Introducing…Jerry & Josephine Patterson

by Carole Brown

willow2 free

Coming soon will be the cover reveal of “A Flute in the Willows” the second book in the WWII Spies series. I’ll share a few pictures in this post, too, that remind me of things found in the  book.

I’m really excited over this book, as this series holds a special place in my heart.

Through my years at home I learned so much about the WWII era from my mother: the jobs she held, the clothes worn, the hardships, and much more. It piqued an interest in me that’s still intense and strong.

 

flute dark free

 

Two words in the title give you a hint of what will be mentioned or used as part of the story:

  • * Flute
  • * Willows (trees)

 

How do you think they will play a part in the story?

Here’s the blurb for the story:

Serving as a spy in the middle of Germany, Jerry’s prepared for the risks involved until the sister of a high ranking official falls in love with him. That would be fine except he has a lovely young wife back home that he adores. Besides all he really wants is to find the list of names he came for and if using Vanda to get it is what’s required then he’s willing to pay the price.

Back at home, seeing his wife’s desire to succeed as the world’s greatest female ice skater, Jerry shoves away Josie’s concern and love determined to give her a chance to leave him, a damaged husband. But when her life is threatened by who’s determined to make him pay for his spying activities in Germany, Jerry realizes he can’t stand by and do nothing. Once again, Jerry has to risk all—only this time it’s for the very soul and life of himself—Josie.

Josie Rayner Patterson has two loves—her skating and Jerry, her husband. But when he returns home looking like a skeleton trying to return to life, she’s scared. What happened in Germany to change a man so much? Was he tortured? Has she lost his love? She knows he was injured—the crippled leg proves it, but he refuses to sleep with her, to talk with her, to share with her. He’s a stranger in their home.

Only her skating helps her keep her sanity even though she has her own demons to fight. Always rebellious at the restricted life she’d grown up in, she develops a greater taste for the liquor that dulls her troubled soul and climbs higher and higher to the peak of success she craves–until the night she makes a fatal mistake. Josie is wild with grief and angry at life itself. How could the God her family serves do this to her? She’s lost her two loves and has nothing left to live for.

When she joins her husband in finding and bringing down the person trying to wreck what little they have of life, she’s determined to do all she can. 

These two damaged, rebellious people learn the hard way that leaning on God instead of their own selves and abilities is the only true way to love and happiness. 

A Flute in the Willows is scheduled for release this fall! 

WMITH Bk Cover small-Modified earrings

 

 

No buying link YET for this one, but in the meantime, feel free to check out the first book: With Music in Their Heart:   https://www.amazon.com/Carole-Brown/e/B00EZV4RFY/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1492661357&sr=1-1

Guest Author Jennifer Slattery – Staying Strong for Whatever Comes

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

My guest author today is Jennifer Slattery. Author, speaker, and ministry leader Jennifer writes for Crosswalk.com and is the managing and acquiring editor for Guiding Light Women’s Fiction, an imprint with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. She believes fiction has the power to transform lives and change the culture. Healing Love is her sixth novel, and it was birthed during a trip she and her family took to El Salvador that opened her eyes to the reality of generational poverty and sparked a love for orphans and all who’ve experienced loss.

Her deepest passion is to help women experience God’s love and discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, she travels with her team to various churches to speak to women and help them experience the love and freedom only Christ can offer. When not writing, editing, or speaking, you’ll likely find her chatting with her friends or husband in a quiet, cozy coffeehouse. Visit her online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com and connect with her and her Wholly Loved team at WhollyLoved.com

Staying Strong for Whatever Comes

by Jennifer Slattery

They didn’t know it, but a small group of ordinary men—most of them fishermen—in ancient Palestine were about to experience the greatest challenge to their faith imaginable. This incomprehensible tragedy was so unexpected, they never thought to prepare. How does one prepare for an unforeseen, faith-rocking encounter, anyway?

Grit their teeth and determine to stand firm?

No, that would only work against them, for we are at our weakest point possible whenever we take on the position of self-reliance.

It was the night Jesus was about to be executed, and His Spirit was filled with deep anguish, not only for Himself, but for the twelve who’d given up everything to follow Him, the Man whom they believed would soon change the world and set all the wrong things right. Not only would their hearts be broken; their very faith would take a devastating hit. And they had absolutely no idea the incredible trial that lay ahead.

They couldn’t have imagined such anguish, such fear and confusion, had they tried. But Jesus knew, and, visualizing the depth of their struggle, He gave them an action plan, one that would provide more strength and peace than any other act they could dream up—they were to pray.

But first, a warning:

“When it was evening, Jesus sat down at the table with the twelve disciples. While they were eating, He said, ‘I tell you the truth, one of you will betray Me’” (Matthew 26:20-21 NLT).

Then, perhaps knowing this revelation didn’t sink in, He repeats this warning on the way to the Mount of Olives, where He would show them, through His heart-felt actions, just how serious their impeding threat was:

“Tonight all of you will desert Me. For the Scriptures say, ‘God will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered’” (Matthew 26:31 NLT).

But they weren’t listening, maybe because, as Jesus talked of challenges, all they could think of were their victories: the time when they cast out demons and healed the sick, or perhaps when they watched their Master multiply a small basket of fish and loaves which He used to feed a crowd. Or perhaps Peter remembered when, upon Jesus’ beckoning, he walked on water. True, he sank a moment later, but the next time he’d do better. He’d remain focused, strong, confident. He’d keep his eyes on Jesus and could overcome anything that came his way.

For truly, what could be more challenging than a ruthless storm or men and women oppressed by demons?

No, they had this, and this, whatever this was.

And it was precisely that type of thinking that led to their failure.

If only they’d listened to Jesus instructions spoken on that dark, quiet night:

“Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give into temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak” (Matthew 26:41)

Did they listen? Or were they still too confused, too unsuspecting, too focused on their strength and ability to “stand strong?”

Whatever lies ahead, I want to heed Jesus’ words. I want to regularly pray for the strength to stand strong when temptations and difficulties come. Because a trial is coming, and I’ve—we’ve—been given everything we need in Christ to stand and stay strong. May we take the time, regularly, to tap into that power source.

Healing Love

Genre: Women’s fiction with a strong romantic thread

Dual setting—Southern California, and El Salvador

A news anchor intern has it all planned out, and love isn’t on the agenda.

Brooke Endress is on the cusp of her lifelong dream when her younger sister persuades her to chaperone a mission trip to El Salvador. Packing enough hand sanitizer and bug spray to single-handedly wipe out malaria, she embarks on what she hopes will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

But Brooke is blindsided by the desperation for hope and love she sees in the orphans’ eyes. And no less by the connection she feels with her handsome translator. As newfound passion blooms, Brooke wrestles with its implications for her career dreams.

Ubaldo Chavez, teacher and translator, knows the struggle that comes with generational poverty. But he found the way out – education – and is determined to help his students rise above.

When he agrees to translate for a mission team from the United States he expects to encounter a bunch of “missional tourists” full of empty promises. Yet an American news anchor defies his expectations, and he finds himself falling in love. But what does he have to offer someone with everything?

You can buy Healing Love at this link or on Goodreads.

Review of Amber Alert by Linda K. Rodante

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Today I’m reviewing a Christian romantic suspense novel, Amber Alert, by Linda K. Rodante. Here’s a little about the book.

Amber Alert

Dangerous Series Book #1

by Linda K. Rodante

Sharee Jones just wants a partner with whom she can serve the Lord. She didn’t plan on getting involved with a man who resents God, didn’t plan on the mutilated dolls or the threatening notes interfering with her Christmas program—and with the child who’s to play baby Jesus. She thought God’s hand was in this, but how can it be, when everything she hoped and prayed for is crashing down like the Gulf waves after a storm?

John Jergenson hoped taking the maintenance job at his cousin’s church meant he could leave his guilt-ridden past behind. But he hadn’t counted on Sharee and her program. He hadn’t counted on her laugh or the warmth in her hazel eyes. And he certainly hadn’t counted on her wanting to know the truth about his life. He wants to leave, but Sharee might be in danger, and if he runs again will he ever forgive himself?

My Review: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Amber Alert deals with a difficult topic, child abduction, in a way that drew me into the story. This novel has it all. The budding romance Sheree and John is challenging, believable and not predictable. The suspense kept me on the edge of my seat. The topic of child abduction was covered in a way that didn’t give me nightmares. Overall, this was a  very enjoyable read and I recommend it.

Abolitionists in Colonial America

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Most people think abolitionism didn’t really come to be until the early 1800, but abolitionist views in America started almost as early as slavery in America.

The first Africans that came to America, according to some historians, were sold to Jamestown colonists in 1619 as indentured servants although some say there were already Africans there. The twenty men had been stolen from a Portuguese slave ship and were allowed land and freedom when there period of service was done, but by the 1630s, some colonists were keeping African servants for life. John Punch, in 1640, was the first documented indentured for life servant. In 1662, the law recognized slavery and instituted statutes that any children born would follow the status of their mother making it so children could be born slaves.

The first dispute against this practice was that Christians could not own their brothers in Christ. If a slave was baptized in the faith, he had to be freed. In 1667, the General Assembly outlawed freedom by baptism. By 1705, an array of slave codes were enacted, and half of the labor force in Virginia. In the 1620s, the Dutch West India Company introduced slavery to New England, and be 1700, slavery was established as an institution there as well.

Even though slavery was being established in the colonies, there was a movement growing to end the practice. Throughout the 17th century, many evangelicals and Quakers came out against slavery.  As early as 1688, four Quakers in Germantown signed a protest against the practice of slavery and made their case that the practice was not Christian and against Biblical precepts. In the 1730s and 1740s, during the Great Awakening, preachers decried owning slaves as sin.

During the American Revolution, Moravian and Quaker preachers convinced over a thousand slave owners to free their slaves. The newly formed states debated whether to allow slavery to continue. It was finally decided to outlaw the slave trade within twenty years and allow each state to decide for itself. The economy in the South was also encouraging freedom for slaves. Planters were shifting from labor-intensive tobacco to mixed-crop cultivation and needed fewer workers.

After the American Revolution, northern states gradually outlawed slavery. In 1808, the United States criminalized the slave trade and outlawed any new slaves being brought to America. If it hadn’t been for Eli Whitney’s cotton gin patent in 1794, slavery may have only been a footnote in history. The cotton gin overnight made the practice of slavery profitable. We’ll never know if the invention had been delayed twenty years, if that would have ended slavery. Either way, it didn’t end abolitionism. The abolitionist movement that started in Colonial times would continue to grow until a war forced the end of slavery in the United States.

The SuperStar: Dandelion

by Carole Browndandelion-free

I love dandelions. Many people find them annoying. Most consider them a weed. But they are so much more.

  • Edible. It’s recommended pairing dandelion greens with bacon, goat cheese, nuts and lemon to complement the taste. You can eat every part of the dandelion—roots, stems, leaves and flowers. … People have also incorporated dandelions into several beverages: grinding the roots for a coffee-like drink, or even making dandelion wine.

This innocuous, “weed” is actually one of the most nutrient-dense plants you can eat. It blows superfoods like spinach and kale out of the water. Examples:

  1. one half cup of dandelions contain more calcium than a glass of milk, and more ironvitamin free than spinach.
  2. One cup of dandelion greens contains 19 mg of Vitamin C, and the leaves contain more Vitamin A than carrots.
  3. And if you need some Vitamin K in your life, there’s no better source than dandelion leaves; 55 mg of leaves contain a whopping 535% of your daily value.
  4. Dandelions are also chock full of other essential minerals such as potassium, folic acid, and magnesium. 
  5. Dandelion leaves are a great source of fiber (which helps relieve constipation). The high fiber content also makes you feel full, making it a great food to eat if you’re trying to lose weight. 
  6. They also help stabilize your blood sugar, making it a great food for diabetics.
  7. They are also incredibly high in antioxidants, and because they are a diuretic, they help cleanse your body of toxins.

Here’s a quick recipe to try if you’re brave enough:

  • Raw dandelion root, chopped up
  • Tea kettledandelion tea free
  • Mug
  • Strainer, sieve, or cheesecloth
  • Hot pad
  • Cast iron skillet or other heavy pan
  • Flavoring herbs, milk, and sweeteners
  1.  Roast the dandelion root lightly to bring out the very best in its flavor. (You can use raw root, but roasted root has a complex and earthy flavor that makes the perfect compliment to cool mornings and cold weather nights.)
  2. Bring the water to a full boil.
  3. For each 8 ounces of water, you’ll want to add one heaping teaspoon of roasted dandelion root. Steep for 10 minutes to get a full, robust flavor and color.
  4. Once the steeping has finished, pour through a strainer, sieve, or cheesecloth to separate the root from the water. Flavor, if desired.
  5. When your drink is a safe and comfortable temperature, sip and enjoy!

 

 

butter free

  • Proof! They are a tried-and-true method of proving whether someone loves butter or not. Check it out. Pick the most perfect dandelion blossom you can find, pluck it, and gently but steadily hold it beneath the person’s chin you’re dying to know about their butter likes. IF that said chin shows yellow, well, you’ve got your answer. Butter lover! 🙂

 

little-boy-in-dandelions free

 

 

  • They’re available as bouquets of flowers for the kids to pick. It’s a ritual that many, many kids have used to gain favor from mothers, grandmothers and other influential people to gain a smile!

 

 

 

 

Last of all, they’re FREE! Who could ask for more from a SuperStar! 

stars free

 

 

 

 

The Ruins of Gorlan Review

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

The Young Adult fiction craze is here to stay. While many of the YA I’ve seen is not suitable for Christian preteens and teens (Harry Potter Series, Twilight Series), I was pleasantly surprised when my grandsons encouraged me to read the Ranger’s Apprentice Series by John Flanagan. before I give my complete review of the first book in the series, here’s a little about it.

The Ruins of Gorlan

Ranger’s Apprentice Book #1

by John Flanagan

They have always scared him in the past—the Rangers, with their dark cloaksand shadowy ways. The villagers believe the Rangers practice magic that makes them invisible to ordinary people. And now 15-year-old Will, always small for his age, has been chosen as a Ranger’s apprentice. What he doesn’t yet realize is that the Rangers are the protectors of the kingdom. Highly trained in the skills of battle and surveillance, they fight the battles before the battles reach the people. And as Will is about to learn, there is a large battle brewing. The exiled Morgarath, Lord of the Mountains of Rain and Night, is gathering his forces for an attack on the kingdom. This time, he will not be denied. . . .

Here is the fantasy adventure that launched the Ranger’s Apprentice series, an epic story of heroes and villains that has become an international phenomenon. Perfect for fans of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, T.H. White’s The Sword in the Stone, Christopher Paolini’s Eragon series, and George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones / A Song of Ice and Fire series.

My Review:  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

This first novel of the Ranger’s Apprentice was a real treat to read. It is set in an earlier time  of knights and mythical kingdoms where chivalry and honor were a way of life. It has a Christian world view. Although it never mentions Christianity, Biblical and moral values are seen throughout. It isn’t too gory for preteens or most elementary age students who read on that level although it has some violence organic to the storyline. It also doesn’t have the occult overtones as some other popular adult fiction. The only drawback is it was written in England, and a few of our milder curse words that are not curse words at all over there were used. An explanation of that for elementary and middle school students should suffice.

The story centers around Will. Will never knew his parents, but he’d been told his father was a brave knight. He wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps and go to battle school. Because of his general build, he’s not accepted, and his world comes crashing down. His life long dream of becoming a brave knight will never happened. Then he’s accepted as a ranger’s apprentice. He doesn’t know much about the ranger core, very few do, and he’s unsure of what they do and why they’re so mysterious. When he’s selected to join them, he’s not even sure he isn’t being punished. He is about to find out they are basically the secret service of the kingdom, and by becoming a ranger, he can do more to defend and protect the kingdom than even a knight. His courage is about to be tested.

In a subplot, Horace, Will’s childhood bully, is accepted in battle school. While there, he becomes bullied in a more intense way than he ever thought to bully Will. He finds out what it is to be on the receiving end of bullying. He doesn’t know how to handle the abuse. He’s supposed to be in training for knighthood, but the bullying might destroy his ambitions. I enjoyed seeing the change in Horace and how he and Will became friends.

I love how the story covers topics teens face even though they’re set in the Middle Ages. I also love how honor, truth, and friendship played out in a way that is still applicable today. The story was a lot of fun to read, and I’d highly recommend it for adults, young adults, teens, and older children.

My Top Ten Favorite Hobbies

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Everyone has things they enjoy doing for fun. Here is my list of 10 favorite hobbies. I didn’t include spiritual activities such as Bible study, prayer, and worship, but I love them too. I also didn’t include my ministry activities such as Gospel illusions, puppets, and preaching.

 

10. Playing board games and card games: I love to spend an evening with friends playing games.

9. Dancing: I took 20 years of dance lessons when I was younger.

8. Knitting: I learned how to knit from my grandmother, but I taught myself how to make more than scarves when I was pregnant with my first child.

7. Going to the movies with my husband: I love to watch good, clean movies.

6. Researching my ancestry: This is a lot of fun, and you wouldn’t believe what I’ve found out.

5. Studying history: This is probably why I write historicals.

4. Watching classic movies: I love classic movies, especially movies from the 1940s and 1950s.

3. Traveling: I’ve been to 40 states and 8 countries. Going to the other states and a few more countries is on my bucket list.

2. Reading: I have always loved to read. I remember reading with a flashlight under the covers when I was a kid and supposed to be asleep. When I was a teen, I read classics and Shakespeare for fun.

1. Writing: Writing isn’t really a hobby since I am an author, but I do enjoy it enough to include it on the list.