In the mood for romance?
Starting on Valentine’s Day I will be having a Goodreads Giveaway
for 4 copies of
A Heart Set Free
It will end on February 21st.
Just scroll down to the box that says “Enter Giveaway.” Happy Valentine’s Day! Here is the link:
From an article in the September issue of Colony Life Magazine
How do two retired introverts spend their days without stepping on each other’s toes? Married for 13 years, Ken and Janet Grunst’s happy solution is having space to devote to their avocations. “Ken’s Cave” says the sign on the door to Ken’s lower level workshop where he creates musical instruments.
“What interested me was the challenge and reward of unlocking the beauty of the wood,” Ken remembers. “When I put the finish on a chess board I’d made, the grain came alive!” Ken plays guitar, so decided to learn to build one. “I’ve done 23 so far, plus a 5-string banjo,” he says, “and given away about a dozen of them to family members.”
Each is a work of art featuring exotic woods, intricate abalone inlay, and his personal signature carved sound ports representing the flame of the Holy Spirit. “King David was a luthier, a maker of stringed instruments, and played harps that he’d built. I’m captivated by the idea that, like him, I can take a pile of wood and pieces and suddenly it makes music!”
A picture on the wall near Ken’s Cave shows a young Ken Grunst performing with his college folk group back in Michigan. His friend and bandmate, Al Jardine, went on to fame as a member of The Beach Boys, but life as a professional musician never appealed to Ken. “There are the awful nerves before a performance, then the high of the actual playing and singing, but it’s such a downer when eventually the place empties out.”
Ken became a teacher and he and his first wife welcomed a daughter. “Teaching in Maryland with a salary of $5,000 a year, Dee and I would have actually had more money on welfare, so I got into home- building,” he recalls with a laugh. Ken was widowed in 2002, and then he met Janet at a Community Bible Study (CBS) conference. Janet, who was the executive assistant to the director of CBS, had been on her own for a decade and had two grown sons.
Janet’s tidy desk and book-lined corner of their family room is where she writes historical fiction. Her first book A Heart Set Free debuts in early December, and she is excited that persistence has finally paid off. “I refer to the book as ‘my Millennial in the basement’, because after 31 years, it’s just now getting wings,” the author jokes. She wrote her manuscript while her little boys were occupied, a snatched hour or two at a time. She tried to sell it herself. “It was almost picked up by publishers twice,” she recalls. “Then my life changed and I was busy working and raising my boys, so the book stayed dormant.” After Janet and Ken were married, he read the story, the romantic tale of an 18th-century indentured servant, loved it, and encouraged her to try again. This time around Janet found a supportive agent and the manuscript was accepted by Lighthouse Publishers of the Carolinas.
Janet has a second story ready and plans for a third. “Writing makes me feel alive!” she declares. ”Marketing, however, will probably be a challenge,” the self-proclaimed introvert laughs.
Ken and Janet have found the secret of successful remarriage is staying actively engaged in things that bring joy, carving out space for themselves while cherishing time together. Their three children have given them ten grandchildren, including quadruplets born this year, and they jointly serve as small group team leaders for Williamsburg Community Chapel. Their goal is to balance fun social times with peaceful hours of creating beauty, both in wood and on the page.
Hi Kathy, Thank you for sharing a bit about yourself and your new release, Rumors and Promises
Please tell us something about yourself, Kathy.
Janet, thank you for having me as a guest on your blog. Hmm . . . what can I tell you about myself? This is how I describe myself on my Twitter page: Wife, mom, author of inspirational historical romance. Loves to make jewelry, knitting, bike riding, God’s Word, my cat and all things chocolate.
I raised three sons, having homeschooled them for about 21 years. That was a big chunk of my life. After that I went back to school—twice—and wound up becoming a dental assistant. But writing is my true calling.
I also enjoy long walks, especially when I take the time to pray during that time, or listen to Bible teaching. I’m also a bit too fond of chocolate and I love spending time with my funny little cat, Lilybits. Last but not least, my husband and I have been married for 34 years.
What sparked your interest in writing?
My mother read to me when I was a little girl and taught me to love books. Before I could read them myself I wanted to be able to write stories. It’s something the Lord seemed to make a part of me and laid on my heart to do early on.
Here is the blurb from the back of Rumors and Promises:
Sophie Biddle, an heiress on the run with a child in tow, considers herself abandoned by her family and God. Wary, self-reliant Sophie is caught off guard when meeting a kind, but meddling and handsome minister at the local mercantile.
“In 1900, Reverend Ian McCormick is determined to start anew in Stone Creek, Michigan, believing he has failed God and his former flock. He works harder than ever to forget his mistake, hoping to prove himself a most pleasing servant to his new congregation and once again to God.
While Sophie seeks acceptance for the child and a measure of respect for herself, the rumors swirl about her sordid past. Should Ian show concern for Sophie plight, he could risk everything – including his position as pastor of Stone Creek.
Now the pair must choose to trust God and forgive those who slander and gossip, or run. Will the scandals of their pasts bind them together forever, or drive both deeper into despair?”
What drew you to the period and setting for the story?
I live in a rather small town in Michigan, so it’s easy to imagine what it might have been like. Also, I think the early part of the twentieth century is an interesting time when the world, life, and society were facing changes, but family and traditional values were still important. I really enjoyed L. M. Montgomery’s books which were set only a few years later. I guess I find it easy to picture my characters in that era.
Rumors and Promises deals with the sensitive subject of rape. What was your motivation to write about a subject that often goes unaddressed, particularly in that era?
Sophie Biddle’s story in Rumors and Promises really began as an attempt to convey a story similar to the account of the woman at the well in chapter four of the Gospel of John. At the time editors weren’t interested in biblical fiction. But I was also constrained by the guidelines of Christian publishing. How could I have my protagonist be a woman of bad reputation while preserving her purity? The character of Sophia Bidershem, an heiress concealing her identity with a slightly different name and trying to pass off her toddler daughter as her sister, was born. The out-of-wedlock-pregnancy had not come about by her volition, but she loves her child anyway and does what she must to take care of her. She bears the brunt of the resulting shame.
Then I thought about who had the most to lose in becoming involved in the life of these runaway girls, just as the disciples became shocked Jesus would associate with the Samaritan woman. Pastor Ian McCormick would have much to lose if his reputation was besmirched by friendship with a “fallen woman.” Of course, that’s where the similarities end. Jesus is sinless while Ian is a flawed man trying to start over with a new congregation because of past failings.
At the same time, as I worked on the first draft, one of my critique partners told me her story and helped me to understand the flashbacks and the damage done by rape. Even though I kept the details in the background, Rumors and Promises wasn’t a story publishers were willing to take on right away. I pray the story will be a healing one for those who have been victims of this heinous crime. I’m thankful that LPC was willing to take a chance on this story and subject matter.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
My main characters, Sophie and Ian, are struggling with life-altering incidents from their pasts. For Sophie it’s the injustice and how she feels deserted by those she thought loved her. For Ian, he cannot forgive himself for past failure. Though no harm was intended, he thinks he let God and others down.
It is so easy to get stuck in the past. I struggle with it myself, but I hope people who read my book will realize that Christ (and what He accomplished for us on the cross and being raised from the dead) is much bigger than our past failures or the injustices done to us. He is there to guide and heal. When we can grasp hold of that truth we can move forward in our lives.
God often teaches us something through our writing. What did you learn about life, faith, or yourself in the process of writing Rumors and Promises?
Tenacity and patience. But not only those things. I also learned what it meant to be a writer. I struggled with self-confidence and taking myself seriously as an author. It’s been quite a process!
Can you tell us anything about a current work in process?
The working title of my next novel is A Good Medicine and I was recently blessed with a second contract from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. It’s stand alone, but also the next book about Stone Creek. One of the main characters is Ian’s sister, Maggie Galloway, who was a secondary character that appeared quite often in Rumors and Promises. You might say she had a supporting role.
Here’s the current blurb:
When Zeke Harper and Philip Galloway get into trouble for throwing punches, they aren’t the only ones to clash. Philip’s outgoing mother, Maggie Galloway, and Zeke’s reserved father, Thomas Harper, are complete opposites. The feisty widow, Maggie, has been on her own for a time and has aspirations to buy a bakery in her hometown.
Disorganized Thomas, a grieving widower, only wants to bring up his four rambunctious children in peace. In addition to the challenges of his new pharmacy, he becomes gravely ill. Bitter toward God about the loss of his wife, Thomas believes no one could ever replace her in his heart.
Maggie Galloway is called upon by her brother, and pastor, Ian, to help the Harper family. She is instrumental in nursing Thomas back to health, reorganizing the pharmacy and taking the children in hand. Maggie unwittingly becomes attached to the raucous Harper brood and their quiet father. When a former hometown suitor, comes calling, Thomas realizes his growing love for the angel of mercy who came to their rescue. She must make a life-changing decision to stay near the Harpers or leave Stone Creek. Will Thomas be too late in declaring his intentions to Maggie?
Lord willing it will be published sometime later in 2017.
Thank you so much, Kathy, for being my guest.
I so appreciate your having me as a guest, Janet. It’s been fun and I appreciate your time and thought-provoking questions.
Where can readers find your books?
Rumors and Promises is available at:
Amazon.com – http://tinyurl.com/jqmw93e
Barnes and Noble – http://tinyurl.com/hdus93p
And Kathy can be found at:
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/kerouser/Read More
Yesterday, I told you about Promise of Deer Run, Elaine Cooper’s second story in the Deer Run Saga. It releases on June 16. Today, Elaine Cooper shares about a childhood experience that left an indelible memory and teachable lesson.
I will never forget my childhood friend named DeDe. She was smart and had a great sense of humor. But that is not the main reason I remember DeDe. She is the one friend in elementary school who taught me about being a friend to the friendless.
There was a girl in our class—I’ll call her Jennifer—who was afflicted with a congenital problem that left her with difficulty speaking, an awkward gait, and an odd look to her face. Jennifer was shunned by most in the school, except for DeDe. She was totally unafraid of what others thought and she made every effort to be kind to Jennifer. Her bravery caused me to be kind to the shy classmate as well. I admit I was still a bit uncomfortable hanging out with Jennifer, and it took patience on my part to wait until Jennifer could painstakingly speak even just a few words. But DeDe always cheered Jennifer on in her attempts to communicate. It was such a lesson in kindness to me.
In Promise of Deer Run, the character of Sarah Thomsen befriends the social outcast of the village—Nathaniel Stearns. The young veteran is seven years her senior, but Sarah has memories of the kindness that Nathaniel had extended to her when she was a little girl. It was a kindness never forgotten. Sarah looked past the recluse who seemed so different awaiting the return of his father from war. Many in the town laughed behind Nathaniel’s back. Why would this veteran who frequented the local tavern on a regular basis and who still believed his father was alive, be of a sound mind? Even the churchgoers snickered and avoided him like the plague.
But not Sarah. She saw past the exterior to the heart and soul of Nathaniel Stearns. She dared to speak to him. She dared to befriend the friendless.
It reminds me of DeDe looking past the physical anomalies of Jennifer.
A few years ago a friend from high school told me they found out Jennifer had become a nurse, helping others in their need. I was amazed but pleased—and I remembered DeDe leaving her comfort zone of hanging out with the “cool” kids. I sometimes wonder if DeDe was the one who had given Jennifer hope for a future, years before on the playground at school.
I wonder how many other lives can be changed for the better by befriending the friendless. I pray that I will be the brave one.
Award-winning author Elaine Marie Cooper is the author of Fields of the Fatherless, Bethany’s Calendar and the historical trilogy called the Deer Run Saga. Her passions are her family, her faith in Christ, and the history of the American Revolution. She grew up in Massachusetts, the setting for many of her historical novels.
Her upcoming releases include Saratoga Letters (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, October 2016) and Legacy of Deer Run (CrossRiver Media, Dec, 2016)
Cooper has been writing since she penned her first short story at age eleven. She began researching for her first novel in 2007. Her writing has also appeared in Fighting Fear, Winning the War at Home by Edie Melson and the romance anthology, I Choose You. She has also written articles for Prayer Connect Magazine, Splickety Prime Magazine, Better Homes & Gardens, and Life: Beautiful Magazine. She began her professional writing career as a newspaper freelancer.
To honor and remember all those who gave it all in the service of our nation throughout the ages. And to give thank for those who now serve:
SCRIPTURE VERSES FOR THE MILITARY AND THEIR LOVED ONES
|My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
|The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him,
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
|COURAGE||Joshua 1:9||Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.|
|Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
|The LORD helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.
Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, for the LORD will be at your side and will keep your foot from being snared.
|ETERNAL LIFE||John 3:16,17||For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.|
|FAITH||1 Cor. 16:13
|Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
|Psalms 19: 89,90
|Your word, LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens. Your faithfulness continues through all generations; you established the earth, and it endures.
Those who know your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.
|God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.
|in all your ways submit to him, and he will direct your paths
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
|GUILT||1 John 1:7
1 John 1: 9
|But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
|HELP IN TRIALS||Psalms 32:7
|You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.
no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;
The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
|HOPE||Col 1:5||the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel|
1 Peter 5:6
|In the paths of the wicked are snares and pitfalls, but those who would preserve their life stay far from them.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.
|LONLINESS||Genesis 28:15||I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.|
|LOVE||1 John 4:10
1 Cor 2:9
|This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.
What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived—the things God has prepared for those who love him—
1 John 2:17
|And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.
|Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
|The fruit of that righteousness will be peace; its effect will be quietness and confidence forever.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
|Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.
Therefore. I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
2 Cor 10:17-18
|To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.
But, “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.
|PRISONERS||Psalm 146:7||He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets prisoners free,|
|GOD’S PROTECTION||Psalms 121:7-8
| The LORD will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
The LORD is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?
|SEEKING GOD||Jer 29:13
|You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.
|SERVING||Romans 12:1,2||Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.|
|Humility is the fear of the LORD; its wages are riches and honor and life.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
|TEMPTATION||1 Cor 10:13||No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.|
|Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
Please tell us something about yourself, Clarice.
The second oldest of six children, I grew up on Cape Cod before it got crowded. My dedication in Double Header is true. “I credit my father for showing me the power of dreams and my mother for teaching me the value of working for them.” After 23 years of marriage, I was widowed. Eight years later, I was blessed to remarry David James. We live in Southern New Hampshire, where we are connected to a wonderful church family. Together, we have five married children and ten grandchildren—so you know what our vacations are like.
What sparked your interest in writing?
Decades ago, I had a great high school English teacher who used drama to make reading and writing fun. Since I wasn’t athletic, writing seemed less dangerous. And with no musical talent, I thought writing would be less annoying to my family.
What can you share about your journey to getting published?
It was just about as frustrating as it is for most writers. Patience has never been one of my heartier character traits, but I learned a lot during the wait—mainly how to improve my writing. My first novel, Party of One, was chosen a semi-finalist, then a finalist in the Christian Writer’s Guild Operation First Novel. When it was time to enter again, I entered my second book, Double Header instead. I won a book contract with that entry. I just finished my third book, Manhattan Grace, and I think it’s better than the first two. I hope I feel that way about the next one.
What words of advice would you give to beginning writers?
Get thee to a critique group! Then listen and don’t talk as they critique your excerpts. If you have to explain why you’ve written something, it needs to be rewritten. I learned so much from the experiences and perceptions of my fellow writers. Sometimes the best advice I got was from avid readers, not writers.
While your book, Double Header, is what I would call a character-driven novel, it is also a sports story. I was impressed with your knowledge of baseball. Are you a big sports fan or did you need to do extensive research to pull it off so well?
Growing up, my siblings and I were not into sports at all. But, later, my husband and children were. Living with crazy Boston fans, you learn a lot through osmosis. Of course, I did my research too.
Was there a reason you decided to write Double Header in the first person, which is not as common as third person stories or omniscient?
Is “I didn’t know any better” an acceptable answer? To be honest, Party of One, my first novel, started out as a memoir—written in the first person. When I had trouble naming names and telling truths that might hurt people, my husband suggested I switch from non-fiction to fiction. I kept the first person POV without thinking about it and continued using it in Double Header. My third novel is third person POV.
Please tell us a little more about the story. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
You may think you’re in control, but you’re not. God is in control. My protagonist, Casey, has mapped out every area of her life. The only thing she couldn’t control was her father’s cancer. After he dies, she idolizes him even more. When she finds out she has a half brother, a fact unknown to her father, she must let go of the past and find freedom in forgiveness. The still, quiet voice of God shows her how.
God often teaches us something through our writing. What did you learn about life, faith, or yourself in the process of writing Double Header?
Casey’s letting go was a big lesson for me. It has freed me to enjoy writing for God’s glory not my own. There’s so much less pressure knowing I am not in control of the outcome!
Do you have another book we can anticipate seeing soon?
I’ve got a few beta readers reviewing my third novel, Manhattan Grace. Set in New York City, a nanny and aspiring actress is mentored in her faith by a fatherly rabbi while she helps him pursue an unlikely romantic relationship with a famous, Moldovan opera soprano. When these two innocents find themselves embroiled in a jewel heist at the Metropolitan Opera House, they help solve more than one mystery.
Where can readers find your books?
Since Mountainview Books LLC is a traditional publisher with a distribution source, you can request Double Header at your local bookstore. If you’re in a hurry, there’s always online ordering at Barnes & Noble or Amazon.
What are your social media sights?
Come by to meet Clarice and help celebrate the release of DOUBLE HEADER if you are near Nashua, NH Sunday, April 10, 2016 from 4:00 PM to 6:30 PM (EDT)
Clarice G. James loves to read and write smart, fun, relatable contemporary women’s fiction. After many years of writing and editing for business and ministry, she now enjoys the freedom that writing fiction allows her. Clarice has been a follower of Jesus Christ for over 35 years. She and her husband David live in Southern New Hampshire. Together they have five married children and ten grandchildren. Double Header is her first published novel. It was one of three winners in the 2014 Jerry Jenkins Writers Guild Operation First Novel contest.Read More