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.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Another Birthday!

Yesterday was the last day I could claim to be 35. I look back on the past year and I'm thankful for such a wonderful and restorative year. I've had other years that I was glad were over, but this year has been good. God has blessed us and restored many things in our lives.

Some of the good things that happened were leading my daughter's Girl Scout troop, starting a local Christian writer's group, attending my first ACFW conference, entering the Genesis contest for the first time and having two manuscripts to final and place. We found a new church and started attending a Bible study there. I signed a contract with my agent, Terry Burns. I've watched my daughter grow and surpass the things her school thought she'd be able to do this year. I finished a manuscript and started a new one.

I don't think anyone likes getting older, but the alternative isn't appealing either. So each year that we live is another blessing to add to our stack of years. Usually I look at all the things I have yet to accomplish. This year I'm choosing to look at all the things I did accomplish. I've always lived in a state of the future, planning this, planning that, and goals, goals, goals are my history. Some of my goals have been realistic and some weren't and those failures were hard to accept.

For instance, I wanted my fiction to be published by the time I turned 30. That was a rude awakening and unrealistic. Tomorrow I'll be 36 and I'm still trying to reach this goal, but now I don't have an age limit or a time frame on it. Putting that burden on myself six years ago was very, very hard. Now I think, sometime in my lifetime will be good, preferrably sooner than later. Like the parable of the persistent widow (Luke 18:3-5), I keep asking, seeking, and knocking (Matthew 7:7-8). I figure it has to come sometime, right? The word is truth.

While I believe goals are good, I want to start just enjoying life. That's one of the things I think I can do better. Quit trying to accomplish all these things and just live the blessing of the life that God has given me. Love my loved ones better and spend more time with them. The older I get, the more protective I become of my time--the more value it has to me.

Visit my website at, www.authorjenniferhudsontaylor.com.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Book Review - "The Return"

Description:
With nothing left for him on Earth, Rear Admiral John Wells didn't hesitate to lead a third NASA team to Mars, but he never dreamed that one day they'd look out their laboratory module into the lights of a slow-moving vehicle not their own. In the third installment of the Mars Hill Classified series, life on Mars becomes increasingly more unpredictable as the past collides with the future and nothing, not even the dead, is as it seems.

Meanwhile, back on Earth, the fate of hundreds, including John Wells' family--presumed dead these last six years--rests precariously in the hands of Malcolm Raines, self-proclaimed Guardian of the Mother Seed and Principal Cleric of Saint Michael's Remnant, and his insidious plans for the Father Race.

Wells will find himself in a race against time and all odds to expose the truth: about Mars, about Malcolm Raines, and, if he's very brave, about himself.

"Austin Boyd is one of the brightest new voices in Christian fiction. His long association with the space program lends authenticity as he reveals the turmoil in the minds and hearts of those who are willing to risk everything by making that journey. In The Return, we learn that both human emotions and God's presence reach far beyond the pull of Earth's gravity."
-- Richard L Mabry, author of The Tender Scar

About the Author:
Austin Boyd writes from his experience as a decorated Navy pilot, spacecraft engineer and an astronaut candidate finalist. Austin lives with his wife Cindy and four children in America’s “Rocket City”--Huntsville, Alabama, where he directs business development for a large NASA and defense contractor. His creative talents include inspirational fiction and poetry, finely crafted reproduction colonial furniture, archery and long distance cycling. He serves his community as an advocate for a crisis pregnancy center and as a motivational speaker in the area of lifestyle evangelism.THE RETURN is part of the Mars Hill Classified Series with The Evidence and The Proof.

Visit Jennifer's website at www.authorjenniferhudsontaylor.com.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Renaissance Festival

This year was my first time attending the Renaissance Festival. My husband, daughter and I went with my sister-in-law, her daughter, granddaughter and grandson. We had a wonderful time. I had no idea this event was so HUGE! Even my husband enjoyed it.

All of the rides were authentic in that there was no electricity to run them (with the exception of the bungee jump). People actually had to use manual labor for the kids' rides and shows. Lots of folks were dressed up in period costumes and it wasn't just the people working there. Half the visitors wore period outfits. There were acrobats, fire eaters, music with harps, bagpipes, etc. The food was also from the Renaissance period with large turkey legs, bread bowl soups, steak on sticks, ear of corn, etc. For those soda drinkers, you could buy soda.

The Rides
The rocking horse was also pushed by someone. You may not be not be able to see them, but there are men pushing the boats around like a merry-go-round. They had it going pretty fast. My daughter got a little dizzy from it.


























Below the kids are being carried like royalty. My daughter is in the middle between her two cousins. These poor guys were carrying kids all over the place. I know they had to be worn out by the end of the day. They get a huge workout. 

Below on the right is my daughter up in the air on the bungee jump ride. Adults were having just as much fun on this as the kids. If I hadn't been close to running out of money, I might have tried it.

























The Games
There were so many games and activities, we couldn't possibly try them all. But I did find a few I enjoyed. They had some stick game that I couldn't figure out how to do, but it wasn't for a lack of trying. Then I bruised my arm up shooting archery, but after I got the hang of it, I began to hit the bulls eye in the target. My husband was so impressed, he's decided to buy me an archery set.

























The Music
I love music so I enjoyed listening to the harpist play, and the bagpipes have always intrigued me. I used them in my Scottish Medieval novel. Music was one of the best forms of entertainment during this time period. While music is still very important today, we incorporate it in all our electronic forms of media in movies, video games, websites, etc.

























The Knights in Shining Armor

And of course there was the jousting contest between the good and bad knights for England's king and queen. The competition was fierce, but the good knight won.














If you've never been to a Renaissance Festival, I would highly recommend it, especially if you love history like I do. Even when something isn't quite as authentic as it could be, I try not to be too critical as people who put things like this on are trying their best and put in a lot of hours of hard work. A couple of negative things were a few fortune teller booths and some dresses that showed a little too much at the top, but overall I thought this was a great event where families can enjoy themselves and learn a lot about the Renaissance Period.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

85% There...And Then the Internal Editor!!!

I have a meter on my blog that calculates the final word count of my manuscript to how many words I've actually written. I'm almost finished with only 13,000 words left. I'm used to finishing a first draft in 6 months. I've only been working on this one for 9 months, and it's the longest manususcript I've written.

I'm in a new stage of my writing that I can't quite define. When I sit down to write, I hear all the inner voices of my mind, constantly reminding me not to use "was" with verbs ending in "ing", don't use too many "ly" words, use a better description, tighten the sentence, can you see, hear, smell, feel the environment? On and on it goes, until I feel my confidence wilting. I've heard other authors talk about it, blog about it, and write about it in articles, but this is the first time it's actually happened to me. I don't usually have this problem during the creation phase, only during the editing phase, which is where you really want to have your internal editor turned on.

When I wrote my other manuscripts, I didn't know enough to have this problem. I plowed right through the creation of the bare bones story, and it was during the editing process that I was able to handle layering POV, characterization, the flow from scene to scene and chapter to chapter. Now it's like the creative side of me is at war with the editor side of me from the beginning of the process until the end. But praise God, I can say that practiced self-discipline is giving me the strength to keep a set of notes on the things I want to alter so that I can keep creating the story that is meant to be written.

Only 13,000 more words, and I can take a break and turn on my roaring internal editor!

BTW, my agent, Terry Burns is featuring me on his site today Terry Burns Shoutlife Page. Please stop by and leave a comment. Thank you and God bless you!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Colonial Book Publishing at Latta Plantation


Over the weekend we went to a Folk Festival at the Latta Plantation in Huntersville, NC. I discovered a few ideas for new novels I can explore. I've written several historicals, but I haven't written anything set on a plantation. I walked out with three new books from the gift shop that I can use as resources.

The house was a little different from other plantation homes I've seen in that the entrance and exit doors were on both sides of the house, not in the front and back. However, the kitchen was a separate building beside the house as I've seen before. This was a small/medium size plantation. The photo above shows a side view.

We also got an overview of colonial book binding. What a long and drawn out process it was to print and bind a simple book. They would lay out the pages and fold the paper so the pages would be in order. Then they would cut the pages and put them into a trimmer to trim each page one at a time. Talk about time consuming! Below is a photo of the binding and trimming equipment that was used.


When you think about the whole process they had to go through, and how slow it was to accomplish, I'm surprised any books were published at all. I can see why people didn't have many books, if any, in their homes. What a wonderful century we live in today. I'll try to remember not to complain about the slow process of publishing a book after it is in contract.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Author and Finisher of Our Faith

I was a long distance runner in high school and I could run lap after lap at a steady quick pace, but toward the end I'd kick it in high gear and finish the race at a sprint. My dad taught me this strategy because a lot of times when my opponents finished running 8-12 laps, they were out of energy and didn't have a kick. If a race was close, this was my ticket to winning.

I write like this. I go at a steady pace scene after scene and chapter after chapter, but when I see the end I'm so tempted to sprint. I want to finish the book so I can type "The End" to my work. I know that I'm going to go back through it again and edit, so that makes the temptation so much greater.

Right now I can see the end to my manuscript, By His Plan and I have to keep reminding myself to slow down. Think about the consequences of each scene, the actions of each character, and every word that is said. What do I want the characters to accomplish? Toward the end of a book, the growth experience of the main characters is so important and it must be articulated in a way that is appropriate and impactful. It must be strong to make the reader close the book with a satisfied smile, but walk away pondering the meat of the story, hopefully inspired with the planting of more faith seeds.

Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-3)

Friday, October 05, 2007

Stepping Out in Faith...

To my knowledge we don't have a Christian writer's group here in Charlotte, so I'm stepping out in faith to start one. Charlotte Christian Writers will hopefully become a local chapter of ACFW. Saturday is our first meeting. As I prepare, I pray for God's guidance, wisdom, and blessings in this endeavor. 


We only have about eight people and half of them are traveling from other nearby cities. Charlotte is a large city. I know there has to be more Christian writers here, I pray that we find them and they will want to join us. I also pray that the members who are part of this team will commit to help. 


I belong to a writer's group in Charlotte, but I'm the only inspirational author. I've grown weary of it and need Christian fellowship from others who understand my heart for Christ. I want to be around people who understand that my writing isn't about me, but Him who is in me. Also, I want to give back to others who may just be starting out so I can help them avoid some of the pitfalls I fell into on my journey. 


Please visit my website at www.authorjenniferhudsontaylor.com.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Believe

I love October. All the fall colors marks the changing of seasons. While I watch the outside world emerge into a season of change, I feel God calling me into a new spiritual season. I'm coming out of the season of restoration and advancing into a season of belief.

While I'm already a believer, God wants me to believe Him for more. Yesterday during praise and worship I felt Him speaking to my heart. My vision for my future is only so wide, but he whispered that his vision for my future is much broader than I can see. He gave me this timely word so I could pray for his will in my life. If I pray for only what I see for myself, I could unintentionally put restrictions on my blessings. So I'm committing to praying for what I can see, and asking God to help my prayers to be in alignment with Him and His will for my life.

This means I'm not only going to have to believe for what I see in my heart, but also for what I can't see - things that are beyond my imagination. And then I'm going to have to work harder at my spiritual life with him. The following verses are why I say this.

"Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them." (Mark 11:24 NKJV)

"For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also." (James 2:26 NKJV)

"Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1 NKJV)

Visit my website at www.authorjenniferhudsontaylor.com.