independent author. In 2013, Harvest House Publishers published his Apple Creek Dreamsseries. His current series is The Paradise Chronicles, published by P&J Publishing,andthe first book, The Amish Heiresswas published in 2015. It remained on the Amazon Top 100 best sellers list for seven months. The Amish Princesswas released in 2016 and The Mennonite Queen in April 2019. In 2017 Harlequin purchased the print rights for The Amish Heiress for their Walmart Amish series. That book will be in Walmart stores on April 2, 2019. Patrick signed with Elk Lake Publishers in March 2019, to publish his kids’ mystery series, The Adventures of Punkin and Boo.  Patrick and his wife, Judy, make their home in Idaho. Patrick is represented by the Steve Laube Agency.

 

 

 

Where can readers find Patrick online?

www.patrickecraig.com  Webpage
https://www.facebook.com/PatrickECraig  Facebook

https://twitter.com/PatrickECraig  Twitter
Where can readers purchase my books?

http://tinyurl.com/n6sfaggAmazon

The Power of Perspective

I’ve written about perspective before and probably will again, because this quality can make all the difference. Sometimes when you feel you’ve hit the bottom, you possess quite a unique vantage point. Observe:

My husband took this photo in Arizona this winter…don’t ask me how!

But what a perspective, eh? You’ve seen many of his birdie photos, but I simply have to share one more today–can’t ignore this perfect example of FOCUS

What a great example of the phrase, “Keep your eyes peeled.” Observant…undistracted…watching, waiting. LOOKING INTENTLY, INTENTIONALLY–that’s what FOCUS means.

Now for this one: The tree’s closeness only heightens our interest in a distant object–the moon is what matters, but the tree frames it in a new way. (For a guy who never has taken a photography class, Lance is GOOD!)   (:

His next one reveals the intriguing quality of the color grey.

 

You see the deer, of course. But at the same time, interesting tree bark, rocks, and surrounding earth blend shadow and substance in a pleasing way. At least I think so.

Ahh…what does this have to do with my writing? Well, perspective and focus play a huge role in All for the Cause, my next release. And the color grey?

In the chaos of battle in the Philippines, Private Stan Ford can only hope for a neutral shade in the midst of rich jungle foliage. So much green, it hurts his eyes…so much suffering, too. After he escapes capture by the Japanese during the American surrender in 1942, Stan and his buddies come across GIs being taken to a POW camp in the mountains.

What they see infuriates them. Sickens them. Strikes terror into their souls–brutality, cruelty, complete disregard for international law.

As a result, one desire enters Stan and will drive him to any length. He must do his part to rescue those men–they have become his family. But accomplishing this objective will take time…much more time than Stan wishes. Forces beyond his control seem bent on preventing the fulfillment of his desire.

But that longing never leaves…in fact, time only strengthens it. Will Stan be able to give his ALL FOR THE CAUSE? Soon, we’ll see. I know…I keep saying soon. But this book truly will soon release.

Sand Creek Serenade

Jennifer Uhlarik, our featured author, discovered the western genre as a pre-teen when she swiped the only “horse” book she found on her older brother’s bookshelf. A new love was born. Across the next ten years, she devoured Louis L’Amour westerns and fell in love with the genre. In college at the University of Tampa, she began penning her own story of the Old West. Armed with a B.A. in writing, she has finaled and won in numerous writing competitions, and been on the ECPA best-seller list numerous times.

In addition to writing, she has held jobs as a private business owner, a schoolteacher, a marketing director, and her favorite—a full-time homemaker. Jennifer is active in American Christian Fiction Writers and lifetime member of the Florida Writers Association. She lives near Tampa, Florida, with her husband, college-aged son, and four fur children.

Jennifer is giving away one free paperback copy of her new novel to someone who leaves a comment. Welcome, Jennifer–please tell us about your research for Sand Creek Serenade–lovely title and cover, by the way!

When I first came up with the concept for Sand Creek Serenade, it was supposed to be a novella to be included in a collection about women working in a male-dominated field. I chose to write about a woman working as a doctor during the Civil War era. However, I didn’t want to dig into the Civil War itself. While I love that time period, I felt too overwhelmed with the volume of details I would have to research. You see, I’ve always shied away from those well-known, well-documented historical events because I’ve had a fear that I would get too many details wrong and hear from knowledgeable readers about my faulty research.

So rather than write about some Civil War campaign, I decided to research other events that might allow my doctor heroine show off her skills. I stumbled across the Sand Creek Massacre, thought it would be a good alternative more in keeping with my western brand, and wrote it into the synopsis. Only later, after the synopsis was written and submitted did I realize what a well-documented historical event the Sand Creek Massacre was. My fear kicked into high gear at that point. As I dug into the history, I found eye-witness accounts, historical records from the Congressional investigation that was done, and a plethora of non-fiction books chronicling the events before, during, and after the massacre. I’d stepped out of the proverbial frying pan and straight into the fire! I’ll admit that there were times I considered ways I could bail on the project.

The thing is, this story would not leave me alone. The characters and the story were so compelling that, despite the well-documented nature of the historical event, the story needed to be told. So I prayed a lotand dove into writing it. I poured over research books and historical records trying to be sure I got every detail correct.

I’m sure I didn’t.

Thankfully, the “perfectionist” mentality eased, and I found ways to stick closely to the historical timeline while telling a compelling fictional story. So Sand Creek Serenade was a learning curve for me. I had to learn to overcome the unnatural fear that I’d get history snobs emailing me to correct any research gaffes, but more importantly, it was a lesson in learning to trust God. I believe He called me to write this story and orchestrated every step from the conception of the idea on to its publication and beyond, but so many times through the process, I found myself having to hand this story back to Him and ask for His guidance and blessing, rather than relying on my own power to get it done.

I’m so very thankful for His faithfulness, and I’m praying the story He had me craft will bless readers!

 

 

 

Social Media Links:

 

Website: www.jenniferuhlarik.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JenniferUhlarik

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

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

 

Can You See It?

I’ve learned about something new. My Iowa friend Jill came over to help dig out my water pipe after we had 36 inches of snow, and pointed out the BLUE SNOW she saw everywhere. At first I couldn’t share her excitement, because I didn’t know where to look.

But then, viola! Between the crevasses and cracks, it’s everywhere. With all the melting going on, there’s not so much now, but this morning I took some photos. Can you see it here?

Or here, even though these are just cell phone photos?

 

For me, this is a new phenomenon, and of course, scientists have an explanation:

As with water, this color is caused by the absorption of both red and yellow light, which leaves light at the blue end of the visible spectrum. When this light travels into snow or ice, the ice grains scatter a large amount of light.

Cool! Even in the midst of a massive snowfall, we can find something intriguing and (for me, anyway) exciting. Having lived in snow country my whole life, I have to wonder why I never saw this before. Maybe it’s because of the altitude here?

Whatever the reason, there it is. And like my friend asked me the other day, CAN YOU SEE IT? becomes the big question.

This question figures in many of the novels we read. The reader sees something the characters don’t, or vice-versa. In a mystery, we seldom see the whole picture until the end.

In the process of publication, things sometimes change. I should let you know that the release date for All For The Cause, in which the heroine and hero navigate many World War II questions, has been changed. You can now expect it to surface into the big, wide world in late March or early April.

In the meantime, keep your eye out for blue snow and the like!

And since few of my blogs are complete without a photo from Lance, here you go…see the blue?