Sunday, August 31, 2014

YOUTH AND GOD'S GREAT LOVE


By Ada Brownell

Viewing the underbelly of society as a newspaper reporter affected me.  I can't forget the woman whose teenage son committed suicide; The high school gal I did a story about who excelled in academics as well as sports, who killed herself before she could be valedictorian.

I talked with teen mothers in a high school class designed to train them in caring for their babies, with the emphasis on preventing child abuse. Only one young mom in the class of about 20 still dated the infant's father. I could detect anger against parents, former boyfriends, and even the babies.

I remember the juvenile ward at the Colorado Mental Health Institute. A psych tech told me abuse, physical and sexual, affected many of them. That might explain the obscene gesture one patient made to me when I walked into their television room.

 Serious thought disorders affected other patients. One of the kids killed his parents. The youths hee-hawed about being insane, putting on a show of disgusting faces and actions.

I stumbled into the story where a half dozen 12-year-old boys who gang raped an 8-year-old girl were in court.

Then every year, sometimes more often, I reported statistics on teen pregnancy (kids as young as 11 or 12 gave birth); abortions; and sexually transmitted diseases in our county.

As the mother of five, I wondered why we have these things happening to our children. Are we so busy earning money we neglect our own flesh and blood?

Praise the Lord my children  all serve the Lord. From their births I wanted them to grow up, as I did, knowing God loves them and has a plan for their lives—and they did.

Yet, evil forces work to destroy their faith, so thanks to things I learned in teaching teens in Christian education classes and my other biblical studies, I acquired much needed knowledge to impart to my family. They knew serving the Lord was first in my life, and my most earnest desire for them was and is that they live for Jesus.

Most important, I spent lots of time with them--and  on my knees.

Yet, I knew parents don't have control. Each child has to decide whether to believe God's Word and accept salvation.

Although I've seen effects of sin as a journalist, I don't dwell on wickedness plaguing our society, and I don't advise others to do so. The Lord gives too much joy and things to rejoice about to spend too much time smelling the pig pens in life.

Our children need to know more about the joy unspeakable and full of glory that the Lord provides and the rivers of living water that refresh and strengthen our souls. Paul was in a prison cell, but he rejoiced and told us to rejoice because God is still on the throne.

The good news is our children can be righteousness, even in this wicked society. "For God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might sow the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:4-7NKJ).

All five our children grew up to serve the Lord, be examples of the wonder God creates in His children, and have been or are in Christian ministry, and one of them, Carolyn, is in heaven. What a blessing! What a joy!


©Copyright Ada Brownell February 2014

My book, IMAGINE THE FUTURE YOU, was birthed in part from my esperiences as a journalist.
Here's the summary:

IMAGINE THE FUTURE YOU
By Ada Brownell

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. You are the person who determines who you will be, what your life will be like, and how your hopes and dreams will be fulfilled.

This book will show how to make the right connections, how to grow your talents, and how to begin believing in yourself and things greater than yourself—for a wonderful Future You!

A Bible study available in paper or for Kindle http://www.amazon.com/dp/1489558284
Ada Brownell’s author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001KJ2C06
 Also available in audio at www,audible.com   Free book with new Audible membership





Saturday, August 30, 2014

Author Eleanor Gustafson talks about an ornery horse named Dyamo



I LOVE STORIES

By Eleanor Gustafson 

I’m a fiction writer, and my mother’s lap nurtured my love of story. Story conveys Truth, even though we’re talking fiction. Truth is often perplexing to main characters and needs to be sorted out. Real life is like that. As a friend once observed, story allows a reader to try on life like a coat, to test it out before actually having to deal with real-life problems. One of the troubling aspects of today’s younger generation is that they are so caught up in texting and video games that they don’t have a base for learning real life or how to form in-depth relationships. Even though they’re “relating” all day long, it is usually mindless chatter, with no meaningful connection. And because they seldom read, they have no way of trying on life to see how other people have done it, either good or bad.

A writer has other mountains to scale, as well. In a sense, a fiction author plays God in setting up plot and characters. Who are the good guys, the bad guys? Will the story have a happy or tragic ending? How will each of the characters react to their specific situation? The act of controlling characters’ lives becomes a huge responsibility. Add to that a desire to move readers to a higher plane of spiritual involvement, and you begin to feel that playing God is not such a cool idea, after all!

But—speaking Truth in our writing will help readers “try on life” to see the consequences of good or bad behavior before they actually have to face the choices themselves. God willing, our labor will not have been in vain.

Dynamo is my fifth published novel, and in it I have tried to speak Truth. Not easy Truth, however. Dynamo is a nasty stallion; Jeth is his trainer. Things do not go well, and God Himself keeps doing bizarre things that keep Jeth off balance. There’s Maybelle, though, an old lady who serves as God’s Witness. She both steadies Jeth and scares him to death with particular Scripture verses. How does it all come out? Seems predictable in the beginning, but halfway through, all bets are off.

Reviews from Goodreads and Amazon:

·         “Nothing is common about this story. It is so full of love, peace, forgiveness, life and loss. It is really, really a book to read.”
·        



Bio on the Run:

I grew up in Branchville, New Jersey, population 1000,
in a county that had more cows than people. There, I learned to love horses and the annual County Farm and Horse Show where I saw spectacular five-gaited horses like Dynamo.

God first touched me through a story, and he has molded and kneaded me all my life. I went to Wheaton College, IL, as a music major, then married, had 3 kids and 8 grandchildren. I eventually got weaned off of music, largely after trying on the cloak of writing and finding it quite comfortable.

Eugene Peterson is a writer of huge influence on my life. His books are meaty and challenging, and having endorsed my novel on King David, The Stones, he is my forever friend. The Stones may taste good to you, also.


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Death from the Choking Game. Why Be Bitter?

Why Be Bitter?

By Cindy Loven

In our story, Swept Away (releasing November 18th from Abingdon House) Sara Jane Morgan was an orphan, her parents died when she was just twelve years old. For years their death and the circumstances around their death shaped Sara.

Just as the fictional story shaped Sara and made her who she was, our life stories shape us. In our story, Sara had to choose whether she would allow her life to be bitter. We each face things in our lives that bring us to this decision. Loss of jobs, loss of friends, loss of family members.

Five and half years ago my youngest son died, playing the choking game. To help myself, handle the grief I strived to help parents learn more about this dangerous game. (For more info visit this site http://gaspinfo.com/en/home.html)

We never know from day to day, what life brings us. My son's death brought new friends into my life, friends who too have walked the path of a grieving parent. People I may have never known if my son hadn't died.

I have always been a people watcher, so I have observed these friends, each of them faced with the choice, to be be bitter. Some of them immediately chose not to live with bitterness in their hearts, but too often it is easy to become bitter. Questions are normal, grief is normal, and all of us grieve differently. Yes we have all read the five stages of grief, and none of us can say we grieved the same way. Don't let life and the circumstances surrounding you, make you bitter. Yes it is true I probably do not know what you deal with on a daily basis, nor have I walked in your shoes. The same can be said for my shoes too, we each have the choice to make. Why be bitter? There is a balance in life that often is hard to find. Choose not to be bitter.

My son would be twenty in just a few days, (27th) it is easy to wonder and ask the “what if” questions. What if he hadn't died?  What would he be like? Would he still be that loveable happy kid? I will never know those answers, but I do know where he is. He loved the Lord and I am sure he is in Heaven, with other family members gone on.
 
Today I choose not to be bitter.Swept Away Blurb:
He survived a life-altering event. She is facing one.
Sara Jane Morgan is trying to balance teaching with caring for her grandmother who doesn’t want to be cared for. When school lets out for the summer, the plans are for Grandma to teach Sara Jane to quilt as they finish up the Appalachian Ballad quilt Grandma started as a teenager. But things don’t always go as planned.
Andrew Stevenson is hiding from his past—and his future. He works as a handyman to pay the bills, but also as an artisan, designing homemade brooms. When Sara Jane’s grandmother hires him to renovate her home, sparks fly between him and his new employer’s granddaughter.
It doesn’t take Sara Jane long to see Drew isn’t what he seems. Questions arise, and she starts online researching him. What she discovers could change her life—and her heart—forever.
Buy Links:
Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Christian Books.com

Deeper Shopping

Cokesbury
BIO:
Cindy Loven, an avid reader all her life, is seeing her dreams fulfilled, with the publication of her first novel, Swept Away Quilt of Love.  She co-authored this novel with Laura V. Hilton.  Born and raised in Arkansas, she loves her home state and is happy to live there with her husband of nearly twenty-nine years and her adult son. She and her family are very active in their local church, serving in many volunteer positions. She and her husband are very serious about informing parents about the dangers of the choking, after loosing their youngest son to this dreadful 'game' in 2009.  When not busy with church or her job as a “pr gal” for another author, you can find Cindy in her craft room, ,sewing, crocheting or making cards.
Where to find me on the web:
Twitter handle: @cndloven

Amazon Page:http://www.amazon.com/Cindy-Loven/e/B00J54NEQY/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Monday, August 25, 2014

A HEART ATTACK HE WOULDN'T TRADE.

By James Wilcox

I dearly love this saying. “It isn’t of great concern…a child who fears the dark. But this is tragic…an adult who fears The Light!”  I can assure you…The Light is nothing to fear. 
                                                                                                                            September 21, 2011 started out like most mornings. Even though I had been having some chest pains off and on over the last several days, the past thirty six hours had been pain free. Yet getting up that Wednesday morning, I somehow knew the pain was going to return. Nonetheless, I went outside a little before seven to do my chores. By the time I finished, the pain was the worst it had ever been. My chest felt like it would explode!  Approaching a tractor, I leaned on it, my vision beginning to blur. 

I suddenly realized that death was very near and it frightened me. However, the fear quickly left and never returned as I became aware of a caring light that enveloped me. It was paper-thin but was enough to keep the utter, unbelievable, coal black darkness away from me. I was not seeing any colors, only white and black. I didn’t see Him, yet I knew with all certainty it was Jesus who asked me if I wanted to live. Immediately, I answered, “Yes.”

There were many things that began to happen. The light pushed hard against the endless darkness, moving it back several feet. Until then, I felt I was suffocating because the blackness was so heavy and seemed so determined. I thought about lying down but knew for certain, if I voluntarily lay down, I would surely die! I decided to try and make it to the car, which was about eighty feet away. Without realizing it, I was beginning my journey through ‘The Valley of the Shadow of Death.’

During this walk and for a short time afterward, I have no memory of the relentless pain in my chest. When I began to walk, the sinister darkness attacked the light, battering against it constantly. As the protecting light was pushed in at various spots, it repelled the single-minded darkness every time and maintained its posture. Walking on, this action continued and was now occurring at a faster pace than when it began. Many times, the harsh darkness formed a cone, ramming into the light, attempting to penetrate it. 

I reasoned from the beginning of this battle, if there were even a hole smaller than the size of a tiny pin in the serene light, the ruthless darkness would get through and I would be engulfed in complete blackness. Suddenly, I heard a voice asking. “What if you fall down?” There is no doubt in my mind; Satan himself had asked this question! 

Without any misgivings, I quickly and confidently answered. “If I can’t help it, I needn’t be worried.” The constant, persistent, ramming and repelling was even faster now. I ignored the possibility of involuntarily falling as I continued to walk, not fearing what might happen, should I fall. 

Reaching the car, I stood against it. The raging battle began to subside, and then stopped altogether. Jesus inquired once again. “Do you want to live?” My mind said, “Yes,” but I really didn’t give an answer, being certain my response needed to be delayed. I now saw a door. An image behind it was obscure through a glass but nonetheless there…Jesus Himself! Suddenly, I realized I was in a very unique room.

This rectangular room was not large but had a ceiling, hardwood floor and walls. The door Jesus was standing behind was at one end. The other end was completely open to the world I knew. Gazing at it, I even saw colors! Having no desire to go to that familiar world, this one-of-a-kind room quickly drew my focus back to itself. I was awestruck, at great peace, very content and felt totally secure in this extraordinary room which was full of wondrous light. The soothing light was comforting beyond description! 

Somehow, I could see the darkness was confined on the outside of the two walls and ceiling. This matchless room had no roof. All of a sudden, I was sure, if I chose to die, Jesus would be a bit disappointed in me, yet I would still be welcomed into heaven. It made me realize God must still have something for me to do in the world!                                                                                                                                        
The moment was now upon me to respond to the all-important question Jesus had asked. With the aid of the Holy Spirit, I discerned the answer I needed to give Jesus was not a simple “yes” or “no,” but involved a great deal more. Was my faith and relationship I professed with my Savior a facade or was it real? Without any concern about the outcome, it was with complete sincerity, release, trust and peace I answered His question saying, “You decide. It’s up to You.”                                                                                                                        
Instantly, the darkness cowered away in retreat to a point I could no longer see it being replaced with that marvelous, all-encompassing light. Next, the door, image and room were gone as life started to become normal again, except for the Herculean pain deep in my chest. I managed to get the car in front of the yard, made my way into the house and in a few minutes was taken to our local hospital by members of my family.

I will always remember the peace that continued to dwell deep within me on arrival at our local emergency room. There was never any uncertainty in my mind that God would see me thorough whatever lay ahead. Since our small rural hospital isn’t equipped to handle a major heart attack victim, a Flight for Life helicopter was called to take me to a hospital in Colorado Springs. Given the way our medical system works, I should have been taken to a hospital in Pueblo. Was it oversight? I’m sure it wasn’t! It was unbelievable how every event of that day fell into place like a well-fitting puzzle. Only God could have orchestrated it. Later that same day, I had triple bypass surgery and spent six days in the hospital.

Am I bitter because I had to endure the pain, trauma, expense and inconvenience that accompany heart surgery? Not in the least. God allowed me to encounter Him in an unprecedented way and took me on a spiritual adventure I wouldn’t trade for the entire universe!

Learn more about James

James has been a life long rancher in southern Colorado. He and his wife, Bobbie, have been married nearly forty five years. They have three adult children and enjoy being grandparents. James has held various church offices throughout the years. He was also an officer on the local 4-H fair board for ten years and has been active in various school and other community functions. In 1994, James was involved in a tractor accident that left him with a broken neck. He knows first hand that God does give people second chances and is very aware of His love for us.  


                                      

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Bullrider's wife's historical novel, Romancing the Widow by Davalynn Spencer.






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