Saturday, August 23, 2014

Spencer guest post for Ada Brownell Aug. 23, 2014




By Davalyn Spencer


My recent release, Romancing the Widow, is the third in a 3-book historical series for Heartsong Presents. It tells the story of Martha Hutton, daughter of Caleb and Annie Hutton from book one. Interesting how I met these people.
A couple of years ago, another publisher sent out a call for historical Christmas novellas, so I wrote one set here in Cañon City, Colorado. This area is rich with history, from the 1800s buildings still lining Main Street to the aspen-flecked mountains and canyons around the town.
However, that publisher did not take the story.
Earlier I’d sold a novel to Heartsong Presents, and the editor wanted to know if I had a historical series in me. Well, I had the start of one, so I said yes, and the wheels started turning. I signed a 3-book contract and introduced myself to the Hutton family. The first, The Cowboy Takes a Wife, told how my characters Annie Whitaker and Caleb Hutton met in the fledgling Cañon City in 1860. Branding the Wrangler’s Heart explored the life of their son, Whit Hutton and his sweetheart, Livvy Hartman. By that time, Whit’s sister, Marti, needed her own book, and boy did I have fun with her story. Especially the hero, a dark and mysterious Colorado Ranger.
Research led me to a couple of modern-day, real-life rangers and the group’s history which you can read more about on their website. https://www.coloradoranger.org/index.php/history
Looking back over that year, I am amazed at how much better things turned out than I had hoped for—even in rejection. The Lord turned a “no thank you” into a “yes, please.”
He’s good at that.

Book blurb for Romancing the Widow:
Martha Stanton isn’t looking for love. The light went out of Martha's soul when her husband fell to a bullet in St. Louis. Now, back in her hometown of Cañon City, she's convinced she'll never know happiness again. Until she crosses paths with a darkly mysterious Colorado Ranger.
Haskell Jacobs has a mission. And the beautiful, flame-haired widow sure isn't it. But Martha is somehow mixed up in the crime that brought Haskell to the rough-and-tumble town…and soon, she's entangled in the lawman's heart. But the danger that lurks around them is all too real. Can they find strength and love in each other before it's too late?
Author bio:
Wife and mother of professional rodeo bullfighters, Davalynn Spencer began her writing journey in the national rodeo market and as a newspaper journalist, winning awards in both arenas. Today she continues to win acclaim with her inspirational western romance placing second in the 2014 Inspirational Reader’s Choice Awards, and finaling for the Selah Award and the Holt Medallion. Davalynn teaches writing at Pueblo Community College, and with her handsome cowboy, has three children and four grandchildren. They make their home on Colorado’s Front Range with a Queensland heeler named Blue. Connect with Davalynn online at www.davalynnspencer.com, www.Facebook.com/AuthorDavalynnSpencer.com and on Twitter @davalynnspencer.  


Thursday, August 21, 2014

CIVIL WAR NOVEL: STRANGER ON MY LAND and AN AFTERNOON WITH MY DAD


An Afternoon with my Dad – Sandra Merville Hart

The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” 1 Kings 19:11a (NIV)

As I crossed the covered bridge into the prayer garden, the serenity immediately welcomed me. I drank in the beauty of the blooming flowers in the midst of the Mountain Laurel. The brook sang as it skipped over smooth stones.


How I wished I could share this moment with my dad! Seven years ago, he had joined my mother in Heaven a mere five months after her death.

Always most comfortable outdoors, this peaceful garden and the beauty of the surrounding mountainside would have fed his soul.

If I could spend one more afternoon with him, what would we talk about?

On second thought, I wouldn’t bring him to this mountain. I would take him instead to a clear stream near his childhood home in the Smoky Mountains. Maybe we’d hike along those paths he once loved as he talked of old memories.

I’ve often wished for his wise council in the past year. His words had a way of pointing me in the right direction. He helped me consider the costs. Even so, if there was a way to spend an afternoon with him, I wouldn’t ask questions. I’d simply listen to whatever he wanted to say. I’m sure we’d stop talking to enjoy the gentle rush of the stream as the birds serenaded us.

Even though my dad couldn’t meet me in the garden, God did.

God joins us wherever we are - serene gardens, neighborhood parks, and quiet times on our knees. He offers wisdom from His Word and from His heart, freely given to His loved ones – each one of us. Like a parent with a toddler, He gently guides faltering steps. In times of prayer, He helps us count the cost of our decisions. Our choices matter since answering 'yes' to something may mean closing the door on another opportunity. God's instruction is always just what we need.

God will be with us not only for an afternoon in the garden, but for all our days.  




A Stranger on My Land by Sandra Merville Hart


Back Cover

Carrie and her little brother, Jay, find a wounded soldier on their land after a battle which later became known as "The Battle Above the Clouds." Adam, a Union soldier, has been shot twice in the arm. Though Carrie is reluctant to take Adam to their cave where her family hides their livestock from both armies, she cannot turn her back on him.

But her Aunt Lavinia, bitter over what Yankees have done to their land, urges Carrie to allow Adam to die. Carrie refuses, but cannot remove the bullets. Adam's friendship with Jay softens her heart toward him. It's not long until his gratitude and teasing manner spark a friendship between the young couple. Even though Carrie's father fights for the Confederacy in far-off Virginia, her feelings for the handsome young soldier begin to blossom into love.

When Adam's condition worsens, Carrie knows a Union surgeon is needed to save his life. How can she accomplish this and keep her family's hiding place a secret?



Book summary:

Carrie and her little brother, Jay, find Adam, a wounded Union soldier, on their land after a battle near their Lookout Mountain home. Carrie takes Adam to the cave where her family has been hiding from the soldiers. Before long, she falls in love with him, but she can't save his life. He requires a surgeon. Carrie weighs the potential danger of revealing her family's hideaway with saving Adam's life. 


Bio:     Sandra Merville Hart loves to find unusual facts in her historical research to use in her stories. She and her husband enjoy traveling to many of the sites in her books to explore the history. She serves as Assistant Editor for DevoKids.com where she contributes articles about history and holidays. She has written for several publications and websites including The Secret Place, Harpstring, Splickety Magazine, Pockets Magazine, Common Ground, Afictionado, and ChristianDevotions.us. Her inspirational Civil War novella, A Stranger on My Land, released on August 21, 2014. It is available at Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Stranger-My-Land-Sandra-Hart/dp/1941103278/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1405606746&sr=1-1&keywords=A+Stranger+on+my+land.




Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A SAMPLE BOOK PROPOSAL

NEW BOOK PROPOSAL

 


TITLE:                          THE LADY FUGITIVE
______________________________________________________________________________

BYLINE:                                 Ada Brownell


COPY LINE:                                    A novel--Completed

CONTENT:                             A 17-year-old stage performer (elocutionist and singer) runs away from her physically abusive uncle, but she is caught in a perilous web. Could the peddler who constantly appears be a venomous spider in her life, or the one to help her untangle her problems?

AUDIENCE:                            Anyone who loves historical romance from a Christian viewpoint with elements of suspense, mystery and historical details.

CATEGORY:                           Inspirational historical romance.

TONE:                                     The tone of the book reflects the emotions of a young woman on the run. If she does not get away, she will be abused by the razor strap. Because he is a judge, he will find her. But on the first page Jenny meets William, a young peddler, and there’s a hint of romance as they run to each other while she runs trying to avoid capture, and he sells household goods, shows a Passion of the Christ moving picture, and searches for his brother. Humor trickles in early in the book and splashes here and there throughout the novel. William’s romantic notions are interrupted when his father is murdered and he goes after the killer. Jenny finds strength to quit running and face whatever happens, only to discover the man she loves is going to collect the reward for her capture.

SPIRITUAL PAYLOAD:         Although Jenny doubts God cares about her since she lost her parents, her home, and her twin brother had to run away to avoid the judge’s whip, in the end she learns God will go through anything with her--the brambles of grief, the thorn bushes of despair, and He will even reach over unbelief’s precipice to hold her in his arms as a shepherd does his sheep. “The Ninety and Nine,” a new song in that era, is William’s favorite hymn and she often hears him singing.

LENGTH                                 101,569 Words

ADDITIONAL TITLES FOR THIS WORK:                        


·         The Peddler and Peachville’s Belle
·         Love Comes over the Mountain
·         Yucca Blossom Bride
·         Love finds her in Yucca Blossom

ISSUES OF UNIQUE INTEREST:

 

  • The Life and Passion of Jesus Christ moving picture is a remarkable relic from the dawn of cinema. First released in 1902 by France’s Pathé film company, it was expanded and tinkered with for the next three years, reaching its complete form in 1905. The author’s grandfather traveled about the country showing a similar, or perhaps, the same picture.

  • How an orphaned young woman has to run away from the judge (now her caretaker) who attempts to spank her with a razor strap and barely misses hitting her with his fist. Her brother already left because the uncle tried to take a horse whip to him. An underlying message is she doesn't like the way the judge stares at her body. Girls need to fight against abuse, and leave that environment, if necessary.

  • The popularity of elocutionists in that era. Jenny, an elocutionist, had performed on stage in Peachville before she had to run. She draws on this experience in a later part of this book. The author’s grandmother was an elocutionist who performed on stage at an opera house in the late 1800s.

  • The intense advice William receives from a traveling minister about anger management and how William finds strength to keep from killing his father’s murderer.

HISTORY OF THIS WORK:


Portions of this book have been read by critique group members of American Christian Fiction Writers, judges for the ACFW genesis contest, Kim Moore of Harvest House. The book was edited by Deirdre Lockhart.

COMPARATIVE INSPIRATIONAL HISTORICAL NOVELS

NOTE: I have reviewed more than 40 books in the last couple of years for publishers and authors who are members of American Christian Fiction Writers.

  • THE MERCHANT’S DAUGHTER by Melanie Dickerson
 I didn’t expect to be so impressed by a book set in 1352 in Glynval, England. I like historicals, but the 1300s?
       What I discovered behind the intriguing cover of The Merchant’s Daughter was perhaps the most uplifting novel I’ve read in years. Annabel may be one of the most lovable characters created by a writer. Her prosperous family slid into poverty after Father died and now the Glynval lord demands her family work in the fields.
       Annabel’s mother, her siblings, pampered by servants all their lives, refuse to work like the impoverished, but Annabel gladly prepares meals, cleans and goes to market.
       A new lord is coming and a court decides the penalty for her family’s neglect to do their duties in the harvest. Annabel’s brother thinks the only solution is for Annabel, age 17 and the youngest in the family, to marry someone with money who will pay their fines. Bailoff Tom, as round as a pregnant cow and Father’s age, has asked for Annabel’s hand. He will pay the family’s fines so they don’t need to work—if she will agree to marry him.
       Her brother informs her she has no choice—but she refuses, accepting servitude to the new lord instead of marriage, which will save her family. Annabel’s greatest desire is to be a nun so perhaps she’ll have access to the Bible and be able to read about God.
       Her trouble is just beginning. When she leaves home, she sticks a kitchen knife in her pocket for protection. She barely escaped from Bailiff Tom’s advances earlier.
The new lord is younger than expected, his arm mangled by a wolf when he rescued a child. He’s full of bitterness, is demanding, and yet he has a Bible and requests Annabel to read the scriptures to him at night.
One of the most touching moments is when she goes through Luke’s account of Jesus’ birth with the lord. She is thrilled at the wonder of the virgin birth, showing nothing is impossible with God. She is astounded that Mary’s spirit “rejoiced,” at the child to be born by the Holy Spirit and that God announced the birth of the Messiah to lowly shepherds instead of rich folks and kings.
While she works faithfully in servitude and reads to him each night, the lord’s anger tames and they become friends. But then crises erupt which could destroy them both.
As in life, they must discover for themselves if nothing is impossible with God.
.
·         FAITH’S REWARD, by Tammy Barley, Whitaker House, 2011. Jessica and Jake Bennett struggle to protect each other and their unborn child, but severe weather, men who murdered her parents, and those who stole her inheritance threaten their financial survival and their lives. Jessica is a fighter, though, and frequently disobeys others’ advice and goes out on her own to solve problems. Sometimes it gets her into trouble, like the dangerous visit to an Indian village to ask for pneumonia remedies. The author knows how to paint a scene, set you down in it, then makes you wonder how Jessica could put herself into so many dangerous situations. But then you know the answer. Jessica needs these criminals to be unmasked and possibly hang. But how can a pregnant woman bring them to justice?

·         HEAD IN THE CLOUDS, by Karen Witemeyer, Bethany House, 2010. Adelaide Proctor expects a marriage proposal from Henry Belcher in 1883, but finds he doesn’t expect to see her again because the traveling salesman will no long travel to Cisco, Texas, to see her. She quits her teaching job, follows him and discovers he’s married. Led by a cloud like the Children of Israel, in Fort Worth she notices an advertisement for a governess for a ranch owner’s daughter. Adelaide needs employment, so she answers the ad, and lands the job despite stiff competition. The rancher’s mute daughter creates a challenge, but Adelaide fashions a learning atmosphere, adding fun and laughter. Then she discovers evidence of two murders and the murderer is stalking more victims. Karen Witemeyer artfully wraps romance so tightly with suspense it’s difficult to put the book down. I loved living with her characters a few days, and breathed a sigh of relief when she brought them to a satisfying ending.

The proposal continues with a two-page summary, vitae, and sample chapters. 

HERE'S THE COVER OF THE LADY FUGITIVE--RELEASED JULY 18 BY ELK LAKE PUBLISHER. NOW AVAILABLE AT http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001KJ2C06



Saturday, August 16, 2014

A ROMANCE REKINDLED: FORGIVE AND FORGET

Forgive and Forget
By Kimberly Rose Johnson

Mark 11:25
There are many instances in the Bible where we are told to forgive. Sometimes following that command is easy, and other times not so much. I guess it all depends on the reason for the pain.
I am reminded of my character, Susan, in A Romance Rekindled. She had her heart broken without explanation. She held onto the pain for years without even realizing it was still there. Then this person came back into her life and then she needed to find it within herself, and with the Lord’s help, to forgive.
I suppose there’s not a person on earth who hasn’t been emotionally injured by another. If someone has caused you pain, I hope you will be able to forgive this person. I know some rotten stuff happens and forgiveness isn’t easy—not even close to easy. But, it’s possible with the Lord’s help.
There’s a saying that holding a grudge only hurts the person hanging onto the pain. Our hope is in the Lord. He is our comfort and He is there when we call on Him.
I pray today that wherever you are on your life journey, that you may find peace and hope in the Lord and that you will be able to let go of the hurts inflicted by others on you.
 Number 6:24-26


Bio:Kimberly Rose Johnson holds a degree in Behavioral Science from Northwest University. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, two teenage sons, and their yellow lab. She writes sweet Christian romance for Heartsong Presents and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She enjoys taking long walks with her husband and dog, reading, dark chocolate and time with friends.
You may contact Kimberly via her website at http://kimberlyrjohnson.com/


Blurb:
SUSAN HILL ISN'T READY TO FORGIVE 
The small-town CPA can't forget how Blake Mitchell jilted her and left their hometown without an explanation. But when her first love returns to Leavenworth, the ruggedly handsome writer evokes conflicting emotions, especially when Susan meets the child she assumes is his daughter.
Since his parents' deaths six years ago, Blake's been raising his little sister on his own. But he's never forgotten the woman he left behind. Now, he can't undo the past, but maybe he can change the future…if he can convince Susan to give him one more chance.

Links: Christianbooks.com, Amazon.com, Barns and Noble




Wednesday, August 13, 2014

JESUS CAME DOWN--THE HOPE FOR AMERICA


By Ada Brownell
      I stood before George Washington’s burial site in a beautiful garden at Mount Vernon. Chills crept over me as I read the inscription in the inner tomb—Jesus’ words: “I am the resurrection and the life, He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.”
Later thinking about our first president and controversies surrounding his faith, I wasn’t sure I’d  sit down and talk to George “over there.” But who knows except God?
The truth is, there is scripture all over Washington, D.C.’s memorial sites. Whether our country’s forefathers lived exemplary Christian lives, documents and much of what they left is filled with references to God and Bible quotes.
I thought about how different the legacies our nation might leave today for the next generation. In our public schools, students are taught they appeared on earth without a Designer, and they are no more than animals. The Ten Commandments are banned, but filthy books assigned. No wonder we have mass killings, millions of babies aborted, thousands of teens infected by sexually transmitted diseases every year, drug and alcohol addiction, suicides, cheaters among students, half the people unable to make a marriage work, and a good percentage of children growing up without two parents.
Instead of teaching children moral values and that they are loved by the God who designed their DNA, Christianity is treated as the nation’s biggest enemy, and the name of Jesus can’t even be mentioned with respect at the same colleges like Yale and Harvard—started by Christian organizations.
Other nations are becoming serious threats to the United States and our economy is in serious danger of collapsing. But instead of falling to our knees in repentance and asking for God’s mercy to heal our land, we saturate our minds with amusements to make us forget. We live for today and forget tomorrow.
In contrast to the foreboding darkness obscuring our future, I think of Easter sunrise services I’ve attended when the church ventures out in the cool morning before daylight and watches the sun rise as it did near a garden more than 2,000 years ago.  We recall the words of the angel who appeared: “He is risen!”
A couple of weeks ago a scripture jumped out at me: “I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me…. And this is the will of him who sent me, that everyone who sees the son and believes in him may have everlasting life” (John 6: 38, 40).
That’s good news! He has come down from heaven to give abundant and eternal life.  The sun still rises over America, and it has risen since the day we joined the Indians on this wonderful continent. I believe there is hope for those who want it.

-Ada Brownell, a retired reporter for The Pueblo Chieftain, is the author of the book, Swallowed By Life: Mysteries of Death, Resurrection and the Eternal.

Amazon Ada Brownell author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001KJ2C06

© Ada Brownell

Friday, August 8, 2014

Giving Away three Audio copies of Imagine the Future You

To enter the drawing, leave a comment on this blog or send an email to ada@adabrownell.com and sign up for my newsletter. Use this book to build your faith, the faith of your family, or those in a Sunday school class. The book;s Q/A makes it easy to use for a Bible study textbook.


                                  IMAGINE YOUR TOMORROWS
                               By Ada Brownell

What could I imagine I would be like when I grew up?
Here I was, a scrawny freckled-face redhead, poor, wearing my brother’s hand-me-downs. My brother’s union-alls had a button up flap in the back that had to be unbuttoned by one of the big people in the family before I could go to the outhouse. I think I had a flower sack dress or two to wear to church.
We wouldn’t have had enough to eat had we not had a cow, a huge irrigated garden and chickens.               
When I started school, Daddy gave Mama permission to buy me three new little cotton dresses from Montgomery Ward. The new pair of shoes had to last until the next school year.
I always knew my parents didn’t have an extra penny, and being the eighth child I often felt a little guilty for barging my way into the already crowded house, among four sisters and three brothers who weren’t that excited about another mouth to feed.
Yet, that wonderful family helped me to catch an eye for the future at a young age. I watched the excitement in the house when my oldest sister, Marjorie, went to church with a high school friend and became a Christian. One by one all the older siblings, and finally my parents, accepted Jesus as Savior and I soon learned Jesus loved me, too, and God had a plan for my life.
God's love was a little secret I held close to my heart even while being ridiculed by other children because of my freckles and my red hair. The pretty little girls in frilly dresses never wanted to be my friend.
But all this time something wonderful grew inside me: an intense desire to learn in school, to know how to sing and play the piano (all my siblings were musicians), and tell the world the message of John 3:16, “For God so loved the world he gave his only Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Our family squeezed every drop of joy from each day, but we always thought about tomorrow in the backs of our minds. My siblings were all achievers. I saw myself playing the piano for church someday and singing in gospel groups like my sisters did.
I had no grandiose ideas about what else I would do, except someday I would meet my Savior and live forever because He died and rose again. I wanted to tell everybody.
I studied the Bible, listened to our pastor’s sermons and teachings, and found myself in my early teens teaching children, and then leading youth. I hadn’t expected  those opportunities. I prepared. God opened doors.
My writing career started like that. I had no idea I would become a writer, but I had something to say I thought needed sharing and discovered editors thought it was worth reading.
Working as a newspaper reporter showed me there still was much to share. In gathering news a journalist touches almost every aspect of society. We report on the achievers, reveal life’s disasterous complications, and what happens when wickedness grips the heart and threatens to blow apart the hope of the eternal soul.
My burden is for the youth of America. So much potential! So much opportunity! But Satan lurks everywhere seeking whom he may devour.
How can I not show them the path to wonderful tomorrows? How can I not show them how to prepare for the exciting journey of abundant life? How can I not show them how to avoid those who would steal their faith, rob them of their health and talents, and destroy their loved ones and eternal future?
So, I have a book filled with practical helps on developing your talents, being and looking your best, how to make the right connections, guarding your name’s fame, and much more with many inspiring examples and illustrations.

Jesus said not to worry about tomorrow, but we’re told to prepare for what is ahead. The theme of my book is close to Solomon’s advice advice quoted here from The Message: “Don’t for a minute envy careless rebels; soak yourself in the Fear-of-God That’s where your future lies. Then you won’t be left with an armload of nothing” (Proverbs 23: 17.
                                                           

IMAGINE THE FUTURE YOU: SUMMARY
Will you be the person you dream of being—or someone from your nightmares?
You don’t need a fortune teller to reveal your future. For the most part, you are the person who determines who you will become, what your life will be like, and how your hopes and dreams will be fulfilled.
Today is the time to IMAGINE and to create an action plan for your future.
 Harnessing your will (guiding it) will make you a champion.
 How to make valuable deposits into your mind and avoid brainwashing.
How to look and be your best.
How to connect with Somone who will make a difference in your life—forever.
How who you marry changes everything.
How to avoid traps that jeopardize your future.
Where you want your name to appear.
Why you can believe God created you and loves you.
Examples of people who grabbed their future and held on.

This book will show how to make the right connections, how to grow your talents, and how to believe in yourself and things greater than yourself—for a wonderful future you!

Amazon Ada Brownell author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001KJ2C06           Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/AdaBrownellWritingMinistries


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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

If you think you're alone, you're wrong. Author Anita HIgman talks about Where God Finds You

NOTE: Leave a comment. Anita is giving away three copies of her Where God Finds You devotional book. The devotion below is not one of those in the book.


My Sweaty Little Grasp
By Anita Higman

“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5b (NIV)

            Life can be like a pretty yellow kite, soaring and dipping in the breeze, and life can also be like that same kite experiencing an unexpected gust only to plummet to the earth and break into pretty yellow pieces.
            In other words, I can’t fully control the kite. It’s controlled by the currents that are above and far out of reach. The kite string may be in my sweaty little grasp, but its final destination is anyone guess.
That was a lesson I learned when I traveled to Australia to meet my husband who was there working on assignment for his company. I left the house, knowing I wouldn’t be back for three weeks, and that I’d be very far away, so I planned for every kind of troubling scenario. I made sure all the faucets weren’t dripping. Check. Gates closed. Check. Electrical devices unplugged. Check. Windows and doors locked, alarm system armed. Check.
To be honest, my slight case of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder flared up into a blaze. It was so hard to let the house go and breathe again. But I did try to cover it all as best I could, so that when the driver picked me up I felt pretty satisfied that the house was somewhat disaster-proof. Yeah, right. Not even close. There was no way I could have known that my husband and I would have to fly home from Australia early because Hurricane Ike would hit our neighborhood and ruin one of the rooms in our house. It was impossible to plan for everything because I never really had our home under my control. Not even for a minute. I only thought I did.
The spiritual lesson here was hard to miss. Only God was and is in control of our house, my life, this world. We cannot know what tomorrow will bring, whether our pretty yellow kite will soar into the sky or smash into bits, but I do know God has promised never to leave us or forsake us. He will always be right here, holding us and helping us, ever by our sides working things for good no matter what the wild winds of life bring. These are promises that the whole world loves to make, but only God Almighty can keep.

Lord, I thank you that even in this fallen and broken world, you will never leave us or forsake us. Amen.