The MacGregor Legacy - From Scotland to the Carolinas

(Book 1 - For Love or Loyalty) (Book 2 - For Love or Country) (Book 3 - For Love or Liberty)

Path of Freedom, Quilts of Love series

1858 North Carolina - When Quakers Flora Saferight and Bruce Millikan embark on the Underground Railroad, they agree to put their differences aside to save the lives of a pregnant slave couple..

Highland Sanctuary, (Highland series - Book 2)

1477 Scotland - A chieftain heir is hired to restore Briagh Castle and discovers a hidden village of outcasts who have created their own private sanctuary from the world.

Highland Blessings, (Book 1 - Highland series)

1473 Scotland - The story of a highland warrior who kidnaps the daughter of his greatest enemy and clan chief to honor a promise to his dying father.

Awakened Redemption (Inspirational Regency)

1815 England - A story that pierces the heart and captures the Regency era.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

SS American Victory WWII Ship


By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

Floating in Tampa Bay at the Channelside is the SS American Victory WWII Ship--a historic national treasure. She is one of only 4 fully-operational WWII ships in America. Built in 1945 in California, she is 455 feet long and 62 feet wide. The SS American Victory is able to travel up to 17 knots at top speed. The ship has 9 decks and carried 62 Merchant Marines and U.S. Armed Guard officers and crew.

While she current serves as a Mariners Memorial & Museum Ship, she was once responsible for carrying food, machinery, vehicles, and other supplies to war ravaged areas of Europe and the near East for the U.S. Government's United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration. She carries 8.20mm caliber Oerlikon guns, one 3-inch 50 caliber gun, and one 5-inch 38 caliber gun. 


If you would like to learn more about this great ship and how to visit and take a tour aboard it, visit www.americanvictory.org. Twice a year, the ship relives history by taking people out on a cruise through the Channel in the spring and fall. Cruisers get a chance to experience the ship in action while enjoying music and entertainment as they relive history. 

The ship caught my attention and I snapped a few photos from both angles where she was docked. I wasn't able to research the ship until I returned home. I wish I had had a chance to take a tour, but it is now on my to-do list the next time I return to Tampa. 





Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Kindle Unlimited: Provides Significant Limitations for Authors & Readers

By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

As you may have heard by now, Amazon has released its latest program, Kindle Unlimited. It's a subscription based service much like Netflix for movies and directly competes against Scribd and Oyster, distributing a list of ebook choices for a monthly subscription fee. 


Yet, the service is not so unlimited

While Scribd offers up to 400,000 ebooks for a monthly fee of $9, Oyster offers 500,000 and Kindle Unlimited is now offering up to 600,000 for a monthly fee of $10 per month. These services do not offer readers choices from the latest bestsellers lists, unless those books happen to be published through Simon & Schuster or Harper Collins since Scribd and Oyster have made special arrangements with those publishers. 




Kindle Unlimited Offers Significant Limitations for Readers

  • The latest bestsellers will not be offered. If readers want to read these books, they will still have to purchase them separately in addition to paying this monthly fee or find them for free in a library system--when they become available. The big five publishers are not included in the Amazon Unlimited selection. If you have any self-published favorite authors, their works will not be included either--unless they publish exclusively with Amazon in their Kindle Select program. 
  • Some Amazon Unlimited books are already offered to Amazon Prime members for free. The difference is, with Prime readers can only download one free book per month and those books must be downloaded on Amazon devices. Kindle Unlimited allows readers to download up to 10 books per month simultaneously, on up to six devices, and those devices do not have to be Amazon devices. Audio books are not available with Prime, but they are with Kindle Unlimited. 
  • A portion of Kindle Unlimited ebooks are also available for FREE at Project Gutenberg. As many as 45,000 of these ebooks are available in the public domain at Project Gutenberg. It makes the mind wonder, how many of these books have inflated that 600,000 number that Amazon Unlimited is offering. The service is heavy on classics and self-published books through their Kindle Select program.
  • Readers need to be reading at least 2 books per month for the service to have value. For readers who may only read a book per month, it wouldn't be worth paying the monthly fee. The typical American only reads five books per year. This statistic is from Pew Internet and American Life Project--and could be why so many authors are struggling to make a living at writing books. Most authors have to supplement their writing income with other jobs. 


For the record, I believe Kindle Unlimited will still be profitable and a successful business model. Netflix and Hulu have proven the success of this business model, and Amazon may be the one to prove it in the book industry, if other services like Scribd and Ortho have yet to prove it to you. There are enough people out there who will subscribe to this service---even in the absence of the big five book publishers and their bestsellers lists. Some of my favorite books never made it to the bestsellers lists, so I wouldn't make my decision based on their absence or presence, and I'm sure there are many others who are like me in that regard. I have other reasons for not subscribing to Kindle Unlimited--at this time.

Kindle Unlimited Offers Significant Limitations for Authors


  • Most self-published authors must be enrolled in the Kindle Select program. This means they will not be able to sell their books on any other site or platform, including their own website. Their books will not be available on Barnes & Noble Nook, Kobo, Apple's iBook store, etc. A few select bestselling authors may be the exception to this requirement, as well as traditionally published authors.
  • Self-Published authors will not know how much they are being paid per book. Each month Amazon will set aside a pool of money that will be used to pay self-published authors in the Kindle Unlimited program. It may vary from month to month. Traditionally published authors will be paid the same as they would if the book had sold to a reader. 
  • Authors will not be paid until 10% of a book is read. It isn't enough that a reader download an author's book. The author will not be paid until the reader reads up to 10% of the book. This could cut into an author's income significantly. Think of all the people who buy books and set them aside for awhile before actually reading them. Through Amazon's normal system, if a book is purchased and downloaded, the author is paid regardless of when or how much the book is read. Through Amazon's new Kindle Unlimited, there is the potential that thousands of books could be downloaded and the authors never receive a payment. Think about it. How many books do YOU have on your shelf or downloaded on your device that you haven't yet read?

All my books are traditionally published  through a publisher with the exception of one book, Awakened Redemption. I made it available on Kindle Select for a few months, but did not re-enroll into the program because while it was okay, I was not impressed enough to keep giving Amazon exclusivity. Rather than re-enroll this book so it can be available for Kindle Unlimited, I'm planning on releasing it in other formats such as the Nook, Kobo and iBooks. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

"For Love or Country" by Jennifer Hudson Taylor (New Book Release!)

By Jennifer Hudson Taylor


For Love or Country  
(Book 2)

ISBN 978-1426733857
Available Now!


One spy. One commission. One love.
He must risk it all to gain everything.
North Carolina, 1781


At the height of the Revolutionary War, Tyra MacGregor is successful at thwarting the British Army with her colonial spy efforts. But her sleuthing ways come to a screeching halt when Captain Donahue "Hugh" Morgan puts her under house arrest.

Hugh is intrigued by this courageous spy the natives call "War Woman." She's more daring than most men and is intelligent in defending her convictions. Even more impressive to Hugh is the strength of Tyra's unshakeable faith in God.


When Tyra saves his life during an attack, Hugh vows to return the favor. Before he can intervene, however, she is caught by his superior officer and imprisoned. Soon Hugh's honor, faith, country, and love are all on the line. Can he risk it all to gain everything?



"A terrific tale of sacrifice and love!" Amazon review by April Renn






Read the First Chapter! 

For Love or Country

Chapter One
Wilmington, NC (1781)

Tyra MacGregor did not want the Christmas feast to end. She leaned back in her wooden chair and peered at her family gathered around the long dining table, laughing and talking in jovial spirits. It had been a miracle her father, Lieutenant Malcolm MacGregor, and her elder brothers, Callum and Scott, were given a few days off from the Continental Army to spend Christmas with them. This time when they left, they would be taking her younger brother, Alec, now that he had turned ten and five. Tyra blinked back sudden tears as a searing ache twisted her insides.

“Lauren, this was a delicious meal.” Da leaned over and gave their mother a kiss on her rosy cheek. They shared an intimate glance of love and devotion. Tears sprang to her mother’s blue eyes. Tyra looked away, unable to witness the emotional exchange as the back of her own throat constricted.

“I did not prepare it alone, Malcolm.” Mama’s voice carried down the long table. “Tyra’s cooking skills have greatly improved since ye’ve been away at war.”

“Indeed?” Her father lifted a russet eyebrow, as the corners of his mouth curled in an approving grin. A full beard and thick mustache layered with gray specks in his reddish-golden whiskers branded its mark into her memory. “Then I daresay, well done, lass.”

“Thank ye, Da.” Tyra forced a tender smile to hide her fearful worry. Thinking of her gift to them, genuine joy crept into the muscles of her tense face. “And now I have a surprise for you all.”

“Dessert?” Kirk’s voice cracked as he shoved his empty plate aside. At ten and three, her youngest brother often suffered the embarrassment of his tones vibrating from his throat. He rubbed his hands. “I thought I smelled a sweet treat earlier.”

Tyra took his empty plate and placed it on top of hers, biting her bottom lip to keep from blurting out the answer. She whirled and stepped toward Alec.

“No, leave mine.” Alec threw a hand out to protect his unfinished plate. “I intend to eat every bite.” He glanced at their father and older brother, Scott. “I do not know when I might have the blessing of another home-cooked meal after this day.”

Tyra paused, her gaze meeting Alec’s brown eyes. Her heart thumped against her ribs in an attempt to stomp down the rising grief welling inside her. Even though she was only ten and seven, she believed Alec was too young for war. She didn’t care if other lads his age had already signed up these past five years. Many of them were gone from this world. The knowledge alone made her want to drop the plates and wrap her arms around him and beg Alec to stay. Others who had enlisted at his age continued to survive like her eldest brother, Scott. They had grown into fine young men, accustomed to the ways of war, always fighting for their freedom.

“I wanna go!” Kirk plopped his elbow on the table and set his chin on his palm. A disgruntled expression marred his forehead. “I am not much younger than Alec.”

“Hold yer tongue.” Mama’s blue eyes were like the crystal frost outside as late evening approached. She toyed with the wrist of her cream-colored blouse, her dark blond hair coiled into a French bun. “’Tis bad enough I must part with three sons and a husband. They can at least leave me one son.”

Tyra gulped, hating the tide of emotion threatening their last moments together. She carried the plates from the dining room to the kitchen where she placed them on the table. As she pulled out the dessert plates, her mother entered. She wiped at her eyes and took a deep breath. At five feet and eleven inches, Tyra towered over her mother by at least five inches, but she didn’t let it stop her as she threw a comforting arm around her mother’s shoulders.

“Mama, do not worry. God will keep them safe.” Tyra hoped her voice sounded more certain than she felt. “Da, Callum, and Scott have been safe these past few years. We must have faith for Alec as well.”

“Of course, yer quite right.” Mama grabbed the extra plates and gave her a grateful smile as she reached up and cupped Tyra’s cheek. Thin lines framed the corner of her mother’s eyes, but she still looked young at two scores and one. “I am thankful I have ye here to remind me, lass.” She motioned to the dessert tray and waved Tyra forward. “Now on with ye, they are waiting.”

Tyra hurried to the dining room and set the tray before her father. “I hope you all saved room for my cinnamon gingerbread cake. ’Tis a small Christmas gift I want to give each of you.”

“Then we shall cherish it.” Her father rewarded her with a wide grin, reaching for the small plate with eager anticipation. He grabbed a fork and carved out a bite. With slow precision, he slid it into his mouth as he watched Tyra and chewed. He nodded in appreciation. “Mmm, quite good.”

“Thank you, Da.” Tyra said, pleased her father liked it. “Now, the rest of you must try it.”

“I am ready.” Kirk leaned up on his elbows against the dining table and drummed his hands on the surface. He beat out a ditty of “Free America.” “See? I could be a drummer. Plenty of boys my age have enlisted.”

“Well, ye shall not be one of them,” Mama said, as she set a plate by Alec and Scott. “Mind yer manners, lad.”

Tyra cut slices for each of them before carving a slice for herself. She enjoyed the sweet taste of the moist cake on her tongue. With the British blockade along the coast, they had learned to do without certain supplies and cooking ingredients. Sugar was rare, but the Tuscarora Indians who lived in the nearby swamp provided them with honey. She had been able to barter for it over the past couple of months to save what little sugar they had left in anticipation of their upcoming Christmas feast.

“Someone has been making you into a fine cook while we have been gone.” Callum sat back with a satisfied grin and pushed his empty plate aside. “’Tis good to be home again, all of us together one more time. I will cherish this fond memory in the months to come.” His brown eyes glistened in the candlelight as he blinked back moisture and looked away. When he had first arrived yesterday, she had hardly recognized him with a full beard and mustache. She was glad he had shaved it off. He now looked more like the brother she remembered with the exception of his somber mood. Tyra could only imagine what horrible images lurked in his mind from the war. He no longer acted like a young vibrant man of only a score of years to his credit, but a seasoned man who had seen too much of life.

Tyra glanced at Scott to see if he shared the same sentiment as Callum. Scott cleared his throat and looked down, hiding his blueeyed gaze. His blond hair looked darker than she remembered, most definitely longer, tied back in a ribbon at his neck like her father.

Always the charmer in their family, Scott had changed as well. He was more pensive and quiet than she had ever known him to be. At ten and eight, he had only been serving for three years, unlike her father and Callum.

“Mama is a patient teacher,” Tyra said, breaking the silence. She glanced at her mother, knowing herself to be a difficult pupil with her unladylike qualities and lack of interest in domestic skills. She and her mother had set aside their differences and worked together, while the men were away from their rice plantation at The MacGregor Quest. Tyra taught her mother to shoot a rifle and a pistol, while she made more of an effort to wear constricting gowns and assisted with more household chores—like cooking.

“Tyra has turned out to be quite a teacher herself.” Mama winked at her as she took a bite of her cake. “There has been too much strife in Wilmington of late between the Whigs and the Tories, so I decided the boys should receive their education here under Tyra’s guidance.”

“Aye, she is more like a growling bear,” Kirk grumbled, reaching for another slice of cake.

“No!” Tyra snatched the plate from his grasp, covering its contents with a protective hand. “The rest is for Da and our brothers. I wanted them to have at least one more slice to remind them of home whence they leave on the morrow.”

Kirk gave her a scowl, but sat back without another protest. He glanced at his father and brothers, his green eyes wide with concern. Tyra knew he felt the same fear as she—that it might be the last time they were all together. Most of his childhood had been stolen by the War of Independence. Soon they would welcome the year of seventeen eighty-one.

“Let us retire to the parlor.” Mama stood with a smile. It brighten the dark room lit only by a few candles which made shadows dance upon the paneled walls. Even the fruit painting by a local artist hung on the wall in darkness. A slight chill hovered at the glass windows of the dining room with no fire to warm them. “Kirk, go build us a warm fire in the parlor.” Her brother hurried to carry out their father’s bidding.

Frantic beating on the front door sent alarm through Tyra as she exchanged worried glances with the rest of the family. Who would dare interrupt their Christmas? Most of their neighbors would be at home celebrating with their own families. “Lieutenant MacGregor! I have new orders for you.” A man’s voice called through the door. More knocking followed.

“Wait here. I shall only be a moment.” Da’s boots clicked across the wooden floor as he left the dining room and entered the foyer. The sound of him unlocking the latch and sliding it back grated on Tyra’s nerves. The hinges creaked and low voices conversed. A few moments later, he closed the door and walked back into the dining room. Tyra held her breath.

“I am sorry,” Da said, standing at the threshold. “General Greene has gained new information and is calling all the troops back to service. We must leave now.”

“Can it not wait till the morn when ye had already planned to leave?” Disappointment carried in Mama’s tone. Her chin trembled as she lifted fingers to her lips as if to still the motion. Her gaze slid to each son and lingered on the three eldest. “I had hoped to have a wee bit more time.”

“Me too, my love, but ’tis not to be.” Da took a deep breath of regret. “Leaving now will make the difference of eight hours of travel.”

“When will ye sleep?” Mama asked. “War does not always give us time to sleep.” Callum stood to his feet. Scott and Alec followed his example. “Da, I shall prepare the horses.”

“Excellent.” He motioned to Scott. “Pack us some food.” “I shall help.”

Tyra launched into action, standing to her feet. Her head swirled in denial as her legs moved of their own accord. The back of her throat went dry, while it seemed as if stones churned in her stomach. The moment she had dreaded was now upon them.

* * *

Captain Donahue Morgan bristled as the hairs upon his neck and arms rose, crawling over his flesh. They were being watched and their red uniforms were like a bull’s target. He held up his hand to signal the four soldiers following his lead. Their mounts slowed to a stop. Hugh listened as he gazed into the layered forest of green pine needles and bare branches of oak and poplar trees. The earthy scent of fresh pine and melted snow drifted through the air. No sound of human life caught his notice, but winter birds sang and flew above them. Wiry bushes dotted the thick woods full of dark shadows where anyone could be crouched in hiding, waiting to ambush them.

The only map in his possession wasn’t drawn to scale, so he feared they might have wandered off the path to Wilmington. The drawing lacked significant landmarks and could have been more insightful. His superior officer had given it to him when he commissioned Hugh to find two of their ranking officers and negotiate their freedom from the rebel Continentals. Hugh could not fail. One of them was Colonel Neil Morgan, his elder brother.

A shiver of foreboding slithered up his spine and branched over his neck and shoulders. If Hugh had learned anything during his time in the colonies, it was the fact these blasted rebels did not fight fair like an upstanding British soldier, full of honor and courage. Instead, they would take cover behind rocks and trees, picking off His Majesty’s Royal Army one by one like the red-skinned savages he had heard about.

“Get ready,” Hugh unsheathed his sword from his side. “We are not alone.” He kept his voice low as he continued to watch the woods around them. Hugh saw and heard nothing that would alert him to danger, but surviving the last three ambushes in South Carolina with his full regiment had given him enough experience to trust his instincts.

The birds above flew away. Eerie silence followed. Hugh tensed. The sound of a rushing wind sailed by him. A low thud hit the man behind him and a gut-wrenching moan wrestled from him. Hugh twisted to see his comrade clutch the arrow in his chest, a look of shock and then pain carved his expression into a memory of guilt and it would not soon leave Hugh. His friend paled and fell from his horse.

“Go!” Hugh urged his mount forward. Arrows whistled past them from every direction. They were surrounded and outnumbered. Strangely dressed men left the cover of the trees with loud shrilling sounds which vibrated through Hugh’s head. He maneuvered his horse around one dark-skinned man who met his gaze, lifted his bow and arrow, and took aim. On instinct, Hugh dropped his head and tried to crouch his large frame behind his horse’s mighty neck. As Hugh raced by the Indian, pain sliced into his left side. It felt like someone had branded him with the end of a red-hot iron poker, fresh from a burning fire.

Air gushed from Hugh’s lungs, as another fallen comrade landed in the dirt behind him. The man’s horse neighed and reared up on its hind legs, his hooves pounding thin air. Hugh raced on, eager to escape the same fate. He could not fail in this mission. Who else would rescue his brother? Clenching his teeth against the increasing pain in his side, Hugh blinked to clear his vision and leaned forward with determination.

More shrieks and warrior cries bounced through the forest, and they followed him. As near as he could tell, most of the Indians were on foot. Two of them climbed upon the horses of his two fallen comrades and chased after Hugh and his last remaining friend. They knew the layout of the land better than Hugh, and it showed as they caught up with them. Hugh ducked and leaned to the left and right to avoid the large tree branches, but he couldn’t miss the sting of some of the smaller ones as they slashed across his face and neck. A cut above his eyes poured blood into his blurry vision. With each breath, his heart continued striking against the inside of his chest like a fist that wouldn’t stop.

“Argh! They got me, Hugh!” Miles called to him.

“Just hang on and keep going.” Hugh glanced over his shoulder. The movement twisted the arrow still lanced into his side and caused a wave of dizziness to wash over him.

Something pierced his left thigh, stinging his flesh. Shock reverberated through his system as he glanced down to see another arrow had hit his leg. Warm blood oozed over his breeches, soaking and discoloring the white material. Hugh struggled to stay seated as his energy evaporated, and his remaining strength drained with his life’s blood. The jarring of his winded horse pushed both arrows deeper. Hugh groaned from the pain and almost lost consciousness.

The two Indians closed in on him from the front, and Hugh couldn’t find the strength to guide his horse in another direction. Instead, the animal slowed to a trot, then walked, until he stopped altogether. The Indians grabbed the reins and pulled Hugh down. Hugh grabbed his side as he landed on his right hip and gritted his teeth in agony.

A moment later, Miles landed beside him. Blood now soaked his shirt beneath the opening of his red coat. His pale face was testament to how much blood he had already lost. Hugh hoped their end would be swift and merciful. The thought of more torture was enough to make him pray for death. Instead, he sat still and held his head up when he could find the strength. He would not be a coward. If he had to die, he wanted it to be with honor.

“I am Red Fox,” said the man who had stared at Hugh and shot him in the side. “You on MacGregor land. They fight redcoats.” He pointed at them. “You enemy. We take you to War Woman.” He bent and broke the long stem of the arrow sticking out of Hugh’s thigh and side. Red Fox moved over and did the same for Miles.

“A woman?” Hugh blinked with a weary sigh. His body swayed one way and then the other, his head numb from a loss of blood. “Dying . . . by the hand . . . of a woman . . .” Hugh took a deep breath to gather what little strength he had left. “Has no honor.” His head rolled back on his shoulders and his blurry vision saw a mixture of colors and light. “Kill us now.”

* * *

The next morning Tyra slid the latch back and swung open the side kitchen door. The rising sun cast an orange-pink glow across the slanted gray clouds. The frigid air promised another cold day, but it didn’t look like more snow would fall. As much as she enjoyed the rare snow, she rubbed her hands in a silent thank-you to the Almighty. Harsh weather would make things harder on her father and brothers.

With The MacGregor Quest plantation located southeast of Wilmington, their homestead overlooked the road and a semi-circle dirt drive. On the other side, lay the Cape Fear River, shimmering like diamonds when the sun’s rays angled upon the surface of the water. The swampy woods served as their only neighbors on the right and on the left their rice fields extended for several acres beyond the stables. Tyra followed the familiar path to the well on the swampy side. Patches of snow still lingered where their house shaded the ground. A thick white frost covered the rest.

As she walked toward the well, her black boots crunched against the stiff white frost layering the grass like thick pie crust. She breathed in the crisp air, allowing it to cleanse her lungs. Winter was here, so they kept the doors and windows closed and the hearths burning, but at times it almost stifled them.

The sound of men’s voices carried in the breeze. Tyra paused and tilted her head to hear better. A horse snorted. It sounded like they were on the other side of the house by the swamp. She rushed back to the house and entered through the front door to keep from alarming her mother who was no doubt still in the kitchen.

Hurrying down the hall, Tyra tried to keep her footsteps light. She opened her father’s study and reached above the hearth to lift the rifle from where it hung on the wall. A quick search in the desk drawer revealed a pouch containing round bullets and gunpowder. Tyra loaded the rifle as her father had shown her and slipped out of the study. She rushed down the hall and out the front door, determined to meet the men before they reached the house. Lifting the hem of her brown skirt, Tyra ran down the porch steps, hoping she wouldn’t trip. She rounded the corner and lifted the rifle, taking aim.

“War Woman, we bring you redcoats!” Red Fox called out. He led two horses carrying wounded British soldiers. Both men looked unconscious as they lay over the back of each horse with broken arrows sticking out of them. Tyra’s gaze scanned the somber expression of the other ten Tuscarora Indians surrounding them. She lowered her rifle in stark confusion. “They on MacGregor Land. Redcoats enemy to MacGregor.”

“What happened?” The words slipped from Tyra’s mouth before she could halt them. She hoped her tone did not sound like an accusation. Would this deed now bring British wrath down upon their heads? They had heard rumors the British were heading toward Wilmington. She had to find a way to protect her mother and Kirk. How could she make this right?

“We bring them for justice.” Red Fox continued walking toward her. Tyra knew him to be a fair man, but he did not always understand the white man’s ways. She wished her father was here to speak for her.

“You found them on MacGregor land?” Fear iced up Tyra’s spine, but she stiffened to keep from shivering. Fear would not aid her now. Instead, she hoped to draw strength from the Lord and the wits He gave her just as her mother had always done. She lifted her chin and met his gaze. “Were there more of them?”

“We killed two others.” Red Fox turned to glance back at the wounded men and nodded his dark head toward them. “These two live. We bring them to War Woman. You decide fate.”

“What were they doing?” she asked.

“Riding to your house. Your father and brothers gone. We stop them.” He pointed to one of the men with an arrow in his side and thigh. “This one must be leader.”

“What did you do with the others?” Tyra accepted the reins of the two horses he handed over to her. “I have heard more redcoats are coming. I do not want your tribe to be in danger.” Tyra thought of his wife and daughter, a close friend from childhood. “Their army has too many soldiers, many more than the small tribe you have left in the swamps.”

“We will bury them as your people do.” He nodded his head to the two wounded men. “How will you judge them?”

“I shall try and get them to talk. I cannot fight hundreds of soldiers when they come, but if I save their lives, the new soldiers may give my family mercy.”

Red Fox laughed and exchanged doubtful glances with his friends. “Few white men understand mercy. Your father and brothers rare.”

Tyra swallowed at the memory of their smiling faces at the Christmas feast. A hollow spot formed in her throat. She gripped the reins tight in her hand. “You speak the truth, but I must try. I am only one woman. I cannot fight hundreds of soldiers.”

“War Woman fight with wisdom.” Red Fox pointed to his own head. “If you need us, you find us in swamp.”

“Indeed, I will.” Tyra nodded.

Red Fox motioned to his men and they followed him back to the woods.

A groan caught Tyra’s attention. She looked over to see the one with two arrows grimacing in his semi-conscious state. If she didn’t hurry, he would soon awaken and the pain would be unbearable.

Tyra led the horses to the front of the house where it would be easier to carry them inside. Indecision wrestled in her heart. How would she get them down and drag them inside without causing them further damage and pain? She couldn’t leave them like this to die.



             

              

Thursday, June 05, 2014

See It! Celerain Lighthouse in Cozumel, Mexico


By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

#lighthouse #travel 

At the southern tip of Cozumel Island in Mexico is a charming lighthouse that was built in 1901. With today's technology, the use of lighthouses has fallen to a time in the past. The lighthouse is now an historic site with a small museum featuring navigation history and the lighthouse keeper's home as it was back when the lighthouse was in operation, as well as the rich history of seamanship and piracy of the Caribbean. The museum is open daily to the public for a small fee and people can climb to the top for a panoramic view of the beautiful island and its coastal shores. 

The lighthouse is located in Faro Celarain Eco Park, which features nature exhibits and offers important protection to preserve the wildlife in the area. The park serves as a haven for birds and turtles. Located nearby is the ancient Mayan lighthouse, El Caracol, a 700-year old Mayan structure that historians believe was used as a lookout tower.  

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Looking to be Published? Write Your Own Ending For Love or Loyalty

#contest, #writing 

My publisher, Abingdon Press, is hosting a Write Your Own Ending contest for my novel, For Love or Loyalty, book 1 in the MacGregor Legacy

Duncan Campbell's hatred for the rival MacGregor clan nearly consumes him. He's not the only one who wants revenge for a lifetime rivalry between the two families. But when members of both clans try to forge a peaceful bond, what's left for Duncan?




You tell us! Write your own ending to For Love or Loyalty.
  • Write your ending as a post on your blog or GoodReads.
  • Post a link to your suggested ending on Facebook or Twitter, using the hashtag #Duncan, AND send a link to fiction@abingdonpress.com by June 30, 2014.
  • Ask your fans, friends, and followers to share, like, and comment to make your ending most popular.
  • If your ending is the most shared, I will send you signed copies of the entire MacGregor Legacy series, feature you and your ending on my blog, and will promote it with several national websites. The writer of the most popular ending will also receive a signed copy of the entire MacGregor Legacy series!
Click any link below to tweet this opportunity to your friends... and start writing!
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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Why Jane Austen Would Be in the Slush Pile Today

By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

Jane Austen
Don't misunderstand me. I am a huge #JaneAusten fan and in many ways I believe she was ahead of her time. In spite of her popularity and movie success, if you compare the quality of her writing to what is required of writers today, she would not be published in today's market. In fact, her manuscripts would be allocated to the slush piles until the dreaded rejection letter arrived in her email box.

Getting noticed and published by a traditional publisher has always been hard for new authors--and each year it seems to get harder. There are so many industry standards and writing rules that authors must write by until they have the sales to back them up and they can break those rules.

1. Show, Don't Tell

Too often it is drilled into writers' heads to show a scene unfolding, don't tell the reader about it. Jane Austen breaks this cardinal rule throughout her books and in almost every scene she wrote. Below I have pulled an excerpt from Sense & Sensibility.

The carriages were then ordered; Willoughby's was first, and Marianne never looked happier than when she got into it. He drove through the park very fast, and they were soon out of sight; and nothing more of them was seen till their return, which did not happen till after the return of all the rest. 

Here is an example of how it could have been written to show rather than tell. I've written are article on The Big Show Vs Tell Debate.

Curricle Example
The servants brought the carriages around, leading with Willoughby's shiny black curricle. He extended his hand to Marianne. She beamed with excitement as her smile reached each glowing cheek. Accepting his assistance, she glanced up at Willoughby with trusting eyes full of adoration. 

He climbed in beside her and snapped the reins. The horses launched into a canter and the curricle rolled down the lane leaving a cloud of dust trailing behind them. Marianne laughed in delight and gripped her hat to keep it from blowing away.

2. Cut Unnecessary Words

While Jane Austen's writing style is of another time in our history when people generally talked different, the way she phrased her sentences is often too wordy. Today's readers would never tolerate such wordiness from a new writer, and therefore, neither would today's publishers. Below is another example from Sense & Sensibility.

The sudden termination of Colonel Brandon's visit at the park, with his steadiness in concealing its cause, filled the mind, and raised the wonder of Mrs. Jennings for two or three days; she was a great wonderer, as every one must be who takes a lively interest in all the comings and goings of all their acquaintance.

It could have been simply stated: For several days, Mrs. Jennings continued to wonder about the reason behind Colonel Brandon's sudden departure. 

3. No Head-Hopping, Stay in One POV

The chapters often begin in an omniscient POV, giving a general description of the scene and the feelings and viewpoint of each character. At various times the scenes will swap between Elinor and Marianne's point of view, and on occasion, even their mother within the same scene. Writers today are not allowed to head-hop, which is switching from one character's POV within the same scene without a transition, scene or chapter break.

4. Be Consistent

This may have only been an editing mistake, but there are times when the girls' mother is referred to as Mamma and as Mama. The spelling variations are not always consistent. Writer's today are taught the rule of consistency. If we choose to spell something one way, stay with it throughout the story. For example if you start out spelling inquiry, you cannot later use the spelling of enquiry.

I have only listed a few cardinal writing rules, but these few are enough to cause a new writer of today to be rejected by most publishers. Jane Austen would not be published by today's standards without further editing. Because her work is well-known and considered a classic, today's readers still buy and read her work. She still sells more than most midlist authors of today.

What about you? When you read a Jane Austen novel, does it bother you to read through the wordiness and the difficult writing style? As a reader, you may not be aware of these writing rules, do you notice these issues in an author's writing?
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Have you read Awakened Redemption

Don't miss this new Inspirational Regency by Jennifer Hudson Taylor. To learn more about Awakened Redemption, click here!





Thursday, April 17, 2014

How REAL Secret Tunnels Impacted My Upcoming Novel, For Love or Country


By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

#MacGregorLegacy #history #colonial #fiction

While researching my next novel, For Love or Country, book 2 in The MacGregor Legacy, I came across some interesting information regarding real secret tunnels existing under the historic district of Wilmington, NC to the Cape Fear River. Some of these tunnels date back to before the American Revolutionary War made of brick with vaulted ceilings.

Lots of legends and rumors have surrounded these tunnels such as pirates stashing their booty, escaped prisoners, and the Underground Railroad. Most historians agree that none of these legends can be verified, but most likely the tunnels were used for sewage and drainage.



Burgwin-Wright House (Flickr, NCBrian)
The existence of these tunnels gave me the perfect opportunity to use them in my story during the Revolutionary War. One tunnel is known to be under the Burgwin-Wright House built around 1770 and is the location where General Cornwallis set up his headquarters for the British when he took command of Wilmington in
1781. According to one of the legends, Patriot soldiers escaped while being held as prisoners in the Burgwin-Wright House. Since the foundation of the house was built over an old jail, the brick basement was a perfect place for the British to hold Patriot prisoners. Therefore, this house plays a significant role as a setting for several scenes in my novel. To aide me in my research, I found transcribed descriptions written by the family that lived there when Cornwallis took over the house.

Of all the tunnels, Jacob's Run is the most famous named for Joseph Jacobs, a prominent merchant tanner. In 1775 he and his brother Benjamin built St. John's Masonic Lodge, now the Children's Museum of Wilmington. According to an April 28, 1967 newspaper article that appeared in the Wilmington Morning Star, contractors once again discovered the tunnel while digging the foundation of a new restaurant they were building in the former Theater Manor building. Fittingly, they named the restaurant, Jacob's Run. The tunnel ran beneath the building and all around it following the flow of natural spring water. City engineers state that there are no authentic records documenting when the tunnel was built or for what purpose--yet they obviously exist and can be dated back to the colonial period.
Mitchell Anderson House
Another setting that I used in the story was the Mitchell Anderson House built around 1739, the oldest surviving house in Wilmington. When Lord Cornwallis took over the Burgwin-Wright House in 1871, Major James Craig of the British Army was forced to vacate the premises and took over the Mitchell House.

Historic homes like this and real existing tunnels with lots of legendary stories surrounding them are great fodder for an author's imagination. Therefore, I used what real historic information that we have about them and took creative license with the rest to fit it into the storyline of my novel, For Love or Country set in 1781, Wilmington, NC





Sunday, March 23, 2014

Book Review - "Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts" by Jerry Bridges

By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

Book Description
When unexpected circumstances arise that appear unjust, irrational, or even dreadful, we feel confused and frustrated. And before long, we begin to doubt God's concern for us or His control over our lives. 

Adversity is hard to endure and can be even harder to understand. If God were really in control, why would He allow the tragic auto accident or crucial job loss? How could He permit cancer in a loved one or the death of a child? Grappling with His concern for us we ask, "Why is God allowing this?" or "What have I done wrong?"

In an effort to strengthen his own trust in God during a time of adversity, Jerry Bridges began a lengthy Bible study on the topic of God's sovereignty. What he learned changed his life, and he now shares the fruit of that study in Trusting God. As you begin to explore the scope of God's power over nations, and the detailed lives of individuals, you'll begin to acknowledge His loving control. And as you come to know Him better, you'll find yourself trusting Him more completely - even when life hurts. 

Why I Read this Book
Before I get to my review of this book, I want to share my reason for reading it in the first place. Due to so many unexpected difficulties in my life, I was in a place of questioning God's love. Unlike some, I have never questioned God's sovereignty and existence, and I was never the prodigal child. I turned my life over to Christ at age 9 and followed Him through my teen and college years and into my adult life. I always strived to do what was right to the best of my ability. In spite of this, trouble found me through loved ones' poor decisions, finances, medical issues of loved ones, and situations that were truly out of my control. I had to finally accept this, as I prefer to be in control. 

I came to a place where I felt like God loved everyone else, but me. He loved them so much more because they seemed to be blessed more than me--in everything--or so it seemed. Their testimonies were not an inspiration of what God could do for me, but a painful reminder of what He refused to do for me. He was my bestfriend, my everything, how could He hurt me like this? Yes, Christ died on the cross for me, but He died for everyone and I just happened to be included. I know how illogical this sounds, but feelings and emotions do not always follow logic. It was my "Job" moment. The few Christians I confided in were much like Job's friends, they criticized and judged me and brought up all my failings so I withdrew even more. If God had allowed some serious heartbreaking things to happen to me once, I didn't trust Him not to make me go through it again or something just as heartbreaking. I won't go into the details of all the things that brought me to this state of mind and spiritual heartbreak, but suffice it to say that this book helped bring some perspectives back to my thought process and helped open the door to my healing. 

My Review
This book doesn't sugar coat reality and it deals with hard truths that we have to accept whether or not we understand why God has allowed some tragic events to happen to us and/or our loved ones. First, the author lays the groundwork that God is sovereign over everything. Next, he covers God's love for us as individuals and as humankind. When we question God's reason for allowing things to happen, we question His sovereign power, authority and wisdom. We cannot understand all His reasons, because we cannot know and understand all that He knows. Our faith requires trusting God with what we don't know and cannot understand. Trusting God is very clear in getting this point across. 

Since this book has so many difficult concepts to accept, I had to read it in slow increments and digest each section separately. Even though I experienced feelings of anger, frustration and defeat, there were other sections that inspired me with hope again. By the time I reached the end, it succeeded in making me want to trust God as I used to, but this time with a more realistic and mature expectation. I highly recommend this book for people who have been through difficult times and who struggle with questioning and trusting God. 

Some notes and quotes I have highlighted from Trusting God
  • God is completely sovereign. God is infinite in wisdom. God is perfect in love.
  • If we are going to learn to trust God in adversity, we must believe that just as certainly as God will allow nothing to subvert his glory, so He will allow nothing to spoil the good He is working out in us and for us. 
  • God did not simply create and then walk away. He constantly sustains that which He created. 
  • As God's rule is invincible, so it is incomprehensible.
  • Just because God does not act as we think He should, we conclude He cannot act as we think He would.
  • We are to establish our beliefs by the Bible, not our experiences.
  • God sovereignly uses the most ordinary circumstances to accomplish His purpose. 
  • Our first priority in times of adversity is to honor and glorify God by trusting Him. We tend to make our first priority the gaining of relief from our feelings of heartache or disappointment or frustration.
  • "A bruised reed will not break." (Matthew 12:20)
  • Let us not be guilty of breaking a bruised reed (a heavy heart) by insensitive treatment of the heavy doctrine of the sovereignty of God.
  • "For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope." (Romans 15:4)
  • Just as we might not misconstrue God's sovereignty so as to make people mere puppets, so we must not press man's freedom to the point of limiting God's sovereignty.
  • "The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, and we may follow the words of this law." (Deut 29:29)
  • Our duty, then, is to obey the "things revealed," that is, the will of God as revealed in Scripture for every area of life.
  • For those experiencing the events recorded in the biblical narratives, God's hand was no more apparent to them in those events than His hand is apparent to us today in ours.
  • There is a vast difference between acceptance and either resignation or submission.
  • Our duty is found in the revealed will of God in the Scriptures. Our trust must be in the sovereign will of God, as he works in the ordinary circumstances of our daily lives for our good and His glory.
  • God knows exactly what He intends we become and He knows exactly what circumstances, both good and bad, are necessary to produce that result in our lives.
  • We must learn to trust God when He doesn't tell us why, when we don't understand what He is doing.
  • If we are to honor God by trusting Him, and if we are to find peace for ourselves, we must come to the place where we can honestly say, "God, I do not understand. I will just trust you."
  • "There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord." (Proverbs 21:30)
  • God's wisdom, then, is greater than the wisdom of any of our adversaries, whether they be of other people or the Devil himself. Therefore, we should not fear what they seek to do, or even succeed in doing to us.
  • We must see our circumstances through God's love, instead of, as we are prone to do, seeing God's love through our circumstances. 
  • Instead of mistakenly looking for God's love in tokens of happiness, we should look for them in His faithful and persistent work to conform us to Christ.
  • Another area of our lives that God must continually be at work on is our tendency to rely on ourselves instead of on Him.
  • God uses adversity to loosen our grip on those things that are not true fruit. A severe illness or death of someone dear to us, the loss of material substance, the tarnishing of our reputation, the turning aside of friends, or the dashing of our cherished dreams on the rocks of failure, cause us to think about what is really important in life.
  • We live in a world that worships independence and self-reliance. 
  • He will cause you to feel keenly your dependence on Him. He will often blight the very thing we feel confident in so that we will learn to depend on Him, not on ourselves.



Friday, March 21, 2014

Virtual View of Public Historic Buildings in Charleston

By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

While researching historical Charleston for a few of my historical novels, I came across several significant public buildings that have stood the test of time since Colonial Charles Town. Even though churches are not considered government buildings, I am including them in this blog post since these buildings are valuable to the local community. 




United States Custom House (1853)



Bankers Trust of SC (1853)
Corner of Broad St. & E. Bay St. 


Fireproof Building (1827)
The oldest fireproof building in the U.S.


Exchange & Provost Building (1767)
Public market and meeting place during colonial era


Circular Congregational Church 
Founded as Independent Church in 1681
Current building dates back to 1891


St. Michael's Episcopal Church (1752)



United States Post Office & Courthouse (1896)
Post Office is on 1st floor & Courthouse is on 2nd floor



First Scots Presbyterian Church (1814)



Charleston City Hall (1800)





Monday, February 17, 2014

A Picturesque View of Historic Homes in Charleston

By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

#Charleston #Colonial #4LoveLoyalty

Over the years I have taken a number of road trips to Charleston, SC for historical research on my novels. For Love or Loyalty required a lot of research on colonial Charles Towne and I couldn't help but take numerous photos while I was there. I am fascinated by historical homes and the various architecture. Therefore, I want to share a few of these images and I'll be posting them on my Pinterest boards for All Things Carolina and Inspiring Historical Places. Hope you enjoy them!



Joseph Manigault House (1803)



East Battery St. 



Tristram Hyde House (1914)
74  Murray Blvd.



C. Bissell Jenkins House (1913)
52 Murray Blvd.



32 Murray Blvd. (1929)



Archibald Baker Jr. House (1938)
36 Murray Blvd.



Rainbow Row (mid-1700's - mid-1800's)
East Bay St. (13 pastel colored historical homes)



Help me identify this house!



Help me identify this house!
On a Charleston Cobbled St.


John C. Doyle Art Gallery 
(Pink building on left side)
Chalmers St.
N



Nathaniel Russell House (1808)
51 Meeting St.



60 Meeting St.


Corner of Meeting St & Atlantic St.


Corner of Meeting St. & Lamboll St.



Thomas Heyward Jr. House (1772)
18 Meeting St.



Calhoun Mansion (1876)
16 Meeting St.



George Eveleigh House (1743)
39 Church St.



Lewis Timothy Print Shop
Worked for Benjamin Franklin & died in 1738
97 King St.



Marx E. Cohen House (1845)
The original plot dates back to 1680
85 King St.



Stucco House (1905)
2 South Battery St.



4 South Battery St. (1892)



Edmonston-Alston House (1825)
21 East Battery St. 
(Bed & Breakfast & still part of Alston Family since 1836)



22 East Battery St.