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

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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

 

Multi-Author Giveaway

Giveaway Pic 6I’m so excited about being a part of this multi-author giveaway. Follow the link for your chance to win. Please post to your social media sites too.
Readers, we are so thankful for YOU! Your support and encouragement mean the world.  To show our appreciation for all you do, we are hosting a HUGE giveaway!
Don’t miss your chance to enter to win a $100 Amazon gift card and over 40+ books. Click here to enter:  https://promosimple.com/ps/efda/thankful-for-our-readers
This giveaway is going on now through Nov 10.
Giveaway Pic 15Thank you so very much!

El Día de los Muertos

IMG_2681As a preface to this blog, I want to remind you that I teach high school Spanish. Today–this week–was exciting in my classroom. I want to share some pictures and activities that the students and I enjoyed. Pay close attention to all the color!

IMG_2690El Día de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead) corresponds to All Saint’s Day–with a twist. This is a Mexican holiday, a true celebration of the dead. There is nothing sad about this day. The families welcome the opportunity to remember their loved ones through various activities. A fiesta for a few weeks ending with this day and November 2.

I started on Monday with a brief history with colorful slides. Believe me there were lots of questions about the colorful skulls and the decorated altars in the homes. The week continued with making papel picado which is the cutouts on tissue paper that we hung from the ceiling. Face painting consumed one class period–no princesses or witches. The students designed colorful skulls! We made paper flowers and the girls put theirs on headbands. Today we finished with a party and a movie—“Coco.”

If you ever have the opportunity to participate in this rendition of  Halloween, try to grasp the idea of celebrating your loved ones.

Do you know anything about Day of the Dead?

Aiming for Love Review and Giveaway

Tour page on Celebrate Lit

About the Book

Book: Aiming for Love

Author: Mary Connealy

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release Date: October 2, 2019

Josephine Nordegren is one of three sisters who grew upAiming for Love nearly wild in southwestern Colorado. She has the archery skills of Robin Hood and the curiosity of the Little Mermaid, fascinated by but locked away from the forbidden outside world–a world she’s been raised to believe killed her parents. When David Warden, a rancher, brings in a herd much too close to the girls’ secret home, her older sister is especially frightened, but Jo is too interested to stay away.

David’s parents follow soon on his heels, escaping bandits at their ranch. But his father is wounded and needs shelter. Josephine and her sisters have the only cabin on the mountain. Do they risk stepping into the world to help those in need? Or do they remain separated but safe in the peaks of Hope Mountain?

 

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

Do you like reading about a society existing outside the known world? Well, Connealy has given the reader such a place with vibrant characters living tucked away from civilization and the advances made in the recent years. I was so excited to meet three sisters secluded in the mountains of Colorado in 1873. I question if I could have survived in the rugged terrain with only the knowledge taught by my grandmother and grandfather.

As exciting as that might sound to live away from the problems of society such as disease, finances, war, and expectations of others, community brings love, hope, help, and meaning to life. I learned a few lessons from reading this novel. One has to do with what I teach my children and grandchildren about God. I need to be diligent that my words speak the truth. Also, I want to appreciate my family members to the degree that I want them to thrive in their surroundings and callings.

Connealy gives me much to think about as she carries her characters through the collision of two worlds. I look forward to other installments of the Brides of Hope Mountain.

About the Author

Mary Connealy writes “romantic comedies with cowboys” Connealy_Maryand is celebrated for her fun, zany, action-packed style. She has more than half a million books in print. She is the author of the popular series Wild at Heart, Kincaid Brides, Trouble in Texas, Lassoed in Texas, Sophie’s Daughters, and many other books. Mary lives on a ranch in eastern Nebraska with her very own romantic cowboy hero. Learn more at www.maryconnealy.com.

More from Mary

What would it do to someone to run wild from nearly their earliest memory?

What if three young girls had the basic skills to survive a rugged life but no adults to guide them?

Would they grow up to be a completely odd and untamed version of themselves, or the truest, in some ways most honest version?

I wanted to explore that idea: wild children, tough young women, afraid of the invading world, but lonely, too. So I created the plot for my Brides of Hope Mountain series by mixing the three little girls who’d grown up wild on the top of a mountain with some fairy tale ideas.

Book one, Aiming for Love, is Josephine Nordegren’s story. I had this vision of Ariel the mermaid seeing a man for the first time when strangers invade the high valley she lives in with only her two sisters. Curiosity is her besetting sin, or so she’s always been told. She has wilderness skills, mainly in the form of owning a bow and arrow and understanding wild animals, but for the first time, she is drawn to a man.

Jo needs to be tamed, or Dave, the man she can’t stop watching from in the woods, needs to learn the ways of the wild, because they’re out of place in each other’s worlds.

Blog Stops

Hallie Reads, October 31

Connect in Fiction, October 31

Christian Bookshelf Reviews, October 31

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess , November 1

To Everything There Is A Season, November 1

Daysong Reflections, November 1

Splashes of Joy, November 1

Moments, November 2

Simple Harvest Reads, November 2

Batya’s Bits, November 2

She Lives To Read, November 2

EmpowerMoms, November 3

Seasons of Opportunities, November 3

Remembrancy, November 3

Blessed & Bookish, November 4

For the Love of Literature, November 4

Through the Fire Blogs, November 4

Tell Tale Book Reviews, November 4

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, November 5

Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, November 5

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 5

Pause for Tales , November 5

Texas Book-aholic, November 6

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 6

janicesbookreviews, November 6

A Reader’s Brain, November 7

Inklings and notions , November 7

Leona J. Atkinson, November 7

Lukewarm Tea, November 7

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Mary is giving away a grand prize package of a $20 Amazon gift card, a copy of Aiming for Love, and a copy of Fairy Tales from Around the World!!

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/ed95/aiming-for-love-celebration-tour-giveaway

I look forward to your comments here.

The Painted Castle Review

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Tour page on Celebrate Lit

About the Book

Book: The Painted Castle

Author: Kristy Cambron

Genre: Historical Romance

Release Date: October 15, 2019

Bestselling author Kristy Cambron concludes the Lost Castle novels with this sweeping cover Painted Castletale of art and secrets long buried in England.

It was supposed to be a one-week job: survey an art find, collect a hefty fee, and use that to settle historian Kiera Foley’s life back into balance. But from the moment she sets foot in the East Suffolk countryside, the mysteries surrounding the old English manor and the enigmatic art thief who’s employed her stir more questions than answers. Then, Kiera finds the existence of a portrait captivating enough to upend all of her expectations. This one could be a twin-a painting so close in composition to a known masterpiece, it may be rendered priceless if it truly captured the likeness of a young Queen named Victoria.

Set in three time periods-the rapid change of Victorian England, the tumultuous skies over England’s eastern shores in WWII, and modern day-The Painted Castle unfolds a legacy of faith, family, and stories that are generations in the making.

Click here to grab your copy.

My Review

What an imaginative adventure through three historical times, each adding a layer of mystery and clues to answer questions about an impressive painting of Queen Victoria. I’ve read the first two Lost Castle novels by Kristy Cambron and loved them. This one is as mysterious and entertaining.

As a reader, I try to figure out the strings attaching the different periods, but Cambron does such an excellent job of adding a few bits at a time, that I find I don’t want to put the book down. Even if I didn’t know the reputation the author has for historic detail, I would pick up the book because of the word “castle.” Yes, I’m that enamored with anything to do with castles—famous ones, ruins, forgotten, various countries. The history draws me to them and the people who lived there.

The author is able to sustain romance, art, history, family drama, and “odd” personalities in order to complete a riveting novel. I don’t know if there is a book four, oh but I hope so.

About the Author

KRISTY CAMBRON is an award-winning author of historical fiction, including her Cambron headshotbestselling debut The Butterfly and the Violin, and an author of Bible studies, including the Verse Mapping series. She’s a Women’s Ministry Leader at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, KY, and a passionate storyteller who travels to speak at events across the country, encouraging women to experience a deeper life in the Word through verse mapping. Her work has been named to Publishers Weekly Religion & Spirituality TOP 10Library Journal Reviews’ Best BooksRT Reviewers’ Choice Awards, and received 2015 & 2017 INSPY Award nominations. Kristy holds a degree in Art History/Research Writing, and has 15 years of experience in education and leadership development for a Fortune-100 Corporation, working with such companies as the Disney Institute, IBM/Kenexa, and Gallup. She lives in Indiana with her husband and three sons, and can probably be bribed with a coconut mocha latte and a good read.

More from Kristy

About The Painted Castle

A war-torn estate holding its secrets close. A lost library bricked off from the world. And a portrait-maker’s unknown masterpiece of a Queen named Victoria… What stories do they long to tell?

It was supposed to be a one-week snatch-and-grab: survey an art find, collect a hefty fee, and use that to settle historian Kiera Foley’s life back into balance. But from the moment she sets foot in the East Suffolk countryside, the mystery of an old English manor, a crumbling beekeeper’s cottage, and a library that had long ago been sealed off brick by brick, all stir more questions than answers. What begins as a novice assignment instead peels back layers, lulling Keira into the depths of the estate’s long-forgotten history.

Despite questions swirling around the enigmatic, rumored art thief who’s employed her, Keira finds the existence of a portrait captivating enough to upend all of her expectations. This one could be a twin—a painting so close in composition to a known masterpiece, it may be rendered priceless if it truly captured the likeness of a young Queen named Victoria…

1842— In order to salvage what’s left of her family’s shaky circumstances, artist Elizabeth Meade knows her duty must be to marry well. But she hopes looks can be deceiving enough to hide her true motives behind a congenial smile and gain entry into the ballrooms of England’s noble elite. Instead of husband-hunting, Elizabeth searches for the one thing that’s seared to her memory—the eyes of her father’s killer, whom she unwittingly sketched one snowy night in Piccadilly ten years before. She never expects to find answers tucked away in the countryside at Parham Hill, in the form of a portrait-maker who could help her artist dreams come true, if only she could forget the highwayman she’s hunted for the last decade—the estate-owner who unwittingly selects her as his betrothed…

1942—When the 390th Bomb Group arrives at Amelia Woods’ Parham Hill Estate, the American flyboys bring playing cards, B-17 “flying fortresses”, and enough bravado to believe they can triumph over Hitler just by staring him down. Amelia isn’t certain, and she’s unwilling to compromise the safety and security in a carefully-crafted world she’s built for the dozens of London-evacuated children left in her charge. But with Anderson shelters buried in the gardens and an Allied airfield a stone’s throw away, Amelia may have no choice but to wait out the war under blackouts and bombs, and accept help from the captain who offers it—even if it means risking all she has left of her late husband’s memory…

From the streets of Piccadilly and the lavish halls of Buckingham Palace to the countryside surrounding Framlingham Castle, a warn-torn estate, a hidden library, and the lost portrait of a queen come together to write the final chapter in the Lost Castle series. Set in three time periods—the rapid change of Victorian England, the tumultuous skies over England’s eastern shores in WWII, and modern day—The Painted Castle unfolds a legacy of faith and the family we fight for, of risk and reward, and the artful crafting of a story that can be generations in the making… yet still change everything about a single life.

 

Blog Stops

Daysong Reflections, October 24

Connect in Fiction, October 24

Texas Book-aholic, October 24

Just the Write Escape, October 24

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, October 25

Moments, October 25

Simple Harvest Reads, October 25

Pause for Tales, October 26

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 26

Lis Loves Reading, October 26

Hallie Reads, October 26

Living Life Free In Christ, October 27

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, October 27

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, October 27

Soutgern Gal Loves to Read, October 28

Remembrancy, October 28

Batya’s Bits, October 28

Leona J. Atkinson, October 28

Juggling

IMG_2533Have you ever tried to juggle? I tried to juggle three balls at once when I was a child, but I believe I quickly gave up the trick finding something else to master. Now, as an adult, I feel I juggle all the time. How I wish it were only three harmless balls. If a ball happens to fly out of my control, it bounces away causing no harm or significance. Well, who knows what will happen if one of my juggling pieces falls. Sometimes it crashes and leaves many pieces to put back together.

IMG_2531We have many areas of life that we all have to juggle. They fit into our schedules and we do the best we can allotting time, money, and energy to each one. Some area I give attention to are family, job, meals, meetings, projects, and church. But lately, the juggling act has become a challenge when certain items are competing for a limited amount of time. Something has to give. What do you do when all the balls in the air cannot keep momentum?

I’ll give an example of my last week. One area that demands my attention is my writing (which is not my paying job). I need to write, to edit, to review, and to read. I desire to do all four in any given week. It seems my juggling skills are not capable of doing all those items right now. I was so excited to begin writing my next novel and made progress to the count of 15,000 words. At the same time I began to edit another novel that needs to be returned to the publisher. Then, another ball was thrown into the circle–a second round edit for my novel to be released in February. Suddenly, my priority had to shift. A ball had to drop with as little damage as possible. I didn’t want anything to break of be damaged. So I accessed my situation and much to my chagrin I had to put aside my writing and my edit of a future publication. Sad face!

IMG_2534Yet, in a week I will have finished my edit and can pick up my writing again. The cycle can be broken without harm, at least in my situation. I don’t want anyone in my life to suffer because of my clumsy or mismanaged juggling skills. Family, meals, job, and spiritual need to run as smoothly as possible. The other items have their time and place.

What is it that you juggle? Do you ever drop the ball? I sure do… but usually I can pick it up later.