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SCRIPTURE VERSES FOR THE MILITARY AND THEIR LOVED ONES

Posted by on May 27, 2016 in Blog, Devotions, Uncategorized | 2 comments

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

ANGER James 1:19,20

 

 

Ephesians 4:31,32

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.

COMFORT Nahum 1:7

 

Matthew 11:28

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.
DEATH Psalm 23:4

 

 

Romans 8:38,39

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.

ENEMIES Psalms37:40

 

 

Proverbs 3:25,26

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

 

Heb. 12:1,2

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.

GOD’S

FAITHFULNESS

Psalms 19: 89,90

 

Psalms 9:10

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.

FEAR

 

 

 

 

 

FORGIVENESS

Psalms 46:1

 

John 14:27

 

Psalm 23:4,5

 

Mark 11:25

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.

GUIDANCE Proverbs 3:6

 

Psalms 32:8

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

 

Psalms 91:10,11

 

 

Psalms 18:2

 

 

John 16:33

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
HUMILITY Proverbs 22:5

 

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

 

Eph 6:24

 

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—

OBEDIENCE Romans 8:28

 

 

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.

PATIENCE James 1:2-4

 

 

 

Romans 5:3,4

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.

PEACE

 

 

Isaiah 32:17

 

John 14:27

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.

PRAYER Matt 7:7,8

 

 

Jer 29:12

 

Mark 11:24

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.

PRIDE Proverbs 8:13

 

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

 

 

Psalms 27:1

 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

 

Acts 17:27

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.
SUCCESS Proverbs 22:4

 

Jer 29:11,

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.
WISDOM Psalms 119:105

 

James 1:5

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.

 

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MEET CLARICE JAMES ~ AUTHOR OF DOUBLE HEADER

Posted by on Mar 22, 2016 in Blog, Books, Uncategorized | Comments Off on MEET CLARICE JAMES ~ AUTHOR OF DOUBLE HEADER

Please tell us something about yourself, Clarice.

Clarice G. James

             Clarice G. James

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 Double Header Coverstory. 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?

Website & Blog          Facebook              Twitter                  LinkedIn

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) 

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/double-header-celebration-tickets-20305435103

 

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.

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A TASTE OF IRELAND

Posted by on Mar 17, 2016 in Blog, Journal, Uncategorized | Comments Off on A TASTE OF IRELAND

Every year, our family enjoys a traditional St. Patrick’s Day meal. Corned beef, cabbage, potatoes and onions as well as Irish soda bread will be on the menu.  

Traditional soda bread is a simple bread made of flour, soda, salt, and buttermilk. The lactic acid in buttermilk reacts with the baking soda to form bubbles of carbon dioxide. This causes the dough to rise, much like yeast does in other bread.

For a more complex soda bread, other ingredients can be added such as butter, egg, raisins, or nuts.

 HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY

Irish Soda Bread

Simple Irish Soda Bread

 

Ingredients:

4 cups (16 oz) of all purpose flour.
1 Teaspoon baking soda
1 Teaspoon salt
14 oz of buttermilk

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 F. degrees.  

Place a square of parchment paper in a cake pan. (It will hang over the sides)

In a large bowl sieve and combine all the dry ingredients.

Add the buttermilk to form a sticky dough.  Place on floured surface and lightly knead (too much allows the gas to escape)

Shape into a round flat shape in a round cake pan and cut a cross in the top of the dough.

Cover the pan with another pan and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove cover and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

The bottom of the bread will have a hollow sound when tapped so show it is done.

Cover the bread with a towel and lightly sprinkle water on the cloth to keep the bread moist.

 

More Complex Irish Soda Bread

Ingredients

4 cups all-purpose flour,
4 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 ¾ cups cold buttermilk, shaken
1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the butter is mixed into the flour.

With a fork, lightly beat the buttermilk, egg, together in a measuring cup. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture.

Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and knead it a few times into a round loaf. Place the loaf on the prepared sheet pan and lightly cut an X into the top of the bread with a serrated knife. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. When you tap the loaf, it will have a hollow sound.

Cool on a baking rack. Serve warm or at room temperature

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A VISIT WITH ELAINE COOPER, AUTHOR OF ROAD TO DEER RUN

Posted by on Dec 9, 2015 in Blog, Books, History, Uncategorized | 9 comments

Elaine Marie Cooper’s story ROAD TO DEER RUN takes us to Massachusetts in 1777 after the Battle of Saratoga. Wounded British lieutenant Daniel Lowe has escaped his Continental Army guards and is hiding on the Thomsen property. Midwife Thomsen’s daughter, Mary, finds him and nurses him back to health.

In reading the author’s notes, we discover that the characters in your story are based on your ancestors. Please briefly share that with us.

When I was quite young, a relative informed me that one of my ancestors was a British soldier during the American Revolution. I was quite horrified! As I grew older, however, I began to wonder about that soldier—who he was, where he came from, how did he end up staying in America. Not all of my questions were answered but I learned quite a bit about him Road to Deer Run - Coverthrough research. It was like discovering a genealogical goldmine! I was so excited to learn about my heritage and I included as many facts in my story as I could. Obviously, much of the story is fictionalized because I don’t have any family diaries, but where I could, I incorporated true facts.

How much research was involved in telling this story? Do you have a particular method of searching for the facts? Did this involve traveling, interviews, searching library, or church records?

Since Road to Deer Run was my first historical novel set in this locale and time period, research was mind-boggling! I searched the internet, Google books from the town, records from the local doctor’s office, church record, maps, and book after book about life in Colonial America. But visiting the site where my ancestors lived and worked was the most inspiring part of research. And interviewing the local historian in Williamsburg, MA was incredibly helpful. There’s nothing like having an informative local historian to bring history to life!

The situation of an American patriot nursing a British soldier, the enemy, is compelling. How much of their story did you know about and how much did you create?

Since I did not have the details about how the real Daniel and Mary met, much of it is fiction. But I surmised that it was very possible the real Daniel could have sustained injury in the Battle of Saratoga. I knew the King’s Army had been starving during that time so Daniel’s weakened condition was plausible. And there is an excerpt in A History of Williamsburg in Massachusetts that reads thus: “One British soldier, worn out and tired of fighting for what seemed a lost cause, dropped out from the irregular line of march at Springfield and returned to Williamsburg. There, on an old road leading from Williamsburg to Goshen, he built a log cabin. Later this man, Daniel Prince, married a Miss Packard of the neighborhood and reared a family.” This excerpt leaves out much detail, but my writer’s imagination took this story and ran with it!

ROAD TO DEER RUN has timeless themes of romance, grief, anger, bitterness, and forgiveness and you pace the story very well. Did you plot out your story ahead of time or did you allow it to develop as you wrote it?  

I guess you could call me a “seat of the pants writer” as I let the story develop as it went. I had spent numerous hours ahead of time forming a basic plot in my imagination. Then, when I could no longer keep it just in my head, I had to release it to the written page. It’s always interesting to me to “watch” the plot unfold and have the characters begin to speak. It’s the strangeness of being a writer. LOL

ROAD TO DEER RUN is the edited version of your earlier book THE ROAD TO DEER RUN. Why did you re-do the book? This is the first story in the DEER RUN series. Will you be editing and re-publishing the other stories in the series?

When I first wrote Road to Deer Run, I discovered the publishing industry was in a down turn. With many new writers being ignored and companies laying off editors, I decided to self publish. While self-publishing can be a good alternative for some, it was not a wise decision for my first novel. It lacked proper editing. When I pitched the series to CrossRiver Media, they immediately contracted all three books, much to my joy! They have an excellent editor (Debra Butterfield) and she has worked with me to improve the read. The book covers needed re-doing as well because they tend to make the book appear as if it is for children, although it is geared towards adults. Promise of Deer Run releases next June, 2016, and Legacy of Deer Run releases in December of 2016.

When you started writing the original story, did you know this would be a series, or was your initial intent for it to be one book?

I initially thought it would just be one book, but an editor suggested I turn it into a series. I followed his advice—and I’m glad I did.

Elaine Cooper

     Elaine Marie Cooper

What do you want your readers to take away from ROAD TO DEER RUN?

The belief that God is still there, even in the most desperate of circumstances. And that despite what others may do to hurt or offend us, God still expects us to forgive. It’s not usually easy, but it is necessary if we are to be freed of bitterness.

 

What has writing the original story or the edited one taught you?

When you write the personal thoughts of a character who is wrestling with a dilemma, you sort through the struggles in your own mind. I suppose the characters become an extension of the author and help bring clarity to our own thinking.

 

Please tell us about the sequel(s) and when they might be available.

Promise of Deer Run focuses on the now grown up Sarah Thomsen and follows characters who are impacted by the war with post traumatic stress. Legacy of Deer Run follows Mary and Daniel’s oldest son and his work in Springfield as he must leave Deer Run in order to make a living. Of course romance is a central theme in both of these books, and Mary and Daniel play a prominent role in the whole saga.

 

Thank you so much, Elaine, for being my guest. I know folks will enjoy the story.

Thank you so much for having me, Janet! I am honored to have been your guest.

Where can readers find your books?

Road to Deer Run is available at the CrossRiver site http://www.crossrivermedia.com/portfolio/road-to-deer-run/gallery/fiction/ and will be available at Amazon on December 10. The kindle version can be downloaded at http://www.amazon.com/Road-Deer-Run-Saga-Book-ebook/dp/B0189AH21M

Bethany’s Calendar is available at http://www.amazon.com/Bethanys-Calendar-Elaine-Marie-Cooper-ebook/dp/B00QXY38F6

Fields of the Fatherless at http://www.amazon.com/Fields-Fatherless-Historical-Fiction-Elaine-ebook/dp/B00FYV5EOM

Author Bio:

Elaine Marie Cooper is the award-winning author of Bethany’s Calendar and Fields of the Fatherless. Her re-release of the Deer Run Saga begins with Road to Deer Run this month and will be followed by Promise of Deer Run (June 2016) and Legacy of Deer Run (December 2016). Saratoga Letters will release in October 2016. Elaine’s passions are her faith, her family, and the history of the American Revolution, the era in which her historical fiction novels are set. You can read her blog on her website at: www.elainemariecooper.com

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GIVING THANKS IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES

Posted by on Nov 22, 2015 in Blog, Commentary, Devotions, Uncategorized | 4 comments

Friends and family will gather this Thursday, November 26, to celebrate Thanksgiving. Many will enjoy a lavish meal, engage in time-honored events, and possibly watch a football game.

Thanksgiving celebrations have been practiced in many nations for hundreds of years. Our celebrations are rooted in English traditions of celebrating after a harvest. But Thanksgiving Day also has religious origins.

Thanksgiving CharactersMost school aged children are taught about the 1621 celebration at Plymouth when the colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn meal and gave thanks to God for their blessings.

Virginia claims an earlier Thanksgiving celebration at what is now known as Berkeley Plantation. On December 4, 1619, where Captain John Woodlief and the company of men dropped to their knees and prayed:First Official Thanksgiving Commemoration Plaque

“We ordaine that this day of our ships arrival,

at the place assigned for plantacon (plantation)

in the land of Virginia,

shall be yearly and perpetually kept holy

as a day of Thanksgiving to Almighty God.”

First Official Thanksgiving Commemoration Plaque -2For more details, see:

AMERICA’S FIRST THANKSGIVING ~ BERKELEY PLANTATION

http://janetgrunst.com/americas-first-thanksgiving-berkeley-plantation/?preview=true&preview_id=582&preview_nonce=f909ed43c3

Some of us may be experiencing a bittersweet Thanksgiving.

Are you grieving because you have lost a loved one to death or hurting from a broken relationship? Are you anxious because you or someone close to you is fighting a disease or illness? Maybe you’re heartbroken because of a child or grandchild’s trial. Perhaps there are disappointments due to a job or opportunity loss, or fears resulting from financial woes. Some of us even worry about what might happen in the future ― events which may never materialize.  

God tells us “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV

Does that make sense? How do we give thanks when it feels like our world is falling apart? We are to give thanks in all circumstances, not for all circumstances. In the midst of whatever you are going through Scripture can be very encouraging.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 NIV

Praising God is a wonderful antidote to fight discouragement or depression. As you enumerate the many things you can thank God about, a subtle but miraculous event occurs.

While your circumstances may not be altered, your attitude as you take the journey will be transformed.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 NIV

“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. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13 NIV

Have a blessed Thanksgiving

in the knowledge that God loves you.

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Susan Craft’s newest work ~ CASSIA

Posted by on Aug 24, 2015 in Blog, Books, Uncategorized | 12 comments

In the first two of Susan’s books in this series THE CHAMOMILE and LAUREL, we get to know Lilyan and Nicholas Xanthakos and follow their suspense-filled experiences.  CASSIA is the third installment of their story. Susan’s books are filled with historical detail about the 18th century, particularly South Carolina.Cover of Cassia

Share with us a little about yourself.

I’ve lived in Columbia, SC, since I was five years old. Forty-five years ago, I married my high school sweetheart, and we have two adult children, one granddaughter, and a granddog. I’m a history nerd who enjoys researching for my novels. I get so excited when I come across a tidbit of history I’ve never heard of before. I can’t wait to share it and write it into my novel. That excitement is enough to keep me going.

I enjoy painting, singing, listening to music, and sitting on my porch watching the rabbits and geese eat my daylilies. I recently retired after a 45-year career as a communications director, editor, and proofreader. 

I write inspirational historical romantic suspense.  My Xanthakos Family Trilogy includes a Revolutionary War novel, The Chamomile, which won the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance Okra Pick; its sequel, Laurel, which was released in January 2015; and the third in the trilogy, Cassia, which will be released in September 2015.

Susan F. Craft

Susan F. Craft

 My husband and family are very supportive of my writing efforts. It’s funny sometimes, though, when I’m writing and I’m off in another time, my husband will come into my office and whisper, “Are you writing? I don’t want to interrupt.” It’s as if whispering makes it less of an interruption. You just have to laugh. Besides, we’ve been married 45 years, and he’s my best friend.

My publisher is Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas (LPC). I currently serve on the LPC Heritage Beacon Imprint publication board and work for them as a manuscript editor of historical fiction.  My literary agent is Linda Glaz of Hartline Literary Agency.

To assist authors to “get it right about horses in their works,” I worked with the International Long Riders’ Guild Academic Foundation to compile A Writer’s Guide to Horses that can be found at www.lrgaf.org.

 

Please tell us about your new inspirational book, CASSIA (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas).

The Xanthakos family’s sea voyage from South Carolina to the North Carolina Outer Banks turns ugly after they pressure their ship’s captain to rescue a pregnant woman thrown overboard from a slave ship.

When the slave contracts smallpox, the captain maroons her, Lilyan and Nicholas and their children, Laurel, Paul, and Marion, on an island.

After Nicholas and Marion leave to seek help, Lilyan and her children and the baby, whom they have named Cassia, are captured by pirates and taken to their island hideout under the command of the vile Captain Galeo (The Shark), but Paul escapes along the way.

Galeo is attracted to Lilyan and orders her and Laurel to dine with him where reveals his plan to make Lilyan his own and auction Laurel to the highest bidder and where he forces them to witness a mock trial and a hanging.

Heartsick to see her child exposed to such evil, Lilyan rekindles her long-dormant courage and forges an escape plan.  Meanwhile, Nicholas faces his self-perceived failure to protect his family. He must abandon the life of a vintner and once again call upon the skills he honed as a captain in Francis Marion’s militia. 

Together they face the hardest challenge to a parent, watching as life tests the mettle of their highly sheltered and beloved children.  Bolstered by their faith, they realize their personal strength isn’t enough to see them through and that God is in control.

Will the Xanthakos children withstand their trials and learn to be as tough as their parents? Will the family be united and return to their peaceful Blue Ridge Mountain home?

 

You said you had a great story about how you came up with the character of Cal the mastiff who is a hero in Cassia.

Our granddog, Steeler, is a cuddly ball of fluff who brings us much joy. Last year, I was in our backyard inside a temporary fence we erected for when we babysit Steeler when two pit bulls and a boxer who were roaming the neighborhood tried to attack Steeler and me by pushing on the fence.  Now, Steeler is a doxipoo who weighs in at 14+ pounds, but he didn’t let his size stop him from placing himself between me and those dogs, who probably weighed 300 pounds or more.  With the heart of a lion, he faced them down until I could get us both Cal, he's yours nowback into the house.

I was in the middle of writing Cassia, and that incident inspired me to include a dog in the story. Like Steeler, the dog that I named Cal does some heroic deeds. Only Cal is a mastiff who weighs over 300 pounds.

When searching the Internet for pictures of a mastiff to help me with my descriptions, I came across the Cedarhollow Mastiffs site where I found a fantastic picture of a mastiff named Othello. I contacted Jamie Morris, the owner of the kennel, and asked permission to use the picture of Othello in a meme to advertise my novel. Jamie was excited and graciously said yes. Turns out she’s an avid reader who wants to read the Xanthakos Family Trilogy, and we’ve become Facebook friends.

Sometimes people will ask me who inspired a particular character or who do I envision portraying one of my characters in a movie. Steeler can puff up his chest with pride knowing that he is portrayed by Cal in his grandma’s novel.

 

Is there a message or a spiritual theme in your novel that you want readers to grasp? 

I do have similar themes throughout my writing–faith under pressure and letting go of willfulness and reliance upon self-sufficiently.

I visualize my body of work as a tapestry through which I’ve spun a golden thread of faith made from finely hetcheled flax silk. Although it may disappear from sight, it’s always there, a constant foundation, binding the piece together.

 

Can you tell us anything about the next book in the series or a current work in process?

I’ve almost completed my research on The Great Wagon Road that stretched from Philadelphia to Savanna, GA. From 1720-1780, it served as a passage for immigrants, mostly from Ireland, to travel from the North and settle in the South. I’m thinking it will be a series of romances and adventure stories, similar to the old Wagon Train TV series I watched growing up as a child.

Thank you so much, Susan for being my guest. I know folks will enjoy your books.

Where can readers find your books?

My books are on Amazon, Barnes and Noble online and can be ordered in their stores, and the bookstore of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.

What are your social media sights?

Here are some places readers can find me:

www.susanfcraft.com (my website)

http://historicalfictionalightintime.blogspot.com  (my personal blog)

http://colonialquills.blogspot.com (post the fourth Monday of each month)

http://stitchesthrutime.blogspot.com (post once a month)

http://www.hhhistory.com (post on the 31st of months that have a 31st)

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/susan.craft.108

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/susanfc/

Twitter: @susanfcraft

Google: https://plus.google.com/u/0/116297461023468677321/about

Susan Craft is a friend and fellow contributor on Colonial Quills. We are also both represented by Linda Glaz of Hartline Literary Agency.

 

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