Karen Baney and the book: A Heart Renewed (Prescott Pioneers 2)

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:
Karen Baney
and the book:
A Heart Renewed (Prescott Pioneers 2)
Karen Baney (April 17, 2011)

***Special thanks to Karen Baney for sending me a review copy.***

Karen Baney, in addition to writing Christian historical fiction and contemporary novels, works as a Software Engineer. Her faith plays an important role both in her life and in her writing. Karen and her husband make their home in Gilbert, Arizona, with their two dogs. She also holds a Masters of Business Administration from Arizona State University.

Visit the author’s website.


Headstrong. Unconventional. Until life turns upside down…

Julia Colter struggles to accept life under her controlling brother’s greed. The suitors he selects would benefit him, but are far from the ideal husband for her. When her rebellion against her brother puts her life at risk, she turns to her friend for help.

Adam Larson longs to train horses and plans to head west to the Arizona Territory to see his dreams fulfilled. When his sister’s best friend shows up in the middle of the night, he agrees to help her flee. The decision changes his life, in more ways than he expected.

Can Julia forget the pain from her past and open her heart to love?

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99

  • Paperback: 338 pages
  • Publisher: Karen Baney (April 17, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0983548625
  • ISBN-13: 978-0983548621


Star C Ranch, Texas

July 4, 1864

“You cannot be serious, Reuben!” Julia Colter shouted, not caring that she might wake her niece and nephew from their afternoon nap. Pacing back and forth across the length of the kitchen, she stopped in front of her older brother, her temper flaring almost as hot as the stove. “He is balding and fat and twice my age!”

“You will marry who I say!” Reuben thundered. “I expect you to treat Mr. Hiram Norton with the upmost respect this evening. He has shown great interest in you and the least you can do is be civil with the man.”

“But, I could never love him!”

As Reuben shoved her violently up against the wall, Julia’s breath left her lungs in a rush. Digging his fingers into her arms, she could feel the bruises starting to form. His brown eyes darkened with unrestrained anger as he glared down at her. She swallowed in fear, stunned by his abrupt action.

“Stop, you’re hurting me,” she said, trying to break free from his vice like grip.

He raised his hand as if he meant to strike her—something he had never done before. The action startled her to silence. Instead of hitting her across the face, as she thought he might, Reuben returned his hands to her upper arms squeezing even harder.

Leaning so close the heat of his breath warmed her cheeks, he said, “You have no idea what hurt is, Julia. You are an insolent little whelp. You will paste a smile on that tart little face of yours. And you will do your best to win his affections or,” his voice menacing, “you will suffer my wrath, the likes of which you have yet to see.”

Releasing his hold, he pushed her so that she tumbled to the floor in a heap. As he turned to walk away, he added in a sinister tone, “It would be best if you get used to the idea of Hiram Norton and give up fanciful notions of love, dear sister. You will not have that luxury. The sooner you come to accept that, the better it will go for you.”

She sat in stunned silence as Reuben stalked to his office down the hall. Tears streaming down her face, Julia bolted to her feet, running out the front door of the ranch house to the nearby stables, still frightened by her brother’s brutal behavior.

The smell of hay and horse assaulted her delicate senses as she selected a gentle mare. Throwing her saddle on the horse’s back, she led her from the barn. Once under the open blue skies, she shoved one foot into the stirrup, swinging her other leg over the mare, riding astride. Nudging the mare into a full gallop, Julia fled to the one place she would always feel free—the back of a horse in the wide open pastures.

Reuben may be her guardian now, but she had only to endure a few more years of this before she would be of age and in control of her life. If only she could stop him from marrying her off before then.

At seventeen, she considered herself too young to get married, though many women her age and younger married. She wasn’t ready. She didn’t pine for the responsibilities marriage entailed. She liked her freedom. But, when she was ready to marry, she would marry for love and not because Reuben wished it.

Certainly, she would never marry Hiram Norton. The thirty-seven year old rancher was the exact opposite of what Julia wanted for a husband. His short stature and fading hairline made him look even older. He had a reputation for loving excess. When it came to food, his waistline showed the results of that love. There were other unsavory aspects to his reputation as well which included rumors that he frequented the saloon and brothel.

No, the man for Julia would be young and handsome. His character would be impeccable, his honor undeniable. Land, money, and wealth held no importance to her. She only cared that her dream man would be able to provide for her and their family.

As the wind tangled her long, sandy brown curls, she continued to press the horse for more speed—needing it to soothe her fear and anger. In the distance she saw the herd of longhorns kicking up dust. The sight sparked a memory of Will, the kinder, more honorable of the Colter brothers, sending her mind racing in another direction. So many times he’d taken Julia out to the pasture, teaching her how to rope, ride, and work with the cattle. Some thought such behavior unacceptable for a lady. She was glad to learn these skills. Should her handsome young dream man end up being a rancher, he might appreciate her ability to work the ranch by his side.

Why hasn’t Will written? The thought of Will brought fresh tears as memories of his hasty departure flooded her mind. Not only had she buried her father, but she also lost the brother she was close to—all within a few short weeks. Almost a year ago, following her father’s death, Reuben forced Will to leave the ranch when he had been deeded the house and ranch. While Will and Reuben both received half of the herd and the financial holdings, Will was left with no home or land. Unable to find anything close, Will moved to the Arizona Territory, leaving Julia behind. Alone.

The only time she heard from him was in November 1863. Will wrote that he, his men, and his cattle arrived safely and set up their new home near the Granite Creek settlement in the Arizona Territory—wherever that was. No other letters came.

Despite the thirteen year age difference between Will and Julia, they adored each other. She followed him everywhere, never far from his side even when he worked with the herd. When she needed protecting, it was Will who came to her defense.

Oh, how she could use his protection now. If he were here, he would stop Reuben from forcing her to marry that awful Hiram Norton.

But, he wasn’t here. He was in a distant territory, far from Texas, far from her aid. Her father left her in Reuben’s care—not Will’s—even though Will would have been the better choice as far as Julia was concerned.

Their father never saw the evil that clouded Reuben’s heart and he knew nothing of his manipulative ways. In her father’s eyes, Reuben was as good of a son as Will. If her father knew of Reuben’s late nights in town or of his forceful tactics for bankrupting other ranchers and taking over their lands, he turned a blind eye. She found it hard to fathom that father could have missed such thinly concealed behavior.

As the mare started to struggle for breath, sides heaving with great effort, Julia eased up the pace. She was so torn. She had thought more than once to runaway to Arizona, but was afraid Reuben would find her and drag her back. Now he wanted her to flirt with Hiram Norton and get him to marry her. She had no desire to do what Reuben was asking. Mr. Norton may be wealthy, but he was twenty years older than her. There was something indecent in that alone. Nothing about him or his character appealed to her.

Realizing she was nearing the outer pasture, Julia turned the mare around to head back to the ranch house. She did not want to risk angering Reuben further by being unprepared for their dinner guests. Lord, please don’t make me have to marry that repulsive man. Will always said you could work things together for good. I am not seeing much good right now. Please give me the strength to make it through this evening meal.

As she pulled the mare to a stop in front of the stables, she slid off the horse. One of the young cowboys, Bates, took the reins from her hand.

“Miss Colter, you best hurry,” he said, nodding toward the lane leading to the ranch house.

A cloud of dust at the far end of the lane indicated their guests were already arriving. Julia shot a quick word of thanks to the friendly cowboy before picking up her skirts and running to the house. As she threw the door open, panting for breath, she caught Reuben’s seething look.

Rushing down the hall she slammed her bedroom door shut. She splashed some water on her face, wiping away the dust from her ride.

“Where have you been?” Mary’s panicked voice preceded her entrance into Julia’s room. Reuben’s normally calm, quiet wife seemed rather anxious as she picked up the corset she laid out.


“Whatever for?” came the squeaky, agitated response.

Julia tore off her day dress, tossing it over a chair. As Mary came to assist her with the corset, Julia took her last deep breath of the evening. She hated the confining contraption. Once the stays were tightened, she lifted her arms as Mary helped settle the lovely yellow silk down over her shoulders.

“You should have been in here an hour ago,” Mary lamented. “Now there is no possible way we can fashion your hair into ringlets. The other women will think you don’t care about your appearance.”

They would be correct, Julia thought. “You fret, too much,” she replied, brushing out her tangled curls. She would be content with twisting her unruly hair into a chignon, despite how much it fought against the pins.

“Go on. I’ll finish,” she instructed Mary, hoping to have a quiet moment to compose herself before entering the fray.

Mary hesitated for a brief moment before softly exiting the room. Taking as deep a breath as she could, Julia let it out in a heavy sigh. Undoubtedly, Hiram Norton was already here, waiting for her in the other room. Pasting a smile on her face, she squared her shoulders and left the solitude of her room.

“Hiram,” Reuben said as Julia approached, “I do not believe you have met my sister, Julia.”

It took every ounce of courage to hold her smile steady and extend her hand towards Mr. Norton’s rotund frame. Taking her hand, he placed a sloppy kiss on top, before asking, “Reuben, where have you been hiding this lovely filly?”

Filly? The distasteful comment sickened her.

“Mr. Norton, a pleasure to meet you,” Julia said with more decorum than she thought she possessed. As soon as his hold lifted, she discretely wiped the back of her hand on her dress.

“Miss Colter, you are absolutely stunning,” he replied, allowing his lustful gaze to rove over her neckline, down her curvy figure, making overtly inappropriate stops along the way.

She fought to tamp down her mounting abhorrence. As the guests were seated around the table, she eagerly helped Mary set out the food.

Still irritated by Mr. Norton’s uncouth comment, she decided to fight back as she took her seat. “Mr. Norton, my brother tells me you have been very successful with your ranch, despite the Union’s blockade. Tell me, how do you do it?”

Reuben’s eyes narrowed slightly, letting her know he caught her barely hidden sarcasm.

“My lovely Miss Colter, such matters are too complicated for your simple mind to understand.”

Another mark against Mr. Norton—condescension towards women, she thought, keeping the sweet smile firmly in place. Lobbing a spoonful of potatoes on her plate she waited for him to continue.

“However, I shall endeavor to enlighten you,” he said with an air of superiority, snatching the potatoes from her hand. “While the Union may have blockaded our route to drive cattle to the New Orleans market, they have made no such effort to stop us from driving to points north or west. It seems that as long as we aren’t supplying the Confederate Army, they care little where we sell our cattle. We have simply changed our route north to the railways in Missouri. While I don’t care for the Union and their imposing ways, a profit is a profit. And I have made significant gains by being one of the first Texans to sell to eastern markets by way of Missouri.”

“Mr. Norton.” As her irritation rose, Julia retorted, “If a large profit is to your liking, why not drive the cattle west towards the California market where prices are more than triple that of the eastern markets?”

Reuben shifted in his chair uncomfortably. His darkening eyes warned her to hold her tongue. Julia knew she should have heeded the warning, but she preferred being forthright. Let Mr. Norton find that out now.

Mr. Norton laughed off her question, causing her to dislike the man even more. “You are a spirited little woman, I will give you that. But your comment shows your youth and your naivety.”

Taking not one, but two large pork chops from the platter she handed him, he said, “While the prices west are much higher, so is the cost to drive the cattle such a great distance. The length of time it takes to drive the cattle to California is almost three times as long as the northern route. It is also much more dangerous. There are many more Indians and cattle thieves westward. It would simply not be profitable to drive the herd west.”

His snooty tone grated on her nerves. When she opened her mouth to speak, Reuben interrupted. “Perhaps, dear sister, you should leave the business matters to men. I’m sure you would be much more interested in knowing how Mrs. Withers’ new baby is faring.”

Mrs. Withers quickly picked up the conversation, monopolizing both Julia and Mary’s time. While Julia was surprised Reuben even knew the woman had a child, she was thankful for the opportunity to ignore Mr. Norton.

As the conversation continued, she felt something brush against her knee then move away. She kept her focus on Mrs. Withers’ overlong description of her young son and on eating the meal, until she felt the unmistakable presence of a man’s hand move above her knee. She stole a glance and confirmed Mr. Norton’s hand rested most inappropriately on her thigh. Angling her legs further away from him as discreetly as possible, Julia’s stomach churned. When Mr. Norton pressed closer, she thought she might lose her dinner. The man appeared to have no limits.

Standing abruptly, she said, “If you’ll excuse me. I’m not feeling quite myself.” Without waiting for a reply she hurried to her room.

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Reuben scowled after his sister. Her behavior had been completely unacceptable, despite his attempt earlier in the day to reason with her. This silly idea of marrying for love must have worked its way into her thinking from the stories their father told of their mother. No one married for love.

He certainly hadn’t. While Mary was pleasant looking enough and easy to control, he did not love his wife. He had married her to increase his social standing among the area ranchers—something his father never seemed to care about. Her father had been one of the wealthier men in the area and he was easy to win over. In fact, Reuben thought, most everyone he met was easy to manipulate—except Will and Julia.

It didn’t matter. Will was gone and out of the picture. He was no longer a nuisance, even though it was Will’s fault that he was in such a financial mess. The timing of Will leaving with half the herd and half the financial holdings was disastrous, leaving him unable to pay debts to some very powerful men—a situation he was desperately trying to resolve.

The last bite of his pork chop churned in his stomach as fear gained a foothold. He needed Hiram’s money from the marriage arrangement to Julia. It was his only hope of turning things around.

As his guests finished the meal, Reuben stood. “Gentlemen, shall we retire to the front porch for some refreshments and cigars?”

The men eagerly nodded, obviously wanting to be away from the women as quickly as he did. As Hiram stood, Reuben pulled him aside. Speaking loud enough for the others to hear, he said, “We’ll join you in a moment. Hiram and I have a few business matters to discuss.”

Leading Hiram back towards his office, Reuben hoped Hiram would still be amiable to the agreement they discussed several days ago at the saloon, despite Julia’s less than enthusiastic attitude this evening.

Before he offered a seat, Hiram took one, starting the conversation on his terms. “Julia is quite lovely, Reuben. You’ve been holding out on me. When you asked for such a large sum, I assumed she must be dreadful to look at.”

“So you are pleased?”

“To a point,” Hiram admitted. “While she’ll keep me entertained well, she needs to learn to control her tongue, especially in front of guests. I’m surprised you haven’t dealt with this already.”

Reuben frowned. If only Hiram knew what he was up against. With any luck, he wouldn’t find out until after his wedding day. “Well, father has only been gone a short time. He doted on her, so it will take some time to get her to properly respect a man.”

“Ah, there’s the catch. I’ll have to train her myself then.” Hiram laughed. “It will be a fun challenge—breaking her. Too bad you didn’t have more time to do the job yourself. You could get a much higher price for her, as beautiful as she is.”

The price he was asking was enough. Normally prone to greediness, when it came to selling his sister’s hand in marriage, he felt it prudent not to get too greedy. He was running out of time and needed to pay his debts soon. Once that pressure slackened, he could focus his energy on rebuilding his wealth.

A brief hint of remorse came over Reuben. Had he stooped so low that he was selling his sister for money? But, it was not as if he were selling her to a brothel. No, he was just selling her to a wealthy rancher. She would live in luxury. What could be bad about that?

He knew living with Hiram Norton would not be pleasant. The man had a reputation for being ruthless to his business associates, to his women, and even to his mother. He had no limits. He made Reuben look like a saint. Julia would undoubtedly be miserable married to him until she learned her place.

Chiding himself, he refocused his attention back to what Hiram was saying. He needed this man’s money, not a sudden case of conscience.

“After we have our cigars,” Hiram was saying, “then, I will take Julia for a walk. See if I still fancy her. When I return, we will announce our engagement. It will be short. No longer than a month.”

Reuben held back a gasp. He hadn’t expected Norton to want a short engagement. “You know what the townsfolk will say with such a hurried wedding. They will think my sister has been compromised.”

Pulling a large stack of bills from his coat pocket, Hiram slammed it down on the desk. “I don’t think you will care too much what is said about your sister’s reputation. Who knows, what they say may end up being true anyway.”

The dark look on Hiram’s face sent shivers down Reuben’s spine. Ruthless seemed rather inadequate of a word to describe the man before him. He had to make sure Julia did not ruin this deal, for he did not want the added pressure of Norton’s anger.

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Mary knocked on Julia’s door not more than ten minutes after she left the meal. Her voice was timid when she spoke, “The men have retired to the front porch for cigars. Reuben requested that you return to the parlor with the women.”

Sighing, Julia did as instructed. She listened to the gossip of the rancher’s wives and wished her friend Caroline Larson was in attendance, so she might actually be able to enjoy the evening. The Larsons owned a ranch to the east of the Star C and they had been long-time family friends. Up until last year, before father passed away, the Larsons were always invited for every social gathering—sometimes they were the only guests. Since then, Reuben saw little use for Mr. Larson’s moral ways and only included them on rare occasions to pacify her or his wife.

Not paying attention to the boring conversation, Julia missed seeing the men return from the outdoors. Mr. Norton’s hand on her forearm jolted her from her thoughts. “Miss Colter, I was hoping you might take a walk with me.”

“And who will be acting as chaperone?” she replied curtly, not wanting to be alone in his presence.

Mr. Norton laughed, a sound she was beginning to detest. “Silly girl, I am much too old for a chaperone. I assure you, your reputation will be safe with me. I simply want to stroll for a few moments with a beautiful woman on my arm.”

Julia thought a stroll might be too much for the man. He was sweating profusely and seemed to have difficulty walking the distance to the door, as his breath came in short, heavy bursts. She looked to Mary for support. She smiled and nodded her approval, oblivious to Mr. Norton’s reprehensible behavior. As Reuben stood next to Mary, his eyes narrowed with a silent warning. Heeding the unspoken message, she stood and accepted Mr. Norton’s arm.

Outside, the air barely cooled in the waning sunlight, causing Julia to grow warm in a matter of seconds. She wished she thought to grab her fan when a sour odor wafted from the man at her side. Averting her face, she tried to catch an untainted breath of air. Unsuccessful, she decided parting her lips to breathe through her mouth might be preferable.

Nearing the stables, Mr. Norton stopped abruptly, turning towards Julia. The quick motion—seemingly impossible coming from the man who seemed to struggle walking much of a distance—frightened her. Sucking in air quickly through her mouth, a slight tickle lingered in the back of her throat, almost bringing on a cough.

When he spoke, his voice took on a sinister edge. Even in the dimming light she could see the contempt in his eyes. “Miss Colter, while I admire your feisty spirit,” he said as he grabbed her wrists, “It would serve you not to embarrass me again, especially by questioning my business practices in a room full of my peers. I can make your life most unbearable if you cross me.” Without warning he pulled her close and crushed his mouth down on hers as his hands took great liberty in exploring her body.

The shock of his action took a moment to register. Once it did, Julia brought her booted heel down hard on the top center of his foot, just as Will showed her. He dropped his hold instantly, crying out in pain. As he limped toward her, she ran for the front of the house to put some distance between them. Tripping over something, she stumbled, giving Mr. Norton time to catch up. He grabbed her bruised upper arms with surprising strength.

“Do not ever do that again,” he said in a hostile tone. “Do you not know that Reuben has promised you to me? Make no mistake, Miss Colter, I am a powerful man. If you want to live a decent, peaceful life under my roof, you best lose some of your haughtiness… Or, I will take whatever measures necessary to force it out of you.”

Julia blinked, trying to absorb all that he said. Was he saying that Reuben already agreed to her marrying this loathsome man? An ominous chill swept over her as he continued his intense stare. Her heart beat rapidly within her chest as her panic rose. She could not—would not—marry this dreadful man.

Dropping his hold on her, Mr. Norton extended his arm and placed her hand in the crook. “Smile,” he commanded as he limped to open the front door.

While her smile came insincerely, his seemed quite pleased. He crossed the room slowly, still favoring his injured foot, before stopping in front of Reuben and Mary. “Reuben, it gives me great pleasure to announce that Julia has eagerly agreed to accept my offer of marriage,” he said smugly. “She was so delighted that she agreed to a short engagement. We will be married in a month.” His fingernails dug into her arm daring her to speak otherwise.

The smirk on Reuben’s face told her this had been their plan all along. Such a public announcement, even though it was completely false, would be difficult to break. Lord, help me. I cannot marry that man.

The 60 Minute Money Workout….by Ellie Kay

The 60 Minute Money Workout….. Blogging for Books

About the Book

Financial transformation in just one hour a week!

You can revolutionize your finances in only sixty minutes! Looking for long-term economic stability and not common quick-fix schemes? Discover the secrets that Ellie Kay used to deliver her family from $40,000 in consumer debt. Now a nationally recognized financial expert and best-selling author, Ellie shares her one-hour-a-week program that has made it possible to take care of her family and do it all debt-free! With entertaining anecdotes, easy-to-follow charts, and practical advice, The 60-Minute Money Workout is both fun and feasible. You’ll be able to:

> Get out of debt and save for your kids’ college
> Have meaningful and debt-free vacations
> Pay cash for your cars
> Make a difference in the world by giving generously
> Find financial peace with your spouse
> Be content with your current circumstances
> Latch onto hope for your financial future

In just one hour a week, you’ll be financially stronger and smarter. Revolutionize your quality of life with the Workout and you’ll never look back!

My Thoughts

In The 60 Minute Money Workout, we have a book that promises us financial freedom in one hour a week. Wow, that sounds great, if it will work that way! And Kay is trying to teach us what to do to make it work for us. I like that she teaches to start out small, and just take it one small step at a time, so we will better stick with her program.

She covers many ideas in the 14 chapters in this book, from traveling and having fun to college plans. One thing that interests me was starting a home business, which I am thinking about doing, just something on a small scale so I appreciated this information and help.

Overall, this is a wonderful book, one that should be in every home. Even if you don’t follow it chapter by chapter the author gives so many great tips and help ideas it would sure be a benefit to your family.

This book was generously provided by Waterbrook Press in exchange for a review. I was under no obligation to post a positive review of this book. The opinions in this review are mine only.

Purchase at Amazon

Journey to Christmas DVD Tyndale Publishers

Journey to Christmas DVD 

Tyndale Publishers


Trim Size:
2 DVDs
December 2011



About this DVD Series

Journey to Christmas is a fascinating new reality DVD series that invites you to explore Jesus’ birth through five modern-day explorers. Shot on ultra-high-definition film and packaged as a four-part DVD church curriculum, this unique study series chronicles the experiences of five very different people—a messianic Jew, a First Nations woman, a poet, a Christian radio personality, and an agnostic lawyer—as they journey through the Holy Land to discover the true meaning of Christmas. Guided by a local historian (Nizar Shaheen) with on-camera commentary from a team of Bible experts (astronomer Dr. Hugh Ross, ancient history expert Dr. Paul Maier, archeologist and New Testament scholar Dr. Craig Evans, Biblical times culture expert Claire Pfann, and others), viewers will see the Christmas story unfold though the eyes of each member on this unique pilgrimage. Journey to Christmas lets you immerse yourself in the culture, places, and people surrounding the Nativity. Stunning photography, a reality show format, exotic locations, and fascinating commentary from a team of Bible experts make this an unforgettable Bible learning experience!


My Thoughts

This Journey to Christmas 2 DVD Series is a wonderful way to realize the true meaning of Christmas. Five people that had never met take a journey to the Holy Land to walk the road of remembering the birth of Jesus. The history and scenery in this DVD is incredible. Traveling with this group and viewing the journey with this, hearing the discussions, seeing the changes in their lives was wondering to watch. For me, it gave me a new reality of what happened that night so long ago. Sometimes we are so engrossed in pictures, scenes, and such that we really don’t grasp what it was really like for Mary and Joseph on that long journey. How she felt, the wonder of how and where her child would be born, and just thinking about all of the things happening to her being so near giving birth. This DVD series makes you think a lot!

I encourage you to grab a copy for your family to enjoy during this Christmas Holiday Season as we celebrate the birth of our wonderful Lord.

I was provided a copy of this DVD Series by Tyndale House Publishers. I was not required or expected to write a positive review of this product. The review is my opinions only.

Purchase this DVD at AMAZON

PUYB Virtual Book Tour: Hollywood Stories: Entertaining Anecdotes about the Stars and the Legends of the Movies

Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Tour

Hollywood Stories: Entertaining Anecdotes about the Stars and the Legends of the Movies

Join Stephen Schochet, author of the non-fiction book Hollywood Stories: Entertaining Anecdotes about the Stars and the Legends of the Movies, as he virtually tours the blogosphere in November and December, 2011, on his first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book.

StephenAuthor Stephen Schochet

About Stephen Schochet

A professional tour guide in Hollywood, Stephen Schochet has researched and told thousands of entertaining anecdotes for over twenty years. He is also the author and narrator of two audiobooks Tales of Hollywood and Fascinating Walt Disney. His latest book, Hollywood Stories: Short, Entertaining Anecdotes About the Stars and Legends of the Movies!

Tim Sika, host of the radio show Celluloid Dreams on KSJS in San Jose has called Stephen,” The best storyteller about Hollywood we have ever heard.”

For more information visit http://www.hollywoodstories.com

Hollywood Stories front cover

Hollywood Stories Book Synopsis

At high noon on a cold November day in 1974, sixty-seven-year-old John Wayne faced off with the staff of the Harvard Lampoon on the famous campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The students had issued their challenge by calling the beloved American icon a fraud. Wayne, who had his new movie McQ to promote, responded by saying he would be happy to show his film in the pseudo-intellectual swamps of Harvard Square. After the screening, without writers, the former USC footballer delivered a classic performance. When one smart young man asked where he got his phony toupee, Wayne insisted the hair was real. It wasn’t his, but it was real. The appreciative underclassmen loved him and after the Q and A session, they all sat down to dinner. Later Wayne, who was suffering greatly from both gout and the after effects of lung cancer (sadly the Duke only had five years to live), said that day at Harvard was the best time he ever had.

Just when you thought you’ve heard everything about Hollywood comes a totally original new book — a special blend of biography, history and lore.

Hollywood Stories is packed with wild, wonderful short tales about famous stars, movies, directors and many others who have been a part of the world’s most fascinating, unpredictable industry!

What makes the book unique is that the reader can go to any page and find a completely engaging and illuminating yarn. Sometimes people won’t realize that they are reading about The Three Stooges or Popeye the Sailor until they come to the end of the story. The Midwest Book Review says Hollywood Stories is, “packed from cover to cover with fascinating tales.” A professional tour guide in Hollywood, Stephen Schochet has researched and told thousands of entertaining anecdotes for over twenty years. He is also the author and narrator of two audiobooks Tales of Hollywood and Fascinating Walt Disney. Tim Sika, host of the radio show Celluloid Dreams on KSJS in San Jose has called Stephen,” The best storyteller about Hollywood we have ever heard.”Full of funny moments and twist endings, Hollywood Stories features an amazing, all-star cast of legendary characters and icons and will keep you totally entertained!

Watch the book video


My Thoughts about this book!

Ok, my first look at this book was Wow, what an awesome cover!  It is fun, funny, bright colors, very inviting, giving you a hunger for what is inside. But I was so sure what was inside was worth reading. Like a lot of books on Hollywood, they are just the same old stories, different people.

But this one surprised me. Instead of being just gory Hollywood stories, these are interesting stories featuring films and many of the actors, producers, directors of films from the early days of silent films to today’s film making. These stories go beyond just the films and the making of them. The author sometimes gives us behind the scenes tidbits, shows behind the scenes real life during film making, why some of the films are made, and so much more that readers haven’t heard before. One thing that I thought amusing was about hearing about Walt Disney’s nurse, his real life off film nurse that treated him for different things, while film making. It’s just a lot of fun, funny, some sad, all are interesting facts and things about the old and the new Hollywood.

If you want a fun book to read, I think you will enjoy this one. You really don’t have to read it cover to cover. I kept flipping through just reading things I found interesting at the moment. Some of it I just didn’t want to wait to read the entire book before I could read about a particular story. This would also make a great Christmas gift!

This book was provided by PUYB blog tours. I was not expected to give a positive. The opinions in this review are mine only.




Hollywood Stories Book Excerpt

The Universal Maniac

In 1999, an Australian gentleman told me about an interesting experience he and his family had at Universal Studios. They were on the backlot tour passing one of the theme park’s main attractions, the Bates Motel used in the 1960 horror classic Psycho, about a murderous young man named Norman Bates who loved his mother a little too much. As the guide gave out information about how director Alfred Hitchcock shot the picture, a tall man, dressed in drag and carrying a large knife, emerged from behind the old set and

charged toward the tram. The narrator seemed to know nothing about the Norman Bates look-alike and clammed up completely. The make-believe killer wore such a convincing maniacal expression that some of the paying customers were frightened and screamed when he raised his weapon. Then the “fiend” pulled off his wig and he turned out to be comic Jim Carrey; the thirty-seven-year-old star was clowning around during a work break. After his laughing “victims” calmed down, Jim was happy to pose for pictures and sign autographs.

The Lazy Super Dad

Marlon Brando wanted to work as little as possible when he played Jor-El, the Kryptonian father, in the 1978 movie Superman. The fifty-three-year-old actor told the film’s producers that he only needed to do a voiceover and some object could stand in his place. After all, he would be part of an alien race; nobody knew what they looked like. Perhaps the extraterrestrial could appear as a green bagel. His bosses were both bemused and alarmed. They pointed out that Marlon’s son would look human and be played by an earthling. A grinning Brando agreed to show up on the set. For his ten minutes of screen time, the star made an estimated nineteen million dollars while not bothering to learn his lines. In his most dramatic scene, Marlon held his baby above his head, speculated on the child’s future, and then placed him on the space ship to escape the doomed planet. Brando hadn’t bothered to learn his lines; his dialogue was penned on the bottom of the super infant’s diaper.

Extra: The first Superman movies were low-budget serials made in 1948 starring Kirk Alyn (1910-1999) in the title role. The cheaply made Saturday Matinee cliffhangers got surprisingly good reviews. Alyn was only given credit for playing Clark Kent; the studio claimed that no actor was qualified to play the Last Son of Krypton so he’d appear as himself. One scene required the Man of

Steel to rescue two would-be victims from a burning building. After the first take the director said, “That was great, Kirk. But could we do it again without you straining so much? I mean, you’re super strong, lifting a couple of humans should be easy.” Alyn, a body builder in real life, was indignant. “What do you expect? These

people are heavy!”

“People? Oh my goodness, baby, I’m sorry, we forgot to get you the


Extra: In 1973, Marlon Brando (1924-2004) starred in the controversial and sex-charged drama Last Tango in Paris. This time around, the actor wrote some of his not memorized lines on the bottom of his shoe, and in a few scenes hopped around awkwardly on one foot in order to read them.

Extra: Thirty-nine-year-old Jack Nicholson looked forward to working with the great Brando when they co-starred in the 1976 western, The Missouri Breaks. But Marlon, who eventually became Jack’s next-door neighbor in the Hollywood Hills, disappointed Nicholson by reading cue cards, thus not making eye contact in their shared scenes. Later Brando hired an assistant to read the dialogue out loud into a radio transmitter from Marlon’s trailer, which the actor

could then hear through an earpiece. Once, Brando was about to speak his lines when the device inadvertently picked up a police broadcast. The confused performer came out of character. “Oh my God! There’s been a robbery at Woolworths.”

Horror on the Cheap

In the 1930s, executives at Universal Studios found horror movies were a perfect antidote to the huge salaries demanded by film stars. Actors, hired to play mostly silent horrible creatures under several cakes of make-up, could be replaced without the public caring. British-born Boris Karloff was forever grateful when he landed the career-making role of Frankenstein’s Monster. The forty-four-year-old part-time truck driver’s legendary performance as the sometimes-sympathetic demon, paved the way for Boris to get more parts and a

better lifestyle. But in later years, Karloff revealed some unhappiness about the Frankenstein pictures. “I was only in three but I get blamed for all nine. Every time a new one comes out I get the fan mail and some other bloke gets the check.

”Each year on Halloween, Boris would sigh and then gently tell the many children who came to the door of his Beverly Hills mansion that he would not go trick-or-treating with them.

Extra: Boris Karloff turned down the chance to reprise his role as

Frankenstein’s Monster for the fourth time in Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. He feared the creature would lose his dignity in a comedy. Actor Glenn Strange (1899-1973), who played the demon in House of Frankenstein (1944) and House of Dracula (1945), donned the green make-up once again for Abbott and Costello. When Karloff died in 1969, newspapers around the world published obituaries of him accompanied by Strange’s picture.

Extra: Karloff’s influence was felt in Berkshire, England, during the making of Hammer Film’s The Curse of Frankenstein (1957). Fearing that any resemblance to Universal Studios’ version of the monster would cause a lawsuit, make-up artist Philip Leakey (1908-1992) worked hard to make thirty-five-year-old actor Christopher Lee’s version of the reanimated brute gruesome and unique. Lee, a former officer in the Royal Air Force, became so angry at Leakey’s painful experiments on his visage that he threatened to run Philip through with his sword. The fearful face artist disappeared for several days, which delayed the production. Later, a calmer Lee complained about his job to co-star Peter Cushing (1913-1984), who played Baron Frankenstein. “Being the creature is horrid. I have no lines.”

“You’re lucky. I’ve read the script,” replied Cushing. The Curse of Frankenstein was critically panned and highly profitable.

Walt Disney’s Daughters

Walt Disney’s two daughters, Sharon and Diane, grew up sheltered from the limelight. The children had no images of Mickey Mouse around their home. Their father didn’t go to many parties, preferring to stay in after a long day of work. Sometimes he would playfully chase the youngsters upstairs, cackling like the evil peddler woman in Snow White. When they behaved badly, Walt would admonish them with a raised eyebrow; his stern demeanor inspired the character of the wise old owl, in the 1942 animated feature Bambi. As toddlers, the brainy Diane and beautiful Sharon stayed blissfully unaware that their parents worried about them being kidnapped and allowed no pictures of the sisters to be publicly circulated. Once in 1939, a curious classmate questioned six-year-old Diane about her family. She went home and said, “Daddy, you never told me you were that Walt Disney,” and asked him for an autograph.

Read What the Reviewers Have to Say

Reviewed By Tiffany Schlarman of Bookpleasures.com

Reading Hollywood Stories is like taking a tour of Hollywood.  It is a journey of the past and present Hollywood personalities in anticipation for the future.  These short stories, were originally told for Stephen’s radio feature entitled Hollywood Stories.  The immensely popular stories are now formed into this entertaining, amusing book, which is full of extras to accompany their original short anecdotes.  The pages are packed full with stories, tidbits and humorous true tales of the stars.  The book depicts the stars as normal everyday people, going about their life, working or spending time with friends, family and coworkers.  It gives an everyday look at tinsel town and its glamorous crew.  The reader is able to learn as well as be amused by these stories.

Hollywood Stories is a thoroughly entertaining read.  With many humorous parts, you find yourself laughing out loud, feeling connected with the individual being presented.  Each story gives the Hollywood actor, producer, director, or writer in the spotlight, an every day average typical American feel.  Many of the stories remind the reader of pranks, jokes or situations they or a friend have personally done or gone through.  It is a reminder that while stardom may be part of the overall package; these individuals are human.  They were not always famous; they are simply doing their job by using their talents and creativity.  They are the lucky few who are able to work with what they love.  Outside of all this, they are mom, dad, husband, wife, brother, sister, daughter or son.  They enjoy life.  They have made an impact and are well known, yet not known at all.  The book introduces you on a more personal level to these legends of Hollywood, enabling the reader a better warmth and understanding of their favorite actors, directors, writers, and producers.

The book is divided into 13 chapter divisions.  Each division represents part of Hollywood.  This enables the reader to skip around easily.  If you have a favorite section you could read it first.  I flipped back and forth between the pages of this book, not reading it in order.  I went with my mood and it works because the stories are not tied to each other.  There are so many individual stories and tales; you do not feel held down to an order.  It was easy and enjoyable to read, leaving you addicted and wanting more.  Due to how the book came about, it would be a wonderful book to grab on audio CD for travel.  It provides hours of promising entertainment and interesting tidbits of the Hollywood we have come to know and love.  I highly recommend these well written stories which you will want to share with others.  They make great pieces for topical conversation and are sure to bring laughs to any audience

Review From Daniel L. Carter

Let me start off by saying Hollywood Stories is not the typical type of book that I read or review. However given the topic of the book and me being a huge movie buff I gave it a shot. The verdict is that I LOVED IT!!! This book is an entertainment smorgasbord of short stories that you’ll find yourself not wanting to put down. From the golden age of Hollywood to present day there are behind the scenes stories that will make you laugh and some that you’ll read with amazed delight. This book is the perfect gift for that friend or family member that loves Hollywood. I will say this about the book, it’s more geared toward the Golden Age of Hollywood. There are many stories that are modern but the majority of the book is geared toward the beginnings of the entertainment business on through the sixties. Being in the over 30 group (clears throat) I was familiar with many of the actors and actresses mentioned. This book is a keeper and I will probably re-read it often.

Book Launch…lots of free gifts The Night of the Cossack by Tom Blubaugh

The Night of the Cossack by Tom Blubaugh

Special day for Tom Blubaugh and his book Night of the Cossack.

Today is the Launch day for Tom’s book.


Tom is offering a bunch of free gifts with your purchase of his book today HERE on Amazon.

 PLUS an entry to win a  $50 Amazon gift card.

You Must Purchase a Kindle ebook or a  new paperback copy this book to win the prizes.

Paperback copies to US address only.


1…Hey Tom, it’s great to have you on my blog today. Thank you so much for being here. Tell us a bit about yourself.

 Thank you for interviewing me, Joy.  Where to start!  I am a Christian, a husband of Barbara, a father of six, a grandfather of 14, an author, an amateur photographer, a public speaker, a volunteer for two organizations and a website designer. In 2004 I was disabled by a major heart attack. This was hard on me since I’ve been a workaholic, but I soon realized it freed me up to do some serious writing.

2…How long have you been writing?

 I started writing poetry when I was fourteen (1956) and have been writing since. I was first published in 1974.  All of my published work has been non-fiction until Night of the Cossack, published this past April.

3…What aspects of being a writer do you enjoy the most?

 This is a tough question. If you’d asked me this question a year ago, I would have said writing, but now that I’m speaking to YAs and involved with John 3:16 marketing group, I would be tempted to say the marketing. Actually, I like the whole process of being a published author. It involves nearly all of what I mentioned in your first question.

 4…What is your favorite Scripture?

 Proverbs 16:9 and 19:21. Until God directed me to these two scriptures, I struggled to know His will for my life.  Now, I plan and He directs–I have ideas and He has a purpose which prevails. I walk between the two.

 5…How do you find characters for your books? Are they influenced by family and friends?

Night of the Cossack is about my maternal grandfather. Both of my grandfathers died before I was born.  When my mother passed in 2005, I was left with no elders and the oldest of six children. I felt a strong drawing to my maternal grandfather. I knew very little about him, but I knew he had been a Cossack soldier in Russia. I took what little information I had and started researching. At first I was writing for myself, filling a void, and then I felt I was creating a heritage  for my children and grandchildren. It has brought closure for me.

6…What are 4 things about yourself that most people wouldn’t know about ?

 Hmmm—4 things.  I was homeless in 1998;  I was a felon by time I was 15; I still fanaticize being a rock & roll singer (this started in the late 50’s); and I’m shy, in spite of my experience as stated in your first question.

7…When will your next book be out?

 Tough question. I have it outlined, but can’t make up my mind if I like it or not. Probably late next year.

8…What are you working on now?

A sequel to Night of the Cossack. Readers keep asking me for one.

9…Where can our readers find you?

On my website http://tomblubaugh.com ;  on Facebook http://facebook.com/nightofthecossack and https://www.facebook.com/#!/ ;  on Twitter @tomblubaugh ; Goodreads, AuthorDen.com and on my blog http://www.tnblu.com/TheWriteTrailBlog/ .

10…Anything else you want to add?

You’re never too old to write. I was 69 when Night of the Cossack was published. If you have a desire to write—go for it.

 11…And I wanted to save this one until last, Tell us a bit about Night of the Cossack and what Inspired you to write this wonderful book.

Thank you for the complement.  I always felt I missed out on something important by not having a grandfather. I was drawn to both of them, but knew very little about either. Being a Viet Nam veteran (Navy), I guess I was drawn more toward my Grandfather Hertzfield because he was a Cossack soldier.  I always liked war movies as a kid (they weren’t as graphic back then).  I think the combination of all of these dug into my creative mind. Even though the book is a historical fiction, I feel very close to the protagonist, Nathan. He’s a lot like me.


My Thoughts on Night of the Cossack

Nathan never expected what happened on that one dreaded night that he hid their family in the cellar because of the fighting taking place in their community. He thought all had gone, so he decided to go see what damage had been done. What he didn’t expect was to not only be watched by kidnapped and taken from his family. He finds out he would not be trained to be a Cossack just like his kidnapper.


My heart broke for Nathan and his family as he was taken, never thought to be heard from again. As a mother, I can’t imagine the heartbreak of his mother and for Nathan as he starts his new life with Nikolai. The one positive thing was that Nikolai watched out for Nathan as he taught his to fight in the Cossack way.


This story based on Tom’s grandfather. Although Tom never knew his grandfather, he asked questions to find out all he could. And thus this book was born. In the pages of Night of the Cossack, the reader will view Tom’s grandfather as he thinks his life was in those trying times so long ago. As I read this book, I couldn’t help but think about Tom as he wrote about his grandfather and the horrible situations he had to go through. This is just a sweetly written book by a grandson about his grandfather. If you are a history buff, you will enjoy this book, but if you are not, I think you will be pleased you read this book. So go grab a copy to read and enjoy for yourself.


I won this book on a book blog giveaway and am very happy to be a part of Tom’s Book Launch today by posting a review of this book and post an interview with Tom.



About the Author

Tom Blubaugh is a freelance writer living in Southwest Missouri with Barbara, his wife.  They have six children and fourteen grandchildren. Tom has written non-fiction most of his adult life, but has recently written a historical fiction titled Night of the Cossack, published by Bound by Faith Publishers. This is Tom’s first novel. He co-wrote a devotional journal in 2009 for Barbour Publishing titled The Great Adventure. His other writings include articles for a denominational magazine and an insurance publication. He also self-published a book, Behind the Scenes of the Bus Ministry in 1974.


Tom started writing poetry at the age of fourteen. His vision of turning them into lyrics for rock and roll songs for popular artists didn’t develop. He considers writing to be a God-given talent and feels led to develop it. His first novel was published at his age of 69. Tom says it’s never too late. He is now writing a sequel.


Tom spent twelve years as an insurance agent and eleven years as a financial planner. He is the past president of Jericho Commission, Inc., and still serves on the board of directors.


Here is a message from the author for some special prizes TODAY DEC 8th only

Today, December 8th only!

  Purchase a Kindle ebook or a  new paperback copy of Night of the Cossack


 from AMAZON and receive multiple

TODAY, Dec. 8th, 2011


FREE gifts PLUS an entry to win a  $50 Amazon gift card.


*You must purchase from Amazon either the Kindle version or a


‘new’ paperback from Bound by Faith Publishers


to qualify.


 The new paperback version will be a signed copy by the author and shipped FREE to an address in the USA.


Thank you and blessings,


FIRST Wild Card Tour Karen Baney….A Dream Unfolding (Prescott Pioneers 1)

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:
Karen Baney

and the book:

A Dream Unfolding
(Prescott Pioneers 1)

CreateSpace (December 19, 2010)

***Special thanks to Karen Baney for sending me a review copy.***


Karen Baney, in addition to writing Christian historical fiction and contemporary novels, works as a Software Engineer. Her faith plays an important role both in her life and in her writing. Karen and her husband make their home in Gilbert, Arizona, with their two dogs. She also holds a Masters of Business Administration from Arizona State University.

Visit the author’s website.


The promise of a new life and a chance to start over…
Hannah Anderson had the life she always wanted, married to the man of her dreams. When her husband’s brother gets in trouble with the law, the town turns against them, shattering her perfect life. Now they are left with only one choice—to head west to the Arizona Territory in the hopes of creating a new life. Will the journey be worth the cost?

Will Colter, after burying his father, is forced to leave the ranch he has called home for nearly thirty years. The journey is dangerous, challenging him and his men. Will he find the new life he was hoping for?

Or, is there a new dream quietly unfolding before their eyes?


My Thoughts
Ok I’m running a little late on my reviews…so when I finish this book I will write a review…..give me a few days…..thanks much!


Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace (December 19, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1456512315
ISBN-13: 978-1456512316


Cincinnati, Ohio

July 15, 1863

“Gunshot wound!”

Hannah sighed at the tense sound of her husband’s voice filtering down the hall from the parlor to the kitchen. Though she clearly heard the urgency in Drew’s tone, she took a moment to remove the half-baked biscuits from the heavy iron stove, lest they burn before she returned. This would be the third batch of baked goods she would toss this week so she could assist Drew in his surgery with one medical emergency or another.

Biting back a second frustrated sigh, she removed her cooking apron to don a fresh one. Tying the apron strings around her back, she entered the chaos of Drew’s surgery room. The heavy shuffling of feet echoed in the small room as four men grunted under the weight of the injured man. The acrid smell of blood hit Hannah full force. She recalled the days when the odor and sight of blood caused her stomach to roil. Nearly two years working by Drew’s side cured her of some of that sensitivity. Heart pounding rapidly, she prepared the ether cone, anticipating the forthcoming request.

“Get him on the table.” Drew instructed the men carrying the wounded bank manager, Mr. Davis, in a calm voice. As he turned to face her, his tone remained steady, “Hannah, I need the ether now.”

Hannah’s breath caught in her throat as she looked into Mr. Davis’s panicked eyes—her earlier frustration vanished. Whispering words of comfort, she placed the cone over his nose and mouth, silently counting out the seconds. Around the third second, his thrashing stopped and his body relaxed into an unconscious state. She let out a shaky breath, relieved by the sight.

Drew’s lanky form bent over Mr. Davis’s left leg as he intently studied the blood soaked trousers. Hannah offered Drew scissors and he cut the pant leg to better see the wound. The bullet was lodged in Mr. Davis’s thigh. He placed a tourniquet above the gaping hole to stop the flow of blood. Hannah mopped up what she could with rags silently praying for their patient and for her husband’s skill. As he requested the small forceps, she handed them over. Watching, she could not help but admire his steady hand and careful movements as he grasped the bullet with the forceps. Gently he removed the bullet.

As she administered another dose of ether, Drew threaded a needle with his long slender fingers, seemingly unaffected by the gravity of his task. He doused the wound to clean it before starting slow deliberate strokes with the needle to stitch the hole shut. When sweat beaded on his forehead, he barely noticed her swift action to dab it dry, his concentration so intense. Once he finished with the stitches, he wrapped the leg in bandages before checking for other signs of injury.

“I don’t see any other wounds,” Drew said meeting her gaze as he washed the blood from his hands. His expression remained unreadable. “Please sit with him for a minute while I speak with the men who brought him in.”

As Hannah pulled up a chair next to Mr. Davis’s still form, she caught most of the conversation playing out in the parlor, though slightly muffled from the distance.

“Bank robbery,” one of the men replied in response to Drew’s query.

Gasps echoed in the small parlor that served as a waiting area for patients, followed by the hiss of rapid whispering. Hannah, knowing who was scheduled for appointments, imagined their shocked faces at the unexpected announcement.

“Will you let Mr. Davis’s wife know he is here and resting comfortably?” Drew requested.

The men replied affirmatively before the sound of their feet faded behind the closed front door.

“Bank robbery,” Hannah muttered, surprised someone attempted such in the middle of the day in their peaceful town. She chided herself for thinking of Cincinnati as a town. With the large number of German immigrants arriving daily to work in the meat packing factories, her childhood home was quickly becoming a large city.

She checked Mr. Davis’s pulse again which returned to normal. The faint smell of ether hung in the air, intermingled with blood, causing her to take shallow breaths. Drew returned to the room with a deep frown on his face, obviously concerned with the news. As he listened to Mr. Davis’s breathing, Hannah went about cleaning and sanitizing the room and instruments, trying to hold her emotions at bay just a little longer.

As soon as she finished mopping up the trail of blood from the parlor to the surgery room, she jumped at the sound of the front door bursting open again.

“Phillip!” called out Mrs. Davis as she ran into the room. “Oh, Phillip!”

The frail woman gasped at the sight of her pale husband sleeping. Hannah breathed a sigh of relief that she completed the cleaning before Mrs. Davis arrived, fearful for the woman’s constitution. Glancing down at her blood splattered apron, she hoped to go unnoticed, certain the sight would send Mrs. Davis into a fit of apoplexy.

“Mrs. Davis,” Drew said, speaking in calm soft tones as he clapped his hand over the older woman’s, “he will be just fine. He is resting now, but should be awake later this evening. I would like to keep him here for a few days to make sure he is doing well, and then I’ll send him home to your capable care.”

“Thank you, Dr. Anderson,” Mrs. Davis replied, blotting her tears with a handkerchief before taking a seat next to her husband.

Quietly exiting the room, Hannah paused inside the doorway of the kitchen. The intensity of the preceding hours drained her energy as the emotions rushed forward. Leaning her head back against the wall, she let the tears roll down her face. Please let the image of Mr. Davis’s fear-stricken face fade from my mind quickly. The look had been so intense that she felt his fear as if it were her own—not in the moment she looked at him, but now as she returned to the calmness of her kitchen.

Wiping the tears from her face with the back of her hand, she removed the stained apron and threw it into a bucket to soak. Picking up a clean apron, she returned to the now half crunchy half soggy biscuits next to the oven trying to push the morning from her mind. Knowing there was no way to salvage the biscuits; she threw them into the waste and started on a fresh batch.

Carefully, she measured out the flour and buttermilk. The familiar actions of baking soothed her edgy nerves. Using the technique her aunt taught her, Hannah rolled out the biscuit dough and cut round forms, repeating the steps until all the dough formed raw biscuits. Numbly she continued through the motions until lovely golden brown biscuits emerged from the oven.

As Drew saw his last scheduled patient for the day, Hannah started her afternoon routine of tidying the clinic. Starting in the parlor at the front of the house, she straightened chairs and dusted the furniture. From the parlor, she turned left into Drew’s office since both surgery rooms on the right were occupied, one by Mr. Davis and the other by Drew and his patient. Hannah dusted her husband’s desk and stowed the patient charts in the largest drawer at the bottom of the oak desk. Taking a seat, Hannah flipped through the stack of bills. There never seemed to be enough time to see to everything. She needed to spend some time updating the ledgers soon.

Hannah stood listening as Drew escorted the last patient to the parlor. She entered the now vacant surgery room, wiping down all the surfaces. Once the room was cleaned, Hannah checked on Mr. Davis again. He was still resting peacefully, his wife clutching his hand as she sat in the chair, her chin resting against her chest either in prayer or in sleep.

Walking down the hall to the kitchen at the back of the house, Hannah began supper preparations. She felt most at peace in her kitchen—her domain. Perhaps it was from the few years she spent by her loving aunt’s side learning how to bake and cook, those domestic skills her mother had not instilled before her passing.

Shaking off the mounting melancholy, she shifted her thoughts back to Mr. Davis’s care. Following the meal, she would send Drew upstairs to their bedroom to get some rest. She would take the first shift watching Mr. Davis and then, sometime in the middle of the night she would wake Drew to take over.

At times like these, she wished Drew would hire a nurse. Hannah barely kept up with the laundry, cleaning, and meal preparations without overnight patients. Whenever a patient required round the clock care, she fell woefully behind in other chores. What would she do when she had children to care for?

“Barnes,” Drew greeted, with some hesitation, as one of the city’s policemen entered the clinic alone. Being one of two doctors in town, Drew often patched up robbers or drunken brawlers before Barnes hauled them off to jail. Occasionally he even visited the jail when Barnes deemed it too dangerous to bring the criminal to the clinic.

“What brings you here?” Drew asked, still unable to shake his concern that Barnes accompanied no one.

Barnes, his voice low and serious, asked, “May I have a word with you and Mrs. Anderson?”

Drew showed him to his office where their conversation could remain private. Once the bulky man took a seat, Drew quickly fetched Hannah. The lack of sleep from the night before did not help his increasing nervousness about the policeman’s unusual behavior.

As Hannah took a seat, Barnes started, “We have your brother, Thomas, in custody down at the jailhouse. He was identified as one of the men in yesterday’s failed attempt to rob the bank.”

Drew felt his throat constrict and his heart started beating rapidly, distressed over his brother’s increasingly wild behavior.

Sinking into the remaining chair, he asked tensely, “What happened?”

“From what we pieced together,” Barnes’ deep voice added to his air of authority, “it looks like Thomas, along with Sam Rogers and Ed Rogers, stormed the bank yesterday afternoon as one of the patrons was leaving. They pulled their guns on Mr. Davis and forced him to open the safe in the back room. Mr. Davis kept a loaded revolver in the safe, so once he opened it, he turned the gun on Sam and shot him in the foot. Then Ed fired on Mr. Davis.”

Still stunned, Drew merely nodded. He did not want to believe his brother was party to this crazy affair, crossing the line from rebellion to crime.

“After Mr. Davis was shot,” Barnes continued, “all three men took off, leaving the money behind. A few pedestrians noted the direction. We followed the trail and it led us to the Rogers’ house. We arrested all three men. Like I said, they are in jail and will remain there until a judge decides what is to be done.”

Drew looked over at Hannah. Her eyes widened with concern. Thomas rebelled for years, though never so boldly. Disappointment washed over Drew, quickly follow by guilt. If only he had been able to get through to Thomas. Maybe this would not have happened.

Ever since their father died, Drew’s brother could not contain his restless spirit. Thomas started hanging out with the Rogers brothers and things went downhill from there. The Rogers brothers bullied classmates during their school days and as they aged, they got worse: petty theft from the mercantile, vandalizing businesses, and picking fights with anyone who would pay them mind. When Thomas started staying out late and carousing with Sam and Ed Rogers, Drew did not hesitate to warn Thomas of the dangers of his actions. Closing his eyes, Drew clearly remembered the day he confronted his brother.

Drew woke to a thudding sound on the stairs. Sitting upright, he remained completely still, trying to determine if what he heard was real or imagined as his heart pounded against his chest. Thud. There is it was again.

Slipping from the bed, Drew carefully crept to the closed bedroom door. Slowly he cracked it open, just as a muffled curse reached his ears. Thomas!

Stepping from the room, Drew pulled the bedroom door closed behind him, so as not to wake Hannah. At the top of the stairs he made out Thomas’s limp form lying prostrate across several of the stairs. The stale cigar smoke and sickening sweet smell of whiskey clung to his brother’s clothing. As Drew approached, Thomas looked up and cursed again.

At first, Drew thought Thomas was merely drunk again—a frequent occurrence. But when he tried to help him up, Thomas recoiled and moaned in pain. Drew led him down the stairs and into the surgery room for a quick examination. Lighting the oil lamp, Drew saw the extent of his brother’s injuries. Besides the swollen black eye, his face and knuckles were covered with numerous cuts and scrapes. His ribs were also bruised. This must have been his worst fight to date.

“You must stop this Thomas,” he warned his brother, keeping his voice low. “The drinking, the gambling—it is only going to lead to trouble.”

“What do you care?” Thomas roared.

He grew weary of the familiar accusation. Thomas always thought Drew did not care—Drew always tried to show his concern. He was letting him live here. Wasn’t that proof enough that he cared? As his anger rose, so did his voice. “Look at yourself. Night after night you come home drunk or—”

“You have no right to lecture me! I’m old enough to take care of myself and do as I please. Mind your own business!”

“It is my business, as long as you are living in this house!” Drew volleyed back. Taking his brother in had been a mistake. He thought providing a home and some structure would help Thomas give up his wild ways. Instead, no matter what Drew did, Thomas threw it in his face.

“Don’t act like you are doing me a favor, Drew,” the hatred poured from his brother’s lips. “I know what you are doing. You just don’t want to feel guilty for leaving me here while you went to medical school. But you should! Living with Uncle Peter was awful!”

“Uncle Peter did his best to help you grow up with some discipline,” Drew countered.

“Don’t defend that selfish old man!”

The argument escalated until Hannah appeared in the doorway. When she looked from Drew to Thomas and back again, Drew shut his mouth mid-sentence. Thomas frowned, cursed, then turned and stormed out into the night.

He never saw his brother again, except once in passing on the street.

Hannah’s dainty cough brought Drew’s attention back to the discussion with Barnes.

“Dr. Anderson,” Barnes continued as he stood and walked to the front door, “I suggest you consider getting legal representation for your brother.”

Closing the door behind Barnes, Drew snorted. He refused to bail Thomas out of trouble again. Aware of the waiting patients, Drew ushered Hannah back to his office and closed the door, wondering just how much they overheard.

“What are you going to do?” Hannah asked, her anxiety evident.

“What can I do?” Drew replied, acknowledging his own helplessness in this situation. “He is a grown man and he is not my responsibility any longer.”

“Will you get an attorney as Mr. Barnes suggested?” she asked, her voice full of compassion.

“No,” he answered angrily. Seeing the shock on Hannah’s face, he quickly explained, “At some point Thomas must choose his own way. Well…he already has. He made that clear more than a year ago. There is nothing I can do or say that will change anything.”

Drew ran his fingers through his hair in frustration. His heart broke again as he thought of how disappointed his father would be. Perhaps his father passing on was a good thing. At least he would not witness his youngest son’s destructive behavior.

Sunday morning, Hannah put the finishing touches on the roast and slid it into the oven. Bounding up the stairs she quickly untied the apron from her waist. Standing before the mirror she brushed out her long strawberry blonde hair then twisted it into a chignon at the base of her neck inside the decorative black netted hair piece. She smiled, pleased with her appearance.

“You look lovely,” Drew commented as his pale blue eyes surveyed the light blue calico dress before resting on her eyes. Color flushed her face with the intensity of his appraisal.

“Come here,” he added, pulling her close. “Your eyes look bluer than the sky in that dress.” He brushed lips lightly across hers in a brief kiss.

Releasing her, he asked, “Looking forward to Emily’s visit?”

“I can hardly wait,” Hannah answered giddily.

As Hannah preceded Drew down the stairs, she could not contain her excitement over the planned Sunday dinner guests—Levi and Emily Werner. It had been two months since Hannah had seen Emily. Earlier this week, Levi stopped by the clinic to let Hannah know Emily would be back to church this week, having sufficiently recovered from her morning sickness. Hannah quickly extended an invitation for dinner, missing her best friend dearly.

Emily and Hannah grew up on adjoining farms several miles outside of Cincinnati. Hannah could not remember a time when she and Emily weren’t friends, despite being such opposites in looks and personality. With her dark curls and flashing nutmeg brown eyes, Emily charmed everyone, from the most reserved students to the toughest bullies in their school. As she grew older and began filling out her dress, boys noticed her long before noticing Hannah—not that any had noticed Hannah in school. Walking to and from school together, Hannah often found herself in the role of quiet listener to Emily’s constant chattering about what Amanda Taylor wore that day, or how the pigs on the farm gave birth to a large litter, or who danced with who at the last barn dance. Perhaps if Emily had set her mind on memorizing her lessons at school and not on such things, she would have made higher marks and Hannah would have spent less time trying to help her catch up.

Besides helping Emily with her school work, Hannah found in her a friend with whom she could confide her deepest sorrows, especially following her mother’s death. Even when her father sent her away to live with her aunt, she wrote letters to Emily almost weekly. When Hannah moved back to the farm with her father, years later, she easily picked up her friendship with Emily. Sadly, she was the only constant person in her life.

As Drew pulled the phaeton carriage to a stop down the street from the large whitewashed church building, Hannah scanned the crowd for her tall friend. Spotting her, she threw her arm up for a quick wave after Drew helped her to the ground. Emily turned without acknowledging Hannah and entered through the large dark wood doors. Perhaps she just didn’t see me.

Placing her hand in the crook of Drew’s arm, Hannah smiled, confident nothing could ruin her good mood in anticipation of a wonderful afternoon.

Once inside the church, Hannah watched as Emily and Levi took their seats in their normal pew. Drew led Hannah to the same pew. As soon as Drew and Hannah sat, she leaned forward to greet Emily, who immediately, without word, stood and followed her husband out of the pew.

“Emily, wait—”

“We’ll talk later,” Emily hissed, glancing back over her shoulder with a frown.

When Levi and Emily took a seat on the other side of the sanctuary, Hannah couldn’t help but feel hurt by her friend’s angry response. Had she unknowingly done something to offend Emily?

Feeling Drew’s body stiffen, Hannah peeked his direction. The couple on the other side of Drew stood and moved elsewhere. Soon, the pew in front of them emptied, as long time friends scattered to the edges of the room like marbles spilled on the floor.

Looking up at Drew she saw the stoic expression etched on his face.

“What’s going on?” she whispered, still trying to determine in what way she or Drew might have offended so many people.

Drew shook his head curtly.

When the music started, she shifted her gaze to the words in the hymnal, not needing to read them, but needing to hide her growing sadness over the rejection of her friends. Her voice sounded forced as she tried to sing praises to her God. Inside, she felt anything but gratitude.

Hannah shifted in her seat as the service dragged on. Her attention waned, not really hearing the words of the pastor.

As the last strains of the final hymn echoed in the wooden room, the pastor stood and gave a blessing. The sound of booted feet heightened as the crowd exited the church. Not waiting for Drew, Hannah hurried to catch up with Emily outside.

“Emily, we’ve been sitting together for years. Why did you move this morning?” Hannah asked as her friend tried to dodge her for a second time. “Aren’t you coming to dinner?”

“No, we are not,” Emily replied emphasizing each word, not looking Hannah in the eye.

“Are you not feeling well?”

“I am feeling fine,” Emily said, glaring at Drew as he came to stand next to his wife.

Hannah held her breath, hoping Emily might elaborate on her strange behavior.

“If you’ll excuse us,” Emily snapped as Levi started leading her around Hannah again.

Confused and hurt by Emily’s behavior, she reached out, placing her hand on Emily’s arm. “Please tell me, what have I done that offends you?”

Emily’s dark eyes flashed with anger as she turned to face Hannah. Brushing Hannah’s hand from her arm, she said, “It was our money, Hannah. We sacrificed and saved for years for that money. Levi took on that second shift at the meat factory so we would have enough for a home of our own to get out of that horrible squalor.”

“I don’t understand—”

“No, you don’t understand. And neither did Thomas. He just thought he could walk right into that bank and take what we worked so hard for,” Emily wagged her finger in Hannah’s face, causing Hannah to involuntarily take a step backwards. “And him, a worthless, gambling scoundrel! Never worked an honest day’s labor in his life. But, he thought he could just take what wasn’t his.”

“I understand your anger with Thomas, but—”

Levi, who stood with arms folded across his barrel chest, finally spoke, directing his comments to Drew, “A doctor is nothing without his reputation and yours is tainted by your brother’s wild ways. Tell me, Drew, did he try to hide out at your clinic when his plan failed?” Anger shrouded his words.

Drew dropped his arms to his side, stepping closer to Levi. “How could you think such a thing?”

Hannah bit her lower lip, hoping Drew and Levi would not come to blows. She was certain Drew would not win against the much larger man.

“Everyone knows you’ve been bailing him out of trouble for years. Well, this time the people of this city are not going to stand for it,” Levi responded through clenched teeth.

By now, several other couples gathered around listening to the heated conversation. Friends, who greeted her with a hug and warm smile last week, looked on with hatred carved on their faces. Tears threatened at the corners of Hannah’s eyes as the pain of betrayal heightened.

“There is nothing to get upset about,” Drew pleaded, looking around the crowd. “I have not seen Thomas in over a year.”

“That’s not what Mrs. Pierce said!” one woman from the crowd shouted. “She said she saw a man who looked like your brother going into the clinic late that night.”

Hannah frowned, balling her fist at her side. How can they believe that busybody over my husband?

“If anyone did enter the clinic that night,” Drew’s voice boomed, “it was without an invitation.”

“So you don’t deny what Mrs. Pierce said?” Levi pulled Drew’s attention his way.

Running his hand through his short sandy hair, Drew said, “I’m saying that it is possible someone could have entered uninvited without our knowledge.”

Emily raised her voice above the growing murmurs, “It doesn’t matter to me if Thomas entered your house with your blessing or not. I for one,” she said, resting her hand on her protruding belly, “will not be birthing my child at your clinic or with your assistance.”

Hannah’s tears streamed down her heated face as Emily’s words pierced her heart. How could Emily say such a thing? She talked for months about how wonderful it would be to have her best friend by her side as she labored to bring her first child into this world. Now, the friend who stood by her in a school yard full of bullies was acting the part of instigator. Did their friendship mean so little?

“And I won’t be stopping at your clinic for Franklin’s medications!” another older married woman shouted.

“When my niece has her child, I’m telling her to go to Doc Henderson!” A typically quiet man shouted.

As others added in vehement voices their promise to no longer visit Drew’s clinic, Hannah watched his face harden. Closing his eyes, he bowed his head.

Don’t give up, Drew! Her heart shouted.

When he lifted his head again, he held out his elbow for Hannah wordlessly. With a firm nod to her, she read the silent message: it was time to go. In the midst of angry murmurs circling about them, Hannah followed her husband to their carriage. As he took the seat next to her, his eyes faced forward. His jaw set in a hard line. His shoulders slumped in defeat.

An Amish Wedding…..by Beth Wiseman, Kelly Long and Kathleen Fuller

An Amish Wedding

Beth Wiseman, Kelly Long and Kathleen Fuller


About this book

Priscilla’s upcoming wedding is stirring up troubleand romancein Paradise.

A meticulous planner, Priscilla King has dreamed of marrying Chester Lapp since she was sixteen years old. Thanks to her sister Naomi’s matchmaking skills, Chester courts Priscilla and on her nineteenth birthday, he proposes. Priscilla puts her wedding plans into action.

While happy about her own wedding, Priscilla wishes Naomi would find her own perfect match. When Chester’s cousin Zeke shows up, Naomi’s life gets complicated.

More problems arise as the big day approaches, including the strange behavior of Priscilla’s best friend Rose, whose own fiancé is hiding something from her—something she’ll do anything to uncover.

Is God sending a message to call off the wedding? What is certain is that the hearts of these three women will be forever altered by this Amish Wedding.

Three possible brides. Three separate tales that tell one bigger story. From three best-selling Amish fiction authors.


My Thoughts

This Amish book is really three stories in one book. They are: “A Perfect Plan” by Beth Wiseman; “The Perfect Match” by Kathleen Fuller and “The Perfect Secret” By Kelly Long. In these stories the reader enjoys the lives of three couples and the ups and downs of their lives and their marriages. I enjoyed meeting and getting to know the characters created by the authors, and the roles they played in their own story.

The important part of each story was the scripture used and the encouragement to the couples that God was with them during their trying times, and the importance of the couples to let God lead them in what to do.

I enjoy reading Amish books very much, and this one was just as enjoyable. The short stories was a nice change from the full books I have been reading. I read each one in less than a day….which I enjoyed as well.

I highly recommend this book, so purchase a copy of this book to read.

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. All opinions expressed are my own, and I was not required or expected to write a positive review.

Purchase at AMAZON

December 1941 by Craig Shirley

December 1941   by Craig Shirley

  • Hardcover: 656 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (December 6, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595554572
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595554574
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.4 x 2.2 inches

What the Publisher says about this book

December 1941

31 Days that Changed America and Saved the World
Jacketed Hardcover
By Craig Shirley

December 1941 traces, day-by-day, the most important 31 days in the history of America’s participation in WWII, which snuffed out the lives of millions and changed history forever.    

From December 1, 1941, until the morning of December 7, 1941, America was at peace and—with the exception of the stubborn and persistent high unemployment of the Great Depression—was a relatively happy country. By the afternoon of the December 7 attack on Pearl Harbor, America was a radically changed country, forever. Its isolationist impulses evaporated, and both major political parties became more or less internationalist. The month also introduced food and gas rationing, Victory Gardens, scrap drives, a military draft, and the conversion of Detroit into an “arsenal of democracy.” From the moment of America’s entry into World War II, people of all kinds, but mostly women looking for work, flooded into the city. Instant apartment buildings sprang up, as did eating and drinking salons, all to the advantage of the massive increase in spending generated by the federal government.


My Thoughts

December 1941 retells the story leading up to and during World War II. I really like that the book devotes a chapter to each day and tells what happened on the particular day. Craig Shirley uses his research, mostly from news reports from many newspapers for correct information to write this wonderful book. Through Shirley’s finding and writing, the reader will get a feeling of the US and devastation of the things happening during that time. I found it a fascinating book to read with a lot of really great pictures of the war.

I chose this book as a give to my husband for Christmas because his dad was in World War II, he was there the day Pearl Harbor was attacked. And to add to that, December 9th is was his dad’s birthday. It is always interesting for our family to read about WWII and the attack on Pearl Harbor because he was there. Though it was not happy memories for him, and he wouldn’t talk about it much. I guess it was just too upsetting to go through those memories again.

If you are a history buff, you will love this book so grab a copy to read and enjoy for yourself.

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. All opinions expressed are my own, and I was not required or expected to write a positive review.

Purchase a copy at AMAZON

FIRST WildCard Tour M.C.Pearson’s FAIRIES..Baptism By Fire

FIRST WildCard Tour M.C.Pearson’s FAIRIES..Baptism By Fire

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author & illustrator is:
M. C. Pearson

and the book:

F.A.I.R.I.E.S.: Baptism by Fire

FIRST Wild Card Press (December 5, 2011)

***Special thanks to M. C. Pearson of FIRST Wild Card Press for sending me a review copy.***


M. C. Pearson graduated from San Jose State University with a B. A. in art, served as a multi-media illustrator in the United States Army, earning the rank of sergeant, and spent four years as a house parent for at-risk youth. Now married over 20 years, she homeschools her two children, volunteers with her church youth group, and runs a book review blog alliance (FIRST Wild Card Tours) while writing and drawing. F.A.I.R.I.E.S.: Baptism by Fire is her first novel.

Visit the author’s website.


Unwittingly chosen to join an army of fairies, who fight for the Light of the One, a teenaged girl learns about spiritual warfare as she attends a military academy with fantastical beings.


Here lies a most precious treasure,
Awaiting one Chosen to deliver.
Seek out the red cousins in the East,
For on this your greed mustn’t feast.
The wealth of a species now in your hands,
Do with it as the light demands.
Give them your gift to unite,
For it is the darkness we all must fight.


“Imagination runs wild in F.A.I.R.I.E.S. Pearson brings young readers through a looking glass and into a world bursting with adventure, heroism, and fascinating creatures. Readers will be inspired to be true to the One and left with anticipation of more to come.”
–Jill Williamson, award-winning author of
By Darkness Hid, and other books
“Sprinkled with delightful illustrations, and brimming with a full bestiary of magical creatures, F.A.I.R.I.E.S. is a fun, clever romp through the alternate landscape of the most magical world of all, our own. Read, and take up the call: ‘Defend and Emancipate!'”
— D. Barkley Briggs, author of
The Book of Names, and other books
F.A.I.R.I.E.S. will appeal to readers who love the interplay of fantasy and reality. A rich cast of eccentric characters and exotic settings make this a fun addition to the folklore of the battle between good and evil.”
–Mike Hamel, author of
F.A.I.R.I.E.S. is one of those rare gems I want to tell everyone about. It’s highly imaginative, packed with adventure, and full of hope. A must read for kids and for kids at heart. Even better than Narnia! I was thinking about Pearson’s wonderfully memorable characters for days.”
–C.J. Darlington, author of
Thicker than Blood
“Ms. Pearson’s extravagant and imaginative F.A.I.R.I.E. kingdom will surely delight the young and the young-at-heart in this tale of good and evil, light vs. darkness. The fantasy-loving reader will not be disappointed!”
–Linore Rose Burkard, award winning author of
Before the Season Ends, and other books

Product Details:

List Price: $17.99
Paperback: 482 pages
Publisher: FIRST Wild Card Press (December 5, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0615530222
ISBN-13: 978-0615530222


Four thousand seasons shall pass while our swords grow rusty.

Where once one chose to divide, another shall be chosen to unite.

One changed the past, the other shall change the future.

One must emancipate the other to allow the light its dominion.

The realm, now torn, allows the shadow to abide, as humanity lies blind to its peril.

The bond of friendship must endure, for the army of shadows awaits another tear.

Dust off your swords.

Unite the realm.

Destroy the strongholds.
Foretelling of Didasko Gnome Digdeep




Off and Running

t was an accident!” Mellie yelled, not caring who heard or stared. Tears streaked her face as she fled down the Santa Cruz coastline, away from her family.

You don’t need them, a voice hissed in her ear, Escape. Run away.

Scorching sand burned at her feet and bitterness ate at her heart. Mellie pumped her legs as fast as they would go. Her feet pounded with the rhythm of her emotions, beating a tempo with the crashing waves. Run-a-way. Run-a-way. Run-a-way. Adrenaline pulsed through her veins, quickening her step.

Why did I have to be the youngest? Only 12 years old. Never smart enough. Never athletic enough. I just wish they loved me.

Once, just once, she wanted to do something that would make her sisters see that she wasn’t the stupid, awkward, ugly, little baby sister.

As she ran, she wiped away some tears with the palm of her hand. Her fingers settled on her large nose, a gift from her dad’s Hungarian ancestry.

Chelsea got the ski-slope shaped nose. I had to get Half-Dome. It just isn’t fair.

Her hand dropped to her side and she pinched at her stomach. It still had some of its baby fat.

Ugh, why are my sisters so perfect? What happened to me?

Pushing her short bangs from her forehead in disgust, she mumbled, “Maybe I’ll find treasure. I’ll be the rich one, and then they’ll have to accept me.” But she knew better. California didn’t hold any more undiscovered treasures.

The sand, hot and coarse, cut at her feet. I wish I had remembered my shoes. She wore only a black, one-piece swimsuit and a San Jose Sharks sweatshirt tied tightly around her waist.

Breathing rapidly, she began to tire. She slowed her pace to a walk and looked back across the beach. The sand was so hot that waves of heat rose from it and blurred her view. A lone seagull screeched overhead.

Her sisters were nowhere in sight.

Man, I thought for sure that Chelsea was going to chase me down and kill me.

She had to admit that it was a little gratifying to see the sand fly from her foot, covering Chelsea’s sub-sandwich and freshly oiled stomach. Grinning slightly, the tears stopped flowing. She rubbed her eyes.

Mellie looked in the direction of her sisters. “You guys can never take a joke.” Flipping her golden hair, she turned her head back toward her chosen path. She no longer smiled as she stomped her feet in the cold surf, remembering the hateful words that had been said.

“Oh, waa waa, you stupid cry baby! Go tell mommy! Maybe she’ll feel sorry for her ugly, fat baby. Why don’t you grow up? We don’t want you near us. Can’t you understand English? You are so dumb. Look at her mouth open. Oh wait, here she goes…come on, baby…cry!”

Mellie knew she couldn’t go back. They would only ridicule and torment her further. Her mom would never believe it was Chelsea’s fault. No, the evidence was on Chelsea’s side. Who was the one with the sand all over her oily, coconut-smelling body? Who was the one who had a sandwich full of sand? Mellie walked on.

After her temper finally cooled, it occurred to her that she had never walked so far alone.

How far have I gone?

A shadow passed over her, and she looked up. Nothing was there. A cool breeze from the ocean created a stark contrast to the scalding sand. She shivered but kept walking, lost in her loneliness.

Not until she stubbed her toe on a large broken clamshell did she look at the beach. A chill snaked up her back. Nothing appeared familiar. The sounds of the surf were still there, yet something was decidedly different. She felt dizzy. Looking around, she could not quite pinpoint the change. Then it struck her.

No people.

Where did everybody go?

Even though she could see no one, Mellie could swear that she felt eyes staring at her.

She looked inland across the sand, saw movement near some eucalyptus trees, but decided that the wind must have caused it.

Trees? So close to the beach?

Something shook the trees again, causing goosebumps to stand out on Mellie’s arms. Alarmed, she checked the skyline. The sun was close to setting. She hoped that the police weren’t out looking for her.

Suddenly cold, she pulled at the arms of the sweatshirt still tied around her waist. It fell to the sand. Bending to pick it up, she once again saw a blur of movement, except this time it came from a rocky outcrop by the waves. She shook the sand out of the sweatshirt and hurriedly tugged it over her head.

“Okay, I’m seeing things.” Mellie yanked at her hair, pulling it out of the sweatshirt. She stared at the sinister rocks. “Hel-lo?” Her voice cracked as she spoke louder. “Is someone the-ere? Hello?” No answer. The shadowy rocks seemed to quiver with excitement, beckoning her closer.

Hmm…probably just a seagull.

Even if it was a bird, she did not want to see it.

There’s no way I’m going over there.

The wind picked up and blew her hair into her eyes. The sand spun with the wind.

Yes, definitely time to move. I need to find a road.

She turned back toward the sweet smelling, oddly placed trees.

Mellie arrived at the base of the first, colossal eucalyptus tree. Without warning, one of the branches fell in front of her, then seemed to get up from the ground and pose its bottom stems in a military-like stance.

Mellie screamed and jumped back. “Branches don’t stand.”

“They do if they are walking sticks.” The eucalyptus branch chuckled, stretching to its full height, considerably taller than Mellie’s meager five feet.
She gasped, grabbed the branch, and threw it like a javelin, as hard as she could.

As she took off running, she heard a bark and halted. Turning, she saw a golden retriever bounding toward her with the stick in his mouth. The dog dropped it at her feet. She watched the dog run into the grove of trees and disappear before she fearfully turned back to the possessed stick.

It had already gained its footing again and stood over her. Mellie was too frightened to move this time.

A face emerged from the skinny twig and took on the characteristics of a male human, but none like Mellie had ever seen. He had hair made up in rolls as if it were a powdered, green-silver wig, the same color as the leaves that grew all around his skinny body. His face was long and his forehead high. The twiggy man smiled and said in a distinctly British, albeit breezy, accent, “Do not worry, you are safe.”

Mellie couldn’t answer.

“Ahh…I love new recruits. They are so easily addled.”

Feeling more confused than threatened, Mellie found her voice. “What? What do you mean, new recruits?” She rubbed her eyes, shaking her head. “Okay, I’m talking to a stick now. Yes, I have lost it. I have gone totally mental.”

“Oh, I say, am I to understand that I am the first to be revealed to you?” With round, leathery leaves, the branch resembled a toddler toy with rings stacked on one another.

She dropped open her mouth and nodded.

“Well, let me do this properly, then. Ahem. Mortal, made of clay, you have been Chosen to join the Fantastical, Aerial, International, Reasonably Inconspicuous, Emancipation Squads.”

“What? What are you? You look like a stick…but you can talk.”

“Yes, child,” the stick replied with a sigh. “But, I think we are quite past that by now. Have you not heard me? You have been Chosen.”

Mellie opened her mouth wider, closed it, frowned, and opened it once more. “Chosen? For what?”

“You did wish to be different? To change who you were? ’Twas an especially strong desire, yes?” The branch crossed its arms and tapped its twiggy foot.


“Dear me, this is highly unusual. You made a choice to run away from a miserable life and asked to be set free? Correct?”

“Well, I, ah…yeah. I guess so. What did you say about recruit for some squad?”

“Humph. I see that I was not understood. Yes? Let me elucidate. The Fantastical, Aerial, International, Reasonably Inconspicuous, Emancipation Squads , or shall I say F.A.I.R.I.E.S.? have accepted you into their organization. You asked. You were answered.” The branch attempted a smile, but looked impatient instead.

“Fairies? I don’t believe in fairies.” Mellie winced, half expecting him to fall down and writhe in pain until she clapped her hands.

“Quite right. You are not supposed to. If humans truly believed we existed, we would never get anything accomplished.”

Mellie laughed and looked around for a hidden camera, thinking this must be a joke. “Right. Ah…heh…okay, bud, brilliant costume,” she said, imitating the branch’s accent. “Where’s the zipper?” She reached toward him and touched a soft leaf.

The branch slapped her hand away and stamped its foot with a loud cracking noise. “I beg your pardon. I have not been a bud for over 800 springs!” He paced, his leaves crumpling, mumbling to himself about humans and why, in the One’s name, did he listen to that confounded gnome who told him that he needed to stand gate duty. With his rank!

“I’m sorry I upset you. Please, I’m very confused. I’m lost, and I just want to go home.” Mellie bit her lip.

The branch stopped mid-pace. “Home? Earlier, did you not wish for a new life? And riches? I know you wished for treasure, hmm?”

“How do you know that?” Mellie furrowed her brow. “Have you been reading my mind?”

The twig man didn’t answer her questions, asking his own instead. “Ahh, so, you admit this, yes?”

She narrowed her eyes. “Yes, but…well, this really isn’t what I had in mind.”

The branch threw up its twiggy fingers. “Oh, well, of course you did not have this in mind. After all, we are reasonably inconspicuous, especially to humans. How could you have this in mind? However, is it not superior of the One to think that this is what you would have chosen had you known about us? Anyway, ’tis irrevocable now. So, if you would just follow me, we shall get you signed in and enrolled for training.”

The branch marched off between the trunks of two large eucalyptus trees.

Mellie slid uncontrollably after the walking stick. She planted her feet firmly, refusing to budge, but she slid after him anyway. Grasping at branches of nearby trees, she panted heavily as she struggled to resist following the branch. Some kind of invisible tie connected her to him. He seemed to pull her along with his every step.

Mellie thought about her sisters and how mad they were at her. I’m dead meat if they find me. Mellie quickly gave up her battle and ran after the eucalyptus branch, barely keeping up with his stride.


The sand changed to coarse dirt, with pebbles and sticks. More and more trees filled Mellie’s vision. Bushes scraped against her bare legs and slapped her face as she moved deeper inside a forest of eucalyptus and redwood trees. She winced in pain as a razor-sharp rock sliced her foot. Stopping to nurse it, she wished once again for her forgotten shoes.

“Excuse me, sir?” Mellie looked around. She could not see the branch anywhere.

“Do not call me ‘sir’, I work for a living.” The branch peeked out from around one of the gigantic trees. “And please, try to keep up. We need to reach the gateway.”

Mellie limped up to him. “Sorry, sir…I mean…umm, what should I call you then?”

“Oh, well, we did skip that. Did we not? Yes, all right, an introduction then.” The branch man seemed to enjoy formal etiquette for he gave an elaborate wave and bowed. “My name is Regnans, family of Myrtaceae, born member of the F.A.I.R.I.E.S., Britannia Wing, rank of Master Nymph Dryad.”

“Nice to meet you, Reg…Reg?” Mellie chewed on the inside of her mouth. Never good at remembering names, she knew she would offend him with her lack of manners.

Sure enough, the dryad raised an eyebrow and pursed his lips. “Regnans.” He gave a hurt sniff, then drolly sneered. “If you find that a difficult name, you should meet the rest of my family, all seven-hundred thirty-four of them.”

“Sorry, I just…well, it is a lot to remember. It’s a nice name, though. My name is Maryellen Goodwin of Bret Harte Middle School, San Jose, California. But everyone calls me Mellie.” She stuck out her hand, intending to shake. Regnans stared at her.

“That is a strange curtsy. However, I guess ’twill do. We must get moving now. The shadows abound, you know.” Regnans made an about face and marched off faster than before.

Another hour passed, and still they strode along the forest floor. Mellie’s feet were now cut, blistered, and bleeding. She kept up as best she could with Regnans’s long stride. Whenever she tried to stop, he would pull her on with that invisible force of his.

Stupid, pompous, magical Star Wars freak.

She whimpered as she limped. Darkness and mist now covered the woods. As she was about to plead for a break, Regnans stopped. Except for her heavy gulps of air, all seemed quiet.

Regnans stiffened even more than usual. Nothing on him moved, apart from his eyes, which darted around quickly.

“All is safe, we may proceed.” He held up a twiggy finger to his woody mouth. “Please do not speak, and try not to breathe so abominably loud.”

Mellie nodded with a disgusted frown. Sweat dripped from her bangs. She tried to calm her breathing, even though her vision blurred, and her legs wobbled. Her blisters had popped by now and oozed wetness.

Regnans moved again, yet this time he took slow, deliberate steps, all the while scanning his surroundings. He walked up to a massive redwood tree and stroked its bark.

A breeze stirred up, rattling the leaves, sounding almost like spoken words. Mellie thought herself crazy again. However, the longer she stood there, the more she sensed that it really was the tree’s language, as if she had never listened to trees properly before. It said, “If you love, you will say the one true love that leads the way.”

Regnans whispered in a leaf rustling voice, “Ah-gaw-pay.”

A loud grumbling sound, as if someone awakened after a long sleep, shook the grove. The redwood tree opened two eyes, each the size of Mellie’s head, and blinked. A great fissure erupted below the eyes in the shape of a crescent, and redish-brown wooden teeth emerged. A long, knobby branch pushed its way out above the mouth and inhaled deeply.

The tree chuckled. Instead of the whispering leaves, a low, rumbling utterance of human speech came from the redwood tree. “Regnans? What brings you to my neck of the woods?” He blinked again. “And who is this? A new recruit? A human? A Chosen?”

Mellie knew she looked silly, standing there with her mouth in an ‘O’ shape, but she couldn’t move. This was simply impossible. There is no such thing as fairies!

“Yes, yes. Please open the gate, we must not dawdle here…they may be watching.” Regnans looked agitated.

A deep laugh resounded from the redwood. “Oh, Regnans. There are none who watch here.”

Regnans mumbled something about hamadryads and their pride, then proclaimed in a slightly louder voice to the tree, “We must be sober, be vigilant, because the shadow walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom it may devour.”

The hamadryad looked chagrined. “You speak true, dryad. Forgive me for acting like an arrogant seedling.” He glanced at Mellie, and with a lowered voice asked, “And what is your name, little human?”

Mellie managed to squeak out, “Mellie Goodwin.”

“Ah, ’tis always nice to have a Good Wind.” The hamadryad laughed heartily.

“Sorry to interrupt this lovely tete-a-tete,” Regnans said, “but would you please open the gate? I left Westside completely unguarded.”

An annoyed creak came from the base of the redwood, followed by a sigh. “Yes, Regnans. Agape you said, and agape it is. Go with the light, my friends.” The large, joyous eyes closed, and the hamadryad whispered in his leaf rustling voice, “Until we meet again, Good Wind.” His face disappeared, and his roots lifted and pulled apart, exposing a tunnel within his trunk.

Regnans grabbed Mellie’s hand with his rough, wooden one, and pulled her inside the opening. The tree closed itself abruptly and left them in total darkness.

Regnans cleared his throat and said, “Let there be light.”

A burst of dazzling brightness sparkled from the tunnel’s wall. Mellie glanced around and noticed a long, winding stairwell leading down into the ground.

“Shall we, then?” Not waiting for a reply, Regnans started down the steps.

Available at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com.

My Thoughts

Though this is not a genre I read, I did enjoy Mellie’s journey thoughout this book. The author Ms. Pearson has an awesome and unique imagination creating a cast of characters that will feel your heart with love for them as you read this book. And while reading, you will see the wonderful artist the author is as well, with lots and lots of unique graphics and images she has created herself and included within the pages of this book.

Saying this is not a genre I read, doesn’t mean this is not a good book, because it is, especially for the younger generation. They love fantasy books, and one such as this one is great for your teen because they will see the Christ of the Bible written in this story. So add this to your child’s Christmas and give them something fantastic, unique, and just an all around good book for them to read.

I want to thank the author for giving me a copy of this book to read and review. The opinions in this review are mine only. I was not expected to write a positive review.


Slouching Towards Bellingham

Slouching Towards Bellingham

Join Anneke Campbell, author of the women’s fiction, Slouching Towards Bellingham (BooksbNimble), as she virtually tours the blogosphere December 5 – 16 2011 on her first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book!

About Anneke Campbell

Anneke CampbellAnneke Campbell has worked as a midwife, nurse, masseuse, prenatal yoga teacher, college teacher of English, and writer in a number of genres. She has won awards for poetry, for one piece of journalism and one television script. She writes and co-produces videos for environmental and social justice organizations, and co-wrote a manual for activists, “Be The Change: How To Get What You Want in Your Community.” In 2010 she edited an anthology on women’s leadership: “Moonrise: The Power of Women Leading from the Heart.” She is currently a doctoral student at the California Institute for Integral Studies. An earlier version of her novel Slouching Towards Bellingham appeared in print in 2004, under the title Mary of Bellingham.

You can visit her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/annekecampbell and facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Slouching-Towards-Bellingham/183127415036037.


About Slouching Towards Bellingham

Slouching Toward BellinghamWhen a pregnant girl named Mary waddles into Bellingham, Indiana, she also wanders right into the hearts of its townspeople. Not to mention their imaginations: Because Mary’s a virgin!

Joe the postman is the first to spot her, struggling bedraggled and dirty down the road into town. He introduces her to Violet, the waitress at his favorite diner, who has her own reasons to be kind. Next thing you know their friend Dr. Bob’s examined her and proclaimed her a virgin.

And then the whole world wants a piece of her.

News stories are written; websites built; roving gangs of paparazzi set in motion.  Throughout it all, Mary maintains sacred silence.  Juggling a townful of characters, each with his or her own agenda, not a single one selfless or blameless, Campbell makes Bellingham come alive as she shows how each is changed by the apparent miracle.

This good-natured tale about an extraordinary event in an ordinary town pulls off the rare trick of being satirical, funny, and very, very real without ever sinking into the cynical. A great gift for anyone who reads—especially if they’re a mom.

Book Excerpt

Chapter 1: THE BOOK OF JOE What was that up ahead, slouching towards Bellingham, shaped roughly like a blue egg on matchsticks? Joe Dupree pushed his glasses up on his nose, shifted the mailbag onto his other shoulder, and picked up his pace. His right hip socket talked back at him louder than usual, which was to be expected in this weather, in the damp and threat of more snow. Could the egg be causing the footprints he’d been following, foot long and humanoid, as if from a creature dropped by a flying saucer, or, judging by the wheel tracks, let out of a truck on old Route 37?
Joe turned and walked up the first driveway of the Sycamore Hills Subdivision. He rang the bell and while he waited for a response, peered back over his shoulder, but his vision blurred the blue, and there flashed in his mind’s eye the prescription for new bifocals sitting on the mantel at home three months already. Because of his slow ways, here he couldn’t tell what he was seeing between the bare trees and bungalows. Something was up, this he knew from his internal weather, from an edge of alertness not caused by a thermos full of java.
Not that Joe was a superstitious man. He would be the first to tell you, his were sore but realistic bones. At work this morning, when the office manager recited the newest evidence of government cover-ups, with others throwing in their conspiracy theories, Joe said nothing. People believed what they wanted to believe, and all the talk could not assuage the underlying fear of more lay-offs and wage cuts, of a collapsing economy, of terrorism or natural disasters heading their way. It must be reassuring to believe that some devious persons were in control. A few of the other carriers could stick around for hours, deriving comfort from mouthing off, but he preferred to be out here under the open expanse of grey, with the quiet broken only by the rush of cars and barking of dogs.


My Thoughts on this book

This is an intriguing story about a homeless girl named Mary who is pregnant, and ended up in a small community with a cast of characters to help her on her journey being pregnant and having her baby. The story is based on the virgin birth of Our Lord at the time we celebrate as Christmas.

I really have mixed feelings about this book. It is a good fiction to read, and an intriguing story. But at the same time it is based on the most important time in the history of mankind, That of Jesus’ birth. Where I enjoy a modern story of the telling of Jesus’ birth, this is just not one of those stories. First of all, the book is full of foul language, which was offensive to be because I don’t believe there was that attitude at the time Christ was born. And with Jo being Mary’s husband, well that didn’t fit the Joseph in the Bible that married the mother of Jesus.

I am sorry, it was just all just offensive to me because I was expecting a nice good Bible based story of the account of the birth of Jesus, and this is just not it. And since I promised to give a positive review of this book, I had to say this. This is just not a Christian fiction.

This book was provided by PUYB blog tours. I was not expected to give a positive review, only an honest one. The opinions in this review are mine only.





Revell Tour….The Names of God Bible

Welcome to Revell Publisher’s Tour

The Names of God Bible

Price: $34.99
ISBN: 978-0-8007-1931-9
ISBN-10: 0-8007-1931-X
Dimensions: 5.375 x 8.25
Number of pages: 1,760
Carton Quantity: 12
Publication Date: Sep. 11
Formats: Hardcover

About The Names of God Bible

Open the door to a more intimate relationship with God

  • Discover the Hebrew names of God within the biblical text
  • Encounter God through prayers, promises, and devotional readings
  • Experience God’s character more deeply by studying his names

One of the best ways to get to know God on a deeper level is to know his names and titles as revealed in Scripture. Now the bestselling author of Praying the Names of God and Praying the Names of Jesus uncovers the richness of God’s character and love found in his names right within the Bible text.

The Names of God Bible restores more than 10,000 occurrences of specific names of God–like Yahweh, El Shadday, El Elyon, and Adonay–to help readers connect with the Hebrew roots of their Christian faith and experience a deeper understanding of God’s character. Perfect for personal study, prayer, and reflection, The Names of God Bible includes these special features:

More than 10,000 names and titles of God restored to their Hebrew equivalent and printed in brown ink to stand out within the biblical text

Names of God reading paths lead readers to the next reference of the name so they can pray and study the names of God throughout Scripture

Name Pages feature

  • background information associated with the most important names and titles of God
  • key Scripture passages in which the name is revealed
  • devotional readings for each of the featured names
  • specific Bible promises connected to each of the featured names

Calling God by Name sidebars shed light on the relationship between biblical people and the specific names they called God.

My Thoughts on The Names of God Bible

I tend to collect Bibles, different translations and different study bibles. And I am very happy to add The Names of God Bible to my collection. Often when I hear a different name for God, I wonder just what the full meaning of the name is, especially some of the names we don’t use so often. This Bible has a lot of information and features that help teach us about these names.

Some of the wonderful features in this Bible to help are reading paths-that give references with that particular name with scripture references; an alphabetical listing of the names and a list of Hebrew and Aramaic names; it has a topical prayer guide for these names; a table of the names of God; also you will find an introduction to each of the books of the Bible which include the key names of God in that book. And one thing I really need that this book has is a pronunciation guide to help you pronounce all of these names. I know no Hebrew at all, so this is a feature that is special to me.

One feature I really like it the short devotional this Bible has of each of the Names of God they have listed here. These devotionals are most interesting to read because they have a lot of special information about the names.  Also as you read the Old Testament scripture that have these names, this Bible uses the Hebrew names of God, which is sometime confusing because you have to switch back to see which name it is. Unless however you memorize the names before you read the scripture.

I highly recommend this Bible as an addition to your Bible Study tools. You can’t go wrong with owning it. This special Bible will just be one more awesome study tool you can use as you study God’s word. I plan to keep mine just for this reason.

I received this book from the publisher Revell to read and review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 55



What People Are Saying about GOD’S WORD Translation

“An easy-to-understand Bible. . . . It is a wonderful version.”–Rev. Billy Graham

“A remarkably fresh, accurate, and readable translation that communicates well the original text for modern readers. An outstanding achievement.”–Dr. David Dockery

“The Bible is the means God has chosen to reach out in human language, reveal the essence of his relational heart, and relate the Good News of his redemptive plan. GOD’S WORD Translation presents that message in a way that makes sense to readers of all ages.”–Josh McDowell

“Even if the rather prolific output of modern translations, paraphrases, and versions of Scripture should increase, this particular linguistic achievement, GOD’S WORD, will rank among the top contenders with the Bible-reading public.”–Dr. D. James Kennedy

GOD’S WORD is very possibly the most accurate English translation of the original text available today. A must-read for twenty-first century Christians.”–Dr. Larry Richards


About Anne Spangler….General Editor of this Bible

Ann Spangler is an award-winning writer whose fascination with the Bible has resulted in books that have opened the Bible to a wide range of readers. She is the author or coauthor of several bestselling books, including Praying the Names of God, Praying the Names of Jesus, Women of the Bible, and Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus. Together, her books have sold nearly 3 million copies. She has held senior positions at two Christian publishing houses and lives with her two daughters in Michigan.

FIRST WildCard Tour….Light Under the House by: Aaron L and Donna Dawson

FIRST WildCard Tour….Light Under the House  by: Aaron L and Donna Dawson

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:
Aaron L
Donna Dawson

and the book:

Light Under the House

Ravensbrook Press (October 8, 2011)

***Special thanks to Aaron L for sending me a review copy.***


Aaron might be a newcomer to the creation of fiction but is not one when it comes to the arts and all things creative. Growing up in places from Seattle to South Africa, he spent a lot of his time drawing. Aaron always knew that his future lay in a creative field. In 2010, he graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in graphic design. Although the usual application of this degree is in the creation of different types of art and design, Aaron chose instead to focus his creative skills on the task of storytelling. He lives near Chicago, Illinois.

Visit the author’s website.

As a suspense writer, Donna looks for the intrigue in life and she is able to share it in her role as Creative Writing Instructor for Fanshawe College in London, Ontario. “If you do nothing else you should write.” The words of her Grade 12 high school teacher still ring in Donna’s ears some thirty years later. Not only did she heed her English teacher’s advice but she has made it into a career. With her last novel, Vengeance (Word Alive Press), receiving award winning status in two categories with The Word Guild and her new release, Fires of Fury (Awe-struck e-books), creating a buzz with reviewers, Donna continues to fulfill her teacher’s request. Enjoy as you dive into a new adventure between the pages of this novel.

Visit the author’s website.


The Levi family has a secret lying just beneath their house that could potentially ruin them. Light Under the House by Aaron L. and Donna Dawson, story-telling duo readers are certain to come to love, chronicles the lives of the Levi family for a generation, taking readers on an exciting and thought-provoking journey that is certain to leave them with profound lessons and meaning.

This page-turning story is set in the late 1960s during a period of cultural rebellion, with a flashback to Biblical times, as well as a flash-forward to the 1980s and the present (2005). There is an ancient evil that will stop at nothing to uncover the secret that the Levi family is hiding. The events of this allegoric novel are interwoven within several themes that create cohesion for the story. Messages of courage, forgiveness, faith, the power of consequence, and the hope of redemption are all found within the pages of Light Under the House.

This novel also tells how the hope of redemption can dwell in the hearts of people who are begging God to not let them suffer the consequences of their actions. This begging of forgiveness from a supernatural being is done in hopes of restoring dysfunctional family relationships; throughout the process of attempting to obtain peace and happiness, the Levi family encounters many trials and tribulations.

Light Under the House stands out from other novels of its genre, establishing Aaron L. and Donna Dawson as true masters of their craft. The fusion of a riveting plot with compelling characters and deep thematic elements takes this novel out of the sphere of the ordinary, catapulting it into the sphere of the true literature. The story found within its pages is certain to leave a lasting impression on readers, as it is simply unforgettable.

Product Details:

List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 362 pages
Publisher: Ravensbrook Press (October 8, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0615556035
ISBN-13: 978-0615556031


841 B.C.


Drums pounded their wicked message, bouncing off the rock faces and outcroppings of the Valley of the Son of Hinnom. The valley mourned. Rocks in various shades of gray cast shadows of slightly darker colors of that washed-out hue. The sky hung heavy with the deep slate of thick smoke. The only variation came from the stirring of light on the walls of the ravine that ran south along the west wall of the Old City. As the rock-cut reached its southernmost limits, it veered east along the side of Mount Zion. And as it headed to its destination, the Kidron Valley, it became a most accurate depiction of hell on earth.

A line of figures crept along the edge of the valley like fleas along a cur’s backbone. Many were drawn to the blessings promised by the gods of the place. Yet not all of those following the ridge path were there because of misplaced faith.

Areli smoothed his hand over his bearded face, wiping the sweat from his sun-bronzed skin. Sweat. The only moisture in this God-forsaken land. And God had forsaken it. That was evident by the length of the drought that fed the crops of dust which clung to clothing, hair, and skin. Plant life had long been dead. He sighed. Dead since the Tophet had been kindled. Now it was a refuse dump. A place to burn the corpses of criminals. A place that had returned to its original, wicked purpose. A place of worship to heathen gods.

Areli recalled more prosperous days. A time before Ahab, king of the Israelites, married Jezebel, the Sidonian princess. The new Queen Jezebel had introduced many idolatrous acts the people of Jehovah—including worshipping at the Tophet. Areli had been much younger then, yet he remembered it well.

A skittering of stone interrupted Areli’s thoughts and announced the presence of his fellow rescuers. He turned back and batted his hand at the air, signaling his brother Huri to be quiet. Huri in turn, passed the signal to their friend Kenaniah who shrugged apologetically. Huri had already lost three grandchildren to the Tophet. It had been the goad that had driven the three men to their midnight pursuits. They had managed to rescue Kenaniah’s son and had then gone on to do so for a number of others who still followed Jehovah. Even now, Uriah, the fourth of their group, was on his way to the temple mount with the child from their latest rescue.

The final rays of the piercing Israeli sun caught the gold of Solomon’s temple and turned it to brilliant hues of rust, bronze, and copper. It twinkled just above the oily smoke that was ever present in the valley. Areli frowned. Only an hour of sunlight remained. An hour in which to save his grandson from a fate that no human should be forced to face. Squaring his shoulders, he motioned to his cohorts to move on and the three of them continued their secret journey from one rock shadow to another.

Kenaniah cocked his head up.“The drums have stopped.” The words echoed in the sudden silence. A silence punctuated by the roar of the fire stove and distant weeping. “Another is lost.” Kenaniah’s whispered voice carried urgency, and Jabez nodded. He wiped at a tear of his own and held his finger to his lips. His heart pounded the rhythm abandoned by the drums. They didn’t have much time. The silence and the heat bore down on them, screaming the truth of the scene they were approaching—one more child was dead. Burned to death in the great maw of the Tophet.

Rage seared through Jabez once more as he thought back on his daughter’s foolish decision. Had he not taught her that Jehovah did not look favorably upon the cruelty of child sacrifice? Yet Shani had chosen to disobey him. Disobey her own father! A thing unheard of in Israel in his younger days.

Movement ahead caught his attention and he forced his boiling emotions into submission only to have them flare again. He wiped at his eyes with the back of a dust-caked hand. Shani. He could tell by the way she tipped her head slightly to the side. She was far enough away but he’d know that stance anywhere. So like his beautiful wife, Mahlah. And wasn’t that Mahlah’s shawl that Shani carried her infant son in? Silently he cursed the weakness of youth. His wife’s stark beauty had ensnared him and he realized only too late that she was a follower of the hated gods Moloch and Baal. He had forbidden her to bring the foul idols into his home but she had easily outmaneuvered him. And passed her love of evil onto their daughter.

Jabez increased his speed. He must reach Shani before she passed the entrance to the Tophet area. He would have called out to her but he knew she would ignore him. In her defiant state, she might even speed her gait to escape him. No, he would have to overpower her. It was the only way. And together he and his two companions would take her and the child to his home where the infant would be safe. In the times of earlier kings, she would have been stoned for considering offering her child to Baal. May his name be cursed in all the heavens and earth!

The three men dropped to the path that led to the sacrificial area and tried hard to blend in with the milling masses going to watch the gruesome proceedings. The heat pushed at them as though a living thing. Reaching out to touch them with its cruel fingers. Shani had stepped to the end of a line of women, all holding children of various ages, and Jabez felt the urge to throw up. How could a woman love her child so little? He worked to fix his features. It wouldn’t do to have someone see the rage on his face and try to stop him from interfering.

Only six stood ahead of her. Fire consumed with great speed and appetite. Their pace quickened and they elbowed past those who walked ahead of them. The drums began their chant again, drowning out the screams of the infant that had been placed into the metal idol, covering the wails of the mother who had changed her mind too late.

Jabez watched it all through the flickering light, smoke and waves of heat; he moved faster. The woman reached for the idol as it was lowered into the great pit of flames. Her mouth opened and her face contorted, and then she fainted. Searching back along the line, he caught his daughter’s face. Her deep brown eyes glittered. Was that excitement? Her brown hair was plastered to her face with sweat and the heat blew the ends of the long strands away from her body. Evil was present. Jabez could see it clearly and he shuddered. The drums ceased again and the scuffle of rocks and pebbles shouted their approach.

The crowd had thickened and many shouted to the heavens; they called out the names of various gods as they begged for rain, prosperity, and fertility. Some laughed while others cheered for the mothers willing to give their children to the flames. If only Jabez were a warrior and not a simple farmer.

Movement to his left drew his attention and he stopped, the fear of being caught drawing a new batch of sweat on his brow. Three priests of Baal stood on top a small cluster of boulders away from the main path. The boulders were wet with blood and the men were crisscrossed with gaping wounds. They held ceremonial knives in their hands and with every request, every plea, every shout, they gashed yet another portion of their bodies. For a moment Jabez stood disbelieving. He had heard of the ritual cuttings before but never had they seen the gruesome act.

Huri turned to the side and emptied the contents of his stomach. Four women had come up behind to better view the sacrifice and they stepped out of the way, giving him a strange look. He wiped his mouth on his mantle and nodded apologetically to the women. “It must have been the lamb. It tasted off. My pardon.”

The women tisked in sympathy and daintily bypassed the fouled area. When they were out of earshot, Huri growled his disgust. He was about the say something to his companions, but the drums filled the air with a crushing sound. Three children had yet to depart.

Elbowing their way into the crowd, they cut toward the line of women. A woman stood near the edge of the pit, her crimson gown stained darker red in splotches. The lengthy garment flapped against her body and billowed out behind her as the furnace’s blast maintained a perpetual scorching wind. Her hair swirled about her head in black snaking ropes. If she wasn’t truly a demon, she certainly looked the part. Jabez saw Kenaniah shudder and he nodded as though reading his friend’s mind. A terrifying picture to be sure.

The priestess reached for another idol and held it open for the next blood offering. It was made of heavy bronze and Jabez was amazed at the woman’s ability to hold it while the mother placed her infant into its hollow. He wanted to shout for them to stop. He wanted to grasp the child in his arms—all of the children—and run away. He continued to push against the flow of humanity as he edged closer to his goal. He could see the details of his daughter’s profile. Praise Jehovah that she hadn’t seen them yet. Shani watched the scene at the pit’s edge, her face emotionless. But her eyes had widened. Jabez glared at her as she took in each detail of the idol.

The front was a man, fearless and awesome to behold. On its right was the form of a cat and on its left the form of a toad. The three figures were joined to make a three-sided idol to represent the three entities of Baal. The man-form opened on a hinge at the bottom of the body—large enough for a child—and the priestess braced herself as the mother placed the child into the warm metal. The door was closed and clamped shut. Solemnly, the priestess set the idol down and attached a heavy chain to it. And then the demon woman raised hands to the sky and began to scream incantations and chants in foul languages that could barely be heard over the drums. The hideous metal beast was cranked into the air with the aid of a metal beam and the muscles of a Canaanite slave. Hand over hand, the slave lowered the monster into the pit and the awaiting flames.

Jabez stopped in his tracks. Just when he thought he had seen the worst, these people showed him that they could go even further. The drums ceased again and he was prodded into action. One more baby and then his precious little Yeseph would be next. He could see tufts of black hair peeking out of the shawl and he ached to snatch that small bundle away from the careless arms of its mother. Soon! Very soon! He could almost smell the sweet fragrance of the child’s skin—the warmth of his breath.

The drums. Again. Another hideous monster was fed. Jabez was amazed at how many idols sat behind the priestess waiting for their innocent meal. Another slave stood beyond waiting for the consumed sacrifice to be raised. The Canaanite pulled on the chain, drawing the bronzed creature from the depths. The metal glowed an unearthly hue and the second slave reached forward with a long pole. Snagging the chain, he guided the idol to a huge pot of water. Steam billowed up from the pot as the sacrifice was lowered and the chain unhooked. There would be nothing left inside. The child had been incinerated.

Twenty cubits. It was all the distance that remained. Jabez shoved harder against the crowd as his daughter stepped up to the priestess. Shani had chosen to honor Moloch. A different idol was brought forth. It had the head of a bull, its horns turned up and drawn together to meet the ring that would connect with the chain. He watched in horror as the priestess unhinged the door and his daughter set his beloved Yeseph inside. The drums! The hated drums! He lunged, breaking free of the ring of spectators, and Huri and Kenaniah stumbled into the clearing behind him.

Jabez felt his mouth move. He sensed the knotting of his vocal chords as he screamed his grandson’s name. Charging across the clearing, he shouldered his daughter aside, not caring that she fell. Gripping the hated idol by the horns, he vented his rage on the demon woman. Shouting maniacally, he wrenched at the cage and was surprised by the priestess’s strength. Her dark eyes flashed with power and lust for blood and a tug-of-war ensued. The drums stopped and Jabez could hear his brother and friend as they fought the guards and priests. The crowd began to mutter. They would have a time of it escaping with the child. They could dispose of the idol later. With a final heave, he pulled the idol free and turned to flee.

Leaping into the space between his daughter and the Canaanite slave, Jabez could taste victory as he ducked to the left, hoping to out-maneuver anyone who would follow. From out of the darkness, a clink of metal caught his foot and his ankle turned. The chain! He rolled onto his back, hoping to protect the child from the fall. Yeseph’s cries echoed from inside the metal bull, and then Jabez hit the ground hard. His wind was gone and he threw his arms wide. The idol rolled away from him. Struggling to draw in breath, he made to lunge for it again. But it was too late!

Hands clamped upon his arms and the two slaves hauled Jabez upright. He watched helplessly as some of the crowd subdued Huri and Kenaniah. Shani rose and meticulously dusted off her homespun dress. She was furious. Clearly. Jabez lifted his head and glared at her. Perhaps she would listen to him now. Now that she saw how important it was to him.

“Stop this, Shani. Do not do this evil thing.”

Gasps came from various spots in the crowd and a man shouted, “He has blasphemed the god! Moloch will punish us now! Don’t we already feel his wrath? He is burning our lands!”

“Silence!” Jabez roared the word. “Are you so foolish as to believe that this piece

of metal—” He nodded to the abandoned idol “—can make any difference in the weather?

“You think he is the god of the sun! Bah! Foolishness! He can no more keep the sun from scorching the land then I can make the sun rise in the west! He cannot bring us rain!”

The child continued to wail, clearly upset with finding himself trapped in darkness. Jabez looked at his daughter again. “Open that foul cage and bring my grandson to me. I command it as your father!” He watched his daughter straighten her skirts. Standing then, she turned to face him. He gasped, suddenly frightened by the look in her eyes. The same look as the priestess’s.

“No, Father. I will not. Your Jehovah is dead. I will not follow a weak God. I will follow a god of strength.” Reaching down, Shani gripped the horns of the abandoned sun god. At the touch she closed her eyes and smiled, lifting her face to the heavens. With a heave, she dragged the idol across the ground to where the priestess stood. The metal scraped and grated on the loose stones, punctuated by the steady wails of its occupant. Singing softly through her thin lips, Shani cooed to her infant son who had worked himself into a frenzied state. Jabez shook his head, speechless.

The priestess nodded sharply and the drums began their final serenade for the day. Jabez screamed. He thrashed and flailed, but his captors held him firm. Step by step, Shani dragged the bronze bull to the pit’s edge. The priestess made to fasten the chain, but Shani shook her head. Reaching out, she gripped the chain and worked the hook into the ring. Jabez knew she was still singing. He could see her lips moving. At that moment, the urge to kill made his body tremble. Was he so different than his daughter? Yes! As angry as he was he would never carry out the deed! He squeezed his eyes shut, praying it was all simply a bad dream—an evil vision of what might be. The drums continued their symphony, pounding out the child’s death sentence. He opened his eyes again and bellowed his rage, straining against his bonds.

Shani stepped back then and smiled at the priestess. The witch woman stepped forward and cupped his daughter’s face, her eyes tender. Leaning forward she kissed her. And then she turned to Jabez’s captors. Another stepped in to take the Canaanite’s place and Jabez wrenched free. Hope! One last hope! He flailed and stumbled his way to the edge, his eyes fixed firmly on the bull. And then Shani was there. With a mighty heave, she pushed the idol from the edge. The Canaanite saw Jabez lunge and he let go of the chain, allowing the bull to plunge to the depths.

Jabez landed on his belly, his arms reaching out over the edge. “No!” His words were lost in the roar of the flames, and the skin on his hands blistered with the intense heat. Someone tugged at his tunic and he turned to see his daughter working to pull him from the brink. His eyes narrowed into slits of hatred and he thrust her hands away. “Don’t touch me! You are no longer my child!” He hissed the words and Shani sat back quickly. Shaking his head, he pulled himself to his feet, his great chest heaving like the billows that fanned the flames in the idol smithy. Tears ran freely down his weathered face, cutting tracks through the sweat and soot and dust. He turned his gaze on the crowd. They had released Huri and Kenaniah and those two stood aside, Jabez’s sorrow mirrored on their faces. Then he bellowed to the crowd, “A day will come when you will pay for this!”

A rustle of heavy material drew his attention to the priestess. She stood there with a smug grin on her face. Jabez wanted to wrap his hands around that scrawny throat, lift her off her feet and pitch her into the pit after her beloved god. Instead, he spat on her. Brushing past his daughter he scooped his mantle and rope from the ground. Leaving his brother and friend behind, he shoved his great bulk through the crowd and away from the horror. Those gathered were all too eager to step aside.

The sun was down to a sliver on the horizon when Jabez left. The celebrating had begun. Celebrating. Bah! His daughter might just have well ripped his heart from his chest. His beloved Yeseph was gone. Jabez wound his way up toward the great city. He needed to pray. The grief tore at him and tears ran freely. He batted at his nose with the back of his hand and received strange looks from those who hadn’t witnessed the scene at the pit. To his right the priests continued their ritual, the gore of their worship making the stones around them dark and slick. Off in a grove farther down the path an orgy took place—they offered themselves to the fertility god. He snorted. No doubt they would think the useless, lifeless gods had helped them conceive. An inevitable event in such circumstances. Farther west, the cacophony of a bigger, more boisterous gathering filled his ears and he shuddered to think what took place there.

He squinted through the dark, the burnished flames of the Tophet flickering in the background—his only light to see by. It was the grove of Asherah where the revelers cavorted. Tall poles stood out against the night sky like silent fingers clawing at the stars. Again he spat. Queen of the Heaven! More like Queen of the Heathen! Picking up a rock he roared out his anger and pitched the missile at one of the posts. The celebration continued on, oblivious to his pain—his torment.

At every turn of the path in the Valley of Hinnom, abominations were acted out,

and his rage swelled as he trudged toward the holy hill to the temple. He knew what he would find there too. Asherah poles. Idols. Temple prostitutes and blood everywhere. But it was Jehovah’s house first. He would not enter. He would sit at the wall and pray. Beg Jehovah to pour His vengeance out on those who had dishonored His name. Pray for Him to hear an old man’s cries.
An hour later, Huri and Kenaniah found Jabez sprawled face down weeping just outside the western wall. They watched in apprehension as the claws of night reached up to grab the last shades of orange, pink and crimson out of the sky.

* * *

Jezebel knew she should still be in mourning—had been in mourning—until she had heard of the arrival of Jehu, son of Jehoshaphat. The name was a curse running through her mind. The man would dare to declare himself king of Israel! She pushed away from the window she had gazing from and paced. Some fool of a prophet had called Jehu away from his military post, dumped oil on him, and told him he was now king. In spite of the fact that her son and Ahab’s direct heir was already king—and had been for some time. And Joram was the right kind of king—one through which she could rule discretely. Like his father had been. Oh Ahab had his moments of fidelity to the Hebrew God, but Jezebel had quickly worked her charms to bring him back to the Baal. Back to child sacrifices.

She checked her image in the beaten bronze mirror. Flawless. Her gown of crimson shimmered in the reflection. Black paint framed her eyes and her thick hair coiled about her head in a sleek halo. She was aging but the mirror didn’t show it.

Jezebel had seen the coming and of many prophets, including Elijah and Elisha. While those two pesky prophets had slipped through her hands, she had been present for the slaughter of the others. And this new upstart would be no different. After she saw to it that Jehu paid for his treason, she would personally sacrifice this new prophet to her god.

Returning to the window, Jezebel allowed her mind to replay all she had been told. The battle against Hazel of Aram over the city of Ramoth Gilead had failed. It turned out that Joram wasn’t the military strategist he thought he was. And that idiot from Judah. Ahaziah, king of Judah, had had the audacity to come to Jezreel while Joram was convalescing from his war wounds. Jehu had followed, and Joram had sent out a messenger to ask the commander’s intentions. The rider had simply joined the hoard of soldiers at Jehu’s back. The second rider had done likewise. Joram, in his frustration, had ordered his chariot to be ready. And Ahaziah had done likewise.

Jezebel shook her head. She never would have thought it would have come to this. Joram dead. Ahaziah dead. Jehu hadn’t even been respectful of the body. Picked up and tossed aside like a carcass of meat. Naboth’s field. That was where her son’s body lay. Just as the prophet had said. The thought came on its own and she pushed it away. As for Ahaziah, news had only just reached her that he was in Megiddo and likely wouldn’t survive the night.

She looked down at her dress. It should be black and her hair should be filled with the dust of ashes. But there was no time for mourning. She was queen and absolute ruler now. Forcing her eyes back to the road that stretched away from the city, she waited for the man who wanted to call himself king.

Hooves clattering on cobblestone alerted Jezebel that Jehu and his men had arrived. But what could he do to her here? Jezreel was a fortress. She shuddered. The prophecy about Ahab and his line had another side to it. She leaned over the parapet and allowed her eyes to scan the streets for dogs. She hated dogs. They were part of the prophecy. A mangy mongrel skulked out of an alley and she pulled back into the room.

Her mind abandoned all thoughts of dogs as Jehu and his men came into sight. She allowed a leer to rest on her painted lips. For all his stature and pomp and ceremony he still couldn’t touch her in her safe haven. And it wouldn’t take her long to rally her supporters.

She leaned back out onto the sill again and called to the armored rider. “Have you come in peace, Zimri, you murderer of your master?”

A gasp reached her ears and she knew the insult had found its mark. Zimri had seized the throne of Elah not more than forty-five years back. He, too, had assassinated his master and then destroyed the whole house of Baasha. She smiled then. The jibe had more depth, for Elah had ruled a mere seven days before he was destroyed. She could wait a week for rescue and it didn’t hurt to remind Jehu of that fact.

Jehu’s face turned toward her and his voice echoed through the streets and into her chambers, “Who is on my side? Who?”

And then, to Jezebel’s horror, three of her eunuchs were beside her.

Jehu didn’t wait for an answer. “Throw her down!”

Jezebel struggled against the strong hands that clamped onto her. Screeching, she thrashed against the efforts of her servants. They would pay dearly! The stone ledge scraped down her back as she was hoisted into the air and stuffed out the window. And then Jezebel—queen of Israel, worshipper of the Baal and the dark arts, murderer of children and prophets—plunged to the stones below.

Her mind bellowed its anger and in its protest it slowed and drew all around it into deep focus. She could see every hair on each horse that pranced and milled around in the courtyard. She could see each expression on every face as she dropped. And her final awareness was of the gathering of dogs—the ones that the prophet said would lick up her blood and devour her broken flesh.

My Thoughts
Well, since I am still reading the book, my thoughts will have to be a few days later…or possibly tomorrow. Great book so far thought. I like what I am reading!

The Deer Run Saga….Books One and Two ….by Elaine Marie Cooper

Interview with Elaine Marie Cooper

And Her Deer Run Series

Elaine Marie Cooper, author of The Road to Deer Run
Although currently living in the Midwest, Elaine Marie Cooper spent much of her childhood in Massachusetts. She has long been interested in family history as well as Early American history. She is a registered nurse and an award-winning freelance writer.

Elaine is a regular contributor to a blog on the Midwest called The Barn Door (thebarndoor.net) She continues with magazine freelance writing and is currently working on the sequel to “The Road to Deer Run.”

She lives with her husband of 35 years (Steve) and three dogs and one cat. Both her sons are married and Elaine is “Grammie” to triplets. Her only daughter Bethany died in 2003 from a brain tumor. “The Road to Deer Run” is lovingly dedicated to her memory.


Hey bloggers, Today we have Elaine Cooper with us. I hope you enjoy our interview with Elaine enough to go out and grab a copy of her books to read and enjoy. Now I will let Elaine answer some questions for us.

 1. Hey Elaine, it’s great to have you on my blog today. Thank you so much for being here. Tell us a bit about yourself.

 Hi Joy! A pleasure being here! Thanks for having me. Well, I’ve been married to my “Honey” for 36 years. We have two wonderful, married sons that we are so proud of. I am a Grammie of triplets who are now 19 months old and just a delight! I am a lover of writing and a registered nurse. I enjoy tea AND coffee (caffeinated, of course); love to crochet and do cross-stitch—but mostly, I am a devoted follower of Jesus Christ.


 2. How long have you been writing?

I’ve loved reading for as long as I can remember, and I think that just grew into a love of words and writing. When I was eleven, my Dad encouraged me to write a story about my hamster that was lost in the attic for three days and nights. I think I’ve been hooked on writing ever since!


3. What aspects of being a writer do you enjoy the most?

 Watching characters unfold in my novels almost as if they are writing the story themselves! It never ceases to amaze me how a little turn in the plot or new discovery about a character appears in my writing—sometimes completely unplanned. I also love to research new facts about an era that opens up a whole new understanding for me about history. There are no better ideas for fiction than real life.

But I also enjoy the flexibility of being a writer—being able to have a busy life and travel to see my sons and their families while carrying my laptop with me. My family is so important to me and I am very blessed to be able to see them as often as I do.

4.    What is your favorite Scripture?

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.” It’s so easy to get caught up in our comfortable lives and ignore the great need in the world around us. We cannot meet every hungry person’s need—but we can each help meet the need of some.


5.  How do you find characters for your books? Are they influenced by family and friends?

Some of my characters personalities come from traits of family members; some are based on my own personality quirks. And some characters are inspired by complete strangers! I’m always on the lookout for certain traits or mannerisms to fuel my writer’s imagination. The doctor in The Promise of Deer Run was inspired by a person sitting next to me on a flight. I’m sure he has no clue! 😉


6.       What are 4 things about yourself that most people wouldn’t know about ?

 I’m not sure that I am so interesting as to have four “unknowns!” LOL But let me try:

-If a person is out walking their dog down the street, I always notice the animal. It could be Fabio or Daniel Craig out dog-walking but it would be his Welsh Corgi that I’d notice (if they had a welsh Corgi!)

–          I am completely lame at knowing what kind of cars people own. I always refer to someone’s vehicle as “a red car” or “a black car.” I am so unimpressed by models and makes.

–          – I cannot stand mushrooms. They even leave a nasty flavor behind if I pick them off of a pizza.

–          I could watch “It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” at Christmas time on the Hallmark Channel a dozen times and not get sick of it! Much to my husband’s chagrin!!


7When will your next book be out?

The Legacy of Deer Run, Book 3 in the Deer Run Saga, is due out in 2012. J I just signed the contract on Thanksgiving Day with Sword of the Spirit Publishing.


8.  What are you working on now?

The aforementioned book! I’d better get going. 😉

9.  Where can our readers find you?

They can contact me through my websites: www.PromiseOfDeerRun.com and www.DeerRunBooks.com. I am also on Facebook under Elaine Cooper, or my book pages, The Promise of Deer Run and The Road to Deer Run.


10.  Anything else you want to add?

I’ve just enjoyed this interview immensely and hope and pray that all the readers have a VERY blessed Christmas and New Year!


11.  And I wanted to save this one until last, Tell us a bit about This Series and what Inspired you to write this wonderful book.

The Deer Run Saga was inspired by actual events in my ancestry: The coming to America of a British soldier to fight against the colonials; his subsequent surrender after the British defeat in Saratoga in 1777; then as a prisoner, fleeing into the American countryside, before meeting my fourth great grandmother in western Massachusetts. The perfect set up for a love story in my mind!

 But actually feeling inspired to write this novel came upon the heels of a personal tragedy. Although I had been a freelance writer for many years, my “pen” went silent for a long time after my daughter’s death from a brain tumor. But in 2007, on the fourth anniversary of her passing, I suddenly felt the urge to write this story. It became a passion that was driven by my need to heal from my daughter’s loss as well as my need to follow this mental directive. Whether inspired by God or not, I pray that my work brings Him honor and can lead others to heal from their own sorrows as well as draw closer to the Lord.


You can also see an interview video with Elaine talking about the Deer Run Saga. Click on URL below





The Deer Run Saga, Books One and Two


Elaine Marie Cooper



  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: iUniverse (April 5, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1450219195
  • ISBN-13: 978-1450219198
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 9 x 0.7 inches



What’s the book about?

The year was 1777. The war had already broken the heart of Mary Thomsen, a young colonial woman from Massachusetts. It had also broken the spirit of British soldier Daniel Lowe, a wounded prisoner of war in a strange land.

They were enemies, brought together by need. Would their differences overshadow the yearnings of their hearts? Or would the bitterness of war keep them apart?

Elaine says: This story was inspired by my great-great-great-great grandparents. My research into their lives and times brings authenticity to my book. Hope you enjoy it.


The Road to Deer Run  by Elaine Cooper

My Thoughts

If you were at war, what would you do if you found your enemy seriously injured to the point of helplessness and dying? Mary Thomsen couldn’t turn Daniel Lowe away so she took him in, hiding him from the rest of her family for a while, and nursed him back to heath. This wasn’t an easy task for Mary, and healing for Daniel took a very long time.

The Road to Deer Run is set during the British and American war in 1977 and is loosely based on family members of the author. Hiding this British soldier was very dangerous for Mary and her family, especially with her father gone. The family faced dangers a number of times because of this enemy in their home.

This is just a pure heartwarming love story. But a love that was difficult at every turn. I enjoyed the journey of Mary and Daniel as they faced some of the most difficult times anyone could ever face. And hey, he was the enemy after all. As they spent more and more time together, and their love grew, how could they ever stay together when there worlds were so far apart? Would God step in? Because apart from a miracle from Him, there was just no way. I couldn’t put this book down, because I was afraid of missing something! It will truly keep you on your toes with all of the twists and turns. Just when I thought things were settling down, there was another twist in the story and I was on my toes again!

You do not want to miss this entertaining war story. You will see God working in ways unimaginable and your heart will be blessed. Grab a copy of this intriguing Historical fiction, read and enjoy it! It will be well worth your time and money!

I want to thank the author Elaine Cooper for providing a copy of this book for me to read and review. The opinions in this review are mine only. I was not expected or required to write a positive review.

Purchase The Road to Deer Run at AMAZON


The Promise of Deer Run…..by Elaine Cooper

Book Blurb

The Year is 1790. The American Revolution has long been over, but the wounds of battle still linger in the hearts and minds of many. A veteran Continental soldier still awaits the return of his missing father, years after the last battle. Haunted by the painful memories of war and scarred from betrayal in love, the young man turns away from faith. The only hope he clings to is that perhaps his father still lives. Then he discovers his hope is shared by a young woman, who understands loss and the longing for a father. As they encounter this unexpected connection, their hearts become drawn together. But jealousy, slander, and misunderstanding ignite a fire of doubt and mistrust-destroying their relationship. Can two souls longing for healing and trust, love again? Can faith-and a family-be restored?

My Thoughts

This sequel to The Road to Deer Run continues the story of Daniel and Mary along with Mary’s family and some exciting changes there. We also meet Nathaniel Stearns and a more mature Sarah Thomsen in this book. Nathaniel arrives home from the war to wait on his father, who didn’t show up. Daniel is mad at the world, not wanting to associate with anyone, but someone was reaching out to him by putting food on his doorstep. It is interesting to find out who this mystery person is, but you need to read the book to find out for yourself!

Again, Elaine Cooper writes an intriguing story that keeps you reading until the last page. I loved getting to know her wonderful characters, and I still think about them a lot, even a month or so after reading the books. I keep wanting to pray for them! How cool is that! Elaine might be a new author to you, but don’t hesitate buying her books to read. You will find they are well worth your time and money! I can hardly wait to read the third book in this series!  I encourage you to join the rest of us that’s read the first two books in The Deer Run Saga! You will be glad you did!

I want to thank the author Elaine Cooper for providing a copy of this book for me to read and review. The opinions in this review are mine only. I was not expected or required to write a positive review.


  • Paperback: 252 pages
  • Publisher: iUniverse Publishing (August 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1462037968
  • ISBN-13: 978-1462037964
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Purchase The Promise of Deer Run at AMAZON

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