About Tamera Lynn Kraft

Tamera Lynn Kraft has always loved adventures and writes Christian historical fiction set in America because there are so many adventures in American history. She is married to the love of her life, has two grown children, and lives in Akron, Ohio. Soldier’s Heart and A Christmas Promise are two of her historical novellas that have been published. She has received 2nd place in the NOCW contest, 3rd place TARA writer’s contest, and is a finalist in the Frasier Writing Contest.

Guest Author Sharyn Kopf – Are You Ready to Share Your Story

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Today I’m welcoming author, editor, and ghost writer Sharyn Kopf as my guest author. Sharyn didn’t discover her voice until she found a way to turn grief into hope. For her, that meant realizing it was okay to be sad about her singleness. In doing so, she was finally able to move past her grief and find hope in God.

It also meant writing about the heartaches and hopes of being an older single woman. She published her first novel, Spinstered, in 2014, and a companion nonfiction version titled Spinstered: Surviving Singleness After 40 in 2015. Book two, Inconceived, was finished in 2016, and she plans to release the final novel in the trilogy, Altared, over Labor Day weekend. Her work has also appeared in numerous publications including Chicken Soup for the Soul and Splickety Love magazine.

Besides writing and speaking, Sharyn is an editor and marketing professional. She loves to connect with readers and singles on Facebook or email and has plans to start a monthly newsletter soon. In her spare time, she enjoys goofing off with her nieces and nephews, making—and eating!—the best fudge ever, long hikes through the woods, and playing the piano.

Are You Ready to Share Your Story?

by Sharyn Kopf

They say—and, to be honest, I’m not sure who “they” are, but I still quote them on occasion—that everyone has a story. And, really, it’s true. I have a story. You have one. We all do. But then what? Should you do something with it?

Let’s start with five questions you need to answer in deciding if you should turn your tale into a book:

  1. Why do I want to tell my story?
  2. Who is my audience?
  3. What do I want to say … and what do I need to say?
  4. Is this a story that can be told in a new way? Or is it something we’ve read before?
  5. Am I the one to write it?

Each question is important, but regardless of your answers to the first four, if you respond to the fifth with a no, that’s where I come in. I help people take their story from idea to manuscript.

My name is Sharyn Kopf, and I’m a writer/journalist and editor with over thirty years of experience. Besides writing for newspapers, magazines, radio and TV, I co-authored and edited an autobiography a few years ago, have edited numerous published manuscripts, and, so far, have written, edited and published four books of my own.

Whether it’s starting from scratch or using your notes, diaries and/or interviews, I would work with you until we have a completed manuscript. Here’s the basic process:

We’d begin with a phone call. At that time, we’d discuss your budget, come up with a plan, and determine your answers to those first four questions. This lets me know what kind of book you want to end up with.

Next, you would need to send me any materials you already have. Once I go through that, I’ll contact you about additional interviews, whether with you or with others connected to your story. Of course, if you don’t have anything, our next step would be setting up interviews.

Once the research is done and the information has been collected, I’d start writing. Throughout the process, I’d keep in contact, whether it’s sending you chapters, asking questions to fill in the blanks or keeping you updated on my progress. Your level of involvement, of course, would be up to you.

Once the manuscript is written, I would do one final round of edits. After that, I recommend you find another editor for another run-through. The more eyes you have on it, the better it will be!

Though my rates are reasonable, they do reflect the level of time and expertise that would go into the work. However, we can complete the project at whatever speed best fits your budget.

If you’re interested in contacting me about your story, please email Sharyn Kopf at sharynkopf@gmail.com.

Inconceived

Realizing you’re a spinster is one thing; understanding what that means and how to handle it is another. And it would seem Jolene, Uli and Catie still have a ways to go before they truly comprehend what God is trying to show them, not only in their desire to marry but in their longing to have children of their own.

As one relationship ends and another begins, Jolene Woods realizes she needs to finally deal with the guilt and regret of her past if she’s ever going to move on. So she embarks on a journey she hopes will bring forgiveness but may, in fact, only lead to more regret. Did the sins of her youth forever destroy her chance to be a mother?

Uli Odell has her own journey, though it’s more of an escape from the pain and embarrassment of a broken engagement. She ends up at her mother’s home in Iowa, separated from her friends and desperate for money. But there are some problems she just can’t run away from.

Though Catie’s heart is in a stronger place since she met God on a mountain three months ago, she still doesn’t have answers to many of her questions. Then the possibility of an unhealthy relationship and the reality of a life-altering medical diagnosis makes her wonder if she’s figured out anything at all.

As their lives head off in different directions, each of these friends will need God—and each other—to find their way to healing.

You find it at this link.

Review of No One to Trust by Lynette Eason

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Today I’m reviewing a Christian romantic suspense novel by Lynette Eason. Here’s a blurb about the novel.

No One to Trust

Book #1 Hidden Identity Series

by Lynette Eason

Summer Abernathy must run for her life when she wakes up to find her husband Kyle missing, three men in her home intent on finding him, and the life she’s been living based on a lie.

 

My Review:  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

Wow! From the first word of this suspense filled novel, I was hooked. It’s fast paced roller-coaster ride of a husband and wife running from mobsters never stopped. Interwoven in the story was a story of betrayal and redemption. Summer’s husband has been lying to her about who he is through their entire marriage. She finds out the truth as they’re running for their lives, but she can’t leave him if she wants to live. I loved how this novel kept me guessing with twists and turns along the way. I highly recommend this novel and can’t wait to read more by Eason.

How Camp Meetings Ushered in the Second Great Awakening

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

The year was 1800. Within the last 30 years, the United States had become a nation, adopted a Constitution.  Within the last year, it had elected its second president, John Adams. An unusual church service in Red River, Kentucky near the border of Tennessee ushered in a move of God called the Second Great Awakening that would sweep the nation for years to come.

A series of meetings was organized in June by Presbyterian minister James
McGready, and many Presbyterian and Methodists ministers took part. Because
many other congregations located along Muddy River and Gasper River planned to
attend, it was decided the meeting would be held outside near the Red River
Meeting House. This was the first “camp meeting” reportedly held in the United
States.

The services were well attending and were like many revival meetings of the time. On the last day of services, as William Hodge was preaching, a woman stood and started shouting praises to God. Soon others joined her. The service ended, but nobody was willing to leave. Mr. Hodge, according to an account by Methodist minister, John McGee, “felt such a power come on him that he quit his seat and sat down in the floor of the pulpit.” At that point McGee began to tremble, and the congregation started weeping. Revival broke out as people started shouting, and the floor was covered with those who had been slain in the Spirit (an occurrence where people are overwhelmed by God and can no longer stand).

A letter from McGready described the service.

“In June, the sacrament was administered at Red River. This was the greatest time we had ever seen before. On Monday multitudes were struck down under awful conviction; the cries of the distressed filled the whole house. There you might see profane swearers, and sabbath breakers pricked to the heart, and crying out, ‘what shall we do to be saved?’ There frolicers, and dancers crying for mercy. There you might see little children of ten, eleven and twelve years of age, praying and crying for redemption, in the blood of Jesus, in agonies of distress. During this sacrament, and until the Tuesday following, ten persons we believe, were savingly brought home to Christ.”

After the Red River Camp Meeting, other meetings were held where people would travel long distances and camp at the site. Camp Meetings spread throughout Kentucky, Tennessee, and Southern Ohio in what became known as the Revival of 1800. McGready travelled well into October where even bad weather didn’t keep people away.

Rankin House

John Rankin also started camp meetings into Tennessee and North Carolina with many of the same results. Later he settled in Ripley, Ohio where he conducted an underground railroad station from his house. He claimed over 1,000 escaped slaves that made their way to freedom went through his home.

In 1801, Methodist preacher Barton Stone attended one of the camp meetings near Red River. He decided to organize his own camp meeting in Cane Ridge, Kentucky in 1801. 20,000 people attended, and again, revival broke out. Over the next year, more than 10,000 people visited Cane Ridge services where unusual moves of God were reported.

One feature of these camp meeting revivals was the presence and conversion of blacks, many of whom were slaves. Women, children, and blacks were also allowed to participate as exhorters, lay people who preached impromptu sermons encouraging others.

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 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.