Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Where'd You Find That?

One of the drawbacks to being a historical romance writer is so much research has to be done. I’ve been at a distinct disadvantage for the last two years because all my research books are at the little Tennessee homestead. When I'm in Indiana, those books aren't. (As to why there are two homes, check out this older blog post of mine here: http://lyndajcox.blogspot.com/2015/03/where-did-all-this-stuff-come-from.html) Which might explain why I don’t get a lot of detailed writing done in Indiana. If I don’t know a fact, or a tidbit of information to add veracity to what I’m writing, I’ll stop and enter that abyss known as “The Internet.”

I’ve come to fear that black hole of an abyss. I’ve lost hours and hours of my life to that time suck. It’s not that I don’t know what to search for or how to do an internet search. Heck, when I graduated with my masters and lost my student status for several academic research sites, I subscribed to those sites so I could keep finding the information I needed. The real problem is one link leads to another to another to another and the next thing I know, three hours have passed. And I have more information than I’ll ever need or can use.

J-Stor is my go-to site, by the way. I love J-Stor. The articles there, for the most part, are all from peer-reviewed journals. Just as happens in the abyss of the internet, there are articles listed at the end of the articles I’ve read which might provide one more tidbit of information. So, of course I have to find those articles.

Sigh…Yes, I have an information problem.

Or maybe a will-power problem.

Perhaps, some more research will answer that question, too. 

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Sunday Devotional ~ Enough is Enough


The leech has two daughters—Give and Give! There are three things that are never satisfied, Four never say, “Enough!”: the grave, the barren womb, the earth that is not satisfied with water—and the fire never says “Enough!” (Proverbs 30:15-16)

By nature, horses are grazers. This means they eat virtually all day and all night. They almost never stop eating—except for times of play, work, sleep, or migration. They are not made with a mechanism in their brains which tells them when they are full or when they’ve eaten too much. In captivity, horses are fed on their human’s schedule. Much of what we make for horses is full of seeds and grains which are higher in carbs and fats than their natural grass diet. Additionally, a horse gets only so much grass with each bite and chews grass for long periods of time. On the other hand, grain doesn’t necessarily have to be chewed, and it’s possible for the horse to eat more than his stomach can tolerate. There are stories of horses with ruptured stomachs who continue to eat, up until the very moment of death.

We are like this also. Our choice of “food” is constant stimulation. We can be occupied with social media, television, games, and electronics all day long. And with each of these gadgets comes the temptation to allow them to overcome our lives. Our time reading the Bible or praying or fellowshipping with God is cut off. We don’t want to allow anything to overwhelm us so that we forget what is truly important.

Remember when it’s time to say, “Enough.”

Howdy all! I'll be coming each Sunday with a horse-related devotional for you to read and reflect upon. This is Day Three of my devotional for horse lovers, Faith in Training. Hope you enjoy learning about how our relationship with horses can help us learn more about our relationship with God as well. Thanks for reading! ~ P. Creeden

Friday, February 16, 2018

A Soldier's Love: Mail Order Bride

Today we are featuring:

A Soldier's Love: Mail Order Bride (Brides and Twins Book 1) 

by Natalie Dean and Eveline Hart

Book Description: 

Molly O’Hara was just a little girl when she lost her heart to James Turner, the handsome, high-spirited young man who, along with his twin brother, was the heir to the Turner Plantation. But the Civil War tore families apart; it split the Turner brothers as one fought for the Union and the other fought for the Confederacy. The war took Molly’s father’s life and left her mother a distraught widow. 

Now the brothers are gone; one died in battle and James suffered the fate of Andersonville Prison, where most men are never heard from again. But when Molly, who grew up faster than her years, decides to become a mail-order bride at age eighteen, she answers an advertisement from a man named James Turner who runs a ranch in Texas. When she arrives, the man who introduces himself as Jim Turner is reserved and distant, nothing like the James Turner she remembers. But as their love grows, she learns more about the dark places in his soul and she realizes that part of him never left Andersonville. 

Can Molly get James to finally face his past and admit who he is? Will her love run deep enough to break through the scars of war?

Please visit their Amazon Author Page for more great books.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Guest Blogger: Sheila Hollinghead

Serving Two Masters

One of my favorite quotes is from John Green. He said:

Don’t make stuff because you want to make money — it will never make you enough money. And don’t make stuff because you want to get famous — because you will never feel famous enough. Make gifts for people — and work hard on making those gifts in the hope that those people will notice and like the gifts.
Maybe they will notice how hard you worked, and maybe they won’t — and if they don’t notice, I know it’s frustrating. But, ultimately, that doesn’t change anything — because your responsibility is not to the people you’re making the gift for, but to the gift itself.
Most authors write their first book in relative isolation. No one has yet read their work and they are (usually) not writing to an audience. Also, at this point, while some may dream of becoming best-selling authors, the first book is not written with that in mind. The writer usually writes because he/she has a story to tell.

Neither the hope of success nor the fear of failure guides their first writings. 

Yet, what if they fail? Since you have heard the stories, there’s no need to tell of those who never succeeded in their lives and died in poverty only to have their books read and revered after their passing. 

Geniuses are often overlooked by their own generation. Folks during their lives probably saw, or see, them as a little bonkers. It’s only after their deaths that perspective can be gained.

Many geniuses, feeling rejected, give up and quit writing or painting or preaching. They often feel misunderstood—but perhaps the world just wasn’t ready for their gift.

Sometimes it’s a good thing when the world rejects you—as long as you continue working on your gift. 

For success changes you, sometimes making you arrogant, sometimes making you afraid (how can I repeat that success?), and sometimes forcing you into isolation (think Harper Lee). Rarely does success actually make you better. It is our struggles and trials that shape and form us. If all was easy, we would have no stories.

 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. ~Matthew 6:24

Serving God means using our talents to the fullest without focusing on either success or failure.

It's difficult to do until we realize our responsibility is to our gift and making it the best.

Always, no matter the outcome.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Sunday Devotional ~ Knowing Who Calls Your Name


The sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers. (John 10:3-5)

When a horse comes to know and trust his trainer, he will respond immediately to her voice. By nature, horses have a natural herd instinct and will follow the trainer because she has established herself as a trustworthy leader. And the horse also knows that the trainer usually calls him to provide something: food, water, grooming, shelter from the storm, or instruction. Conversely, if a stranger calls the horse, he may look in the direction of the voice out of curiosity, but generally, horses tend to be wary of people they do not know, particularly if they have had bad experiences.

In the same way, our own bad experiences can help us determine whose voice is our Master’s and whose voice belongs to a stranger. It is only by developing a relationship with our God that we can know His voice, and know He calls when He wants to provide us with something, even if it’s instruction.

God is a trustworthy trainer who has our best in mind, whereas a stranger does not and is not worth listening to. From the start, we should work to know whose voice is whose.

Howdy all! I'll be coming each Sunday with a horse-related devotional for you to read and reflect upon. This is Day Two of my devotional for horse lovers, Faith in Training. Hope you enjoy learning about how our relationship with horses can help us learn more about our relationship with God as well. Thanks for reading! ~ P. Creeden

Friday, February 9, 2018

Good Morning!

My name is Ginny Sterling, and I am honored to be one of the authors in our series Brokken Road Romances. I was thrilled with the idea of collaborating with these talented women and jumped at the idea to participate.

I have adored western romances my entire life and started devouring them as a teen, sneaking them away from my mother when she wasn't looking. My whole family is voracious readers and most of us writers too! I took up writing when I read a book and thought "Oh no! No! No! That can't end like this?! What were they thinking?'

I proceeded to sit down and type out what *I* wanted in the book. I never sent it anywhere or did anything with it, but it made me feel better... contented.

Now, I have a process, a rhythm, if you will. My writing starts the moment my husband goes to sleep for his night shift. I get out my laptop, my cell, my iPad and park it on my favorite corner of our sectional. I have a velour blankie (yes, blankie! No one else better touch it!) that I throw over my lap and figuratively lose myself in the story. When I am in the 'zone,’ I write out a book fairly quickly and with such joy! <3

My book, Treasured Bride, was written within two days. I absolutely adored the characters and my inspiration came from the folksong "Clementine."  I thought, 'what if she wasn't lost and gone forever'? as the song portrayed? What if she was glad to be found and escaped, because let's face it … what woman wanders alone, around in a canyon...unless she is a rockhound? I had so much fun weaving her tale and sharing it with you:

Treasured Bride
My story in the Brokken Road Romances was exactly like Treasured Bride. I *love* the main character, Ava Bestatter. I pictured a dainty, prim woman who was thrown into the most horrific job ever -- undertaker. How would it make her feel? How would she cope? Here is a glimpse into Ava's life:

A life sentence of torture stretched before her. She stared calmly at the disheveled body that had been haphazardly placed on a sturdy wooden table in the back of the funeral home. She heard the sounds of loss and mourning from the other room. There was still so much death from the war. Infections that had slowly sucked at the wounded soldiers’ lives, desperation, and worst of all, suicide from the devastation and hopelessness in coming home.
            Plastering a calm smile over her nausea, she turned to the two men who had limped into the funeral home’s lavish, but dated, parlor. The velvet settees were starting to get bleached from the sun streaming in the windows. The lace panels over the glass did little to block the hot Texas sun. There was no sense in pouring what little money she had left into the business when she was barely sustaining herself right now in doing a service for the community.
            “Thank you kindly, gentleman, for carrying him for me. I appreciate it greatly,” she said politely with a warm smile. Crossing her hands over her stomach, she prayed it would settle. Being squeamish did not help her new role thrust upon her one bit. “Shall we?” she said with firmness, guiding the men out. After pulling the doors closed behind her, she turned to address the new widow and his family.

You can read the rest of Ava's tale in Brokken Vows. I look forward to you falling in love with her personality as much as I did! <3


Monday, February 5, 2018

Introducing the Brokkens!

The town of Brokken, Texas was established in 1830 by Franklin Brokken and his first wife, who died shortly afterwards.

Some twelve years later, he married the young Mary Jackson from Boston and had four children, three sons and a daughter. His wife died giving birth to their daughter in 1849.

Deborah Brokken, the daughter, lives at Brokken Arrow Ranch with her maternal grandparents after her father dies in the Civil War under a cloud of suspicion.

The sons take over their father’s businesses in town, the bank and general store, but soon are discovered skimming from the coffers. They abscond with the money, leaving the town destitute.

Deborah, who rarely leaves the ranch, is an outcast due to her brothers’ behavior and the rumors circulating about her father. She, along with her grandparents, struggle to keep the ranch going. Isaac Iverson, a freed slave looking for his family, is their single ranch hand. 

Deborah takes no part in the town women's search to bring good, respectable men to Brokken. When the men arrive, Preacher Grisson asks if they can be housed at the ranch. Deborah's grandparents agree.

Man after man is paired with a bride, but one man is continually rejected -- Chance Hale. Chance has unusual abilities and high intelligence, but his manners are lacking. With no place to go, Chance offers to help on the ranch for room and board. Together, he and Deborah work side-by-side. 

Will their distrust be overcome? Can brokenness ever succeed in bringing two people together?

Travel down the Brokken Road and find what lies at the end for Deborah and Chance.

Check out my other books on Amazon.
Abagail Eldan on Amazon

Love's Joy Unending is coming soon!

Where'd You Find That?

One of the drawbacks to being a historical romance writer is so much research has to be done. I’ve been at a distinct disadvantage for the...