Countdown to A Heart For Freedom

Posted by on Mar 6, 2018 in Blog, Books, History | 4 comments

A Heart For Freedom, the Sequel to A Heart Set Free releases in less than six months.

So much goes into the publication of a book. Like other authors who write historical fiction, I spend a lot of time researching the era, the locations, and every facet impacting the story. Then comes months of developing and writing the tale interspersed with prayer, constant editing, more prayer and more research.

Any fiction writer will tell you that a writer’s imagination is the foundation of the project. We picture what our characters look like, where they live, places they go.

                                         Stewarts’ Green



In a Heart For Freedom, Matthew and Heather Stewart’s dream of building an ordinary at their farm has been realized. This is a similar picture of Stewarts’ Green which Matthew and Heather Stewart built perpendicular to their original cottage. It’s only missing a bigger front porch.



A nearby pond as well as the Potomac River figure in both stories.  

            The pond at Stewarts’ Green 

   Potomac River near Stewarts’ Green











Conflict is escalating between Britain and the colonies. Like so many other families, the Stewarts struggle with the prospect of a war that divides friends and families.

I can’t wait to share more about this story, and someday the cover.


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Meet Kathleen Rouser, author of Secrets and Wishes

Posted by on Oct 28, 2017 in Blog, Books, History | 9 comments

When my husband and I were traveling through Michigan this past August, we were delighted to be able to get together with Kathy for some coffee. The two of us share a love for serving in Community Bible Study for many years, we have the same literary agent, and both write for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.

 Kathy was excited about the fall release of her latest book, Secrets and Wishes. Since I enjoyed her earlier book Rumors and Promises I’ve been looking forward to reading this one.


~ As I understand it, Secrets and Wishes has some of the same characters that appeared in Rumors and Promises. How did you decide to tell the story of a different character from your earlier work?

Maggie Galloway is Reverend Ian McCormick’s feisty widowed sister who keeps house for him in Rumors and Promises. She also kindly befriends Sophie Biddle despite the rumors about her. I enjoyed writing Maggie’s character and the way she teased her younger, taller brother by calling him “little brother.” I grew to really like her and decided she needed her own story.


~ Did you find this story easier to write given that you had some of the characters already “fleshed out”?

In some ways, yes. Writing about Maggie came more easily as I was already comfortable with her character and who she is. However, I introduced several new characters with Thomas Harper and his four children, as well as Giles Prescott, Maggie’s former beau from her hometown. While I had an idea of who they were it was interesting to see how they emerged and grew as I worked on these new characters too.


~ Please tell us a bit about Secrets and Wishes.

Here is the back-cover blurb:

Stone Creek, Michigan, April, 1901 Maggie Galloway and Thomas Harper clash after their sons collide in a fistfight. Both widowed, they’re each doing their best as single-parents. Outgoing Maggie has dreams for a home of her own and a business to provide for her son as she searches for God’s path for her life as a widow. Reserved Thomas struggles to establish his new pharmacy and take care of his four rambunctious children, while wondering how a loving God could take his beloved wife.

When Thomas becomes deathly ill, Maggie is recruited to nurse him back to health. Taking the children in hand, as well, is more than she bargained for, but she is drawn to help the grieving family. Both nurse and patient find themselves drawn to each other but promptly deny their feelings.

A baking contest sponsored by the Silver Leaf Flour Company brings former beau, Giles Prescott, back into Maggie’s life. When Giles offers Maggie a position at their test kitchen in Chicago, he hints that, along with assuring her a good job, it will allow them to possibly rekindle their relationship.

But then a charlatan comes to town, and tragedy soon follows. Maggie and Thomas discover the miracle potions he hawks aren’t so harmless when an epidemic hits Stone Creek. Thomas and Maggie realize they must work together to save lives.

Maggie finds herself caught up in battles within and without—the battle to help the townsfolk in the midst of illness and chicanery, and the battle to know which man—Thomas or Giles—deserves to win her heart.  


~ What is the theme of the story or is there a spiritual truth you want to convey?

Maggie and Thomas, both in the midst of grieving, are trying to figure out how to be parents without the help of their deceased spouses and not expecting love to come into either of their lives. Yet, God has different plans for them than they expected, plans of healing and hope.

The theme verse at the front is: A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones. Proverbs 17:22 (Authorized KJV)

There is also quite a bit of humor in this book, some of it stemming from the fact that Maggie and Thomas are opposites that attract. It also stems from some of the comical situations with their children. I hope my readers will find some healing humor in the story despite the serious situations.


~ Were there any particular challenges in writing the novel?

Finding certain medical procedures of the time since there seemed to be more than one way of doing things!

It also took me a while to find the full character arc for the hero, Thomas, but I prayed for wisdom and the Lord helped me work through it.


~ Can you tell us anything about a current work in process? 

I’m working on a romance novella set in a lighthouse, Mackinac Point lighthouse to be precise. This will be part of Barbour’s Great Lakes Lighthouse Brides Collection, releasing next year. I hope to work on a third Stone Creek novel soon as well.

Contract News Alert! Congratulations Kathy Rouser.

She just signed a contract for the novella to be part of Barbour’s Great Lakes Lighthouses Brides Collection, coming out next year!

~ How can readers find your books?

They can find them on Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/y7oqpym6 and at Barnes and Noble online: http://tinyurl.com/yaj5ryc5

Readers can connect with me on the web at:

My website: http://kathleenrouser.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kerouser

Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/kathleenerouser/

Twitter: @KathleenRouser

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/kerouser/

Kathy is offering a giveaway for one USA commenter only. Winner chosen Nov. 1, 2017,  may choose either a print copy or a Kindle version copy. 

Thanks so much for being my guest, Kathy.

Thank you for having me, Janet! It’s been a pleasure.

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The Sequel to A Heart Set Free

Posted by on Aug 6, 2017 in Blog, Books, History, Uncategorized | 12 comments

I’m thrilled that Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas has offered me a contract for the sequel to A Heart Set Free.


It’s a stand alone story that follows the characters introduced in A Heart Set Free.


The Stewart’s dream of building an ordinary will be realized. However, storm clouds of conflict will escalate between Britain and the colonies. Like so many other families, the Stewarts will struggle with the prospect of a war that will divide friends and families. The story continues in the second book of the trilogy.




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Some Observations About The Movie Dunkirk

Posted by on Aug 1, 2017 in Blog, Commentary, History, Uncategorized | 11 comments

I thought the movie Dunkirk was well done.

  • Each facet of the battle seemed to be well represented by the characters; the soldiers, airmen, sailors, and British civilians.
  • The actors, most not particularly well known, did a great job.
  • For a recent war or action movie, I appreciated that there was far less gore than usual.

Some facts added could have made it better:

  • The background of the British call to prayer which likely led to the civilian involvement. Too many viewers aren’t familiar with the historical facts and they weren’t emphasized in the movie.

The British were aware of the probable disaster that was forming at Dunkirk. In a moving broadcast to the British people, King George VI asked his people to commit their cause to God and that a National Day of Prayer be called on Sunday, May 26, 1940.  The members of the Cabinet joined the King at Westminster Abbey, while millions joined in prayer throughout the Empire. Photographs outside Westminster Abbey on the National Day of Prayer showed throngs of people who could not get into the Abbey.

Many people believe the heartfelt prayers of so many British subjects to God played a big part in the evacuation of Dunkirk. God’s provision, power, and presence certainly seemed evident in the battle and evacuation. It was widely known as the Miracle at Dunkirk. Some of the factors that led to its success:

    • Against the advice of his generals, Hitler stopped the advance of his armored columns ten miles away, at a point when they could have destroyed the British Army. Possibly Hitler thought the Germans had enough air superiority to prevent a large-scale evacuation by sea that would be required.
    • German Luftwaffe squadrons were grounded due to a fierce storm over Flanders on May 28th, 1940. Darkness and the cover of the storm allowed the British Army to move toward the coast without being detected by German aircraft.
    • When several hundred men were systematically being machine-gunned and bombed by many enemy aircraft, many of the soldiers were amazed that more men weren’t killed.
    • While the violent storm provided cover, the English Channel was unusually calm in the days that followed which allowed nearly 340,000 British and Allied soldiers to be rescued by a hastily assembled of over 800 boats made up of 40 Royal Navy ships and an armada of civilian boats and merchant ships.
  • More focus on the vast numbers (hundreds of boats and ships) of civilians and commercial boatmen who risked all to aid in the rescue of their army. (Some were commandeered by naval crews when owners were not found. The movie made it appear that only a few dozen made the crossing.

“Operation Dynamo”

By Strait_of_Dover_map.png: User:NormanEinsteinderivative work: Diannaa – This file was derived fromStrait of Dover map.png:Information on shipping routes from Thompson, Julian (2011) [2008]. Dunkirk: Retreat to Victory. New York: Arcade. ISBN 978-1-61145-314-0. Map, page 223., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=28440418

There were so many ships and boats involved in the evacuation across those 18 nautical miles that the fighter ace, Douglas Bader who helped to cover the operation, described the scene:

“The sea from Dunkirk to Dover during these days of the evacuation looked like any coastal road in England on a bank holiday. It was solid with shipping. One felt one could walk across without getting one’s feet wet, or that’s what it looked like from the air. There were naval escort vessels, sailing dinghies, rowing boats, paddle-steamers, indeed every floating device known in this country. They were all taking British soldiers from Dunkirk back home. You could identify Dunkirk from the Thames estuary by the huge pall of black smoke rising straight up into a windless sky from the oil tanks which were ablaze just inside the harbour.”

  • Churchill’s June 4, 1940 speech seemed almost an afterthought in the movie.

“. . . We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France,
we shall fight on the seas and oceans,
we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be,
we shall fight on the beaches,
we shall fight on the landing grounds,
we shall fight in the fields and in the streets,
we shall fight in the hills;
we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.”

  • The fact that the British people acknowledged God’s role in the evacuation.

The British people recognized the many signs of God’s deliverance from the German Army and Luftwaffe at Dunkirk. On Sunday, June 9, 1940, a Day of National Thanksgiving was celebrated. In an article in The Daily Telegraph, C. B. Mortlock stated: “The prayers of the nation were answered’, and that ‘the God of hosts himself had supported the valiant men of the British Expeditionary Force.”             

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A Very Special Day

Posted by on May 2, 2017 in Blog, Books, History | 4 comments

It’s been five months since the release of A Heart Set Free. I wanted to thank all those readers who have graciously taken the time to post reviews on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads.

In these days when authors are the primary source of marketing their books, posting reviews of the books is of critical importance. The positive reviews for A Heart Set Free have really touched my heart and been such an encouragement. If you have read the book and haven’t yet posted a review I would truly appreciate it if you would. The more reviews, particularly at Amazon, the more visibility the book gets.



Moments ago I learned that A Heart Set Free is a finalist for the Selah Award for Historical Romance. My friend, Elaine Cooper, is also a finalist in the same category for Saratoga Letters. I’m over the moon for both of us.  

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Another Palm Sunday Many Years Ago

Posted by on Apr 10, 2017 in Blog, History, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Another Palm Sunday Many Years Ago

   McLean House at Appomattox Court House, Virginia

Although a few skirmishes would follow, it was Palm Sunday, April 9, 1865 when the Civil War officially ended. Confederate General Robert E. Lee and Union General Ulysses Grant, who had known each other slightly during the Mexican-American War, gathered in the parlor in the McLean House in the village of Appomattox Court House. General Lee was accompanied by Lt. Col Charles Marshall Virginia and General Grant’s staff numbered about a dozen.


          Replica of table where Lee sat

Seated at two small tables, General Lee surrendered his Army of Northern Virginia to General Grant. General Grant wrote a letter detailing the terms of surrender, which were generous even by Lee’s account. Confederate soldiers would be required to lay down their arms and then be paroled and

        Replica of table where Grant sat

allowed to return home to their farms and businesses. Confederate officers would be allowed to keep their sidearms, pistols, and swords. The Confederates who had horses or other animals were allowed to keep them. These terms of surrender had emanated from a prior agreement between President Abraham Lincoln and General Grant. The President believed that the war that had cost the nation so much in lost and injured lives should end with as little animosity as possible. Those who had served in the Confederate Army should now be allowed to return home, pick up their lives, and begin the healing process.

               Lee & Grant at Appomattox                                by Stanley Arthurs 1922


Appomattox Courthouse remains a somewhat rural small village 24 miles east of Lynchburg and 95 miles west of Richmond. It has been preserved by the National Park Service and opened to the public on April 9th, 1949.  At the dedication ceremony on April 16, 1950, before an audience of around 20,000 people, Major General U.S. Grant and Robert E. Lee IV, direct descendants of Robert E. Lee and Ulysses Grant, cut the ceremonial ribbon.

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