Meet Denise Weimer, Author of Bent Tree Bride

Your latest book is Bent Tree Bride, a story set in the early nineteenth century filled with rich historical detail. But first, please tell us something about yourself. 

Thank you for hosting me, Janet! I write historical and contemporary romance and romantic suspense, mostly set in my home state of Georgia. I also serve as managing editor for the historical imprints of Iron Stream Media/Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. On a personal note, I’m a wife and mother of two college-aged daughters. I love coffee, chocolate, and old houses!

Tell us about your writing journey. 

I started writing around age eleven. I was born in Atlanta but grew up in the country, an only child of parents who loved history. We traveled all over the Southeast, and the historic towns and buildings we visited made me wonder what type of people once lived there and what their lives were like. I started writing stories in spiral-bound notebooks and reading them to my mom. She encouraged me to keep writing.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just to see where an idea takes you?

Originally, I began as more of a pantster, but as I gained training and experience, I began to plot my stories a little more. I weave my historical tales among real historical events, using many of those as reversals or climaxes, then I add in smaller interior and exterior challenges for the characters. It’s vital to avoid the sagging middle and to keep the reader turning pages. I still allow for small changes and for the characters’ voices to take over in different scenes, though. The action should feel true to the characters’ personalities.

You write contemporary as well as historical fiction. Which is your preference and why? 

I began with historicals, and I’m a historical editor, so that probably gives you a hint as to where my heart lies. However, I realized when writing my dual-time-period Restoration Trilogy that I could enjoy and thrive writing contemporary romances as well … especially when a little history is mixed in. I love to write stories where the characters uncover mysteries and learn life lessons from the past.

In general, it’s refreshing to switch back and forth between contemporary and historical. I think it keeps me sharp at both because I’m not getting tired of either. And most of my readers say they enjoy both as long as the tale is engaging.

God often teaches us something through our writing. What have you learned about life, faith, or yourself in the process of writing?

Writing has been part of my life for so long, the lessons I’ve learned are endless. Early on, when a publishing agreement fell apart in an embarrassing and difficult way, I had to be willing to put my writing on the altar … to give it up if God wanted me to. At that point, writing was so much a part of me, I wasn’t sure I’d recognize myself without it. But we have our identity in Christ, not our gifts or our career. No story is worth writing unless it has God’s blessing. Many times, when you do achieve the goal you’ve worked so hard to reach, it doesn’t feel as we expected it to. While we may enjoy many blessings if we’re walking in God’s will, nothing is fully satisfying but Christ. It’s vital to keep our priorities in order, to remain humble, and to help others.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

I actually had a historical mentor, a historical print artist and historian named John Kollock, who lent me his family letters and diaries and illustrated the covers of my Georgia Gold Series. He was so well-respected in North Georgia that his endorsement opened many doors for me when I was first writing.

Another mentor I’d mention would have to be Pegg Thomas. I met her when we were both part of the Backcountry Brides Collection. At that time, Pegg was managing editor at Smitten Historical Romance. I began working as a general editor for the other historical imprint, Heritage Beacon. Before long, Pegg invited me to co-manage Smitten. Before I knew it, both managers had retired, and I was working as ME for both imprints. Pegg taught me many things about editing and the publishing world. Her faith in me allowed me to fill some big shoes. My new release is dedicated to her.

Please tell us a little about Bent Tree Bride.

Bent Tree Bride just released this past week! It’s set in 1813 Creek Territory, which was modern-day Alabama. Many people don’t know that during the War of 1812, the Cherokees allied with the Americans under Andrew Jackson, while the Creek Indians were split. The National Creeks fought with the Americans but the Red Sticks on the British side. My story follows a mixed-blood lieutenant in the Cherokee Regiment who falls in love with his colonel’s daughter. Here’s the back cover copy:

Susanna Moore can’t get him out of her mind—the learned lieutenant who delivered the commission from Andrew Jackson making her father colonel of the Cherokee Regiment. But the next time she sees Lieutenant Sam Hicks, he’s leading a string of prisoners into a frontier fort, and he’s wearing the garb of a Cherokee scout rather than the suit of a white gentleman.

As both Susanna’s father and Sam’s commanding officer, Colonel Moore couldn’t have made his directive to stay away from his daughter clearer to Sam. He wants a better match for Susanna—like the stuffy doctor who escorted her to Creek Territory. Then a suspected spy forces Moore to rely on Sam for military intelligence and Susanna’s protection, making it impossible for either to guard their heart.

Is there a message in Bent Tree Bride that you want readers to grasp? 

There’s a beautiful cross-cultural romance in the story, but more importantly, the history behind the story bears out that God works to redeem any circumstance. He works through all people groups. All people need His guidance and His goodness. The most poignant spiritual moment in the book might happen in the beginning of my Author’s Note. Check it out.

Can you share anything about your current work in progress with us?

In December 2020 and January 2021, I wrote A Secondhand Betrothal, set on the Georgia frontier in 1813. So this spring, I’m working on Winter Wish, a contemporary about a female glassblower who gets a restart in life in the artsy mountain town of Blue Ridge. I love to do seasonal romances with my contemporaries. Winter Wish is in the style of Fall Flip and Spring Splash. I wonder what could be next on my horizon. Anyone want to suggest a title? LOL.

What are your social media sites?

Connect with Denise here:

Monthly Newsletter Sign-up

Website

Facebook

Twitter

BookBub

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

 

St. Patrick’s Breastplate ~ “Lorica of St. Patrick”

This is a repost seven years back.

Over twenty years ago, I was introduced to a prayer attributed to Saint Patrick. Having Irish ancestors, I had some basic knowledge about the Irish patron saint. But I was so moved by the prayer, I decided to do some more research on this iconic and legendary character.

Did you know that St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, is not Irish? 

He was born in Roman Britain to aristocratic parents around 385 A.D. Even though his father was a deacon and other members of his family were clergy, the family was not particularly religious. At the age of sixteen, he was captured by Irish pirates who took him to Ireland, probably around County Mayo, and sold him into slavery. While there he was assigned to tend sheep. It was during that period in relative isolation that his prayer life developed and he began to believe that his captivity may well have been part of God’s plan. He began to dream that he was to free the Irish people from their druid beliefs and to share the gospel of Christ with them. After six years, Patrick believed he heard from God that he was to escape and make his way back to Britain. When he had walked the two hundred miles to the Irish coast, God gave him another revelation; that he would return to Ireland as a missionary.

Window in Gloucester Cathedral of St Patrick being taught by St Germanus

He was reunited with his family in England briefly before departing for France where he would remain for fifteen years. In France, he entered the priesthood and studied under the missionary St. Germain. However, he never lost sight of his dream of returning to Ireland to spread “The Good News”.

Around 431, Patrick was consecrated Bishop of the Irish and returned to the island of his captivity.

 

While Patrick initially experienced some resistance, Patrick eventually convinced the Druids to abandon their belief system that kept them enslaved and convinced them to find freedom in Christ. He built up the church in Ireland, establishing monasteries and organizing the land into dioceses. Patrick died March 17, 461 in Saul, County Down, Ireland where he is said to be buried.

Did you know that St. Patrick did not introduce Christianity to Ireland?                                                 

He was not the first Christian missionary, but he was the most successful.

Did you know that St. Patrick did not chase the snakes out of Ireland? 

That’s the stuff of legends. However, if the snake is a symbol of paganism, St. Patrick can be credited as removing paganism from Ireland and converting it to Christianity.

Do you know what the association is between St. Patrick and the shamrock?      Shamrock 2 

St. Patrick used the shamrock, a common clover, as a metaphor to teach the Irish people about the Trinity.

Do you know when St. Patrick’s Day was celebrated in the colonies?                                                 

St. Patrick’s Day was first celebrated as a Catholic Holy Day in the U.S. in Boston in 1737. The first St. Patrick’s Day parade was not in Ireland, but in Boston in 1762 when Irish soldiers serving in the British army marched in New York to honor their Irish heritage.

 As the Irish migrated, more people became familiar with the remarkable story of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland and St. Patrick’s Day remains a Holy Day in the Roman Catholic and some Protestant denominations. For many throughout the world, St. Patrick’s Day is a secular holiday, celebrated with parades, traditional Irish meals, and all sorts of festivities.

gold and green celtic cross

ST. PATRICK’S PRAYER

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.
I arise today
Through the strength of Christ’s birth with His baptism,
Through the strength of His crucifixion with His burial,
Through the strength of His resurrection with His ascension,
Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.
I arise today
Through the strength of the love of cherubim,
In the obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In the prayers of patriarchs,
In the predictions of prophets,
In the preaching of apostles,
In the faith of confessors,
In the innocence of holy virgins,
In the deeds of righteous men.
I arise today, through
The strength of heaven,
The light of the sun,
The radiance of the moon,
The splendor of fire,
The speed of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of the sea,
The stability of the earth,
The firmness of rock.
I arise today, through
God’s strength to pilot me,
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptation of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
afar and near.
I summon today
All these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel and merciless power
that may oppose my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom,
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul;
Christ to shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that there may come to me an abundance of reward.
Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.

To Learn More About Our History and Supplement Education

If you are seeking to learn more about our history or to add to a child or grandchild’s education, there is a wealth of books and videos available.

100 Bible Verses That Made America: Defining Moments That Shaped Our Enduring Foundation of Faith

https://www.amazon.com/Bible-Verses-That-Made-America/dp/0718079620/ref

 

Excellent books by Peter Marshall and David Manuel (though written years ago) detailing fascinating information not found in government school textbooks. The authors also wrote versions of these books for children. 

 

 

 

The Light and the Glory: 1492-1793 (God’s Plan for America)                                  From Sea to Shining Sea: 1787-1837 (God’s Plan for America)                                  Sounding Forth the Trumpet: 1837-1860 (God’s Plan for America)

Can be found at  https://www.Amazon.com                                                                                                  https://www.christianbook.com/                                          https://www.barnesandnoble.com/   40 Episodes of Liberty Kids are DVDs (It’s more expensive now than when I ordered them for grandchildren though they cost less through resale.)

https://www.amazon.com/Libertys-Kids-Complete-Dustin-Hoffman/dp/B00CMDPTTA/ref

Learn Our History is another great series https://learnourhistory.com/?gclid=Cj0KCQiAs5eCBhCBARIsAEhk4r61JphkGDiYHfIm-skp1nQ3k6MVpo3eInVfPYY6p_NR6zzF8d23XREaAhnrEALw_wcB

There is also excellent material available from the publishers or Christianbook.com or used from local homeschooling conventions that can add to a student’s education. My homeschooling adventure was many years ago, but six of my grandchildren are currently homeschooled by a daughter-in-law. She has graciously provided some input to this post. 

Additional curriculum resources:

https://www.thehomeschoolmom.com/local-support/homeschool-conventions-conferences-and-events/

Abeka     https://www.abeka.com/Homeschool

Bob Jones   https://www.bjupresshomeschool.com/content/home

Classical Conversations  https://www.classicalconversations.com/

https://www.thehomeschoolmom.com/

Christianbook.com    https://bit.ly/2P2hsHq

A valuable subject often neglected in school is business or consumer math. For example https://www.christianbook.com/abeka-consumer-mathematics-in-christian-perspective/pd/226603?event=Homeschool|1008960

www.rainbowresource.com is an excellent online retail store to purchase almost all homeschool curriculums.If you plan to homeschool, it’s wise to learn what the requirements are in your particular state. The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) is the nation’s largest, most trusted homeschool advocacy organization and it can answer most of your questions. https://hslda.org/

Homeschooling Conventions

Look up Homeschool Conventions to find some near you. Here are some places to start.

https://greathomeschoolconventions.com/

https://www.thehomeschoolmom.com/local-support/homeschool-conventions-conferences-and-events/

Popular curriculum for teaching various subjects:

All About Reading https://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/all-about-reading/

All About Spelling https://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/all-about-spelling/

Institutes of Excellence in Writing (IEW) https://iew.com/

Handwriting without Tears  https://www.lwtears.com/hwt

Saxon Math    https://www.hmhco.com/programs/saxon-math

Singapore   https://www.singaporemath.com/

MathUSee  https://www.mathusee.com/

These are just a few of the many resources available.
Joining other homeschoolers in your community is a benefit for the teacher as well as the student for support and friendship. Some homeschoolers form cooperatives where one parent may provide math instruction to two or more students while others may teach another course of study. I did this with another parent, allowing each of us to teach two boys one day a week in our favorite subjects, giving us each a “day off”. Guess which subject was my specialty? 😉

 

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.

SETTING TWO HEARTS FREE ~ Releases October 6th

History has always fascinated me, particularly people and events that change the course of a nation or the world. When interpreting history through a Biblical worldview (Providentially) one sees God’s presence, provision, protection, power, and at times permission to accomplish His will. Our world has been polluted by sin since mankind’s fall, ushering in all manner of evil over time. And while God does not endorse these horrible events, we know that He often works through them or despite them to accomplish His greater purposes.

Discovering God’s direction and intervention in the years leading up to, during, and after the American Revolution inspired me to write a series of stories about the American Revolution. I’m delighted that the final book in the series Setting Two Hearts Free releases October sixth.

Setting Two Hearts Free is dedicated to all who suffer the invisible wounds of war and other trauma. And to their families and loved ones, sometimes struggling to best know how to help and cope.

A HEART SET FREE ~ A story of Forgiveness

1770 ~ Heather Douglas, a woman, disillusioned and desperate to escape her native Scotland, signs a seven-year indenture and flees aboard a British merchant vessel to the Virginia colony.

Matthew Stewart, a widowed farmer with two young children needs someone to help raise them. Is God leading him to take this unknown indentured servant as his wife? How would these two individuals, from opposite sides of the Atlantic, each having experienced tragedies, bridge their differences to make a life together?

A HEART FOR FREEDOM ~ A story of Faithfulness

1775-1776 ~ When hostilities break out between the British and colonials, the antagonism between colonists and the British escalate to confrontation. Throughout Virginia, strife between factions loyal to the crown and those demanding independence pit friends, neighbors, and families against each other.

Like so many others, Heather and Matthew’s world is turning upside down. Loyalties are questioned and odd and unexplainable events create doubt and suspicion. Their journey is filled with challenges but God’s faithfulness will encourage His people.

SETTING TWO HEARTS FREE ~ A story of Forbearance

1781-1783 ~ Donald Duncan joined the Patriot cause for noble reasons, battling the British while enduring deprivation and hardship on every side. The war has changed him, and now the battle is internal. Returning home to Virginia is in sight where a new life and his Mary wait for him.

Mary Stewart spends the war years with her family at Stewarts’ Green, helping them operate their ordinary. Daily, she prays for Donald’s safe return, eagerly waiting for him … until that day the evil side of war touches her.

Two hearts are challenged by a war that dragged on for six years. Two hearts left hurting and struggling to find the love and trust they once knew. Is there a path for them to rekindle what was lost, Setting Two Hearts Free?

Meet Talia Sampson in Kathy Rouser’s latest book Flying Into Love

Janet: Hi, Talia. I understand you moved into that lovely Victorian mansion about a year ago.  What brought you to Maple Grove, Michigan?

Talia: When I was growing up, I used to spend much of each summer visiting my Aunt Violet and became very close to her. She became seriously ill almost a year ago. Since she doesn’t have any children of her own and my sister, Ashley, travels so much for work, it was natural that I would come and help take care of Aunt Vi. I couldn’t stand to think of her depending on only a couple of friends or heaven forbid, a stranger.

Janet: We all miss your Aunt Violet. She was such a generous person and a sensitive and perceptive writer. I believe Vi mentioned you also had writing ambitions. What kind of writing do you do?

Talia: My degree is actually in special education, but I minored in creative writing. I’ve dreamed of becoming a novelist for several years now, so sometimes I play around with story ideas. I do have a proposal written up for a novel I’m working on, but it’s coming along very slowly since I’m so busy. Between taking over my aunt’s advice column, which is supposed to be a secret, by the way, and caring for my niece, who has time for writing fiction?

Janet: You must stay busy between your writing and taking care of your niece, Bianca. Raising children can be so challenging. Did her parents pass away?

Talia: No, Bianca’s father is a no-good, you-know-what. It makes me furious to think how he left Ashley and hasn’t been any support since. And Ashley’s high-powered job takes her many places. Honestly, I think it was hard for both of them to accept that Bianca has challenges with her Down Syndrome, but I think she is perfect the way she is.

Janet: When I was in the hardware store, I was introduced to a veteran who is staying with you and helping with odd jobs. How did that come about? Was he a friend of Violet’s?

Talia: Ben Tanner, yes, well, it was quite unexpected… Apparently, at one time, Aunt Vi opened Sampson Mansion to veterans readjusting to civilian life. We have an apartment over the garage for that purpose. I really didn’t feel prepared to have a stranger around. Worrying about Bianca is enough as it is. But he had proof that Violet was part of the Welcome Homes program, and Janine, the housekeeper, kind of guilted me into letting him stay. He offered to help out at least.

Janet: He’s quite attractive and she mentioned he’s single. Are you hoping he’ll stay in town?

Talia: Goodness, my face feels flushed. Hold on, let me open the window here in my office… Okay, I’m back. Much better. Yes, that he is—attractive I mean—but don’t tell him I said that just right now. I’m not sure if I’m ready to start dating again. I must say he has the most piercing hazel eyes and gorgeous black hair. The rest of him doesn’t look so bad either. He is quite dependable, kind, makes me laugh, and Bianca is quite taken with him, so I would really like for him to settle in Maple Grove—I mean—his skill set would be a great addition to our town.

Janet: It’s been a pleasure meeting you, Talia. I hope we can have tea some time.

Talia: Tea sounds lovely. Let me know when you’d like to stop by. I still have some of Aunt Vi’s beautiful china to serve it on. Thanks for inviting me to chat with you, Janet.

Kathy’s Bio:

Kathleen Rouser is the award-winning author of Rumors and Promises, and a multi-published author of historical Christian romance. She is a longtime member in good standing of American Christian Fiction Writers.

Kathleen has loved making up stories since she was a little girl and wanted to be a writer before she could even read. She’s in the grip of God’s grace and is a fan of the three Cs—cats, coffee, and chocolate. The mother of three, who is a former homeschool instructor, mild-mannered dental assistant, and current Community Bible Study kids’ teacher, lives in Michigan with her hero and husband of thirty-some years, and two sweet cats who found a home in their empty nest.

 

Social media and buying links

Website: http://kathleenrouser.com

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/kathleenerouser/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KathleenRouser

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/kerouser/

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/kathleen-rouser

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7427871.Kathleen_Rouser

 

Buy link for Flying Into Love:

https://books2read.com/u/3LDxaD?fbclid=IwAR1yIyEtlq9uvkMQaCBBxL0u5Eaz18XvDtmFSGMrDgOsFjpaeTCkLlvwUik

My Amazon page with links to all my books: https://www.amazon.com/Kathleen-Rouser/e/B00P3BR662?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1587786152&sr=8-1