Mystery Lovers, Beware!

by Carole Brown

mobile-home free

We love to travel and have done so since we’ve been married. From Washington state to Texas, from Alabama to Maine, we’ve gone traveling for business and for fun.

If you ask the Dentons, who love to travel, their vacation spots always seem to land them in mysteries. Now that’s an interesting thought and experience, but the Dentons take it in stride. Considering their love of fishing, buying new shoes and reading mystery books, it’s easily understood how they can get involved in any mystery that pops up at their newest vacation spots.

So far they’ve solved the Mystery of the Dead Motorcyclist in Tennessee (Hog Insane) and in New Mexico (Bat Crazy), they eventually found who was behind the Vampire Bats supposedly inhabitiFrontng a new cave.

(By the way, someday I’ll explain how I came up with these crazy, insane titles. Lol)

Now in Colorado, they’re helping long time friends Jeremy Meadows, who owns and runs a ski resort with his Down’s Syndrome sister Daffodil, discover the people who are tricking her and ruining their well-laid plans for the resort. And what do ducks have to do with the story anyway?

Can they succeed in finding the evil doer? Readers can find out in the third book of this delightful series: Daffy’s Duck, coming late 2017.

 

Check out the first two books in this series here:

Hog Insane:  Amazon.

Bat Crazy:  Amazon

Happy Reading!!

Top 10 Movies for Easter

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Sunday is Palm Sunday and starts Holy Week. It’s a good time to pull out your Easter movies.

10. The Robe

1953

Director: Henry Koster

Starring Richard Burton and Jean Simmons

This movie takes some liberties with the story, like the Romans crucifying Jesus without the Jews having anything to do with it and the disciples rescuing another Christian and having a good old fashion sword fight. Sometimes the discrepancies are laughable. That being said, it’s a great movie to watch and doesn’t change the essence of the Gospel. It’s also a touching love story. The line I remember most was when Richard Burton with his wide eyes glaring said. “Were you there?” It gave me the creeps.

9. Ben Hur

1959

Director: William Wyler Starring Charlton Heston

Who can forget Charlton Heston in the chariot race?

8. The Visual Bible: The Gospel of John

2003 Director Phillip Saville

Starring Christopher Plummer and Henry Ian Cusick

It follows the words in the Bible. Good, but not as good as Matthew.

7. The Greatest Story Ever Told

1965

Director: George Stevens Starring Max Von Sydow

Great movie about Christ’s life if you can get past the music every time Jesus appears.

6. Jesus of Nazareth

1977 Director: Franco Zeffirelli

Starring Robert Powell

This miniseries on the life of Jesus impacted me greatly even though Jesus looked a bit too Heavenly and his eyes were the wrong color.

5. The Visual Bible: The Gospel of Matthew

1993

Director: Regardt Von Den Bergh

Starring Richard Kiley, Bruce Marchiano, and Gerrit Schoonhoven

This is my all time favorite portrayal of the person of Jesus.

4. Risen

2016

Director: Kevin Reynolds

Starring Joseph Fiennes, Tom Felton, Peter Firth

This is a unique telling of the story of the resurrection of Christ through the eyes of a Roman soldier who is an unbeliever and sent to find Christ’s body.

3. Son of God

2014 Director: Christopher Spencer

Starring Dioga Morgada, Amber Rose Ravah, Sebastian Knapp

Read my review of this movie at this link.

2. Ben Hur

2016

Director: Timur Bekmambetov

Starring Jack Huston, Toby Kebbell, Rodrigo Santoro

This is an awesome movie. I was surprised that it was so much better than the original even without Charlton Heston My favorite kind of Easter story is one where Jesus is not the main character, but the main character is forever changed because of His encounter with Jesus. This checks all those boxes.

1. The Passion of the Christ

2004

Director: Mel Gibson

Starring James Caviezel

When I watch this movie, I feel like I’m watching the real event. It chokes me up every time. From the first moment of the film, I felt the anointing.

Life in 1920

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Life in 1920

By Tamera Lynn Kraft

My Easter novella, Resurrection of Hope, is set in the couple of years immediately following World War I, 1919-1920. America had survived its first world war and an influenza pandemic that killed more people than the war. Things were beginning to look up. This was a time of transition in America and didn’t fit into the time periods we normally think of. It wasn’t yet the flapper era although flappers had come on the scene, but the early 1900s era of the Gibson Girls, long skirts, and Dough Boys was a thing of the past. Here are some facts about normal life in 1920.

Modern Conveniences:

Although modern conveniences like electric lights, indoor plumbing, and running water were available in 1920, for the most part, only those living in the city took advantage of them. Although during the roaring 20’s, people moved from rural farms to suburbs and cities, in the beginning of the decade, half of the population still lived out in the country on farms.

Most people in the city had electricity, telephones, streetlights, sewage systems, and running water. Throughout the decade, housewives were replacing their iceboxes for refrigerators and some even had washing machines, vacuum sweepers, sewing machines, electric mixers, toaster, and electric fans.

Automobiles:

In 1920, the Model T automobile manufactured by Ford Motor Company made cars affordable for the average family. The days of the horse and buggy were becoming a thing of the past although you would occasionally see one in rural areas. Public roadways were improved and paved to keep up with the times. Because of the automobiles, the mobility of America changed. One of the major changes was the creation of the suburbs. People could work in the city without actually living there.

Leisure Activities:

Movie theaters, radio, roller rinks, bowling, and watching race car driving and baseball games became fun activities every middle-class family could participate in. The invention of radio also made it so the average family could listen to music or radio shows from their own living room. Dance clubs opened where couples could dance the new dances to jazz songs although the more conservative families considered them immoral. There was also a dark side of entertainment with the speakeasies where illegal drinking and gambling went on, but most people in the 1920s didn’t participate in that.

Family Life:

Most families were traditional with the father who was the bread-winner and the mother who stayed at home and took care of the family. Teenagers were non-existent. You were a child until you became an adult. Younger teens spent time playing as children. Older teens were expected to act like adults. Public schools were everywhere, and most students graduated from high school for the first time in history although few went to college. Dating was usually chaperoned, abstinence was expected, and young adults would normally marry by the time they were twenty-one.

Fashion:

The flapper era was starting to show up in the cities in 1920. Most women were conservative and wore their skirts below their knees which was scandalous five years earlier. The shift or chemise dress with the lowered waistline became popular in 1916 and continued throughout the 1920s. Most dresses were sleeveless, and women wore sweaters over them on cold days.

Many women were starting to cut their hair even in the rural areas. Older women and some farm wives still wore long skirts and kept their hair long pinned up in a bun. Cloche hats that fit tight around the face were becoming popular and went with the new short hair styles. Make-up lines such as Max Factor started opening, and women in the city wore make-up to look like the actresses on the silent movie screen.

The biggest change was ladies’ undergarments. Although the corsets didn’t disappear completely, one piece camisoles and slips became the desired undergarments. Because of shorter hemlines, silk hosiery was invented in 1920. It became the fashion for years after that. Bras didn’t come out until 1922, so most women either wore modified corsets or only wore a camisole.

Resurrection of Hope

By Tamera Lynn Kraft

She thought he was her knight in shining armor, but will a marriage of convenience prove her wrong?

After Vivian’s fiancé dies in the Great War, she thinks her life is over. But Henry, her fiancé’s best friend, comes to the rescue offering a marriage of convenience. He claims he promised his friend he would take care of her. She grows to love him, but she knows it will never work because he never shows any love for her.

Henry adores Vivian and has pledged to take care of her, but he won’t risk their friendship by letting her know. She’s still in love with the man who died in the Great War. He won’t risk heartache by revealing his true emotions.

This Week in History 3/27 – 4/2

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

This Week in History

March 27:

  • President Andrew Johnson vetoes civil rights bill which later becomes 14th amendment (1866)
  • US Revolutionary War: Thomas Jefferson elected to the Continental Congress (1775)
  • Typhoid Mary, Mary Mallon, is arrested and returned to quarantine on North Brother Island, New York after spending five years evading health authorities and causing several further outbreaks of typhoid
  • Elizabeth Dirks, one of the first woman preachers of the reformation, was martyred by drowning (1549)
  • WW2: Children’s Aktion-Nazis collect all the Jewish children of Lovno (1944)
  • First Japanese cherry blossom trees planted in Washington, D.C. (1912)
  • Spaniard Juan Ponce de León and his expedition first sight Florida (1513)
  • WW2: General Eisenhower declares German defenses on Western Front broken (1945)
  • First long-distance telephone call from Boston to New York (1884)
  • First successful blood transfusion (1914)
  • 583 die in aviation’s worst ever disaster when two Boeing 747s collide at Tenerife airport (1977)
  • Charles I, King Of England, Scotland & Ireland, ascends English throne (1625)
  • The modern shoelace, string and shoe holes, invented in England (1790)
  • WW2: Japan leaves League of Nations (1933)
  • The United States Government establishes a permanent navy and authorizes the building of six frigates (1794)
  • Archbishop Joseph Francis Rummel ordered all Roman Catholic schools in the New Orleans diocese to end segregation (1962)
  • Steve McQueen makes his network TV debut in Goodyear Playhouse (1955)
  • First Mormon temple dedicated in Kirtland, Ohio (1836)
  • Lillian Trasher, missionary to Egypt known as Mother of the Nile, left Egypt by order of the British government but returned 10 years later (1919)
  • Andrew Rankin patents the urinal (1866)
  • Nikita Khrushchev becomes Soviet Premier as well as First Secretary of the Communist Party (1958)

March 28:

  • Worst accident in the history of the U.S. nuclear power industry begins when a pressure valve in the Unit-2 reactor at Three Mile Island fails to close (1979)
  • New York State abolishes slavery (1799)
  • Palm Sunday tornado outbreak of 1920 affects the Great Lakes region and Deep South states (1920)
  • The United States State Department releases the Acheson-Lilienthal Report, outlining a plan for the international control of nuclear power. (1946)
  • Bethel African Methodist Church of Philadelphia becomes first African church in US (1796)
  • Senate censures US President Andrew Jackson for taking federal deposits from Bank of US (1834)
  • First ambulance goes into service (1866)
  • US Salvation Army officially organized (1885)
  • “Greatest Show On Earth” was formed by PT Barnum & James A Bailey (1881)
  • Jews are expelled from Tel Aviv & Jaffa by Turkish authorities (1917)
  • Roman Emperor Caligula accepts the titles of the Principate (37 AD)
  • Nathaniel Briggs patents a washing machine (1797)
  • Paris is sacked by Viking raiders (845 AD)
  • Mexican American War: Mexico drops diplomatic relations with US (1845)
  • Birth of Bill Gaither, contemporary Gospel songwriter and vocal artist (1936)
  • Scottish Parliament passed the Rescissory Act to overthrow Presbyterianism and restore the Anglican episcopacy to Scotland (1661)

March 29:

  • Vietnam War: US troops withdraw from Vietnam (1974)
  • John Winthrop, first governor of Massachusetts Colony, sets sail for America (1630)
  • Construction is authorized of the Great National Pike, better known as the Cumberland Road, becoming the first United States federal highway (1806)
  • Niagara Falls stops flowing for 30 hours due to an ice jam (1848)
  • First Swedish colonists in America established a Lutheran settlement at Fort Christiana in the Colony of Delaware (1638)
  • Beethoven debuts as pianist in Vienna (1795)
  • Congress first approves building of Lincoln Memorial (1867)
  • WW2: Movie star Jimmy Stewart is promoted to full colonel, one of the few Americans to rise from private to colonel in four years (1945)
  • Republic of Switzerland forms (1798)
  • Julius & Ethel Rosenberg are convicted of spying for the Russians (1951)
  • The Republic of Ireland becomes the first country in the world to ban smoking in all work places, including bars and restaurants (2004)
  • Ohio makes it illegal for children under 18 & women to work more than 10 hours a day (1852)
  • Thousands of Whites massacred in Haiti (1804)
  • 23rd Amendment to the US Constitution ratified, allowing Washington, D.C. residents to vote in presidential elections (1961)
  • 20,000 attend Ludwig Von Beethoven’s burial in Vienna (1827)
  • Birth of Winfield Scott Weeden, hymn writer and author of I Surrender All who led music and singing schools for the YMCA and Christian Endeavor (1847)
  • 8 Ohio National Guardsmen indicted for shooting 4 Kent State students (1976)

March 30:

  • 15th Amendment to the US constitution is adopted, guarantees right to vote regardless of race (1870)
  • First recorded passage of Halley’s Comet (240 BC)
  • All imperial lands, as well as lands belonging to monasteries, were confiscated by the Russian provisional government (1917)
  • US buys Alaska from Russia for $7,200,000, 2 cents an acre, criticized as Seward’s Folly (1867)
  • US President Reagan shot & wounded by John W Hinckley III (1981)
  • US Civil War: Texas becomes last confederate state readmitted to Union (1870)
  • Ether used as an anesthetic for first time (1842)
  • Congress combined East & West Florida into Florida Territory (1812)
  • Pencil with attached eraser patented (1858)
  • Florida territorial government established (1870)
  • WW2: Defecting German pilot delivers a Messerschmidt Me 262A-1 to Americans (1945)
  • Vietnam War: North Vietnamese troops enter South Vietnam (1972)
  • Birth of Moses Maimonides, medieval Jewish scholar (1135)
  • Gandhi announces resistance against Rowlatt Act allowing incarceration without trial in India (1919)
  • Dalai Lama fled China & was granted political asylum in India (1959)

March 31:

  • Thomas P Mundy of Perth Amboy, New Jersey becomes the first black to vote in US (1870)
  • WW2: German Republic gives power to Hitler (1933)
  • Vietnam War: President Johnson denies further action in Vietnam (1965)
  • The massacre of the population of the Greek island of Chios by soldiers of the Ottoman Empire following a rebellion attempt (1822)
  • Eiffel Tower officially opens in Paris, tallest man-made structure for 41 years (1889)
  • US Civil War: Confederacy takes over mint at New Orleans (1861)
  • First daylight savings time in US goes into effect (1918)
  • Vietnam War: US orders the first combat troops to Vietnam (1965)
  • During British Civil War, English Parliament makes the Humble Petition to Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell offering him the crown: he declines (1657)
  • Ferdinand and Isabella banished all Jews from Spain who did not convert to Christianity (1492)
  • Bernard of Clairvaux preaches his famous sermon in a field at Vézelay, urging the necessity of a Second Crusade. Louis VII is present, and joins the Crusade (1146)

April 1:

  • English pranksters begin popularizing the annual tradition of April Fools’ Day by playing practical jokes on each other (1700)
  • Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs found Apple Computer in the garage of Jobs’ parents house in Cupertino, California (1976)
  • Samuel Morey patents internal combustion engine (1826)
  • US Air Force Academy forms (1954)
  • Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute, in Washington DC. opened to train and teach freed slaves (1868)
  • Ayatollah Khomeini calls for an Islamic Republic in Iran (1974)
  • US Civil War: First wartime conscription law in US goes into effect (1863)
  • WW2: Nazi Germany begins persecution of Jews by boycotting Jewish businesses (1933)
  • US Civil War: Battle of 5 Forks Virginia, signalling end of Lee’s army (1865)
  • US President Richard Nixon signs bill limiting cigarette advertisements (1970)
  • WW2: US forces invade Okinawa (1945)
  • WW2: Nazis forbid Jews access to cafés (1941)
  • WW2: Heinrich Himmler becomes Police Commander of Germany (1933)
  • Bonnie & Clyde kill 2 police officers turning public against them (1934)
  • US Supreme Court rules jurors cannot be barred from serving due to race (1991)
  • US Civil War: Shenandoah Valley campaign (1862)
  • First Jewish immigrants to Israel disembark at Port of Eilat (1947)
  • First radio tube made of metal announced (1935)
  • US Navy takes over Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay (1941)
  • Weight Watchers forms (1946)
  • Cotton Mather’s four-day-old son dies, and witchcraft is blamed (1693)
  • International Exhibition opens in Paris (1867)
  • First dish washing machine marketed (1889)
  • New Orleans businessman Oliver Pollock creates the “$” symbol (1778)
  • Ruins of Pompeii rediscovered by Spaniard Rocque Joaquin de Alcubierre (1748)

April 2:

  • Assemblies of God organized (1914)
  • Mordecai Ham, evangelist who led Billy Graham to Christ, was born (1877)
  • “Electric Theatre”, the first full-time movie theater in the United States, opens in Los Angeles, California (1902)
  • The Coinage Act is passed establishing the United States Mint and authorizing the $10 Eagle, $5 half-Eagle & 2.50 quarter-Eagle gold coins & silver dollar, ½ dollar, quarter, dime & half-dime (1792)
  • US Civil War: Confederate President Jefferson Davis flees Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia (1865)
  • WW1: US President Wilson asks Congress to declare war against Germany (1917)
  • Explorer Juan Ponce de León claims Florida for Spain as the first known European to reach Florida (1513)
  • Jeannette Rankin begins her term as first woman member of US House of Representatives (1917)
  • Vietnam War: Thousands of civilian refugees flee from the Quang Ngai Province in front of advancing North Vietnamese troops (1975)
  • Albert Einstein lectures in New York City on his new “Theory of Relativity” (1921)
  • First Easter egg roll held on White House lawn (1877)
  • Charles Lindbergh turns over $50,000 as ransom for kidnapped son (1932)
  • 4 US passengers killed by bomb at TWA counter Athens Airport Greece (1986)
  • London prison for debtors closed (1884)
  • Mills Committee declares baseball was invented by Abner Doubleday (1908)
  • Teenage girl strikes out Babe Ruth & Lou Gehrig in an exhibition game in Chattanooga, Tennessee (1931)

Ten Things I Love About Spring

by Carole Brown

Spring, for me, is edging up close to number one as an all time favorite season. Could be the older I get, the less I enjoy wintry outdoor activities, or could be I’m just a baby about the cold. Whatever the reason, Spring is blooming in my heart!

Here’s my list of reasons why, in no specific order:

  1. Warm weather. Yeah, that. Cold winter winds that blow your features to a different location on your head is certainly not my cup of tea. sunshine free
  2. Sunshine. Love sitting outdoors, closing my eyes, and lifting my face toward the sun. Wonderful feeling of life through my body!sun free
  1. Lighter clothes. Yes, I love my sweatshirts and sweaters and boots. But shedding them for lighter shirts and sweaters and cute summer shoes is a definite feeling of freedom. It’s time to sport about in my favorite spring colors again: coral and aqua! Light, fun, and springy!clothing spring colors free
  2. Outdoor activities. Whether it’s once again picking up the walking/running or work on the property or grilling or gardening, it’s great to be outdoors again!garden tools free
  3. Gardening. It’s once again time to get ready for our vegetable garden. Hubby built raised gardens for me. Much smaller than we use to do, but enough for us, and we love picking cucumbers and tomatoes and broccoli (and strawberries!) fresh from our own work.garden strawberries free
  4. Flowers. I can barely wait to see the first flowers peeking through the soil and blossoming with determination and spreading their own type of joy to beholders. I’ve been asked before what’s my favorite, but that’s hard for me to pinpoint. I love them all.flowers spring free
  5. Grilling. Yeah, it’s time to cook outdoors again. One of my very favorite things to do is use my grill and come up with some interesting, different, and sometimes new menus. Awesome dinners.Grilling penquin free
  6. Leaves. Love the clothes the trees wrap around themselves when spring arrives. Those fresh, light green colors promise fun times are ahead.leaves trees free
  7. Holidays.

Easter is a holiday I enjoy. I appreciate the meaning and the feeling of renewal I always sense. I’m humbled at the love God had for us to send his Son to die for us. 

And later in the spring, knowing I no longer have my father and/or mother, I enjoy remembering them and all the reasons I loved them during Mother and Father Day Sundays. Easter free

10.  Lastly, it’s time to start planning for some spring and summer adventures. Whether at the beach, mountains, or wherever else our interests take us, it’s sure to be an amazing time. Spending time exploring, re-enjoying favorite vacation spots, and discovering new adventures with family and friends is a true gift from God. beach3 free

What’s not to love?

Do you have a favorite season? Why is that? 

Have a great Spring and Summer.

Iny, Miny, Miney, Moe…An Agent–or Not!

By Carole Brown

So you think you want an agent?

A writer is just that a writer. But he/she can, and many times are more than that.

  • Marketer. Sometimes a writer will find they’re very good at marketing. Learning what works and what doesn’t takes determination, attention, and perseverance.
  • Publisher. So you’re cheap. Or detail oriented. Or savvy with computer programs. Whatever. Many times writers find publishing your work is easier, better for you–timewise and moneywise–than working with an established publisher.

So do you need an agent? Here’s a few thoughts to help you make a decision:

Pros:

  • Literary agents have excellent industry contacts and most times good working relationships with editors and publishers.The level of trust between them gives them the confidence to work together comfortably. A really good agent can improve your chances of being published. Remember: publication is not guaranteed.
  • They know editors and publishers and that makes it easier to contact them. Editors and Publishers many times refuse to accept submissions unless agent-sent.
  • Agents have experience in the industry that enables them to negotiate favorable contracts and deals that won’t cheat you out of your royalties. They know their way around author-y contracts.
  • If need be and problems arise, they act as mediators between authors and publishing houses, softening constructive criticism, negotiating when contract problems interfere, and guarding that you aren’t robbed of your rights, regarding international publication and film rights.

Literary agent cons

  • Your literary agent will take between 10-15% of your royalties, depending on where in the world you are. If you go it alone, all the royalties will be yours.
  • You’ll have to wait twice as long before your book is published, this is because you first have to find a literary agent, who will make you jump through some hoops before sending your book to a publishing house, which will make you jump through some more hoops.
  • Again, if you are knowledgeable, you can “do the work” yourself
  • There’s always the risk of unreliable agents who will stiff you for work undone, for tasks unneeded and/or for small, meaningless tasks.

So, do you need an agent? That’s up to you. Just be sure to do your homework. Decide what your writing journey is and follow that journey. You’ll be glad you did.

March is read a book month! (But then, I think all months are “read a book” month!) Why not try a super fun and interesting new book?

With Music in their Hearts is a WWII spy book that is filled with music, teasing, romance and suspense!

One reader has this to say about this book:

With Music In Their Hearts is a mystery romance. This is the most adorable mystery ever! Emma Jaine is a strong character and I really like her. Not only does she run a boarding house, but she also takes care of her father and two younger sisters. She’s a spunky and pretty woman, and a few men at the boarding house are attracted to her.

Tyrell is a good-looking man and absolutely adorable when he teases and flirts with Emma Jaine. He is a reverend, a minister of a nearby church, but at the same time he’s an undercover agent for the government. His flirtations with Emma are appropriate for a minister and you can see the attraction between the two. I love the mystery that goes along with the romance. Romance and mystery make a book so much fun to read.

Book Review of 30 AD

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

30 AD

by Ted Dekker

A sweeping epic set in the harsh deserts of Arabia and ancient Palestine.

A war that rages between kingdoms on the earth and in the heart.
The harrowing journey of the woman at the center of it all.
Step back in time to the year of our Lord…A.D. 30.
The outcast daughter of one of the most powerful Bedouin sheikhs in Arabia, Maviah is called on to protect the very people who rejected her. When their enemies launch a sudden attack with devastating consequences, Maviah escapes with the help of two of her father’s warriors–Saba who speaks more with is sword than his voice and Judah, a Jew who comes from a tribe that can read the stars. Their journey will be fraught with terrible danger. If they can survive the vast forbidding sands of a desert that is deadly to most, they will reach a brutal world subjugated by kings and emperors. There Maviah must secure an unlikely alliance with King Herod of the Jews.
But Maviah’s path leads her unexpectedly to another man. An enigmatic teacher who speaks of a way in this life which offers greater power than any kingdom. His name is Yeshua, and his words turn everything known on its head. Though following him may present even greater danger, his may be the only way for Maviah to save her people–and herself.

My Review: ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

This epic Biblical adventure will keep you on the edge of your seat as you follow Maviah, both slave and queen, as she tries to save her father’s kingdom. What makes it more interesting is she encounters the King of Kings who changes her life forever. I love Biblical fiction that focuses on a fictional character who skirts around the Biblical accounts. I highly recommend this book.