Patriotic Themed FB Christian Fiction Lovers Party

by Tamera Lynn Kraft


Join 8 Authors with Patriotic Themed Novels honoring the United States of America for Independence Day

Click this Link to Join!

Grand Prize: $50 Amazon Card
Runner Up Prize: 9 Christian Novels featuring patriotic themes or set during Independence Day (may be eBook or paperback)

HOW TO ENTER:
• Click you will attend the party.
• Share the party on your timeline.
• Comment on a post by any 2 authors during the party.

All 9 authors will be at the party and may give out additional prizes which will be announced at the end of the party. Individual authors will post requirements for each individual prize.
5:30 – 6:00 H.L. Wegley
6:00 – 6:30 Saundra Staats McLemore
6:30 – 7:00 Lena Nelson Dooley
7:00 – 7:30 Elaine Marie Cooper
7:30 – 8:00 Carla Olson Gade
8:00 – 8:30 Amber Schamel
8:30 – 9:00 Sandra Merville Hart
9:00 – 9:30 Tamera Lynn Kraft
9:30 – 10:00 Announce winners

Guest Author Leeann Betts – Choosing a Setting

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Today we welcome Leeann Betts to Word Sharpeners. Leeann Betts contemporary suspense, while her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, pens historical suspense. She has released five titles in her cozy mystery series, By the Numbers, with Hidden Assets releasing the end of June. In addition, Leeann has written a devotional for accountants, bookkeepers, and financial folk, Counting the Days, and with her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, has published a book on writing, Nuggets of Writing Gold, a compilation of essays, articles, and exercises on the craft. She publishes a free quarterly newsletter that includes a book review and articles on writing and books of interest to readers and writers. You can subscribe at www.LeeannBetts.com or follow Leeann at www.AllBettsAreOff.wordpress.com All books are available on Amazon.com in digital and print.

Choosing a Setting

By Leeann Betts

With so many great places to set a book, how do authors go about selecting that perfect location that is not merely a backdrop to the plot but actually becomes an integral character?

For me, I go about this two ways: I either know the story and choose the setting based on what’s going to happen in the story; or I know the location and want to set a good story there.

For example, in my first book, No Accounting for Murder, since I’m familiar with small East Coast towns (I lived in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia before emigrating to the US), and because the culture in a small East Coast town is completely different than a city, I knew I wanted to set a story in such a place. That culture not only defines what happens in the story, it also defines the characters.

However, when it came to the setting for the next book, There was a Crooked Man, this was borne because my pastor was contemplating buying a property in New Mexico and turning it into a retreat center for pastors.

Having my main character, Carly Turnquist, start out in her town of Bear Cove, Maine, then travel to New Mexico meant I wanted the next book to be set back in Bear Cove, which is why Unbalanced was set around not only that small-town lifestyle and mindset, but also the larger regional city which tends to govern and sometimes bully the smaller towns.

And then we come to Book 4, Five and Twenty Blackbirds, which releases April 30th. In this adventure, Carly and husband Mike visit the area where my dad and step-mother were married. While I prefer setting my books in fictional towns, Raven Valley is fashioned after the town of Cave Creek, Arizona. Both my father and step-mother are now with the Lord, so when I read this story, I feel their presence and influence on my life, for which I am grateful.

Broke, Busted, and Disgusted was set back in Bear Cove, but this time I branched out a little into the surrounding countryside, which was fun. I love creating new worlds, even though I based it on what I knew about Maine.

And my most recent release, Hidden Assets, which comes out June 30th, was set at a B&B in eastern Wyoming and a small town in western Nebraska. We had been there recently, and I love the area, which is why I chose it. We are also choosing to stay at B&B’s booked through an online source because they are generally cheaper and nicer than motels, plus we get to meet some interesting people. One time, we met a man bicycling from Anchorage Alaska to Ohio for his 50th high school reunion. I think I’ll be putting him in a book soon.

Please leave a comment about connections you have with particular settings, whether in books you’ve written or books you’ve read.

Hidden Assets

Carly Turnquist, forensic accountant, responds to a call from her friend, Anne, who is in the middle of a nasty divorce, and travels to Wyoming to help find assets Anne thinks her husband has stolen. But the mystery begins before Carly even arrives when she sees a man thrown off a train. Except there’s no body. Husband Mike uncovers an illegal scam in a computer program he has been asked to upgrade, and then Anne is arrested for her ex’s murder. Can Carly figure out what’s going on, and why a strange couple is digging in Anne’s basement? Or will she disappear along with the artwork, coins, and money?

5 Things You Should Know about the Liberty Bell

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

The Liberty Bell is a symbol of freedom for the United States. On it is inscribed, “Proclaim Liberty thro’ all the Land to all the Inhabitants thereof.” An interesting fact about the Liberty Bell is that it was procured by Philadelphia long before the colonies were fighting for their independence, and it did not ring on July 4th, 1776 when the Declaration of Independence was signed.

Origin of the Bell: In 1751, Philadelphia needed a new larger bell to ring when proclamations were made and when citizens needed to be warned of danger.  Issac Norris, speaker of the Philadelphia Provincial Assembly contracted with London to have a 2,000 pound bell made. It arrived in August, 1752, but when it rang for the first time, the rim cracked. Two local founders, John Pass and John Stow, recast the bell with their names engraved on it and got it ready to for use in 1753. The bell was used for public meetings and to summon people to church services. In 1772, some complained that the bell rang too often.

Proclamation of Independence: When the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4th, 1776, there was no public proclamation made, so no bells rang to announce it. The public proclamation was made on July 8th. Many bells rang that day, and although the Liberty Bell was not specifically mentioned, it may have been one of those bells. Bells were also rung to celebrate the one year anniverserary of Independence on July 4th, 1777.

After General Washington’s defeat at the Battle of Brandywine in September, 1777, the bell was removed and hidden below church floorboards in Allentown to keep it from falling into the hands of the British and melted down as munitions. After the British departed, it was returned to Philidelphia in 1778 and placed in storage until 1784 when it was rung again on 4th of July’s, Washington’s birthday, and election days.

The Famous Crack: Nobody knows how the bell was cracked, but in February, 1846, the Public Ledger announced that the bell could not be rung for George Washington’s birthday because of the crack and that the crack had been there for some time. The most common story is the bell cracked in 1835 when it rang during the funeral of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall, but in 1837, the bell was used as a symbol for an anti-slavery campaign and the crack wasn’t mentioned.

The Bell’s Name: The bell was first called the Liberty Bell in a New York anti-slavery journal in 1835 when it became a symbol for the abolitionist movement. In 1853, US President Franklin Pierce called the Liberty Bell a symbol of American Revolution and American Liberty. In 1865, after President Lincoln was assasinated, the bell was placed by his head so everyone who passed could read the inscription, “Proclaim Liberty thro’ all the Land to all the Inhabitants thereof.” From that point on, it was always called the Liberty Bell.

In 1876, a committee considered repairing the Liberty Bell for the Centennial Celebration of Independence, but it was decided that the crack was so much a part of the symbol of the bell, it shouldn’t be tampered with. Through the years, the bell traveled to exhibitions until the crack got much worse. Repairs were made, and it was retired to Independence Hall in Philadelphia.

The Bell’s Last Toll: The bell was tapped in 1915 and again during World War II on D-Day, VE-Day, and VJ-Day, but it hasn’t been tapped since. Throughout our nation’s history, it has been known a symbol for liberty throughout the land.

The Shot Heard Around the World

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

The United States of America didn’t start with a whisper or a riot. It started with a bang. The bang was a shot fired by a British rifle and known as the shot heard around the world.

After the Intolerable Acts resulted in uniting the American Colonies, tensions grew between the Americans and the British. Three colonists at the forefront of the fight for Independence were John and Samuel Adams, and John Hancock. The British planned to raid military supplies at Concord and arrest the Adams’ brothers and Hancock. Paul Revere, Robert Newman, along with Dawes and Prescott, carried a signal to warn them when the British invaded.

On April 18, 1775, Paul Revere rode through Lexington and Concord sounding the alarm. He hung two lanterns from the church-steeple in Boston to show the British were headed to Concord. He also warned Hancock and Adams at Reverend Jonas Clark’s parsonage in Lexington. The patriots escaped before the British got there.

As Revere and his men rode through the countryside, minutemen (men who were ready at a minute’s notice) came out in droves. The British reached concord at 5:00 am. A fight began when four hundred and fifty Americans rallied to meet the British. The fighting took place between two detachments at the North Bridge, where “one the embattled farmers stood, and fired the shot heard round the world.”

American Captain Isaac Davis was killed at the first shot. The British detachment retreated in disorder. As they marched toward Lexington, they were exposed to constant guerilla fire by minutemen. Militia were ready for them as they reached Lexington at 2:00 pm. Ninety-three Americans were killed wounded and missing that day. The British lost two hundred and seventy-three men. The Revolutionary War had begun.

The Day I Saw an Angel and Didn’t Know It

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

I was a poor nineteen year old college student on my way home from Sunday night service. I didn’t have any money, and the car was on empty. It wouldn’t have mattered if I did have money. It was after 9:00 at night, and this was the late 1970s, the time when gas shortages caused gas stations to close by 6:00 if they didn’t run out of gas. I went to church by faith praying I wouldn’t run out of gas until I got home.

The car sputtered then stopped. I sat in the car for a few moments considering my options. I didn’t have a cell phone in those days. Only rich people had car phones, and they were the size of today’s laptops. It was after dark, so walking to the nearest gas station was not something I looked forward to. Even if I did walk there, a couple of miles away, I couldn’t get gas at that hour – even if I had money.

I could have used the phone booth at the gas station to make a call. I was sure I could find a quarter in the ash tray or under the seat. But the idea of walking out there in the dark didn’t appeal to me.

Lord, what am I going to do?

It was at that moment a group of guys drove up. They were obviously drunk or high, and from the cat calls and whistles they made, I had no trouble discerning what they really were after.

“You run out of gas?” one guy slurred. “We can drive you to the station.”

“No, that’s all right,” I called from inside the closed window.

They shrugged and drove off. I let out a sigh of relief, but a few minutes later they came back.

The first guy, obviously the leader, got out of the car this time and banged on my window. “Give us some money, and will bring back some gas for you.”

“Someone’s coming to pick me up,” I lied hoping they would leave me alone. No such luck.

A couple of others were out of the car by now pounding on the window as hard as my heart was beating. “Come on. Let us in. We’re trying to help you.”

“No, thanks. I’m fine.”

They got in their car and drove away.

At this point, I was shaking. I knew they’d be back, and this time, they wouldn’t take no for an answer. Lord, please help me.

A police car pulled onto the road. I was sure this was my answer to prayer. I honked my horn and flashed my lights, but the car drove away. I couldn’t believe it. I knew the cop saw me, but he didn’t stop. I was on one side of the city line, and he was working for the other city. Still, he could have stopped. He had to know I needed his help.

A chill went through me. A weight rested on my chest, and I had to remind myself to breathe. My eyes darted along the street as I looked for a place to hide, a tree, a bush. No houses to run to for help, only businesses after hours.

The back of my throat ached.

Lord, you are my strength and salvation. You are my ever present help in time of trouble. Please, help me. I don’t know what to do.

A car drove up, and a man got out and walked up to the window. To this day, I couldn’t tell you what the man looked like, but a peace came over me. I wasn’t afraid anymore.

“Come with me, and I’ll get you some gas.” That’s all he said.

I didn’t take frivolous chances. I was careful about going with people I didn’t know, but it seemed like the most natural thing in the world to go with him. I didn’t even think about it. I got into his car.

The man drove down the street and turned on a gravel road. I examined where the road was so I could look for it later. At the end of the road was an old barn. The man went into the barn and came out carrying a five gallon gas tank, then he drove me back to my car and filled it up. I had a twenty gallon tank, and he filled it until the needle was on full. Then he drove away.

The next day, I drove to where the man had pulled off the road. My intention was to thank him, but the gravel road wasn’t there. I couldn’t find it. That’s when I realized he was an angel sent by God. The full gas tank lasted six months with me driving for miles every day.

I often wondered why God didn’t have the angel fill up my tank right there without me going with him. I think I’ve come up with two reasons. First God wanted me to know He was the one who rescued me supernaturally. Second, the car full of guys might have come back while I was gone. When they saw I wasn’t there, they drove off.

For what it’s worth, this story is true. You can come to your own conclusions about the man who filled my gas tank. I know what I believe.

 

Was George Washington a Christian?

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Throughout history, people have known the founding father of the United States, George Washington was a man of faith. Recently his reputation as a Christian has been tarnished, not because any new documents have been discovered, but because some historians are going out of their way to prove our founding fathers did not rely upon God. It has become politically incorrect to consider George Washington as any more than a Deist, someone who believes in a distant God who doesn’t interfere with the plans of man.

This theory became popular in 1963, when Professor Paul Boller wrote a book, George Washington and Religion. Professor Boller wrote, “Broadly speaking, of course, Washington can be classified as a Deist.” But the evidence that Washington was more than a Deist is overwhelming. To debunk this theory, Peter A. Lillback wrote a biography based on fifteen years of research called George Washington’s Sacred Fire.

Here’s a few things that prove George Washington had a strong Christian faith in God:

At age thirteen, Washington transcribed and memorized 110 Rules for Young Gentlemen, written by Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits in the 1590’s. They teach man is God’s servant who lives not for self, but for others. They became a part of his character.

When Washington was twenty, he wrote prayers to say each morning and evening. On Sunday mornings he prayed, “…pardon, I beseech Thee, my sins; remove them from Thy presence, as far as the east is from the west, and accept me for the merits of Thy son, Jesus Christ…”

Captain Washington, at the age of twenty-three, was caught in a surprise ambush by the French and Indians near what is now Pittsburgh. Every British and American officer was shot but Washington even though he rode numerous times back and forth across the battlefield. He later wrote to his brother, “By the all powerful dispensations of Providence, I have been protected beyond all human probability or expectation, for I had four bullets through my coat, and two horses shot under me, yet escaped unhurt, although death was leveling my companions on every side of me.” Later, Indians testified they had singled Washington out, but their bullets had no effect on him. They were convinced an Invisible Power was protecting him.

As Commander and Chief of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, on July 2, 1776, General Washington told his troops: “The fate of unborn millions will now depend, under God, on the courage of this army. Our cruel and unrelenting enemy leaves us only the choice of brave resistance or the most abject submission. We have therefore to resolve to conquer or die.”

As Commander and Chief, he pushed for army chaplains and required church attendance among the soldiers.

Seven weeks later, British General Howe had trapped Washington and his 8,000 troops on Brooklyn Heights, ready to crush them the next morning. Washington gathered every vessel from fishing to row boats and spent all night ferrying his army across the East River. By morning many troops were still exposed to the British. This gave the British a chance to win the war. But the fog that almost always lifts from the river in the mornings, that day, stayed thick and covered Washington’s retreat until the entire army escaped.

In 1777 at Valley Forge, a dozen soldiers died a day in the freezing cold. They lacked supplies such as blankets or shoes. A Quaker named Isaac Potts reported seeing Washington on his knees in the snow praying aloud for his beloved country. He thanked God for exalting him to the head of a great nation which was fighting at fearful odds. Potts told his wife, “Till now I have thought that a Christian and a solider were characters incompatible, but if George Washington not be a man of God I am mistaken, and still more I shall be disappointed in God does not through him perform some great thing for this country.”

On May 5, 1778 Washington learned the French would join America as allies. The General told his troops, “It having pleased the Almighty Ruler of the universe to defend the cause of the United American States, and finally to raise up a powerful friend among the princes of the earth, to establish our liberty, and independence upon a lasting foundation, it becomes us to set apart a day for gratefully acknowledging the divine goodness…”

While encamped on the banks of a river, Washington was approached by Delaware Indian chiefs who desired their youth be trained in American schools. In Washington’s response, he first told them that “Congress… will look on them as on their own children.” He then commended the chiefs for their decision: You do well to wish to learn our arts and our ways of life and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are. Congress will do everything they can to assist you in this wise intention.

In 1781, General Washington’s southern army defeated a detachment of British troops. Lord Cornwallis was infuriated and began pursuing the outnumbered Americans. He waited the night at the Catawba River, which the U.S. troops had crossed just two hours earlier. Miraculously, a storm arose during the night causing the river to be uncrossable for five days. Cornwallis nearly overtook Americans at the Yadkin River, but another flood arose, allowing Americans to escape.

The French navy seized control of the Chesapeake Aug. 30, 1781, driving out British ships. Washington rejoiced and besieged Cornwallis’ stronghold at Yorktown. With no ships to escape upon, Cornwallis surrendered.

Washington wrote Congress, “I take a particular pleasure in acknowledging that the interposing Hand of Heaven…has been most conspicuous and remarkable.”

During the oath of office, when Washington became president, he chose to take the oath with a Bible. As president, Washington often spoke on the importance of prayer and signed the first official Thanksgiving Day Proclamation in US history. It is clear that faith in God was very important to President Washington and that he was a Christian.

7 Reasons Why My Husband is a Good Dad

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Father’s Day will be here in a little over a week, so I thought I’d share why I think my husband is a great dad to our children and how young fathers can emulate his example.

My husband was a great dad to our children. We have grown son and daughter, both married, who don’t live with us. Although they’ve struggled at times, my children have grown up to become responsible adults who love the Lord.

Jonathan and Jenna

 

My son is married and has two sons of his own. He is also a terrific husband and father. He supports his family working as a real estate agent and ministers at his church.

Veronica and DariusMy daughter is married. She will be finishing her Master’s Degree in clinical mental health counseling in December. She currently is an intern at Emerge Christian Counseling Center. She and her godly husband are very involved in their church.

 

Much of the reason my children are who they are is because of their dad. Here’s some of the things he’s done while they were growing up.

He spent time with them. My son and his dad would go to airplane shows, for walks in the park, and to look at race cars together. These were interests my son had, and my husband would take the time to encourage those interests. My daughter and her father would go on dates together. He would do what she wanted to do. That usually meant going out to eat, then going to a romantic movie or shopping. My husband doesn’t like chick flics or shopping, but he loved doing these things with his daughter.

He taught them things. My son knows basic carpentry, home maintenance, and how to do minor car repairs because his father taught him whenever he was doing something around the house. It would have been easier for my husband to fix a car or patch a wall without explaining every step to my son and allowing him to do some of it, but he understood that a good father teaches his children. He also taught my daughter many things like how to change a tire and how a man should treat her on a date.

He prayed with them. Whenever my children had any concerns growing up, my husband would have the same response. “Let’s pray about this.” My children learned that whenever they have a problem, the first response is prayer. To this day, when they have a problem, they will call their dad and hear him say, “Let’s pray.”

AsherHe was a godly example. My husband didn’t get saved until we had been married sixteen years. But even before that, he was a man of integrity. He was always where he said he would be, and I never had to worry about him being unfaithful. After he was saved, he stepped it up a notch by being a godly example in everything he did. He didn’t act one way at church and another way at home. Our children saw what it means to be a Christian by watching my husband.

weddingHe’s a wonderful husband. My husband loves me and shows me respect. He listens to me and supports me. And he’s faithful to me. This is one of the best things a dad can do for his children. He showed my son how to be a good husband, and he showed my daughter what a good husband looks like.

He was a strict disciplinarian. My husband showed his children love, but he also expected certain types of behavior from them. When they failed to meet the mark, there would be consequences. This also showed his love for them because it taught them that morality is the best way and that there are consequences in life.

He taught them life isn’t fair. When my children were growing up, sometimes they would complain that some decision my husband made wasn’t fair or something that happened with their teachers or friends wasn’t fair. Sometimes they were wrong. Sometimes it was fair. But sometimes they were right. Sometimes things happened that weren’t fair.

My husband’s favorite saying during those times was “Life’s not fair.” And it’s true. Life is not fair. Dads help their children most when they teach them this principle. Children need to learn to deal with the unfairness of life without becoming bitter or pessimistic. My husband taught my children that life’s not fair, but that doesn’t give them the excuse to be unfair or unkind or to rebel against authority.

I’d enjoy hearing comments about why your husband or father is a good dad.