You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16

Saturday, December 28, 2013

What if the British had won
the American Revolutionary War?

You have until noon next Friday, January 3 to answer the question "What if the British had won the American Revolutionary War?"
Your answer can be serious, clever, or funny. The top three best answers each will win a copy of my novel, The Chamomile, a Revolutionary War romantic suspense set in Charleston, SC, during the two years the British occupied the city.

I’ll start you off.

For instance, here’s a serious answer – there wouldn’t have been a Civil War because the British abolished the slave trade in the British Empire in 1807 and the practice of slavery in 1833.

Funny answers – the Indianapolis 500 would be the Indianapolis 805 (500 miles = 805 kilometers) or, we wouldn't be driving on "the wrong side of the road."

A clever answer – My novel, The Chamomile, might have been written from the perspective of a Loyalist woman who spies for the British, not a woman who spies for the Patriots, and it certainly would have ended differently.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

History of Nativity Scenes

Nativity scene on my home mantel.
        St. Francis of Assisi created the first nativity scene in 1223 in Greccio, Italy. A live nativity scene staged in a cave, it had humans and animals cast in the Biblical roles and was an effort on his part to emphasize the worship of Christ rather than upon gift giving. Some say he created the manger scene as an alternative for pilgrims wanting to go to Bethlehem, which was then occupied by the Turks.
        Nativity scenes, or crèches (the French word for manger), became so popular that within a hundred years almost every church in Italy had one, though eventually statues replaced the human and animal participants.         
Nativity scene by St. Francis at Greccio,
painting by Giotto

        During early colonial times in New England, the Puritans didn’t approve of celebrating Christmas and outlawed it in Boston from 1659 to 1681. (Presbyterians weren't keen on celebrating Christmas either, as it was considered an Anglican tradition.)
        During that time, an English tradition of baking a mince pie in the shape of a manger to hold the Christ child was also banned by specific legislation. The outlaw pies were referred to as “Idolaterie in crust.” The ban was revoked by Governor Edmund Andros.
        Also in America, the tradition of decorative Christmas villages was rooted in the holiday traditions of the Pennsylvania Dutch. The construction of a nativity scene, also called a putz, were made at the base of a tree. These scenes, sometimes inspired by the story of Noah’s Ark, could include several hundred carved animals on their way to the ark.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Finding Beth by author Linnette R. Mullin

LINNETTE R. MULLIN is an author of life-changing romance. She has been married to her sweetheart – Johnathan, for more than twenty-one years. They've been blessed with four amazing sons: Christopher, Andrew, Matthew, and Garrison. Some of her writing credits include Charles Stanley's “In Touch” magazine, “101 Facets of Faith” devotional book, Guidepost's “Extraordinary Answers to Prayer”, and “Public Health Alert” - a nationally distributed newspaper for the chronically ill. She is the founder and coordinator of Palmetto Christian Writer's Network in Lexington, SC; she runs the “We Are Writers” group on Facebook; and she is an advocate for sufferers of Lyme's Disease. Her favorite things in life are her family, her church, reading and writing, and her Savior most of all.
Is Finding Beth your first novel or have there been others?
Finding Beth is not my first novel. My first woven works to find its way to the page started with what was familiar to me. I renamed my hometown and created a story of struggling families and individuals who find their way home – not in spite of their circumstances, but because of them. Coming Home is safely tucked away until I have the time and fortitude to pull it out and rewrite it.

What is Finding Beth about?
A run-away-bride-to-be and a southern-boy-next-door. Trapped by the reality of past choices... lost in confusion and pain, Beth Gallagher must fight her way back to God. Just when she makes a new friend in Adam Blythe and finds peace with God, tragedy strikes. Beth faces new demons that steal her new-found peace and threaten to steal her future. Could she possibly find true love with Adam Blythe? Or will this crisis tear them apart? Will she ever find her way home amidst the emotional mine-field? Read Finding Beth to find out!
What was the hardest thing about writing this book?
The hardest thing in regards to the process or the story itself? If you mean the writing process, I would have to say it was learning to have a tough skin and actually learn to enjoy the editing and rewriting process – learning what it means to write well. If you’re referring to the story itself, I would have to say the hardest thing has been allowing myself to delve deep into my characters’ POVs. Delving deep means allowing myself to be sucked in emotionally, to feel what my characters feel. It means opening up and pouring my raw, bleeding heart onto the page - being vulnerable on the page. I attended a Ted Dekker writer’s symposium two years ago in which he encouraged us to be vulnerable, to bleed on the page. When I told him I struggle with letting go, that when the pain comes I automatically pull back, he looked me in the eye with compassion and told me I could do it. He said to just go for it. Don’t hold back. Force myself to dive in deep and allow the words to flow through the pain. If I need to cry, then cry, but don’t hold back.
What led to writing Finding Beth?
In November 2007, I attended the annual HACWN writer’s conference in Kansas City, MO and my first classes on blogging. My husband was going through a lay-off and I had to start working outside the home for the first time ever in our marriage. I didn’t want to lose everything I’d learned at the conference, and I’d been encouraged to write, write, write in order to continue honing my skills. I’d also been convinced that blogs were the latest and greatest thing, and every writer should have one. So I started “An Odyssey in Prose” in January 2008 and posted a short chapter once or twice a month. The purpose was to keep myself accountable to readers who wanted to know what happened next. It would force me to post consistently and learn to self-edit all at the same time. It was an experiment intended to be a short story. I didn’t worry overly much with the dream weaving. To keep me going, I asked “what if” questions as I wrote. After a year or so, I realized that Beth’s story wasn’t a short, but a full-fledged novel. And my readers let me know they expected me to finish the book as well as write the story of Beth’s best friend, Tiffany.
How did you become interested in writing?
Most writers will tell you they began writing at a very young age. I did not. At least not on paper. My friend, Kelsey Keating, calls me a Dreamweaver. Characters, scenes, plots, locations… they take shape in my imagination – my daydreams. Scenes play in my head like movies with sound and color and movement and emotion. In fact, one particular scene in my novel lived in my imagination for years before it found its home with Beth. Following the birth of my third son in 1997, I became confined to my bed with a chronic illness. It was then I started putting stories on paper, allowing the intangible to become tangible. Writing kept me sane.
How do you get into creative mode? How do you begin the writing process?
Let me answer those one at a time. First, creative mode: For me, it varies depending on what’s going on in my busy mom schedule, as well as in my spiritual life. If I’m running on empty, I have to fill up. Attending my church every Sunday and many Wednesdays gives me the shot in the arm I need. I’m always reminded that my life is to be Gospel centered, that my relationship with Jesus is a personal one and I need to daily, moment by moment, work on that relationship. This also helps my creative process, along with reading, dream weaving, decluttering my house, fellowshipping with other writers, and listening to music. A lot of writers listen to music while they write. I’m a musician, so I can’t do that. It distracts me and becomes my focus. Other things that help fill me or keep me from stagnating are critique sessions, writer’s workshops, and conferences. Second, the writing process: Dream weaving usually comes first. Sometimes for a writing exercise I'll use a word prompt. That's how my short story “Green Beans and Puppy Love” came about. Other than that, I sit at the computer, open my document, shut out all noise and activity around me, and type. I just do it. There’s no better way to get it done.
You mentioned Tiffany’s story earlier. Are you working on her book next?
Yes. Loving Tiffany is another heart rending, heart bleeding, heart mending story. Probably more so than Beth’s. It clenches my gut and puts me on my knees. Only God’s grace will get me through to the end, but I will get to the end.
When will these books release?
Finding Beth is scheduled to release December 20th. Loving Tiffany is not yet under contract, but I’m hoping for a release one year from Beth’s release.
Where will we be able to find your books?
CrossRiver Media website, Amazon, and we're working toward getting it into Books-A-Million for my launch. Eventually, you will be able to find my books where ever books are sold. There will be a print version and an e-version.
What are some of the most helpful tips you’ve received along the path to publication?
That’s a loaded question! There are so many, but here are the ones that have stuck with me and carried me through.
  • Write, write, write.
  • Develop a tough skin.
  • Be active - show, don’t tell.
  • Jump in late, get out early.
  • Avoid purple prose.
  • Write so your reader is reaching for more rather than being pulled along.
  • Learn to hack my baby up with edits and self-edits. It’ll only make it better.
  • If you don’t like it and don’t feel it, neither will your reader.
  • Scream on the page so your reader can hear you whisper.
When you’re not writing, what do you enjoy doing?
What do I enjoy doing or what do I do? LOL We’ll go with what I enjoy doing. I love to read and fellowship with fellow writers. I love to play piano. I dream of the day I’ll have time to scrapbook again. I also love spending time with my hubby and mothering my four boys. They're my heart.
Share one thing you want us to know about you.
I love hearing from and getting to know my readers. As a bonus - I also love sweet drinks more than chocolate. What’s your favorite treat? ONE of my favorite treats is a spot of British Breakfast tea and shortbread cookies.
How to get in touch with Linnette:

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thank God from whom all blessings flow.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Meet Author Elaine Marie Cooper

       It's been my pleasure to become friends with author Elaine Marie Cooper over the past two years. She's a delightful, dear Christian woman and a talented writer. I thought you'd like to get to know her too. Her newest book, Fields of the Fatherless, published by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, was released October 22.

Are experiences in your novel based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
        The seeds for Fields of the Fatherless were planted in my mind when I was a young girl. The house up the street from our home was a historical site and my older brother liked to scare me by telling me there was blood on the floor in that old dwelling.
        I never forgot the Jason Russell House but I never actually visited it nor understood the full story until 2012. I was deeply moved by what had happened there during the first day of the American Revolution and the tale beckoned to be told. I feel so privileged to be the storyteller.

Did you have to travel much concerning your books? If so, what’s the most interesting place you traveled?
        I’ve traveled to Massachusetts a few times for book research. Although I grew up there, I now live in the Midwest and there have been many areas in my home state that I’ve not seen. As an author, I feel there is nothing like experiencing the actual settings to inspire me. I’d have to say the most interesting place I visited was the site of my 4th great grandparents cabin in Williamsburg, Massachusetts. It was built in 1782 and there is a large granite stone called the Prince Monument that marks the location. It was very stirring to my heart to be there. You can read about that visit at

Which of your characters is most/least like you, and in what ways?
        I’d say the character of Sarah (Thomsen) Stearns from the Deer Run Saga is the most like me. She is the youngest in her family, fiercely loyal to those she loves, and often puts her foot in her mouth! LOL!

Do you read reviews of your books? If so, do you pay any attention to them, or let them influence your writing?
        I definitely read reviews of my books. I like to know what readers like because they are my audience and I want to please them. Of course, if what they want might be offensive to my Christian beliefs, I do not cater to those whims or wishes. But reviewers definitely help me know what is working and what is not.

What book are you reading now?
        I am currently reading Newspaper Code by Lisa J. Lickel. It is a cozy murder mystery, Book 3 in the Buried Treasure Mystery series. I love these books! It’s like reading an adult Nancy Drew and I feel like taking my flashlight and reading it under my covers at bedtime! Actually, I think I’ve done that, only not with the covers to hide me since I don’t have to worry about Mom telling me to go to sleep. ;-)

What are your current projects?
        My current manuscript that I’m working on is a far cry from my historical fiction. A couple of years ago, I felt the Lord prompting me to write a memoir of my daughter who was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2002. I resisted even thinking about undertaking such a painful project for several years, but the Lord had other plans for me. I pray that this story of my journey with my daughter will help other families going through a serious illness with a loved one. It is tentatively entitled, Bethany’s Calendar.

If you could have dinner with one of your characters, who would it be and why?
        Wow, I guess I would have to say it would be Daniel Lowe from the Deer Run Saga. What would it be like to be an enemy soldier in a hostile land and how did he adapt to his new home? I would pick his brain for details! Besides, he is so handsome… ;-)

Do you have any upcoming events?
       I am speaking at Johnston Public Library, Johnston, Iowa on October 27th at 3 p.m. at the Barn. I’ll be chatting about events that led to the American Revolution, as well as my new novel, Fields of the Fatherless, which releases five days prior to this event.
        I’m also doing a book signing at Coldwater Creek in the Jordan Creek Mall, West Des Moines, Iowa on October 30 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. I’ll be selling all four of my books there, including Fields of the Fatherless. I’ll be posting other upcoming venues on my website: The longterm plan is to attend Patriot’s Day activities at the Jason Russell House in Arlington, Massachusetts next April.

Can you tell us about some of the milestones you’ve reached as a writer?
        I feel like just becoming a writer at all is a milestone! I honestly never thought I would be an author of historical fiction. You just never know the journeys the Lord will take you on. Getting my latest contract for Fields of the Fatherless from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas last December was definitely a milestone in my writing journey. Looking back at how it all came about makes me stand in awe of God’s strength, despite my human frailty.

What motivates you to write, and where do you get ideas?
        I always pray that the Lord will be my Motivator in all that I write, so when I feel passionate about a story or a cause, I sense Him moving me towards a blog, an article, or a new book idea. I desire that everything I write will be God-directed.

Do you have a life verse?
        Yes, Proverbs 31:8-9: Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy. Those verses speak to my heart every time I read them. They whisper to me that God cares for the poor and the underdogs in our world. Love them and do not be silent when others demean them.

Who is your greatest encourager?
        Without a doubt, my husband Steve. I also have to say that my three dear friends from my coffee club (Sheila, Kris and Cindy) are my best encouraging friends—always faithful, ever caring and ever praying.

Tell me about one of your personality traits.
        Perhaps you picked up on this from my favorite Bible verse but I am always championing the underdog.

Where can people get a copy of your book?
Fields of the Fatherless is available at Amazon,

Thank you, Susan, for welcoming me to your blog. It has been a pleasure and a blessing!

Novelist Elaine Marie Cooper is the author of The Road to Deer Run, The Promise of Deer Run and The Legacy of Deer Run. Her passions are her family, her faith in Christ and the history of the American Revolution, a frequent subject of her historical fiction. She grew up in Massachusetts, the setting for many of her novels. Fields of the Fatherless will release October 2013. Visit her website at:

Friday, October 18, 2013

Macaronis and Yankee Doodles

A to Z blog hop at Patterings.
This week's A to Z blog hop letter is M.

Yankee Doodle went to town
A-riding on a pony,
Stuck a feather in his cap
And called it macaroni.
        Macaroni was the name given in the 1770s to an extravagantly dressed man, who wore bizarre and over-the-top fashions such as narrow breeches and short, tight waistcoats, usually decorated with large buttons and lace. Macaronis also wore high heeled shoes and small hats. They would often carry a posey of flowers in their hands or pinned to their waistcoats.

Clerical Macaroni
        The name came from people who had been on The Grand Tour of European countries who liked all things foreign, especially food and who referred to something that was Italian in style as very Macaroni. Macaronis, or fops as they came to be known, frequented the fashionable places of London and won and lost vast fortunes gambling.
        The newspapers of the day often made fun of them. For example, The Oxford Magazine published this account: “There is indeed a kind of animal, neither male, nor female, a thing of neuter gender, lately started up among us. It is called a Macaroni. It talks without meaning, it smiles without pleasure, it eats without appetite...”
        The British employed the song as a dig at people from the American colonies who they thought were trying to give themselves airs and graces but looking ridiculous. During the Revolutionary War, the colonists reclaimed the song and made it their own patriotic song.
        Speaking of macaroni as a food, macaroni and cheese was a favorite dish of colonists, especially Thomas Jefferson. In 1787, upon his return to America from his tour as minister to France, Jefferson brought back a pasta machine he had bought in Italy. He improved on the design of the machine and also came up with recipes that included not only American or English cheddar cheese, but also goat cheese and truffle cheese.
Thomas Jefferson's pasta machine design.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

SC Women of the Revolution: Elizabeth Jackson

Please visit Stitches Thru Time blog and read my post about a remarkable woman, Elizabeth Jackson, the mother of Andrew Jackson.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Inspirational Christian Fiction

A to Z blog hop at Patterings.
This post is part of an A to Z blog hop. This week's letter is "I." Be sure to visit the blogs listed at the botttom of this post.

        People read inspirational fiction for many reasons, for escape and entertainment, but also for enlightenment. They seek a way to fill inner voids, to get into the heads of other people and see how they manage, and come back better prepared to face the real world.
        Not all inspirational fiction is Christian fiction, which has definitions and descriptions of its own:
“...celebrates God’s presence in our life”
“...characters’ relationships to God is the primary focus”
“...stories are about the journey of the soul”
“...wholesome, yet compelling”
“...God plays a significant role in the plot and the outcome
“...focus on ordinary people who are challenged to live their lives in accordance with Christian principles”
“...gentle Christian novels using charm and humor explore the everyday joys, frustrations, and sorrows of lives quietly led; they typically revolve around the activities of a small community of people, such as a small town, a church, or a gathering of friends; the realities of sex, violence, and other passions are downplayed and are never presented in a graphic manner”
“...edgy Christian fiction (sometimes a laughable term to the secular, general market) seeks to throw off the yoke of traditional Christian fiction and offer something more contemporary and less sterilized; gritty scenes; not sweet but brutal.”
        In a blog post that author Keith Madsen wrote, he said: Inspirational fiction is people facing the most fearful things in life: the death of loved ones, violence and crime, marital stress, the prospect of life failure, terrorism and war -- and in the midst of it all finding reason to hope. It’s stories that say you don’t have to put on blinders to the pain in life to believe that there is a good God at the heart of it all.    (
        Author Jordyn Redwood, who is a nurse, wrote in her blog post: Since I experience the fragility of life, I want people to be confident in their beliefs about the afterlife. And I know many of us don’t have as many moments left as we think. A novel can be a less threatening way to introduce someone to the concepts of Christianity than handing them a Bible, and yet can still deliver a strong, compelling message. (

A lamp unto my feet...
        So why write inspirational Christian fiction?
        Author DeeAnne Gist answered, “I want to stand before God and have him say, ‘Well done, my child.’ I don’t want him to say, ‘I can’t believe you wrote that.’”

        Why do I write it?
        It’s my mission field, and I want to inspire responses from my readers like this person, who read my Revolutionary War novel, The Chamomile:
“Through all the trials, their faith carries the main characters through. The story portrays the integral place that faith played in the early colonies. They are so like us, like me, with questions, fears and doubts. I like how Craft has woven faith throughout the story without ever lapsing into preaching. She has portrayed seamy characters without using offensive language--bravo!”

Monday, September 16, 2013

Cast Iron Chamomiles:
Women of the Revolution
Emily Geiger


The Arrest of Emily Geiger

From the Pictorial Field Book of the Revolution, by Benson J. Lossing,
copied from the original painting by Flagg

        Emily Geiger was the daughter of German-speaking Swiss farmers and Patriots who lived in the backcountry of South Carolina during the Revolutionary War.
       In June 1781, General Nathanael Greene and his forces, after retreating from British troops at Fort Ninety Six, camped about two miles from the Geiger home. Greene let it be known that he needed to get a message to General Thomas Sumter, about 100 miles away near the Wateree River.
        Eighteen-year-old Emily, who knew the route well, offered to take the message. Greene accepted her offer, penned the note, and had Emily memorize the message in case she had to destroy it along the way. Mounted sidesaddle on a strong, fast horse, Emily travelled the first leg of the journey without incident.
        But on day two, Lord Rawdon’s scouts stopped her. Although Emily told them she was travelling to her Uncle Jacob’s home, they took her to their encampment to question her. Left alone in a room, Emily, concerned about the note, decided to eat it. Minutes later, a Tory woman, Mrs. Hagabook, was brought to search Emily, but found nothing on her person. The British officer in charge apologized for the error and provided Emily an escort to her uncle’s home.
      The next day, she completed her journey to Sumter’s camp and relayed the following message: “Lord Rawdon has determined to abandon Fort Ninety-Six. Moving down the southern bank of the Edisto River to Orangeburg, then they will divide their forces.” Sumter began moving his forces within the hour.
        On October 18, 1789, Emily married South Carolina plantation owner, John Threwitts. As a wedding present, General Greene gave her a pair of earrings and brooches. At a ball in Charleston, SC, given in Lafayette’s honor, Emily was honored as a distinguished heroine of the Revolutionary War.
     To honor Emily and commemorate her heroic ride, the woman holding the laurel branch on the South Carolina State Seal is designated as Emily Geiger.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Here's Mud in Your Eye!

A to Z blog hop at Patterings.

The A to Z blog hop letter this week is "H" -- Here's mud in your eye"

       Benjamin Franklin offered many toasts in his lifetime.
        Here’s one he gave at Versailles when he was the American emissary to France.
        The toasting was led off by the British ambassador, who said, “George the Third, who, like the sun in its meridian, spreads a luster throughout and enlightens the world.”
        He was followed by the French minister, who said, “The illustrious Louis the Sixteenth, who, like the moon, sheds his mild and benevolent rays on and influences the globe.”
        Franklin finished the round: “George Washington, commander of the American armies, who, like Joshua of old, commanded the sun and the moon to stand still, and both obeyed.”
        Here’s another toast the Patriots made during the Revolutionary War:
        To the enemies of our country! May they have cobweb breeches, a porcupine saddle, a hard-trotting horse, and an eternal journey.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

My Interview on Novel Pastimes

Cindi won the copy of The Chamomile given away on Novel Pastimes. Congratulations, Cindi!!!!

Kathy Rouser interviewed me on the blog Novel Pastimes. If you have time, go by and visit and answer the question I left for a chance to win a copy of my historical romantic suspense, The Chamomile.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Quilting in Colonial America

I'm linking up with the Colonial Quills blog because Carla Olsen Gade has published a post about Quilting in Colonial America .  Beautiful pictures and lots of information.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Feisty Women of the American Revolution
Sarah Franklin Bache

A to Z blog hop at Patterings.
This post is part of an A to Z blog hop. This week's letter is "F"
Sarah Franklin "Sally" Bache
         Many women made contributions to the Revolutionary War effort. American men, to their credit, recognized their value and the fact that American women tended to be feisty.
        Once, Lord Cornwallis said that the British weren’t fighting only farmers with pitchforks and sickles, but their wives as well. Samuel Adams reportedly said, “With ladies on our side, we can make every Tory tremble.”
        Sarah Franklin “Sally” Bache, born September 11, 1744, to Benjamin Franklin and Deborah Read, was one of those feisty women.
        An ardent patriot during the Revolutionary War, she raised $300,000 for the Continental Army, the equivalent of $3 million today.
       Sarah also did extensive relief work. For example, as part of her involvement with the Ladies Association of Philadelphia, under her leadership the group made 2,200 shirts for soldiers at the Continental army’s winter quarters at Valley Forge in 1777.        
      Sarah loved music and was a skilled harpsichordist. She also loved reading. Those accomplishments, coupled with the fact that she grew up in an educated, opinionated household, equipped her to serve as the hostess for her father’s gatherings upon his return in 1775 from France.

I'm linking to Ms. Barbie's blog today as she talks about a fantastic event her community organzied "For the least of these."


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Colonial American Brooms

Visit Stitches Thru Time blog at and read my post about colonial American brooms- Brooms to Sweep Troubles Away
broomcorn plant for making brooms

Friday, August 23, 2013

"E" is for Eee-ew-w-w-w!

A to Z blog hop at Patterings.

      This post is a part of an A to Z blog hop. This week our letter is "E."
     I'm still researching for the novel I'm writing set in the NC Outer Banks and along the Atlantic Coast in 1799.
      I’ve got some more pirate stuff for you, and it’s yucky.

caltrops looked like crow's feet
      In the 1700s, pirates would sometimes toss caltrops onto the decks of the ships they wanted to capture. These diabolical little antipersonnel weapons remind me of current-day jacks from the game Ball and Jacks (well, sort of).
     About an inch tall, they were fashioned out of iron or steel with four barbed-wire like points, constructed in such a way that, no matter how they landed, one point was always sticking up.
     The reason behind this weapon?
     Eighteenth century sailors went barefoot, mostly for comfort, but also because it made it easier to climb up into the sail rigging. So, if you stepped on a caltrop, it was mighty painful and would delay you from fighting back as pirates boarded your ship.
     Barbaric -- you think?

Today, I'm linking up with J'Nell at Daring to Romance.


Friday, August 16, 2013

“D” is for Captain Danziger,
a Dutch pirate also known as “Captain Devil”

A to Z blog hop at Patterings.
Battle at sea.
         (This post is part of an A to Z blog hop, and this week's letter is "D")

           Because my current work in progress is a historical novel that takes place in the NC Outer Banks in the 1790s, I’ve been researching pirates.
        It’s a fascinating study and has been great fun for me.
        Captain Simon Danziger (aka Zymen Danseker) was a Dutchman who served for France as a privateer, but later sailed with the Barbary corsairs, sailing against France.
        The Barbary pirates were Muslims based in the ports of Tunis, Tripoli, and Algiers that became known as the Barbary Coast, because of the Berber inhabitants. From the 1500s to the 1800s corsairs captured around 800,000 to over a million people as slaves.
        Captain Danziger captured many Christian ships for Muslims corsairs and taught them seafaring skills, but never converted to Islam. The corsairs gave him the nickname of “Captain Devil.”
       Captain Danziger had a wife and children in France, but was unable to return home until he negotiated a pardon from French King Henry IV. He received that pardon only after capturing a Spanish galleon and presenting the prize to the king.
        This made him an enemy of the leader of the corsairs, so much so that when he returned to Tunis in 1611 to negotiate the release of some captured French ships, the corsairs hanged him.
Another “D” word is “doubloons,” which were gold coins minted by Spain that were originally called escudos, the booty Captain Danziger may have stolen or the currency in which he was paid.

Susan F. Craft, is the author of The Chamomile, an inspirational Revolutionary War romantic suspense set in Charleston, SC.

Castiron Chamomiles
Women of the Revolution

     Most everyone has heard of “steel magnolias,” southern woman who are strong and independent yet very feminine. Women who can rip another woman up one side and down the other and end it with “bless her heart.”

During the American Revolution,
the chamomile was known as the
"Rebel Flower," because the more
it was trod upon the stronger it
came back
     There’s another a group of women I call “cast iron chamomiles,” backcountry women who, when their husbands left to fight in the Revolutionary War, faced head on an enemy that rode up to their front porches, burned their homes, stole their food and livestock, and left them to fend for themselves and their families with sometimes only the clothes on their backs. Women who could not only “bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan,” but who could shoot the pig, haul it to the barn, and butcher it, making use of every single part, including the hair on its jowls.
     I discovered theses amazing ladies while researching for my historical fiction. Not surprisingly, I came across some familiar names, Dolley Madison, Betsy Ross, and Molly Pitcher, whom I had read about in my American history classes.
     But what about Nancy Hart? Martha Bell? Harriet Prudence Patterson Hall? Hannah Clark or Rosanna Farrow? And so many others I ran across. I gained a healthy respect for these courageous women who really should be, but sadly are not, in our history books.
     I’ll be posting about these women in future posts.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Meet Emma Right
Author of Keeper of Reign
a YA novel

I’m so happy to introduce you to Emma Right and her novel, Keeper of Reign.

Emma Right is a happy wife and homeschool mother of five living in the Pacific West Coast. Besides running a busy home, and looking after too many pets, she also enjoys reading aloud to her children and often has her nose in a book. Emma was a copywriter for a major advertising agency during her BC years. BC meaning “Before Children,” which may as well have been in the BC era, as she always says.

What was the hardest part about writing
Keeper of Reign?
As a homeschool mother of five, with kids with me the entire day, and a husband who travels a lot, the greatest challenge was trying to get at least a ten-minute block of time without being interrupted by some comment, or “Help! Mommy! The cat's scaring the dog!" or "Where is…" or a loud crash coming from somewhere, or a fight between the cat and the bunny…the list continues.

In all this, I had to remind myself that much as I enjoy writing, my kids always come before my book. But some days I struggled to remember that. I share this because I know there are many moms out there who might have this struggle and because the work of a mom seems endless (and sometimes mundane,) but our real gems are the children. We need to remind ourselves and each other of this. They are truly God's gift to us.

Why did you write Keeper of Reign?
I wanted to write an allegorical fantasy about the fall of man and the redemption story set in a fantasy setting that's filled with danger and adventure. Something young readers can enjoy but still have a Christian message.

What do you hope Keeper of Reign accomplishes?
I hope my readers can see that with the power of the gospel, we can overcome our problems and difficulties. I want to empower young readers with this message, that if they seek the truth (the Ancient Books, in Keeper of Reign) they will find wisdom and answers to life's problems. It doesn't mean the answers are going to come easy, but persistence will pay off, and the Bible has the answers.

Emma's list of things she didn’t know about becoming a published author when she first started writing.
It took me five years from start to finish to get Keeper of Reign published. And I thought the writing was hard. Well, the publishing was equally as hard, and the marketing … almost a nightmare. So new writers, gear up, and save some of your energy toward the two arms of becoming a published author—the publishing side, and the marketing side.
I also learned that when I put my book out there, in the wide world of Amazon and beyond, I will get praises, but I will also get criticisms, and these are from total strangers who may not have anything constructive to add.
To realize that the book I write is not for everyone. Some people may be offended, some may be confused, some may just not get it. It’s just a fact of life, and once I get published and my book’s out there I must accept this, and take arrows with a pinch of grace. If I look at some of the bestselling authors and their books on Amazon, I see that they, too, get one star reviews, and they have been doing this for decades, made millions, and even won awards. Not everyone can eat jalapeno, without hiccupping.
That the thrill that someone appreciates and gets the message of the book I have written far outweigh any monetary gain. Sure, money is important to sustain life, but truly, a book is an expression of a purpose. And with Keeper of Reign I set out to show readers 11 and up, (some say that’s Middle Grade, some say that’s Young Adult,) that no matter how small they feel they can still make a difference. And instead of being overwhelmed, they can be overcomers.
That there is such a thing as a blog tour! And a blog hop! And rafflecopter—what sort of a flying machine is that?
Trying to market Keeper of Reign opened up a whole world of internet sites I never even thought to venture into before.
of the authors I so admire is Lucy Maud Montgomery who wrote Ann of Green Gables, and I always imagined the life of an author would so mirror hers, someone sitting in a remote place somewhere and spending hours pounding on a typewriter. Guess what? Now with Keeper of Reign published I realize that the authors of today don’t lead that sort of life at all. Authors today have to be out there, interacting with the world, going on tours, chatting on forums. Especially for us who are self-published. My only concern is, when would I have time to write? Keeper of Reign Book 2 is in my head, trying to bust out of me.
I was shocked to learn that bookstores destroy thousands of physical books each year. What a waste. And it so went against my recycling grain. I can’t help but think there must be a less wasteful way than this. How about donating the books to some third world place where books are so lacking?

To contact Emma --
If you sign up for her newsletter on page, she will give you a book and contest updates.

Facebook, and Twitter.

Click here to purchase a Kindle version of Keeper of Reign.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Meet Author Karla Akins

A to Z blog hop at Patterings.
This post is part of an A to Z blog hop.  This week, the letter is "B," and "B" is for Biker Boots!!!!
Congratulations to author Karla Akins on the release of her new book, The Pastor's Wife Wears Biker Boots.
One lucky commenter on this post will win an ebook copy of The Pastor's Wife Wears Biker Boots. The winner will be announced August 8.

Karla has a fantastic prize giveaway on her site. Click here.
Here’s my review of this delightful book:
Strap on your helmet, you’re in for a DELIGHTFUL ride with Biker Boots. While you’re at it, grab a box of tissues—for crying and for laughing out loud until you cry. Karla Akins has created so many endearing, honest characters I can’t decide which one I like the most. Karla’s plot moves like an exciting ride through the mountains, ups and downs and hairpin twists and turns offering breathtaking, memorable views with surprises around each bend in the road. I won’t spoil it, but as a mom what I call “the hug” scene was so moving I thought my heart would burst with joy.

So here we go, strap on your helmet, and let me introduce you to Karla.

Where do you write?
I’d like to say I write in a neatly organized office, and I may do that someday, but right now my office is filled with hundreds of books from my teaching years. Now that I’m sure I like reading digitally on my iPad, I’m arranging to give many of them away. For now, I usually write from my comfy chair in the living room in the middle of the chaos. I’m pretty good at tuning noise out or I use my headphones.
What is your process?
I usually start with an idea that has to do with a unique or unsuspecting character in an unusual situation. And I may write a little synopsis or just start writing and then brainstorm on paper. I always keep a notebook with me so I can write down ideas or work on chapters. I have limited time to write, so I do it every chance I get.
Describe your book.
A pastor’s wife decides to learn to ride a motorcycle and when she does, she creates all kinds of hilarious drama between the women she recruits to ride with her and the church board.
Why should readers pick it up? If they’ve ever been involved in church leadership or like a good laugh about women aged 40+ doing crazy things, I think they’ll enjoy the adventure. Kirstie, the pastor’s wife, also has an autistic son, and two boys who are just regular kids with their own dramas. Kirstie is a homeschool Mom, too. Homeschooling and autism are two causes dear to my heart.
How did your book come to life?
I learned to ride a motorcycle at the tender age of 47. And so many funny things happened to me, I thought the same concept would make a good book. I also wanted to give a little insight into what it’s like being a pastor’s family, what it’s like to live with autism, and how it feels to go through some of the things Kirstie goes through.
Who is your favorite character in the book and why?
This is a tough one! There are many quirky characters in the book. Of course Kirstie is my first favorite because she’s a pastor’s wife like me. I guess my second favorites would be Opal and Atticus. Opal is someone in her 60s who’s never married and scared of her own shadow. You’ll have to read the book to find out who Atticus is.
How did you name your characters?
I did web searches for popular names of the year they were born on baby name sites.
Are the characters based on people you know?
There may be some character qualities that are like people I know, but I didn’t base the character on an individual but more on a single type of person.
Why will readers enjoy your book?
If they like reading about how people relate to one another in hilarious and unexpected ways, they’ll love it.
Is anything in the book based on your own life?
The fact that I’m a pastor’s wife who rides a motorcycle, of course, is something like me, but Kirstie isn’t like me at all. She has a lot more energy!
Ironically, when I wrote the book, a couple of things that are in the book did happen to me later. I write about Alzheimer’s and had no idea at the time that my mother-in-law with Alzheimer’s would come to live with us.
I write about the preacher’s son’s trouble with the law, and had no idea we, too, would be experiencing some of the same heartbreak. You can read about that on my Prison Ministry page on my website. It’s almost as if the Lord was preparing me well for what we were to go through. Sort of a foreshadowing. God is so good that way.
What is your favorite scene in the book?
Oh my goodness, that’s so hard because there are so many that I love. I love the scene with the pastor’s family’s pet bull mastiff when he interrupts a church meeting after a swim in the pond. I also love the part where the women get locked in a Harley Davidson dealership after hours. But perhaps the best part is when they all go to jail. Then again there is that love scene…
Why Christian fiction?
I was a voracious reader as a child. I read anything I could get my hands on and I was blessed to have a mother and father who loved to read. From the time I was small my mother read to us out of the classics.
By the time I was in 5th grade I’d read classics such as David Copperfield, Treasure Island, and The Yearling. I also read all those Reader’s Digest condensed books my parents got every month. Every one of them. But in Jr. High or High School, I read the book, Christy, by Catherine Marshall.
That book impressed me so much that I felt the call into what our little church called “full time Christian service.” I knew I would serve Jesus with my life and that included my writing. I could never compare myself to Catherine Marshall, but I do hope that my books will touch people’s hearts and draw them closer to God the way that book and other Christian books did and still do.
I write hoping that someone will draw closer to God.
Here's the link to the book: The Pastor's Wife Wears Biker Boots
Karla is represented by literary agent, Linda Glaz, of Hartline Literary Agency.
Contact Info:
Snail Mail address: PO Box 61; North Manchester, IN 46962
Twitter: @KarlaAkins
Facebook author page:
If you need more information, please feel free to contact Karla directly by any of the means above.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

All for Liberty, A Revolutionary War Film

A to Z blog hop at Patterings.
This post is part of the A to Z blog hop. Scroll to the end of this post for other blogs to visit. This week, posts are to start with the letter "A."
Chris Weatherhead and Clarence Felder
Bring History to Life through Film and Stage
     Actress/director/playwright/producer  Chris  Weatherhead  and  her  actor /director/ producer/writer husband, Clarence Felder, have a passion for breathing life into history through film and stage.
     I first met Chris and Clarence in September 2009 at the SC State Museum following a viewing of their independent film, All for Liberty, a Revolutionary War era account of a relative of Clarence’s, Henry Felder, and a militia band of South Carolina backcountry Patriots.
 These two highly creative people, dressed as their movie characters, greeted me and others in the audience with a graciousness and warmth that was endearing. I knew right away that these were people who love what they do and who want to shine a light on Americans and what they accomplished during the Revolutionary War.
     I met them again a year later at the dedication of Thomson Park, a memorial for the defense of Sullivan’s Island, SC. Colonel William Danger Thompson led a motley crew of 780 patriots composed of militiamen, enlisted soldiers, Native American marksmen, and a few slaves who gallantly defended the island from a force of more than 2,900 British soldiers and loyalists. The British offense, led by Generals Clinton and Cornwallis, were stationed on Long Island (now Isle of Palms), and most of the battle took place over what is now known at Breach Inlet.
     Chris and Clarence were selling DVDs of All for Liberty, and I was signing copies of my Revolutionary War romantic suspense, The Chamomile.
     As fellow history lovers, we gravitated to each other and have been friends ever since.
All for Liberty
     Clarence is a sixth generation, direct descendent of Captain Henry Felder of the Orangeburg district in SC and the first & second Provincial Congress.
     After discovering this heritage, he researched and wrote the play, Captain Felder’s Cannon, which was then used as a basis for a feature film screenplay for All for Liberty. Clarence portrays Henry Felder in the film. All for Liberty is the previously untold account of Felder’s stance against the British Empire along with other militia leaders in the backcountry of South Carolina from 1776–1780.
     The fight was instrumental in diverting British troop energies while George Washington’s army lay nearly defeated far to the North. Felder raises a militia and rallies against Tory loyalists and stall the British under General Cornwallis, giving Washington needed time to revive his forces.
     Unlike the prettified versions of legend, the American Revolution was no simple chess match of bluecoats versus redcoats. All for Liberty portrays how strife predominated between neighbors and friends, eventually destroying communities.
     The story, which focuses on the price Captain Felder, his family, and community had to pay for their convictions, was shot on 31 locations in South Carolina and Georgia, using 14 historical sites, and the Felder Farm in Calhoun County. Crew included historical advisors.
      Cast and crew banded together to produce the film without the backing of a large studio, in order to keep it historically correct as possible, replicating the main character’s persistence and struggle against external forces.
     Producer Ron Mangravite explains, “We wanted to create this movie because it tells the story of a forgotten part of our history. These people suffered and did so much, yet they have pretty much disappeared from national memory. We walk the ground they did but rarely connect with what happened on that ground.”
Thoughts from
Director Chris Weatherhead
     When I began the journey of All for Liberty in 2004, like most Americans, I knew very little about the American War for Independence, much less what volcanic and indispensable fighting had occurred among the people who fought in the back country of South Carolina.
      I wanted to bring to the screen a true story I had recently learned that enthralled me, based on a play my husband wrote about his sixth generation great-grandfather.
     As a director of theater since the fourth grade, I was always a sucker for a great story and usually find the truth more compelling than fiction. I was excited by new digital technology and had been tracking it for fifteen years before buying the camera we used to shoot this picture.
     I run a theater company and for three years had been luring my staff and actors into various digital movie and theatre productions before deciding to shoot this story. It was daunting to launch into an indie historical-action-adventure of this scope, but I couldn’t stop myself.
     Where were we to get period clothing? How was I going to keep the 21st century out of the frame? Where would I find soldiers and cannon?
     But, since having completed the film in spite of seemingly endless difficulties, I am still in love with those wildly committed people on the colonial frontier, who were so desperate for liberty they were willing to die for it. And I continue to be captivated and inspired by what I have learned from them and those who continue to fight for freedom today.
Kudos for All for Liberty
"… …realistic action....beautifully filmed…a reminder of how easy it is for freedom to be lost… this excellent film has something for everyone."
Hugh Harrington, free-lance film critic, Georgia
“…a genuine Revolutionary War hero…Clarence Felder majestically portrays his valiant German-Swiss ancestor with charismatic chemistry…Outstanding sound by Jeffrey Stern and music by Anthony DeRitis…so authentic… captured battle scenes with perfection.”
Sandy Katz, Free-lance Entertainment Journalist
“… emotionally moving, beautifully photographed and historically accurate tribute to an unknown hero of the American Revolution."
Michael C. Scoggins, Director, Southern Revolutionary War Institute  
“Based on true events...this movie will leave you feeling good about America's hard-fought war for independence. Played wonderfully by Clarence Felder, Henry Felder was Swiss...His wife is vividly and well-played by Chris Weatherhead... We award our Dove "Family-Approved" Seal to the movie for ages twelve plus.”
Edwin L. Carpenter, Dove Foundation Worldview Review
"....a rare jewel…beautifully shot feature film…a true story of inspiring adventure and unique heroism that is of universal appeal to anyone, anywhere in the world..."
Urs T. Brunner, CEO, Angel & Bear Productions, Bangkok, Thailand
Awards for All For Liberty
Recently named One of The Ten Best Revolutionary War Films
Accolade Competition, La Jolla, California:
Winner! 3 awards!
Excellence: Feature Film, Leading Actor, Clarence Felder & Sound Design.
42nd WorldFest Houston, Texas:
Winner! 3 awards! Special
Jury Award [Theatrical Feature], Gold [Art Direction], Platinum [Feature Trailer]
Charleston International Film Festival:
Audience Choice for Best Picture
Myrtle Beach International:
Best Picture, faith-based Feature Film
Southern Appalachian International Film Festival:
Best Independent feature Film,
Sons of the American Revolution, South Carolina:
Silver Citizenship Medal to Clarence Felder
Award of Appreciation, Chris Weatherhead, Director
Daughters of the American Revolution, Lady Washington Chapter, Houston TX Winner!
First prize in Media
DOVE Foundation - Michigan
DOVE Foundation Family Seal of Approval for age 12+
World premiere:
Beijing International Film Festival…2009 US Movie Exchange…
Audience Comments
"The subject - Excellent depiction of lost history!"
"Everything was fantastic! Must be grateful to those who made freedom possible! "Great story so well told -- the movie had a great flow!"
"Thank you! - Much needed movie!"
"Show this film everywhere!"
"Uplifting message"
"Please keep this going"
"Should be seen by all Americans!"
All For Liberty Endorsements from Christian viewers
 "...this rare, wonderful film needs to be seen by all Christian families to know what great sacrifices were made for freedom and liberty and to create our nation..."
Norma T. Hall, former Methodist Sunday school teacher, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio
  “…dynamic portrayal of the courage, commitment, and sacrifice of our forefathers to ensure God given freedoms and values would prevail…”
Myron C. Harrington Jr., Col. USMC Ret., Vietnam Veteran
“The spirit of America lives and breathes in this captivating film…
every Christian and patriot should see.
It brings our heritage of God and Country to the forefront where it belongs."
Reverend Chris Horne, The Christian Nation Online
  “…draws us into the Revolutionary War of our forefathers and mothers who sacrificed for us….excellent, historically accurate, adventure-filled film; one the whole family can enjoy. One can only pray for more movies like it!
Susan F. Craft, author, The Chamomile, winner of the SIBA Fall 2011 Okra Pick
“This film is such a great way to remind us freedom is a never ending struggle that always includes real life heroes, enemies of liberty and families that pay the price.” Patricia Graham, Office Manager, First Presbyterian Church, Columbia, SC
  “…a realistic portrayal of the American spirit which is so connected with Christian values of which our patriot founders were guided in their quest for independence.” Douglas Doster, Past President, S.C. Society Sons of the American Revolution
  "Christ died for us. So did thousands of American Patriots creating the land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. All For Liberty reveals this truth. "  
Hugh T. Harrington, historian & author, Georgia
  “Christian values prevail in "All For Liberty." Henry Felder's heroism during the American Revolution makes you want to stand up and shout 'God Bless America!'" Terry Ward Tucker, Novelist
“…a must see for Christians…to see what a difference one person can make and the price paid by our forefathers to purchase our freedom!”
Lani Harris, Landmark Church, Lexington, SC
  “Never has our nation been in such need of remembering the heights of courage our ancestors rose to, in the quest for freedom. All For Liberty is the moving and inspiring story of a man and his family who fought that fight...”
  Jim Welch, Christian poet & entertainment producer
  “…passionately moving work about the cost of liberty! The main character, Henry Felder, said it best: If we do not fight oppression, we bequeath it to our families.” Debbie G. Brownfield, Christian author and public speaker
Click here All for Liberty  to purchase a copy of the DVD
you may also get cast information and other news on the movie site All for Liberty Feature Film on Facebook and “like” it!
Rebecca and The Fox

     One of Chris and Clarence’s latest projects is the production of a one-woman, one-act play, Rebecca and the Fox, about Rebecca Motte, a South Carolina patriot, and Brigadier General Francis “Swamp Fox” Marion and a number of other heroes.
Here’s my own review of Rebecca and The Fox  -
Chris Weatherhead’s stirring performance of Rebecca and the Fox lifts you out of time and plunks you down in the center of the maelstrom that was the Revolutionary War in South Carolina. Through Rebecca Motte’s passionate remembrances Chris makes heroes like Francis Marion, John Laurens, and Light Horse Harry Lee come so alive you forget she is alone on the stage. This is what theater is supposed to be--brilliant acting and an inspiring script that provoke thought long after the curtain falls.
For more information about Rebecca and the Fox, please visit the Colonial Quills blog and read my post published July 22.
To contact Chris or Clarence:
Chris Weatherhead, Director - Clarence Felder, Executive Producer
Actors' Theatre of South Carolina
P.O. Box 930, Folly Beach, SC 29439

My thanks to Bridgestone MultiMedia Group for permission to use the pictures from the film.