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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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PRAYER NEEDED FOR OUR NATION

Posted by on May 23, 2015 in Blog, Commentary, Devotions | 2 comments

Anne Graham Lotz, and other Christian leaders asked for Americans to participate in

May Day! May Day! A Distress Call For Prayer.

This commitment involved setting aside the nine days between the Day of the Ascension of Jesus and the Day of Pentecost, (May 15th to May 23rd, 2015) for repentance, prayer, and fasting.

Fasting and praying are Bible-based disciplines that Jews and Christians have practiced throughout history, a spiritual discipline not relegated only to the early church.

When the British Parliament ordered an embargo of Boston in May, 1774, to begin June 1st, the Burgesses of Virginia passed a resolution protesting this act and set aside that very day to seek God with fasting and prayer.

"Stars and Stripes" official flag - June 14, 1777.

On March 16th, 1776, the Continental Congress recommended:

“that Friday, the Seventeenth day of May next, be observed by the said colonies as a day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer; that we may, with united hearts, confess and bewail our manifold sins and transgressions, and, by a sincere repentance and amendment of life, appease his righteous displeasure, and, through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, obtain his pardon and forgiveness; humbly imploring his assistance to frustrate the cruel purposes of our unnatural enemies;”

Our national leaders also called for days of prayer at other times throughout our history, including in 1812 and during the Civil War.

Today was the final day of May Day! May Day! A Distress Call For Prayer. For thoseFlag people who made the commitment to join Anne Graham Lots and thousands of others in this call for prayer, each day they received suggestions for guided prayer and video talks ranging from 4-16 minutes.

My husband and I chose to answer this call, and found it to be an incredible blessing. The prayers furnished each day were Spirit led. It was time well spent and we would do it again.

It is never too late to set aside a time to pray for our nation, because the need is great.

On this Memorial Day weekend, when our minds and hearts remember the men and women who gave everything to defend and preserve this nation, we can do our part by committing to pray for God’s blessing.

For more information:

http://www.annegrahamlotz.org/category/messages-from-gods-word/latest-from-anne/

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HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY

Posted by on Mar 16, 2015 in Blog, Commentary, History, Uncategorized | Comments Off on HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day takes me back to 2013 when I finally had an opportunity to go to Ireland. I found a tour that would allow me to visit parts

stone wall hedges

stone wall hedges

Leprchaun Crossingof England, Scotland, and Wales, as well as Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. With ancestors from four of those five countries, I wanted to explore the lands of my roots. 

Ireland was as beautiful as all the pictures, travelogues, and stories promised.

Pieris Flaming Silver 'Lily-of-the-valley'

Pieris Flaming Silver ‘Lily-of-the-valley’

The people were friendly, the food delicious, and the scenery spectacular. There are many delightful places I sojourned but here I’ll share just a few.

One stop was The Giants Causeway World Heritage Site in Northern Ireland. Here you can walk

Giant's Causeway

Giant’s Causeway

on over 40,000 hexagonal basaltic columns that resulted

Giant's Causeway

Giant’s Causeway

from volcanic eruptions. As one might expect, there is a legend that tells of the giant who built the causeway to walk to Scotland to fight a Scottish giant. It is no surprise that one can also find similar basalt formations across the water in Fingals Cave on the Scottish Island of Staffa.

In Dublin I visited Trinity College Library to see the famed Book of Kells.

Trinity College Library

Trinity College Library

These colorful illuminated medieval Gospels were produced in a monastery in the early 8th century on the Isle of Iona, Scotland, in honor of Saint Columba and later taken to Ireland. While there are 680 illuminated pages of the medieval Gospels, the library only displays two of the current four volumes at a time, one showing an illustration and the other displaying typical text pages. The library itself is a sight to behold with its mammoth book filled cases stretching to the ceiling. Dozens of busts of well known authors are mounted at the edge of each aisle.

Four Evangelist Symbols In the Public Domain

Four Evangelist Symbols
In the Public Domain

Book of Kells In the Public Domain

Book of Kells
In the Public Domain

 

 

         

 

 

 

Traveling around Dublin you will spot the famous colorful Dublin Doors, of eighteenth

Dublin Doors

Dublin Doors

century Georgian homes. Strict building guidelines governed the homes making them closely resemble each other, so residents began painting their front doors vibrant colors and installing ornate door-knockers to show their individuality.

Driving through Belfast, you will see many vivid murals of scenes and people painted on the sides of buildings

Murals of The Troubles

Murals of The Troubles

. These paintings remind us of the three decades in Northern Ireland called The Troubles, a period of continual strife between factions wanting

independence from, or remaining loyal to, Britain. Many efforts at finding an agreeable political solution failed until the Good Friday Agreement in April 1998. The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland have enjoyed greater peace and prosperity in recent years.

Shamrock 2To learn more about ST. PATRICK ~ British Patron Saint of Ireland, visit my blogpost from last year.

https://janetgrunst.com/st-patrick-british-patron-saint-of-ireland

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Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award

Posted by on Mar 9, 2015 in Blog, Journal, Media Sharing, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award

I’ve been nominated for the Sisterhood of World Bloggers Award! So warning: this is a somewhat whimsical post.sisterhoodoftheworldbloggersaward-graphic

This is providential because I was feeling remiss about not blogging recently, and befitting because I was nominated by Kathleen Rouser – kathleenrouser.com  who likes to write about whimsies among other things. Thanks Kathleen.

The Rules:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you, linking back to their site.
    2. Put the Award logo on your blog.
    3. Answer the ten questions sent to you.
    4. Make up ten new questions for your nominees to answer.
    5. Nominate five blogs.

The Ten Questions I was given:

1) Why do you blog?

 I enjoy writing Blogposts about other people who may not be well known. Promoting other writers is fun. I also find devotionals inspiring and encouraging so I like to share them with others. I like to feature people and organizations that inspire me. As an aspiring author, I need an online platform.

2) Which famous person from history would you interview on your blog if you could?

Jesus Christ, is probably the most obvious answer.  Other than Biblical figures: George Washington.

3) Where do you most of your blog ideas come from?

Historical events and people from various eras (particularly those who’ve served in the military).

Spiritual insights and devotionals

4) What is your favorite blog post that you’ve written?

I don’t have a favorite. But “Time Well Spent In God’s Waiting Room” is where I live.

5) What are some future topics you hope to cover on your blog?

More interviews with authors ~ Historical events or places ~ Articles that encourage others. A blogpost featuring my husband who builds beautiful guitars and banjoes.

6) What has been your favorite place to visit in the United States?

That’s tough because I’ve been to many places I’d like to re-visit. I would love to return to HawaiiShameless Promotion: Virginia has a wealth of fascinating places to visit, particularly if you’ve got any interest in history.  I live in the Historic Triangle of Virginia (Williamsburg~Jamestown~Yorktown)

7) Where and what kind of dream vacation would you like to take?

The British Isles and Ireland – I’ve been there before and would love to return.

8) What fictional character do you identify with the most, out of your best-loved books?

Jane Eyre. Jane has had to overcome significant rejection and other difficulties in her life. She’s plain, quiet, introverted, yet committed to her values and is not afraid to share her opinions. 

9) Are you a seat of the pants blogger or do you plan out your posts, with purpose, long in advance?

While I am an organized and fairly structured person, I tend to be a seat of the pants fiction or non-fiction writer.

10) Have you found that blogging has helped you grow in other areas of writing?

Absolutely. When I first began writing for publication, I wrote newspaper or magazine articles. Now, I primarily write fiction, so I find blogging makes me exercise that entirely different style of writing. 

I nominate:

Elaine Cooper                http://elainemariecooper.com

Laura Frantz                  http://laurafrantz.net/

Carrie Pagels                 http://cfpagels.blogspot.com/

Cynthia Howerter          http://cynthiahowerter.com/

Karen Wingate               http://karenwingate.com/

Joan Hochstetler            http://www.jmhochstetler.com/

Here are my 10 questions:

  1. Name three blogs of different types (i.e. devotional, individual, commentary or political) that you like to read.
  2. What are your favorite types of blogs to write?
  3. What are your hobbies other than writing and reading?
  4. If you could hang out with one fictional character for the day, who would it be?
  5. What is your favorite fiction book?
  6. Other than the Bible, whit is your favorite non-fiction book?
  7. If you could travel (at someone else’s expense), where would you go?
  8. If you could choose to live in another era and place, in what era and place would you live?
  9. What talent, other than writing, would you like to develop?
  10. What are your favorite things to blog about?

 

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Laurel By Susan F. Craft

Posted by on Jan 20, 2015 in Blog, Books, History | 2 comments

Laurel is Susan F. Craft’s latest release. Susan calls herself a History nerd and does extensive research, spending hours in libraries. She travels to the

Susan F. Craft

Susan F. Craft

locations of her novels to absorb, to breathe in, everything she can: sights, sounds, smells. Her most fun trip was one she took to the North Carolina Outer Banks to do the research for Laurel, which takes place in 1783. Its sequel due out in September, Cassia, takes place in 1799.

From Laurel

Laurel Cover 5 JPGDesperate to rescue their kidnapped daughter, Lilyan and Nicholas Xanthakos trek two hundred miles through South Carolina mountains and backcountry wilderness, fighting outlaws, hunger, sleeplessness, and despair. When the trail grows cold, the couple battles guilt and personal shame; Lilyan for letting Laurel out of her sight, and Nicholas for failing to keep his family safe.

They track Laurel to the port of Charleston as post-Revolutionary War passions reach fever pitch.  There, Lilyan, a former patriot spy, is charged for the murder of a British officer. She is thrown into the Exchange Building dungeon and chained alongside prostitutes, thieves, and murderers. Separated from her husband, she digs deep inside to re-ignite the courage and faith that helped her survive the war.  Determined to free his wife at any cost, Nicholas finds himself forced back into a life of violence he thought he’d left behind.

Following a rumor that Laurel may be aboard a freighter bound for Baltimore, Lilyan and Nicholas secure passage on a departing schooner, but two days into the voyage, a storm blows their ship aground on Diamond Shoals. As the ship founders, both are swept overboard.

Will their love for each other and their faith sustain them as they await word of their missing child? Or is Laurel lost to them forever?

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

She writes inspirational historical romantic suspense. She recently retired after a 45-year career as a communications director, editor, and proofreader. Forty-five years ago, she married her high school sweetheart, and they have two adult children, one granddaughter, and a granddog. An admitted history nerd, she enjoys researching for her novels, painting, singing, listening to music, and sitting on her porch watching the rabbits and geese eat her daylilies.  She has two post-Revolutionary War novels being released in 2015 by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas—Laurel, was released January 15, and its sequel Cassia will be released in September. Susan’s Revolutionary War novel, The Chamomile, won the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance Okra Pick. 

Laurel – Book Giveaway

To enter the giveaway for a free copy, leave a comment along with your email. The winner will be notified. Giveaway ends January 30, 2015.

 

You can find Susan at:

www.susanfcraft.com (my website)

http://historicalfictionalightintime.blogspot.com (Historical Fiction a Light in Time; my personal blog)

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

http://stitchesthrutime.blogspot.com (monthly post)

http://www.hhhistory.com (Heroes, Heroines and History; post on the 31st of each month that has a 31st)

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

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/susanfcraft @susanfcraft

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IS THE WORLD STEALING YOUR PEACE?

Posted by on Jan 10, 2015 in Blog, Devotions, Uncategorized | 9 comments

When we listen to or watch the news and hear of tragic or sad events, it is easy to get discouraged. When we, or the people we love, are going through difficult times our hearts are heavy and we long to transform the circumstances. It’s easy to wonder where God is, and why He allows these things to happen.

We live in a fallen world where evil, disaster, disease, and death seem to have free reign, and those are the events that seem to get news coverage. It’s important to remember that there are also stories of courage, sacrifice, kindness, and generosity that are taking place all around us. These incidents could touch our hearts and lift our spirit just as powerfully, but they rarely command the same amount of press time. 

As Christians, we know Who is triumphant. The whole story has been written and we know the ending ― that evil, disease and death will cease and Jesus will reign over all.

“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.” John 16:33 NIV

Until then, we can center our hearts and minds on the Lord. A great way to sheet of musicdo that is to list all the things for which we are thankful. Listening to hymns, praise songs, and inspirational music can also inspire and lift us. These tools don’t alter the circumstances, but it changes us, and our perspective as we go through trials.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 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. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:4-9

The Lord has given each of us a platform, and prepared places for us to be an encouragement to others. When we choose to be the light, and do His will in the localities where He has placed us, He blesses us.

  If you need a song to encourage your heart today, listen to one of my favorites, My Jesus My Saviour by Michael W. Smith

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqSQvoinDE4&list=PLh9KTH-y7X5URgvGx6VKf2ePhrcEe-BLIRainbow

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