Rachel’s Reunion ~Another 1000 Islands story by Susan Mathis

Susan, please tell us a little about your writing background, please.

I’ve been teaching writing, editing, and writing most of my life. I jumped into the fiction world, I served as the Founding Editor of Thriving Family magazine and the former Editor/Editorial Director of twelve Focus on the Family publications. My first two published books were nonfiction. Countdown for Couples: Preparing for the Adventure of Marriage with an Indonesian and Spanish version, and The ReMarriage Adventure: Preparing for a Life of Love and Happiness, has helped thousands of couples prepare for marriage. I’m also the author of two picture books, Lexie’s Adventure in Kenya and Princess Madison’s Rainbow Adventure. Moreover, I’m published in various book compilations including five Chicken Soup for the Soul books, Ready to Wed, Supporting Families Through Meaningful Ministry, The Christian Leadership Experience, and Spiritual Mentoring of Teens. I’ve also several hundred magazine and newsletter articles.

But when I started writing fiction… I was hooked! My imagination has become my playground and the characters my friends. I love the challenge, the freedom, the fun of creating with the Creator. But…I only tell that to those who love fiction—or they might lock me up as a crazy person. Smiles.

Why do you write about the Gilded Age?

The American Gilded Age (from about 1870-1910) was a time of rapid technical advances, industrialization, and thousands of new inventions. Mark Twain coined the term in his 1873 novel The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today which satirized the era of social problems that were masked by a layer of thin, gold gilding. It’s a fascinating time in history, especially in the Thousand Islands.

All of my books are set during the Thousand Islands Gilded Age when the wealthy came and scooped up the islands and built lavish summer homes, mansions, and castles. It was an era of economic growth. Since wages were higher than in Europe, massive immigration drew about twenty million to the U.S. shores.

Unfortunately, it was also a time of unequal distribution of wealth where the rich got richer and the poor working class suffered. Many young women worked as servants until they married, and that’s what my stories are about—those nameless, faithful women who cooked and cleaned and served tables for the rich and famous. These “downstairs” women had fascinating stories to tell, and I plan to tell many of them.

During the Gilded Age, America led the world in innovation. A half-million patents were issued for new inventions including hundreds by Thomas Edison, Westinghouse, and others. Thanks to inventions such as the delivery of electric power, the world became lighter, safer, more convenient and comfortable, and all around better.

So, this is why I write Thousand Islands Gilded Age stories. To share the rich heritage this era gave us and better understand what it was like.

What kind of research did you do for Rachel’s Reunion?

I grew up just twenty minutes from the Thousand Islands, so I spent every summer and more exploring the beautiful region. I’ve stayed on several of the islands and camped and rented cottages there. So, after I wrote my debut novel about the largest island, Wolfe Island, I was hooked. There are so many fascinating stories to tell.

Now, I take an annual Thousand Islands Book Tour to the islands where I meet with fans, friends, and family. I’ve stayed in Singer Castle, Casa Blanca, and other places that are the settings of my book. I’ve talked with the owners of the islands, local historians, and researched in the Thousand Islands archives.

All my novels are based on a specific place in the Thousand Islands and the true stories of the owners of that island. So, my plot is generally true. Then I overlay the storyline of the fictional servants to create the story. This makes my stories a bit more challenging, but I love a good challenge.

About Rachel’s Reunion:

Summer 1904

Rachel Kelly serves the most elite patrons at the famed New Frontenac Hotel on Round Island. She has wondered about her old beau, Mitch, for nearly two years, ever since he toyed with her affections while on Calumet Island, then left for the high seas and taken her heart with him. Now he’s back, opening the wound she thought was healed.

Mitch O’Keefe returns to claim his bride but finds it more difficult than he thought. Returning to work at the very place he hated, he becomes captain of a New Frontenac Hotel touring yacht, just to be near Rachel. But his attempts to win her back are thwarted, especially when a wealthy patron seeks her attention. Who will Rachel choose?

About Susan:

Susan G Mathis is an international award-winning, multi-published author of stories set in the beautiful Thousand Islands, her childhood stomping ground in upstate NY. Susan has been published more than twenty-five times in full-length novels, novellas, and non-fiction books. She has nine in her fiction line including, The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy, Christmas Charity, Katelyn’s Choice, Devyn’s Dilemma, Sara’s Surprise, Reagan’s Reward, Colleen’s Confession, and Peyton’s Promise. Rachel’s Reunion releases October 20, 2022. She just finished writing book ten, Mary’s Moment. Her book awards include two Illumination Book Awards, three American Fiction Awards, two Indie Excellence Book Awards, and two Literary Titan Book Awards. Reagan’s Reward is a Selah Awards finalist.

Susan is also a published author of two premarital books, two children’s picture books, stories in a dozen compilations, and hundreds of published articles. Susan makes her home in Colorado Springs and enjoys traveling around the world but returns each summer to enjoy the Thousand Islands.

Visit www.SusanGMathis.com/fiction for more.

Social media links: Social media links: Website |Author Central |  Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Blog | Goodreads l InstagramBook Bub

Say Grace: A Scriptural Field Guide To Weight Loss Compiled By Clarice G. James

I was privileged to endorse this book—one a person doesn’t just read once. While it is a field guide to weight loss it is so much more. The book covers a wide range of topics that mankind has been dealing with throughout time. Many of us have read books that address the Bible’s promises on a variety of subjects, this Scriptural Field Guide includes Scripture verses addressing almost 230 different alphabetical topics using 6 different versions and translations of the Bible.  At the end of each topic, the author provides some delicious tidbits and morsels of her own that never detract from what the Bible says.

It also has several Appendices addressing What God Says About You, Weight Loss Questions, and Evangelism.

I wanted to know something about the genesis of this treasure trove.

  1. You have published five entertaining fiction titles. What motivated you to tackle this non-fiction A Scriptural Field Guide To Weight Loss?

In 1999, I self-published a series of seven topical Scripture booklets, which included You and Your Maker, Salvation, Hope & Healing, Emotions, Family, Workplace, and Grief. I loved studying God’s Word and got so excited every time I dug out an applicable nugget of truth. My goal was to compile a booklet on weight loss—and had been “collecting” verses for years—but I got distracted writing fiction. Or perhaps I wasn’t ready.

Twenty years later, as I considered working on the weight loss compilation, John 21 came up in my daily reading—again. Holy Spirit impressed upon me to “cast my net on the right side”—which to me meant turning from fiction (for a season) to nonfiction.

“Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish?” They answered him, “No.” He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.”  

  1. The research you’ve done is extensive, obviously keeping you delving into the Scriptures for a lot of time. It’s been my experience that this kind of endeavor invites spiritual attack. Did you find this to be the case?

The evil one knows our weak spots. Mine was self-doubt and feeling inadequate and unqualified. He tried unsuccessfully to make me feel guilty for taking time away from wifely obligations, too, but his efforts backfired because my husband was my most enthusiastic supporter.

  1. I know you’ve had a very challenging year, can you share what you’ve been dealing with while compiling this book?

Yes, the challenge has been real. My husband, David, was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia in 2016. As his main caregiver, my priority was him. David and I often went over the Scripture verses together. Even on his worst days, he gave me his input and encouragement. The Lord knew when he would take David home and He knew I would need to be strong. Being steeped in God’s Word strengthened me. David died on August 18, 2021.

  1. I suspect there have also been some unexpected blessings as a result of writing this field guide. Please share those with us.

While studying the Word, my faith grew, and peace reigned even on the worst days. My former struggle to lose weight no longer became a struggle. As a result of focusing on God and His Word,  I released all my extra weight and have kept it off—even while experiencing grief.

  1. So what is next for you? Are you going to tackle another novel or non-fiction work?

I have begun my second book in the series: Say Grace: A Scriptural Field Guide to Grieving the Death of a Spouse. I may also resume writing my novel Out of Hunger, where my characters overcome their struggle with turning to food instead of or before God.

Let us know how to find out more about you and your books.

Your local Christian bookstore would happily order you a copy. Put in a request at your local library. You can also order them on Amazon. If you’re local to southern NH, you can purchase an autographed copy.

Say Grace: A Scripural Field Guide to Weight Loss (Elk Lake Publishing, Inc. 2022)

The Least of These (Elk Lake Publishing, Inc. 2021)

The Girl He Knew  (Elk Lake Publishing, Inc. 2019)

Manhattan Grace (Elk Lake Publishing, Inc. 2018)

Doubleheader (Elk Lake Publishing, Inc. 2nd Ed. 2019)

Party of One (Elk Lake Publishing, Inc. 2017)

If you’d like to get a feel for my contemporary women’s fiction, shoot me an email at claricegjames3@gmail.com, and I’ll send you the first chapter of one of my novels.

Clarice G. James, Author

Smart, Fun, Relatable Fiction & Non-fiction

Hudson, NH

Website: www.claricegjames.com

Email: claricegjames3@gmail.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/clarice.g.james

Experiencing Peace and Trust During Difficult Times

How do we avoid discouragement or depression when events in our world, nation, or lives place us under intense stress?

We are two and a half years into a global pandemic. A nation has been unjustifiably attacked, and other countries including our own are under threat of war. Many have lost faith in the integrity of our government, institutions, and public schools. The United States is experiencing the negative outcomes of self-inflicted policies. Anxiety intensifies when people struggle financially and items they need are inaccessible.

Many people are dealing with personal or family health issues and others are enduring grief. Violence in our cities seems out of control. Fentanyl from China trafficked through Mexico has poisoned tens of thousands of Americans. Drugs continue to damage and kill our population. Family relationships are fractured.

We live in a broken and hurting world. How do we manage when we feel helpless to change the circumstances?   

Jesus told us “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Mankind has had to deal with illness, loss, failure, injustice, persecution, violence, and deprivation since the beginning of time—as a result of sin. “… for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God …” Romans 3:23

We are all flawed. Doing good things, being nice, going to church, or being raised in a Christian family won’t save us. There is nothing we can do to save ourselves, only Jesus can. God will forgive us if we confess and repent for our sins with genuine sorrow and Jesus will save us—

God will forgive us if we confess and repent for our sins with genuine sorrow and Jesus will save us—“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

“… if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”  Romans 10:9-10

We can trust that God is Sovereign, and nothing takes Him by surprise

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

When we become a believer, the Holy Spirit indwells us, He guides us, comforts us, convicts us, aids us in discernment and prayer, and enlightens and empowers God’s call in our lives.

“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have told you. John 14:26”

“However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. John 16:13”

We will always have temptations and trials but because we have the Holy Spirit we never face our difficulties alone. We can experience the peace of God.

The peace of God is more than harmony between  people and groups and the absence of conflict.

With the peace of God, we are “able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:18-19

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7In experiencing God’s peace our trust in Him grows.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;” Proverbs 3:5

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”   Philippians 4:6-7

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

“Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?  And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?”   Matthew 6:26-27

“casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

“Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

 

 

How are you dealing with the stresses that life brings?

Meet Susan Mathis, author of Peyton’s Promise

Susan Mathis has another charming story,  Peyton’s Promise, set in the Thousand Islands of the St. Lawrence River.

Please tell us about your writing journey, Susan.

I’ve been teaching writing, editing, or writing most of my life. I taught language arts for nine years, and before I jumped into the fiction world, I served as the Founding Editor of Thriving Family magazine and the former Editor/Editorial Director of twelve Focus on the Family publications. My first two published books were nonfiction. Countdown for Couples: Preparing for the Adventure of Marriage with an Indonesian and Spanish version, and The ReMarriage Adventure: Preparing for a Life of Love and Happiness, both have helped thousands of couples prepare for marriage. I’m also the author of two picture books, Lexie’s Adventure in Kenya and Princess Madison’s Rainbow Adventure. Moreover, I’m published in various book compilations including five Chicken Soup for the Soul books, Ready to Wed, Supporting Families Through Meaningful Ministry, The Christian Leadership Experience, and Spiritual Mentoring of Teens. I’ve also several hundred magazine and newsletter articles. But then I started writing fiction…and I’m hooked!

What motivated you to set your stories in the Thousand Islands area?

I grew up just twenty minutes from the Thousand Islands, so I spent every summer and more exploring the beautiful region. I’ve stayed on several of the islands and camped and rented cottages there. So, after I wrote my debut novel about the largest island, Wolfe Island, I was hooked. There are so many fascinating stories to tell.

Please tell us a little more about the story.

It’s the summer of 1902, and Peyton Quinn is tasked with preparing the grand Calumet Castle ballroom for a spectacular two-hundred-guest summer gala. As she works in a male-dominated position as an upholsterer and fights for women’s equality, she’s persecuted for her unorthodox ways. But when her pyrotechnics-engineer father is seriously hurt, she takes over the plans for the fireworks display despite being socially ostracized.

Patrick Taylor, Calumet’s carpenter, and Peyton’s childhood chum hopes to win her heart, but her unconventional undertakings cause a rift. Peyton has to ignore the prejudices and persevere or she could lose her job, forfeit Patrick’s love and respect, and forever become the talk of local gossips.

It’s obvious you researched a great deal for this story. Please share about that.

I LOVE researching! There’s a lot of information in Peyton’s Promise about the women’s suffrage movement and upholstery work. But I really enjoyed researching fireworks—how they’re made, how they’re shot off, etc. I connected with the leading fireworks historical and gleaned lots of great information I sprinkled into the story. I’ll never view another fireworks show the same.

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

All of my stories have the central theme of hope and redemption. Peyton’s Promise also explores forgiveness.

God often teaches us something through our writing. What did you learn about life, faith, or yourself in the process of writing Peyton’s Promise?

Yes, every book I write is a journey of healing and hope, and this one was no different. Patrick’s journey of forgiving his father paralleled my journey of forgiving my stepdad.

Where can readers find your books?

You can find links to all my books and more on my website: https://www.susangmathis.com/fiction-books/

Lighthouse Publishing: https://shoplpc.com/peytons-promise/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Peytons-Promise-Thousand-Islands-Guilded/dp/1645263444

Barnes&Nobles: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/peytons-promise-susan-g-mathis/1139839195?ean=9781645263449

My Review of ~The Women of the Bible Speak

The Women of the Bible Speak by Shannon Bream was published in 2021 and became a best seller very quickly. After decades of Bible study, I was well acquainted with these sixteen women’s stories and I was intrigued and glad to see the book do so well. I hoped that readers who hadn’t studied the Bible might be motivated to explore the Scriptures. Perhaps I would get some new insights from her presentation of these familiar stories—but I waited.

Then I saw Shannon Bream and others promoting her follow-on book The Mothers and Daughters of the Bible Speak. I bit—and ordered the first book and I’m so glad I did.

Women of the Bible Speak pairs women’s stories together both from the Old the New Testaments. Their stories are all the more fascinating because they took place in cultures where women weren’t valued, yet God did and demonstrated their impact on history. These women had very different personalities and backgrounds. Some were wise and courageous, others flawed, humble, sinful, and some were even outsiders. All played a part in accomplishing God’s purposes through several millennia. Reading about these women’s journeys—their choices, circumstances, and their unique contributions is compelling. Shannon Bream provides fresh insights into these women’s lives, as well as encouragement and lessons we can all use.

I just bought The Mothers and Daughters of the Bible Speak and can’t wait to start reading it. (It is now also a best seller) I know I will continue to learn from this very gifted author and the inspiring women of the Bible.

 

Shannon Bream is the host of Fox News @ Night at midnight on weekdays and the network’s Chief Legal Correspondent. A native Floridian, she started her career as an attorney. She is a magna cum laude graduate of Liberty University, a Juris Doctorate with honors from Florida State University College of Law, and a former Miss America finalist.

Susan Mathis and The Thousand Islands Gilded Age

The books Susan Mathis writes take place in the Thousand Islands area of upper New York. Her fascinating settings are almost a character in themselves Her newest release is Colleen’s Confession.

Susan, why do you write Thousand Islands Gilded Age stories?

Susan:   The American Gilded Age was a time of rapid technical advances, industrialization, and thousands of new inventions from about 1870-1910. Mark Twain coined the term in his 1873 novel The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today that satirized the era of social problems that were masked by a layer of thin, gold gilding. It’s a fascinating time in history, especially in the Thousand Islands.

All of my books are set during the Thousand Islands Gilded Age when the wealthy came and scooped up the islands and built lavish summer homes, mansions, and castles. It was an era of economic growth. Since wages were higher than in Europe, massive immigration drew about twenty million to the U.S. shores. Unions fought to stop child labor and establish an eight-hour workday. Social reforms included women’s suffrage, prohibition, and other civil changes. In the cities, labor unions became important in regulating industry, while trusts grew stronger in several industries. Education, prohibition, and racial inequalities dominated politics as did economic affairs of money supply and tariffs.

Unfortunately, it was also a time of unequal distribution of wealth where the rich got richer and the poor working-class suffered. Many young women worked as servants until they married, and that’s what my stories are about—those nameless, faithful women who cooked and cleaned and served tables for the rich and famous. These “downstairs” women had fascinating stories to tell, and I plan to tell many of them.

The Gilded Age titans of industry changed our world—people like John D Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan, Cornelius Vanderbilt, George Pullman, and others who were sometimes called “robber barons.” But there were others who quietly made a difference—people like Frederick Bourne who took the Singer sewing machine around the globe as highlighted in my novel, Devyn’s Dilemma.

During the Gilded Age, America led the world in innovation. A half-million patents were issued for new inventions including hundreds by Thomas Edison, Westinghouse, and others. Thanks to inventions such as the delivery of electric power, the world became lighter, safer, more convenient and comfortable, and all-around better.

So this is why I write Thousand Islands Gilded Age stories. To share the rich heritage this era gave us and better understand what it was like. What fascinates you about this time? I’d love to know.

About Colleen’s Confession:

Summer 1914

Colleen Sullivan conceals secrets when she joins her aunt on Comfort Island to work in the laundry and await her betrothed’s arrival. She loves to draw and dreams of growing in the craft. But tragedy strikes when her fiancé perishes in the sinking of the ocean liner RMS Empress of Ireland on his way to meet her. With her orphan dreams of finally belonging and becoming a wife and an artist gone, what will her future hold?

Austrian immigrant, Jack Weiss, enjoys being the island’s groundskeeper and is smitten by the lovely Irish lass. But Colleen dismisses him at every turn, no matter how much he admires her art, tries to keep her safe, and waters the blossoms of love. Perhaps introducing her to the famous impressionist, Alson Skinner Clark, will brighten her opinion of him. But rumors of war in Europe mean Jack must choose between joining his homeland’s army or staying safe in the Thousand Islands as he makes a life with Colleen. If she will have him.

About Susan:

Susan G Mathis is an international award-winning, multi-published author of stories set in the beautiful Thousand Islands, her childhood stomping ground in upstate NY. Susan has been published more than twenty times in full-length novels, novellas, and non-fiction books.

Her first two books of The Thousand Islands Gilded Age series, Devyn’s Dilemma, and Katelyn’s Choice have each won multiple awards, and book three, Peyton’s Promise, comes out May 2022. Rachel’s Reunion is coming soon. The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy, Christmas Charity, and Sara’s Surprise, and Reagan’s Reward, are award winners, too. Susan is also a published author of two premarital books, two children’s picture books, stories in a dozen compilations, and hundreds of published articles. Susan makes her home in Colorado Springs and enjoys traveling around the world. Visit www.SusanGMathis.com for more.

Here are the links to connect with Susan:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Blog | Goodreads | Google+ | CAN |