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.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Remembering the 7 Crew Members on The Challenger



There are 3 significant disasters in my lifetime that are branded in my memory. One is President Ronald Reagan being shot when I was 9, the explosion of The Challenger when I was only 14, and the 911 terrorist attacks in 2001. But today, 25 years ago, I'm remembering The Challenger. It's hard to believe it's already been 25 years.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Teach & Disciple Our Children

By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

While it is true that we must protect and shelter our children from the evil in this world, as parents and care givers it is our responsibility to teach them about the possible evils and equip them with the knowledge to overcome it. We cannot do this if we, ourselves, are caught in vicious cycles of repeated bad decisions, behavior or lack understanding.

Most parents want the best for their children and for them to have a better life than they did. This is why children's ministries are often so successful. If you send out a van to a neighborhood, many parents will allow their children to attend your church even if they, themselves, do not come.

Why? I believe it is for two reasons: 1) Parents want their children to have and be better. 2) Parents often feel unqualified in their own spiritual knowledge to teach and equip their children. Therefore, they would rather leave it up to the pastors and Sunday school teachers to give their children this spiritual knowledge and training.

i will admit that whatever spiritual seeds we can plant in our children is better than nothing and God will water and grow spiritual fruits in our lives, but without proper parental guidance those lessons on life are often learned the hard way, which is much slower and painful. Children can learn from outside influence, but they learn best from parents--not by what we say, but by what they see us do. You can give speeches, lectures, read with them, put them in all kinds of programs, but the greatest witness of all is how you live your life.

Think about it this way, your children can only get Sunday school for one hour a week, may be two if you also attend Wednesday night service. Now add up all their hours of school, TV, sports, other extra curricular activities and play time, including Internet and video game activities. How much more of the world is being downloaded in your child? How much is being downloaded in YOU?

It isn't realistic to be a hermit and shelter yourself and your kids from everything, but neither is it realistic to think just a couple of hours a week of God's word is going to be enough to equip them to overcome this world and to be strong against some of the pain it will bring. We must bring balance to to their lives--and ours--because they are watching us.

How do you bring balance in your household or is it a constant struggle? do you have any advice or ideas to help other parents?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Don't Miss the Warning Signs

By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

In reviewing the Old Testament story of Samson and Delilah, it's hard for me not to sit back and wonder, was he crazy? Three times she asked him to reveal how he would lose his God-given strength and three times he tested her by giving her a false answer. Each time she failed by betraying him to her people, the Philistines. The Bible says Samson fell in love with Delilah. He was blinded by his feelings for her. Why did he break down and give her the truth? Why not break up with her and move on?

I could ask this very same question of so many people today. The signs are there while they are dating long before they leap into that serious commitment of Holy Matrimony. Everyone around them can see the signs, but them. God has done all He can, but you can't make a person blinded by love, infatuation, or emotion see until it's too late. God gave them free will and He won't take back that gift.

The only answer of advice I can offer is to date someone for a couple of years, long enough for the newness of the relationship to wear off. Give both of yourselves enough time to go through some trials together. This will help you determine a lot about a person's character. Are they who you thought they were? The other thing is to make sure the person stays in his or her place. Do not place them on a pedestal, especially above God. Keep Him first and test your relationship against the basic principles in the Bible. Does this person enhance your relationship with God or subtly wedge a gap in your relationship with God?

These can be some difficult questions to ponder, especially if you start to realize some things that you don't want to see. It can be painful and uncomfortable. Keep in mind that some of these issues can be worked on and overcome, but not if you refuse to admit that they exist. Don't miss the signs that God is trying to show you.

Feel free to share some advice if you would like. As brothers and sisters in Christ, we can help others avoid some of the painful situations we've been through or offer an understanding heart and ear.

Monday, January 24, 2011

E-Pub or Print, Self-Pub or Traditional--It Still Boils Down to Platform


By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

Lots of speculation is going around regarding how digital publication will affect the publishing industry as a whole. Some authors who have been waiting years to be noticed by a literary agent or an acquiring editor now have some hope that the waiting could be over. With digital publishing, they can have their novels uploaded for sale on e-reading devices such as Amazon's Kindle, Barnes & Noble's Nook, and other sites for a minimal cost. The pros and cons of self-publishing are still being weighed by industry professionals and defended by those seeking other alternatives.

Digital publishing has now been out long enough for a few test runs to have some results. In fact, three authors can now boast over a million e-book sales on Amazon. Other well-known authors are making their out of print books  available on e-readers and are now making money from books they had thought would never make another dime.

One such example would be Author Lee Goldberg's guest post on Joe Konrath's blog . A year ago he put his entire backlist of nine books on the Amazon Kindle. A year later, sales increased to as many as 3,100 books per month. With Amazon's increase in the royalty rate from 35% to 70% for books $2.99 and up, he has the potential of earning as much as $6,600. 

Goldberg admits that he is in a different position than new, unpublished, unknown authors. He has been published for years and has several books out in print. Goldberg has established a platform of readers that a new author wouldn't necessarily have yet. 

It always boils down to--platform. So many unpublished authors with excellent talent are rejected by publishers because they lack a platform of potential readers, which transforms into sales. 

What are your thoughts regarding self-publication versus traditional or e-pub versus print? Does platform make a difference either way?

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Genesis Code: Science v. Faith Synopsis

NC Churches Formed from Argyll Colony

By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

During my research for a novella I'm writing about Scots emigrating to North Carolina, I came across several Presbyterian churches that sprang up as a result of the Argyll Colonists who migrated through the Cape Fear region. Most are still in existence to this day. 

To understand why so many Scots migrated to North Carolina, you first need to know about North Carolina's Governor, Gabriel Johnson. He was a lowland Scot and a graduate of St. Andrews University. He served as governor of NC between 1734-1752. There is no portrait of him, but the University of NC Library has many of his books that contain his family Coat of Arms, and most are commentaries on the Holy scriptures. This would indicate that he was a deeply religious man.

More about Argyll Colony 
Scots emigrants traveled up the Cape Fear River nearly 90 miles upstream from the port of entry to what would become known as the Argyll Colony. The area was then known as Bladen County, but in 1754 it was restructured as Cumberland County, as what is now Fayetteville. At the time, two adjacent towns existed called Campbelltown and Cross Creek. 

These Scots set up blacksmith forges, built tanneries and grist mills on the streams and a number of saw mills for timbre. Due to the abundance of Long Leaf Pine, NC became known by its production of naval stores, turpentine, resin, tar, and charcoal. This is why we became known as the 'Ole Tarheel State. The colony grew along wide Cape Fear river and the lumber mills and loggers placed log rafts into the river and floated them to the market in Wilmington. An average raft would sell for upwards of $500 in town.

The area is very sandy, white sand, pine trees. For this reason it is called the Sandhills. While some tobacco was produced in the area, it wasn't an important feature. Instead they farmed corn, rye, peas, sweet potatoes, flax and cotton. They raised horses, cattle and sheep.

Presbyterian Churches
The Argyll Colony petitioned the Presbytery of Inverary and Synod of Argyll for a Presbyterian minister to come to NC. A petition was presented in 1739, 1741, and 1748, all without success. However, eventually the Rev. Hug McAden came down from Philadelphia and preached among the Sandhill Scots in 1756. Among other places, he preached at the homes of John Smith, David Smith, and Alexander McKay. Then in 1758, the Rev James Campbell came down to the Scottish territory of Carolina as minister.

Barbeque Church (as it was spelled then) was founded by NC Highlanders in 1758, who erected a one room log structure, 27 sq ft, in 1765. It became Barbeque Presbyterian Church and the famous Flora MacDonald worshiped here during 1774 while staying with her half-sister, who lived nearby Mount Pleasant, now Cameron Hill.

Longstreet Church was founded by Highland emigrants in 1758. (Now on Fort Bragg)
Old Bluff Presbyterian Church was founded in 1758, and first met in a log building.
Union Presbyterian Church was founded in 1797 in Moore County, a few miles east of Carthage. At one time this was the largest Presbyterian congregation in all of NC, full of Highlanders from Skye. 
Old Bethesada Church, site of Solemn Grove Academy, was founded at least by 1788 by Scots emigrants, near what is now Aberdeen in Moore Country. Most of these Scots were from Knapdale and Kintyre provenance.

Sources:
"Carolina Scots" by Douglas F. Kelly and Caroline Switzer Kelly.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Word of Inspiration: Why Do Betray Him?

The other day I was listening to the #Bible on my #Kindle and it occurred to me how much people have betrayed God ever since He created us. Even after God performed all the miracles He did for them in delivering them from Egypt's slavery, Israel still made Gods to worship. They made the golden calf while Moses was up on the mountain receiving the 10 Commandments.

Then after being punished in the desert for 40 years, purged and consecrated from other people's influence, they still had false Gods among them when Joshua led them into the promised land. In spite of their betrayal and disobedience, God still gave them the promise. We betray Him today when we deny Him or His ability to fix our lives His way.

Why do you suppose we do this--as a people? I worry about our nation and some of the decisions we've made in recent years.

Monday, January 17, 2011

People are Lending Books on Kindle


By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

When I first discovered that #Kindle books could be loaned to others, I was curious, especially since Highland Blessings is available as a loaner. How can books be loaned on Kindle? Wouldn't people just download from friends and family? Would they have a reason to buy books if they could get them free?  

If a book's publisher gives permission for a book to be loaned, someone who buys a book and enters a friend's name and email address can make it available to their friend. That person will get an email notification and will be able to download the book for 14 days. It can be downloaded in any Kindle format such as pc, Droid, or Kindle device. After 14 days, I suppose it disappears from that person's downloads. The book can only be loaned once to that person, thus the email and name. 

I wanted to share this piece of news with you. For more information, you can read about the details on how it works, here.

Have you loaned a Kindle book to anyone or received one? I'd love to know how the experience went. Please share.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Colonial Saw Mills & Lumber Mills


By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

By 1706 there were 70 saw mills operating in the #colonies. Large saws were used to cut wood into planks, boards, and veneers. Smaller saws were used to cut boards into smaller pieces, joints, and decorative objects.

Types of Large Saws

Single Sash - It was pulled downward by a waterwheell and upward by an elastic pole. Often, a waterwheel pulled the saw both up and down.

Parallel Saws or Gangs - Set in one frame so it can  cut several boards simultaneously.

Muley Saws - Had a lighter guiding mechanism for cutting wood.

Types of Small Saws

Ripsaws and Handsaws - Simple small blades with a handle that allowed men to cut through smaller pieces of wood by hand and mostly used for general purposes.

Cross-Cut and Pit Saws - Two-man saws that contained handles on each end for both men to operate tugging the saw back and forth through the wood. Logs were cut to length with these saws.

Backsaws - Contains a thin metal blade that is designed to make very fine cuts. A thick iron or brass strip fit on the back of the saw to make it more sturdy since the blade was so thin.

Compass Saws - Contained narrow, pointed blades to saw holes in the middle of wood.

Framed Saws - Blades were mounted inside wood. 

Felloe Saws - Were used by Wheelwrights and furniture makers to create curves in the wheels and the arms and legs of chairs and wood furniture.

Note: Several images of these saws are located at the Colonial Williamsburg link at the bottom of this page.

Before the Industrial Revolution, Oliver Evans developed a wood-burning, high-pressure steam engine that began to appear in saw mills by 1810. These engines allowed lumber to be manufactured without water power.

Since most saw mills operated by water wheel power, most were located on rivers or lakes. While some logs were shipped on long wagons by the load, many were simply thrown in the river and floated down stream to their destination. A logger's worst nightmare would be a log jam in the river. Many died trying to unjam the logs.

Sources:

Monday, January 10, 2011

When Was the Marriage Consummated?

By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

#christianfiction, #christianromance

This is the question I am most often asked regarding my debut novel, Highland Blessings.

I began writing Highland Blessings in 1998 as a mainstream novel called Promised Betrayal. While I was a Christian, there was nothing Christian about this book. It contained a few sex scenes, including a consummation scene after Akira's brother treats her with contempt throwing the food she offered him to the ground. Bryce hears her crying in their tent and goes into comfort her and their marriage is consummated. Like most non-Christian novels, their attraction was the main key holding them together. 

Many trials and tribulations came and I quit writing for 3 years. I had been taught that in times of trouble I should seek God with all my heart. The Bible became alive to me. I began reading it and studying it on my own. It wasn't until 2006, that I stood in a Borders Book store browsing the Religion section and found Kathleen Morgan's Embrace the Dawn, my first introduction to Christian fiction.

I prayed for help, rewrote it as a Christian fiction novel layering in the faith element, and retitled it as Promised Blessings. In this version, all sex scenes were removed and on their way back to the MacKenzie holdings, Akira becomes angry that her father doesn't rescue her. She goes to Bryce offering herself as his wife in every way. This was my subtle way of hinting at a consummation without the consummation scene.

A different publisher from my current publisher still felt like it had too much sensuality. This is when all reference to the consummation was edited out. This editor still rejected the manuscript. Then Abingdon Press decided they wanted to publish it. I had been over it so many times, I forgot about the other editor taking out the references to the consummation. Now that I'm familiar with Abingdon Press and their guidelines, they would have been fine keeping it in. Some Christian publishers are more strict than others. 

Suffice it to say, that they consummated the marriage after Akira is healed from her poisoned illness and they both declare their love for one another.

I hope you will enjoy Gavin's story in the sequel to be released Oct 2011 as Highland Sanctuary

Friday, January 07, 2011

New Novellas in Historical Christian Fiction

#christianfiction I wanted to announce some great news! Barbour Publishing will be releasing several new novellas next year in both categories of contemporary and historical. I have been offered contracts on two of them. These are short story collections of four stories in one novella. This means I get a chance to work with three other authors on each. (These are tentative titles and release dates and are subject to change if necessary.)

Highland Crossings Novella, Jan 2012
1) Healer of My Heart (1740) by Pamela Griffin
2) Printed on My Heart (1758) by Laurie Alice Eakes
3) Sugarplum Hearts (1789) by Gina Welborn
4) Heart's Inheritance (1815) by Jennifer Hudson Taylor

The four stories in  Highland Crossings is centered around the lives of the McKay and McPherson cousins and their descendants. A priceless brooch is given to an ancestress for a good deed she once performed for the imprisoned Mary Queen of Scots and serves as the motivation that tears the family apart. It plays a role in bringing the sisters together after twenty years of separation, gives a daughter a start on her dreams, and a granddaughter a new plan for the future. Each finds her way in the New World, the new nation, and a new century, finding God’s purpose for their lives and the loves of their hearts.

Quakers of New Garden Novella, Feb 2012
1) New Garden's Hope (1808) by Jennifer Hudson Taylor
2) New Garden's Crossroads (1840) by Ann Shrock
3) New Garden's Inspiration (1861) by Claire Sanders
4) New Garden's Conversion (Contemporary) by Susette Williams

Quakers of New Garden is a collection of four stories centering around the generations of the Wall family starting in 1808 in Greensborough, NC with their assistance in birthing a new city and tracing their migration to the non-slave state of Indiana. There, they face new struggles in their involvement with the underground railroad leading up to the Civil War, and cling to the plain ways of tradition and faith for 200 years until present day when a new generation is tempted to abandon plainness and step out in faith to a new life and a new love.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Book Review - "Surrender the Heart" by MaryLu Tyndall

By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

This is one of those books that is so good, I had to stop and wonder, will I ever be able to write like that? The characters are so real, their thoughts, pains, fears, situations, everything about them. 

The story is intriguing, entertaining and adventurous. The characters are kept in impossible circumstances that leave you wondering how they will survive. The faith aspect was layered in perfectly, not too much, but just enough that it had me to thinking about my own faith walk. I loved the little boy, Daniel, and his prophetic role. 

I can't imagine anyone wanting to put this book down and when it's over, you keep thinking about it, sorry it's over, tempted to reread it again. At least, that was my experience while reading, Surrender the Heart.

Back Cover Copy
A mistrustful young lady desperate to save her family...


A guilt-driven man desperate to please his...


Both caught on the brink of a war that could change the course of history forever.


On the brink of the War of 1812, Marianne Denton must marry to unlock her inheritance. Without the money, her mother can't receive medical care and her sister will be destitute. But Noah Brenin needs to sail his cargo to England before the war commences in order to prove his worth to his father and make enough  money so he won't have to marry at all.


When Noah walks out on their engagement party, Marianne chases him down and ends up on his merchantman out to sea. The situation worsens when Noah's ship encounters a British man-of-war and the couple is impressed into the British navy.


While a young lad's prophesy of destiny looms over them both, Marianne and Noah are forced to face their darkest fears as they desperately try to escape and fulfill their destinies--destinies that could change the course of the war and history forever.


Purchase the book on Amazon.


Learn more about the author, MaryLu Tyndall

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Word of Inspiration: God Even Blesses the Unfavored

By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

For those who feel like they have God's favor upon their lives, it isn't hard for them to believe He will protect them and their possessions, but what about those who feel as if God always favors others more? What about the Esau(s) and Ishmael(s) of the world? Do you feel like you live in the shadow of the blessed?

Consider this...

The Old Testament is very clear that the Israelites are His chosen people, but still He refused to give them the land of Seir, Moab or Ammon. Why? Because they were the descendants of Esau and Lot. Even though Jacob was the chosen brother over Esau, God still protected Esau's descendants. (Deut. 2) Esau was still a descendant of Abraham and God promised good things to Abraham's descendants and God keeps His promises.

If you are a child of God, you have been adopted into the kingdom of heaven by faith, and therefore, have the promises of God--which will include his protection for you, your family, home, land and possessions, but it is by FAITH. It doesn't matter that you may not feel as if you're blessed as much as your other church friends, co-workers, or competing businesses. God is going to be faithful to you even when you are faithless. Esau gave up his birthright to feed his belly. He chose to lose the blessings that Jacob received, but God still blessed him and his descendants in other ways. 

Even if you have messed up, made bad decisions, and chose to give up your blessings--God hasn't forsaken you. He will bless you, by making the best of your circumstances, delivering you from evil, and giving you the grace to bear what you must bear. 

Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.” So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham. (Gal 3:7-9)

Monday, January 03, 2011

Thoughts on Entering Published Contests

By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

As a debut author, I'm now eligible to enter a few published contests for the first time. I'd like to offer a few thoughts on my experience so far and how it compares to unpublished contests. 

1) It's more expensive. Not only do you have to pay the entry fee for each book you enter, but you also have to pay the postage for mailing as many as 3-6 books per contest entry. Most likely, you also have to buy your own books to send into the contests. For those contests that accept e-books, you are only allowed to send in an e-book version IF you don't have a print version available. Personally, I feel this is unfair. If an author's book is available in both formats, it should be accepted in either format. An e-book submission would certainly be less expensive.

2) Anonymity no longer exists. In unpublished contests, the author's name isn't shown anywhere on the actual manuscript to prevent it from being a popularity contest for those writers who may be more well known in certain writing circles than others. When your book is published, everyone knows the author's name. Debut and mid-list authors are out there competing in the same venues as the big name authors who sell tons of copies and are more popular. 

3) No Constructive Feedback. Most published contests do not offer a feedback form from the judges to help the author improve his/her craft. Published authors only receive feedback from editors, reader comments and book reviewers, unless they are still in a critique group or rely on beta readers. 

4) Contest Wins are Publicized More. When a published book wins a contest, the fact is promoted with everything that goes out promoting that book. The win will be included in new editions of the book, on the author and publisher's websites, blogs, social media networks, in bios, reviews, book descriptions, and video book trailers, etc. 

These are just a few thoughts I've noticed since my debut novel was published. Do you have any others to add? Any questions I could try to answer?