Advent Already?

IMG_2977Did anyone else think Advent came about very suddenly? It surprised me to end Thanksgiving and go directly to December 1 and the first Sunday in Advent. I wasn’t ready! I love the season of Advent as I prepare for the celebration of Christ’s birth. I’m just a little behind.

IMG_2976Preparing and anticipating the birth of Jesus, always gives me the opportunity to concentrate on the true meaning of this season, something I should be doing in February, June, September, etc… I love the decorations, the lights, the nativities, the carols. All of it.

So, I am going to slowly add the bits to the season that I deem necessary and not fret over my part in not realizing the season began a little earlier thisimg_2982.jpg year. Once I saw the calendar on November 30, I found my advent wreath and one candle for the first Sunday. I have yet to buy the other candles, but I will in time for this Sunday. I pulled out an Advent devotional that I had purchased last year, In the Manger by Max Lucado, and have read it faithfully so far. The Scriptures and the inspirational stories help me focus on what is truly important and amazing about this season.  “For with God nothing will be impossible.” Luke 1:37. Not even the birth of His Son.

I spent a few minutes in the attic and found a wreath and some garland. I already had two poinsettia to brighten my hearth and table. Next, I put out a few pieces of my Christmas china. The nativities are ready to see some action as they await the placement of baby Jesus in about 20 days.

You know, by taking things slower, I’m enjoying the process more. I’d like to not stress this season and concentrate on why there is the season of Advent. Join me in the time left to prepare and anticipate the birth of Christ.

What plans do you have for preparing for Christmas and our Savior’s birth? 

NaNoWriMo

IMG_2782 (2)NaNoWriMo is not gibberish. It stands for National Novel Writing Month. Taking place every November, it gives writers a fun environment to write, write, write! I decided I’d join the movement this year. It’s addictive. I write some everyday on my new novel, Wait For Me. I wanted to share my progress with you.

IMG_2781 (2)IMG_2783 (2)I will say that I might not meet the 50,000 words mark due to Thanksgiving, but I am trying and making progress in my novel, which is under a strict deadline. I’ll check back in a few weeks with my word count. Right now it stands at 32,311!

IMG_2779 (2)If you are a writer this would be a great place to commit for a month. Any words are important words.

Happy writing.

Marisol Spanish Rose Review and Giveaway

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Tour page on Celebrate Lit

About the Book

Book: Marisol Spanish Rose

Author: Elva Cobb Martin

Genre:  Christian Historical Romance

Release Date: November 8, 2019

Escaping to the New World is her only option…Rescuing her Marisol_finalwill wrap the chains of the Inquisition around his neck.

Marisol Valentin flees Spain after murdering the nobleman who molested her. She ends up for sale on the indentured servants’ block at Charles Town harbor—dirty, angry, and with child. Her hopes are shattered, but she must find a refuge for herself and the child she carries. Can this new land offer her the grace, love, and security she craves? Or must she escape again to her only living relative in Cartagena?

Captain Ethan Becket, once a Charles Town minister, now sails the seas as a privateer, grieving his deceased wife. But when he takes captive a ship full of indentured servants, he’s intrigued by the woman whose manners seem much more refined than the average Spanish serving girl. Perfect to become governess for his young son. But when he sets out on a quest to find his captured sister, said to be in Cartagena, little does he expect his new Spanish governess to stow away on his ship with her six-month-old son. Yet her offer of help to free his sister is too tempting to pass up. And her beauty, both inside and out, is too attractive for his heart to protect itself against—until he learns she is a wanted murderess.

As their paths intertwine on a journey filled with danger, intrigue, and romance, only love and the grace of God can overcome the past and ignite a new beginning for Marisol and Ethan.

Click here to get your copy!

My review

I was so excited to read this novel for many reasons. The historical element intrigues me as its set in colonial Charles Town, SC at a time when death is prevalent. Babies, children, and young wives dies from diseases and complications. Because of this the opportunity comes around often for second time love. How would it feel to not have the chance to live to an old age?

I love the Spanish element as Marisol travels from Spain hoping to start a new life in Cartagena. Her life takes a different path though finding herself indentured in Charles Town. I’m such an organized person finding comfort in charting my future. How would I have handled being an indentured servant when I’d been pampered all my life? Not so well, I’m afraid.

As seen by the lives of these characters in the first of the Charleston Brides Series, God has a plan even in the chaos. Life can get crazy and unpredictable. Through this journey with Marisol, I sense the ever-present need to cultivate a close and steady relationship with God. He can and does turn unfortunate situations into purposeful paths to Him.

About the Author

Elva Cobb Martin is a wife, mother, and grandmother Elva Cobb Martinwho lives in South Carolina with her husband and a mini-dachshund. A life-long student of history, her favorite city, Charleston, inspires her stories of romance and adventure. Her love of writing grew out of a desire to share exciting stories of courageous characters and communicate truths of the Christian faith to bring hope and encouragement. Connect with her on her web site at http://www.elvamartin.com.

 

More from Elva

A couple of things inspired me to write Marisol ~ Spanish Rose, in addition to my love of historical romance fiction set in the colonial/pirate era of Charles Town and the Spanish Main.

I ran across a teaching of how people often let the one terrible moment of their lives define them and their future. Know anyone like this?

I envisioned a heroine in the 1700’s who let her “terrible moment”—being molested and accidentally killing the Spanish nobleman who attacks her—define her and her future destiny.

My premise for this idea and novel is: Love, forgiveness, and determination can overcome the most horrifying experiences and poor choices when we invite God into the equation.

Loving horses, particularly the white Lipizzaners, I named my heroine Marisol and set the attack on her father’s Andalusian Stud Farm in Cadiz, Spain in 1740. Andalusians are the Spanish horses in the ancestry of the Lipizzaners. And they can be trained to do dancing steps with a dancing maiden called the Flamenco, which my heroine can do well. Click here for a video of a flamenco dancer. https://youtu.be/lSQWQl0u_Ow

Marisol’s exciting Flamenco plays a pivotal part in the novel.

All this story idea needed now was an exciting, handsome Charles Town privateer—sometimes pirate—who will cross paths with my heroine when she flees Spain after killing the Spanish nobleman who molested her.

Captain Ethan Becket, backslidden former Charles Town minister, has returned to the sea, grieving the loss of his wife and child.

By the time these two get together at the indentured block in Charles Town, Marisol has discovered she is with child.

Thanks for stopping by! May you have an exciting, romantic adventure on the high seas with Captain Ethan and Marisol.

Blog Stops

Connect in Fiction, November 16

Rebecca Tews , November 16

Moments, November 17

For Him and My Family, November 17

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, November 18

Genesis 5020, November 18

For the Love of Literature, November 19

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, November 19

Betti Mace, November 20

mpbooks, November 20

Back Porch Reads, November 21

Maureen’s Musings, November 21

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 22

Pause for Tales , November 23

Batya’s Bits, November 23

Reflections From My Bookshelves, November 24

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, November 24

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 25

Godly Book Reviews, November 25

Inklings and notions , November 26

janicesbookreviews, November 26

Texas Book-aholic, November 27

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 27

A Reader’s Brain, November 28

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Elva is giving away a vintage nautical writing journal and a $20 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/ed79/marisol-spanish-rose-celebration-tour-giveaway

Please leave your comments on my blog. Thank you!

 

 

Let Us Not forget–Veteran’s Day

american flagI teach at a public high school that has a strong tie to the military since an air force base is in the city.  What a privilege it is to teach the children of these service men and women. I think citizens need to know that our schools teach about patriotism and honor those who serve in order to keep us safe.

I’ve been to Arlington Cemetery outside of Washington D.C. Watching the changing of the guards at the tomb of the unknown soldier always leads me to remember and be thankful for my freedom in the United States.

IMG_0190I’ve also been to the Normandy beaches and stood where so many gave their lives in a brutal battle. Walking through the rows and rows of markers at the Normandy American Cemetery brought the price of freedom to a crescendo. So many lives! The Canadian Cemetery was as emotional.

As impressive and momentous as these two places are, the Veteran’s Day program at my local high school last Thursday left a memory and reminder of the past and present-day  sacrifices of our men and women. We have a very active, inspiring JROTC program that organized and shared with the community with honored guests, music, drama, letters, and a solemn roll call. During the roll call, any veterans on the program names are called. If a faculty’s veteran family member has passed away during the past year, the solemn answer of “here” is silent. The faculty member is given a flag in honor of the one who passed away. So moving, so solemn. Tears of appreciation filled the auditorium.

IMG_5709It is good and right to take time to remember our veterans. As I write my novels, I remember that the men and women of the 1770s during the American Revolution showed such an awesome spirit of hope and freedom as they formed a new nation.

How do you remember our veterans?

The Bright Unknown Review

The Bright Unknown FB Banner

Tour page on Celebrate Lit

About the Book

Book: The Bright Unknown

Author: Elizabeth Byler Younts

Genre:  Historical Romance

Release Date: October 22, 2019

  • Two young friends embark upon an epic journey cover Bright Unkownacross 1940s middle America in search of answers, a family, and a place to call home.

The only kind of life Brighton Turner understands is the one she has endured within the dreary walls of a rural Pennsylvania asylum. A nurse has thoughtfully educated and raised Brighton, but she has also kept vital information from her in order to keep her close. Brighton befriends a boy whom she calls Angel—he doesn’t know his name—and as the two of them learn more about what lies beyond the walls they call home, they fight for their release and eventually escape.

However, the world outside the only place they’ve ever known is not what they expect. They have no real names, no money, and no help—and they must rely upon the kindness of strangers as they walk and hitchhike from Pennsylvania to Michigan to find their last hope of a home.

This heartbreaking journey, narrated in gorgeous prose, explores what it means to belong—and to scour the universe with fresh eyes for the brightness within.

Click here to grab your copy!

My Review

I had no idea this kind of abuse and horror existed in asylums in our nation in the past. And I pray it doesn’t now. As I read this book, I ached for the people who had to endure such harsh, insensitive conditions.  When I read accounts like this, I am thankful that we have come so far, although I know we still have a way to go to make sure all people, all ages, all conditions are treated as humans should be treated.

The journey I traveled with the characters in The Bright Unknown has left me wrapped in love, despair, hope, concern, questions, and a desire to make sure those around me know that family is so very important. While reading this novel, I reached out to my family letting them know my deep love for them. I never want my actions and my decisions to injure the ones God has entrusted to me.

Expect to experience true emotions such as anger, frustration, weariness, concern, hope, love, and forgiveness.

About the Author

Elizabeth Byler Younts gained a worldwide audience Elizabeth Yountsthrough her first book, Seasons: A Real Story of an Amish Girl. She is also the author of the critically acclaimed novel The Solace of Water and the Promise of Sunrise series. Elizabeth lives in Central Pennsylvania with her husband, her two daughters, and a small menagerie of well-loved pets.

 

More from Elizabeth

The Bright Unknown was born out of a seed of a true story that my husband’s grandmother, Gigi, shared with me. Gigi told me that when she was a young girl living in Oklahoma her mom had a friend who was a nurse. During one of her visits over coffee she would occasionally talk about her patients at the local asylum. One particular story really intrigued Gigi and even decades later she still remembered it. The story was about a patient who had a baby while at the hospital and while Gigi remembers nothing about the patient or the child, she knew that when she moved out of Oklahoma several years later that asylum-born girl was around eighteen and still living within the walls of that hospital along with her patient-mother.

That story stuck with me. This trapped girl and her mother wouldn’t let me go. I began to wonder over her and ask all sorts of unanswered questions. Slowly but surely my imagined story for her came to life. Layer after layer I learned about Brighton, my name for her. I also named two characters after Gigi, her first and middle, as an honor to her. This story was born from a memory but now these characters feel real and present in my life today and I hope you will journey with them in The Bright Unknown.

Blog Stops

A Baker’s Perspective, November 8

Connect in Fiction, November 8

Moments, November 9

Bloggin’ ’bout Books, November 9

Simple Harvest Reads, November 10

Betti Mace, November 10

Pause for Tales, November 11

Inklings and notions, November 11

Mary Hake, November 11

Texas Book-aholic, November 12

Hallie Reads, November 12

For the Love of Literature, November 12

Through the Fire Blogs, November 13

For Him and My Family, November 13

Remembrancy, November 14

mpbooks, November 14

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 15

Godly Book Reviews, November 15