The MacGregor Legacy - For Love or Loyalty

1760 Scotland - To atone for her father's evil, Lauren Campbell agrees to help Malcolm MacGregor. By the time she realizes she's the bargaining price to free Malcolm's mother from indentured servitude, it's too late.

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.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Abingdon Spring 2010 Fiction Sampler


I have a treat for you all today! A sneak preview if you will.

(And a little shameless promotion.)

My publisher has released a fiction sampler containing the first chapter of all the fiction books they are releasing in Spring 2010. Highland Blessings is included on page 150. I've included a link here. I hope you enjoy it!

Here is a link to my publisher if you'd like to see what else they are publishing for the fall 2009 list. Abingdon Press.

Highland Blessings is now available for pre-order! Here's a link to Amazon. It's on sale for 20% off.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

CFBA Blog Tour - "The Fence My Father Built"


The

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Fence My Father Built

Abingdon Press (October 2009)

by

Linda S. Clare



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Linda S. Clare is an award-winning coauthor of three books, including Lost Boys and the Moms Who Love Them (with Melody Carlson and Heather Kopp), Revealed: Spiritual Reality in a Makeover World, and Making Peace with a Dangerous God (with Kristen Johnson Ingram). She has also published many essays, stories, and poems in publications including The Christian Reader, The Denver Post, and The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Linda grew up in a part of Arizona, where the dirt is as red as it is in Central Oregon. She graduated summa cum laude in Art Education from Arizona State University and taught in public and private schools. She has taught college-level creative writing classes for seven years, and edits and mentors writers. She also is a frequent writing conference presenter and church retreat leader. She and her husband of thirty-one years have four grown children, including a set of twins. They live in Eugene, Oregon, with their five wayward cats: Oliver, Xena the Warrior Kitty, Paladine, Melchior, and Mamma Mia!


ABOUT THE BOOK:

When legally separated Muri Pond, a librarian, hauls her kids, teenager Nova and eleven-year-old Truman, out to the tiny town of Murkee, Oregon, where her father, Joe Pond lived and died, she's confronted by a neighbor's harassment over water rights and Joe's legacy: a fence made from old oven doors.

The fence and accompanying house trailer horrify rebellious Nova, who runs away to the drug-infested streets of Seattle. Muri searches for her daughter and for something to believe in, all the while trying to save her inheritance from the conniving neighbor who calls her dad Chief Joseph.

Along with Joe's sister, Aunt Lutie, and the Red Rock Tabernacle Ladies, Muri must rediscover the faith her alcoholic dad never abandoned in order to reclaim her own spiritual path.

Watch the trailer:




If you would like to read the first chapter of The Fence My Father Built , go HERE.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Books to Movies


Have you read any great books lately that would make a great movie?

Today I want to talk about books that are made into movies. How many of you find yourselves in the mood to watch a movie with your family on your home entertainment or would like to enjoy an evening out with the family at the theater, only to find that there isn't anything out that is decent and compelling for the whole family unless it's animated? Chances are, if there is something available, you've already seen it because the selection of family friendly movies is so limited. Or maybe it's the other end of the spectrum, there's another Batman, James Bond, or Spiderman movie and you're looking for a fresh storyline--something different for a change.

With all the great fiction out there, why aren't more books made into movies? I'm thrilled that there are a few new companies really making an effort to produce faith-based movies. Personally, I'd like to see more of these movies made from some of the awesome Christian fiction I've been reading. What book would you like to see made into a movie?


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Book Review - "Prisoner of Versailles"


by Golden Keyes Parsons

A Prison her Versailles is enchanting story, full of historical information woven into romance, faith and suspense. The characters possess integrity, strength and perseverance. This is the first historical Christian book I've read that was set in France, and I must say, it was refreshing. While I enjoy American prairie romances and always will, it is nice to read something different. It has just enough flavor of the French language to give it a French flair, but not overwhelm someone who doesn't know the language.

As Madeleine Clavell is torn from her younger children by King Louis XIV's command, I felt the emotional turmoil and struggle she endured at the wails of her young daughter. The sense of her grief and aloneness from her husband's demise moved me. There is a sense of danger and fear of the unknown that keeps one reading to find out what will happen next and how they will escape. The specific elements I have discussed occur near the beginning and do not ruin the outcome of the story. I hope you will get a chance to read this book. I highly recommend it.
Italic
Book Description:
King Louis XIV's burgeoning palace is the place to be--and be seen. And the last place on earth Madeleine wants to be. She's trapped there as a pampered prisoner. If she stays in France, she'll be forced to deny her faith. By escaping the king's long arm, she may find freedom--but it will cost her everything she holds dear.

Madeleine will need courage, hope, and total faith in God to outmaneuver the Sun King and reach her true destiny--and love--in another country.

A Prisoner of Versailles continues the Darkness to Light saga that began with In the Shadow of the Sun King. (Note: I have not read the first book and was able to read and follow this book just fine.)

To learn more about the author, Golden Keyes Parsons, visit her website.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Fit to Write

Sometimes we need to be in the right frame of mind before we sit down to write and work on our manuscripts. It's a matter of overcoming our attention span and forcing ourselves to focus on writing. We have to remove distractions such as the Internet, email, texting, TV, and conversations and noise around us.

Other times it's a matter of being fit to write. No amount of force is going to produce great, creative writing. Just like we need proper rest, good nutrition, and exercise to keep our body and heart healthy, we need the same things for proper creativity. Otherwise we are trying to operate out of a cloudy mind filled with sluggish thinking. We need to be alert, clear-minded, full of energy and ready to go.

If we aren't keeping ourselves healthy, and we are forcing ourselves to slosh through our work like a person walking through knee-deep mud, then our work will have problems. We'll inadvertently miss those loop holes in our stories, not phrase things as creatively as they could be, and our characters may lack the spark that would make them more interesting to readers.

Remember, take care of yourself. Get proper rest, eat a balanced diet, and go for some nature walks to get the blood vessels circulating blood flow and inducing innovative thoughts to boost your creativity.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Ever Wonder About the Barber Symbol?


While doing some research for my current Regency in process, I discovered a unique tidbit about barbers. I've often seen the candy-cane sign outside of barber shops, but I never knew how it came to be. The image here is of red, white and blue, but the ones I've seen in person are only red and white--at least here in NC.

My book is set in 1808 Hampshire, England. My goal was to make sure that barbers were in existence back then, that they weren't called something else, and to discover the difference in the layout of a barber shop in the early 1800's compared to what we've come to know from the 1900's.

What I discovered was that barbers were also surgeons and dentists in early medieval history. Barbers often lived in castles and large manors to be on hand to take care of the wealthy. Their duties included the lancing of cysts and wicks, draining of boils, bloodletting and leeching, teeth extraction, and cleaning of ears and scalp, necessary amputation. The red and white poles represent the blood and bandages of the barber surgeon's profession. In 1745 England, the medical profession split from the barbers and created The Company of Surgeons. The poles continued to be a symbol of barbers, regardless of the separation of the medical profession.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

CFBA Book Review - "Though the Waters Roar"


The

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Though Waters Roar

· Bethany House (October 1, 2009)

by

Lynn Austin



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Along with reading, two of Lynn's lifelong passions are history and archaeology. While researching her Biblical fiction series, Chronicles of the Kings, these two interests led her to pursue graduate studies in Biblical Backgrounds and Archaeology through Southwestern Theological Seminary. She and her son traveled to Israel during the summer of 1989 to take part in an archaeological dig at the ancient city of Timnah. This experience contributed to the inspiration for her novel Wings of Refuge.

Lynn resigned from teaching to write full-time in 1992. Since then she has published twelve novels. Five of her historical novels, Hidden Places, Candle in the Darkness, Fire by Night, A Proper Pursuit, and Until We Reach Home have won Christy Awards in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2008, and 2009 for excellence in Christian Fiction.

Fire by Night was also one of only five inspirational fiction books chosen by Library Journal for their top picks of 2003, and All She Ever Wanted was chosen as one of the five inspirational top picks of 2005. Lynn's novel Hidden Places has been made into a movie for the Hallmark Channel.


ABOUT THE BOOK:

"Thank goodness you're such a plain child. You'll have to rely on your wits."

So went the words of Grandma Bebe. And for all of my growing-up years, I scoffed at the beauty of my sister and what I saw as her meaningless existence. But my wits hadn't served me well in this instance, for here I was, in jail. And while I could have seen it as carrying on the family tradition (for Grandma Bebe landed in jail for her support of Prohibition), the truth is, my reasons for being here would probably break her heart.

So how did I end up becoming a criminal? I've been pondering that question all night. Perhaps the best way to search for an answer is to start at the very beginning.

Harriet Sherwood has always adored her grandmother. But when Harriet decides to follow in her footsteps to fight for social justice, she certainly never expected her efforts to land her in jail. Nor did she expect her childhood enemy and notorious school bully, Tommy O'Reilly, to be the arresting officer.

Languishing in a jail cell, Harriet has plenty of time to sift through the memories of the three generations of women who have preceded her. As each story emerges, the strength of her family--and their deep faith in the God of justice and righteousness--brings Harriet to the discovery of her own goals and motives for pursuing them.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Though Waters Roar, go HERE.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Keeping the Writing Rhythm


Once you get into a rhythm of writing, you don't want to stop, but life forces you to. Dinner has to be made, the kids need attention, the laundry must be done, you have to go to your real paying job, etc. When those interruptions take place, how do you stop what you're doing, and come back to it hours or days later without forcing it and losing the momentum you had?

As someone who has been known to write in doctor's offices, at lunch in restaurants, in the car traveling, in airports, I squeeze in writing wherever and whenever I can. My full-time job forces me to do this. I would love to be able to get up in the morning get my coffee, see my daughter off to school and my husband off to work, and then head off to the computer room to write. But my life isn't like that and I've finally come to accept it.

Here are a few writing tips that help me keep my rhythm when I've been interrupted.

1) Try to stop writing in the middle of a scene or conversation where things are intense. It will be easier to pick back up where you left off than to start fresh from a slow area in a scene.

2) Reread the last scene you've written and review any character notes to refresh your memory of what each character would do next.

3) If you write historical, play some music in the background from that particular time period. If you're in public, wear earphones or an ipod.

4) Meditate and imagine your characters' surroundings, their expressions, their reactions to what is happening to them.

What are some ways that help you get back into your writing rhythm after an interruption? Please share.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Victorian & Regency Art - Catherine Greenaway


When writing a book set in the past, one's characters must know which artists, entertainers, songs and books are in vogue during their time period. Therefore, the author must know.

The image to the left is of Catherine Greenaway, a painter, writer and illustrator born in 1846, London. She died in 1901 of breast cancer. For those who love vintage art, you will love Kate's illustrations in children's books. Most of her work is of the Victorian period, but some of her illustrations include images set in the Regency time period before she, herself was born.

Much of her work is of boys too young to be
dressed in trousers, and instead, wore smock-frocks and skeleton suits, while the girls wore high-waisted pinafortes and dresses with mob caps and straw bonnets. During the 1880's and 1890's, there was a group of British mothers called "The Souls" who were considered liberal-minded and who embraced the arts and crafts movement. These ladies dressed their children in clothing that depicted Kate's Greenaway's art.

The great advantage of these historical images is that they are beyond their copyright period and are free to use in the public domain. Below are a few images of Kate's work. Hope you enjoy them. The first one is perfect for autumn.













Wednesday, October 07, 2009

CFBA Book Review - "Fields of Grace"


The

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Fields Of Grace

Bethany House (October 2009)

by

Kim Vogel Sawyer



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Best-selling, award-winning author Kim Vogel Sawyer is a wife, mother, grandmother, author, speaker, singer of songs and lover of chocolate... but most importantly, she's a born-again child of the King!

A former elementary school teacher, Kim closed her classroom door in 2005 to follow God's call on her heart to write and speak. Now blessed with multiple writing contracts with Bethany House, Barbour, and Zondervan Publishing, Kim enjoys sharing her journey to publication as well as the miraculous story of her healing from a life-long burden of pain and shame.

Kim's gentle yet forthright testimony lends credence to the promise of Ps. 117:2--"Great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever."


ABOUT THE BOOK:

Will their Mennonite faith be shaken or strengthened by the journey to a new land?

With their eldest son nearly to the age when he will be drafted into military service, Reinhardt and Lillian Vogt decide to immigrate to America, the land of liberty, with their three sons and Reinhardt's adopted brother, Eli. But when tragedy strikes during the voyage, Lillian and Eli are forced into an agreement neither desires.

Determined to fulfill his obligation to Reinhardt, Eli plans to see Lillian and her sons safely settled on their Kansas homestead--and he's equally determined that the boys will be reared in the Mennonite faith. What he doesn't expect is his growing affection for Lillian--and the deep desire to be part of a family.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Fields Of Grace, go HERE.

Monday, October 05, 2009

National Novel Writing Month


Next month is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) where hundreds of writers sign up at www.nanowrimo.com together and try to encourage each other to write 50,000 words from November 1 to 30.

Personally, I have never participated in this. Many of my friends have. They say it is a blessed motivation for them.
Me. I'm different. I have my little schedule. While I don't write 50,000 words in a month, I am pretty consistent in writing 3,000 to 4,000 a week, unless I'm sick, traveling, or something unusual is going on in my week. So with stubborn persistence and fortitude on consistency, I finally get there three to four months later.

One reason I have never participated is because I work a full-time job outside the home. I don't feel that such a plan would be realistic for me. I hate failure and and I'm very tough on myself. If I were to participate, I'd kill myself trying to make it work.

It's a daily struggle to not resent my need to work full-time, even though it is a blessing to have my job. So for me personally, I avoid things that might tempt me to resent my job even more, and NaNoWriMo would be one of those things since my desire is to write full-time. It's a coping mechanism for me.


But what about you? Have you ever attempted it? If not, is it something you think would motivate you? If so, were you successful? How did it help?

Friday, October 02, 2009

Faith is Part of Trusting

A few days ago, I was reading in Proverbs and a verse struck me, but before I go into it, I want to mention that I have trust issues. Always have. People have let me down, and to be honest, I've been disappointed by more Christians than non-Christians. I think it's because I expect pastors, ministry leaders, and seasoned Christians to act and behave according to a higher standard than the rest of the world.

It seems like there is a church split everywhere I go, and eventually the pastor is asked to step down. As a result, I don't just "go by" what a pastor says anymore. I go by what I feel God is teaching me in my heart as I read the Word for myself. If I hear a sermon, I don't just take it at "face value", I meditate on it, pray about it, and let God give me confirmation or understanding when I'm ready to receive it. People who blindly follow ministry leaders without searching the word and developing a personal relationship with God on their own, are putting themselves at risk of being deeply hurt by those who are "wolves in sheep's clothing" and who are motivated for the wrong reasons.

God never promised that our journey or walk with Him will be easy. In fact, He warns us that it will be hard at times. That is why maintaining a balance is so important. We have to find a way, to be cautious without being so rigid that we become unteachable or unwilling to change for the better. That's why I don't get all self-righteous and angry when a person who wants scientific proof of God's existence before being won over. I can't blame that person. I usually want proof from someone before I accept what they are saying as truth, especially if I don't know the person, or we are just acquaintances. God's Word tells us to be as wise as serpents and harmless as doves. They have a right to ask questions to make sure they aren't being duped and they have a clear understanding.

So many people come to Christ from "feel good messages" thinking that as soon as they give their life to God and accept the Word, that all their problems are going to be magically solved and they will be "delivered" from all their strongholds, addictions, habits, and bad thoughts. While it can happen, it isn't likely, because God wants them to understand how they got that way. It didn't happen overnight. It takes time to learn to resist the things that hurt us, especially when it feels good at the moment, but will hurt in the long run. If they were magically delivered, how would they learn to live in a way that will prevent them from getting that way again? It's a process. A journey.

Many Christians view people who want scientific proof as another doubting Thomas. I view them as another Saul, who became Paul. Someone who needs proof is so adamant in what they believe that they go overboard and beyond 100% to stand up for what they believe in. These individuals are determined to make their points heard, known, and understood. They are relentless. No pastor is likely to make them believe, but only by the power of the Holy Spirit will it happen. We may mean well, but we can't force them. Let God do the work.

Just like God had to knock Saul off his donkey and blind him for 3 days, it will take a supernatural experience for these individuals to make believers out of them. This is why I don't go into endless debates with them. It only fosters anger and frustration. When the time comes, it will not be because of anything I did or said. But I will be there, if and when, they ever need me to help them just as God used Ananias after Saul had his supernatural experience.

Those who want and need scientific proof are the Saul's of the world who later become the Paul's of God's Word. If they ever become true believers, they are mighty individuals that God can use for His glory in a way He can't use the rest of us, because we don't have the DNA makeup for it. They have the natural propensity to be relentless, regardless of what happens to them. Look at all that Paul endured. His path wasn't meant for the other disciples. God chose Saul for a special mission for a reason. I think it was because of who Saul was and who God knew he could be as Paul.

Like me, these individuals struggle with trust issues and faith. That's why they need the supernatural touch of God. I know, because I'm one of them. I've experienced the supernatural, but who is going to believe it, but those who have experienced it too, or those who have a stronger gift of faith to believe what they can't see? There is a part of me that needs to understand things. I need that explanation, and it must make sense to me. But I am finally coming to accept that I don't need to understand everything. I need to trust God. I can trust him with what I don't understand, but this trust wasn't immediate and it came at a price--a price I wouldn't want to repeat if I can help it.

The verse that struck me and prompted all these thoughts is, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding." Proverbs 3:5

For those who might be interested, a great book I would recommend is "The DNA of God?" by Dr. Leoncio A. Garza-Valdes. He was an atheist who converted once he set out to disprove the existence of God. Like most things, this book has its critiques, but I enjoyed it. I hope you will too if you decide to read it.