Inspirational Stories of Love, Faith & Family Set in 19th Century America

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Author Interview with Alton Fletcher and a Giveaway!

I’m so excited to introduce my friend, Alton Fletcher, to Romancing History readers today. Alton writes historical fiction and his debut novel, Find the Wind’s Eye, released earlier this month. Another exciting first for Alton, he is the first male author I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing here on Romancing History!

Find the Wind’s Eye is a Antebellum tale with a message relevant for today’s reader about equality, the evils of prejudice and discrimination, and the condition of the human heart. I personally think Alton’s novel sounds intriguing and hope to read it next month so stay tuned for a review post when I’m done.

Alton has geneoursly offered 3 print copies of Find the Wind’s Eye to 3 separate Romancing History visitors so make sure you see the Giveaway section at the bottom of the post for details on how to enter the drawing.

Before we get to the interview, let’s learn a little more about Alton and Find the Wind’s Eye.


About the Author

Alton Fletcher enjoys sailing almost as much as he enjoys writing and sometimes wishes he could do both at once. He became enamored with the sea, sailing ships, and books upon his first reading of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island as a boy. For the past twenty years, after retiring as an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard, he has made Virginia his home, where he continues to sail and write to his heart’s content.

 

 

Connect with Alton on his Website, Twitter, or his Amazon Author Page.

 


About the Book

In 1854 Boston, Third Lieutenant Andrew Gunn of the United States Revenue Cutter Service questions the President’s direct order to extradite a fugitive slave, Anthony Burns, back to Virginia aboard his ship—a lawful order that he believes is immoral and unjust.

Torn between his own reverence for freedom as an American and his sworn duty, Gunn suffers the hazards of hard choices that threaten his own life, liberty, and happiness. His first real exposure to the scourge of slavery brings chaos to his ordered life, despite his desperate attempts to control it.

Set aboard a small ship in the midst of a gathering political storm, Find The Wind’s Eye is a timely, moving story about a man of principle trying to find his way in a fast-changing, increasingly ambivalent world. He strives to do the right thing, while struggling with the ugly truth of his own complicity in the national sin of slavery.

Find the Wind’s Eye is available for purchase on Amazon.

 


Author Q&A

Fast Five

  1. Dogs or Cats? Dogs
  2. Chocolate Chip or Oatmeal Raisin? Chocolate Chocolate Chip
  3. Night Owl or Early Bird? Night Owl
  4. I Love Lucy or Get Smart? I Love Lucy
  5. Oldies or Country? Country Oldies, Sea Shanties, and Old Hymns

 

RH: Hi Alton, welcome to Romancing History. Tell us a little bit about yourself. How long you’ve been writing? How many books you have published and what era you write about?

AF: Thank you for having me today. I look forward to meeting your readers. I graduated in 1977 from Geneva College, a Christian liberal arts college in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. My wife, Cheryl, and I were married in 1976, while still in college. We’ve been married ever since and have made our home in Manassas for the past 20 years. We honeymooned in Williamsburg, and we’ve always held a special place in our hearts for Virginia, so we were happy to finally settle here after the upheaval of seven cross-country military moves.

I had wanted to be a writer since high school, but after college, life happened. Work, kids (three daughters), more work, house payments, career, braces, college tuition, weddings, and so on. In addition to raising a family, I served for 22 years as a commissioned officer in the Coast Guard, retiring in 2003. Though gratifying and exciting, my days in the military were often long and exhausting, with extended periods of travel and temporary duty in remote places. Hard to find time to write. I retired a second time after a very busy, productive, and successful life in private industry in 2015. Actually, I drove home from work in heavy Washington Beltway traffic one day and decided I’d had enough. It was a now or never kind of thing. At age 60, I quit my day job and started writing fiction. And I haven’t stopped.

After more revisions than I can count, I’ve recently published my first historical novel, set in the 1850s. It’s a fascinating period of major transitions in technology, philosophy, religion, science, politics, and psychology that caused enormous social upheaval and personal turmoil. That turbulent period shaped the modern world as we know it today. We can’t really understand ourselves if we don’t know how we got here. That’s what I like to discover. What were people thinking back then? How did those huge changes affect them in their daily lives? How different were they from us? Have we really made progress since then? Though we are much wealthier, generally speaking, than those who lived two centuries ago, in many ways we are much poorer, especially spiritually and religiously. We live in an age of materialism and apostasy, which stems directly from its mid-nineteenth century roots. Maybe it’s just me, but I tend to think that growth in the wrong direction isn’t progress.

RH: I totally agree with you about the relevance of understanding history and learning from the past. BTW, my daughter attended Geneva College as well. Now tell us something unusual about yourself. Something not in the typical back of the book author bio—something quirky.

AF: I suppose the quirkiest thing about me is that I’m a contrarian. I suspect that’s what those who know me best would say. As I was thinking about this question today, I looked up into a gray, overcast sky to watch a large flock of seagulls pass overhead, maybe fifty or so flying eastbound. A lone gull, apart from the others, was headed west. I had to laugh. That’s me.

One of my favorite phrases is, “Yes, but.” I love a good argument. Total agreement is overrated. I find it dull and boring and somewhat fake. Such a mindset didn’t serve me well in a military career, I can tell you. Neither does it make for conciliatory book club discussions. Yes, but … it might well suit me as a writer. At least, I think so, though I may be alone in that thought.

RH: Hmmm, I kind of resemble that remark. My mother used to tell me I’d make a good lawyer because I liked to argue. I’m not sure she meant that as a compliment. Which historical figure, other than Jesus (because who wouldn’t want to meet Jesus?), would you like to meet? Why?

AF: Mark Twain. He had a contrarian point of view about most things, from which derives his humor, I believe. I’d love to have a discussion with him about Huck Finn and white suits, among many other subjects. I wore a white tuxedo for my wedding. I’d like to meet Jesus for the same reason. Talk about being a contrarian. And James, his brother. (What must that have been like?!)

RH: Hahaha! Your comment about James made me chuckle. I wonder if Mary ever had to tell James to stop arguing with Jesus? Which 3 words describe the type of fiction you write?

AF: Timeless, thoughtful, and truthful. Also, historical, nautical, and literary, if such is at all possible.

RH: From the quote below, I’d have to agree with your description of your writing. I’m looking forward to reading Find the Wind’s Eye. What is your writing kryptonite?

AF: A favorite movie and a rainy day. I can’t pass up Master and Commander, if it is on TV. Or the arrival of a new book. Equally deadly to a writing day.

RH: I saw a recent tweet of yours about Master and Commander with Russell Crowe. I’ve added it to my list of films to watch. What is the most difficult thing about writing characters of the opposite sex?

AF: Portraying intimacy (not sex). What do women actually say when out of earshot? I’ve long lived in a family of four women and still don’t know.

RH: This answer made me chuckle as well. I’d love to fill you in on what women talk about when men aren’t around but I’ld be breaking the sisterhood code. What was the inspiration behind your debut, Find the Wind’s Eye?

AF: I found the facts of the true story of the rendition of Anthony Burns both compelling and incredible upon reading James McPherson’s Battle Cry of Freedom, a remarkable history of the events leading up to the Civil War. McPherson features this event as being so volatile as to almost touch off a civil war in 1854. Our country was terribly divided over social and political issues. I was absolutely astounded to learn that the United States government was complicit in returning a fugitive slave to the horrible life from which he had recently escaped. It might have been lawful, but was it just? The story spoke to me, because I had experienced similar moral conflicts while serving on active duty in the Coast Guard. I wondered what I would have done in those circumstances and at that time. I had to find out.

RH: That is an intriguing answer. So now I”m wondering if your character’s response would have been the same as your own? That will be a question to follow up on after I finish your novel.When and where is your story set? (Any pictures you can provide would be nice for this question.)

AF: Find The Wind’s Eye is set in antebellum Boston in June of 1854. However, most of it takes place at sea aboard the government vessel that was ordered to return Anthony Burns to Virginia, sending him as a prisoner back to a life of slavery.

RH: Are you at liberty to share with Romancing History readers something that didn’t make it into the final copy like a deleted scene.

AF: I wanted to depict the courtroom trial of Anthony Burns, in which he was represented pro bono by Richard Henry Dana, a famous writer and civil rights attorney in Boston at the time. The outcome of the trial, which was all but pre-determined, depended entirely on the answers to two questions: (1) Was the man on trial Anthony Burns; and (2) Was Anthony Burns an escaped slave? Nothing else really mattered. Dana’s arguments for Burns to be set free during the week-long trial were eloquent and evocative, although he lost the hard-fought case. As I said, I’m enthralled by a good argument. However, I sensed that the opening chapters of my book required more dramatic action, which meant that it had to begin with the riots in the streets outside the courthouse after the judge passed the verdict that sent Burns back. So, I was forced to cut the first several chapters from the book. They were pretty good, though. It hurt to cut them.

As it turns out, the opening chapters depicting the riot outside the courthouse draw some interesting parallels to what happened on January 6, 2021 at the Capitol, even though they were written five years ago.

RH: Those scenes sound intriguing and might make a great giveaway for newsletter subscribers. Do you have a favorite quote from Find the Wind’s Eye you’d like to share?

AF: My favorite passage, I suppose, is the opening to Chapter 28, as the ship carrying Anthony Burns approaches the coast of Virginia after eight days at sea, headed to Norfolk. It speaks of arriving in this beautiful place with a purpose that wasn’t so pretty.

“As would any sailor worth his salt, [Third Lieutenant Andrew] Gunn sensed the nearness of land, like detecting the perfume of an alluring woman in the next room. Virginia beguiled them all, however, and kept them waiting just out of reach, her seductive scent borne on the light and variable breezes of late spring.”

“Meanwhile, the Morris labored on, her progress steady, but slow, standing up from the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay under the expert guidance of the pilot. Both wind and current had conspired against the ship nearly the whole way, as though the entire natural world opposed her mission.”

RH: Those quotes gave me goosies. You are an excellent writer. What do you hope readers will take away after reading Find the Wind’s Eye?

AF: My book depicts the ageless conflicts between mind and heart, duty and conscience, self-interest and sacrifice that lie at the center of the quest for freedom, justice, and equality in American society. Many elements of the story are relevant to current events in our nation today. I hope it raises timeless questions that the audience is compelled to answer for themselves.

RH: I think that is our job as writers of  historical fiction and historical romance—to bring those questions to the forefront through an examination of the past. What are you working on now?

AF: Currently, I’m writing the sequel to Find The Wind’s Eye, which doesn’t yet have a title. I hope to complete a series of five novels, taking the same MC through the Civil War, depicting the devastating effects of divisive social conflict and war on him, his family, and friends over a period of ten years.

I’m told by agents and publishers that historical fiction doesn’t sell very well these days. Yes, but … we as a people have a lot to learn from our past. Those vital lessons could save us from a horrible future, if we will heed them.

RH: Unfortunately, I’ve been told the same but we must write what the Lord lays on heart. It is not our place to worry about the size of the audience because truly, we write for an audience of One.

Thanks for visiting with us today, Alton. I hope and pray that audiences will find your book. It definitely sounds like a wonderful read.


Giveaway**

This giveaway is now closed!

Congratulations to our winners — Vivian Furbay, Emily Sellers, and Lori Altebaumer!

Alton has gracioulsy offered 3 print copies of Find the Wind’s Eye to three separate Romancing History winners. To enter please share your thoughts on current trends to either “whitewash” history or revise to fit better with today’s social narrative. Do you think we do ourselves a disservice to hide historical truths because they make us uncomfortable?

**Giveaway ends at midnight, March 3rd, 2021.

Christ is the Answer, Guest Post by Kathleen Bailey

I’m so excited to welcome fellow historical romance author, Kathleen D. Bailey, back to Romancing History. Kathleen has a timely message for us about how the Babe of Bethlehem is the answer the world needs, at Christmas, and throughout the year.

Kathleen’s newest release, The Widow’s Christmas Miracle, is part of Pelican Book Group’s Christmas Extravaganza. Here’s a little bit about her new release. Kathleen is also giving away an e-Book copy of The Widow’s Christmas Miracle and a New England Gift pack to one Romancing History reader. Give away details are at the bottom of the post.


From the Back Cover

Red Dawn’s world was shattered in a single vengeful act, an act that brought her to into the home of the enemy. She couldn’t love a white man, not after what they did to her people. Could she?

After losing a limb serving his country, Laban Jones has built a life from nothing. He’s got more than he dares ask for, but what woman would accept a one-legged husband? Can he offer Red Dawn three-quarters of a man, and will she be content with that? The answer they receive on a Christmas Eve is a miracle neither will ever forget.

“The Widow’s Christmas Miracle” is part of Pelican’s “Christmas Extravaganza” and is available at Pelican Book Group and Amazon.

 


Christ is the Answer

by Kathleen D. Bailey

 

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.”

The Babe of Bethlehem is placed under the Last Supper in the Chapel at Our Lady of La Salette, Enfield, NH.

It’s never been easy to be a Jew, and it wasn’t easy in 1 BC. Rome controlled Israel and every aspect of Jewish life, from taxes to burden-bearing. The people longed for deliverance. There was poverty, especially after the Jews paid their taxes. There was corruption, as the local and regional officials took a piece of those taxes. And those earlier days had their own plagues and diseases, including the dreaded leprosy, which could devastate a family for generations.

“And the angel said to them, ‘Fear not. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior which is Christ the Lord.”

But the Gentile world also longed for a deliverer. Many had had their fill of the made-up gods who weren’t any better than the humans who followed them…the gods who cheated and manipulated and rutted like animals and exploited humanity. They wanted something better. They wanted something real. Learned men from an Eastern land were pretty sure they’d found it. Or Him.

“When they saw the star, they rejoiced with great joy.”

We live in a world with its own corruption and unfairness. The Coronavirus changed the world as we knew it, every facet of modern life, from ordering a coffee to visiting a loved one in long-term care. Our world has suffered a sea-change, which has left many of us struggling to reach a life preserver.

But He’s already here. He was the Jews’ hope as they lived under the humiliation and rapaciousness of a foreign power, as their dignity was stripped on a daily basis. He was the Gentiles’ hope as they searched for a better way than unscrupulous “gods” who didn’t exist in the first place.

The guest blogger with her family Nativity set some time in the 50s. The wonder never grows old.

I write historical Christian fiction, and I’ve made it my mission to establish Him as the Better Way for my characters. I write historicals because every human emotion, and condition, is magnified by the strictures of earlier times. People on the Oregon Trail didn’t have the CDC to tell them how to deal with cholera. They had to figure it out themselves. Regency heroines couldn’t just go out and get a job when Papa lost his fortune. They had to hope, pray and hang on for dear life until the right suitor came along. Women died in childbirth and desperate men ordered mail-order brides to care for their children. Christ was and is the answer, leading the pioneers to an understanding of that disease, leading the Regency spinster to the man meant for her, helping the lonely widower find love again in a woman he barely knew.

And, Christ was the answer for the young couple in my Christmas novella, “The Widow’s Christmas Miracle.” Red Dawn, the young Cheyenne woman, loathes the white race after two rogue Cavalrymen burn her village and kill her young husband. The last place she wants to be is with white shopkeeper Laban Jones, who takes her in while her brother-in-law tries to avenge their village. She hates whites, and hates gentle Laban by association. Laban lost a leg, ending his Army career, and while he manages on his trading post and homestead, he doesn’t think any woman, especially Red Dawn, wants to be saddled with “three-quarters of a man.”

Who can bring these two stubborn souls together, and help them to be more than the sum of their parts?

The Babe of Bethlehem, who will heal all our diseases – and our land.


About the Author

Kathleen D. Bailey is a journalist and novelist with 40 years’ experience in the nonfiction, newspaper and inspirational fields. Born in 1951, she was a child in the 50s, a teen in the 60s, a young adult in the 70s and a young mom in the 80s. It’s been a turbulent, colorful time to grow up, and she’s enjoyed every minute of it and written about most of it.

Bailey’s work includes both historical and contemporary fiction, with an underlying thread of men and women finding their way home, to Christ and each other. Her first Pelican book, ‘‘Westward Hope,” was published in September 2019. This was followed by a novella, “The Logger’s Christmas Bride,” in December 2019. Her second full-length novel, “Settler’s Hope,” was released July 17, 2020.

She lives in New Hampshire with her husband David. They have two grown daughters.

Connect with Kathleen on her website, Twitter, Facebook or Linked In. Or if you prefer, you can email her at ampie86@comcast.net.


Giveaway**

This Giveaway is now closed!

Congratulations to our winner, Rebecca Waters!

Kathleen has graciously offered an e-Book copy of The Widow’s Christmas Miracle and a New England gift pack to one Romancing History reader. To be entered in the drawing, please comment below and tell us how, despite the many unique challenges that 2020 has presented, have you seen the light of Christ’s hope in the world reminding you that He alone is the answer?

**Giveaway ends at midnight, December 16, 2020.**

Puritans verses Pilgrims, What’s the Difference?

As Thanksgiving draws near, I’ve been thinking about the Pilgrims and Puritans who traversed the Atlantic Ocean with the hope of practicing their religion without the fear of persecution. For the longest time I didn’t realize that these two groups while similar, were different. The Pilgrims were Puritans, or at least a distinct group of Puritans.

Let me see if I can make any sense of it for you.

The Puritans, also known as Dissenters, were Protestants who followed the teachings of John Calvin, a reformed preacher who was greatly influenced by the ministry of Martin Luther. They believed the Church of England should be purified of the ceremony, liturgy and practices that weren’t mentioned in Scripture and they rejected the ecclesiastical offices of Cardinal, Bishop, Archbishop, and Priest, but they did embrace church offices mentioned in the Bible–pastors, deacons, elders and teachers. The Bible was their sole authority in all areas of life and worship.

Depiction of an English Puritan family, 16th century.
The Granger Collection, New York

Some common beliefs of the Puritans:

  • Predestination: The Puritans believed that before the foundation of the world, God had determined who would be saved and who would be damned. There was nothing an individual could do during their life that could change that outcome.
  • Prayer: They rejected the Catholic and Anglican Book of Common Prayer, believing that prayer should be spontaneous and not scripted. They also believed that you could beseech God directly on your behalf and rejected the idea of a priest as their intercessor.
  • The Church Building: The building itself had no significance to the Puritans and was kept intentionally plain with no religious art, crosses, windows, fancy architecture or icons to avoid the sin of idolatry.
  • Sacraments: They rejected all but two of the holy sacraments–baptism and communion. All the rest (confession, ordination, marriage, annointing the sick and confirmation) they believed were inventions of man and therefore heretical or idolatrous.

As time passed and few reforms were enacted withing the Church of England, some Puritans felt the church was so corrupt the only course of action for true Christians was to break free from its authority altogether. Those Puritans who left the Anglican Church and established their own houses of worship were labeled Separatists. Rejecting the Church of England was considered a slap in the face to the monarch who was its head. This was a crime punishable by jail or death.

In 1607-08, about one hundred Separatists sought religious freedom in Holland. They settled in the Dutch industrial city of Leiden. While there they established churches which held to strict observance of the Sabbath by not performing any labor on Sunday. They studied the writings of earlier Protestants and Separatists, such as Martin Luther and John Calvin, and they even established a printing press to illegally distribute new Separatist and Puritan books in England.

Henry A. Bacon – “The Landing of the Pilgrims”

The Pilgrims’ church flourished in the Netherlands as additional Separatists fled from England. Over time, many became concerned that they might lose their English cultural identity if they remained in Holland permanently so they arranged with English investors to establish a new colony in North America. Members of this group later migrated to America in 1620 aboard the Mayflower. Their journey to find a safe place to practice their faith without fear of retribution made them known to us today as the Pilgrims.

The Puritans who remained behind in England sought to reform the Anglican Church from within. This group, who reluctantly remained within the Church of England, is who history refers to as the Puritans. Many Puritans gained seats in Parliament and tried to influence the king to make reforms within the church. Their attempts failed and further angered the king. In 1630, John Winthrop lead 1,000 Puritans to settle in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. alongside the Pilgrims who by now had a flourishing community.

A 19th century bronze statue of Puritan John Winthrop, by sculptor Richard Saltonstall (Steven Senne, AP)

Although the Pilgrims and the Puritans now lived side-by-side in the Massachusetts colony, the outward expression of their faith in daily life was very different. The Pilgrims had left England to practice their faith in peace and solitude. Mercy, compassion and forgiveness became distinctives of their faith. The Pilgrims established peaceful relations with the natives who had taught them how to plant corn and to add fish heads to the soil to boost plant production.

The Puritans came to the Massachusetts Bay Colony believing they were to establish “a new Jerusalem” and sought both individual and corporate conformity to the teaching of the Bible, with moral purity pursued down to the smallest detail. They believed that man existed for the glory of God, that his first concern in life was to do God’s will. Although they sought religious freedom in the new world, the Puritans exhibited intolerance to the religious views of other immigrants and often hanged dissenters like Quakers, Anglicans and Baptists.

The Celebration of Christmas was banned in Puritan communities within the colony and punishment was dolled out for public drunkenness and adultery. The Puritan life was one of moderation. While they did dress according to their social classes and drank alcoholic beverages, they condemned those who would take these things to excess. Puritan Richard Baxter is quoted as saying, “Overdoing is the most ordinary way to undoing.” Undoing meaning your condemnation to hell. They also encouraged education of both males and females so the Bible could be read and understood by the masses.

The beliefs of both the Pilgrims and the Puritans were passed on to their descendants, many of whom pushed west and pioneered the American frontier, cementing their values in American culture. Both have left a legacy of courage and conviction on the American psyche.

Pastors, Patriots, & the Black Robe Regiment

Reverend George Whitfield

Unlike today, the church in colonial and Revolutionary America served as the hub for political debate, as well as for disseminating and discussing current events. And when it came to British oppression, they didn’t hesitate to call for independence. These fiery orators were dubbed by the British as The Black Robed Regiment in reference to their black clerical robes.

Defenders of the British crown found preachers’ support of the Patriot cause particularly detrimental to their efforts to maintain loyalty among the colonists. In the 1770s, most colonists still considered themselves aligned with England. Many parishioners questioned the legitimacy of revolution. From their pulpits, members of The Black Robed Regiment reassured their congregations that their revolution was justified in the eyes of God.

In fact, the British believed so strongly that it was the preaching from colonial pulpits that pushed its citizens into rebellion that many ministers had bounties put on their heads. Loyalists burned the homes and churches of the pastors who preached against British rule. Hatred by the British for the clergy ran so deep that on the battlefield wounded ministers were frequently executed rather than taken prisoner.

One such member of The Black Robed Regiment was the Reverend Samuel West, pastor of the Congregationalist Church of Dartmouth, Massachusetts. West was invited to give the prestigious Election Day sermon in Boston in 1776. In his message he proclaimed that the colonies were already independent and constituted a new nation. “Any people, when cruelly oppressed has the right to throw the yoke, and be free.” Reverend West  further declared, “To save our country from the hands of our oppressors ought to be dearer to us even than our own lives, and, next the eternal salvation of our own souls, is the thing of greatest importance–a duty so sacred that it cannot justly be dispensed with for the sake of our secular concerns.”

But the Patriot Pastors of the Revolutionary era didn’t just preach about liberty while encouraging their congregations to fight against tyranny, they led the way!

Reverend Peter Muhlenberg reveals his uniform to inspire his congregation to enlist.

Pastor Peter Muhlenberg, A Lutheran minister, ascended the pulpit on a cold Sunday morning in 1776 and preached from Ecclesiastes 3, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted…” Muhlenberg continued, laying the foundation for the point of his sermon. “In the language of the holy writ, there was a time for all things, a time preach and a time pray, but those times have passed away.” Imagine him standing before his congregation, his voice gaining intensity as he continued. “There is a time to fight, and that time has now come!”

Then, in dramatic fashion, Pastor Muhlenberg removed his clerical robe revealing his military uniform. He challenged his parishioners asking, “Who is with me?” Over 300 men from his church alone joined him in the fight for liberty, volunteering for what eventually became the 8th Virginia Brigade. Pastor Muhlenberg and his men fought in every major engagement of the Revolutionary War and wintered with George Washington at Valley Forge. A native Pennsylvanian, his statue, stands in the U.S. Capitol Building’s Statuary Hall–clerical robes draped over his right arm, sword firmly in his left hand.

The Reverend James Caldwell, minister of First Presbyterian Church of Elizabethtown, New Jersey, instructed his congregation that “there are times when it is as righteous to fight as it is to pray.” After the British put a bounty on his head, Caldwell went to the pulpit with two loaded flintlock pistols.

Like Muhlenberg, Caldwell also fought alongside his congregants. When the British captured Elizabethtown, Caldwell’s men were short wadding necessary to pack ammunition in their weapons. Without it they would surely be overrun. Caldwell rode to a nearby church and gathered as many hymnals as he could carry. Returning to his men, he instructed them to rip out the pages and use them as wadding in their muskets. Having stuffed the hymns of such classic writers as Isaac Watts down the barrels of their guns, he yelled “Give ’em Watts boys, put Watts into them!” The British referred to Caldwell as the “Fighting Chaplain” and his brave leadership was immortalized in verse.

“Who’s that riding in on horse-back?
Parson Caldwell, boys; Hooray!
Red-coats call him “Fighting Chaplain,”
How they hate him! Well they may!”

According to David Barton of Wall Builders, “modern historians have noted that not one single right asserted in the Declaration of Independence hadn’t been preached from colonial pulpits prior to 1763.” It wasn’t only the British who gave great attribution to the clergy but Founders like John Adams exalted the clergy’s role in stirring the hearts of the people to fight when he said, “the pulpits  have thundered.”

The call to educate the church on political and social issues didn’t end with American victory at Yorktown. The Black Robed Regiment of the Revolutionary era set a precedence that inspired pastors throughout American history to instruct their parishioners on what the Bible said about issues ranging from slavery to civil rights. Patriotic pastors have led troops into battle, ministered to the wounded, written laws and public policy, lobbied our government, founded universities and have been elected to local, state and federal government offices across the nation.

Sadly, today many pulpits are quiet when it comes to instructing the church on what the Bible has to say about the social and political issues of our day. According to Pastor Dan Fisher, author of Bringing Back the Black Robed Regiment,”Today the church has become marginalized almost to the point of cultural impotency and spiritual irrelevance.”

Pastor Gary Hamrick, of Cornerstone Chapel in Leesburg, Virginia, said in a recent Election Day sermon, “The church of Jesus Christ is God’s restraining force in the world today against evil. If we abdicate our responsibility as ambassadors for Christ and as agents of truth, then evil will prevail.”

If you’re interested in learning more about the movement underway challenging America’s pastors to speak up in this ever-increasing politically correct, cancel culture we live in or to obtain a Christian voter’s guide for your state, please visit the  National Black Robed Regiment and view the short video.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can pray for America, our political leaders, and important social issues facing our nation, visit Intercessors for America and click on their resource tab.

Join the Conversation: Do you think the church has abdicated its role in teaching and encouraging their congregations about the important social issues of our day?

The Forgotten History Behind Patriot’s Courage & a Giveaway by Penelope Marzec

As you all know, I love learning about history. I’ve been known to drag my children and husband to museums and battlefields so I can soak in as many little historical details as possible. I especially enjoy learning about historical events through the settings and events I read in historical fiction and romance, even when those events are unpleasant.

Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to a new friend, fellow Pelican Book Group author Penelope Marzec. Penny’s book, Patriot’s Courage, is the third book in her Patriot Historical Romance series.

In her guest post, she shares one of those events that at least our generation, Penny’s and mine, wasn’t taught in school. I’m a firm believer that history should not be white-washed nor should it be reinterpreted to satisfy ever changing political narratives, but unfortunately sometimes in our past, we’ve looked the other way when history didn’t shed a favorable light on the “good guys.”

Before we get to Penny’s post on one such historical event, we’re going to learn a little more about Patriot’s Courage.

Oh, and be sure to read her excerpt and enter the drawing to win an eBook copy of Patriot’s Courage. The details are in the Giveaway section at the bottom of the post.


Patriot’s Courage

Ryan McGowan vows to kill every Indian in Ohio territory in retaliation for his brother’s death. At the Battle of Fallen Timbers, he breaks his ribs and finds a white woman sobbing over a dead warrior. When the captain assigns him to teach the woman English, he resents the task, but the woman melts his vengeance away. He begins to understand the way to peace is forgiveness. Then he learns the woman carries the child of her Indian husband in her womb.

Màxkchulëns, a white woman adopted by the Lenape at the age of four, is confined at the fort and longs to return to her people. Though Ryan leads her to recall part of the faith her biological parents held dear, she struggles to understand it and the power of grace.

Can she rely on that grace in desperate times? And will faith protect her unborn child as well?

Patriot’s Courage is available for purchase on:

Amazon     Pelican Book Group     B&N     Kobo     Google Play Books     Apple Books


A Peek into the Forgotten History Behind Patriot’s Courage

Guest Post by Penelope Marzec

In delving into the research for PATRIOT’S COURAGE, I learned a great deal more about the culture of the Native Americans, none of which was ever mentioned in history books when I was a child in elementary school. The history of the indigenous people in North America is not a happy one. Still, love can win even under the most difficult circumstances.

For my story, I focused on the Lenape, since the heroine of my story was raised by that tribe, but some things applied to other tribes as well. In general, the Native Americans believed that if someone was wronged, retribution should be given, which on the surface appears to be a good way to handle matters. It is not unlike what we do today when someone wrecks our car. Their insurance policy should pay for the damages—including the deductible.

The problem with a policy of retribution is that it can easily turn into revenge. The lands of the Native Americans were gradually swallowed up by the whites. When they fought back, the whites—despite their Christian upbringing–dealt vengeance against the Native Americans. This became a vicious cycle with no hope.

Some particular cruelties stand out and explain the spiraling hatred of the Indians towards the whites. One historical incident, which I mention in my book, is the sad story of the Gnadenhutten Massacre. Moravian missionaries, who were pacifists, converted Delaware Indians to Christianity. But during the Revolutionary War, one hundred and sixty militiamen attacked the Indians. The militiamen believed the Indians had killed and kidnapped several white Pennsylvanians, but the Christian Indians were not involved in that raid. Still the militiamen did not search for the actual perpetrators of the raid in Pennsylvania. Instead, they held a mock trial, convicted the Indians of murder, and sentenced them to death. The Indians were put into two buildings where they spent all night praying and singing hymns. In the morning, the militiamen killed them and burned the buildings. Ninety-six Indians were murdered—men, women, and children. Half of those killed were children.

The result of the massacre was mounting distrust between the whites and the Indians. The news spread to all the tribes and the tragedy ended any hope of bringing whites and Native Americans together in Christian community.

George Washington warned soldiers in the Continental army not to get caught by the Indians after they killed William Crawford, an American soldier and surveyor who worked as a western land agent for George Washington. Mr. Crawford was burned at the stake by American Indians in retaliation for the Gnadenhutten massacre.

Two decades later, the Shawnee chief Tecumseh said to William Henry Harrison, “You recall the time when the Jesus Indians of the Delawares lived near the Americans, and had confidence in their promises of friendship, and thought they were secure, yet the Americans murdered all the men, women, and children, even as they prayed to Jesus?”

Even one hundred years later, Theodore Roosevelt called the massacre “a stain on frontier character that the lapse of time cannot wash away”.

In PATRIOT’S COURAGE, the hero realizes he has little hope of convincing the heroine to embrace Christianity. Yet, he tries.

Revenge did not heal the atrocities that occurred during those times. The propensity of humankind to wreak vengeance caused nothing but more hatred. I pray that in the future, love will always win.


Excerpt from Patriot’s Courage

Màxkchulëns, also known as Red Bird, stopped grinding corn and listened. Her proud husband, Running Beaver, felt confident the white men would be defeated as they had been three years ago. But now an eerie silence hovered in the air as the distant drums ceased pounding. The repeated sounds of gunfire ended. The birds resumed their songs. The river gurgled along the banks. “

It is too soon.” Her aunt frowned.

Fear wound through Red Bird. Last night’s strange dream seemed to be a warning, frightening her so badly she mentioned it to no one.

The other women quit working and gathered together on the outskirts of their village. They waited, for the calm did not bode well. Red Bird took out a smooth, round white stone from her medicine bag and rubbed it. Running Beaver gave it to her when they were both children. He was a strong, brave warrior who did not fear death. Yet, Red Bird trembled. She loved Running Beaver. When she first came to the village, he coaxed her out of her fright. His gentle, kind manner and patience eased her misery.

Sudden shouts alerted her and the other women as the young boys returned with news of the rout and the failure of their British allies to open their fort and give aid in the fight. The boys claimed many warriors lay dead on the field of battle.

Màxkchulëns, haunted by her alarming dream, started toward the battlefield. Other women followed.

Her aunt tried to drag her back. “There may still be white soldiers there. It is dangerous!”

Red Bird refused to listen. She shoved her aunt’s arm away and walked onward until she came upon the appalling site of the brief battle. Dead and dying men with ghastly wounds littered the area. Blood coated the earth. The sound of wailing women rent the air with grief. The sharp smell of gunpowder mingled with a putrid stench in the heavy, humid air. The odor turned her stomach.

Red Bird drew a cloth over her nose. Her heart thundered as she stared into the faces of dead men, hoping to find the one that mattered most to her.

The yellow hide soldiers went about the task of picking up their wounded and dying. She stayed as far away from them as she could, but the task proved difficult for huge fallen trees covered the area and men lay in between the many trunks.

After some time, she found Running Beaver. She reeled at the sight of the grievous wound in his back. His face lay in the dirt while his body pressed against a huge, felled tree. She knelt beside him and reached for his still, cold hand. Last night in her dream, he walked along the white road of stars on his journey to the village of the Great Creator, Kishelemukong.

She could not tell her husband of her fears, for he would have scoffed at her. No brave warrior would refuse to fight in a battle simply because his woman asked him to do so.

She glanced around, uneasy. In her nightmare, another warrior, Dancing Squirrel, pulled her from Running Beaver. She’d woken from her dream shaking and in a cold sweat. She never trusted Dancing Squirrel. Once, he wanted her to be his woman, but she refused him as was her right. Since that time, he sneered at her in a threatening manner whenever he saw her.

Now that Running Beaver was dead, would Dancing Squirrel ask to have her as his woman once more? Tears gathered in her eyes, but she tried to hold them back as she caressed her husband’s shoulder and sang the death song to him. Sorrow welled up and choked her words. Her shattered hopes raked her soul until it was raw.

A soldier approached. He laughed at her. She scooted back against the bark of the fallen tree. The tall man stood over her. His hulking, muscular build rivaled that of any of the strongest warriors. He muttered something, reached down, grabbed her arm, hauled her upright, and squeezed her bosom.

Red Bird screamed and struggled to get away, but his strength overwhelmed her. He pulled at her braided hair and gave a raucous laugh.

She tugged the braid out of his hand.

Another solider, carrying his bright, woolen jacket on his arm hobbled toward them. With his face creased in pain, he leaned on a sturdy branch. He spoke to Màxkchulëns’s abuser in a low tone layered with harsh severity. The abuser stopped fondling her but continued to hold her arm so tightly she thought he would break it. She screamed until her voice grew hoarse. The man leaning on the branch spat out sharp words, winced, and turned ashen. Other men hurried to drag her abuser away.

The man with the sturdy branch offered his jacket to her. She did not want it, but she assumed wearing it would mark her in some way as protected. She accepted the woolen coat.

As she donned the garment, another wave of fear and grief consumed her. She collapsed over her husband’s body and wept, well aware she remained at the mercy of the horrible soldiers. She didn’t care. Running Beaver no longer breathed and would no longer smile. He must leave her behind as he went on his long journey to Kishelemukong’s village. Mired in her misery, she wished for death to come soon. Perhaps one of the soldiers who killed Running Beaver would kill her as well.

After a while, she lay exhausted and spent from her weeping. The flow of tears ended, leaving her hollow. The rumble of a heavy wagon sounded nearby. She glanced to the side and watched as the yellow hides lifted their wounded into the back of the vehicle. The man who gave her his jacket spoke to several other soldiers. He plainly suffered from the effort of speaking but the other men scurried about in obvious obedience. She wondered if he was a chief.

Two soldiers lifted her off her feet. Red Bird did not struggle or scream this time. If they were to kill her, she would die as courageous a death as any warrior. The men placed her in the wagon beside the man who must be their chief. He drew her hand in his. She did not pull hers away. He spoke to her in a whisper, but she did not understand his language. Perhaps he was telling her how she was to die.

The other women of her tribe stood with their heads bowed as the wagon lumbered by them. None of them came to her aid, and she did not expect them to put themselves in danger. A brief swell of panic nearly consumed her, but she fought against it. She would be strong, she would be courageous, and she would soon join her husband on the white road of stars.


About Penelope

Penelope Marzec grew up along the Jersey shore, heard stories about Captain Kidd, and dug for his buried treasure. Her adventure resulted in a bad case of poison ivy. Deciding books were better than buried treasure, she discovered romance novels and was soon hooked on happy endings. She became an early childhood educator and found her own hero in an electrical engineer who grew up in Brooklyn, played the accordion, and was immune to poison ivy. Now retired, Penelope either writes her stories or paints seascapes in oils. Sometimes she sings while her husband plays the accordion.

Penelope writes in several subgenres of romance. You can find her online at www.penelopemarzec.com read her blog at http://penelopemarzec.blogspot.com, become a fan at www.facebook.com/penelopemarzecbooks, or follow her on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/marzecpenelope/


Giveaway**

**This giveaway is now closed**

Congratulations to our winner, Rory Lemond!!

Penny has graciously offered to giveaway an eBook copy of Patriot’s Courage. To enter the drawing, share with us a little known historical event or detail you’ve learned about in the comments below.

**Giveaway ends at midnight, Wednesday, October 7th, 2020**

Why I Chose the 18th Century for My Novel? by Izzy James & a Giveaway

I love discovering new-to-me historical romance authors. And while this week’s guest, Izzy James, is new-to-me she is not new to fans of contemporary romance. Her latest release, The Shopkeeper’s Widow, is her 6th book and her first full-length historical romance. And bonus points for Izzy, she is a both a fellow Virginian and a fellow Pelican Book Group author.

Izzy has graciously offered an eBook copy of The Shopkeeper’s Widow to one lucky Romancing History reader. See the Giveaway section at the bottom of the post for details.

Before we hear why she chose the 18th century for the setting of her latest novel, here’s a little bit about the book.


About the Book

 

Delany Fleet, a widowed former indentured servant living in the colonial port of Norfolk, Virginia, dreams of having an estate of her own where she will never have to compromise her freedom.

When the only man she ever loved shows up with a load of smuggled firearms, Delany is forced to leave her home and her livelihood to protect her family and property from Lord Dunmore’s raids and the conniving plots of a man who claims to be her friend.

Now, with her destiny forever altered, Delany must find a new way to happiness. Can reconnecting with her husband’s family and a former love be the path that God has for her?

Amazon   B&N   Kobo   GooglePlay   iBooks: The Shopkeeper’s Widow


 

Why I Chose the Eighteenth Century for My Novel,

The Shopkeeper’s Widow?

by Izzy James

 

I grew up in Norfolk, Virginia three to four blocks from the Chesapeake Bay. It’s a military/blue collar town surrounded by astounding beauty. So much of the Hampton Roads area is overlayed by modernity that it’s hard to believe it’s one of the oldest settlements in America. The bones of the old town are still there. We still drive on the imprint of the same roads. Three-hundred-year-old houses stand amidst their modern counterparts. This underlying history whispers to me.

At the weaver’s house, Colonial Williamsburg, VA

I’ve been interested in the Revolutionary time period for quite a few years now, and you know, I love Williamsburg. I’ve been there many times, but it wasn’t the only “Revolution City”. There were more Tea Parties than the one in Boston. Once I began to search maps and read diaries and histories of Virginia—Norfolk in particular—Delany’s story developed.

Science was the hobby of intellectually minded people of the time. Experiments in electricity were on going, people were inventing all time. So I made Delany scientifically minded with a strong faith. Then I thought about her freedom. There are many accounts of women taking over businesses when their husbands died during this time frame. It was also normal for people to remarry fairly quickly at the time. There is Delany’s conundrum. She has unprecedented freedom and wealth for her, when her old schoolgirl crush comes back around what should she do? What would you do?

I’d love to hear what you think of The Shopkeeper’s Widow.


Excerpt from The Shopkeeper’s Widow

 

Delany swung back into her shop looking for something to punch and rushed right into Field Archer’s chest. At once surrounded by strong arms and a strong need to bathe, Delany forgot to breathe.

“Aunt Delany,” Ben laughed “Mr. Archer is here to see you.”

“So I see, Ben.” She looked up into his twinkling brown eyes and stepped back a proper distance. Of course his height had not changed, but he had filled out. His chest was broad and solid. She pulled her hands back to her chest before she let them slide over to his shoulders. It was Field Archer. He was right here in her shop.

“Mrs. Fleet.” His baritone strummed a girlish cord of humiliation that she thought long gone.

Before she could respond, the door opened again.

“Well, Mrs. Fleet, that’ll show them, won’t it?” John Crawley’s fat face was slick with glee. His small black eyes gave her the usual once over that made her feel exposed. She squelched a shudder and moved behind the counter.

Field turned his back to them and moved toward the toy shelves.

“The association will back down now.” Crawley wiped his hands down the front of his brown frock coat. “It won’t be long before we can get our ships out of here. We are saved, Mrs. Fleet.”

“What does his lordship want with a printing press?”

“To silence the dirty-shirts.”He hooked his thumbs in the pockets of his coat. “No voice. No followers.”

“It remains to be seen, Mr. Crawley, what the militia will do.”

“We just saw what those yellow-bellies will do.” He bent forward over the counter, enough that she could smell his luncheon ale. “It will all be over soon, and we can get back to business.”

“Was there something you needed, Mr. Crawley?” Delany stepped back from the counter and took a glance at Field hoping for an interruption. Seeing only his back, she gazed at the shelf beneath. A new box of wax inserts for missing teeth caught her eye. “Some plumpers for Mrs. Crawley, perhaps?”

The red in Crawley’s face deepened to crimson. “No, thank you.” He checked his tone. “My mother is in need of nothing at the moment.” This time when he leaned in, the gleam in his eye hinted of impropriety.

Delany leaned back.

“Were you frightened?” He rocked back on his heels, looked over his shoulder at Field, rested his elbows on the counter, and breathed a rotten cloud. “I will protect you.”

Over my dead body. “Thank you, Mr. Crawley, for your offer, but I can take care of myself.” She came out from behind the counter. “Now if there is nothing else” I really shouldn’t keep my customers waiting.” After a last glance at her” and then Field” he exited.

Delany wiped the counter of his greasy imprint.

When the doorbells tinkled, indicating the departure of Mr. Crawley, Field turned toward Mrs. Fleet. The insinuation in Mr. Crawley’s declaration of protection gave Field pause. Perhaps his mother had been wrong to send him here.


About Izzy

 

Izzy James is the pen name of Elizabeth Chevalier Hull. Elizabeth grew up in coastal Virginia surrounded by history. A geographer by degree, Elizabeth loves traveling the historic roads of the Old Dominion seeking the stories they have to tell. Elizabeth still lives in coastal Virginia with her fabulous husband in a house brimming with books.

Connect with Izzy on her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

 

 


Giveaway**

This Giveaway is now closed.

Congratulations to our winner, Susan Sloan!

Izzy has generously offered an eBook copy of The Shopkeeper’s Widow to one lucky Romancing History reader. To be entered in the drawing let’s ponder the questions Izzy posed at the end of her post. Delany’s conundrum is that she experiences unprecedented freedom and wealth for a woman in the 18th century. When her old schoolgirl crush comes back around what should Delaney do? What would you do?

**Giveaway ends midnight, Wednesday, September 16th.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words by LoRee Peery

I have new friend and fellow Pelican Book Group author, LoRee Peery, sharing how a dream, a weathered barn, and a love for cowboys inspired her latest release, Cowboy Just in Time.

LoRee has generously offered a print copy of one of her Indie titles, Repurposed. See the giveaway details at the bottom of this post.

Before we hear from LoRee, let’s learn more her time travel novel, Cowboy Just in Time.


About the Book

 

When event planner Amanda Totten falls through a barn trapdoor and finds herself in the arms of an 1890’s cowboy, she scrambles to find a way back to the future. She has a life and obligations—her fledgling business and her mother’s financial needs. But the less stressful lifestyle, and her deepening love for Gavin Medley, is calling to her heart and she is torn between past and future.

Has God given her a chance at love?

Gavin Medley has been working for years to regain his family homestead. As ranch foreman, he has nothing but a dream of a place and family of his own. But his love for Amanda is making him think that having his own ranch isn’t as important as having someone to love for the rest of his life.

Amanda returns to the future, and Gavin is shattered. He tries to go forward in time, but fails. Believing it’s God’s will, Gavin resigns himself to living without the love of his life.

But love transcends time, and Amanda and Gavin need each other. Can Amanda return to her cowboy?

Amazon   Pelican Book Group


A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

 

Once upon a time I had a time travel dream. I rarely remember my dreams but this one stayed with me for a long time. I may have even dreamt it before I started writing for publication. In the dream, a woman (I think it’s me) walks upstairs in a country house and opens a door. Kapow! She steps into the old West. I never forgot it and it made me wonder if I could ever write anything historical.

Then I saw an old barn on an acreage where my brother once lived, and the seeds of Cowboy Just in Time took root. My forty words: An event planner falls through a barn loft floor and finds herself in 1890. The cowboy embodies the man of her dreams. He wants her to stay. She needs to leave. Is their love enough to span the ages?

Oh, boy. What do I know about writing a historical novel? Let me count the ways.

–I grew up on a farm that had been homesteaded (not by my family, but we owned it for 50 years) in Antelope County, Nebraska.

–I’m the oldest of seven and there was only one bedroom and no inside bathroom until I was ten (four kids at the time—we all slept in a full bed).

–I loved the pastures and often imagined buffalo grazing and cowboys galloping their horses across the land.

–I fell in love with romantic cowboys and Zane Grey books as a girl.

–Westerns were favored movies by my whole family.

I love to read cowboy historical novels, but could I really write one? Mary Connealy, I am not. The urge, the mind pictures, especially the barn, would not leave my head. So I started to pray and began the story way back in 2014.

The questions that came up, wow. What did Omaha look like before the 20th century? I knew the stockyards were a huge presence. When did the telephone come to the country? Would a ranch home have a pump with piped water on the porch?

Amanda, Gavin calls her Mandy, adapted to his time. There were skeptics. Why would a savvy business woman want to go back in time when life expectancy was so low? Why would a cowboy foreman who worked all his life for the homestead of his birth want to jump forward in time? God gives answers, in His time.

In Cowboy Just in Time Phoebe, the rancher’s daughter, is not a very likeable character. She has redeeming qualities and kept raising her hand to be heard. So Phoebe’s story is the sequel called Future of My Heart, where she comes forward in time, and releases in August.

Thank you, Kelly, you historian, you. It’s been a pleasure to join my little bit of history with your lovely blog.


About LoRee

 

Nebraska country girl LoRee Peery writes fiction that hopefully appeals to adult readers who enjoy stories written from a Christian perspective, focusing on the romance. These include novels and novellas for women and men in the Contemporary, Romance, Historical, Time Travel, and Mystery/Suspense categories. She writes of redeeming grace with a sense of place. Her Frivolities Series and the book based on her father’s unsolved homicide, Touches of Time, are available on Amazon. She is who she is by the grace of God: Christian, country girl, wife, mother, grandmother and great-, sister, friend, and author.

You can connect with LoRee on Twitter, Facebook, or on her Amazon author page or website.


Give Away Alert**

**This Giveaway is now CLOSED**

Congratulations to our winner, Sharon!

 

LoRee has generously offered a print copy of one of her Indie titles, Repurposed. To enter the drawing, please tell us below what would be the most difficult part of suddenly being transported to the 19th century.

**Giveaway ends midnight, September 2nd, 2020.**

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author Interview with Angela Couch & a Giveaway

Although today’s guest, Angela Couch, has visited Romancing History on numerous occasions, I’ve never sat down with her for an interview. Grab a cup of hot tea, or coffee if you prefer, put your feet up, and let me introduce you to one of my dearest writing friends.

Shameless plug, if you haven’t read Angela’s Heart at War series, I highly recommend these Revolutionary war stories that pit Loyalists against Patriots.

Angela has graciously agreed to offer a $5 Amazon gift card to one Romancing History reader. To enter, see the Giveaway section at the bottom of this post.

Before the interview, let’s learn a little bit about Angela and her new release, Heart of a Warrior.


About Angela

 

To keep from freezing in the Great White North, Angela K. Couch cuddles under quilts with her laptop. Winning short story contests, being a semi-finalist in ACFW’s Genesis Contest, and a finalist in the International Digital Awards also helped warm her up. As a passionate believer in Christ, her faith permeates the stories she tells. Her martial arts training, experience with horses, and appreciation for good romance sneak in there, as well. When not writing, she stays fit (and warm) by chasing after four munchkins.

You can connect with Angela on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or by visiting her website.


About the Book

 

The Man She Fears Is Her Only Chance For Survival . . .

All Christina Astle wants is to reach Oregon before her baby is born, but the wagon train is attacked, and her husband killed, stranding her in a mountain labyrinth. Raised in the East, within civilization’s embrace, survival is not a skill she’s learned. Neither is evading the lone warrior dogging her trail.

Disgusted by the greed and cruelty of men like his white father, Towan has turned to the simpler existence of his mother’s tribal people. He is not prepared for the fiery woman who threatens to upturn his entire life … and his heart.

Amazon     B&N     Pelican Book Group


Author Interview

 

Fast Five

  1. Dogs or Cats: Dogs
  2. Chinese or Mexican: Mexican
  3. Sound of Music or Hello Dolly: Sound of Music
  4. Oatmeal Raisin or Chocolate Chip: Chocolate Chip
  5. Pride & Prejudice or Jane Eyre: Pride & Prejudice

RH: I’m so tickled to have you back on Romancing History, Angela. How is it that we’ve never done an author interview before? Why don’t you begin by telling us a little bit about yourself.

AC: I am the mom of 4 awesome kiddos under 10 – three boys and a girl. We are also very excited for #5 who should make his or her debut in Feb! I home school my oldest three and write when I have a few minutes during naps and afternoon play (thankfully my kids play together really well!) As far as writing goes, it has been hard settling into an era. My first series is set during the American Revolution and I have shorter stories spread between Colonial days and WWII. My latest release is late 1850s on the Oregon Trail.

RH: Congratulations on the new baby Couch on the way! I’m so impressed by all the different time periods you’ve written about. Fans of romantic fiction love a cute meet. How did you and your significant other meet?

AC: Technically, I met my husband at church when he was visiting his sisters, but I still don’t remember that. The meeting I remember happened about 4 months later when he came to visit his sister who was now my roommate. I had spent the morning writing in my fuzzy PJs and housecoat, and had just emerged to eat something—though it was early afternoon. We chatted in the kitchen for a while with his sister and I remember thinking two things: 1) I feel like we’ve met before, and #2) I really want him to like me.

RH: You must have made quite the impression, even in your fuzzy PJs and house coat! So if you were already writing at that time, about when did you first feel the calling to tell stories?

AC: I always loved the idea of writing books even before I could write. I would draw squiggles across pages until I had a nice thick stack. When I was a teen I started my first novel and set the goal to be published…someday.

RH: I’m always a bit jealous of those authors who’ve known they wanted to write as soon as they could hold a pencil. I didn’t start writing until my late 40s. Speaking of your writing, what three words best describe the type of stories you write?

AC: Action. Adventure. Romance.

RH: As a huge fan of your books, I’d have to say you hit the nail on the head. Do you have any unpublished stories stashed away that you really hope see the light of day someday?

AC: There are two stories I would like to find a home for. One is a post WWII story, exploring buried pain and trauma from the war and attempts to recover past loves. The second is a series I am working on right now about dashing Canadian Mounties.

RH: Since we are critique partners, I’ve had the privilege of reading these stories and I, too, am hoping they find a home so that readers can enjoy them as well. Can you share with us the inspiration behind Heart of a Warrior?

AC: Driving through the Rockies Mountains quite a few years ago, I looked down into a valley and its dense forest full of shadow and wondered how it would feel to be lost down there? I pictured a young woman trying to find her way over the sometimes-impassible terrain, afraid and very much alone. How would she survive? How would she find her way through such an impossible labyrinth of valleys and peaks, rivers and lakes? What if she was pregnant and there was no civilization for hundreds of miles…except maybe a village of a people she couldn’t even communicate with?

I wrote her story, enjoying her adventure and the finding of her courage and faith. And then, a few years later, added another point of view—that of the Shoshone warrior who saves her. Writing from Towan’s eyes took the story to a whole new level, one that moved me very deeply. I think it is too easy for society to lump people into cultures and races, instead of accepting each person as an individual with their own experiences, outlooks, and challenges. After all, Jesus Christ is the Savior of us all.

RH: Wow, it sounds like your story has a lot of cultural relevance for modern readers. Before I let you go, can you share a little about what your working on now?

AC: Honestly, right now I am working on house renovations and canning fruits and veggies! But as soon as we settle back into school, I will go back to my Mountie series. I have been having a lot of fun with those stories!

RH: I marvel at how busy you are and how much writing you get done. Speaking of writing, can I persuade you to give us a little taste of Heart of a Warrior?

AC: Sure. I’d love to! Here’s a little bit from Chapter One.

Autumn 1859

Eyes clamped shut against the subsiding ache in her abdomen, Christina Astle sucked in cool mountain air. Pine saturated the breath and constricted her lungs like the corsets she’d happily given up only months earlier. Her hand stole across her extended stomach. What had she been thinking, agreeing to follow Anthony away from society, safety, and a house with four walls? What if they didn’t make it to Oregon in time? She refused to give birth with nothing but canvas overhead.

The wagon wheel dropped into another rut, and a gasp escaped her, drawing her husband’s gaze. “I’m sorry. I wish I could go slower, but we’re at least a mile behind them.” He glanced at the sun hovering above, then slipped the gold watch from his breast pocket and flipped it open. “It’s after three already.”

“I know…and I am fine.” Christina raised her chin a degree but refused to look at him and his perpetually concern-laden eyes. Anthony did everything within his power to keep her comfortable, stopping often, even when it meant trailing behind the rest of the wagon train. As long as they caught up by nightfall. Still, heat rose in her chest. They should have waited another year, or—better yet—never left Cincinnati in the first place.

The crack of a discharging rifle pierced the valley and deepened into echo. Then a scream, soft and haunting. More gun fire followed, ricocheting off the high mountain ridges.

The wagon lurched to a halt, and Christina grabbed for the seat. She stared ahead at the empty trail scarred with evidence of those who led the way. Horses. Cattle. Families with children. God, no!

The wagon jerked and rocked off the trail, reins slapping the backs of the mules.

Christina dug her fingertips into the raw wood. “What are you doing?”

“I’m taking it away from the trail. I’m not leaving you sitting in plain sight.”

“Leaving me? You can’t. We don’t know what’s going on.” Her head spun. “No, Anthony. Not with these mountains full of savages. Don’t you dare leave me here.”

The wagon tipped slightly then righted, dropped over the slope, and rolled into an aspen grove. White bark glimmered in the bright sun, and young saplings sprang back into place as the wheels passed over.

“There’s only one way to find out what’s happening. If they’re being attacked, they’ll need help.” Anthony lunged to the ground and unharnessed the mules, fastening them farther out of the way. All except the one trained to ride. Anthony left him near the wagon, heaving a saddle over his withers and forcing a heavy bit into his mouth.

Christina remained paralyzed on the seat. “Anthony…no. Don’t go.”

He said nothing as he loaded his revolver and strapped it to his thigh. With the Winchester tucked under his arm, he swung onto the back of the animal and twisted the reins through his fingers. “You’ll be safe here. Most likely it’s nothing.” He looked away, giving the mule an angry kick. The animal balked but lurched to a trot toward the trail.

“Anthony!”

He rotated in the saddle enough to meet her gaze and yanked back on the bit. His brown eyes studied her face, and his chest released a sigh. “Chris, I have to go. You know where the other rifle is, and the shells are under the seat if you have any need of them. I’ll be back soon.”

Christina sagged against the back of the wagon seat. The edge bit her spine. Hooves scraped the loose rock of mountain trail and faded with the distant gun fire.


Giveaway**

This Giveaway is now Closed!

Congratulations to our winner, Andrea DeDeaux!!

Angela is giving away a $5 Amazon gift card to one lucky Romancing History reader. To enter the drawing, please tell us if you’ve ever traveled to the Rocky Mountains.

**Giveaway ends midnight, August 26th, EST**

Author Interview with Ramona K. Cecil & a Giveaway

I’m excited to welcome fellow Pelican Book Group author, Ramona K Cecil to Romancing History. She is a multi-published and award-winning author of historical romances. Ramona’s recent release, The Time for Healing, is set in Shawnee territory in 1824 and released on August 7th.

Ramona has graciously offered on eBook copy of The Time for Healing to one Romancing History. Make sure to comment below to enter the drawing!

Before we chat with Ramona, here’s a little bit about her book.


About the Book

Will their love be the last casualty of the Pigeon Roost Massacre?

Ginny Red Fawn McLain is determined to hold fast to her adoptive Shawnee culture despite her sudden reentry into her white birth family. She rejects their Christianity, fearing the tenets of the white man’s religion will prevent her from practicing as a Shawnee medicine woman. But her heart refuses to shun her uncle’s young friend and apprentice minister, Jeremiah Dunbar.

Jeremiah Dunbar has never doubted what he would do with his life—he’d follow in his father’s footsteps as a minister of the Gospel. But a mission trip west to the Native American tribes makes him begin to question his future plans. At the discovery of his fellow missionary’s long lost niece living among the Shawnee, Jeremiah is immediately smitten. But unless Ginny Red Fawn McLain joins Christ’s fold—something she adamantly resists—Jeremiah will have to choose between the woman he loves and the work God has called him to do.

Ginny and Jeremiah struggle to discern the will of God, the Great Spirit, for their lives, and if fitting their love into His plans is even possible. Dreams and cultures clash amid an atmosphere of contempt and distrust, threatening to make their love the last casualty of the Pigeon Roost Massacre.

Amazon     B&N     Pelican Book Group     Thrift Books     Book Depository


Author Interview

Fast Five

  1. Dogs or Cats? Cats. Don’t get me wrong, I do like dogs, but my mother was deathly afraid of dogs, so we had cats for pets growing up. Cats also take less care.
  2. Coffee or Tea? Coffee—extra light. I need at least a couple cups in the morning to get going. If coffee is offered it’s often my drink of choice.
  3. Mexican or Chinese Food? Mexican. I’ve never much cared for Asian cuisine, but offer me a plate of nachos or a beef burrito and I’m there.
  4. Night Owl or Early Bird? Definitely night owl. For years my husband worked a late second shift. We got used to getting up late—Hubby calls it “cruising into the day,” and not hitting the sack until midnight.
  5. I Love Lucy or Get Smart? I Love Lucy. It was a must-watch show in my childhood. Lucy and Ethyl Mertz, what a hoot!

Author Q&A

RH: Hi Ramona. Welcome to Romancing History. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

RKC: I’ve been writing creatively since about the age of four when I began to compose poetry. Both my parents dabbled in writing poetry and my mother wrote two unpublished novels. I was the middle child of three and the only one of my siblings to get the writing bug. Between the mid 1980s and 1990s I sold over eighty of my verses to leading publisher of Christian gift items. I still get emails from fans of those verses. I now write historical romance novels/novellas for the Christian market. My stories are set in the 1800s and early 1900s. My first book, Larkspur, was published in 2006 as a result of winning first place in a contest sponsored by a publishing company. Since then, I’ve had fourteen more traditionally published novels/novellas. When I’m working on a project I set a goal of 1000 words a day. I always pray for guidance before I begin writing and I finish my prayer with “Give me this day my daily thousand words.”

RH: Wow, I had no idea you’d published fourteen novels or novellas. That’s a huge accomplishment. Now tell us something unusual about yourself. Something not in the typical back of the book author bio—something quirky.

RKC: I don’t think I’m especially picky in general, but I am picky about bread. I don’t like my bread squished. My husband won’t even handle a loaf of bread for fear of squishing it. He says he’d just as soon handle a hand grenade.

RH: That’s funny, but seriously, who wants squishy bread? Fans of romantic fiction love a cute meet. How did you and your significant other meet?

RKC: My husband and I knew each other in high school—he was a couple years ahead of me—but we never dated then. A couple years after I graduated high school we re-connected at a church ice cream social. He came to partake and I was taking the donations. He said “So you’re the money changer?” I wanted the ground beneath me to open up and drop me out of sight. After he enjoyed his ice cream he came back and asked for my phone number. We began dating and six months later we were married. That was forty-seven years ago.

RH: That’s a cute story. I love how people meet their spouses, usually during some mundane thing and they have no idea their life is about to change forever. And, 47 years! That’s wonderful! Which 3 words describe the type of fiction you write?

RKC:  Christian, historical, romance

RH: That is exactly the type of fiction I love to read—Christian historical romance! What has God taught you along your writing journey?

RKC: Patience, persistence, and handing everything over to Him. Years ago after a particularly tough rejection, I considered quitting writing (as if I could). While walking on my treadmill I prayed and asked God to let me know if I should continue to pursue a writing career. A moment later a strange sensation came over me. The best way I can describe it is the sensation of water pouring over me, but I didn’t get wet. I took that to mean God wanted me to keep going, so I did. About a year later my first book was published.

RH: Writing is a tough business. I’m so glad you didn’t give up writing. I too have learned so much about perseverance, accepting criticism and rejection, and God’s faithfulness to the calling He has given me. What was the inspiration behind your recent novel?

RKC: The Pigeon Roost Massacre, a tragic event that happened in 1812 about thirty-five miles south of where I live. On a calm September afternoon in 1812, just before sunset, a little pioneer village in the southern part of Indiana Territory is set upon by hostile Shawnee. Twenty-four settlers including women and children were killed. It is said that two children were taken captive by the Shawnee. The story is told, though also refuted, that one of the captured children—a little girl—was found many years later west of the Mississippi River by her uncle who was a Christian missionary to the Indians. When I first read the story, my writer’s mind immediately went to “I wonder what would have happened if. . .” That was my “jumping off” point and the result became The Time for Healing.

RH: I’m quite the little history nerd and I love it when real events inspire fiction. If you were to pick a particular Scripture verse as the theme of your novel, what would it be? Why?

RKC: Ecclesiastes 3:3 (KJV) “A time to kill, and a time to heal; A time to break down and a time to build up” I think this verse fits the story to a T, especially the first phrase.

RH: Yes, based on what you shared above about the Pigeon Roost Massacre, I’d have to agree with you. Fans of historical fiction & romance love the details that your research provides. Was there anything particularly interesting that you learned while researching your book that you were able to use or not use in your story that you’d like to share?

RKC: My heroine, Ginny Red Fawn McLain, is a Shawnee medicine woman, so I learned a lot about the Shawnee culture. One research source I used was Kohkumthena’s Grandchildren The Shawnee, written by Dark Rain Thom, a Shawnee medicine woman and wife of author James Alexander Thom. Mr. and Mrs. Thom live a couple counties northeast of mine in southern Indiana. One interesting bit of Shawnee culture I learned about is the “woman’s button.” The woman’s button consisted of a smooth round rock encased in leather attached to a leather cord. A young woman carried the “button” on her waist belt. If a too-ardent suitor plied her with unwanted attention she’d whip out her “button” and bop him on the head to change his mind.

RH: I’ve never heard of the “woman’s button” before. How fascinating! I hope you were able to incorporate that into your story. Would you like to share something that didn’t make it into the final copy (deleted scene).

RKC: I wrote a prologue to the story, but later decided not to use it in order to make the story more active. I loved the prologue though, so I kept it on my computer. Here it is:

Scott County Indiana, September 3, 1812

“It’s time for you to feed the chickens and bring in the eggs, Ginny.”

Ginny blew out a long breath and dropped her rag and cornhusk doll to the floor. It was a good baby. No matter what she did with it, it never cried. She walked, but not too fast, across the room to the fireplace where Ma held out a bucket half full of shelled corn while bouncing Ginny’s squalling baby brother in her other arm. “Maybe if the house is quiet, I can finally get Joe to sleep.”

“Yes, Ma.” Ginny wanted to say that it was Joe making all the noise, not her. But the way Ma’s mouth was all puckered up liked she’d bit into a green persimmon told Ginny she was in no mood for sass.

Not wanting to risk a switching, Ginny kept quiet and took the bucket with both hands. The rope handle scratched her palms while the bucket’s weight pulled hard on her arms, making them burn. She wouldn’t complain. Feeding the chickens gave her a good excuse to get out of the house and away from Joe’s crying that made her ears hurt.

At least today she wouldn’t have to shell the corn. When she pushed the grain away from the soft red cobs, the rough, dry kernels always dug into the heels her hands, making them sting.

Before baby Joe came she had less work to do and more time to play. Ma seemed to know that Ginny wished Joe hadn’t come because she’d say things like “You’re a big sister now, all of six years old. ’Fore you know it, you’ll be growed.” As if that would make her like her brother better. It didn’t. Maybe she’d like him better when he got old enough to play with her, but right now she’d rather have her doll.

Ma followed Ginny to the cabin’s open door. “And don’t rip your dress or get it dirty” she said over Joe’s cries. “Uncle Zeb and Aunt Ruth are comin’ for supper.”

“Yes, Ma.” Nodding, Ginny lugged the bucket down the two stone steps and headed toward the pine trees where the chickens would roost for the night. She liked this time before supper when the sunshine poked through the pine grove around their cabin. It looked like melted butter the way it poured through the trees and settled in yellow puddles in the dirt. She liked the way things smelled this time of day, too. The pine needles smelled stronger, and she could even smell the creek water, fresh and cool beyond the trees where bullfrogs had already started their croaking. They sounded like they had a bad case of the hiccups, only deeper. She paid attention to things like that. Aunt Ruth said that was why Ginny would do well when she went to school.

“Chick, chick, chick,” she called.

Their wings flapping, the chickens appeared from the brambles and the shadows behind the trees. Ginny liked the colors of the chickens, some black and white speckled, some all snowy white, and some a reddish brown color that almost matched the color of Ginny’s hair. Their eggs were different colors, too. Some white and some brown. She was eager to see how many she might find in the thicket where the chickens had made their nests against the trunk of an old fallen tree. She’d have to be careful to get all the eggs and not leave any behind for the raccoons and other varmints to steal.

She grinned down at the plump birds as they strutted and clucked and pecked at the dirt. “Puck, puck, puck, puckaw!” Cocking their red-crowned heads sideways, they looked up at her with eyes like big black peppercorns and clucked louder, begging for the corn.

Ginny grabbed a handful of kernels from the bucket and scattered them over a patch of bare ground, too shaded for grass to grow. While the chickens pecked at the corn, Ginny jabbed the air with her finger, practicing her counting like Aunt Ruth had taught her.

“One, two, three. Stand still so I can count you. Four, five, six. Six hens and one, two roosters.” She especially liked the roosters. They stood taller than the hens and puffed out their big chests when they walked. The combs on their heads and the dangly things under their chins were bigger and brighter red than the ones on the hens, and they had sharp toenails on the backs of their legs that could scratch her if she wasn’t careful. But Ginny loved their brightly colored tail feathers that curled behind them and looked like little rainbows in the sunlight.

“That makes eight,” she said, proud of herself as she finished counting. At supper, she would show Aunt Ruth and Uncle Zeb how well she could count. Aunt Ruth would be proud of her, too. Ginny was glad Aunt Ruth was the school teacher. Even if Ma needed Ginny to stay home and help with chores and not go to school for another year or two, she would not get behind in her learning.

An owl hooted. It sounded close.

Ginny looked up into the pine boughs above her. She’d never heard an owl call while it was still this light. And Ginny paid attention to these things.

Another owl hooted, and then another. But the sound didn’t come from up in the trees. It came from near the ground over by the creek. Why would owls walk when they could fly? Pa said they liked to roost high in the trees and look down on everything.

Pa.

Pa should have been back from driving their cow, Sadie, home from the meadow where she liked to graze. The tallest pine tree’s shadow stretched across the yard and bent up against the cabin. Pa was always home before the shadow touched the cabin.

A scream came from inside the cabin, chilling Ginny like the time last winter when she fell into the creek. The sound froze her in place, and the bucket’s rope handle slipped from her fingers. Somehow she knew it was Ma that had screamed, but it didn’t sound like Ma. Joe wailed, but then he stopped right in the middle of his crying and everything got quiet. Joe had never stopped crying all of a sudden like that.

Ginny looked down where she’d dropped the bucket, spilling the corn in a yellow heap. She reached down to pick up the bucket, but someone grabbed her arm. She looked up and saw a man with red lines painted across his face standing over her. He didn’t have much hair, just a little in the back, and a large gray and white feather dangled from it. His chest was bare and large rings hung from his ears and nose.

She tried to scream like Ma had, but nothing came out.

RH: Wow, Ramona, that scene ended with a bang. Now I’m looking forward to reading The Time for Healing even more. Thanks for visiting with me and my readers this week.


About Ramona

Ramona K. Cecil is a poet at her core. She loves the Lord, her family, reading, writing, and

history, especially the history of her home state of Indiana. She’s a wife, mother, grandmother, poet, and author of fifteen historical romance novels for the Christian market. She and her husband of forty-seven years are empty-nesters with two grown daughters and three young-adult grandchildren. They make their home in Seymour, Indiana, the “small town” made famous in rocker John Mellencamp’s song of the same name. She began writing poetry at the age of four and has had over 80 of her inspirational verses published on a variety of gift items by a leading publisher of Christian gifts. In recent years her writing has shifted more to novels and novellas. With her love of Hoosier history, many of her stories are set in Indiana’s past.

You can connect with Ramona on GoodReads, Amazon, Twitter, Facebook or visit her website.


Giveaway**

This giveaway is now closed!

Congratulations to our winner, Judy Attebury!

Ramona is giving away one eBook copy of The Time for Healing. Ramona shared that one of her quirks is not liking “squishy” bread. To enter the drawing, please tell share one of your quirks in the comments below.

**Giveaway ends midnight, August 19th EST.**

When “Happily Ever After” Isn’t Quite Enough — Guest Post & Giveaway by Kathleen Bailey

I’m so excited to welcome another fellow Pelican Book Group author and friend, Kathleen Bailey, back to Romancing History. Kathleen’s latest release, Settler’s Hope, is the second book in her Western Dreams series which follows a group of pioneers on the Oregon Trail. To learn more about the first book in the series, Westward Hope, click here.

Kathleen has graciously offered not one, but three giveaways so be sure to see the details below!


About the Book

Before Kathleen shares her some insights on “Happily Ever Afters,” here’s a little bit about Settler’s Hope.

After years of wandering, Pace Williams expects to find a home in the Oregon Country. He doesn’t expect is to fall in love with a fiery Irishwoman bent on returning home to avenge her people.

Oona Moriarty expects one thing: to exact revenge on the English overlords who took her home. She doesn’t expect to fall in love with a man who looks like he’s been carved from this Western landscape.

Together they vow to trust the unexpected and settle into a life, but when Pace’s ancient enemies threaten to destroy the life they’re building, Oona must choose between helping the man she loves and seeking the revenge she craves.

Available for purchase on Amazon and B&N

 


When “Happily Ever After” Isn’t Quite Enough

~By Kathleen D. Bailey

 

Romance writers are in the business of happy endings. Right? Where he gets her and she gets him and, if there are kids involved, they get a complete family. It’s what we do, why our hero and heroine go through whatever they have to go through to, ultimately, be together.

But life is funny. Sometimes we don’t get what we want. Sometimes we shouldn’t have it. And sometimes God does say “Not now.” I was recently pointed in this direction by two novels and a movie.

In “My Best Friend’s Wedding,” starring Julia Roberts, the heroine has been BFFs  with a college friend for most of their post-college lives. They’ve seen each other through crashed relationships, job debacles and more, while never recognizing their attraction to each other. When Dermot Muloney tells Roberts’ character that he has found The One, she begins to wonder if an early attraction to each other should have been, and should be fanned back into flame. The Julia character’s dawning realization of her feelings is thrown into relief when the Dermot character asks her to be his “best person” at his wedding to a very young Cameron Diaz. Things hit fans, Julia tries to sabotage the wedding and at one point steals a bread truck, and Dermot actually begins to wonder himself, even kissing her at one juncture. You’re rooting for the two best friends to get together, you can’t help it. But at the end of the day his future is with the Diaz character, and Julia backs off.

In Lynn Austin’s novel, Waves of Mercy, debutante Anna Nicholson has two men to choose from: her wealthy and exacting former fiance, William, and a young seminary student, Derk, whom she meets on a respite trip to Lake Michigan. Anna undergoes a voyage of discovery that summer, finding out exactly who she was when the Nicholsons adopted her, and cementing her faith in Christ. While William is mellowing and more than ready to give her a second chance, even accommodating her faith, she is drawn to gentle Derk, who has always accepted her for who she is. The reader is drawn to him too. At least this one was.  But Anna knows who she is now, and she goes back to Chicago to serve and learn more about her Lord. She’s still not certain of a life with William, and though she’s fond of Derk, she honestly doesn’t know if she’s cut out to be a pastor’s wife after a life of luxury. Can love overcome all? We don’t know. But at the end of this book, it hasn’t.

 In Debra Clopton’s Betting on Hope, the cowboy does get the girl, with quarter horse champion Tru Monahan and writer Maggie Hope overcoming their painful pasts for a life together serving God. Tru was rendered sterile by a series of childhood cancer treatments. A subplot features a very young unwed mother, Jenna, who desperately wants to keep her baby. Maggie and some townspeople create a plan to support her. But Jenna knows that even with help, she can never give her daughter what a solid adoptive family can. The reader is pulling for that family to be Maggie and Tru – but that doesn’t happen.

When people do the right thing, for their best friend, unborn child or for their own spiritual health, it hurts. It’s not always fun to be the grown-up. In fact, it hardly ever is.

Because there is something even better than “happiness.” It is joy.

The joy of doing the right thing.

There are doubts along the way, and none of the authors or screenwriters sugarcoat them.

  • From Betting on Hope

            “Maggie walked out of the hospital. Disbelief weighed heavy on her heart over Jenna’s decision. She told herself Jenna’s baby would grow up better than either of them had. That this child would be loved. And wasn’t that what was ultimately important? Not who was raising her. After all, she’d had two parents and both of them had tossed her by the wayside.

            But would Jenna ultimately grow to hate that she hadn’t kept her baby?”

            And finally there is the freedom of letting go. For what isn’t perfect, what can’t be on this earth, but what is right.

  • From Waves of Mercy

            “He pulls me into his arms and holds me tightly. I feel so comfortable there, and as I return his embrace I wish with all my heart that it could be different for us – but it can’t.

            ‘Derk, I truly believe that God brought you and me and Oma together this summer for a reason. All three of our lives have been changed. Now…now it’s just so very, very hard to say goodbye.’

            ‘Then we won’t,’ he says, still holding me tightly. ‘We’ll just say…until next time.’ We finally release each other and stand at the same time. ‘You’ll always be in my prayers, Anna, and I hope I will always be in yours.’

            Tears stick in my throat as I nod. I can’t reply. Derk bends to kiss my cheek, and I watch him turn and walk away. I think I understand how hard it was for Oma Geesje to say good-bye to Hendrik on that long ago day, to watch him walk away into the woods and out of her life forever.

Joy

When we give up what we want, in ourselves, for the Better that God has for us. In genre writing there are certain conventions—the mystery gets solved, the Hero and Heroine end up together—but sometimes it comes at a cost. We, and our characters, should be prepared to pay that.

Another cinematic example: “Casablanca.” Rick doesn’t get Ilsa, and it’s his own choice. The man who didn’t “stick his neck out for anybody” gave away the love of his life to a man who had stuck his neck out, and suffered for it. Rick did the right thing, and we know what it cost him.

But the ultimate example of the perfect ending is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He could have come down from that Cross at any time. Hugged his mother, gone to supper with his anxious pals. Forgone the physical pain and the shame of carrying our sins, opting instead for a Happy Ending. Done what made sense to everyone except Him.

He didn’t. Joy trumped happiness, and we are the better for it.

For future reading:

Betting on Hope, by Debra Clopton, Thomas Nelson 2015, ISBN 978-1-4016-9049-6

Waves of Mercy, Lynn Austin, Bethany House 2016, ISBN 978-0-7642-1761-6


About Kathleen

Kathleen Bailey is a journalist and novelist with 40 years’ experience in the nonfiction, newspaper and inspirational fields. Born in 1951, she was a child in the 50s, a teen in the 60s, a young adult in the 70s and a young mom in the 80s. It’s been a turbulent, colorful time to grow up, and she’s enjoyed every minute of it and written about most of it.

Bailey’s work includes both historical and contemporary fiction, with an underlying thread of men and women finding their way home, to Christ and each other. Her first Pelican book, ‘Westward Hope,” was published in September 2019. This was followed by a novella, “The Logger’s Christmas Bride,” in December 2019. Her second full-length novel, “Settler’s Hope,” was released July 17, 2020.

She lives in New Hampshire with her husband David. They have two grown daughters.

For more information, contact her at ampie86@comcast.net; or connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn or visit her website.


Giveaway**

This giveaway has now ended!

Congratulations to our winners!!

Ebook Copy of Settler’s Hope: Annette

Paperback Copy of Westward Hope: Peggy Clayton

NE Gift Basket: Theresa Sissions

Kathleen has generously offered not one, but three giveaways to three separate lucky Romancing History readers–one eBook copy of Settler’s Hope, on paper copy of Westward Hope (U.S. Residents only), and one New England Gift Pack (U.S. Residents only). International winners will receive their choice of an eBook copy of one of Kathleen’s books.

To enter, please share with us a favorite book or movie that has a bittersweet ending.

**Giveaway ends midnight, August 5th, 2020.**

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