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, 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

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?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

CFBA Book Tour - "Angel Harp" by Michael Phillips

#christianfiction
The
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
 
is introducing
Angel Harp
FaithWords (January 26, 2011)
 
by
Michael Phillips



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Michael Phillips has been writing in the Christian marketplace for 30 years. All told, he has written, co-written, and edited some 110 books. Phillips and his wife live in the U.S. and make their second home in Scotland.








ABOUT THE BOOK:

Widowed at 34, amateur harpist Marie "Angel" Buchan realizes at 40 that her life and dreams are slowly slipping away. A summer in Scotland turns out to offer far more than she ever imagined! Not only does the music of her harp capture the fancy of the small coastal village she visits, she is unexpectedly drawn into a love triangle involving the local curate and the local duke.

The boyhood friends have been estranged as adults because of their mutual love of another woman (now dead) some years before. History seems destined to repeat itself, with Marie in the thick of it. Her involvement in the lives of the two men, as well as in the community, leads to a range of exciting relationships and lands Marie in the center of the mystery of a long-unsolved local murder. Eventually she must make her decision: with whom will she cast the lot of her future?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Angel Harp, go HERE.


By it on Amazaon, here.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Don't Miss the Warning Signs

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

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

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

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.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wild Card Book Tour - "Wounded Spirits" by April Gardner

#christianfiction, 1st ch & book trailer

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books.  A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured.  The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between!  Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:

Vinspire Publishing (November 1, 2010)
***Special thanks to April Gardner for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


April W Gardner is a military wife who has practiced the art of homemaking all over the world. She spends her mornings homeschooling her two darling children, and her afternoons inside the minds of her characters. In no particular order, she dreams of owning a horse, traveling the nation in an RV, and learning Italian. April is involved in the music ministry of her church and volunteers in their library. She currently lives in the heart of ancient Creek Country—Middle Georgia.

This is her first novel.

Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DISCRIPTION:

On the frontier, Adela McGirth’s life is simple, rugged, and exactly to her liking. Her greatest concern is whether to marry the settlement’s most eligible young officer. When a distant war among the Natives spills over into a nearby skirmish, life takes a perilous turn. Deep in enemy territory Adela must choose between the man she loves and a baby that has yet to be born; will she be strong enough to wait on God's provision?

A peace-loving yet loyal Creek warrior, Totka is forced to align with the extremist Red Stick faction whose purpose is to eradicate the Whites from Creek soil. In the midst of battle, Totka is assigned to protect those he is expected to hate--and kill. Life was simpler before his enemy became a beautiful face with a quiet strength and dignity he cannot resist.

Having lived a life plagued with death and loss, Zachariah McGirth is a man on a mission - he'll have his revenge or die trying. Blinded by grief, he can't see his way clear of yet another tragedy. Why has God taken everything from him...or has He?

Their lives molded by the course of history, can these Wounded Spirits learn to rely on God's grace during one of the bloodiest conflicts in the South?



Product Details:

List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 258 pages
Publisher: Vinspire Publishing (November 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0981989616
ISBN-13: 978-0981989617

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:

McGirth Plantation, Tensaw Settlement

   June 1813

   Adela shifted her body to allow blood flow to her legs. The mossy ground had long grown hard against her tailbone, and the rough tree trunk dug into her back.

   A refreshing breeze blew through the pines lining the northwestern border of her father’s land. It rustled the needles and created a comforting, familiar whistle.

   A small meadow lay vacant before her. On the opposite side, the evening sun cast the last rays through the treetops. Squinting, she thought, for an instant, she saw the form of a man. No, it was just a bush moving with the current of the wind.

   Surely, she had been waiting nigh on two hours. Her family would be worrying. Just north, civil war raged among the Creeks and threatened to involve the vulnerable Americans in the Tensaw and Bigby settlements. Her parents’ constant fear of danger was well placed.

   Soon Mama would call Adela’s father in from the barn and send one of the servants looking for her. Worry was never good for Mama

   Her attacks were rare these days, but she never knew what might set her to wheezing, then coughing.

   Adela’s stomach twittered and flipped. She stood then rubbed her lower back. “Please, hurry, Phillip. Please,” she murmured, not sure she could stay much longer.

   Unheeding, the sun’s beams continued down the length of the trees then dissolved, leaving only their orange and purple reflection in the sky.

   Not wanting to create undue stress on her parents, she gave up waiting and set out toward home. She lifted her skirt to avoid the prickly blackberry bushes, and berated herself for not having thought to bring a lantern. How foolish of me!

   “Adela…Adela…” Her name rode on the breeze.

   Her heart seized, and then leapt as she recognized the voice. Haste sped her back through the underbrush.

   “Phillip! I waited so long.” She panted.. He enveloped her in his work-hardened arms. Phillip was becoming more intimate with her. She wondered if it was too soon.

   “I knew you’d wait.” Resting his hands on her shoulders, he stepped back where she could see him. “I couldn’t get away any sooner. Dixon had a list as long as my arm of things for me to do before I leave tomorrow. He hovered like a hawk to see I got them done.”

   She pulled his hands from her shoulders and held them between her own instead. “You’re here now, and that’s all that matters.”

   “How will I ever last three months without you?”

   “What kind of nonsense is that? You’ll do just fine. The adventure of your life is just around the corner. I hardly think you’ll be pining for boring old Tensaw. You just see Savannah treats you well while you’re busy getting your commission, Second Lieutenant Phillip Bailey.”

   A stray lock of dark blond hair fell over his eye, and feeling bold, Adela brushed it away. He caught her hand and pulled it to his lips, his coffee brown eyes sparkling in the waning daylight. The warmth of his lips on her fingertips sent tingles of excitement rushing through her, but not without a warning.

   I shouldn’t be encouraging him this way. Not while I’m still so unsure... She dropped her eyes, but he mistook her guilt for something else.

   “That’s what I love about you, Adela. You’re all innocence and piety.”

   He cradled the back of her neck with his hand, and her insides fluttered in a dangerous way. She knew she should move away, but she felt drawn to him, like a mouse to a trap.

   Adela cleared her throat, “You speak of love when we’ve only been courting a month. And, I might add, quite unofficially.” His deep affection seemed premature.

   “Maybe, but I’ve known I’d marry you from the day we met.”

   She’d known him since she was just a girl. A grown woman now,ow had she not noticed he cared? She opened her mouth to ask, but he placed a finger on her lips.

   “Are you sure you won’t come with me? It’s not too late. We can marry tomorrow, first thing and—”

   “Marry? Tomorrow?You know I can’t. You haven’t spoken to my father about courting me, much less marriage. And there’s Ellie…did you forget? You know how she adores you.”

   Phillip gave her a placating smile. “She might hurt for a while, but she’ll see reason. She’s not foolish, simply a bit of a romantic…albeit misplaced.”

   Adela chuckled. “Elizabeth, romantic? Determined, more likely. She decided years ago to love you, and it would take a direct message from God to persuade her otherwise.” She propped her hands on her hips, barely noticing the first chirps of the crickets. “Did you know she just rejected an offer of marriage from Mr. Pierce?”

   “The schoolteacher and Ellie? Married?”

   “Well, he would have liked as much.”

   Phillip tipped his square chin and laughed outright.

   The sound brought a smile to Adela’s face, but she chided him nonetheless. “Come now, it was a perfectly decent offer.”

   Phillip wiped his eyes. “But the man is twice her age, and desperate to be married. Have you seen his cabin? Chaos!”

   Adela dismissed his objections with a wave of her hand. “All that aside, I am not prepared to be at odds with my sister. So, she must not find out about us…for the time being, anyway. We’ll address the issue when you return.”

   “She has to find out eventually. Why not now?”Phillip crossed his arms and gave her the back of her shoulder. He’d never been one for patience and at the moment, he reminded Adela of a spoiled child denied a piece of pie.  She chuckled.

   “What are you laughing about?”

   “Just now, you reminded me of Mrs. Haverty’s youngest.”

   His eyes darkened as he took a step closer. His stiff form towered above her. “You’re comparing me to that little monster?”

   Adela sobered at the intensity of his gaze. “It was a silly thought. Please forgive me.”

   He studied her in silence.

   Warning bells clanged in her mind. Just as another apology formed on her tongue, he let out a puff of air and relaxed his stance. “I just want to take care of you, Adela. I want to build a home for you and provide for you, give you beautiful things and walk with you through town on my arm. Let me talk to your father tonight.”

   He could be quite persuasive.Still, she refused to allow him to push her into something for which she wasn’t fully prepared.

   She gave a tentative shake of the head. True to form, her hesitance produced a huff of frustration. “If not now, then when? When will that dear sister of yours ever take the news well?”

   “Why would I tell her something I’m uncertain of myself?”

   He scowled then spoke as if she hadn’t mentioned her ambiguity. “You need to know the moment my feet touch Tensaw soil in August I plan on asking your father for permission to court you properly.” He grasped her chin in his hand and pressed a hard kiss to her lips. “So, you’d best prepare her.”

   She took a step back and smoothed out her skirt.,. “Aren’t you the bold one tonight, Mr. Bailey.”

   He merely grinned and removed the bear claw pendant that always hung around his neck. “Wear this to remember me by,” he said, holding it out.

   “Phillip, it was your grandfathers! I can’t. It’s too important to you.”

   “Of course you can. You’re to be my wife. It means what’s mine is yours. I love you, Adela McGirth, and there’s no one else I’d give it to.” His voice rang with longing as he ran his eyes over the length of her, pausing in all the wrong places.

   She resisted the urge to cross her arms over her chest. At least the dark of the night covered the blush on her cheeks. Never had a man appreciated her body the way Phillip did, and never had one assumed so much. “You’re being a bit presumptuous. Aren’t you?”

   “Not at all. I’m a man who knows what he wants and doesn’t stop until he gets it.” Playfulness tinged in his tone, but Adela heard the truth behind his words. “Take the pendant. If it helps, see it as a gift from a friend. Not as a token of betrothal.”

   Seen in such a way, what could it hurt?

   She slipped it about her neck then gasped as he pulled her into a fierce kiss. His moist lips moved confidently against hers. Warm hands stroked her back and almost melted her resolve to remain chaste.

   “I love you,” he murmured against her mouth.

   She knew he wanted a similar reply, but she couldn’t give it. The words caught in her throat, as if uncertainty itself held them from escaping.

   She split apart from his searching mouth and sought retreat. “Please, be careful in Savannah,” she managed. “I have to go.”  She dropped her arms and ran for home, the claw thumping against her chest.

* * *

   Adela climbed the ladder to the loft careful not to wake her sisters. She hung her dress on a peg and slipped into her nightgown. Phillip’s bear claw thudded against her. She clutched it through her gown as panic seized her. Had she hid it from Mama? So intent on getting home, she hadn’t thought of it until now.

   Her shoulders dropped when she realized Mama would have questioned her about it if she’d seen.

   The wooden timbers of the bed squeaked as Adela climbed in next to Lillian. They had always shared a bed. Even when given the option of each having their own in their more spacious, newly built house, they had both refused, preferring the warmth and closeness the other afforded.

   Although the two were completely opposite one another in every way, they held a special bond. Maybe it was Adela’s quiet dependence on God which supported the more flighty Lillian, or maybe it was Lillian’s carefree spirit which drew Adela to her sister’s side. Perhaps, it was the need for an ally against Ellie’s domineering onslaughts.

   Regardless, with just a year separating them, she and Lillian understood each other, thrived on their friendship.

   Lillian turned over to face her. “Where have you been?” she whispered, her anger barely concealed. “I’ve been worried sick. We all have.”

   “Shh! You’ll wake Ellie.” Adela glanced at Elizabeth but their older sister’s breath remained deep and even.

   “Well?” Lillian hissed.

   “In the woods.”

   “In the woods? That’s all you’re going to say? I hope Mama believed you more than I do.”

   The fearful look on Mama’s face and the way she’d clung to Adela when she’d walked through the door flashed across her mind. She tasted guilt and couldn’t swallow. “Me too. But I didn’t lie, if that’s what you’re getting at.”

   Lillian practically snorted. “That would be something I would do. No, silence would be more your style.” She thumped Adela on the shoulder. “Am I not getting any more details, like where you got that—that—whatever it is hanging around your neck?”

   Adela grasped the pendant. “You saw it?”

   “Of course. When you got undressed, and if you don’t want anyone else to find out about it, you should be more careful. So, out with it. What have you got there?”

   “It’s nothing. I shouldn’t have accepted it.”

   “Nothing? I saw the way you were holding it,” she rasped.

   “Shh! That’s not what I—” Would Lillian understand? “Oh, never mind.”

   “Well, give me all the details. Who is he?”

   “How did you know it was from a man?”

   “Adela, Adela, ever so naive and oblivious. You and I don’t think the same at all. So, tell me already.”

   “If I tell you, you have to promise to keep it to yourself! At least for a while. Promise?”

   “Fine, I promise…just tell me.”

   Adela took a deep breath, and said his name on less than a whisper.

   “What? No! It’s—it’s not as if he has no reason to love you, but you? Lover of all things peaceable and non-confrontational, I never imagined you to be so audacious as to set your bonnet for Ellie’s man!”

   “Shh! See why it’s a secret? No one would understand. Besides, he’s not Ellie’s man. And I’m not even sure I feel anything for him.”

   “You’ve got to be half mad. You do realize Elizabeth will practically disown you?”

   Adela lost the battle against her tears..

   “Come on. Don’t cry. I exaggerated. It won’t be so bad. She’ll forgive you…eventually. She’s never really had a claim to him and will see it in time. But you have to tell her. You can’t keep it from her forever, and if she finds out from someone else, it’ll be worse.”

   “Lilly, I’ve tried a dozen times to tell her, but I just can’t.”

   Adela moaned and Lillian put a comforting hand on her shoulder.

   “It’ll humiliate her, if it doesn’t kill her first,” Adela said. “I should have put an end to it before he left, especially since I’m not sure I even love him. But he’s so…”

   “Handsome? Daring? Everything a woman could want in a man?”

   Adela sighed and fiddled with the claw strung about her neck. “Yes, he’s all that, but there’s something missing…or maybe it’s what he has too much of. A bit too brash, maybe? Too self-confident? He angers easily, and I don’t see much of the Lord in his life.”

   “Is that what’s bothering you? Do yourself a favor and stop focusing on his faults. We all have them.” She propped herself up on an elbow then paused. After a moment of silence, soft snoring from the other side of the room confirmed Ellie still slept.

   Moonlight from the small window washed Lillian’s face in its glow. Their Mama’s full Spanish blood showed itself most in Lillian. Even in the dim light, she was beautiful. “It’s simple,” she said. “You tell Ellie. She’s hurt. When Phillip proposes, you accept, and in time, Ellie recovers.”

   Lillian tugged the pendant from Adela’s grasp. “This was his grandfather’s. I take it Phillip loves you.”

   “He claims he does.”

   “And you saw him tonight to tell him goodbye?”

   Adela bobbed her head.

   “Your secret is safe with me, but my advice is sooner is always better than later.”

   “I know. I know. I’m such a coward.”

   “Hardly.” Lillian patted her hand.

   It felt awkward to be the one consoled. The tables were usually turned.

   .

   “I didn’t plan for it to happen and now…I’m risking Ellie disowning me for a man.”

   “That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard yet. Ellie isn’t that scary. Now why don’t you get some sleep, and we’ll talk about how to handle it tomorrow. I assume there will be a wedding when he returns. You can’t prepare for a home of your own and still keep it a secret. We’ll think of something.”

   “Thanks, Lilly. Love you,” she said with a peck to her sister’s cheek.

   Lillian flipped over,. Much later, her mind exhausted, she relaxed and followed her sister in sleep.

* * *

   Kossati Village, Upper Creek Nation

   The cabin door creaked as it opened. Nokos stepped inside careful not to wake the children. He left the door ajar allowing the moonlight to guide his steps. Its soft glow illuminated his little ones piled like counting sticks on the bearskin mat. Four sets of arms and legs were sprawled in every direction.

   He brushed a kiss onto each warm forehead. The youngest stirred, flipped to his back, and wiped drool from his cheek.

   He had missed them, but the reason for his early return lay in the bed on the far side of the room.

   Having removed his weapons, he stretched his aching muscles and crept into bed next to his wife.

   Just before leaving on his hunting trip one week earlier, he had revealed to Singing Grass his intentions to join the warring party. She wasn’t pleased.

   Civil War had raged in the Creek Nation since the 1811 Grand Council. For over a year, he had publically remained neutral, along with Red Eagle.

   Now, he found himself forced to choose sides. With the purpose of protecting their nation and keeping its traditions pure, the Red Sticks were executing those displaying American sympathies.

   If the Long Knives were not stopped, the Muscogee would eventually be lead to starvation or worse…slavery. According to the Red Sticks, every American sympathizer must die.

   Most in Kossati knew Nokos was partial to the Americans. Yes, their droves of cattle encroached on Creek land, and no, the farmers did not ask permission to run their iron plows through Creek soil. All that aside, he had found it difficult to justify fighting them.

   They were powerful and well studied in war. Singing Grass was right…the Red Sticks would eventually be slaughtered.

   But unless he pledged his allegiance to the Red Stick cause and soon, he would find himself taken unawares by a band of warriors.

   Nokos let out his breath in a gust and sank onto the bearskin pallet.

   Singing Grass stretched an arm across his chest, and propped her small pointed chin on his shoulder. “You are home early.” With familiar affection, she traced the lines and circles tattooed on his neck and awakened a hunger within him.

   He sought her lips and kissed her deeply. “I did not mean to wake you. How are you feeling?”

   “Hungry—all the time.” She hammered his chest with her forefinger. “You left the hunt early to ask me if I am well?”

   “It’s no matter. There was no game to hunt.” He tried to keep the frustration from his voice. No need to worry her.

   “Nothing? You caught nothing?”

   “Three rabbits and a squirrel, as if I were just a boy. No one else had done any better when I left. I doubt one more day would have mattered much.” He pulled her closer. “I would rather be home with you than listening to their talk of war, death, and starv—” He cut his words short.

   “You do not have to hide things from me. I’m pregnant--not blind and deaf. I know what is happening.”

   “We’ll be fine.”

   “You’re joining the Red Sticks. I hardly think it is fine. They will kill themselves in vain. Must you?”

   “Yes, I must.” Should he reveal to her Gray Hawk’s warning to be quick in choosing sides? That his name had been whispered among those whose loyalty was in question?

   “The prophets are insane! Surely you have not succumbed to their antics?”

   “Of course not. I’m no fool.”

   The sighting of a star with a fiery tail traveling across the sky a month after Tecumseh’s departure had frenzied the Creeks. It was the “sign”, they said. It was the “arm of fire” Tecumseh had claimed would prove his prophecies were from the Great Spirit. A strongly superstitious people, the sighting had driven the Creeks into the Red Stick faction by the thousands.

   True to his word, Tecumseh had left several prophets to train the Creeks to lead their people in the war dances. In most every village, the rhythms and tunes became familiar. With devotion, men and women believed the tales told by new prophets.

   “Look what madness has overcome our people,” Singing Grass said. “They are being led to the slaughter! We shame ourselves, and our children will pay. Pushmatahaw is a wise chief. He was right to force Tecumseh from his nation. Because he did, the Choctaw were spared this insanity. If only our chiefs had done the same…”

   “Lower your voice,” Nokos cautioned. “Do you want the children to repeat what you say? We’re already at risk. Careless words could be our destruction.”

   She sat up, and her single braid slipped from her shoulder and landed on his chest with a soft thud. “What do you mean we are already at risk?”

   “My past will not be forgiven. I must clearly oppose the Americans.”

   “And what of your past? Will you pretend it does not exist? Will you spit in the faces of those who love you?”

   “Red Eagle has joined the war party,” Nokos said, preferring to ignore her difficult questions.

   “You should go to Big Warrior, join his White ranks in Tuckabatchee. I hear all who desire peace with the Americans are flocking to his protection.”

   “I agree with Big Warrior, but sooner or later, Tuckabatchee will be under siege and his White warriors will be forced to surrender to the Red Sticks. I either submit now or later.” Nokos shook his head. “No. No, I will do as I vowed and follow Red Eagle. He is a clever warrior, and will lead us well.”

   The moment Nokos heard the half-Scottish, half-Creek chief had joined the Red Sticks, he knew what he must do. “If Red Eagle, as influential and powerful as he is, has been forced at the threat of his family’s life to join the Red Sticks, how will I avoid it?”

   With his gaze, he caressed the mother of his children. She was so vulnerable. And the little ones. Who would protect them when he went away? If he died? At least now, he would not have to fear his own people turning against them. Most found it much easier to wish their enemy’s demise…not so with Nokos.

   She brought his attention back to her by running her warm hand down his cheek. “Wipe the worry from your face, husband,” she said, resolve in her voice. She sniffed once then swallowed. “All will be well. Do what you must.” She dropped next to him and clung to his chest, her hair tickling the underside of his chin.

   He hadn’t realized how much her approval meant to him until he obtained it. Resting a hand on the slight bulge of her belly, he prayed to whatever god would listen that this dear woman be spared the sufferings and hardships which were the sisters of war.

Monday, January 17, 2011

People are Lending Books on Kindle

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 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:

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

CFBA Book Tour - "Courting Miss Amsel" by Kim Vogel Sawyer



The
#ChristianFiction Blog Alliance
 
is introducing
Courting Miss Amsel
 
Bethany House (January 1, 2011)
by
Kim Vogel Sawyer




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Kim Vogel Sawyer is the author of fifteen novels, including several CBA and ECPA bestsellers. Her books have won the ACFW Book of the Year Award, the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, and the Inspirational Readers Choice Award. Kim is active in her church, where she leads women's fellowship and participates in both voice and bell choirs. In her spare time, she enjoys drama, quilting, and calligraphy. Kim and her husband, Don, reside in central Kansas, and have three daughters and six grandchildren.




ABOUT THE BOOK:


Edythe Amsel is delighted with her first teaching assignment: a one-room schoolhouse in Walnut Hill, Nebraska. Independent, headstrong, and a strong believer in a well-rounded education, Edythe is ready to open the world to the students in this tiny community. But is Walnut Hill ready for her?

Joel Townsend is thrilled to learn the town council hired a female teacher to replace the ruthless man who terrorized his nephews for the past two years. Having raised the boys on his own since their parents' untimely deaths, Joel believes they will benefit from a woman's influence. But he sure didn't bargain on a woman like Miss Amsel.

Within the first week, she has the entire town up in arms over her outlandish teaching methods, which include collecting leaves, catching bugs, making snow angels, and stringing ropes in strange patterns all over the schoolyard. Joel can't help but notice that she's also mighty pretty with her rosy lips, fashionable clothes, and fancy way of speaking.

When Edythe decides to take her pupils to hear Miss Susan Anthony speak on the women's suffrage amendment, the town's outcry reaches new heights. Even Joel isn't sure he can support her newfangled ideas any longer. And if he can't trust her to know how to teach the boys, how can he trust her with his heart?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Courting Miss Amsel, go HERE.

Buy the book on Amazon

Monday, January 10, 2011

When Was the Marriage Consummated?

#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.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

The Historical Christian Authors Daily

#christianfiction For those who are not on Twitter and don't want to be on Twitter, I've compiled an online newspaper that you can subscribe to that lets you in on all the details being tweeted about when it comes to historical Christian authors on Twitter. I'd love to know what you think about it. The Historical Christian Authors Daily is auto-updated every 24 hours. If you know some historical Christian authors on Twitter that you would like added to this list, please send me a link to their Twitter page.

Check it out and subscribe here!

PS - Some authors may be on my list, but are not often included because they don't tweet very often or they don't include story links to their blogs and videos. It doesn't include personal status updates. 

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Book Review - "Surrender the Heart" by MaryLu Tyndall

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

God Even Blesses the Unfavored

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

As a debut author in 2010, 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?