Author Denise Devine & “Both My Grandmas”

Author Denise Devine

Last year I joine a Group of Authors. We call ourselves the SWEET ROMANCE READS group (NOTE: the graphic on the left.) Author Denise Devine is a member and she’s here to share about her latest release and both her grandmas. Here’s Denise:

“I grew up learning about life from both of my grandmothers.

They were strong women who not only survived the depression and the dust bowl years, but they flourished when most people were struggling. No matter how difficult things became, they never quit working toward a better life and never lost their zeal.

Grandma Esther

My grandma Esther

quit school at fifteen, got a job in a bedding factory sewing mattresses in Minneapolis and worked her way up to a foreman position. She made $16 a week and that was big money at the time! I used to listen to her stories about living through the depression, World War II and the Armistice Day Blizzard (11/11/1940). During my childhood, she taught me to sew clothes on her Singer treadle machine. I watched her can vegetables and make jam. Her favorite pastime was going to the movies and collecting recipes from newspapers and magazines. I still have those recipes. My sister has the sewing machine.

My Grandma Gladys

became a widow in her late forties and supported her two youngest daughters by working in a bakery. Despite being a single mother, she still managed to save money. She had a commercial safe in her closet where she stored silver dollars. (It was a heavy metal box on wheels.) She had enough coins for a down payment to build an office building on her land in the 1960s and start her own fashion shop on the main floor. She stayed open for business until she was 93.

The strength and resilience of these women made a deep impression upon me. They were self-educated and tough. Grandma Esther instilled me with self-sufficiency and compassion while Grandma Gladys taught me to be shrewd with money.

So, it’s no surprise that the heroines in my books exhibit the traits of Esther and Gladys.

Merry Christmas Darling_Cover_Kindle

I couldn’t portray them any other way. In my current release, “Merry Christmas, Darling,” the heroine is a nurse practitioner. Some of the residents in her condominium building are elderly and need minor assistance to stay independent. Kim likes helping them. It comes easy for her. But when the handsome bachelor in the penthouse unit, Rock Henderson, bargains with her to take care of him for a week, she lets him know that there will be no hanky-panky! She’s simply his neighbor in 601E, nothing more, nothing less. She doesn’t count on finding love under the mistletoe.

Sweet Christmas

To purchase, click here.Sweet Christmas Kisses: Fourteen Sweet Christmas Romances

Merry Christmas, Darling is a light romantic comedy in the newly released boxed set “Sweet Christmas Kisses,” a bundle of PG-rated romance novels and novellas from USA Today, national bestselling, and award-winning authors. For a limited time, it’s available for 99 cents on Amazon, B&N, iBooks, Kobo and GooglePlay.

Denise Devine has had a passion for books since the second grade when she discovered Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder. She wrote her first book, a mystery, at age thirteen and has been writing ever since.??She lives on six wooded acres in East Bethel, Minnesota with her husband, Steve and her three problem (feline) children, Mocha, Lambchop and Tigger. She’s presently a cat person, but she loves all animals and they often find their way into her books. Besides reading and writing, Denise also loves to study and travel. You can visit her at ,,, Twitter: @denisedevine1

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Plain People Discussion Finale-Author Marta Perry & The Amish

Marta Perry
This week we come to the end of our PLAIN PEOPLE disucssion with Amish author Marta Perry. She is offering a copy of hew new book THE FORGIVEN to a commenter. Here’s Marta:


When and where did the Amish originate?

The Amish trace their roots back to the Protestant Reformation in the sixteenth century in Europe. Reformers began to question the Catholic Church, and such leaders as Martin Luther, Ulrich Zwingli, and John Calvin eventually split with the church, beginning the Lutheran and Reformed traditions. On a trip to Europe a few years ago, I stood in a park in Geneva, Switzerland, looking at statues of those men and wondering at their courage in taking on the strongest force in their world.
But of course the questioning didn’t stop with those first leaders. Others challenged them, believing that true followers of Christ should live apart from the world’s standards. They rejected the idea of infant baptism, believing instead in baptism as a sign of adult commitment. Thus they came to be known as Anabaptists, or “re-baptizers.” As a result, they were soon condemned by both the Catholics and the mainstream Protestants!

Amish painting
In the ensuing years, persecution erupted, with hundreds martyred for their faith, a fact which is still prominent today in the firm commitment to non-violence of the Anabaptist churches.

The Anabaptists were eventually called “Mennonites” due to the teaching of Menno Simons. One of his followers, Jakob Ammann, became troubled by the lives of some Anabaptists, feeling they lived too comfortably with the surrounding society. Ammann’s stricter teachings eventually led to the formation of a new group, the Amish.

Because of continuing persecution, the Amish began immigrating to America in the early 1700s, along with a number of other German-speakers, including my own Swiss and German ancestors, the Ungers and the Taubenbergers. Arriving at the port of Philadelphia, they settled in nearby counties, eventually spreading west and forming new communities. By the 1930s, there were no Amish left in Europe.

What sets your group apart from other Christians?

The basic issue of adult baptism, common to all Anabaptists, is an obvious hallmark. An Amish young person is baptized when mature enough to make the choice to join the church, knowing that he or she is committing to living Amish for the rest of life.

Other aspects of being Amish that set them apart include yieldedness, nonviolence, humility, and obedience. The Amish way is that of being yielded to God’s will, no matter what happens. It is espousing the belief in turning the other cheek, as exemplified in the stories of the martyrs. Humility is not a popular virtue in a contemporary culture which puts emphasis on competition, individualism, and personal fulfillment. The Amish believe that humility, as shown in speech, dress, attitude, and a hundred other details of daily life, is the Christian way. Obedience runs through all of Amish life: obedience of children to parents, younger to older, members to the church. From these basic beliefs flow all the things we identify as Amish: plain dress, horse and buggy transport, close family life, and interdependence on the group.

Amish buggy

Is your group still alive today?

The Amish don’t merely survive, they thrive! When you consider that a very small number of people become converts, their growth seems even more astonishing. But not only do the Amish have large families, their retention rate of young adults is over 80%. Amish groups have spread to a number of states and Canada. In 2012, there were over 2,000 church districts, with a total population of over 270,000 people.

Why did you choose to write about this group?

I grew up in a small, rural community in southwestern Pennsylvania where there was a number of Plain people, many of whom went to school with me. Since then, I’ve lived in another rural community in central Pennsylvania, so the Amish and other Plain groups have always been part of my environment. I’m also of Pennsylvania Dutch descent, so the customs, traditions, and food we share creates a bond for me.

I first introduced Amish characters into a book I was writing in an existing series for Love Inspired. My editor said, “Do more of that!” So I did, and it’s led me to a very satisfying experience in writing about a group I know and admire.”–Marta

Amish home

Marta’s social media links:

Thanks, Marta. I’ve studied some on the Amish but I didn’t realize that there were so many in the US. I don’t think I’d be interested in living Amish but I understand the attraction of a more simple life vs. the hectic life most of us live. And I love your Amish stories!  Be sure to LEAVE A COMMENT TO BE ENTERED INTOT HE DRAWING FOR A COPY OF THE FORGIVEN. So here’s the

QUESTION: Do you read Amish stories? Why or why not?–Lyn


To purchase, click here. The Forgiven: Keepers of the Promise: Book One

PS: The winner of Ann H Gabhart’s book will be announced Weds.

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Plain People Discussion Continues–Author Ann H Gabhart & The Shakers

Ann Gabhart

Well, our discussion of the different sects of PLAIN PEOPLE continues with Author Ann H Gabhart, also known as the Kentucky Storyteller. Ann will be giving away a copy of CHRISTMAS AT HARMONY HILL to a commenter so be sure to leave one Ann has been my guest before and I’m happy to host her again. Here’s Ann:

1-When and where did your sect of Plain People begin? Please elaborate as you wish.

Ann Lee was the principal leader of the religious group that came to be known as the Shakers. She led a small band of eight followers to America in 1774. Here she gained more followers who believed she was the “second embodiment of the Christ Spirit.” She and her followers established the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing, but due to their style of worship in which they often shook when overcome by the spirit, people derisively called them Shakers. In time, the Believers embraced the name and called themselves Shakers. To escape the evil influences of the “world,” they established villages where they shut away worldly influences and all worked for the common good without individual gain. Any possessions or property they owned when they joined the Shakers were surrendered to the Society. Members of the sect gave up whatever the leadership deemed worldly and attempted to live perfect lives in villages they endeavored to make into little heavens on earth.

Shaker originator

At the turn of the nineteenth century, religious fervor swept the Western frontier, and thousands of people came to camp meetings such as the 1801 Cane Ridge Revival in Kentucky to hear the gospel and embrace new ways to worship. The Shakers, whose communities were flourishing in New England, sent missionaries to the west to take advantage of this wave of revival. Two Shaker villages were established in Kentucky, Pleasant Hill and South Union, from the converts they were able to convince to follow the Shaker way.

2-What sets your group apart from other Christians?

Many things set Shakers apart from other Christian followers. They had very different beliefs than other church denominations. The Shakers believed in celibate living, community property and confession of sins. Mother Ann, as their founding leader was called, taught that individual family groups and marriage unions caused strife and led to sinful living. Shakers lived as brothers and sisters with the sexes strictly separated. Houses had two doors and two staircases so that even incidental contact could be avoided. Also, the Shakers believed in equality of the sexes and races at a time when that was very uncommon in general society. Shaker women had places of leadership along with the men and blacks were welcomed into Shaker villages on equal footing long before slavery was abolished and the 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote in 1920.

The Shakers believed in unity in all things and that work was a way of worshiping. They “labored” their songs and “exercised” their dances in their meetings. They were staid, hard workers but exuberant and often frenzied in their worship. The Shakers sometimes opened their worship services in hopes of gaining converts, but most who attended from the “world” did so merely to view a curiosity and as a kind of odd entertainment. The church people who lived near the villages considered the Shaker worship wrong and even blasphemous. However, they did admire the Shakers’ charitable spirit and their fine workmanship of their buildings and their products. Shaker was perhaps the first widely known trade name that people all across the country recognized and trusted. If it was Shaker made, it would be as advertised and a good product.

Shaker house

3-Is your sect still active today? If so, why do you think that this sect has survived? If not, why do you think your sect didn’t last?

One Shaker village remains in Sabbathday Lake, Maine with two or three Shakers. All the other Shaker villages were abandoned by the middle of the 20th Century. Many think the Shakers died out because of their belief in celibate living which certainly didn’t lead to children growing up in the religion. The Shakers did take in orphans in hopes of raising them in the Shaker way, but nearly all of these children left when they came of age. Difficult economic times brought many converts into the village prior to the Civil War. At the Shaker villages, members were expected to work, but they were also guaranteed food and shelter and the young people received schooling. After the war, the villages began to lose many of their young and middle-aged men to the opportunities opened up by an era of industrialization. They were able to find jobs to support themselves and their families without having to abide by the Shakers’ strict rules. Those in leadership positions in the villages aged and without young leaders to take over for them, they stayed in control too long, often with abilities diminished by age that sometimes caused them to make bad financial decisions. As time went by, there was a gradual decrease in worship emphasis and an increase in social activities and amusements.

The Shaker population reached its peak in the 1820s with estimates of 4,000 members at all the villages in the country from Maine to Indiana. The villages began to close one by one as membership declined. In Kentucky, the twelve Shakers living at Pleasant Hill sold off much of their property to settle debts in 1910 and then deeded the rest of their property, 1,800 acres, to a neighboring farmer in exchange for his agreement to care for the remaining Shakers until their death. Mary Settles was the last to die in 1923. South Union, the other Kentucky Shaker village, closed in 1922 when the property was sold at auction. The two men and seven women remaining were offered the choice of relocating to an eastern village or receiving $10,000.

Both Kentucky villages are now open to the public. South Union is a museum ( and the Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill was restored in the 1960’s as a living history museum where visitors can walk the same paths as the early Shakers and perhaps get a glimpse back in time at the Shaker life.

4-Why did you choose to write about this sect?

When I began writing novels many years ago–my first historical novel was published in 1978–I concentrated on Kentucky history since that’s where I live. I wrote about the pioneer days and the Civil War years. Then I wrote a book about the Shakers in Kentucky. Unfortunately, that story didn’t meet market needs at the time and stayed unpublished until years later I was blessed to have a book published in the Christian market, thus opening up new opportunities for my Shaker story. I worked it over and The Outsider was eventually published in 2008, almost thirty years after I’d first written that Shaker story. Then my publishers surprised me by asking me to write more Shaker books, not something I had planned to do. But I did go back into the Shaker world, did more research, found more fascinating Shaker history and came up with new Shaker characters. Each of the books I’ve written about the Shakers are stand alone stories set in my fictional Shaker village of Harmony Hill, but the physical setting is based on the Shaker village of Pleasant Hill near where I live here in Kentucky. So I suppose I wrote that initial Shaker story because I was captivated by the history of the Kentucky Shakers and then I wrote more Shaker stories because readers seemed as interested as I was in seeing my characters experience the Shaker way while dealing with the challenges and problems in their lives.

Here’s Ann’s most recent Shaker book.

To purchase, click here.Christmas at Harmony Hill: A Shaker Story


Christmas-Ann Gabhart

Christmas at Harmony Hill blurb

It is 1864 and the nation is still torn apart by civil war when Heather Worth discovers she is with child. She has been working as a laundress with her husband’s army unit, but when the army gets orders to march south to Tennessee, Gideon insists Heather go home to have their child under safer conditions. Heather agrees, but returns home to another kind of devastation–deaths in the family and a father who refuses to forgive her for marrying a Yankee. With nowhere else to turn, Heather seeks refuge at the Shaker village of Harmony Hill, where her great aunt Sophrena lives. There, after many peaceful years at Harmony Hill, Sophrena is having doubts about her Shaker path. Both women are in need of love and forgiveness–whether given or received. With Christmas coming, can the miracle of new life fill their hearts with unexpected joy?

To find out more about Ann or her books visit Check out her blog, One Writer’s Journal, or join her on Facebook.


Now Ann’s turn to ask  A QUESTION. Do you think you could have lived the Shaker way? Why or why not?–Ann

That’s a good Question, Ann. I don’t think I could. I like being married AND DON’T FORGET TO LEAVE A COMMENT TO BE INCLUDED IN THE DRAWING FOR A COPY OF CHRISTMAS AT HARMONY HILL.–Lyn

PS: Last week’s winner of Judith Miller’s A SHINING LIGHT is Emma!

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“Plain People” Discussion Continues–Author Judith Miller & the Amana

Judith Miller Amana Author

The second week of our PLAIN PEOPLE discussion features author Judith Miller who writes about the Amana. Many of you might never have heard of this sect. But since I lived in Iowa for almost twenty years, I am well acquainted with them. I recently ate at the Ronnenberg Restaurant in the Amana Colonies. And everyone has heard of Amana appliances, right?  Judith is offering a copy of her latest book in the HOME TO AMANA series, A Shining Light. BE SURE TO LEAVE A COMMENT TO ENTER THIS BOOK DRAWING.

So let’s see what Judith has to tell us about this interesting and unique group of Plain People, THE AMANA!

1-When and where did your sect of Plain People begin?

The Inspirationists eventually settled in Amana, Iowa originated in Germany, during the early 1700’s where a religious awakening had begun. They soon were persecuted due to their refusal to send their children to public schools, because they believed in freedom of speech and worship, because they were pacifists.

They took refuge in Hessen, Germany where they were given protection, but due to excessive rents and taxes, continued persecution and a killing drought, their leaders decided the Lord was leading them to a new place. They scouted land in America and first settled near Buffalo, New York, in 1842. They called their settlement, Ebenezer, and they adopted a constitution and established a communal system.

In 1855, when more farmland was needed for the expanding community that now numbered around 1,200 members, leaders looked to the west for farmland and finally agreed upon land in Iowa where the first village, Amana, was constructed. Five more villages, Middle Amana, High Amana, West Amana, South Amana and East Amana, were built. In 1861, Homestead was purchased. These seven villages and the 26,000 acres of land they came to own, are known as the Amana Colonies.

2-What sets your group apart from other Christians?

Eberhard L. Gruber, a Lutheran clergyman, and Johann F. Rock, a harness maker, became acquainted. They believed a prayerful relationship with the Lord would lead to a Godly life. They advocated humility through simple worship and believed that God may communicate to his followers through an inspired individual as He did in the days of the Biblical prophets. This individual, called a Werkzeug (instrument) is regarded as a tool of God’s will through which God speaks to his people. This was (and is) a foundation of the Amana Church. The last Werkzeuk was Barbara Heinemann Landmann who died in 1883. There has been no other Werkzeug since that time, although this belief remains  a foundation of the Amana Church.

Their communal lifestyle also set them apart from other religious sects. The community which now owned about 26,000 acres continued their communal lifestyle until 1932 when the members voted to abandon the communal way of life, but maintain their community. The old system was set aside and a new profit-sharing, joint stock corporation, the Amana Society was formed.

3-Is your sect still active today? If so, why do you think that this sect has survived? If not, why do you think your sect didn’t last?

Yes, they are still active. Although they believed that remaining single was preferable (so that there would be no distraction from individual relationship with the Lord), marriage was permitted. Unlike the Shakers who lived communally, but prohibited marriage and were housed in dormitory style housing, the residents of Amana lived in houses with their families. Many of the houses were quite large so there would be apartments for single or small families. Each set of living quarters had a parlor and bedrooms although there were no kitchens since all of the cooking and meals were shared in communal kitchen houses. There were more than 50 kitchen houses in the seven villages feeding the 1,500 residents three meals a day plus two coffee breaks.

Visitors may attend church services in South Amana, the early service is still conducted in German while the later service is in English.

4-Why did you choose to write about this sect?

I am drawn to unique settings, so after a visit to the Amana Colonies many years ago, I knew I wanted to write about these people and their history in this country. They have maintained fabulous historical documentation which, for any writer of historical books is a wonderful gift. After spending time in their museum, touring the villages, and perusing some of their archives, I was captivated and knew I wanted to share stories set in the Colonies. The Inspirationists have a rich history in this country. Although there are a number of non-fiction books and a multitude of articles and theses setting forth the history of the group, there are not many works of fiction set in the Colonies. After writing six books set in the Colonies, I have developed many friendships among the residents and have enjoyed the relationships I’ve developed over the past years.

I look forward to hearing any questions or comments you might have regarding the Amana Colonies.



or on Twitter at @JudithMiller18

A Shining Light

To purchase, click here.A Shining Light (Home to Amana)

Back cover copy:

The kind people of Amana have been her guiding light, but her greatest trial is yet to come. . . West Amana, Iowa, 1890  After Andrea Wilson receives the devastating news that her husband has been lost at sea, she returns home to Iowa with her young son, Lukas. But what she finds there causes more heartache: The family farm has burned and her father has died, leaving Andrea with nothing.??Andrea must rely on the kindness of the people from the nearby Amana village who invite her to stay with them for a time. She discovers much generosity and contentment among the Amanans–especially from the tinsmith, Dirk Knefler, who takes her son under his wing. But is the simple, cloistered life in Amana what Andrea wants for Lukas’s future? Is she willing to give up the comforts and freedom of the outside world? And when yet another round of shocking news comes her way, will Andrea ever be able to find the serenity and hope that have eluded her for so long?

Short Bio:

Although born and reared in a small suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Judy moved to Kansas at the age of seventeen and has considered the sunflower state ‘home’ ever since. She currently lives in Topeka, and in her spare time enjoys reading, traveling, scrapbooking, researching history, and Bible study.

Writing Christian fiction is Judy’s second career. For many years she worked as a legal assistant in law firms and later worked in government law offices. She has retired from legal work in order to write fulltime —a vocation she considers both a ministry and a blessing from the Lord.

Judy has authored or co-authored more than twenty-five books since she began writing in 1996. Her love of history and her desire to point readers to the love and grace of Jesus are reflected in all of her books.

Upcoming authors:

Ann H Gabhart-who often writes about Shakers, guests on September 22

and Marta Perry-who writes about the Amish, winds this up on September 29

QUESTION: Had you ever heard of the Amana before? Do you see any similarities between the Amana and the Quakers? Leave a reply to be entered in the book drawing!

PS: Last week’s winner of HONOR is Linda Kubick!


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“Plain People”–Amish, Amana, Shakers and Quakers–A Discussion

As many of you are aware, I often (but not always) write about Quakers or the Society of Friends. At the release of HONOR, the first in my “Quaker Brides” series, I decided to hold a discussion about these Christian sects which are often called “Plain.”

According to Wikipeida, “Plain people are Christian groups characterized by separation from the world and simple living, including plain dress.”

I will of course be presenting the Quakers. The other participating authors are:

Judith Miller-who writes about Amana, and will guest next Monday September 15,

Ann H Gabhart-who often writes about Shakers, guests on September 22

and Marta Perry-who writes about the Amish, winds this up on September 29

Each author will answer four questions on their day, but will also drop by and comment each week. I hope you’ll join our discussion! (AND LEAVE A COMMENT THIS WEEK TO ENTER THE DRAWING FOR A COPY OF HONOR!)

Here are the questions and my answers FOR THE QUAKERS:

1-When and where did your sect of Plain People begin? Please elaborate as you wish.

The Quakers or Society of Friends began in England with the vision of George Fox around 1650 in England. He preached throughout England and Netherland and Barbados. He was soon brought up on charges of blasphemy by the established Church of England before a magistrate Bennet. This was when they earned the name Quakers. According to George Fox’s autobiography, Bennet “was the first person that called us Quakers, because I bade them tremble at the word of the Lord”.

And we all learned about William Penn, a prominent Quaker who settled Pennsylvania in the 1680’s (I think this photo must be of a very young Wm Penn–before he became a Quaker. No frills or armor for Quakers!)

Wm Penn

2-What sets your group apart from other Christians?

Friends have like other groups separated into different types, but the basic principles of the Friends are

  1. that every Christian can know God personally without the intervention of church hierarchy
  2. all Christians–male and female or of whatever race–are equal before God
  3. to live a plain simple life
  4. in peace.

Their main belief was #1–they called it “The Inner LIght” or “Christ’s Light.” They believed in following this Light.

In the 18th and 19th century, a small percent of Quakers were active in abolition, women’s rights and temperance. They succeeded in all three, finally with Prohibition in 1920. The last one was found to be flawed because merely taking away intoxicants does not change the causes of substance abuse. But as the popular song says: 2 out of 3 aint’ bad. ;-)
3-Is your sect still active today? If so, why do you think that this sect has survived? If not, why do you think your sect didn’t last?

The Society of Friends are still alive and well in the world. But since the early 20th century when they dropped the use of the distinctive “thee” and “thy” and began dressing like their contemporaries, they aren’t as noticeable. However, they remain active in social justice and remain pacifists.

4-Why did you choose to write about this sect?

I am very interested that such a numerically small and distinctive group could affect our Western Civilization so radically. The Quakers were definitely salt and light in their dark world.

If you’d like to view a video about the Quakers, click here.

QUESTION: Have you read any PLAIN PEOPLE books? Which? What did you think? Remember to leave a comment to be entered into a drawing for a copy of my HONOR.–Lyn

PS: Last Week’s WINNERS:

Gail Hollingsworth and Patsy Glans

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Lyn Reviews Frontline of Freedom, Non-Fiction


Frontline of Freedom by Keith P Griffler

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read Frontline of Freedom in researching the first book in my new series “Quaker Brides.” Book one takes place in and near 1820 Cincinnati, Ohio, where my heroine Honor Cathwell joins the Female Antislavery Society.

Frontline of Freedom is an excellent resource for anyone interested in the history of the struggle for abolition, the beginnings of the Underground Railroad (which began in Ohio) and the African-American and the white men and women who defied unjust laws to end slavery.

As I read this, I was reminded of the many times, I’ve “lifted” actual people and events from history because truth is often more exciting than anything I could think up!

View all my reviews

NOTE: In the left column, my Pinterest board for abolition.

QUESTION:  Why do you enjoy reading historical novels? What’s your favorite ever?–Lyn

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Honor, Book One of my “Quaker Brides” series-Excerpt

Honor web friendly

I’m pleased to share Honor, Book One of my new “Quaker Brides” series. Here is Scene One. Remember to leave a comment. I’m giving away 2 copies this week!

Chapter One, Scene One
High Oaks Plantation
Tidewater Maryland
August 1819

Each time her grandfather struggled for another breath, Honor Penworthy’s own lungs constricted. She stood beside the second story window, trying to breathe normally, trying catch a breeze in the heat. Behind her, the gaunt man lay on his canopied bed, his heart failing him. How long must he suffer before God would let him go on?
Outside the window stretched their acres, and the tobacco fields where dark heads covered with kerchiefs or straw hats bent harvesting the green-speared leaves. High Oaks–to her the most beautiful plantation in Maryland. She felt a twinge of pain, of impending loss.
“The edict was impractical. And your…father was a dreamer. But at least, he had the sense to realize his irrational decision must be kept secret. Doesn’t that tell you not to carry it out?” Each word in this last phrase slapped her and each cost him.
Unable to ignore this challenge, she turned. In her grandfather’s youth, the Society of Friends had dicatated that all Friends should free their slaves. “My father remained Quaker,” she said the bare words in a neutral voice, trying not to stir the still smoldering coals.
“I remained a Christian,” he fired back. “My forebears chose the leave the Anglican church to become Quaker. I chose to change back.”
He’d made that choice because the Episcopal church didn’t press its members to emancipate their slaves. All of the other Quakers in their county had left except for a few older infirm widows, women who’d had the control of their land left to sons. As a single woman, however, Honor could inherit and dispose of property legally.
Honor returned to his bedside. At the sight of her grandfather’s ravaged face, her pity and love surged.
At her approach, her grandfather’s mouth pulled down and his nose wrinkled up–as if he were tasting bitter fruit.
Torn between her love for her father and her grandfather, she didn’t want to fight with him, not now. “My father loved thee,” she said to placate him.
“That is beside the…point. He should never has asked that promise of you. It was cowardly.” He panted from the exertion.
She gazed at him levelly. The memory of her father’s untimely death still had the power to sweep away her calm but one couldn’t change history. Her grandfather’s comment could lead them into harsh recriminations. And proved that he knew he’d done wrong and he’d chosen the wide way, not the narrow gate. She chose her words deftly. “I believe that my father was right.”
Her grandfather’s mouth tightened, twisted not only because of her recalcitrance but also from a sudden pain. He gasped wildly for breath.
If only it weren’t so hot. She slipped another white-cased down pillow under his chest and head, trying to ease his breathing. She blinked away tears, a woman’s weapon she disdained. “How will you…work the land without…our people?” he demanded in between gasps.
“Thee knows I cannot. And that once they are gone, there will be no way I can hold the land.” She said the words calmly but inside fear frothed up. Freeing their slaves would irrevocably alter her life.
He slapped the coverlet with his gnarled fist. “This land has been Penworthy land for four generations. Will you toss aside the land your great-great grandfather cleared by hand and fought the Cherokee for?”
She felt the pull of her heritage, a cinching around her heart. “I know. It weighs on me,” she admitted.
“Then why do it?”
He forced her to repeat her reasons. “I gave my father my promise and I agree with him.”
Her grandfather made a sound of disgust, a grating of rusted hinges. Then he glared up at her from under bushy, willful brows. “Things have changed since your father left us. Did you even notice that our bank failed this year?”
The lump over Honor’s heart increased in weight, making it hard to breathe around it. “I am neither blind nor deaf. I am aware of the nationwide bank panic.”
“Are you aware that we’ve lost our cash assets? We only have the land and the people to work the land. And debts.”
“Debts?” That she hadn’t known.
“Yes, debt is a part of owning a plantation. And I’m afraid last year’s poor crop put us in a bad situation even before the bank panic.”
Honor looked into her grandfather’s cloudy, almost blind eyes. “How bad?”
“If you free our people and sell the land, you will have nothing worthwhile left.”
A blow. She bent her head against one of the posts of the canopied bed. The lump in her chest grew heavier. “I didn’t think emancipation would come without cost.”
“I don’t think you have any idea of how much it will cost you.” Disdain vibrated in each word. “If you free our people and sell the plantation, who will you be if you aren’t the lady of High Oaks?”
She looked up at the gauzy canopy. “I’ll be Honor Penworthy, child of God.”
“You will be landless, husbandless and alone,” he railed. A pause while he gathered strength,  wheezing and coughing.
Honor helped him sip honey water.
“I don’t want you in that vulnerable position,” he said in a much gentler tone, his love for her coming through. “I won’t be there to protect you. You think that Martin boy will marry you, but he won’t. Not if you give up High Oaks.”
Alec Martin had courted her but no, she no longer thought they would marry. A sliver of different pain pierced her.
The floor outside the door creaked, distracting them. Honor turned to hear footsteps she recognized. “Darah?” she called.
“I want to see her,” Grandfather said, looking away.
Honor moved quickly and opened the door.
Darah paused at the head of the stairs. She was almost six years younger than Honor’s twenty-four years, very slight, pretty with soft brown hair and soft brown eyes.
“Cousin, come here. Our grandfather wishes thee.”
Darah reluctantly glanced into Honor’s eyes–at first like a frightened doe and then with something else Honor had never seen in her cousin before. Defiance?
Darah walked back and slipped past her into the room. “Grandfather?”
He studied his hands, now clutching the light blanket. “Honor, leave us. I wish to speak to Darah alone.”
Why? Worry stirred. She ignored it. “And I must see to a few of our people who are ailing.” Honor bowed her head and stepped outside, shutting the door. She went down the stairs to gather her medicine chest and later she must meet with the overseer. The plantation work could not be put aside because her grandfather’s heart was failing. She tried to take a deep breath but the weight over her heart would not budge.
She hated to see her grandfather suffer and she hated to disappoint him. But her course had been set since she was a child. She shuttered her mind against the opposition she would stir up.


QUESTION: So did Honor’s situation catch your interest? Have you ever had to disappoint someone you loved?–Lyn

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Sarah and Angelina Grimke & Honor Cathwell–Sisters of the Heart

I bet you’re like most people and haven’t heard of Sarah and Angelina Grimke. That is unless you’ve read the latest Oprah Pick, The Invention of Wings  by Author Sue Monk Kidd. I discovered the Grimke sisters when I was researching my latest book, out today, Honor,  the first in my new “Quaker Brides” series.

Most of my readers are acquainted with my other Quaker series, “The Gabriel Sisters” series and my subsequent series, “Wilderness Brides,” also had Quaker characters. Do you remember Noah Whitmore and his cousin Rachel, the baker?

This month I will be hosting a dialogue with three other authors of other “Plain People,” such as the Amish. Hope you’ll drop by each Monday and learn more about them and their authors.

Sarah and Angelina Grimke lived at the same time as my fictitious heroine, Honor Penworthy Cathwell, and shared the same passion for freeing slaves. Sarah and Angelina weren’t born Quakers like Honor was but they became Quakers and worked for the causes of abolition and women’s rights. Here’s a video that tells much about their work.

I believe that if Honor had been real, she would have run into Sarah and Angelina at many meetings!

Tomorrow I will share more about my latest historical. And begin an extended excerpt. I will be giving away two copies of Honor this week. So be sure to leave a comment this week.

QUESTION: Do you enjoy reading books about Quakers, Amish or Shakers? Why or why not? And have you read any of my Quaker books?–Lyn

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British Mystery Author Veronica Heley & The Truth Can Hurt

Veronica Heley

My guest today is British Mystery author Veronica Heley. She shares about her experiences as a child in England during WWII. Here’s Veronica and THE TRUTH CAN HURT:

Only six years old

I was six when the war started. My three younger sisters and I were sent away and didn’t return home until the bombing stopped. Our mother divided her time between looking after us in the country, and looking after our father back home. He was not strong, but he worked in his office in the daytime and as a fire watcher at night. We hardly ever saw him.

Well, that is not an unusual story. (Lyn adds–“at the time”)

Peace time but not better

We adapted to peacetime, starting new schools, making new friends, but he remained a distant figure in our lives. Too busy, too stressed . . . not well. We children were often farmed out to stay with  friends. It never occurred to me to ask why. It was the era of ‘Ask me no questions and I’ll tell you no lies’.

And, ‘Don’t make a noise. Don’t disturb your father.’

A holiday in London,

staying in a hotel – what a treat! Oh, Daddy was seeing a doctor? We waited in the hotel room for a phone call from the hospital, and when it  came, my mother burst into tears.

‘It’s good news,’ she told us.

I was thirteen. Her reaction didn’t make sense. ‘Then why are you crying?’

‘Because I’m so happy.’

The Truth Concealed

In fact, she’d been told they’d found an inoperable cancer, but she had decided that we were not to know. Was she right? Should she, perhaps, have risked telling the older children, and kept the younger ones in ignorance?

Back at home, I gradually came to realise that our father was dying, though it was never discussed.

No Tears Allowed

Eighteen months after the operation, he died. The day of the funeral we went off to school as usual. There was no weeping, except in private.

It takes a strong woman to keep secrets in a family. Did our mother keep silence for her sake, or for ours?

Murder in Time cover (new)

To purchase, click here. Murder in Time: An Ellie Quicke British murder mystery (An Ellie Quicke Mystery)

My Mystery Heroine Ellie Quicke

Ellie Quicke is another strong woman, and she can keep quiet when she thinks it best to do so. Sometimes she learns a secret or two, when she’s talking to friends and neighbours about their various problems. She has this dilemma in Murder in Time. Her young housekeeper Vera tells Ellie the secret of her son’s conception, but doesn’t want it publicly known. Now that’s a difficult one because Ellie has to decide if it is right to keep quiet about a rape, or risk it becoming public knowledge. Vera doesn’t want anyone to know about it – is she right to make that decision, or not?

Ellie finds her own way out of this dilemma by choosing to discover what really happened on the night of the rape, and by questioning those involved – who are  also anxious that the truth should not come out.

Sometimes it seems right that some people should be told the truth, and others left in happy ignorance . . . but perhaps that’s something to be decided from case to case.

The truth can hurt.”–Veronica

Veronica, you bring up some really good situations and questions about when to reveal the truth or not. It’s never an easy question. I know that when my dh and I were having some marital problems during our childrend’s younger years, I took pains not to let on. I think that was right at that time. If our marriage had ended that would have been enough time to discuss why and what would be happening. Thanks for sharing your story.



Murder in Time   (Publishers Weekly:  Heley’s prose is sure, her characters well-drawn, and though her tone is light, the plot is satisfyingly dark and sinister.)



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Author Donna Fasano Introduces Her Latest Sweet Romance


The Merry-Go-Round

by Donna Fasano

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: December 2, 2009


When Lauren divorces her husband, she has one thought on her mind…stepping off the merry-go-round. However, her life quickly turns into a three-ring circus: her hypochondriac father moves in, her ex is using her shower when she’s not home, and her perky assistant is pushing her out into the fearsome dating world. She also has to decide if the dilapidated barn and vintage merry-go-round she was awarded in the divorce settlement is a blessing or a bane. As if Lauren’s personal life isn’t chaotic enough, this slightly jaded attorney is overrun with a cast of quirky characters who can’t stay on the right side of the law. What’s a woman to do? She can allow life to spin her in circles forever. Or she can reach out and grab the brass ring.



What are you working on now? 

I’m currently writing two projects at once. I’ve never done this before, and I can’t decide if I love it or hate it. I’m writing a Christmas Novella entitled Almost Perfect Christmas, the story of man who enlists the help of a woman in giving his daughter a perfect Christmas. Unbeknownst to him, his little girl has every intention of playing an angelic matchmaker. The other project is the first book of a 3-book series called Following His Heart, the story of a man who is eerily drawn to a woman, and after they fall in love, they discover what brought them together, and it just might tear them apart. Yes, the description is vague, but that’s just the way it has to be for now. I’m chuckling as I type this. Both books are contemporary romance novels and are due out this fall.

What are you reading now or what do you have in your TBR pile? 

I just finished Learning to Swim by Sara Henry. I’m currently reading Love Me Tender by Mimi Barbour. On my TBR pile you’ll find A Reluctant Hero by Jackie Weger, Creatus by Carmen DeSousa, The Neighbor by Dean Koontz, Three Junes by Julia Glass, One Way or Another by Elaine Raco Chase…should I go on?

What flavor is your writing style?

I always tell people I write cotton candy for the mind. Think back to when you were a kid and you took a bite of that delectable confection. What did you do? You smiled. That’s what I’m going for in my romance novels.

Was writing always the first thing you wanted to do in life?

No, I wanted to be a teacher, but then I met and fell in love with my husband. We married and began raising a family. It wasn’t until my children started school that I started writing.

While you were writing, did you ever feel as if you were one of the characters? 

I believe there’s a lot of me in my protagonists. I write about women who are strong, yet vulnerable. My main characters and my secondary characters have flaws and make mistakes (don’t we all?), but then most of them do all they can to learn, grow and become better people.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

One piece of advice I often give to writers is to READ. Don’t just read in the genre in which you write. Read everything. And then figure out what you liked and what you didn’t…and then think about why. Reading and analyzing the writing of talented people can help you perfect your own skills.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers? 

I bow down to readers! I am so appreciative that they spend their hard-earned money on my books and then take the time to read my stories. I am so blessed to have a job I love, and I wouldn’t have this job if there weren’t readers who love romance novels.

What inspired you to write your first book? 

I came to writing through my love of reading. I spent many a Saturday as a kid in the local library. I loved books, but I never imagined I would ever write one. My husband gets the credit for my becoming a writer. When my children started school and I decided to find a part-time job, he looked around at the piles of romance novels in our home and said, “You’ve read a lot of those. Why don’t you try writing one?” So, you see. It’s all his fault.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? 

Not my latest book, but one of my titles—Where’s Stanley?—features an ending that I didn’t come up with. I handed in the completed manuscript, and my editor suggested a different ending. I wasn’t happy, but I did as she asked. Personally, I think the book suffered for it, but readers seem to enjoy it.

What books have most influenced your life most? 

Old Yeller, Sounder, The Bell Jar, To Kill a Mockingbird…how can people read these books and not be influenced? There are so many titles that inspired me and moved me, molded and shaped me, there isn’t time to name them all. The characters in these wonderful books help young readers to decide what kind of individual they want to be.

Do you ever experience writer’s block? 

There was a time when I’d have said no. I have a plant-your-butt-in-the-chair-and-the-words-will-come attitude. But I did suffer writer’s block while my dad was battling cancer. It’s difficult to write feel-good happily-ever-after when your beloved father is dying.

Do you write an outline before every book you write?

I do, yes. I equate an outline with a road made; how do you know where you’re going if you don’t have a map? I might write the first chapter or two on the fly, but I always take the time to plan out where I want the story to go. Now that’s not to say that the characters are going to stay on the straight and narrow. They decide to veer off the highway every now and then, and that’s when I have to do a quick reroute.

Have you ever disliked something you wrote? 

I’ve never published anything that I disliked. I have started projects that haven’t seen the light of day, either because I couldn’t figure out where to take the story, or I couldn’t make the protagonist sympathetic or likable. It’s a rare occurrence, and when it happens, I just set the story aside and hope I can someday come up with a solution.



USA Today Bestselling Author Donna Fasano has written over 30 romance and women’s fiction books that have sold 4 million copies worldwide. Look for Ehefrau auf Zeit (German Edition) due out September 16th, published by Amazon Crossing, and the first novel of the brand new 3-book Ocean City Boardwalk Series called Following His Heart, due to be released at the end of October.



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