It’s been five months since the release of A Heart Set Free. I wanted to thank all those readers who have graciously taken the time to post reviews on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads.
In these days when authors are the primary source of marketing their books, posting reviews of the books is of critical importance. The positive reviews for A Heart Set Free have really touched my heart and been such an encouragement. If you have read the book and haven’t yet posted a review I would truly appreciate it if you would. The more reviews, particularly at Amazon, the more visibility the book gets.
Moments ago I learned that A Heart Set Free is a finalist for the Selah Award for Historical Romance. My friend, Elaine Cooper, is also a finalist in the same category for Saratoga Letters. I’m over the moon for both of us.
It is finally the release day for A Heart Set Free.
Writer’s manuscripts are like children. We pour our time, love, faith, wisdom, imagination, discipline, and hope into them. We want to see them mature into a creation we can be proud of, and something that others will benefit from and enjoy.
This has been a long journey, and today, my heart is full of thanks as a long held dream has been realized.
~ To my parents who instilled a love of reading in their children.
~ To the friends and family who encouraged me so many years ago as I wrote this story. Some of them read it as I completed each chapter. Their impatience for the next chapter gave me the confidence to continue.
~ To my husband, Ken, who read this story and encouraged me to never give up on my dream to write stories that communicate the truths of the Christian faith that will entertain, as well as bring inspiration, healing, and hope to the reader. He urged me to continue to write and pursue publication. Armed with his red pen, he provided wise editing advice.
~ To my friends and writing associates who inspire, teach and continue to encourage me on this journey.
~ To my agent, Linda Glaz with Hartline Literary Agency, who has taught me so much about the craft of writing fiction. Linda’s support, patience, and positive reinforcement has blessed me incredibly. She also does this for her other clients.
~ To Kathy Davis, my managing editor and the rest of the team at Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. Kathy patiently worked with this neophyte to help make it a better story.
~ To Eddie Jones at Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas who has a heart to give unpublished authors a chance to break into the market during a season when even experienced authors are struggling to find homes for their work.
~ Last, but by no means least, for my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, for His provision, mercy, and grace in my life. He put this story in my mind and gave me the heart to write it.
I’m thrilled to reveal the cover for my debut novel.
It will be released two weeks from today on December 2nd.
Look for it on Amazon.com.
In 1770, Heather Douglas is desperate to escape a brewing scandal in her native Scotland. Penniless and hoping for a fresh start far away, she signs a seven-year indenture and boards a British merchant vessel headed to Virginia.
Widowed planter Matthew Stewart needs someone to help raise his two young children. The tall blonde standing on the Alexandria quay doesn’t look like much after her harrowing sea voyage, but there’s a refinement about her that her filthy clothing cannot hide. Could God be leading him to take this unknown indentured servant as his wife?
When Matthew purchases Heather’s indenture, marries her, and takes her to his farm, she is faced with new and constant challenges. And Matthew wonders if they can ever bridge their differences and make a life together.
It is in the Virginia countryside that Heather begins her greatest journey, one of self-discovery and of maturing faith. Here, she discovers that her emotional and spiritual scars bind her far more than her indenture . . .
and love will finally set her heart free.
I am very grateful for my family and friends who encouraged me over the years and for other writers who have taught me so much and mentored me. I so appreciate my agent, Linda Glaz of Hartline Literary Agency and Kathryn Davis and the entire team at Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.
From an article in the September issue of Colony Life Magazine
How do two retired introverts spend their days without stepping on each other’s toes? Married for 13 years, Ken and Janet Grunst’s happy solution is having space to devote to their avocations. “Ken’s Cave” says the sign on the door to Ken’s lower level workshop where he creates musical instruments.
“What interested me was the challenge and reward of unlocking the beauty of the wood,” Ken remembers. “When I put the finish on a chess board I’d made, the grain came alive!” Ken plays guitar, so decided to learn to build one. “I’ve done 23 so far, plus a 5-string banjo,” he says, “and given away about a dozen of them to family members.”
Each is a work of art featuring exotic woods, intricate abalone inlay, and his personal signature carved sound ports representing the flame of the Holy Spirit. “King David was a luthier, a maker of stringed instruments, and played harps that he’d built. I’m captivated by the idea that, like him, I can take a pile of wood and pieces and suddenly it makes music!”
A picture on the wall near Ken’s Cave shows a young Ken Grunst performing with his college folk group back in Michigan. His friend and bandmate, Al Jardine, went on to fame as a member of The Beach Boys, but life as a professional musician never appealed to Ken. “There are the awful nerves before a performance, then the high of the actual playing and singing, but it’s such a downer when eventually the place empties out.”
Ken became a teacher and he and his first wife welcomed a daughter. “Teaching in Maryland with a salary of $5,000 a year, Dee and I would have actually had more money on welfare, so I got into home- building,” he recalls with a laugh. Ken was widowed in 2002, and then he met Janet at a Community Bible Study (CBS) conference. Janet, who was the executive assistant to the director of CBS, had been on her own for a decade and had two grown sons.
Janet’s tidy desk and book-lined corner of their family room is where she writes historical fiction. Her first book A Heart Set Free debuts in early December, and she is excited that persistence has finally paid off. “I refer to the book as ‘my Millennial in the basement’, because after 31 years, it’s just now getting wings,” the author jokes. She wrote her manuscript while her little boys were occupied, a snatched hour or two at a time. She tried to sell it herself. “It was almost picked up by publishers twice,” she recalls. “Then my life changed and I was busy working and raising my boys, so the book stayed dormant.” After Janet and Ken were married, he read the story, the romantic tale of an 18th-century indentured servant, loved it, and encouraged her to try again. This time around Janet found a supportive agent and the manuscript was accepted by Lighthouse Publishers of the Carolinas.
Janet has a second story ready and plans for a third. “Writing makes me feel alive!” she declares. ”Marketing, however, will probably be a challenge,” the self-proclaimed introvert laughs.
Ken and Janet have found the secret of successful remarriage is staying actively engaged in things that bring joy, carving out space for themselves while cherishing time together. Their three children have given them ten grandchildren, including quadruplets born this year, and they jointly serve as small group team leaders for Williamsburg Community Chapel. Their goal is to balance fun social times with peaceful hours of creating beauty, both in wood and on the page.