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.

 

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.

Hopping John ~ A New Year’s Tradition

For many years our family begins each New Year with Hopping John for lunch or dinner. It’s a family favorite and easy to make. Many people believe black-eyed peas on New Years bring good fortune.

Spicy Hopping John 

2 cups of canned black-eyed peas                                                          ½ lb bacon   (reserve 2 Tablespoon of bacon drippings)               

1 medium chopped onion            2 minced garlic cloves 

½ teasp. of crushed red pepper flakes   ½ teasp. Black pepper

½ teasp. Salt                     1 cup white uncooked white rice

Cook rice according to directions. Fry bacon and set aside. Sauté chopped onion in reserved bacon drippings until soft and clear. Add garlic and pepper flakes to onion and heat for a couple of minutes. When rice is done, add black-eyed peas, cooked bacon, and salt and pepper. Stir together and heat on low heat for 10 minutes to allow flavors to blend. Chill leftovers and reheat when you are ready for more.

There are many variations for this southern dish so feel free to experiment and make it your own.

My sons enjoyed it and wondered why we only had it once a year. While we never ate it because it would bring good luck, we enjoyed Hopping John every New Year and hope that our new year would be blessed.

I hope your New Year will be healthy, safe,

and filled with hope and joy.

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?

Life During COVID During the Spring and Summer of 2020

Sometimes it’s easier to endure and thrive during times of crisis when we know others are sharing our same struggles. So about a week ago, I asked some friends several questions regarding their journey through this challenging period COVID-19 has given us. Here are the questions and their answers.

1. Besides missing contact with family, friends, and usual church activities, what has been the most challenging for you during these past six months?

~ Surprised and sad at how people ‘shut down & shut off’ friends they disagree with. I have missed the ‘freedoms’ experienced before this (just going & doing, & not feeling the ‘heaviness’ of others who are so hurting). 

~ Not being able to just jump in the car and go somewhere, anywhere, without “suiting up”. It discourages me from going out. 

~ I also greatly miss the freedom to go somewhere, anywhere, without consciously remembering to wear a mask.  This action just reminds me that there is an invisible threat to my health.

~ Not feeling I can make normal plans and a sense of uncertainty around others in their homes. Do I wear a mask? Do I not wear one? Political unrest.

~ My husband, who worked part-time from home, was laid off in the beginning of the quarantine. He has required a lot more of the time that I was used to devoting to writing. I almost given up writing because I feel guilty being busy when he is unsettled and lonely. 

~ Being with people, and our biggest challenge is that we’re tired of zoom, though it has had its place. 

~ Managing my diet and making healthy eating choices.

~ Keeping myself busy, I don’t have any more closets or cabinets to straighten or clean out; spring cleaning was accomplished earlier than scheduled.

~ I miss seeing people’s smiles and going places.

2. Are you finding it difficult to concentrate or accomplish what you want to do or maintain a normal routine?

~ To-Do lists have helped but I don’t complete them all.  My day to day routine is Not the routine I had before this… 

~ Yes. Without attending church and no appointments, no lunch with friends, and avoiding shopping as much as possible, it’s hard to stay on a routine. With less socializing, I find it difficult to be creative. 

~ Feeling like this “season” seems endless, it has taken much more intentional discerning what to do each day. 

~ I find it hard to concentrate on reading. I thought, for sure I’d finish all the books I started. On the other hand,)

~ I find myself sleeping later, and not always getting dressed for the day the way I did pre-COVID.  I can’t seem to really structure myself productively some days.

~ It’s been hard to adjust to my husband working from home some days. Not feeling well. It’s harder to make goals as one day flows into another, not having my regular activities going on.

~ Finding motivation to accomplish something as simple as cleaning a closet is difficult; not hard to convince myself to push it off until tomorrow.

~ I set goals when the quarantine started that I haven’t met but wait … it’s not over yet.

~ We’re finding it very difficult to maintain a normal routine, I find being outside working in our yard is a help, except when the temperatures are 90  degrees!!

 

      But Mom, we’ve already been                        on three walks today.

3. What are some of your coping strategies during this unusual season?

~ I started a small exercise routine, which I am motivated to keep. When I take my cat out in the morning, all he does is sits, so I jog in place!

~ I tend to hide in a book, reading to escape. 

~ Our coping strategies are just trusting the Lord.  We know He is sovereign and is doing amazing things during this chaotic time.  Knowing He has this in His hands gives us the freedom to live life with joy and peace. 

~ Counting my blessings as well as more time in devotions, prayer, study & reading of God’s word. I am so grateful for His goodness.

~ Keeping my time in the Word and with God every morning anchors my heart and mind. There’s nothing like the W.O.G to level all playing fields, keeping hope and truth upfront and center!

~ I listen to music, mostly classical and Christian more.  I also have been listening to Prophecy YouTube videos, rereading Christian books, and working on a Bible study that I started in June.  My husband takes me on drives in our beautiful community several times during the week, and a milkshake is always a good idea.

~ Reconnecting with friends and family, staying in God’s Word and prayer, my husband and I working on communication and our relationship.

~ Make a list of what needs to be done and DO IT, and don’t make the list unrealistically demanding; daily time in prayer and the Bible for the correct perspective of circumstances.

~ I enjoy making cards, rubber stamping, and coming up with ideas for birthday cards and Christmas cards. so have been working on ideas for cards.  I’ve also been trying out new recipes for dinner ideas and desserts (which I should not be doing, desserts that is.)

~ Keep to a normal routine … spend time in God’s Word and pray.

4. What positive outcomes have you discovered during this period?

~ More than usual special times with daughter & her family. An affirmation of whose hands hold me and whose plan is perfect. 

~ I’ve enjoyed every day. I have come to appreciate the simplicity of each day. Getting up, getting dressed, exercising, watching, my Korean dramas… sitting on the front porch while my young neighbors climb my front tree and talk to me! Making meals, being so grateful for food, for my husband’s work(it makes him happy) God’s provision… and the grace and opportunity to pray for others and the world. With the pandemic killing so many, I found myself praying for mercy for the world’s people. I pray it’s a sprout of mercy I’ll take the time to nurture and grow. 

~ I have most definitely grown closer to the Lord.  My house is cleaner, and my husband and I enjoy watching old movies and TV shows together.  I also have been writing notes to people.  It is my joy just to sit on my porch and watch the birds, and the squirrels among my favorite plants.  I also love to just sit on the porch when it rains.

~ Having time to face some issues and relinquishing them to God. Praying for our country and leaders.

~We enjoyed taking long walks. However, the recent air quality issues due to forest fires from other states have made that difficult. We have spent a lot of time with my sister and her family. That has been a blessing. 

~The Body of Christ has been out of the building and in their neighborhoods and ministering to those around them. We see more clearly the spiritual battle going on and know our prayers are important.

~ The increased time with my husband has been a blessing; financial savings with no maid service and less eating out!

~ Positive thoughts – Even with all the negative things that are impacting our lives at this time. Regularly able to raise prayer in thanks for so many blessings. We have a wonderful community with loving Christian friends that we keep in touch with. We are fortunate to be retired and even though my husband was laid off of his second job, God continues to provide all we need. Many of us are still able to participate in

 our church services both electronically and in-person for regular reinforcement. We see many things occurring around us that are obvious answers to our prayers.

~ Done more baking, organized closets, and spent more time in prayer … and exercising.

I hope this has been an encouragement as you travel through these challenging times … and stay well.

Our Security During  COVID-19

March 28, 2020

Within the past few weeks, our lives have changed dramatically. The coronavirus or COVID-19 has impacted society at every level. It’s brought anxiety, confusion, illness, death and financial distress throughout our nation and the world.

How do we resist becoming isolated, fearful, discouraged, and frustrated during these times?

Isolation:

Television and radio entertain and keep us up to date with helpful news (as well as the junk we don’t need). Fortunately, we have access to a variety of technological means to keep us in touch with one another. Beyond telephones, texting, and emails, there is a myriad of social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, etc. to help keep up to date with each other. Other tools such as Face Time, Zoom, Marco Polo, etc. provide visual and audible means of connecting professionally and personally.

Fear:

“God is our refuge and strength,  a very present help in trouble.

Psalms 46:1

 “I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.

He will cover you with his feathers,  and under his wings you will find refuge;
 his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
    nor the plague that destroys at midday.”

Psalms 91:2,4-6

fear not, for I am with you;
    be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Isaiah 41:10

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. 

I do not give to you as the world gives.

Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

John 14:27

Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

John 14:27

“for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”

2 Timothy 1:7

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

1Peter 5:7

“He says, ‘Be stilland know that I am God;”

Psalm 46:10

Discouragement, and Frustration:

 Roy Lessin has generously allowed me to share from his devotional Meet Me in the Meadow.

From August 3. 

“God has not made the earth and abandoned it. He has not retreated somewhere in the universe and gone into hiding. He is today where He has always been, on His throne. God sees all things, knows all things, and is all-powerful. God is all in all. He is above all. Nothing is above Him or equal to Him. There is no king or ruler that has more authority than God; there is no political figure that has more influence than God; there is no nation that has more control than God. No one can out-think Him, or out-smart Him. He is God Almighty. He has all authority in heaven and earth. His enemies are under His feet. He reigns and rules. He is the majesty on High.”

Meanwhile, we can

Pray:

For all medical providers, first responders, and all service industries serving on the front lines.

           For our families, friends, and neighbors.

           For our nation and the world.

           For our government and spiritual leaders

          For revival in our land

 

“If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves

and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways,

then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

2 Chronicles 7:14

Give:

          If possible, be generous with others in service and or provision.

           Encourage others who are even more isolated.

           If able, donate blood since there’s a shortage.

 

Clothe ourselves spiritually:

“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,  praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.”     Ephesians 6:11-18 

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