Tea Party Winners: Carrie Fancett Pagels's winner per random.org is Brenda , Tamera Lynn Kraft's winner is: Connie, Shannon McNear's winner is: Lucy Reynolds

Monday, January 30, 2012

Interview with Gina Welborn

Gina Welborn

Gina Welborn is the author of “Sugarplum Hearts” in the Highland Crossings anthology.
Published by: Barbour Publishing
Date: February 2012

Gina, what got you interested in the colonial time period?
Fame and fortune. I’d written manuscripts in numerous other time-periods but couldn’t sell them for various reasons, so Laurie Alice asked me if I’d like to join a novella collection about Scottish immigrants. My thoughts immediately went to my name slathered in itty bitty font beneath the names of the other fabulous authors in the collection, which had been a lifelong dream of mine from the second I'd been asked me to join the collection. So I said “absolutely yes!” and totally ignored the fact I knew practically nothing about the colonial era besides what I’d learned from multiple family trips to Jamestown and Yorktown. Since the collection was to be a generational one, I immediately went about praying I would get the last story, preferably, set around 1840. Clearly God, Laurie, Pamela, and Jennifer had better things in mind for me. My novella is set 1790 in the beautiful Fayetteville, North Carolina. In fact, I’ve grown to love the early federalist era so much that I wrote “Sugarplum Hearts” with the intention of someday telling the romances of three (or more) secondary characters in the novella. Feel free to guess which ones as I await fame and fortune to come my way.

What inspired your latest colonial work?
Wikipedia. Carrie, don’t give me that “be serious” look. (CFP: I am giving Gina the Carrie "eye" right now!) Really, Wikipedia. Since what little I knew about the colonial era was from reading “A Patriot’s History of the United States” and from watching Glenn Beck when he was on Fox, I set about googling. Somehow I came across an article about candy-making that resonated with me. When the original plot idea I had wasn’t working out, I called my mentor, friend, and writing partner in this collection, Laurie Alice Eakes. She asked me of all the research I had done, what one thing stood out to me the most. Candy. Sweets. Lemon drops and toffee and marzipan figurines. Her suggestion was to make my hero the immigrant instead of my heroine. We then brainstormed a bit more until I had the basics of plot and main characters.

Do you have a favorite colonial place you like to visit and why?
Gina's mother with two of her children at Jamestown
We live a little over an hour away from Jamestown. In the last ten years we’ve been in Virginia, we’ve taken various extended family members and friends to visit sites all over the state, including Jamestown both before and after the 400th anniversary renovations. The new museum is glamazing! Plus we always have fun playing in the fort, in the native huts, and on the boat replicas. History doesn’t have to be boring. Nor should it! It’s hard to go to any of the museums and reenactment sites in Virginia and not be in awe, fall in love, and have fun no matter what time-period is the focus.

Gina, do you have a favorite colonial recipe you enjoy?  Would you care to share it with CQ readers?  Readers, you can find Gina’s Apple Pie recipe this coming Saturday on CQ.
I love desserts of any time-period. Yum-me. Many of the food items readily accessible to us, such as sugar and refined flour, were expensive and often in short supply during Colonial times so desserts were not an everyday thing. However, many foods we consider desserts were meal-time basics: fruit pies/cobblers/crisps, marmalades, jams, jellies, and candied nuts. Dried and preserved fruit helped many a colonial family through a winter when hunting and fishing were scarce. 

Here’s an overview of Highland Blessings:
Head to historic North Carolina where a brooch unites the lives and loves of four women. Dangerous accusations force Seona to leave Scotland with the brooch in tow, but will she find peace before her past is revealed? Years later, Fiona hopes to recover the brooch only to wind up on the whipping block. Can she trust the man who comes to her rescue? Seren sells the brooch to open a confectionery, but will the precious heirloom be lost to a hopeless dream? When the brooch is stolen, can Brynna reclaim it before she loses something even more valuable?

Here’s the official snippet about Gina's story:
When Scottish broker Finley Sinclair bargains he can sell Seren Cardew’s entire stock of candy for triple the selling price, she thinks he’s out of his newly-immigrated mind. But Seren is desperate to make a go of her fledgling business. With little funds left after selling a treasured family heirloom, Seren knows Finley’s proposal is what’s needed to save her dream. But on the way, he might steal her stock. . .and her heart.

Links to buy Highland Crossings:

Author bio:  Years—okay, eons—ago, Gina Welborn worked in news radio scripting copy until she realized how depressing human tragedy was, so she took up writing romances and now only thinks “It is time for a dead body?” when she’s at a lull in her newest manuscript. This Oklahoma-raised gal now lives in Richmond, Virginia with her youth-pastor husband, their five Okie-Hokie children, and a Sharpador Retriever who doesn’t retrieve much of anything (but he can sit really well). Her first novella, “Sugarplum Hearts,” part of the HIGHLAND CROSSINGS anthology, will be released by Barbour in February 2012. Her second novella, “All Ye Faithful,” in A CASCADES CHRISTMAS release later in 2012. Gina likes to put a spiritual spin on her rambling at www.ginawelborn.com or at www.inkwellinspirations.com, a team blog with eleven other inspirational authors.

Giveaway:  Gina is giving away a copy of Highland Crossings this week.  Leave a comment and your email address to enter in the drawing (next Sunday).

Sunday, January 29, 2012

John Hancock, Depend on God

"Continue steadfast and, with a proper sense of your dependence on God, nobly defend those rights which heaven gave, and no man ought to take from us." John Hancock.

Our dependence on God must be complete. We are to walk by faith, not by sight.

John Hancock's words came at a time when the impossible would soon be done. The United States of America would eventually win the war against the British and become its own nation. You cannot study the history of America and not recognize the faith of the majority of the people--a faith on a God who offered mankind freedom from the tyranny of sin.

While John Hancock's reference was specific to a fight for freedom from the British, each individual will be faced with a choice to be dependent upon God against the taxation of sin on his life or to continue under its tyranny.

Many died during the War of Independence for the freedom of the United States. Christ died for our freedom from sin.

Freedom comes with a price, and when we receive freedom, we set boundaries to maintain that freedom.

The founding fathers of our country established laws by which our country would be governed. Laws that would allow all men to retain certain unalienable rights.

When we, through faith, accept the freedom Christ gives us from our sins, we step across the line of living for the world, for our selves (in essence, being a servant to sin), to abide with Christ as new creatures.

We become dependent on God for all things. We become the servants of righteousness (Romans 6:18). He is our King, our Ruler, our Lord.

When the United States formed, the people living in this land became citizens of a new country and would now be subject to the laws and leadership of this new country.

When we confess our faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ for freedom from our sins, we become citizens of His eternal kingdom, subject to His leadership.

Romans 6:19 "I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness."

Are you depending on God to enable you to resist the tyranny of sin and nobly defend the right Christ gave you to live as citizens of His Kingdom, as servants to righteousness?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Colonial Baby Bottles

I’m currently writing a third novel in a series. The first is The Chamomile that was released by Ingalls Publishing Group in November 2011, and the second that will be released in 2012. The third has a working title of "Cassia." In Cassia, my heroine, Lilyan, rescues a newborn after the mother dies in childbirth. While researching about how Lilyan could manage to feed a newborn after they are abandoned on an island in the Outer Banks, I discovered some really interesting information about baby bottles and thought I’d share.
The word “pap” is supposed to have been derived from the Scandinavian for the sound a baby makes when he opens his mouth to feed. It was first recorded in literature in the mid eighteenth century.
Pap usually included bread, flour, and water. Sometimes mothers would add butter and milk to the pap or cook pap in broth as a milk substitute. Other mixtures included Lisbon sugar, beer, wine, raw meat juices and Castile soap. Sometimes drugs or chamomile tea were added to “soothe the baby.”
To feed these mixtures to babies the “pap boat” was designed. These looked like a sauce boat or a small bed pan and were made of wood, silver, pewter, bone, porcelain, or glass. They ranged from plain for poor families or foundling homes, to highly decorated pieces for wealthier clients.
In the eighteenth century, as new materials and methods of production became accessible, many types of feeding implements were created in different shapes and sizes. Some pap boats were closed, others looked like animals, most often a duck. 

Sucking pots make of pewter were used and later replaced by porcelain; some stood upright and others were submarine-shaped.
In 1770, Dr. Hugh Smith invented the "bubby or bubbly pot," made of pewter and resembling a gravy pot or tea pot. This was a time when there was a strong move to make artificial feeding safer, and reduce dependency on the wet nurse. The perforated spout was covered with cloth, which served as a nipple. Dr. Smith, in recommending his idea, stated, "Through it, the milk is constantly strained and the infant is obliged to labor for every drop he receives."

Although Smith’s pot underwent many variations and existed in porcelain, it never replaced the sucking bottle. An American equivalent, the nursing can, used by the Pennsylvania Germans, may have been copied from the bubby pot. This gained little popularity and, by the 19th century, the sucking bottle was almost the rule. Glass rapidly replaced the porcelain successors of pewter. They were now easier to clean and their acceptance coincided with understanding of bacteria, contagion, and improved sanitary conditions. Increasing cleanliness, reliance on milk as the chief "artificial dietary source," and diminished use of pap helped to lower the devastatingly high infant mortality rates in urban foundling homes which often approached 100%. 

Although Smith’s pot underwent many variations and existed in porcelain, it never replaced the sucking bottle. An American equivalent, the nursing can, used by the Pennsylvania Germans, may have been copied from the bubby pot. This gained little popularity and, by the 19th century, the sucking bottle was almost the rule. Glass rapidly replaced the porcelain successors of pewter. They were now easier to clean and their acceptance coincided with understanding of bacteria, contagion, and improved sanitary conditions. Increasing cleanliness, reliance on milk as the chief "artificial dietary source," and diminished use of pap helped to lower the devastatingly high infant mortality rates in urban foundling homes which often approached 100%.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Naming your baby - er, book!

Recently I had the pleasure of sharing my new title for my next historical releasing in 2012. "Titling" as publishers call it, is a unique process. Oftentime readers and non-writers assume authors have control over their titles and book covers which is rarely the case. We have "working titles" which we create during the writing of our manuscripts. Once we turn that manuscript in to editors, the team behind the book (editorial, marketing, sales, publicity and whatnot) begin work on crafting the perfect title.
Like a book cover, a title is supposed to "pop" or pull the reader in. It's supposed to have that wow factor that leaves a lasting impression. A great deal of thought and time goes into deciding on the right title. My marketing director shared that their team receives a binder that is about 3 inches thick, full of info which helps them make their decision. They have to be savvy that titles don't overlap or are too similar so keep a close eye on the marketplace, etc.

Sometimes a writer becomes very attached to a working title and goes along with the change a bit grudgingly (okay, with much weeping and gnashing of teeth). Fortunately, I've really, really liked the titles my publisher came up with for my first two books but was delighted when they used mine for the third and fourth.

These were the working titles for my first books and the actual published titles...

Dogwood Winter...The Frontiersman's Daughter
Red River Daughter...Courting Morrow Little
The Colonel's Lady...The Colonel's Lady
Love's Reckoning, The Ballantyne Legacy, Book 1...Love's Reckoning, The Ballantyne Legacy

If you're a writer I'd love to know the working titles for your books, the published titles, and if you think you'd have or have had a hard time adjusting to a new name for your baby - er, book!

If you're a reader, do you have any book titles that are memorable to you?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Colonial American Christian Fiction: Rita Gerlach's Before the Scarlet Dawn

Before the Scarlet Dawn 
(Abingdon Press, 2012)
5 stars *****

Guest Reviewer: Diana L. Flowers
Colonial Fiction At Its Finest!
In Before the Scarlet Dawn (available through Christian Book Distributors), Rita Gerlach has penned an emotionally gripping saga of the harsh realities of Colonial life; replete with the constant threat of Indians, terrifying blizzards, ravages of war, forbidden passion, and sin.

The beautiful and spirited Eliza Bloome of England, finds herself alone save for her servant and lifelong friend, Fiona, after the death of her father. Told she must vacate her home quickly, Eliza comes up with a daring plan...to become the wife of the wealthy Hayward Morgan and travel to the colonies with him. Eliza has been in love with the handsome Hayward since childhood, but he makes it clear to her that he does not return her affections, and that she is beneath his station in life. After a stinging rejection, however, from the lady Hayward has proposed to, he agrees to Eliza's plan, and together, with Fiona, they travel to the colonies.

Eliza falls in love with the beautiful Maryland, but is not prepared for the harshness of colonial life, and the isolation and loneliness that comes after Hayward goes to fight for the Patriot cause. Together, she and Fiona, fight for survival in this savage, but beautiful land, and when Hayward doesn't return for two long, lonely years, she must also fight off temptations of the flesh. Her handsome neighbor, Halston, makes it no secret as to his feelings towards the beautiful Eliza. Is her love and devotion to Hayward enough to withstand the temptation of a man who, unlike Hayward, is not afraid to declare his love for her? Will Hayward return from the war or become a casualty like so many others before him?

One of my favorite things about Rita Gerlach's novels is her use of imagery which is second to none, and I could actually see the beauty of the Potomac River, the green fields and lush forests, and smell the honeysuckle in the air. This story was heartbreakingly realistic as well, with the devastation of war, and characters who were not infallable, and filled with sin and selfishness. With as many twists and turns as the Potomac, and a VERY unexpected conclusion, I found myself not wanting to let go of this story even after I was done reading. I simply cannot wait for the next book in this series, and next time I will have the tissues handy! Very nicely done, Rita Gerlach!

* I received an ARC of this novel and was not required to write a positive review! The opinions expressed are solely my own.

Guest Reviewer's Bio: Diana L. Flowers is the Senior Reviewer on Overcoming Through Time - With God's Help. She is a mother and grandmother and loves to read Christian historical fiction!

Before the Scarlet Dawn is also available through Amazon.
Information for other reviewers is available at the "Daughters of the Potomac" series website, including a download of the first chapter of "Before the Scarlet Dawn".

GIVEAWAY:  Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Rita Gerlach's new release!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Pamela Griffin's Recipe for Wassail

The colonials brought the tradition of wassail from Merry old England to America (though in various forms, the beverage has been around since the Middle Ages). I learned that Wassail comes from the Middle English phrase wæs hæl - which means "good health" or "be you healthy". I have found that it's not just a delicious hot drink but also a remedy that can literally keep you that way. Small wonder, with the ingredients it contains. :)

My entire family loves it during the fall and winter season, not just at Christmas, and in the spring and summer we drink it at the first signs of a cold. It's perfect for cold and flu weather, to help build up the immune system or stop a cold from spreading. And when that sweet cinnamon and spice aroma filters through the house, a sign that it's ready, everyone gathers around the huge pot of wassail, eager for more than just a taste.


1 gallon apple cider
4 cups orange juice
2 small cans pineapple juice (or enough for 12 oz.)
1/2 cup lemon juice (normal strength)
3-4 cinnamon sticks
1 Tbsp. whole cloves
honey to taste

Put all ingredients in huge pot, cover and simmer over low heat until hot, though you might wish to add the honey in later, when the wassail has warmed enough to melt it. Stir on occasion. Strain into mugs, serve and enjoy. (Note, when storing what remains to reheat later, be sure and first strain the cloves out of the main pot and remove the cinnamon sticks to keep the sweet taste and not have it go too stout.)

Thanks Pamela Griffin for this recipe!!!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Guest Post by Melanie Dobson - Moravian Colonial Marriages

Love Finds You in Nazareth, Pennsylvania cover
The journey back into the 1700s to write Love Finds You in Nazareth, Pennsylvania was a very personal one for me. For the first two decades of my life, you see, the history of my father’s side of the family (the Beroths) was a mystery to us. My father was a commercial pilot, and as he flew across the country, he scoured phone books for years during his layovers, looking for anyone with the last name of Beroth. It was a long time before he found a link to our heritage.
About twenty years ago, we discovered relatives in North Carolina. Our ancestors, we found out, had been a part of the Moravian Church after my great-grandparents (to the fifth) joined the Moravian Church more than two centuries ago. I knew very little of my heritage or this tradition, but I was intrigued. Who were the Moravians and why had my great-grandparents joined their church?
Years later I traveled to Bethlehem in Pennsylvania and then on to Nazareth, researching the story for this novel while I looked for information about my family. As I interviewed the curator at the historical society, she explained one of the unique marriage customs the Moravians honored in the 18th-century—the custom of marrying by Lot. The Moravian elders would select a couple they thought should marry and then would present the potential wife’s name to the single man. If the man agreed with their choice, the elders put the decision before the lot—three pieces of paper (Ja. Nein. And a blank piece for wait) stuffed into a glass cylinder. They prayed and then drew an answer from the cylinder.
If the answer was no, the elders would select the name of another woman for the single man to marry, and they would continue the selection process until the papers concurred with their choice. Then the leaders would speak to the single woman about the marriage. Moravian women had the option to turn down the marriage, but they rarely did. In their minds, the lot determined God’s will for their life.
My mind spun as I listened to the curator, the plot for my novel developing. What would happen if the man in my novel wanted to marry a certain woman and the lot refused him? What if he had to marry a woman he didn’t love? And what if the woman he married loved him with her whole heart?
As I sat in the historical society in Bethlehem, researching this custom that seemed so strange to me, I stumbled upon an entry with the names of my great-grandparents, Johann Beroth and Catharina Neumann. The entry said they married by lot in Bethlehem on July 29, 1758.
My great-grandparents married by lot?
I had no idea.
My mind began racing. Did my great-grandparents know each other before they married? Did they love each other?  Were they excited to marry or did they dread their wedding day?
In her short memoir, my great-grandmother writes of counting the cost before joining the Moravians. She said she knew there would be hardships and yet she felt the draw of the Savior to join the Moravian people in Bethlehem. Even as her family sent a cart and men to carry her back home, she remained stalwart, “serene and satisfied” in her decision to join the congregation. But she never mentioned what it was like to be chosen to marry Johann by lot.
The Moravians continued to marry this way until 1818 when a devout Moravian man insisted on marrying a woman the lot denied him. He left the church to marry but later he and his wife rejoined. After that, marriages began to be arranged by families instead of by lot.
Many Moravian women wrote of their reluctance to marry when they received the call to wed by lot, and yet many of these same women later described the terrible grief over losing their husbands. It seems the love for a spouse blossomed within marriage instead of before.
Maria Reitzenbach initially wrote, “I must admit that I found it indescribably hard to take this step (of marriage)….Only the thought that it was my duty to do everything for the love of my dear Saviour who had forgiven me my sins and had taken me into a state of grace made me give myself up to this.”
But then she wrote, “I was made a widow by the calling home of my dear husband, after we had lived in marriage for twenty-two years happy and content and had shared joy and pain and had been a comfort and a cheer to each other. For this reason I felt his loss very painfully and no one could comfort me but the Friend to whom I had often told all my troubles and with whom I alone took refuge” (from the Moravian Women’s Memoirs, translated by Katharine Faull).
I’m still not certain exactly why my great-grandparents joined the Moravians. Perhaps it was because of the Moravian’s compassion toward the needy or their focus on mission work. Perhaps it was because they were escaping their families or maybe they wanted to be a part of group who was devout in their faith and service to God.
I also don’t know what my great-grandparents thought about the custom of marrying by lot, but I do know that they were married for almost six decades. I—along with my family—am grateful the lot brought Johann and Catharina together and that God helped them sustain this marriage for fifty-eight years.
I loved writing this novel based in part on what my great-grandparents might have felt in the first years of their marriage. Love Finds You in Nazareth, Pennsylvania is not a romance about an unmarried couple. It is a romance about a husband falling in love with his wife.

Melanie Dobson is the award-winning author of nine contemporary and historical novels including her most recent release, Love Finds You in Nazareth, Pennsylvania. She is currently working on a historical romance set on Mackinac Island, Michigan. When she’s not writing, Melanie loves exploring her home state of Oregon with her husband and two daughters. 
Melanie Dobson's website

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Nathaniel Griffith's Fences

I am glad to have you back to my humble farm. For those of you who are new to me, I am Nathaniel Griffith of Newport in the Rhode Island Colony.

I see you are eying my fence. Aye, it is simplistic, but effective. Here you see I have laid logs on top of crosses held together with strong rawhide ties in some places and rope from hemp in others. This is a temporary fence for now. Not strong, but will do until I can manage a better one.

If you look yonder there by my barn, you’ll see the stone fence I made. When I cleared the land each spring, preparing to sow, I would separate the stones into sizes, keeping the flattest rocks for the top. What stones were not level, I would shim it with a flat one. The basic rule is to lay one stone over two and two over one. As you can see the end result is a fair picture.

Aye, I see ye are noting the lack of nails. Yea, the iron needed for nails is expensive. I’d not waste a shilling on a nail for a fence if I can help it.

See there, by the trough, I have made a more permanent fence than the log and cross one here. My brother-in-law and I dug holes to place the fence posts into the ground. You’ll notice two posts for each location with the rails stacked between them. This takes a lot of wood, as ye can see. ‘Twas good that we had much trees to clear and could make the rails.

Now ye can see my gate. A solid one for it crosses a township road. You’ll note the metal hoop that links over the post. Because of the gate’s use, I felt I needed to pay the extra bit for the metal. And ye’ll note the hinges are merely loops around the other post. But I spared myself a shilling or two by putting the rails through holes I carved from the end posts. I used a tree-nail to hold it in place.

Now some of my neighbors build their fences differently than I. Around their gardens some have what you might refer to as a picket fence, but we refer to them as paling fences. Some have zigzag fences, called snake fences.

Well now, I see Dr. Clarke coming up the road. I have some business to discuss with him. Seems the people of Warwick have yet to pay their debt to him for his time in England on behalf of the Rhode Island colony. I hope to travel with him and convince them of their wrong.

I bid you Godspeed. May God bless you richly, dear friends.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Interview with Pamela Griffin

Pamela Griffin is one of four authors of the novella anthology Highland Crossings.
Published by: Barbour
Date of release: February 2012

Pamela Griffin is also the author of over fifty books, all of them inspirational romance. Her website is http://pamela-griffin.com/
She is a member of Colonial American Christian Writers and we are so very glad!!!

Pamela, what got you interested in the colonial time period?

I enjoy history in all time periods, colonial is only one of them. I am fascinated with research involving tales of the past, European and American especially, and the manner in which life was once lived.

What inspired your latest colonial work?

My editor asked for a proposal with a focus on Scottish immigrants, making her request known to the agency that represents me. I was one of the four authors asked to join and write a story. We chose a setting and I picked which year I wanted to write, intrigued with the idea of the first actual ship that sailed from Scotland's shores bringing across the ocean the first settlers to form the Argyll Colony of North Carolina. My main characters were passengers on that ship. My heroine is a stowaway, my hero, the agent of the expedition.

Do you have a favorite colonial place you like to visit and why?

When I lived in Virginia, I loved my visit to Williamsburg, and when in Michigan, visiting a good friend, she took me to the Greenfield Village.

Pamela, do you have a favorite colonial recipe you enjoy?  Readers, you can find Pamela Griffin’s recipe for wassail this coming Saturday on CQ.

Giveaway:  Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of this new release!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

John Winthrop's Prayer of Faith

John Winthrop, a man who would eventually become the governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, prayed that God, "would give me a new heart, joy in his spirit; that he would dwell with me, that he, that he would strengthen me against the world, the flesh, and the Devil, and that he would forgive my sins and increase my faith."

This prayer reminds me of some of the prayers and exhortations the Apostle Paul had for the members of the early churches.

Jeremiah 17:9 tells us that our hearts are desperately wicked, but we can have a new heart in Christ Jesus, even as we are made a new creature in Christ (II Corinthians 2:15).

The joy that comes when we pass from living for ourselves and chasing after the things of world to submitting, with humble spirit, to God is an all-consuming joy. It comes when we are set free from the drudgery of sin, filling us with newness of life.

John Winthrop came to this prayer when he looked at his life and saw how sinful he was. He then set out to do as Paul exhorted the Corinthians:

"Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit off God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are." I Corinthians 3:16-17.

We often turn our noses up at the Puritans, calling them legalistic and saying how they lacked an understanding of grace. Yet, here John Winthrop reveals to us his heart to please God. He studied the scriptures and found himself lacking.

I wonder if we took serious note of what the Bible said and looked at how we treated our bodies, the temple of the Holy Ghost--allowing it to be controlled by other substances than the Holy Ghost or using it to flirt with someone or taking it places that the Holy Ghost would not want to be taken--if we would find our perception of liberty and freedom in Christ change?

Consider what Jesus gave up for us so that we could be freed from the hold of sin--not just death. How would it change us?

John Winthrop saw the war that he was in and what he fought against (the world, the flesh, and the Devil). He saw that he, in himself, did not have the strength to win the war. He needed God's strength, he needed God's forgiveness, and he needed faith.

Below I quote the Apostle Paul's prayer for the church in Colosse. I pray this for you, our readers.

Colossians 1:9 "...that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering."

If you have read this and find, like John Winthrop, you want God to forgive your sins and create a new heart in you, then pray and ask Him. It is as simple as that. If you want someone to walk you through it, you can email me: lynnsquire@gmail.com.

If you have prayed a prayer similar to John Winthrop, please share your encounter with God below. I'd love to hear it.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Think the Colonial Sea was a Man's Domain??

We've all read history books and heard tales of male pirates, privateers, explorers, and navy men, but rarely have we heard stories of the large numbers of women who went to sea.  Why is that?  One reason is that from earliest times, superstitious sailors insisted that women on board brought nothing but bad luck.

Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood wrote in 1808 "I never knew a woman brought to sea in a ship that some mischief did not befall the vessel."

Another reason, however, is that women on board ships were virtual ghosts. They were not listed on muster roll, nor were their deaths recorded in ships' records, even though in most cases, they performed vital tasks aboard the ship.

Despite that, we now know that hundreds of women boarded ships with their husbands, choosing a difficult life at sea rather then bear living as widows ashore for years at a time.  And a difficult life it was! Especially if you were the wife of a regular seaman in the navy.  These women were not provided rations of food, but were forced to share their husband's daily allowance. They also had to share their husband's hammock located in the cramped quarters allotted to the rest of the crew.  There was no privacy whatsoever!! I wouldn't last a day!  In the morning when the boatswain's mate went around to wake up the sleeping crew, he would shout "show a leg"! and the women would push a limb outside of their blankets so he could see what gender they were and not tip over the hammock to wake a sleeping sailor!

However, if you were the wife of an officer (and especially the Captain), your life on board was far better. You were permitted to share your husband's tiny cabin and perhaps even have the service of a cabin boy who, much like a house servant, polished shoes, ran errands, and did a variety of tasks for you.  As the wife of an officer you were permitted to eat with the officers and enjoy a varied diet of fresh meats, delicacies and wines.  But life on board could be very lonely. While your husband was busy running the ship, you had to find something to pass the long hours. Many women brought sewing and crafts on board, as well as books and scrapbooks.

Here's an account of Susan Hathorn who joined her husband Jode as a new bride and sailed with him for nine months, She spent 75 days sewing, 35 days embroidering, 23 days laundering, 19 days mending, 18 days crocheting, 15 days knitting, 13 days leather working, 10 days housekeeping, 9 days quilting, 4 days scrap-booking, 3 days copying receipts for cooking and 2 days rug-braiding.  Susan was also a prolific reader. Some of her books included Lord Byron, Thomas Moore, and Harriet Beecher Stowe.

Some wives assisted in the running of the ship, from helping out during battle, to repairing sails, to cooking, and to doctoring.  Recalling the 1798 Battle of the Nile, a seaman wrote "The women behaved as well as the men. . .There are some of the women wounded and one woman belonging to Leith died of her wounds." Women assisted the surgeon and his mates in attending the wounded and even aided the gun crews as powder monkeys.

Nineteen year old Mary Ann Patten was on a honeymoon voyage when her husband became ill and was rendered both deaf and blind.  With the first mate in the brig for insubordination and the second mate unskilled in navigation, Mary, now pregnant with her first child, took over command of the ship, safely navigating it around dangerous Cape Horn and bringing them all safely to home port!

So the next time you think that the sea was only a man's domain, think again!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Review: The Art and Craft of Writing Historical Fiction by James Alexander Thom

"The past is where we get the raw material we use.... We pick bygone time up by the handfuls and, like clay, see if it feels right and then form it into stories about the past." ~ James Thom, The Art and Craft of Writing Historical Fiction

James Alexander Thom is one of my favorite general market fiction writers, so when I learned last year that he'd written The Art and Craft of Writing Historical Fiction, I ordered a copy and read it at once. More than a nuts and bolts How To Write book, Thom's offering on the craft is in many ways more philosophical than I expected, but delightfully so. It's also peppered with humorous and thoughtful anecdotes that delve into his personal experiences of writing and researching historical fiction. The many examples taken from his novels are bound to interest any reader familiar with Thom and his work.

The book begins with a look at what Thom calls the River of Time. "The story of the world, of America.... flows like a river, and we are all in it--some of us dead, some old, some young, some as yet unborn." Making sure the characters we write come across believably as being in that River of Time farther upstream than the Now in which we write their stories, and offering techniques to help create this verisimilitude, is largely what the rest of the book is about. Unlike the historian, the historical novelist doesn't "[point] backward toward a past time, but [takes] the reader back to that time, back when that time was now, and [looks] forward to the uncertainty of the next hours and days." Thom spends chapters showing and telling how to make those long-ago moments "so vivid, so real, so sensuously complete and immediate that the reader is there, then, looking forward, not just here, now, looking back." Deeper into the book Thom writes, "Your characters are who they are because they enter that stream when and where they do. They are products of their time, and they do what they do because of the circumstances of history in which they find themselves."

Other topics covered are historical truth vs. fiction (the importance of accuracy and just how much fudging of the truth should a writer indulge in). Methods for researching, from book research to the internet to getting out and experiencing history physically. Genealogical research. Taming all that data once you've accumulated it. Starting your story. Writing to the senses. How NOT to write historical fiction. And when and how to orient the reader in another time and place, through setting and details: "As much as you can, you must be like someone who has lived there, because you're going to be not just the storyteller but also the tour guide taking your readers through the past."

The Art and Craft of Writing Historical Fiction is written with an engaging voice that feels more like sitting in a classroom listening to a skilled lecturer telling story after story, and dropping nuggets of vital craft information along the way--or maybe more like a master storyteller sitting across the fire from you, while behind you in the rustling dark owls hoot and coyotes yip. So listen and be entertained, but add another stick of wood to the fire and have your pen and journal ready, because you're about to learn a thing or two.

More about the author: James Alexander Thom was formerly a U.S. Marine, a newspaper and magazine editor, and a member of the faculty at the Indiana University Journalism School. He is the author of Follow the River, Long Knife, From Sea to Shining Sea, Panther in the Sky (for which he won the prestigious Western Writers of America Spur Award for best historical novel), Sign-Talker, and The Red Heart. He lives in the Indiana hill country with his wife, Dark Rain of the Shawnee Nation, United Remnant Band. You can find him on line at: www.jamesalexanderthom.com

Monday, January 9, 2012

MaryLu Tyndall's Legacy of the Kings Pirates Re-Released!

Take a trip back to the mid-17th century Caribbean when pirates ruled the seas in MaryLu Tyndall's newly re-released pirate series, Legacy of the King's Pirates!  And these aren't just your ordinary pirates... these are pirates who bow the knee to the King of Kings!

The Redemption  (Christy Award Nominee!)

“The Redemption is a wonderful story with fast-paced action, soul searching introspection, and brushes of the miraculous that make the heart swell… Overall, I would deem The Redemption a must read for anyone with a love for a good story, historical pieces in general, pirate works in particular, or just a wish to get away to a tropical paradise for a few hours.”
Roseanna White – Christian Review of Books  

"Redemption has it all... swashbuckling adventure and romance on the high seas, and a boatload of faith. Tyndal's well-researched and masterful storytelling engages both heart and soul from start to finish. Simply wonderful."
Linda Windsor, award-winning author of Blue Moon, #3 of the Moonstruck Romantic Comedy Trilogy

Purchase The Redemption at

The Reliance

Legacy of the Kings Pirates Book 2

By MaryLu Tyndall

Guest Review by Teresa Mathews
Five Stars~ *****

The story of Captain Edmond Merrick and his beautiful wife, Lady Charlisse Hyde continues in this second book in the Legacy of the King’s Pirates. They have had their share of problems and separations but as the story opens they are enjoying some beautiful and peaceful time together and are looking forward to the birth of their first child. They are visiting friends in the Caribbean, when the town is attacked by a band of pirates being led by an evil monster from their past. He is set on destroying their lives.

While trying to get Charlisse back to his ship and away from the horrors of the attack, Capt. Merrick leaves her in the safety of a church, only seconds later to witness an explosion that wipes out the church and all of his hopes for a future with his wife.

After witnessing what he thinks is the death of his lovely wife, Merrick turns his back on the God that could have stopped this from happening, and returns to the life of the evil pirate he once was. When Charlisse is taken captive by the man she fears most, her faith in God wavers also, especially when she thinks she has been abandoned by her husband, and the life of her unborn child is threatened. During this ordeal she comes to realize she must rely on God to be her strength and protection.

Aboard ship Charlisse meets a young woman, Lady Isabel Ashton, that has also been taken captive, and because of her, Charlisse has some protection from the lustful captain who has kidnapped her. When they finally come into port, Charlisse sees Merrick’s ship and hope rises that he will rescue her. With help from an unlikely source, Charlisse and Isabel escape from their captor, only to find out that Merrick is not with his ship but has taken up with another pirate in search of whom he thinks is the main cause of Charlisse’s death.

Will Merrick see the error of his ways…will he listen to that still small voice that he hears speaking to him, or will he keep drowning his sorrows in rum and forget God? How long will it take for Charlisse to find Merrick and when she does, will her love for him be able to survive what her eyes see and her heart cannot believe? Will they realize their only hope for survival is their full reliance on God to see them through?

WOW! What a wonderfully written book. If you like excitement, romance, and a dashing pirate thrown in, then this series is for you. MaryLu Tyndall is a talented writer, from the first page to the very last word printed, she had my full attention. She beautifully weaves a story that will pull you in so that you can almost feel the wind blowing on your face and smell the sea air. But what I really loved was the way she balanced the vileness of the pirates with the marvelous wonder of an awesome, powerful God. This is definite must read, I promise you won’t be disappointed matey!

Purchase The Reliance at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Christian Book.com

The Restitution - Book 3 of the Legacy of the King's Pirates
By MaryLu Tyndall

4 Stars Romantic Times!

Overflowing with action and adventure, the third installment in the Legacy of the King's Pirates series will hold readers in its grip. The characters resonate with humanity in the midst of peril, and the author's detailed research is evident throughout the story. Every situation shows God's protection and provision as the characters' faith is tested. Readers will root for the budding romances.

Romantic Times/Melissa Parcel

Purchase The Restitution at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, ChristianBook.com

GIVEAWAY:  CQ will be giving away a copy of one of these books, your choice, this week to a commenter who leaves their email address.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Colonial Recipes: Griddle Muffins

Griddle Muffins
Yield: Makes 1 dozen
  • 1 packages dry yeast or 1 yeast cake
  • 1/4 cup lukewarm water
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons melted shortening
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3-1/2 cups (approx.) flour
  • Cornmeal
Soften yeast in lukewarm water. Combine milk and remaining water and scald. Add shortening, salt, and sugar. Cool to lukewarm; add yeast and 2 cups flour. Stir to blend well, then knead in remaining flour until firm and elastic. Let rise until double. Punch down and roll out 1/4 inch thick on board sprinkled with cornmeal. Cut into rounds. Cover and let rise until double again. When light, bake slowly on an ungreased, heavy griddle or frying pan. Have griddle hot first, then reduce heat so that muffins will brown slowly. Bake 7-8 minues on each side. To serve, split, toast, and butter.

From Farmer's Almanac: Colonial Cookbook

Friday, January 6, 2012

Tools of the Trade - The Great Map Search

I love Annapolis. I love the old-world charm, I love the maritime beauty, I love the ancient facades (or as ancient as facades can get in America) of the buildings. I love that when I walk along City Dock during boating season, I can hear conversations in German and French and Italian as well as Spanish and English. I love seeing the Midshipman bustling along in their pristine whites, I love seeing the Johnnies amble along with a book in front of them--yes, the students from my college sometimes read and walk at the same time. I've seen it, LOL.

Annapolis is a city very proud of its colonial heritage, of its importance in the wars that came after, in how it has stood strong even as Baltimore outgrew it. And I love it for that. That's one big reason I decided to pitch a historical set there to Summerside Press.

One problem . . . at the time of Love Finds You in Annapolis, Maryland, it wasn't just a tourist spot for the yachting community. The Naval Academy wasn't there yet. There was no St. John's College. Which made me ask all knew questions. Like . . . what was College Creek called, then? Or, more importantly, College Avenue?

See, College Avenue slices right through the middle of town, a rather important thoroughfare if you're dealing at all with the State House--which I am. In fact, one of my primary characters lives on North Street (which connects to College Ave) and teaches at King William's School, which was (wanna take a guess?) on the other side of College Ave.

I looked everywhere I could think to. I searched through the old book I had on Annapolis. In three more provided by Google Books. I searched for maps from the era. But I couldn't find the answer to that question. I discovered what Main Street used to be called, I discovered that College Creek used to be Deep Creek (and that Spa Creek used to be Acton's). I learned any number of other useful facts about what was what back then--but not as concerns College Ave. Aaaaagggghhhh!

Then I found a promising link in the Maryland State Archives, which are blessedly online. A map--not quite old enough to help, but there were links to other, older maps. I clicked on the oldest one--still 90 years after my book, but the closest I could get online. And it looked good. It looked promising. That street crossing town definitely did not say College Ave. It said . . . crease?

Aaaaaagggghhhhh! Yes, this scanned map had a terrible crease RIGHT THROUGH THE NAME I NEEDED!!!!! All I could make out was "Tab" and "cle." But that was enough to ding the bell of memory (an adage not in use in 1783, by the way, ha ha). Tabernacle! It was Tabernacle Street!!!

So, in a way that my middle school math teachers would fully approve of, now that I had my answer, I worked backward to check my work. I searched for Tabernacle Street in Annapolis, and voila! Documents verifying this was indeed what I needed. (Though heaven forbid they come up in my original searches--noooooooo.)

See how exciting historical research can be? ;-) You just never know how and where you might find what you need.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

What My Grandmother Taught Me ~ Part 2

Hello, CQ readers. Today I am sharing a tea cake recipe that my heroine, Juleah Fallows Braxton, would have made in the Colonial period. 

Allow me first to give you a snippet from my novel 'Surrender the Wind', an inspirational historical romance set in the Colonial era. 

Juleah’s reflection appeared in the window glass. Unlike a mirror, it was a translucent image, her eyes and face pale, her hair ghostly soft about her face. She saw one person, one woman, instead of a couple. How incomplete she seemed without Seth beside her.
Her eyes filled and blurred the reflection before her. The horse chestnuts trees her father had planted on the hilltop beyond the garden came into view. Lances of sunlight poured between them, made the grass luminescent, matched the color of the lichen in the pond. 
“I wish I could paint that scene,” she whispered, leaning her head across her arm. “But I shall never excel at watercolors.”

Juleah's Colonial Tea Cakes
1 cup of butter, 1 cup of sugar, 3 eggs, and 4 cups of flour, 2 teaspoons of baking poswer, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1/8 teaspoon of salt. Cream butter and sugar together until creamy. Add slightly beaten eggs and remaining ingredients. Roll on floured board and cut. Sprinkle with sugar and bake at 400 for 12 minutes. Serve to guests, especially ladies, with good English tea and dusted with powdered sugar.
Visit my website and read about Surrender the Wind, and a new series, The Daughters of the Potomac, to be released beginning February 1, 2010

Monday, January 2, 2012

Colonial Highlights 2011 - A Banner Year in Colonial Fiction

Releases for 2011 by members of 
Colonial American Christian Writers

Blythe, Barbara, Fire Dragon's Angel, White Rose Publishing.

Cooper, Elaine Marie, The Promise of Deer Run, iUniverse.
Craft, Susan,  The Chamomile, Ingalls Publishing Group.

Frantz, Laura, The Colonel's Lady, Revell.

White, Roseanna, Love Finds You in Annapolis, Maryland, Summerside Press.

We recognize there are other authors with books up to the "Second American Revolution" but we are just listing our CACW authors' releases

Chase, CJ, Redeeming the Rogue, Love Inspired Historical

Surrender the Night by MaryLu Tyndall

Step into a breathtaking novel of adventure and romance set amid the War of 1812. During an assault by an enemy sailor, timid farm girl Rose McGuire is saved by the least likely of heroes—a British Naval Lieutenant. Now that he’s wounded, she’ll have to heal as well as hide him. Alex Reed is being aided and abetted by his enemy—albeit an innocent and attractive one. But he might be doing Rose more harm than good if his presence on her farm is discovered. As their love blooms, trouble looms. Will this couple survive another British invasion?

Buy at Amazon  BarnesAndNoble Christianbook.com

Surrender The Dawn by MaryLu Tyndall

You’ll be gasping for air in this seafaring romance by popular author and Christy Award nominee M. L. Tyndall. Baltimore’s Cassandra Channing will do anything to provide for her family—even if it means hiring the town rogue as a privateer. Luke Heaton is a handsome rake with a tortured past who is blackmailed by the British into selling supplies to their ships just off the coast. Cassandra and Luke’s worlds collide as they are drawn into danger, secrets, romance, and war. But when the British begin to bombard Fort McHenry, how long can they protect their love—and each other?

Buy at Amazon BarnesAndNoble Christianbook.com

What are some of your favorite colonial American books out in 2011?