Beginnings…

IMG_0185Joy comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5

I love the morning, a new beginning. I cherish my front porch time to study and read. To muse. To relax. Beginning are exciting and full of anticipation, whether for a new, full day or an adventure with family, friends, career, or mission. I do admit it is nice to arrive at the middle and see the end and then to complete a task and say well done. But the beginning always has such potential and so many challenging, unanswered questions.

IMG_0186My most recent beginning was the beginning of summer–I’m a teacher. Need I say more? Eight weeks to regroup, renew, rest, and rev up for a new year. Now I’ve seen what I accomplished and set my eyes on the finish line which turns into another beginning.

Another place I love beginnings is with a novel. The beginning leaves me with 300 pages to figure out the answers, to meditate on the circumstances, to fall in love with the characters, and to soak up new knowledge.

Hold me Close front (1)Here is the beginning of my novel Hold Me Close (Hold Me Close link) in the Revolutionary Faith Series, Book One:

Charles Town, South Carolina

September 1772

Louis Lestarjette stepped off the ramp onto dry land after weeks on the Sainte Claire. A line of carriages awaited weary travelers on the other side of the dusty boulevard. But none were waiting for Louis. With his luggage stored for the day at the dock, he set out with an address in hand. As he headed down Bay Street toward Church Street, he tried to adjust his legs from the rolling ship’s deck to dry land.

He was here. After five weeks and four thousand miles, he wanted to believe success lurked around the corner.

Turning onto Tradd Street, Louis breathed in the humid air of Charles Town. He walked for several blocks at a brisk pace, looking to his left and right. Finally, he spotted Wilson’s Mercantile. Welcome or unwelcome, he had finally reached his destination. Nothing he had seen looked familiar or even remotely similar to Paris. Even the tree-lined streets with mansions hiding private gardens paled in comparison to his homeland…

Talk about a beginning: a new country, a new job, an unknown environment. I don’t quite want that dramatic beginning, although I have moved before, taken a new job, started over without friends in a new city. Exciting and scary…

Do you have a new beginning story? 

 

Road to Independence

IMG_0190Happy 4th of July! I have grown to appreciate this celebration. It is more than independence from the rule of another nation. Wrapped up in the meaning is pride in my country and my fellow countrymen. I do remember when I understood or began to understand the love I have for America. While living in England with my family in the 1970s, there were two holidays that suddenly didn’t have an significance to my new “home”–4th of July and Thanksgiving. Well, of course, why would the British claim either of those for national recognition.

I laugh now, but as a child I questioned why everyone didn’t think the 4th of July deserved fireworks, hamburgers, and watermelon. Try asking your British friends where they celebrate. So, my parents explained the history to me, again, and quickly found an American group of patriots living in our area. We cooked out, played games, talked about the United States while respecting the country where we were temporarily living.

I’ve traveled to many countries since that time. Each time I am thankful to set foot on American soil, no offense to any nation or nationality. Yet, I am American and ever so thankful. To me, it is not about politics or benefits, but about freedom, respect, and pride. The nation is not perfect because we as individuals are not perfect, but as long as we continue to make strides toward making our world better then there is hope for all of us.

IMG_0188After lots of research on the American Revolution era (about 45 resources), I’ve tried to determine what it would have been like to live in those troubling years of 1760-1785, more or less. The authoress of Charleston, Mrs. St. Julien Ravenel, worded the struggle about fighting this way: “To understand the hesitation we must remember that many of these men had once fought as Englishmen; and not without a pang of heart, even under deepest provocation, do men fire upon the flag which once was theirs.” War is difficult enough against strangers, but against one’s own relatives and citizens it had to be devastating and soul-wrenching.

 

The Revolution era gave flags like “Join or Die”–Benjamin Franklin and “Don’t Tread on Me”–Christopher Gadsden. For decades the colonists wanted representation and reconciliation. It wasn’t until there seemed to be no other way that separation was an option. The price for unity and forming a new nation was costly in lives, in standard of living, in ties to the rest of the world, in relationships, finances, and historical precedent.

american flagI’m thankful and respectful of the tough, forever changed, challenging decisions the nation’s designers had to make. Today, I will remember the beginning in order to face the future.

How are you celebrating the 4th? Do you have memories that formulated your understanding of this celebration?

Bipartisan Review and Giveaway

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Tour page on Celebrate Lit

Please comment on this blog for a chance to win!

About the Book

Book: Bipartisan Love

Author: Caryl MacAdoo

Genre: Historical Christian Romance

Release date: June 20, 2019

Don’t lean to your own understanding. Acknowledge God in all your ways, and He willBipartisan_Love direct your path.

Does time truly heal a broken heart?

Cody thought it had until she walked into the diner like she owned the world and back into his life as if she owned him.

Can betrayal ever be completely forgiven?

Cindy thought it could until she saw him with the bleached blonde. Her Cody!

Separated eighteen years, Cody Wayne Buckmeyer and Cindy think they can put the past behind them and work toward a common goal, a congressional seat . . . but is that possible?

 

Click here to purchase your copy.

My Review

In this installment of the Texan Buckmeyer family saga, the political realm of the 1970s advances on the young lives of Cody Buckmeyer and one-time sweetheart Cynthia. Sparks fly between Cody’s fiancée Amy and Cynthia. Secrets from years ago collide and beg to be uncovered as secrets of the present pose difficult to discard. Cody with his steady stalwart faith and his unbreakable promises has definitely met his match with these two women vying for his affection.

I’ve read the first six books of the Buckmeyer novels. Now, I’m looking forward to filling in the gaps of this saga

I finished this book on the way to Austin, Texas! How appropriate.

About the Author

Praying her story gives God glory, award-winning, best-selling author Caryl McAdoo Caryl McAdooloves revisiting beloved characters in her novels. And her readers are glad she does! She’s blessed that her titles earned over fifty-percent 5-Star ratings and eighty-five to ninety percent 4 & 5-Stars! With forty-four novels (thirty-four in the last four-and-a-half years), it’s obvious she loves writing, but singing the new songs the Lord gives her also rates high. (Listen to a few at YouTube.)

Married to Ron, her high school sweetheart, she counts their four children and eighteen grandsugars life’s best blessings. The McAdoos live in the woods south of Clarksville, seat of Red River County in far Northeast Texas, waiting expectantly for God to open the next door.

 

More from Caryl

I totally enjoy revisiting characters from previous stories! That’s one reason I love writing ‘Family Sagas” like the Texas Romances that has ten full length novels and Cross Timbers Romances with two books and counting! The third launches this coming September.

In BIPARTISAN LOVE, we get to spend time again with the Buckmeyers—Travis and Emma Lee from Texas Romance Book Ten CHIEF OF SINNERS. My heart could barely leave these dear people after book ten, so I’ve written a few “Companion Books” (five and counting 😊) that go with the Texas Romance series—either going back to meet ancestors or forward for their descendants or just more stories with the characters you already love.

Readers first met Cody Buckmeyer and his kissing cousin (by marriage) best friend Cynthia Kramer as pre-teens in SON OF PROMISE. In that story, Emma Lee, so longing to be a mom, gets her heart’s desire in Cody, her husband’s son she’s never known about. The two youngsters became fast friends, but Cindy went overseas when LBJ gave her father an ambassadorship.

It’s been eighteen years, and Cody’s engaged to another. After her letters stopped, he gave up all hope. A liberal Democrat, Cynthia comes home after working in Hubert Humphries’ losing bid for the presidency, and wants Cody, a conservative Republican, to run for a Congressional seat with her as his campaign manager!

How’s this supposed to work?

 

Blog Stops

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 24

Godly Book Reviews, June 25

Simple Harvest Reads, June 26 (Spotlight)

For Him and My Family, June 27

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 28

Connect in Fiction, June 29

Power of Words, June 30 (Spotlight)

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, July 1

Just the Write Escape, July 2

Texas Book-aholic, July 3

Artistic Nobody, July 4 (Spotlight)

janicesbookreviews, July 5

A Reader’s Brain, July 6

Inklings and notions, July 7

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Caryl is giving away

Grand Prize – $50 Gift Amazon Card

1st Prize – Signed, Paperback copy of CHOICE of all my books

2nd Prize – Signed copy of Bipartisan Love

3rd Prize – eBook copy of Bipartisan Love

and

4th Prize – eBook copy of CHOICE of all my books!!

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/e4f6/bipartisan-love-celebration-tour-giveaway

Don’t forget to comment of this blog.

 

Summer TBR list–Awesome Ones

IMG_0081It’s summer, and I am home for extended hours since I am a teacher. A few weeks to bask in hours of reading if I choose. I so choose. Besides researching and editing and writing, I gain insight and joy from reading. I carve out time to escape into the pages of historical and a few contemporary characters and their antics.

Here are a few of my summer reads coming up for July and August. Hopefully, you can find ones you want to read too.

A Heart for Freedom is Janet Grunst’s sequel to A Heart Set Free. It begins in 1775 in Virginia where war is around the bend. Of course, this time corresponds to my novel Bring Me Near, 1775 Charles Town, South Carolina.

The Awakening of Miss Adelaide by Linda Brooks Davis is Book 3 in the Women of Rock Creek Series. Davis is a new author to me, so I look forward to this novel set in 1918 Italy and the United States. War, music, conflict, love.

The one contemporary book in my stack hooked me by the title, Tres Leches Cupcakes by Josi S. Kilpack. If you’ve ever eaten anything with tres leches (three milks)  in the name, you’d know why I’m fascinated. A culinary mystery sounds perfect for the summer.

A novella, Stepping into the Light by Candee Fick, takes place in the Scottish Highlands in 1412. I’m going to love this one and its sequel. The dedication reads “To all those who believe in fairy tales…but don’t feel like royalty. This castle series is for you.” That’s me!

The Warrior Maiden by Melanie Dickerson features the retelling of Mulan’s story in 1423 Germany. I’ve enjoyed every one of Dickerson’s retellings.

The Lost Girls of Paris (I love the title) by Pam Jenoff explores the lives of the secret women who served in the cause of winning WWII. I know this must be full of intrigue and dangerous adventures.

IMG_0082 (1)Speaking of intrigue, Ladies of Intrigue by Michelle Griep reveals 3 tales of 19th Century romance and mystery. Short stories set in 1815, 1862, and 1890.

As  you can see, I have a great summer reading program planned.

What are your reading plans?

 

 

Review and Giveaway The Medallion

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Tour page on Celebrate Lit

Be sure to comment on this blog for your chance to win.

About the Book

Book: The Medallion

Author: Cathy Gohlke The medallion cover  

Genre: Historical Fiction (World War II)

Release date: June 4, 2019

For fans of bestselling World War II fiction like Sarah’s Key and The Nightingale comes an illuminating tale of courage, sacrifice, and survival, about two couples whose lives are ravaged by Hitler’s mad war yet eventually redeemed through the fate of one little girl.

Seemingly overnight, the German blitzkrieg of Warsaw in 1939 turns its streets to a war zone and shatters the life of each citizen—Polish, Jewish, or otherwise. Sophie Kumiega, a British bride working in the city’s library, awaits news of her husband, Janek, recently deployed with the Polish Air Force. Though Sophie is determined that she and the baby in her womb will stay safe, the days ahead will draw her into the plight of those around her, compelling her to help, whatever the danger.

Rosa and Itzhak Dunovich never imagined they would welcome their longed-for first child in the Jewish ghetto, or that they would let anything tear their family apart. But as daily atrocities intensify, Rosa soon faces a terrifying reality: to save their daughter’s life, she must send her into hiding. Her only hope of finding her after the war—if any of them survive—is a medallion she cuts in half and places around her neck.

Inspired by true events of Poland’s darkest days and brightest heroes, The Medallion paints a stunning portrait of war and its aftermath, daring us to believe that when all seems lost, God can make a way forward.

Click here to purchase your copy.

My Review

Rooted in history, The Medallion presents a horrendous tale of the citizens of Warsaw, Poland, both Jewish and Polish, confronted with the Nazi invasion during the occupation years beginning in 1939. No one could have predicted the days of murder, starvation, punishment, separation, hatred, fear, and cruelty. Yet, in this novel we have the opportunity to view heroes and heroines at their best, those willing to sacrifice all in order to save a few—children, families, Jews, humans. Soul-wrenching and brilliant at the same time, this WWII novel is brought to life with the suspense and the crimes combined with love, faith, and a willingness to survive.

I’ve visited the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. It is an inspiring place of remembrance. I was handed a passport of a ten-year-old Jewish girl from Warsaw (she had really existed). At each level of the museum I did not know if she would survive or not. In the Warsaw ghetto room, pictures of the victims cover the walls and the ceiling. I cried. So many of the intense instincts of these people, I’ll never experience. As I read this book, I remembered the layers of the museum, some so graphic I couldn’t look. I do remember that my passport of the ten-year-old girl had a good ending. She survived and escaped to the United States. Others perished.

This story will stay with me for a long time. Even in the horrific events of the war and the aftermath, God can heal and forgive and offer second chances.

About the Author

Three-time Christy and two-time Carol and INSPY Award–winning and bestselling authorCathy Golke Cathy Gohlke writes novels steeped with inspirational lessons, speaking of world and life events through the lens of history. She champions the battle against oppression, celebrating the freedom found only in Christ. Cathy has worked as a school librarian, drama director, and director of children’s and education ministries. When not traveling to historic sites for research, she, her husband, and their dog, Reilly, divide their time between northern Virginia and the Jersey Shore, enjoying time with their grown children and grandchildren. Visit her website at www.cathygohlke.com and find her on Facebook at CathyGohlkeBooks.

More from Cathy

Every story begins with a journey. Sharing that journey is twice the joy.

The Medallion was inspired by two true stories—the first was the WWII account of Itzhak Dugin and his Jewish family, persecuted in Lithuania. Their heart-wrenching story made world news when the tunnel from which Itzhak escaped the Nazis was discovered using modern technology.

The second was the story of Irena Sendler, a Polish Catholic social worker within Żegota (an underground Polish Council to Aid Jews), who developed a network to rescue children. Despite terrible risks, they smuggled 2500 Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto and certain death at the hands of the Nazis, then hid them in Polish homes, convents, churches and hospitals until the end of the war. Approximately 2,000 of those children were found after the war. Theories abound regarding the whereabouts of those missing. I couldn’t help but wonder, and imagine: What became of those 400 to 500 missing children? What became of one?

Set in WWII Poland and post-war England, The Medallion is a story of courage, sacrifice, love, forgiveness and redemption.

Blog Stops

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, June 22

Christian Bookaholic, June 22

Carla Loves To Read, June 22

The Power of Words, June 23

Where Crisis & Christ Collide, June 23

Mary Hake, June 23

janicesbookreviews, June 23

Where Faith and Books Meet, June 24

By The Book, June 24

For Him and My Family, June 24

A Reader’s Brain, June 24

All-of-a-kind Mom, June 25

Through the Fire Blogs, June 25

Retrospective Spines, June 25

Inklings and notions, June 25

Remembrancy, June 26

Lis Loves Reading , June 26

The Becca Files, June 26

Genesis 5020, June 27

Reader’s Cozy Corner, June 27

Connect in Fiction, June 27

Bigreadersite, June 28

Maureen’s Musings, June 28

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, June 28

Blossoms and Blessings, June 29

For the Love of Literature, June 29

Spoken from the Heart, June 29

Inspired by fiction, June 30

Have A Wonderful Day, June 30

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 30

Inspiration Clothesline, July 1

Connie’s History Classroom, July 1

Simple Harvest Reads, July 1 (Guest Post from Mindy Houng)

Just the Write Escape, July 2

Seasons of Opportunities, July 2

Pause for Tales, July 2

As He Leads is Joy, July 3

To Everything A Season, July 3

Hallie Reads, July 3

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, July 4

Locks, Hooks and Books, July 4

For The Love of Books, July 4

Emily Yager, July 5

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 5

Texas Book-aholic, July 5

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Cathy is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/e50c/the-medallion-celebration-tour-giveaway

Be sure to comment here for your chance to win. Happy Reading!

Not an ordinary vacation activity

IMG_8599Recently I joined my three sisters on a much-needed vacation and sister time in Charleston, South Carolina. We always include yummy restaurants and a beach journey if possible. After walking and walking in this beautiful, historic city, we enjoyed the relaxation each evening with a movie in our little rented house with a coveted dessert or two.

IMG_1181Part of my research for my books and for genealogical information included searching the cemetery at St. Philip’s for ancestors. I had done this before with my husband with no luck. Finding a tombstone that is legible from 1760-1780 is difficult. My father had seen it around 1952 and later in the 1960s. But the church has no records of where my relatives were buried just the fact that they were buried in the cemetery.

My father gave us instructions before we left for our trip. “I want pictures of you in the cemetery searching for the graves.” He laughed. And I’m sure we were a sight taking off across the graveyard scouring all the headstones for a familiar name or two. I promise not one of the four of us thought about not completing this task.

Growing up with Daddy and traveling with him led us to many cemeteries. Mama and the four of us would follow him around, listening to his stories or family or historical events. I still do this. For some odd reason, I like visiting the grave sites of historical figures whether in Europe or the US.  From the elaborate tombs of Elizabeth I or the missing headstone of an Uncle Jack in North Louisiana.

After my sisters’ left, I stayed a few days and found myself in the Pioneer Cemetery in Orangeburg, S.C. I found some family members and one stone with unrecognizable lettering on it. Records show that Louis and Elizabeth Lestarjette (major characters in my Revolutionary Faith Series) are in this cemetery with their children but the graves are unmarked, disappearing through the 200 plus years. I will be back to try again to see if I can find out more.

I wondered as we roamed cemeteries, if anyone else does this strange activity on vacation or anytime. Do you have something you include in a vacation that might be a bit odd? Share here.