Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Fire Up the Romance this Holiday with @RobinLeeHatcher’s “Love Without End” Kindle Fire Giveaway!

Fire up the romance this holiday with Robin Lee Hatcher's latest offering in the King's Meadow Romance series, Love Without EndFor two single parents with bruised hearts, it’ll take more than a little courage to get back on the horse when it comes to love.

Celebrate love rising from the ashes of tragedy with Robin by entering her Kindle Fire giveaway.

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One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • Love Without End and the rest of the King's Meadow Romance series from Robin Lee Hatcher
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on December 14th. Winner will be announced December 15th on Robin's blog.

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Love without end

{More about Love Without End}


A King's Meadow Romance (Thomas Nelson, November 2014) 

Chet and Kimberly have both failed when it comes to love. Will they risk their hearts to love again? 

Chet Leonard's life was forever changed when his 17-year-old son died and then, soon after, his wife walked out on their family. Over two years later, all he wants to do is hold onto his horse ranch and raise his remaining sons to be honorable men. Kimberly Welch, widowed mother of Tara, a rebellious 15-year-old, has reached the end of her finances and nearly the end of her rope. She and Tara come to King's Meadow to try to piece their lives back together again. 

Kimberly has no intention of becoming involved with the residents of this remote mountain community and certainly not with any man. When octogenarian Anna McKenna returns to King's Meadow and to the Leonard ranch, she becomes an agent of change and healing for the two hurting families. With her help, Kimberly and Chet may discover that true love has no end. 


Robin Lee Hatcher


{More About Robin Lee Hatcher}

Best-selling novelist Robin Lee Hatcher is known for her heart-warming and emotionally charged stories of faith, courage, and love. The winner of the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction, the RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance, two RT Career Achievement Awards, and the RWA Lifetime Achievement Award, Robin is the author of over sixty novels. 

Find out more about Robin at http://robinleehatcher.com

Monday, November 24, 2014

Quilts of Love | SWEPT AWAY – Kindle Giveaway & “Merry Quilted” Facebook Party!

Don’t miss the newest Quilts of Love book, Swept Away by Laura V. Hilton and Cindy Loven. November’s QOL release is a spark of romance and fun just in time for the holidays.

Enter to win a Kindle HDX, and RSVP for the “Merry Quilted” Quilts of Love Facebook party on December 9th. 


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One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • Swept Away by Laura V. Hilton and Cindy Loven
  • Hidden in the Stars by Robin Caroll
  • Quilted by Christmas by Jodie Bailey
Enter today by clicking the button below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on December 9th. Winner will be announced during the "Merry Quilted" Christmas Facebook party on December 9th. RSVP today and connect with some of the Quilts of Love authors (Jodie Bailey, Laura V. Hilton, Cindy Loven, Cathy Elliott, and Gina Welborn) for a "merry" evening of book chat, Christmas traditions, prizes, and more!

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{NOT ON FACEBOOK? ENTER HERE.}

RSVP today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on December 9th!

Swept Away cover

{MORE ABOUT QOL SWEPT AWAY}


New from Abingdon Press’ Quilts of Love series 
Sara doesn’t think she wants love. But her grandmother has other plans.
Sara Jane Morgan is trying to balance teaching with caring for her ailing, stubborn grandmother. When school lets out for the summer, the plans are for Grandma to teach Sara Jane to quilt as they finish up the Appalachian Ballad quilt Grandma started as a teenager. But things don’t always go as planned.
Andrew Stevenson is hiding from his past—and his future. He works as a handyman to pay the bills, but his heart is as an artisan, designing homemade brooms. When Sara Jane’s grandmother hires him to renovate her home, sparks fly between Drew and his new employer’s granddaughter.
Still, it doesn’t take Sara Jane long to see Drew isn’t what he seems. Questions arise, and she starts researching him online. What she discovers could change her life—and her heart—forever.

L. Hilton / C. Loven

{MORE ABOUT Laura v. HILTON and Cindy LOVEN}


Laura V. Hilton is an award-winning author and a professional book reviewer. A stay-at-home mom and home school teacher, Laura lives with her family in Horseshoe Bend, Arkansas. 
Cindy Loven is active in the church and writes from her home in Conway, Arkansas, where she lives with her husband and their son.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Kum Bah Ya


Kum Ba Yah
new version 

Kum Ba Yah my LORD, Kum Ba Yah,
Kum Ba Yah my LORD, Kum Ba Yah.
Kum Ba Yah my LORD, Kum Ba Yah,
Kum Ba Yah my LORD, Kum Ba Yah.

Chorus
Singin’ rain, storm, fire, wind,
Kum Ba Yah
Rain, storm, fire, wind,
Kum Ba Yah

Somebody’s praying LORD, Kum Ba Yah,
Somebody’s praying LORD, Kum Ba Yah.
Somebody’s praying LORD, Kum Ba Yah,
Somebody’s praying LORD, Kum Ba Yah.

Chorus

Somebody’s singing LORD, Kum Ba Yah,
Somebody’s singing LORD, Kum Ba Yah.
Somebody’s singing LORD, Kum Ba Yah,
Somebody’s singing LORD, Kum Ba Yah.

Chorus

Somebody’s crying LORD, Kum Ba Yah,
Somebody’s crying LORD, Kum Ba Yah.
Somebody’s crying LORD, Kum Ba Yah,
Somebody’s crying LORD, Kum Ba Yah.

Chorus

Come by here my LORD, come by here,
Come by here my LORD, come by here.
Come by here my LORD, come by here,
Come by here my LORD, come by here.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

This is now my life

I sure hope we sell lots of Christmas trees and Christmas balls next weekend, because this has become my life!

Dad and I kind of tricked Mom into coming over Thursday night. Maybe Dad tricked me too. I told him I was going to crochet while watching my TGIT shows (Grey's Anatomy and Scandal). He was going to come over to paint, and bring Mom along to watch TV.

We all ended up painting for 3 hours.

Earlier today Paige came over and painted for a while. Dad stayed most of the day. Rakia is coming down tomorrow, and is going to help some too.

I STILL NEED to crochet more because I have orders and I know others want headbands.

And yes, I need to crop my pictures to get my feet out of them and rotate them. Time is not on my side.







Friday, November 21, 2014

Dr. Klaus-Deiter John tells of trusting God to help the people of Peru

An interview with Klaus-Dieter John,
Author of I Have Seen God 

Imagine being medically trained at some of the most prestigious institutions in the world — Harvard and Yale — and turning your back on a lucrative medical career in private practice to care for the poor. As Klaus-Dieter John writes in his book, I Have Seen God (Monarch Books/November 27, 2014/ISBN: 978-0857215741/$16.99), it was a dream he and his wife, Martina, shared since before they met.

I Have Seen God tells of how the Johns were able to follow their dream to open a first-rate medical facility for the Indians of the Peruvian Andes, some of the world’s poorest people. The hospital’s name, Diospi Suyana, means “we trust in God” in Quechua, the native language of the people it serves. It is a testament to their experience that with God the impossible can happen.

Q: Tell us how you came to titling your book, I Have Seen God.

When I was a student some of my friends were atheists. After some of my long discussions with them, I would wonder whether God was real or if it was just wishful thinking on my part. There were also times when I felt afraid of death. One night I walked across a field. It was so dark and the wind was blowing, and I just shouted at the top of my voice, “God, where are you?  I want to see you!” In the history of our hospital, God has answered my prayer and become very visible to me and to hundreds of thousands of people who have heard the story.

Q: What led you into the medical profession? Have you always wanted to be a doctor?

As a teenager I read books by Paul White, an Australian doctor who served in Africa for two years and later went on to publish books on his experience as a “jungle doctor.”  I was inspired by what he wrote and wanted to lead the kind of interesting and adventurous life he led as well.

Q: How did you meet your wife? How did you know you were meant to be married and serve together?

I met my wife when I was 17 and she was 16. Both of us shared exactly the same vision for our future: We wanted to get the best medical training available and then work as missionary doctors for the rest of our lives.
At the time, I had been elected president of our high school, and she was a leader of a group of girls at the school. It was through our interactions there that we fell in love. We also led a youth group together at our church and both studied medicine at Mainz University.

Q: Both you and your wife have medical training from some of the most prestigious institutions in the world. Why did you decide to use your expertise to serve the poor?

There are so many great medical needs worldwide, but only a few doctors invest their entire lives to helping the less fortunate. As a matter of fact, statistics show there are only about 1,000 doctors who work as career missionaries, relying totally on incoming donations. In Europe and the U.S. there are approximately 5 million doctors total. So 1,000 is hardly anything compared to the need.

My time spent at Harvard University’s Massachusetts General Hospital and Yale University as a surgical resident opens doors for me when I travel around the world to share our testimony. For instance, I frequently have the opportunity to speak at secular universities, companies and charity organizations. Some people will take me more seriously when I talk about my faith in Jesus Christ if they know I’ve had success in the secular/academic circles from which they come.

Q: Can you share more about the situation in Peru and why such a large segment of the population is vastly ignored and without healthcare?

Thirty million people live in Peru, and half of them are indigenous. These people, called the Quechua, are the descendants of the ancient Incas. They have been neglected and exploited for centuries and have a reduced life expectancy. The majority of them lives in adobe (clay) houses and are many times without window glass, running water, electricity or a sewage system. This clearly impacts their health and longevity.  

Q: What does the name of your hospital, Diospi Suyana, mean?

In Quecha, Diospi Suyana means “we trust in God” or “God is waiting for you.” Two interpretations of that expression are possible. Both of them express the intentions of the ministry.

Q: How does the mission hospital care for the needs of the people in Peru? How many people do you help on a regular basis?

The Diospi Suyana Hospital is certainly among the best-equipped mission hospitals in the country, and it is quite comparable to a modern hospital in the U.S. or Europe.

So far, we have treated 140,000 patients who have come from all 25 states of Peru. Currently, there are twelve doctors working at the hospital. We could see many more patients if only we had more doctors.

This year, we can treat up to 150 patients per day in the western treatment style, which consists of CT scans, endoscopy, digital X- ray, ICU, sophisticated lab facilities, etc. Our patients contribute only 20 percent to our annual budget. The other 80 percent of our budget comes from donations.

Q: What spiritual aspects do you bring to the medical care?

We start every morning at the hospital with a church service. Since we opened seven years ago, we’ve celebrated 1,600 church services. We teach the patients who attend that despite the best medical care, we are destined to lose the fight against physical death eventually. Only Jesus Christ, who walked out of His tomb three days after being crucified, can offer us eternal life. Almost all of our patients have seen the popular Jesus Film in our waiting room.

Q: What led you to write a book about the founding and continuing mission of Diospi Suyana?

The book was first published in Germany, which, along with the rest of Europe, is really a postmodern and post-Christian culture. In Western Europe only 4 percent of people go to church. I wanted to share with the world the story of Diospi Suyana because it shows non-Christians evidence that God is real. It also encourages Christians of all denominations and nationalities you can experience God even in a globalized world driven by money and power.

Q: I Have Seen God was first published in Germany and became a bestseller there. What made you want to bring this message to America? There’s a special story behind the translation of the book. Please share the story with us.

Despite of its admittedly strange title, it has sold tens of thousands of copies since it was released in 2010 in the German book market, which is a small market compared to the U.S.

One morning, I was sitting in my office and thought it would be so nice to publish the book in English so we could bring its message to the English-speaking world. I remembered an English lady who had helped us years ago with some translations for our webpage. I sent her an email inquiring as to whether she was aware of my book and, if so, whether she would consider helping with a translation.

Meanwhile, unknown to me, she was in her house more than 8,000 miles away, looking at a copy of I Have Seen God she had bought for a friend sitting on her desk. She suddenly thought an English translation would be an excellent idea. She stopped what she was doing and prayed about it. The next time she turned on her computer, she discovered my email asking her to help me. She did the whole work free of charge. When I gave my first public presentation on our story in England recently, she was present, which was very meaningful. 

Q: There are many books out there about the amazing work missionaries are doing around the world. What makes I Have Seen God different?

That may be true in the U.S., but in Europe there are hardly any books on the market with stories like that of I Have Seen God. The dominant feeling is “mission books” don’t sell. Because of this, I wanted the book to have wide appeal so it can be read and understood by someone who perhaps has never been to church, as well as a Christian who might need encouragement in his or her faith, or just to learn what God is doing in Peru through Diospi Suyana.

I have heard stories of people in Europe using the book to share the Gospel message with their non-Christian friends and colleagues.

Q: You had quite the battle to fight, overcoming government regulations.  What were some of the biggest obstacles you had to overcome?

In June 2006, the Peruvian Ministerio de Cultura (Ministry of Culture) enforced an immediate halt to construction, claiming we hadn’t obtained all the required licenses. The penalty was set at $700,000, a sum that could have put the whole Diospi Suyana organization under. Through mysterious ways, my wife and I received an invitation to the office of the Peruvian First Lady, Mrs. Pilar Nores de Garcia in July. By the time, our 70-minute presentation about Diospi Suyana was over, the Peruvian First Lady had decided to become our sponsor. As soon as this news became public, the Ministry of Culture withdrew all their charges against our organization.

Then in January 2013 we wanted to import brand new materials for our dental lab worth up to $117,000. The shipment was blocked in customs for some very shady reasons. Eventually we asked for help through our website, and within days about 4,000 emails from 20 countries were sent personally to the Peruvian Secretary of Health, and a secular TV-channel and two leading newspapers wrote stories about what was happening. Eventually customs gave in, and our supplies were delivered.

Q: You have raised millions of dollars to do this work. How did you do it?

So far, I have given just more than 1,900 hundred presentations in 19 different countries about the work we do at Diospi Suyana. Neither I nor my wife ever asks for money when we speak. We simply share our story, pack our bags and say goodbye. I also always pray before I get up to speak to a crowd that God will use my presentation for His purposes. And I share the same story everywhere I go — whether it’s a secular or Christian audience. God has blessed this approach abundantly.

To date, our ministry has received more than $21 million in cash donations and medical equipment. Two-thirds of these gifts have come from private individuals, and the other third has been donated from 180 companies from around the world, including the U.S., Mexico, Peru, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and many more countries.

In Germany 25 percent of the overall population has seen, read or heard about our ministry through TV, printed press and radio interviews we’ve done. We’ve been blessed with media coverage in 15 countries. In October last year I gave the main lecture at the inauguration of the 4th World Congress of Pediatric Surgery. There were doctors from every continent present.  I concluded my 20-minute message with this statement:

“This evening, there are Hindus, Muslims and Christians, agnostics and atheists gathered in this congress centre. I have the greatest respect for your beliefs and convictions, but if you were to ask me how I personally explain the astounding development of Diospi Suyana, I would tell you I am sure it was God. It was His work. It was the power of Jesus Christ!”

Q: What do you hope readers will take away with them after reading I Have Seen God?

I hope they will walk away with a new or renewed sense that God is real, that it is worthwhile to pray to Him, and that as Christians we can be very outspoken about our faith even to non-Christians because there is nothing better than to share the Gospel.

For more information about Klaus-Dieter John and the work of the Diospi Suyana Hospital, visit www.diospi-suyana.de.


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Frank Peretti meets a modern day Treasure Island! {And Kindle Giveaway!}

Welcome to the series launch of J.A. Marx's Destiny series. Book one, Destiny Defied, is a chilling tale of freedom from oppression and the Light that overcomes the dark.

J.A. is celebrating the launch of her series with a Kindle giveaway and a Facebook author chat party on December 2. 


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  One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • Destiny Defied by J.A. Marx.
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on 12/2. Winner will be announced at the Destiny Defied Facebook author chat party on December 2nd. RSVP for a chance to connect with J.A. Marx, to chat about the book, as well as to win some great prizes!

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RSVP today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK, TWITTER or PINTEREST and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 2nd!


Desitiny Defied

{MORE ABOUT DESTINY DEFIED}


Book One in The Destiny series.
A dramatic shipwreck emancipates Riki Hammad, but the island where she finds refuge is compromised. Unless she finds a power truly great enough to defeat her dark past, she will choose death over returning to captivity. Lord Vétis, high priest of a cultic underground, will stop at nothing to reclaim their chosen one. Using black magic, he manipulates Riki and her four self-assigned bodyguards, triggering a battle that consumes the entire island. The underground will never allow Riki to live out her dreams of a normal life…something she has never known.
J.A. Marx

{MORE ABOUT J.A. MARX}


J.A. loves writing embattled spirit novels — adventure and suspense with supernatural undertones. On the side, she dabbles in non-fiction articles and e-zine editing. J.A. owes many thanks Jerry Jenkins and the Christian Writer’s Guild for their support and education.
Find out more about J.A. at http://online.jamarx.net.



Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Sarah Ladd talks about A Lady at Willowgrove Hall

An Interview with Sarah E. Ladd,
Author of A Lady at Willowgrove Hall 
 
When the noose of your secrets begins to tighten, it can cut off any hope for freedom and love in the future. Letting the light of truth sever your unhealthy tie to the past is a major theme of award-winning author Sarah E. Ladd’s book A Lady at Willowgrove Hall (Thomas Nelson/October 7, 2014/ISBN: 978-1401688370), the third and final installment in the Whispers on the Moors series. Set in Great Britain’s Regency era, A Lady at Willowgrove Hall perfectly conveys the romantic sensibilities of that time.

Q: A Lady at Willowgrove Hall is the third book in the Whispers on the Moors series set during the Regency period. What years are considered to be Regency, and what were some of the historical events that took place during the time period? 

The Regency era took place in England from 1811 to 1820. It was called that because when King George III was deemed unfit for the throne, his son, the Price of Wales, ruled in his stead as the Prince Regent. England was engaged in the Napoleonic War against France, and they were also at war with the American colonies in the War of 1812. The Industrial Age was in full swing, and the Romantic Movement was shaping the literature, art and music of the day.

Q: What about the Regency period interested you most and made you want to write about it? 

I have always been a fan of Romantic British literature and enjoy the Romantic Movement in general, which, again, fell during the Regency era. I have read the literature and the poetry of this time period extensively, and those works had a profound influence on me. If I had to pick one favorite author, I would have to choose Charlotte Brontë, although Jane Austen is a very close second.

Change — socially, politically and economically — was rampant during the Regency period. It was also a time where the great excesses of the wealthy class sharply contrasted against the rioting and social upheaval among the poor. All in all, it was a setting ripe with opportunities for compelling story-telling!

Q: Both of your main characters struggle with secrets from their pasts. Why do you think people try to hide from their past mistakes when most of the time, freedom is found in living in truth? 

In this book, the characters kept secrets out of fear. They were well aware of the potential repercussions if their secrets were ever exposed, so they went to great lengths to hide them. While they thought they were protecting themselves, they were actually creating their own prisons. I think this is one of the big reasons people keep secrets from those they love — they are afraid of how others will respond. In order to connect with others, though, you must be willing to be vulnerable and give others the opportunity to look beyond your past.

Q: How does holding secrets isolate us from others?

In the novel, one of the characters, Mrs. Trent, says, “Some secrets are like a noose. The more you resist, the more they strangle you.”  She said this in reference to her own painful experience with a secret she had been harboring. She was fearful of what others would say if the truth ever came out, and it kept her from forming relationships with others.  She allowed the secret to fester and gain power over her, which led to a life of loneliness. In this sense, she cut herself off from others. When we are so afraid to share the truth about ourselves with others, we are not allowing others to know the “real” us, which prevents us from those truly meaningful relationships that bring so much joy to life.

Q: During the Regency period, a woman was defined by her reputation. Is that still true today?

It is true; during this era a woman was defined by her reputation. A soiled reputation could lead to a life of poverty and isolation. Today, while it can still be difficult to rise above a damaged reputation, the repercussions are not as harsh. I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that women are not as reliant upon men as they were during the Regency. Women have options today, whereas during the Regency period, women were completely dependent upon the men in their lives; if their reputation was soiled and they could not find a good husband, they were essentially condemned to a difficult, lonely life.

Q: Your heroine, Cecily, is thrust from her home by her father because of a childish, albeit rebellious, act. What advice do you have for those who are dealing with rejection? 

Rejection is very painful, and that pain can leave lifelong scars. Sometimes rejection can come as a result of a specific action, and other times there is no reason. If we look to others to find our value or purpose in life, we will be disappointed. People will let us down, but if we look to God to find value and worth, we can find rest and acceptance.

Q: Feeling dismissed by her earthly father taints the way Cecily imagines God’s response to her bad decision. How is this true of all of us? 

Children are undoubtedly shaped by their relationship with their parents. They look to their mother and father for acceptance and guidance, so when a parent rejects them, they could fear no one could possibly accept them. For Cecily, this was definitely the case, and she felt so tarnished she didn’t think God could love her. All of us experience rejection at some point in our lives, and what is important to remember is God will not turn his back on his children.

Q: What do you hope readers learn from A Lady at Willowgrove Hall about God’s love and redemption? 

Even though someones past may be shameful or full of secrets, there is hope. God can take the darkest pasts and turn them into bright futures. No one is so terrible they cannot find redemption in Gods love and grace.

Q: Your books beautifully capture the atmosphere of British culture. Have you been able to travel to Great Britain? How did that affect your writing?

When I was in college, I went to England and Scotland for a three-week course in British literature. While there, the class visited several of the major literary attractions and studied them in-depth. Even though I was not writing at the time, the trip had a profound effect on me, and it was truly a life-changing event.

Q: You have two careers: one as a writer and one in strategic marketing and brand management. What advice do you have for other aspiring writers who choose to keep their “day job”? 

Don’t give up — it can be done!  The biggest piece of advice I can give is to plan ahead. Make a schedule of writing times and goals and stick to it — write every day, even if it is just for fifteen minutes. The good news is it gets easier with practice. So set goals. Make mini-deadlines for yourself — and be sure to track your progress! You’ll be surprised at how far you can go.

Q: Readers have fallen in love with your Whispers on the Moors series. Will there be a fourth book? Is there anything you can tell us about what might come next?

A Lady at Willowgrove Hall is the final book in the Whispers on the Moors series, but I am happy to say I am hard at work on another series titled Treasures of Surrey, which will be published by Thomas Nelson. The first book, The Curiosity Keeper, will release the summer of 2015.


Keep up with Sarah E. Ladd by visiting www.sarahladd.com, becoming her fan on Facebook (Sarah Ladd Author), or following her on Twitter (@SarahLaddAuthor). 

Click here to read more about A Lady at Willowgrove Hall!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Carrie Turansky talks about The Daughter of Highland Hall

An interview with Carrie Turansky,
Author of The Daughter of Highland Hall

When family expectations and societal pressures collide with love and faith, which values will emerge the victor? Award-winning author Carrie Turansky explores this theme in her new book, The Daughter of Highland Hall (Multnomah Books/October 7, 2014/ISBN: 978-1601424983/$14.99).

Book two in the Edwardian Brides Series, The Daughter of Highland Hall, follows 18-year-old Kate Ramsey on a journey of self-discovery as she travels to London to make her societal debut. Her overbearing aunt insists she secure a marriage proposal from a wealthy, titled man. As Kate begins making the round of balls and garden parties, she attracts the attention of a man who seems to have all the qualifications on her list. Yet, is he the best choice? Will this lifestyle bring her true happiness?

Q: At the beginning of The Daughter of Highland Hall, readers will find the scripture Matthew 6:33. What is the significance of that verse in the story?

I chose Matthew 6:33, “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well,” as the theme verse for this story because it summarizes the faith journey of the heroine, Kate Ramsey. The novel opens as Kate comes to London for her first season, hoping to make a good impression and find a wealthy, titled husband. She believes this will give her a prominent place in society and secure her future. But when she meets others who have a sincere faith and different goals, everything she has believed is called into question. What is most important in life? How does her faith impact her choices? Kate discovers when she lays down our own plans and seeks God first, He guides her toward the best path for her future.

Q: Your heroine, Kate, is a debutante trying to find her place in society and ultimately a husband. Why will readers be able to identify with her experiences?

Everyone wants to live a meaningful, fulfilling life. That was true in 1912, and it’s true today. Readers will identify with Kate as she faces the challenges of pleasing her family, meeting society’s expectations and trying to understand her own desires and motivations as she looks toward the future. Some of those challenges and expectations may be different today . . . but many are the same, and we can learn from all Kate experiences on her journey of faith and self-discovery.

Q: The Daughter of Highland Hall is your second book in the Edwardian Bride series — what is it about that time period that interests you?

The Edwardian era (1900–1918) is an interesting time of change in England. The class system and cultural influences of the Victorian era were still present, but they were beginning to change. Many modern inventions became popular and impacted people’s lives, such as cars, electricity, airplanes and several time-saving appliances. Those make the Edwardian lifestyle similar to today, and that in turn helps readers relate to the characters and the issues they face.

Q: What first drew you to writing English historical fiction?

I enjoyed watching Downton Abbey and was intrigued by the lifestyle, time period and the upstairs-downstairs aspects of the series. I met with an editor at a conference, and she encouraged me to research the time period and submit a proposal that had a similar feeling but was unique. At first I thought the research would be too difficult. However, Cathy Gohlke, a friend and fellow author, had recently published a wonderful story set in 1912 titled Promise Me This. Cathy encouraged me to accept the editor’s challenge, and she offered me several research books. So I jumped in and discovered I loved the research and enjoyed learning more about this time period in England. The characters and story rose out of the research, and it has been a fun series to write.

Q: You’ve even taken your research efforts all the way to Europe. What were some of the highlights of your trips? Did anything you saw make it into the book?

My husband and I visited England in 2012 and focused our time in Oxfordshire, the Peak District and the Cotswolds. Our tour of Highclere Castle where Downton Abbey is set was the highlight of that trip for me. I loved seeing all the rooms where Downton is filmed, including the great hall, the library, the upper gallery and bedrooms. The gardens and greenhouse were lovely, and I had those in mind for several of the scenes in The Governess of Highland Hall. But I wanted to find a unique estate and setting for my books. My online research led me to Tyntesfield, a beautiful estate near Bristol in southwest England. It was a perfect choice. Tyntestfield is featured on the cover of The Governess of Highland Hall, and I used the interior design of this house to help me envision the scenes in my novels.

I was very excited to visit Tyntesfield in May 2014. What a thrill to see all the rooms and take a private tour of the day nursery and the governess’s bedroom! It’s even more beautiful than my online research revealed. If you’re ever in the area, I highly recommend a visit to Tyntesfield. I have a Pinterest board filled with photos to help me remember everything I saw there.

Q: How was culture changing during the period in which you wrote, and how does The Daughter of Highland Hall reflect that?

As the Victorian era came to an end, the moral climate became less strict. This is reflected by incidents in both The Governess of Highland Hall and The Daughter of Highland Hall. William Ramsey, the head of the family, is impacted by the choices of other family members and must decide how to respond. The differences between the classes were also changing. Working-class people were less satisfied with being “in service” as maids and butlers, and they wanted increased wages and benefits, putting pressure on the upper class. Taxes, especially death duties, put tremendous financial stress on families who inherited large estates. This plays a role in books one and two in the series. All these changes were even more apparent in the later half of the era because of the changes World War I brought to English society. The Ramsey family and the staff at Highland will be going through World War I in book three, A Refuge at Highland Hall.

Q: Another character in the book, Jonathan Foster, is committed to helping the poor in London’s East End. Was that common practice among physicians during that time? Was that kind of work as respected as it is now?

During the late Victorian and Edwardian eras many people became more concerned for the poor and worked for social change. Some offered practical help, including free and low-cost medical care. One of those who was concerned for the poor and encouraged practical assistance was William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army. When he first started his work among the poor he was scoffed at and criticized. But near the end of his life he received an honorary doctorate from Oxford and was respected and admired for his work. When he died in 1912, Londoners lined the streets by the thousands to see his casket pass by. A speech given by his granddaughter, Catherine Booth, is featured in The Daughter of Highland Hall, and it has a great impact on Kate Ramsey.

Q: In Edwardian England, women had fewer options available to them, and marriage was the primary way they could secure their future. Yet books and TV shows such as Downton Abbey, based in this time period, are incredibly popular with women. Why do you think this is?

I think women love the fashions, houses, manners and social customs we see on Downton Abbey. Looking back, it seems like a “romantic” period when men were gentlemen and women were ladies. Life seems simpler, especially if you were from a wealthy family. I don’t think most women today would like to take on the role of a servant in that time period. In fact, there was a reality show called Manor House with that premise. People took on the roles of the family and servants and had to live as the Edwardians did for a period of time. Watching that series was a fun part of my research.

Q: While our modern circumstances will vary from Kate’s, we still face expectations placed on us by our family and society. How can we navigate those expectations while still pursuing God’s best for us?

Balancing our love for our family and our commitment to the Lord is an important issue. Following the principles in Scripture we can find help and guidance. When we are children we are told to obey our parents. As we get older the roles change, but we are still to honor them. That means asking for their input and advice on important decisions and listening to their fears and concerns before we prayerfully make decisions. If we’re married, our mate’s input should carry more weight than our parents’. I think meeting society’s expectations is less important than pleasing the Lord and living in a way that honors Him. Once again, using principles from Scripture and getting input and advice from wise and godly people can help us make the best decisions.

Q: What can readers learn from The Daughter of Highland Hall about the importance of seeking godliness in a mate, rather than looks, financial security or social status?

Both The Governess of Highland Hall and The Daughter of Highland Hall touch on the importance of choosing a mate who has a strong faith and good character. That is still an even more important message today. I hope the issues the characters face and the lessons they learn will challenge and encourage everyone who reads the series.

Q: Kate must ultimately decide what the right thing to do is based on her new relationship with God. How does her faith ultimately guide her?

The influence and examples of people who are strong Christians and who live out their faith in their daily lives have a great impact on Kate. When unexpected events in her family cause her to be excluded from social events, she has time to volunteer at a free clinic in one of the poorest areas of London, and her heart begins to soften and change. Rather than seeing the poor as a mass of humanity, she sees them as individuals who each have a story and needs not so very different than her own. Her growing attraction to a man with deep faith and convictions also has a great impact on Kate’s faith. Ultimately she must weigh her choices and use what she has learned to make important decisions about her future.

Q: What do you hope readers will take away after they’ve put The Daughter of Highland Hall back on the shelf?

I hope my readers will enjoy the journey with Kate and Jon and feel as though they have been transported back to London, England, in 1912. But I also hope they will be drawn closer to God as they identify with experiences Kate and Jon face and the challenges and choices they must make.

To keep up with Carrie Turansky, visit www.carrieturansky.com, become a fan on Facebook (AuthorCarrieTuransky) or follow her on Twitter (@CarrieTuransky) and Pinterest (CarrieTuransky).

Click here to read more about The Daughter of Highland Hall!


Monday, November 17, 2014

The Brothers’ Keepers combines travel, intrigue and the global impact of a strong woman

 

How far is too far to protect the ones you love?


It could be argued there is no stronger instinct on earth than that of a mother to protect her family. The lengths she will go to do so are explored in The Brothers’ Keepers (RidgeRoute Press/November 17, 2014/ISBN: 9780991401734/ $14.99), written by award-winning journalist and world traveler NLB Horton.

In The Brothers’ Keepers, we meet archaeologist Grace Madison who is in Brussels cataloguing looted antiquities when her son’s bride is attacked in Switzerland. Her day careens from bad to catastrophic when daughter Maggie disappears in France.

Coincidence is a luxury Grace cannot afford as history — saturated in espionage — is repeating itself. The Madison family converges on Paris and begins a frenzied search to locate Maggie. A cuneiform clay tablet is their only lifeline, detailing a legend intertwining Solomon, Martin Luther and the Fourth Crusade. As they navigate a deadly, 4,000-year-old artifact trail that crosses three continents, they will jeopardize hearts and lives to preserve the ones they love. As time runs out, they discover that to save themselves, they must first rescue an old friend who is deceiving them at every turn. But will he let them?

In the midst of traversing the world, Grace is also faced with trying to save her family by rebuilding her marriage. The roles a woman will assume throughout her lifetime can be varied and complex. It’s difficult to fit any woman into a “one-size-fits-all” box, and this is certainly true of Grace. With strong female characters, The Brothers’ Keepers affirms the impact an intelligent woman who wrestles with a vigorous faith can have on the world and her own personal relationships.
One of the inspirations behind The Brothers’ Keepers was a highly dangerous situation Horton’s own family was involved in while on an archaeological survey as part of her master’s degree program at Dallas Theological Seminary. “I stood at the edge of the tel Dan (Israel) archaeological dig pit with my husband and two then-teenage children. Heavy artillery fire began booming from Syria as staccato machine-gun reports peppered near the Lebanese border. An Israeli Defense Force plane broke through cloud cover. I hoped they could see we were unarmed! Grace Madison was born from this harrowing experience.”

The Brothers’ Keepers is the second book in the Parched series, named as such to bring awareness to the life-threatening truth that sources of potable and economical drinking water are severely limited in many areas of the world, even in the U.S. Horton believes as stewards of God’s creation, Christians have a unique responsibility in this area. She also hopes the book will draw in different kinds of readers. “I hope Grace portrays a demographic of Christianity that is intelligent, fair and fearless because of its belief in God’s empowerment, one attractive to non-believers because these Christians live their faith with realism and love.”


Advance Praise

The Brothers’ Keepers, book two in the Parched series, delivers masterful international suspense driven by contemporary family dynamics. Light the late-night oil because you won’t want to put this book down.” 
~ DiAnn Mills, Christy award-winning author of Sworn to Protect and Breach of Trust


About the Author

NLB Horton returned to writing fiction after an award-winning career in journalism and marketing as well as earning her Master of Arts degree in Biblical Studies from Dallas Theological Seminary. She has surveyed Israeli and Jordanian archaeological digs, tossed a tarantula from her skiff into the Amazon after training with an Incan shaman, driven uneventfully through Rome and consumed gallons of afternoon tea while traveling across five continents.

Horton is a member of the venerable Explorers Club, which was founded in 1904 as a multidisciplinary professional society of explorers and scientists. From her home in the Rocky Mountains, she writes, cross-country skis, gardens and researches ideas for her next novel. Horton’s first novel in the Parched series, When Camels Fly, was released in May 2014. The Brothers' Keepers is the second, and the third installment will be available in fall 2015.



For more information about NLB Horton, visit www.nlbhorton.com, become a fan on Facebook (NLBHorton) or follow her on Twitter (NLBHorton) or Pinterest (nlbhorton).