Setting Two Hearts Free ~ A Year later

 

I wrote Setting Two Hearts Free hoping to reach those who suffer from the invisible wounds of war and other trauma. And for their loved ones and families also struggling to best know how to help and cope.

A year after the release of Setting Two Hearts Free, I’m so grateful for those who endorsed and posted reviews for this story. Endorsements and reviews are essential to help books to gain visibility.

“A touching, timeless story of love and loyalty, hardship and hope. Setting Two Hearts Free honors our faith-filled forefathers, many of them Scottish like Mary Stewart and Donald Duncan, whose legacy is the lifeblood of our American heritage and must not be forgotten. Well done!”

Laura Frantz, Christy Award-winning author of An Uncommon Woman

“In Setting Two Hearts Free, Grunst shines at creating the engaging characters that populate the charming backcountry Virginia inn. Set in 1781, several years after the two previous books of the series, the story now centers on the Stewarts’ older daughter, Mary, and Donald Duncan, the son of their friends in Alexandria.

Grunst vividly depicts the trauma of war from the front lines to the home front, where those left behind must maintain farms and businesses in the absence of husbands, sons, and brothers. A soldier in the Continental Army, Donald endures exhaustion, disillusionment, and the mental and emotional toll of battle. A future with Mary feels increasingly out of reach. With Donald’s extended absences, Mary increasingly harbors doubts about their relationship as well, particularly when during a British invasion she suffers a shattering trauma.

Grunst realistically and compassionately portrays the harsh wounds of war that Donald and Mary individually endure. The healing process that gradually draws them into a deeper, more intimate relationship of mutual dependence and shared strength provides encouragement and spiritual insight for readers who may face struggles in their relationships.”

—J. M. Hochstetler, author of The American Patriot Series

“It is often in the aftermath of tragedy’s physical scars that we realize the deepest and most lasting wounds lie within. Author Janet Grunst brings us hope in this beautifully poignant tale of love torn apart by war’s terrible secrets; and truth, the invitation to God’s healing grace to make us whole.”

“A beautifully heartrending story of love’s triumph in truth amidst the atrocities of war.”

 —Kate Breslin, bestselling author of Far Side of the Sea

“Author Janet Grunst has again brought a crucial time in our nation’s history to life through the continuing Stewart family saga. Separated by Donald Duncan’s enlistment to fight for freedom during the Revolutionary War, he and Mary Stewart are no longer wide-eyed young teens filled with dreams, but they have become young adults facing difficult realities. Grunst weaves each of their stories with delicacy through the tragedies which befall them. Donald and Mary must decide whether they will allow these trials to determine their future. Readers of clean historical romance will be touched by this tender and positive story of what honesty, faith, and perseverance truly mean. Highly recommend!”

~Kathleen Rouser, award-winning author of Rumors and Promises. 

“In Setting Two Hearts Set Free, author Janet Grunst does a remarkable job tackling the subjects of PTSD and sexual abuse, without marginalizing the recovery processes. The author adds enough tension to keep readers turning the pages; she also adds enough doubt to keep them wondering how the story will end. Grunst tenderly relieves the characters’ pain with poultices of faith, family, hope, and love. Though set in the American Revolutionary War era, this story transcends generations. Wonderful read.”

~ Clarice G. James, award-winning author of The Girl He Knew, Manhattan Grace, Doubleheader, and Party of One

Thank you

Setting Two Hearts Free can be purchased at Amazon by selecting the link on the right and the following booksellers:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/setting-two-hearts-free-janet-grunst/1137453926?ean=9781645262800

https://shoplpc.com/setting-two-hearts-free/

 

Canceling or Changing Our History

Cancel Culture or political correctness run amuck.

While people have been maligned for behaving outside of perceived social norms for centuries, more recently cancel culture has entered our lexicon. This movement to eradicate statues, books, movies, shows, the names of streets, schools, sports teams, and even people from social media.

Cancel culture is the practice of publicly rejecting, boycotting, or ending support for particular people or groups because of their socially or morally unacceptable views or actions by people who appoint themselves as the arbiters of right and wrong.

Fact: This silencing of anyone or thing that does not agree with the currently prevailing “acceptable” attitudes is robbing us of our first amendment rights and silencing people from expressing their opinions for fear of being castigated.

The preamble to our Constitution reads:

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Individuals or organizations who are eager to find fault with our past or founders don’t acknowledge that all people and nations have flaws. Attitudes have changed over the centuries and should be evaluated in the context of their times. The institution of slavery was certainly a tragic part of our history, but our country has and continues to make great strides to be a more perfect union. Scripture states:

“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23

For too many years our nation has witnessed the altering of history to suit a person’s or group’s agenda. I witnessed this in my public school in the sixties and it has only gotten worse. In the eighties, I took my sons out of the government schools due to the social engineering programs that were being instituted at the expense of academic programs. Our family was fortunate to be able to have them educated in private and parochial schools.

In comparison to the public schools, I noticed the vast improvement in the curriculum, history in particular. I even homeschooled for a time. Arthur Schlesinger made an important observation as did George Santayana:

“History is to the nation much as memory is to the individual.                                     The individual who losses his memory doesn’t know where he came from  or where he’s going and he becomes dislocated and disoriented.”

Arthur Schlesinger

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

George Santayana

Many families do not have the financial resources to send their children to private or religious schools. But that doesn’t mean parents can’t provide facts about our history and supplement what their students are receiving in schools. Fortunately, there are many resources available to expand their knowledge and equip them whenever they hear or read false information. (I will share some of those resources in my next post.)

For example: Growing up I was taught our nation’s founders were Deists. Many years later, upon reading their writings and the actual proceedings of the Continental and Constitutional Conventions, I learned that they often stopped to pray during their deliberations. Deists believe in a Creator, but He does not intervene in human history, and certainly would not respond to prayers. That theory is certainly not supported by the writings of the founders. Here are just two.:

“How has it happened that we have not, hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of Lights to illuminate our Understandings?”

Benjamin Franklin (during the Constitutional Convention)

“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.                           It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”                                                                    John Adams

Recommended resources:

We Will Not Be Silenced by Dr. Erwin Lutzer is a book every adult and teen should read because it exposes what is behind the attack on Christianity, as well as cancel culture, climate change, sexuality issues, racism, Marxism, and capitalism. Besides the book, listen to Dr. Dobson’s interview with the author.

We Will Not Be Silenced: Responding Courageously to Our Culture’s Assault on Christianity https://www.amazon.com/Will-Not-Silenced-Courageously-Christianity/dp/0736981799/ref

Dr. James Dobson Family Institute—Interview with Dr. Erwin Lutzer Part 1 and 2 https://www.drjamesdobson.org/broadcasts/we-will-not-be-silenced-part-1?hss_channel=fbp-296680801734

https://www.drjamesdobson.org/broadcasts/we-will-not-be-silenced-part-2

Tucker Carlson The radical lesson plans that are being taught America’s kids            https://video.foxnews.com/v/6233884972001#sp=show-clips

In my next post, I’ll share resources parents can use to supplement their children’s education.

War’s Respite and Love’s Kindling

I’m pleased to feature Elaine Cooper the author of several Revolutionary War period books. Her Deer Run trilogy, Saratoga Letters and Fields of the Fatherless, all stories that linger in your mind long after you’ve read them.

Last week the first two stories of her Dawn of America Series set in Revolutionary War Connecticut released War’s Respite, a prequel novella, and Love’s Kindling.

What inspired you to write the Dawn of America Series?

“A ‘chance’ discovery while researching online revealed a historical incident that occurred during the American Revolution in Connecticut: The British troops attacked three towns along Long Island Sound in 1779. I had never heard of these battles before and was amazed by the significance of them. Yet the stories of the residents of New Haven, Fairfield, and Norwalk, Connecticut, seemed buried in the annals of history. I couldn’t wait to unearth the past, set in a fictional format!”

That reminds me a bit of Fields of the Fatherless, another little-known but significant event that took place at the same time of the battles of Concord and Lexington.

What made you decide to start the series with a prequel novella?

When I signed my contract with Burnett Young Books, the publisher wanted Book 1 to be a Prequel to Book 2, Love’s Kindling. I’d never written a prequel before and I found it completely enjoyable to go deeper into the back story of my characters. That’s how War’s Respite was birthed, as an introduction to the entire 4-book series.

War’s Respite

In 1763, the war with the French came to a close. While most Connecticut colonists breathed in relief, others are faced with unexpected conflicts as battles of a different nature ensue at home.

Veteran Abijah Whitney regrets leaving his pregnant wife behind when he was called away to war. The news of her death during childbirth, as well as the ugly brutalities of war, have left their mark. His only comfort is the knowledge that his daughter survived. But his plans for her upon his return will cause an uproar in many lives, including the aunt who raised her.

Primrose Allan’s sole consolation after the death of her sister in childbirth is the baby girl who lived. The aunt raises the girl as her own, fearing that one day the girl’s father might return for her. But Primrose never imagined the nightmare that would ensue.

Dr. Isaac Northrup is a friend caught in the middle of the turmoil. Always desiring to bring healing, he feels helpless in the events that cause pain and heartache to others, as well as himself.

Jonas Wooding, the town’s blacksmith, is caught in the strife, made all the worse by a serious epidemic. Bound by constrictions of local law and forced to face his own grief, Jonas’s trust in God is stretched beyond endurance.

When all seems lost, will faith endure?

War’s Respite drew me in immediately. Elaine’s thorough research of history was evident. She presented intriguing characters with overwhelming circumstances that kept me turning the pages to find out how they would be solved.

Love’s Kindling

During the American Revolution in 1779, Aurinda Whitney lives with her cold and calloused father, an embittered veteran of the previous war. Aurinda’s life changed forever when her father returned for her after that war, taking her away from the only place she’d ever experienced affection. Since her father blamed Aurinda for the death of his wife in childbirth, Aurinda is convinced she is unworthy of love.

Zadok Wooding believes he is a failure as he tends the smithy at home while others go to battle against the British. Just when he has an opportunity to become a hero, he is blinded in an accident. Now he fears he will never live up to the Biblical “mighty man of valor” for whom he was named.

When the couple meet they are both challenged to overcome adversity as well as their inadequacies. Unexpected secrets of their past emerge that can change their lives forever. But can they look past their present circumstances to heal—and find love?

Love’s Kindling is another well-researched Revolutionary War story filled with engaging characters, war action, broken relationships, and budding romance. The characters are plagued by the war around them but also battle emotional and physical challenges which threaten their growing attraction. The issues they face are not relegated to the eighteenth century, they’re timeless. There are faith lessons readers will remember long after the story ends.

We will have to wait for Books 3 Winter’s Ravage and  4 Courier’s Return. 

 

Elaine Marie Cooper has two E-book releases January 18, 2019: War’s Respite (Prequel novella) and Love’s Kindling. Paperback version of Love’s Kindling will be available. These books are the first two novels in the Dawn of America Series set in Revolutionary War Connecticut. Cooper is the award-winning author of Fields of the Fatherless and Bethany’s Calendar. Her 2016 release (Saratoga Letters) was finalist in Historical Romance in both the Selah Awards and Next Generation Indie Book Awards. She penned the three-book Deer Run Saga and has been published in numerous magazines and anthologies. You can visit her website/ blog at www.elainemariecooper.com

“Therefore encourage one another …

and build one another up, just as you are doing.”
1 Thessalonians 5:11

Fiction writers typically write in isolation. Well, except for the company they keep with their characters. We create, edit, and submit our stories to agents and publishers. We wait and hope someone else will see value in our work.

Authors are often filled with self-doubt.

If the story is published, then we spend time, effort, and money to publicize our work. We pursue a myriad of different ways to get the word out whether it’s through social media, advertising, contests, donations, articles, etc.

Sometimes … well, a lot of the time, it feels like self-promotion, which can be a real struggle for an introvert. So many authors are introverts.

Promoting our stories is essential, not only because we want to sell books, but others like agents and publishers have also invested time, effort, and capital in them.

 I’ll confess before I wrote books, I never submitted book reviews. I do now and I’m so thankful when a reader takes the time to write a review of one of my stories. It is a valuable and important way to bring attention to them.

            Did I mention that authors are often filled with self-doubt?

I’ve been finishing the third story in a series, one that has been a struggle but very close to my heart. I wonder—what if no one wants to publish it … or read it?  

 Often when I’m in the midst of wondering if this call to write is real, someone tells me how much they liked my stories. I think God prompts people to encourage others at just the right time in just the right way.

Yesterday, each of my books received unexpected words of praise from two different sources, and it meant the world to me.

In the morning, someone said they really enjoyed A Heart For Freedom and they were looking forward to reading the next book.

In the afternoon, I read this Amazon review about A Heart Set Free.

“If you enjoyed Janette Oke’s Love Comes Softly, you will love A Heart Set Free. It is a story of desperation, hope, love, and forgiveness. I found myself totally enthralled by this story. The characters came to life off the pages and the descriptions had me visualizing each and every scene. This could totally be a movie. I can’t wait to begin reading book 2 in the series, A Heart for Freedom. I highly recommend this book.”

My husband makes beautiful musical instruments. I have friends and family who are amazing artists, fine writers, great bloggers, and others have exceptional gifts in the arts, academia, and even a beautiful ballerina. They all share their gifts with others.

Encouragement means so much. Perhaps someone you know needs cheering on. If you’re prompted, give them that gift. It might be just the moment they need it most.

Shannon McNear’s The Cumberland Bride

Shannon McNear’s debut novel The Cumberland Bride was released the same day my second story, A Heart For Freedom.

I met Shannon several years ago at an American Christian Fiction Writer’s (ACFW) Conference and couldn’t be more delighted for her.

The Cumberland Bride is compelling read about a family’s journey through the Cumberland Gap in the closing years of the 18th century. I found myself following their journey on a map. It is filled with engaging and courageous characters, action, adventure, romance, and struggle. Ms. McNeer has done her research and has given us a well-written debut novel. I’m looking forward to her next story.

 Is she too naive to survive the journey,  or will she discover a strength no one knows she has?

2014 RITA® nominee with Defending Truth from A Pioneer Christmas Collection
The Counterfeit Tory (Backcountry Brides Collection), May 2018 & The Cumberland Bride (Daughters of the Mayflower series), October 2018
Represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency
shannonmcnear.com

 

My Visit at 2Me From Him with Norma Gail

 

Stop by 2Me From Him with Norma Gail for my interview about writing A Heart Set Free. Make a comment and there’s a chance to win a free book.

 

It has been fun getting to know Norma Gail. She is also a Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas author who has a heart for all things Scottish.

 

 

 

In her book, Land of My Dreams, Norma takes us on a journey through the high desert of New Mexico and the lush hills of Scotland.

Bonnie has traveled from New Mexico to Scotland to teach at a Christian school and to heal from the death of her parents and a fiancé who deserted her. There she meets fellow teacher and sheep farmer Kieran who is still suffering from the death of his wife and baby. As a result of their human losses, they have also both lost faith in God. This is a tale of their growing relationship, with its pitfalls and misunderstandings, and addresses the theme of being equally yoked. They each must address their journey with God, which has its own challenges. Land of My Dreams will keep your attention to the very end.