Surround Me Recap

IMG_3694Do you have more time to read while under stay at home or shelter in place mandate? Things are crazy, far from normal for most of us. As I wrote my Revolutionary Series, I could only imagine the abnormalities, inconveniences, awkward, scary, and disruptive day to day life. Although, I don’t feel threatened by war with fighting, bullets, and cannon, I do face, as you do, a physical threat. And, a threat to my way of life. The good is that I have slowed down, enjoying my garden, reading more, writing more, eating better, and cherishing my loved ones (without touching them.)

In Surround Me, Elizabeth and Louis are facing something on the horizon that they have not experienced before. Sound familiar? There were no answers, just preparation for what might happen. “Battles rage in Elizabeth Elliott’s heart as the threat of war invades her hometown.”Surround Me front (1)

Purchase Surround Me here

An excerpt from the first page of the novel:

Bordeaux, France, June 1773

     His hands tightly gripped the railing, turning his knuckles a startling white compared to his wind-chapped and tanned skin. The pressure in his grasp mimicked the turmoil in his head. Louis Lestarjette’s gaze lifted to a sea of deep-blue waves. Charles Town and any semblance of land had disappeared weeks ago. Why the upheaval now when he had already had weeks to prepare for his journey and his family reunion? Could a prodigal son truly go back home? How would he be received? The same questions rolled over and over in his head.

     If he had made a mistake, he would never forgive himself. All the what-ifs jumbled in his mind, tumbling into compartments he thought he’d closed in order to keep away doubts and insecurities. Where was the peace he had claimed? The voyage was a necessity for business, for the colony of South Carolina, and for his family. He had determined even after the first five weeks on the ocean that his love for Elizabeth Elliott would only increase with time.

So, they enter a period with a crazy new normal. Sound familiar? One reviewer for Draw Me to Your Side remarks about the eerie similarities to what we are going through now–a revolution of sorts.

4 togetherHave time to read? Try this series and tell me what you think.

Importance of Community: Civic

IMG_0190Do I have a civic duty to my country, my state, my local community? I think I do. As a teacher in the public school system, I see part of my job is to help the students become valuable citizens. As a civilian, there are many ways to volunteer to better the community. That can take the form of a few hours or a major commitment of years.

Through the years, I’ve been a part of many civic endeavors. One of my favorites was the building of Kid’s Towne in Clinton, Mississippi. The community came together with funds, skills, ideas and sweat to make the dream of a creative, safe, fun area for our children. I can still see the joy on the faces of the kids and adults when the plan became reality.

Many other projects centered around libraries, gazebos, civic centers, neighborhood gardens, Lion’s Club, Rotary Club, museums, United Way, hospital drives, fundraisers of all kinds. The time I give freely means the most to me. I want my community to thrive.

IMG_6006The desire to be good, productive citizens spans the centuries. There’s a part of the human soul that wants peace, camaraderie, and beauty. Sometimes the cost is great, as in time of war. In my Revolutionary Faith series, the citizens of Charles Town, South Carolina in the 1770s joined groups like the Sons of Liberty, the Daughters of Liberty, and even the South Carolina militia. The other projects such as the theater, music hall, museum, college, and library, though important, took a second seat to the war.

Hold me Close front (1)Oh, the decisions they had to make.  Here is a brief conversation between Louis and Elizabeth from Hold Me Close.

Louis: “I’m here for you when you need to talk—as a neutral party, of course. I don’t know about the future of this town or the colonies, but I do know I would like to be your friend.”

Elizabeth: “I do need a fried. I’ll try not to grumble too mush. I know where you stand—a Frenchman with no involvement or attachment to any place or people.”

Can we really live like that? Not for long. I believe in the importance of civic duty in the community.

Hold Me Close–Amazon

What do you enjoy about local civic involvement?