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Tea Party Winners: Vicki Talley McCollum's Never Say Goodbye, A National Park Romance novella goes to: Caryl Kane, Deanne Patterson, Deana Dick, Carrie Fancett Pagels' winners Beverly Duell-Moore and Cindy Pratt, Roseanna White's winners - Betti Mace, Gabrielle Meyer's winners -, Deb Marvin's paperback winner - Rachel Dodson

Monday, December 10, 2012

Part 6, A Forted Frontier Holiday: Narrow Passage by Pat Iacuzzi



While harvesting, the German settlement near New Market, Virginia receive warning of an impending attack by French and Indians war parties. They flee to a quickly cobbled refuge, Fort Providence—for they will surely need to rely on God’s Provision. The forted colonials long to celebrate the holidays and await the arrival of visitors.
Each CQ contributor to this serial will bring their characters into the fort from throughout colonial America. Join us for A Forted Frontier Holiday each Monday on CQ for the next two months!

Part 1 - Inside Fort Providence by Carrie Fancett Pagels
Part 2 - A Providential Proposal by Susan Craft
Part 3 - Landlocked by Carla Olson Gade
Part 4 - Preserve my Life From Fear by Elaine Marie Cooper
Part 5 - A Gift from Buckskin Samson by Kathleen L. Maher


Part 6 - Narrow Passage by Pat Iaccuzzi


“I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God in whom I trust.” Psalm 91:2
(Dedicated to our American Veterans)

Shenandoah Valley
December, 1753

            Could they trust him?
Surely Colonel Christy would not have sent a Shawnee warrior as their escort … Or had this man ambushed their guide and planned to lead them into a trap?
Hannah Maclaren eyed the scout’s strong profile etched against the iron-gray sky. Dressed in buckskin, he carried a long rifle, and wore his straight black hair beneath a colorful band. He had a war club strapped to his side, fashioned from a gun stock with the barrel shortened for a handle, a lethal-looking blade protruding from its stock … and deadly in a skilled warrior’s hands.
Her thoughts turbulent as the rapids in nearby Narrow Passage Creek, she quickly dropped her gaze, fearful of making eye contact with him Trembling, Hannah drew her worn cloak close against December’s frigid bite. 
“I am Antoine LaLoup, Monsieur Yost. To take you and the ladies to Fort
Providence.”
LaLoup? …Wolf. Certainly an apt term for him. Hannah frowned. Mayhap he was a scout after all—for the enemy French. Apparently she and Mistress Yost held little interest for the man, for he had barely acknowledged them. LaLoup leaned across his saddle and waited patiently, like a mountain lion watching his prey, as Harlan Yost mounted his horse for their journey.
The farmer muttered a reply, gathered his reins and moved alongside his wife. The ailing Yost gave his lady a reassuring smile. Hannah had often seen that warm look pass between the two. ’Twas like Da’s loving expression when he’d looked upon Mother’s countenance. And one of the last things Hannah remembered before she’d lost her parents in the Shawnee raid on her home. Thankfully, their beloved memories had not vanished in the smoke of countless Indian camp fires while she remained captive among them.
Hannah pressed a hand to her empty stomach. She’d not eaten much breakfast. Her uncertainty over this dangerous leg of their journey had stifled her appetite, and after a fleeting glimpse of the scout, her fears grew. He looked every inch like an ally to the enemy French—a Shawnee warrior, and a people she’d lived among for eight years.
Mistress Yost drew up next to Hannah and gave her arm a comforting pat. “Have no fear, child. The Lord will see us through,” she said, her smile serene. “A steadfast love is God’s true gift, my dear. No matter what occurs, our love for one another as a family—and His for us—remain faithful. And though we may be parted, we will always have His grace.” Hannah considered her words in quiet wonder. Truly, the couple had lost all, yet their love and compassion for Hannah and each other had never wavered.
As they moved down the Great Wagon Trail, Hannah turned for a last look at the Inn at Narrow Passage, a last remnant of civilization before they reached the fort. Through one of its windows, she saw a fire blazing in the hearth and wished she sat near its warmth with a cup of tea and a biscuit at hand. A vaporous breath escaped her and hung in the cold morning air as she gave a shaky sigh and rubbed her arms beneath her cloak. She looked ahead toward the trail, where dark, low-lying clouds threatened snow.
After a half hour of slow progress along the muddy road, the scout suddenly veered southeast toward thickening woods. Forced to ride single file as they entered onto a narrow forest path, Hannah fell in place behind the scout, Master and Mistress Yost behind her. Hannah had the sudden urge to flee, but staunched the desire. She’d never be able to outrun the scout should he come after her. Chills scurried down Hannah’s back. She turned to see how the Yosts fared. They still conversed quietly, mayhap unaware of the danger that grew the deeper they ventured into the darkness of the forest. 
When the trail widened a bit, Hannah gathered her courage and urged her mount forward, its hooves crunching through dead leaves hardened by frost. She drew up to the flank of the scout’s bay. “LaLoup, why have we left the wagon road?”
His broad shoulders stiffened.
“Did you not hear me, LaLoup?”
“This is a short cut, Mademoiselle. So we will have no need to camp out tonight. Make the fort by sundown.”
Hannah shuddered. Indeed, we will have no need of a camp tonight if we are dead, sir.
She glanced back at her Master and Mistress again, the childless couple she’d served for the past four years. Hannah closed her eyes against the hot sting of tears.
           Seized from her family, stolen from the Shawnee, and sold to the Seneca by French fur traders. Would she also be parted from the Yosts? Hannah anxiously combed the woods for movement. Well, if they perished this day, at least they would be together. Hannah closed her eyes and released a wavering breath. Nothing was worse than separation.
Mistress Yost came alongside once more and inclined her head. “You are still anxious my dear?”
Aye, it still troubled Hannah that the stark red of the woman’s cardinal cloak made her a good target in the forest gloom. Hannah bit her lip, and tried to dismiss the dreadful notion. “I was… I was merely thinking of the fraktur, Mistress. The one you asked me to make up as a gift for Mistress Rousch. Mayhap I should have used the blue thread for the bird’s wings instead of the red—”
“Don’t fret so. ’Tis a lovely piece of stitching and will serve as a fine Christmas gift for Suzanne. She will be pleased to receive it, I’m sure. And when the new babe arrives, be it a son or daughter, you may add the name and date.” Looking weary, Mistress shifted in her saddle. “I thank you for your hours of work on it, Hannah. My eyes are not what they used to be.” When Master Yost doubled over with a rattling cough, the woman returned to her husband, her mouth tight with concern.
Hannah buried her chin in the depths of her threadbare woolen cloak. After departure from an uneasy existence in the Mohawk Valley, the Yosts had thought to settle close to their friends, the Rousches. Yet here they faced the same peril they’d left behind. Hannah scrubbed her forehead with her fingertips. Fort Providence offered them a semblance safety. If they reached the fort. But they still had some hours to go. Hannah scanned the ominous clouds closing in above her. A storm was brewing. If a war party didn’t get them, the weather might. 
The scout rode in silence, his dark hair blanketing his broad shoulders, his spine as straight as a Shawnee spear. Hannah toyed with her reins and recalled the burn of prisoner’s bonds drawing tight around her wrists as she was dragged behind her Indian captors.  
As they rode deeper into the leafless woods, trees like seared bones towered over them. A few brittle leaves still clung to branches, trying to gain sustenance where there was none. Thorn bushes tore at Hannah’s dress as she passed by. She searched the scattered evergreens that offered cover for anyone who might wish to do them harm. Her nerves continued to unravel like the hem of her skirts the further they went. Hannah once more sidled her mount close to the scout. “Do you not think ’tis more dangerous to take this path rather than the open road? I am somewhat familiar with tracking and know the horses will leave a trail more easily followed here. And the underbrush serves well as cover for a Shawnee war party.”
He turned, snaring her with his gaze. A tiny smile line dented one side of the scout’s thin mouth. “We are safe, mademoiselle. We are passing through an Indian burial ground. Those living—or dead—will not harm you.”  
Hannah stifled a gasp. ’Twas not his words that sent a tiny shock through her, but his eyes. Pale green eyes. She’d once known a Shawnee with green eyes … a memory of a young boy’s face came rushing back. LaLoup’s features had hardened into those of a fiercely handsome man, his nose arrow-straight, his jaw grown strong. His slightly tilted green eyes, no doubt inherited from his French father, reminded Hannah of his cunning namesake—the wolf. When his thin mouth parted in a smile—as it did now—a flash of white teeth shown against his rose-tan complexion.    
“Do you know me now, mademoiselle?”

M'way-oh-wah —for you were known as Wolf among the Shawnee too. You are the boy who brought me food and gifts.” The young woman held her hands close to the campfire he had built. “When my sister and I lived there with your people.”
“And how did you learn to track, mademoiselle?”
“You taught me,” she said, her tone soft.
After a long silence she spoke again, but this time bitterness tainted her voice. “And after many years, French traders—one of them, your father—took me from my sister and the Shawnee, and sold me north to the Seneca. I lived with them three years.” A tear shimmered on her cheek as Hannah stared into the crackling flames. 
LaLoup’s jaw tightened and he closed his eyes at her words, as her pain became his. “And you are no longer a Seneca woman?”
“The Yosts bought me from them, and according to law I must serve them for seven years as a bondservant, though they would have me freed sooner. But I’m grateful, for they treat me as their own.” Her hair fell to her waist, glistening like spun gold in the firelight. She drew up her legs and hugged them, resting her chin on her knees. “But Master Yost…”  Hannah’s worried gaze sought the old man huddled in the blanket LaLoup had provided.
The scout rose, removed a pouch from the pack horse and gave it to the Yosts.
After they’d expressed their thanks for the food, LaLoup returned to Hannah’s side. As he reached for another bag nearby, the brushed silver cross he wore around his neck swung free from his leather shirt. Hannah’s eyes widened. “You are a follower of the Christ?”
“Oui.” LaLoup withdrew a handful of pemmican and offered it to her. “Are you hungry?”
Reflection from the flames danced over her delicate features. Hannah hesitated then took the food as her blue eyes, like the sky on a fine day, searched his. “The berries … this food is served only at wedding feasts …”
“You remember when we played as children—?”
She nodded. Her cheeks reddened, and she dropped her gaze.  
Waw-paw-wa-Qua,” he said, using her Indian name. “White Loon. You were rightly named, for I have been haunted by your cries in my sleep, and taken many trails in search of you.” He reached over and laced his fingers in hers. “Now I have found you.”

A hearty laugh erupted from a tall blond man, fists on his hips, standing just outside the gates of the fort. Shad Clark clutched LaLoup’s hand and gave it a hearty shake. “’Tis good to see you.”
“And you, brother.” LaLoup dismounted. “Was your hunt a success?”
Clark grinned as he cast a glance toward Hannah. “Aye. As was yours, I see…”
LaLoup glared at Clark. “She is spoken for, mon ami.
The two scouts led the way up the path, and the gates of Fort Providence swung open. Hannah and the Yosts followed them inside the stockade’s safe confines. 
As Yost moved to assist his wife, LaLoup strode over to Hannah’s horse. He reached up to help her dismount, and without hesitation, she slid into his outstretched arms. LaLoup grasped her waist, his lips brushing against her hair. A small tremor claimed her and Hannah gripped his shoulders for support, felt his muscular warmth through the smooth buckskin shirt. He seemed reluctant to release her.      
People who’d waited to greet the travelers parted to make way for a woman to step forward. She was shorter than Hannah, but with the same clear blue eyes and pale gold hair… and dressed in Shawnee attire. Hannah froze. “Cathy?” She searched the woman’s face then rushed to embrace her. Hannah’s hot tears dampened her sister’s shoulder. She laughed then. “What a fine Christmas gift! We are together again!
           Oh, Cathy—” She turned to LaLoup “Thank you.”
The scout mounted his horse, his smile lingering.
“Hannah, listen to me.” Hannah turned to her sister as Cathy gripped both of her arms, her expression grave. “I have something to tell you—I must go back after Christmas.”
“Go back? Where?”
“Back home to my husband and son.” Her voice softened. “My Shawnee husband,
Hannah.” Cathy took her hand and gave it a squeeze. “Clark and LaLoup will be back in a week to take me home to them.” 
Home? The dusty parade ground of the fort blurred. Oh, no Lord, please… The Yosts stood at a distance with other fort dwellers. She scanned their faces. All seemed to welcome her with smiles.
Hannah blinked and turned. It was then she caught the soft glint of LaLoup’s cross around his neck. He gave her a reassuring look, his green eyes deep as a forest glade flashing in sunlight. Her chest tightened. “You will not stay to celebrate Christmas with us, LaLoup?”
He reached down and gently cradled her cheek in his hand. She covered it with her own. “I will be back soon, Waw-paw-wa-Qua. Clark and I must go and hunt game for the fort.” His smile was tender. “I will be celebrating the birth of Jesus with you in my heart.” The scout’s gaze held her like a tether. “And remember you partook of the wedding feast from my hand.”
          The scout wheeled his horse around and rode out of the stockade as the gates closed behind him.


End of  Part 6. Please join us next Monday, Dec. 17th for the next installment of A Forted Frontier Holiday: A Colonial American Fiction Anthology. Lynn Squire will continue the serial.

GIVEAWAY: A copy of MaryLu Tyndall's "Veil of Pearls" (Carrie's favorite book of 2012!) for which Pat made a beautiful custom doll for MaryLu! Pat is an artist as well as a writer.  Her dolls are sold in museums throughout the United States. Winner announced on December 24th during the Christmastide serial presentation by Carrie Fancett Pagels and those contributors through that date.

____________________________________________

Writer and artist working on a colonial novel set in the Mohawk Valley. Her American Historical Christian Fiction blog is a sampler of faith, folklore, and fiction. 

 

45 comments:

  1. Pat, Thank you so much for this beautiful contribution to the anthology! I cried when I read this, it was so touching. God bless and keep you!

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  2. Pat this was just lovely. Your phrasing had me gasping with delight. ". . .trees like seared bones towered over them. A few brittle leaves still clung to branches, trying to gain sustenance where there was none." This is really fine writing. I love how Hannah's fears turn to deep joy and promise before the end. And I am in love with LaLoup! Mmm, green eyes. Nice touch. :)Hannah has come through so much, and it is satisfying to see her in such good hands.

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  3. :) Lovely! I'm still thinking of Hannah and Wolf and it's been days since I first read this. Her story would make a wonderful novel. Your writing feels rich and rooted, Pat.

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  4. Thanks so much, Carrie and Kathleen!

    Want to start out right away by saying that Hannah is loosely based on our western N.Y. "White Woman of the Genesee", Mary Jemison who was taken as a child in PA. by the Shawnee, then traded north to the Seneca. She married an Iroquois chief and stayed with them the rest of her life. I merely traded her back! :)

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    1. Cool, Pat!!! I can't remember if it was Mary or another woman that my friend's wife is descended from. She lives in Nashville, will have to double check.

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  5. Oh, this installment is SO romantic :)

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  6. What a fun project! I'll have to catch up on the previous posts!

    Thank you for the chane to win a copy of Mary Lu's novel!

    Beth
    bharbin07{at}gmail[dot]com

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  7. Lori--

    I'm humbled by your kind words and support; they are deeply appreciated! Have been thinking about what you said...so have already started plotting this for book two in a series :)

    And Anne and Beth--thank you so much for stopping in. Please come back for our next installment!

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  8. Pat!!!!!! Goosebumps and tears...........need I say more? :)
    I love this so much! You are a great writer. Thank you again for my beautiful Adalia doll; you have many talents, my friend.
    This serial really opens up an entire story in my head. Leaves me wanting to know all the details of Hannah's life.
    I do not need to be entered into the contest. I already own Veil of Pearls, definitely one of MaryLu's best.
    Hugs

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  9. Very enjoyable story. I liked the intertwined stories. Would be interested in reading more.

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  10. I think the best part of being your beta reader is that I get to read your writing again and again! I loved this narrative the first time I read it and your characters brought it to life for me again. Well done, my friend!

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  11. I felt I was there in in time and place. Nicely done, Pat.

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  12. Lovely storytelling, Pat. So romantic, and I just loved your characters.

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  13. I felt like I was right there . It makes me want to read more!

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  14. The Inn at Narrow Passage is one of my favorite places to visit, so I was immediately drawn into the setting of the story. What a wonderful story. I want to read more.

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  15. Chaplain Debbie & Lisa--Thank you SO MUCH for stopping in! (I just spent three hours in the garage having my car fixed! So thanks again for being here ladies! --p.s.--Lisa, I haven't forgotten I still owe you something :)

    To my local friends: Gladys, Sue & Pam-- a special thank you for coming by; hope you can stop in more often! And to my anonymous buddies.... a big thank you as well! Hope you all enjoyed this tale--and the WHOLE ANTHOLOGY; please check out the stories that went before as well as those to come! Re: the Inn at Narrow Passage was built in 1740 and is still going strong!

    We enjoyed your company here on Colonial Quills--hope you enjoyed CQ!

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  16. I agree with Carrie, this scene is very touching. Now what comes next???? :)

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  17. Great excerpt! I'm a sucker for handsome Native Americans, and I'm wondering what will happen next. :-)

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  18. woo hoo Pat! so lovely! And now half of us are in love with LaLoup!
    I hope to see you soon and would love to see more of these characters too~

    I have Veil of Pearls I'm just here for my weekly fix!

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  19. I am awed, Pat! What a wonderful story. Blessings to you on your writing, my friend.

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  20. I felt like I was there, feeling the same emotions, envisioning the scenery. Exciting, mindful. Leaves me wanting more. And isn't that the point.
    Loved it. from Sue Mitchell

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  21. Wonderful, Pat. You certainly drew me in. :)

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  22. I knew nothing of Narrow Passage until I read your story. Good characterization, very descriptive scenes. You can feel the emotional tension in the interaction between the characters, which is what good writing is all about. Nice job.

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  23. I LOVE this, Pat! What a beautifully descriptive story that captured me from the start. I want Hannah and LaLoup's story to go on (and on...) *SIGH* Thank you for this WONDERFUL addition to the anthology. My first taste of your writing is indeed, a sweet one!

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  24. Well done, Pat. There are so many layers to this story and I want to read more about these intriguing characters. I love the romance and the tension.

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  25. Hello Ladies!

    I sneaked off to have a Christmas cookie. Or two. So, I would like to pass some out here. O.K.-- pretend. That's what writing is all about anyway!

    More VERY GRATEFUL words to Vera and Gwendolyn. I have to confess something here: I was thinking of an old friend when I wrote LaLoup's character... 'Nuff said.

    Hi Deb!!! I still have that reference to the Scottish site and it has a lot of technical info and is connected with the library in Edinburgh, so I think it's worthwhile. Will really enjoy seeing you after Christmas if that's ok.? Hope everyone is well and work is coming along o.k.too.

    Wow--thank you Carla! Really appreciate your kind words. And thank you for all the technical help. Besides the wonderful books you turn out--you're a gem with all of CQ's technical aspects too!

    Lynn--thank you Sister-in-Christ, and Praying for your move!

    Susie--my always and forever neighbor no matter where you live right now--thank you for your encouragement! Luv you!

    And our anonymous friends...once again you have encouraged me and all of CQ today by stopping in! God bless!

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    1. Mmmmm...Christmas cookies! I would love one, Pat, thank you so much. I will only have ONE though, because my sister came by and gave me some goodies, so I must take it easy on the sweets. Oh, what am I saying! It's Christmas! Time to indulge, right? So, I will take two, or perhaps three? So tasty! Okay, I am off to bed, dear friend. God bless!

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  26. Fabulous writing, Pat!! You have me intrigued. Just thought I'd drop by and see what all the fuss was with your wonderful post connected to a free book of mine! And now I'm quite honored to have my book connected to such a lovely excerpt. Keep up the good work!! Hugs...MaryLu

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  27. What a delightful tale, Pat. I'm so glad I was finally able to get to it today. I agree with all the others who want the story to continue.

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  28. Oh Captain--Glad to see you here--thank you for stopping in. And likewise Janet!

    I can't wait for the next installment either. The only question I want to pose to Carrie is...what are we going to do after the anthology is over--LOL!

    Have a blessed and peaceful night, everyone!

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  29. Hello Pat. I think I will take one of your cookies. I have followed this Anthology from the beginning and will never be ready for it to end. It has been so good, and, I fell in love with yours. It is so great, and I think you need to write a novel about it. It seemed as if I were right there seeing what was going on. I have always loved Indian Romances, and most anything Indian, and this just reminded me how,many I read in the past. But, as II said, I loved everything about this #6 of the series. You are a great writer. I'll have to find some of your books! GOD bless. Maxie Anderson

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  30. Interesting story and I will be back for the one next Monday

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  31. Beautifully written and seamlessly melding into the rest of the writing. But how will all these varied parts come together in just two months? I fear that this group is in for a much larger project and would love to see it so.

    Since I just won "The Chamomile" I'll not leave my address for "Veil of Pearls." Not that I wouldn't want it, but I do hate to appear greedy. I don't mind being greedy for this wonderful writing, you understand. I just hate for it to be obvious. :-)

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  32. I think it is hard to see a good book end! Enjoyed the review. Would love a chance at winning! Thanks for that chance!
    Blessings,
    joeym11@frontier.com

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  33. I'm enjoying this anthology so much, and this addition was wonderful!

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  34. Again, thank you all--Maxie, Judith, Diana & Kay for stopping in to read my offering for this anthology. And our dear anonymous folks too...

    Judith--that's not "greed" to want to enjoy CQ's books and authors; that's supporting them! Just make sure when you get those books, whether you purchase or win them, that you pass on the word. 'Twould be much appreciated! It's passing on information about authors who write lovely and exciting stories for the Lord. Something we need in today's world! So many books I could name that have won prestigious awards or where the authors have had public acclaim--but the stories are something you'd not want your family reading!

    So getting the word out is very important! And many times when people have read their first Christian world view novel, they discover it's like a breath of fresh air!

    p.s. Need some prayers (who doesn't?) for Carrie, (who might have come down with the flu) and of course other CQ authors and writers. (Kathy...thinking of your daughter too)Thanks, everyone.

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    1. This year the flu has attacked a lot of people. Praying for them all!

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  35. Am enjoying this too. Blessings and Merry Christmas, Susan Fryman CQ susanngarrylee@yahoo.com

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  36. Sorry I was also supposed to answer if I love cliffhangers and I do. Blessings, Susan Fryman CQ susanngarrylee@yahoo.com After the entire series comes out, I usually go back and reread back to back within a year or two.

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  37. Once again....I am grateful to everyone who offered a comment. Carrie and CQ--thanks for this opportunity! Have a most blessed Christmas and best in the New Year!

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  38. Would love to win a copy of your book. Thanks!

    bonnieroof60@yahoo.com

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  39. That was a great post! I loved the romance! shopgirl152nykiki(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  40. Wooooooooo... I was going through the forest with them, hearing every snap of a twig, with the thorns pulling at their clothing as they passed, ever watchful... until she saw his eyes and trust came forth. Kathleen CQ
    lanehillhouse[at]centurylink[dot]net

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