This is an old blog that I started in 2006. I keep it because it has a lot of historical data and people still come here. As of September 2016, no new updates will be made here. All new blog posts and writing/publishing related news will be posted over on my new site at

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, September 28, 2012

Endurance Is My Word Lately

By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

Today I'm going to be REAL with you all. There are days when I just want to give up--and what I mean by that is--I would love to stay in bed longer and rest and not go to work. Or take a trip somewhere and do nothing except take long walks and just enjoy the day and smell the roses. Or just write for the day.

But I have responsibilities...expectations from others...and loved ones depending on me...thus, consequences if I don't do what I'm supposed to do.

I still work a full-time job outside the home, but I continue to write as if I write full-time, and market my books and writing career as if I'm a full-time publicist. For the most part, I've learned to balance this work-life experience and juggle in time with my family and faith walk, which encompasses all that I do. 

This morning I thought about the 5,000 words I managed to write this week, and I felt so proud of myself. And then I thought of the other Facebook posts by other authors who wrote 4,000 words for the day, or the author who wrote 7,000 words for the day, and suddenly, my accomplishment didn't seem so great anymore. Then I reminded myself, they really ARE doing this full-time. It wouldn't be fair to compare myself to them. 

I could hear Joyce Meyer in my head saying, "Stop the negative thoughts!"

So I did. 

The word ENDURANCE came to mind. When I was in high school, I was a long distance runner and learned to pace myself so that I could endure the whole length of the race. Some people would set too fast of a pace and burn out before they finished. Others would set too slow of a pace and could never catch up to place in the top three winning spots. 

I'm practicing endurance with my writing by setting a pace that works for me and my lifestyle. My challenge is being consistent. If I don't give up, I WILL finish to the end. Even if I only accomplish 5,000 words for the week, it is still something. At this rate, I will complete 100,000 words in 20 weeks. I will be able to finish a full-length novel in 4 months--at least the 1st draft. 

Life's challenges still hit me this week. My mother had a TIA stroke, my daughter saw her neurologist and received a new diagnosis we're dealing with, her medications were changed that is requiring some adjustment, we had to overcome some issues with school. Life's challenges will not stop just because I have a book to write and neither will yours. 

"Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us." (Hebrews 12:1)

This verse reminds us that others are watching us as witnesses to how we live our lives and the decisions and choices we make. There will be heavy burdens that weigh us down and sin tempting us to complain and grumble or give up. As Christians, we are called to walk by faith and to endure to the end. Even when we fall, we have to get back up again.

To the best of my ability, I'm stretching my endurance to the finish line. I will endure and so will you. Have you stopped comparing yourself to others? Have you set a pace that works for you and no one else? Think about the ways you can build endurance in your life. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Word of Inspiration: Allowing God to Chip Away Worry

"But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." Matthew 6:33

Even when we don't intend for it to happen, I think it is so easy for us to get caught up in all the cares and responsibilities in this world and mired in the trap of our busy schedules that sometimes we forget to stop and REALLY appreciate the things in life that are more important. If we read the verses before and after this scripture, we realize that God is trying to help us not worry so much. He knows our needs. He knows the desires of our heart. If we keep our eyes on Him more than these needs and desires, everything will eventually fall into place as it should be. The problem with this concept is that it requires faith--something we can't yet see in tangible form. When your worries become greater than you, seek inspirational scriptures like this for hope and encouragement. This will chip away at the worry until it is contained as a small concern where it belongs until it is completely resolved. We all need hope, and God has provided it through His word if we will take the time to seek it. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Word of Inspiration: Rejoice in the Rain

“Be glad then, you children of Zion, And rejoice in the LORD your God; For He has given you the former rain faithfully, And He will cause the rain to come down for you— The former rain, And the latter rain in the first month.” Joel 2:23

This is the kind of rain that brings a bountiful harvest and springs up new growth. During the rain we may feel a bit sad that our sunshine is gone and the clouds have brought gloomy weather into our lives, but the rain and the storms are temporary. You may feel like you are drowning in your sorrows and that the storms in your life are too difficult to bear, but through it you are growing stronger and gaining wisdom. When the clouds clear, there will be sunshine again. The fresh water will not drown you, but cleanse you of old habits and negative thoughts that need to go and renew your mind with Godly insight and wisdom. The water will bring spiritual growth in you. Rejoice in the rain! Your harvest is around the corner. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Word of Inspiration: God Calls Us to Have Compassion

"Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous.” 1 Peter 3:8

I think this verse speaks for itself. God expects us to love one another as brothers and sisters--to be compassionate, tenderhearted and courteous--that means kind and patient with one another. Being snappy, rude, impatient and intolerant are not fruits of the Holy Spirit. 

My daughter has some special needs that people might not easily recognize because she doesn't always "appear" to have special needs. It saddens me when people, especially adults, are rude and impatient with her because she may not be moving fast enough. If you do one good thing today, smile and be kind to someone in front of you who may be moving slower than you--even if that person is a young and vibrant teenager--who by all appearances looks as if they "should" be moving faster than you.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Word of Inspiration: Help Is On the Way

"I will lift up my eyes to the hills— From whence comes my help? My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2 

It may feel like you are on your own and no one is helping you in the midst of your trials, but God is there with you. He's behind the scenes working on a plan that will unfold and take place as soon as the time is right. We must trust and have faith in what we cannot see. Just because your deliverance hasn't happened yet, doesn't mean it won't happen. Keep putting one foot in front of the other. Don't give up. Allow God be God in your life. 

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Blue Willow Inn Restaurant Combines Flavors of History & Today

By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

This weekend I was blessed to be part of a great teaching faculty at the East Metro Christian Writers Conference in Covington, GA, about 40 miles east of Atlanta. EMCWC was more  hospitable than one can imagine and they took us to the Blue Willow Inn Restaurant for dinner Friday evening. It's located in the historic district of Social Circle. The restaurant's tagline is "Coming Home to Southern Elegance" and they mean it--from the architecture, decoration, outside gardens, the gift shop, and most importantly--their delicious southern food. 

The restaurant itself is in a refurbished turn-of-the-century Greek Revival mansion. With the four white pillars on the outside porch, it screams southern culture and brings back images of Gone With the Wind, though it does have a real connection to the author, Margaret Mitchell. The mansion is formerly known as the Bertha Upshaw House, where Margaret Mitchell was a frequent visitor during her courtship with Redd Upshaw, her first husband, the man who was the basis for the character Rett Butler in her famous novel.

The mansion was built in 1917 by John Upshaw for his wife, Bertha. She gave the house and property in the early 1950's as a club house and community center for Social Circle. The local clubs added a swimming pool where it was the hub of social activity through the late 1960's. In 1984, the property was purchased by Homer Harvey to establish the Social Circle Church of God. 

In 1991, Louis and Billie Van Dyke purchased the main house and front two acres to establish the Blue Willow Inn Restaurant. They later purchased the entire tract in 1996. (Here's a photo of me with Mrs. Billie Van Dyke)
After her husband passed, Billie made the decision to continue operating the Blue Willow Inn Restaurant, which features an elegant Southern Buffet with a variety of meats, vegetables, and desserts. The Blue Willow Inn was voted as the "Best in the South" by Southern Living magazine, not once, not twice, nor three or four times--but five times

As a taste-testing patron, I can attest to how much I enjoyed their food. Their fried green tomatoes were wonderful! I'm allergic to beef and pork, but there were plenty of seafood and chicken for me to choose from. Their barbecue salmon melted on my tongue. Their assortment of desserts were even better. The restaurant was also listed in USA Today's Top Ten as one of the ten best in America. 

The historical atmosphere is beautiful with gorgeous gardens with a bubbling water fountain, rocking chairs on the front porch where people sit and chat, a white painted bridge over a nestling pond with a majestic weeping willow tree, and a gift shop to bring home a souvenir. To share some of their vast knowledge, Louis and Billie Van Dyke have released a recipe book entitled, Bible of Southern Cooking, containing over 600 essential recipes southerners have enjoyed for generations. I'm pleased to have my very own autographed copy thanks to EMCWC!

Visit and "like" them on Facebook!

Below is a photo of Author Edie Melson on the left, part of the EMCWC faculty, and Cindy L. Reynolds on the right, a member of EMCWC.  

Monday, September 03, 2012

Guestpost: "Elements of World Building" by Janalyn Voigt

Please welcome Author Janalyn Voigt. Her unique blend of adventure, romance, suspense, and fantasy creates worlds of beauty and danger for readers. Beginning with DawnSinger, her epic fantasy series, Tales of Faeraven carries readers into a land only imagined in dreams. She also writes western romance under Janalyn Irene Voigt. She is represented by Barbara Scott of Wordserve Literary and serves as a literary judge for several national contests and is an active book reviewer. When she's not writing, Janalyn loves to find adventures in the great outdoors.

Elements of World Building
Writing both historical fiction and epic fantasy would seem from most people’s perspectives, not to go hand-in-hand, but when viewed in a certain light, the two genres are not all that different. Each demands the creation of a world that cannot be seen, or at least not directly. Fantasy writers often use notes, charts and maps to help them envision their story’s world as they write. Historical fiction writers rely upon research notes, artifacts, and antique maps, but they still must use their imaginations to bring to life a bygone world.

I crossed the boundaries a little when I researched 13thCentury Europe as the basis for the world within my epic fantasy series, Tales of Faeraven, of which DawnSinger is book one. We read fantasy for the same reasons we consume historical fiction or any other genre: to understand the world we live in. Because of this, the best fantasy worlds evoke the real world at some point in its history.

 As both a book blogger and a literary judge, I’ve read historical fiction containing modern lingo. Some titles might as well have been set in modern times, since  they give so little attention to historical setting. These novels would have benefitted from more world building.

What are the elements of world building?
Cultural Distinctions: What are the demographics of inhabitants, broken into age, gender, and cultural groups? In the American West, there were far fewer women than men in many areas. Calling upon the cultural background of the peoples who lived in an area can lend authenticity to historical fiction. In fantasy novels, it provides cohesion. The Library of Congress site has a section on world cultural history.

Dialect:  Understanding your story's world demographics helps you find interesting dialects you may otherwise overlook. For instance, if you don’t know that a city had a strong Chinese demographic, you might not think to include an intriguing oriental character to enliven dialogue. In fantasy writing, use of dialect helps readers enter the world you’ve built. The Encyclopedia Brittanica has exhaustive descriptions of world dialects with links to descriptions of specific dialects.

Dwellings: Did people live far apart, close together in cities, or both? Some of the cities that once thrived are now ghost towns or have vanished altogether. Knowing about the living arrangements that existed in your story’s area helps establish it in the time period. Fantasy writers have more freedom in being able to invent the places where the inhabitants of their stories live, but they must still make sense geographically. History of Houses gives a historical overview of dwelling places.

Political Division of Power: Who made and enforced the rules in your story’s historical setting? What sort of political intrigue was happening at the time? The privilege of inventing these particulars is both the joy and bane of writing fantasy. Basing your story on a particular time frame helps ground your fiction and gives it the flavor of reality readers crave. Visiting A Chronology of World PoliticalHistory provides an overview of world history during a specific period. Searching for other sites with more localized timelines can also help. 

Current Events:  What was going on during your storyline? It’s best not to ignore major events your characters would know about and react to, like the end of the Civil War, the sinking of the Titanic, and the Great Depression. Be sure to check local news stories as well. Was Chicago on fire during a story you set there? Beware the urge to pump research facts into a story for no other reason than the edification of the reader, though. Historical facts must at the least provide historical context for your novel without overwhelming the reader. These sorts of facts can provide a wealth of inspiration to enhance fantasy novels based on historical time frames as well. Historical Timeline is one of many timeline sites:

Geography:  The shape, composition, and lay of the land and its features effects climate, plants, and creatures within a world. Getting a handle on these elements is essential to creating a believable world. Fantasy writers are as constrained by these realities as historical fiction writers. Take at look at Timeline of GeographicHistory.

Astronomy: Were there any peculiar occurrences (like eclipses, meteor showers, or the passing of Haley’s Comet) that a character might notice? Including such tidbits can add depth to fiction. The calendar at OnThis Date in History is helpful.

Climate: Was there an Indian summer or long winter during your story’s time frame? Some weather events (like monumental floods) became historical events. Both historical writers and fantasy writers should know how the weather of their story worlds works. You can find historical weather information at the Weather Underground.

DawnSinger (Tales of Faeraven): The High Queen is dying… At the royal summons, Shae mounts a wingabeast and soars through the air to the high hold of Faeraven, where all is not as it seems. Visions warn her of danger, and a dark soul touches hers in the night. When she encounters an attractive but disturbing musician, her wayward heart awakens. But then there is Kai, a guardian of Faeraven and of Shae. Secrets bind him to her, and her safety lies at the center of every decision he makes. On a desperate journey fraught with peril and the unknown, they battle warlike garns, waevens, ferocious raptors, and the wraiths of their own regrets. Yet, they must endure the campaign long enough to release the DawnKing—and the salvation he offers—into a divided land. To prevail, each must learn that sometimes victory comes only through surrender.
Where to Buy the Book:

Saturday, September 01, 2012

The EMACW Writers Conference Is Coming!

If you're looking for a great writing conference that will instill knowledge, inspire your writing, and rekindle your motivation, then the East Metro Atlanta Christian Writers Conference is for you.

Georgia Piedmont Technical College 
(formerly DeKalb Technical College)
            8100 Bob Williams Parkway
            Covington, GA

September 7-8, 2012 

7:30 AM - 5 PM

I'm honored to be included in a great line-up of writing instructors who will be presenting the following workshops below. If you would like to see the full two-day schedule, go to the  Conference Web Page.

  • Creating The Emotional Heartbeat Of A Story
  • The Character Waltz
  • Writing Gift Books and Devotionals
  • Getting Started Freelancing
  • Writing A Memoir
  • Self-Editing That Get's An Editor's Attention
  • Building An Online Platform With Impact
  • Starting A Blog
  • How Does Your Character Grow
  • The Art Of Researching For Yesterday and Today
  • Crafting The Perfect Press Release
  • Using The 5 Senses To Write Deeper
  • Writing Greeting Cards
  • Marketing Your Blog
  • Writing For Children
  • Writing For The Internet
The list of faculty is included below, but you can view photos & bios on the Conference Faculty Page.
  • Sally Hamer (Novelist & Writing Coach)
  • Jennifer Hudson Taylor (Author & Speaker)
  • Julie Cannon (Novelist)
  • Patricia Manns (Memoir Author)
  • Les Stobbe (Literary Agent)
  • Edie Melson (Freelancer & Editor)
  • Karen Moore (Gift & Devotional Book Author)
  • Alicia Stunkel (Blogger)
  • Leigh DeLozier (Author & Publicist)