Featured on CFBA this week is GONE TO GREEN

Sunday, August 30, 2009


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Gone To Green

Abingdon Press (August 2009)

by

Judy Christie



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:




Judy Pace Christie, after working as a journalist for twenty-five years, left the daily news business to open a consulting firm that works with individuals, businesses, and churches on strategies for meaningful life and work, including goal-setting, living fully, and balancing personal and professional lives. She is the author of Hurry Less, Worry Less; Hurry Less, Worry Less at Christmastime; and co-author of Awesome Altars. Judy and her husband live in northwest Louisiana.




ABOUT THE BOOK

Lois goes from being a corporate journalist at a large paper in the Midwest to the owner of The Green News-Item, a small twice-weekly newspaper in rural North Louisiana. The paper was an unexpected inheritance from a close colleague, and Lois must keep it for at least a year, bringing a host of challenges, lessons, and blessings into her life.

When Lois pulls into Green on New Year’s Day, she expects a charming little town full of smiling people. She quickly realizes her mistake. After settling into a loaned house out on Route 2, she finds herself battling town prejudices and inner doubts and making friends with the most surprising people: troubled teenager Katy, good-looking catfish farmer Chris, wise and feisty Aunt Helen, and a female African-American physician named Kevin.

Whether fighting a greedy, deceitful politician or rescuing a dog she fears, Lois notices the headlines in her life have definitely improved. She learns how to provide small-town news in a big-hearted way and realizes that life is full of newsworthy moments. When she encounters racial prejudice and financial corruption, Lois also discovers more about the goodness of real people and the importance of being part of a community.

While secretly preparing the paper for a sale, Lois begins to realize that God might indeed have a plan for her life and that perhaps the allure of city life and career ambition are not what she wants after all.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Gone To Green, go HERE

My New Anthem!!!!!!

YOU WANNA TALK ABOUT A LEGEND . . . HERE HE IS . . . BON JOVI

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Featured on CFBA is THE FRONTIERSMAN'S DAUGHTER

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Frontiersman’s Daughter

Revell (September 1, 2009)

by

Laura Frantz



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

I was born and raised in Kentucky and my love of history goes deep - way back to the 18th-century when my family first came into the Bluegrass State. It will always be home to me, even though I now live with my husband, Randy, and my sons, Wyatt and Paul, in the misty woods of northwest Washington. I go back as often as I can to visit family and all the old haunts that I love.

I grew up playing on the original site of Fort Boonesborough and swimming in the Kentucky River and climbing the Pinnacle near Berea and watching the great outdoor dramas of the early settlers. Often my cousins and brother and I would play in my Granny's attic and dress up in the pioneer costumes she made us and pretend to be Daniel Boone, Rebecca, Jemima, or the Shawnee.

As I grew up I began to write stories and they were always historical, filled with the lore I had heard or read about. It's no accident that my first book (which is actually my fifth book - the others were practice!) is about those first Kentucky pioneers.

I feel blessed beyond measure to write books. My prayer is that you are doubly blessed reading them.

Note: Laura Frantz credits her 100-year-old grandmother as being the catalyst for her fascination with Kentucky history. Frantz's family followed Daniel Boone into Kentucky in 1792 and settled in Madison County where her family still resides. Frantz is a former schoolteacher and social worker who currently lives in the misty woods of Washington state with her husband and two sons, whom she homeschools.



ABOUT THE BOOK

Lovely but tough as nails, Lael Click is the daughter of a celebrated frontiersman. Haunted by her father's former captivity with the Shawnee Indians, as well as the secret sins of her family's past, Lael comes of age in the fragile Kentucky settlement her father founded.

Though she faces the loss of a childhood love, a dangerous family feud, and the affection of a Shawnee warrior, Lael draws strength from the rugged land she calls home, and from Ma Horn, a distant relative who shows her the healing ways of herbs and roots found in the hills.

But the arrival of an outlander doctor threatens her view of the world, God, and herself--and the power of grace and redemption. This epic novel gives readers a glimpse into the simple yet daring lives of the pioneers who first crossed the Appalachians, all through the courageous eyes of a determined young woman.

Laura Frantz's debut novel offers a feast for readers of historical fiction and romance lovers alike.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Frontiersman’s Daughter, go HERE

Review of The Knight by Steven James

Monday, August 24, 2009

Book Description: FBI Agent Patrick Bowers is used to tracking the country's most dangerous killers, but now it looks like a killer is tracking him. Bowers faces a race against time to decipher who the next victim will be and to stop the final shocking murder--which he's beginning to believe might be his own.
___________________________________________________________
My Thoughts: First let me start by saying that this is not your mother's Christian fiction! It is better! This is a series, however I didn't read the first book The Pawn. I've only read The Rook and The Knight. From my perspective you don't need to read these in order to enjoy them. James is one of the best authors of Christian suspense writing. I am a huge fan of forensics and he writes this well and with style. He knows his subject matter and writes it realistically. This book is like a roller - coaster ride; it has it all. . . the adrenaline rush, the ups, downs, twists, turns, times when you want to scream, and when you get off you want to get back on and go again.
I highly recommend this book and this series. This is one of the best out there. It's not preachy, and I guarantee you won't be sorry!
It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


Honor in the Dust

Howard Books (August 25, 2009)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:





Gilbert Morris is the bestselling author of more than 200 novels, several of which won Christy and Silver Angel Awards. He is a retired English professor, who lives in Gulf Shores, AL, with his family.

Visit the author's website.



Product Details:

List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Howard Books (August 25, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1416587462
ISBN-13: 978-1416587460

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


May 1497

Sussex County, England-


Claiborn Winslow leaned forward and patted his horse’s sweaty neck. “Well done, Ned.” He had pushed the stallion harder than he liked, but after so many months away he was hungry for home. He straightened in the saddle and gazed in pleasure at Stoneybrook, the Winslows’s ancestral castle. It had withstood seige and battle, and bore all the marks that time made upon structure——as well as upon men. There was nothing particularly beautiful about Stoneybrook. There were many castles in England that had more pleasing aspects, designed more for looks than for utility. But Claiborn loved it more than any other.

The spring had brought a rich emerald green growth to all the countryside, and verdant fields nuzzled up against the very walls of Stoneybrook. If they were any indication, the summer’s harvest would be good, indeed. The castle itself rose out of a hillside, and was dominated by an impenetrable wall, on the other side of which a small village thrived. Even now, late in the day, people and carts and horses moved in and out of the central gate, and from the battlements he saw the banner of Winslow fluttering in the late afternoon breeze, as if beckoning to him.

“My heaven it’s good to be home!”

He laughed at himself adding, “Well, I guess the next thing they’ll put me in Bedlam with the other crazy ones talking to myself. I must be worse off than I thought.” His mind cascaded back to the battles he had seen, rare but fierce, and the men he had encountered. Some dreaded battle, feared it, and could not force themselves forward. Others found joy in the clash of weapons and the shouts of victory when the battle was over. Claiborn was one of these, finding a natural rhythm to battle, a path from start to finish as if preordained for him. When the trumpets sounded, and the drums rolled, his heart burned with excitement. God help him, he loved it. Loved being a soldier. But this, returning to Stoneybrook, had its own charm.

“Come on, Ned.” Kicking his horse’s side Claiborn guided the animal toward the gate, and as he passed through, he ran across an old acquaintance, Ryland Tolliver, one of the blacksmiths who served Sir Edmund Winslow and the others of the family as well.

“Well, bless my soul,” Ryland boomed, “if it’s not the soldier home from the wars!” He was a bulky man, his shoulders broad, and his hands like steel hooks from his years at the forge. He laughed as Claiborn slipped off his horse and came forward, and he shook his hand. “Good to see you, man. You’re just getting home. All in one piece, I see.”

“All in one piece.” The two man shook hands, and Claiborn had to squeeze hard to keep his hand from being crushed by the burly blacksmith. “How are things here? My mother and my brother?”

“The same as they were when you left. What did you expect? We’d fall to pieces without you to keep us straight?”

“No, I’m not as vain as that. I’m sure the world would jog on pretty well without me.”

“Tell me about the wars, man.”

“Not now. I need to go see my family, but I’ll come back later. We’ll have enough ale to float a ship. I’ll tell you lies about how I won the battles. You can tell lies about how you’ve won over the virtue of poor Sally McFarland.”

“Sally McFarland? Why, she left here half a year ago.”

“I thought you were going to marry that girl.”

“She had other ideas. A blacksmith wasn’t good enough for her.” He looked at Ned and said, “Not much of a horse.”

“He’s a stayer. That’s what I like. He needs shoeing though. I’ll leave him with you and feed him something good. He’s had a hard journey.”

“That I’ll do.” He took the reins from Claiborn. “What about you, Master? What brings you home at long last?”

Claiborn glanced back at him, and a smile touched his broad lips. “Well, I’m thinking about taking a wife.”

“A wife? You? Why, you were made to be a bachelor man! Half the women in this village stare at you when you walk down the street.”

“You boast on my behalf, but even if it was God’s own truth, I’ll not have just any woman.”

“Ahh, I see. So have you got one picked out?”

“Of course! Grace Barclay had my heart when we courted and never let it go.”

“Oh, yes, Grace Barclay.” There was a slight hesitation in the blacksmith’s speech, and he opened his lips to speak, but then something came over him, and he clamped them together for a moment.

“Ryland, what is it? Grace is well?” Claiborn said, his heart seizing at the look on the blacksmith’s face.

“She is well. Still pretty as ever.” Ryland had ceased smiling, and he lifted the reins in his hand. “I best go and take care of the horse. He must have a thirst.”

“As do I. I’ll return on the morrow. Give him a good feed too. He’s earned it.”


. . . . . . . . . . . .

The servants were busy putting the evening meal together, and as he passed into the great hall Claiborn spoke to many of them. He was smiling and remembering their names, and they responded to him well. He had always been a favorite with the servants, far more than his brother Edmund, the master of Stoneybrook, and enjoyed his special status. He paused beside one large woman who was pushing out of her clothing and said, “Martha, your shape is more…womanly than when I departed.”

The cook giggled and said, “Away with you now, m’lord. None of your soldier’s ways around here.”

He grinned. “You are expecting a little one. It is nothing shameful, I assume.”

“Shush! Mind that we’re in public, Sir. Such conversation is unseemly!” Her face softened and she leaned closer. “I married George, you know. A summer past.”

“Well, good for George. With a good woman and a babe on the way; he must be content, indeed. What’s for supper?”

“Nothing special, but likely better than some of the meals you’ve had.”

“You’re right about that. Soldier’s fare is pretty rough stuff.”

Passing on, Claiborn felt a lightness in his spirit. There was something about coming home that did something inside a man. He thought of the many campfires he had huddled next to out in the fields, sometimes in drizzling rain and bitter cold weather— dreaming of the smells and the sounds of Stoneybrook, wishing he was back. And now, at last, he was.

“Edmund!” He turned to see his brother, emerging from one of the inner passages.

Claiborn hurried forward to meet him and said, “It’s good to see you, brother.”

“And you,” Edmund said, holding him at arm’s length again to get a good look. “No wounds, this round?”

“Nothing that hasn’t healed,” Claiborn returned.

“Good, good. Mother will be so relieved.”

The two turned to walk together, down a passageway that would lead to their mother’s apartments. Claiborn restrained his pace, accommodating his smaller older brother’s shorter stride. “All is well here, brother? You are well?”

“Never better. There is much to tell you. But it can wait until we sup.”


A servant had just departed, after breathlessly telling Lady Leah Winslow that her son had returned. She wished she had a moment to run a brush through her gray hair, but she could already hear her sons, making their way down the corridor. She rose, straightening her skirts. How many nights had she prayed for Claiborn’s return, feared for his very life? And here he was at last!

The two paused at her door, and Leah’s hand went to her chest as her eyes moved between her sons. Claiborn’s rich auburn hair with just a trace of gold; Edmund’s dull brown. Claiborn’s broad forehead, sparkling blue eyes, high cheekbones, generous lips that so easily curved into a smile, determined chin. Here, here was the true Lord Winslow, a far more striking figure than his sallow, flabby brother. Her eyes flitted guiltily toward her eldest, wondering if she read her traitorous thoughts within.

But Claiborn was already moving forward, arms out, and she rushed to him. He lifted her and twirled around, making her giggle and then flush with embarrassment. “Claiborn, Claiborn!”

He laughed, the sound warm and welcoming and then gently set her to her feet. “You are still lovely, Mother.”

“You are kind to an old woman,” she said. She reached up and cradled his cheek. “The wars…you return to us unhurt?”

“Only aching for home,” he returned.

He took the horsehide-covered seat she offered and Edmund took another. A servant arrived with tea and quickly poured.

“Are you hungry, Son?”

“Starved, but the tea will tide me over until we sup.”

“Well, tell us about the wars,” Edmund said.

“Like all wars—bloody and uncomfortable. I lost some good friends. God be praised, I came through all right.”

Edmund let out a scoffing sound. “Don’t tell me you turned religious!”

“Religious enough to seek my Maker when facing death.”

Edmund laughed and Leah frowned. He had a high-pitched laugh that sounded like the whinnying of a horse. “Not very religious when you were growing up. I had to thrash you for chasing the maids.”

Claiborn reddened and guiltily glanced at Leah. “I suppose I was a terrible.”

“You were young,” Leah put in. “Now you are a man.”

“She forgets just how troublesome you were,” Edmund said.

“You might have been the same, had you faced manhood and the loss of your father in the same year. You were fortunate, Edmund, to be a man full grown before you became Lord Winslow.”

Edmund pursed his narrow lips and considered her words. “Yes. I suppose there is a certain wisdom in that, Mother. A thousand apologies, Claiborn,” he said, with no true apology in his tone.

“None offense taken. So tell me, what’s the feeling here about the king?”

“Most are for Henry. He’s a strong man—but it troubles all that he seems to have a ghost haunting him.”

“A real ghost?”

“No, but it might be better if it were,” Edmund grinned. “Henry defeated Richard III at Bosworth, and he claimed the crown. But he’s always thinking that someone with a better claim to the crown will lead a rebellion and cut his head off.”

“Do you think that could happen?”

“No. Henry’s too clever to let that happen.”

Leah fidgeted in her seat, wondering when Edmund would tell his brother what he must. Would it be up to her? She kept silent for ten long minutes as the men continued to speak of Henry VII and his various campaigns. When it was silent, she blurted, “Has Edmund told you of his plans?”

Edmund shot her a quick, narrowed glance, but then turned to engage his brother again.

“Plans?” Claiborn’s bright, blue eyes lit up. “What is it?”

“I’m to be married,” he said, uncrossing his legs and crossing them again in a studied, casual way.

“Well, I assumed you already long married. Alice Williams is your intended bride, I suppose.”

Edmund’s face darkened, and he took two quick swallows of tea and then shook his head. “No,” he said in a spare tone. “That didn’t come to fruition. She married Sir Giles Mackson.”

“Why, he’s an old man!”

“I expect that’s why Alice married him. She expects to wear him out, then she’ll be in control of everything.”

“I didn’t think Alice was that kind of a woman.”

“Come now, most women are that kind of woman. Apart from our dear mother, of course.” He reached out a hand to Leah and she took it. He held it too tightly, as if warning her. “You truly haven’t learned more of women as you’ve traveled?”

“Not of what you speak.” His eyes moved to his brother’s hand, still holding their mother’s. “Well, who is it then? Who is the future Lady Winslow?”

Leah couldn’t bear it then, watching her handsome son’s face. She stared studiously at her tea, waiting for the words to come.


“Obviously, I’ve considered it for some time,” Edmund said, releasing their mother’s hand, setting down his cup and rising to stand behind her chair.

Claiborn frowned but forced a curious smile. Why was he hesitating? “Cease toying with me, Edmund. Who is she?”

“I have selected Grace Barclay.”

Claiborn’s fingers grew white as he gripped the tea cup. With a shaking hand, he set it down before he crushed it. “Grace Barclay,” he whispered.

“Yes. She’s comely enough, and I’ve come to a fine arrangement with her father. We shall obtain all the land that borders our own to the east. That’ll be her dowry. We’ll be able to put in new rye fields and carry more cattle. It’ll add a quarter to the size of Stoneybrook. You know how hard I tried to buy that land from her father, years ago. Well, he wouldn’t sell, never would I don’t think, but when he mentioned the match I thought, well, why not? It’s time I married and produced an heir for all of this. I’ll show you around the property tomorrow.”

Claiborn said nothing further, and felt frozen in place. Edmund prattled on about the new land that would soon be added, how it would benefit them all, and finally turned toward the door and said, “Come along, you two. They ought to have something to eat on the table by now. You can tell us about the wars in more detail, Claiborn, now that you know all that’s new here.”

“Edmund, may I have a word with your brother?” Leah said quietly.

Edmund stared, as if having forgotten she was there. After a moment’s hesitation, he said, “Certainly, Mother. I shall see you both in the dining hall.” Then straightening his coat, he exited the room.

Claiborn struggled to speak. At last he asked, “When will the marriage take place?”

“The date has not been set, but it will be soon.” Leah turned warm eyes on her son. She reached out to touch his arm, but he flinched. She had stood idly by! Watched this transgression unfold! “Claiborn, it is a business arrangement. Nothing more.”

“But she was mine. He knew I courted her.”

“And then you left her. She has been of marriable age for some time, now. For all we knew, you could have already died on foreign soil, never to return. Like it or not, life continues, for those of us left behind. Grace needed a husband; Edmund needed a wife. It was a natural choice.”

Claiborn rose. “What of love? What of passion? Grace and I shared those things.”

“Years ago, you shared those things. Now you must forget them. Your brother, Lord Winslow, has chosen.”

“Chosen my intended!” Claiborn thundered, rising.

“You did not make your intentions clear,” Leah said quietly, pain in every word.

“I could not leave Grace, with a promise to marry. It was a promise I could not be sure I could keep. Too many die on the battlefield…” He turned away to the window, running a hand through his hair, anguished at the thought of never holding Grace in his arms, never declaring his love, enduring the sight of her, with him. His brother. His betrayer.

His mother came up behind him, and this time, he allowed her touch on his arm. Slowly, quietly, she leaned her temple against his shoulder, simply standing beside him for time in solidarity. “I’m sorry, Son. But you are too late. You cannot stop what is to come, only make your peace with it. It will be well in time. But you must stand aside.”


Claiborn went through the motions of the returned soldier through the rest of the evening. He was not a particularly good actor, and many of the servants noticed how quiet he was. Edmund did not, however, continuing to fill the silence with endless chatter. After the meal was over Claiborn said, “I think I’ll go to bed. My journey was long today.”

“Yes, you’d better,” Edmund said, mopping the gravy from the trencher with a chunk of bread “Tomorrow we’ll look things over, find something for you to do while you are home. Will you return to the army?”

“I’m not quite sure, Edmund.”

“Bad business being a soldier! Out in the weather, always the danger of some Spaniard or Frenchman taking your head off. We’ll find something for you around here. Time you got a profession. Maybe you’d make a lawyer or even go into the church.” He laughed then and said, “No, not the church. Too much mischief in you for that! Go along then. Sleep well and we’ll discuss it further on the morrow.”


. . . . . . . . . . . .


As Claiborn rode up to the property owned by John Barclay, he felt as if he were coming down with some sort of illness. He had slept not at all, but had paced the floor until his mother sent a servant with a vessel of wine, which he downed quickly, and soon afterward, fell into a dream-laden sleep. As soon as the sun had come up, he had departed, only leaving word for Edmund that he had an errand to run.

Now as he pulled up in front of the large house where Barclay lived with his family, he dismounted, and a smiling servant came out. “Greetings, m’lord, shall I grain your horse?”

“No, just walk him until he cools.”

He walked up to the door, his eyes troubled and his lips in a tight line. He was shown in by a house servant, and five minutes later John Barclay, Grace’s father, came in. “Well, Claiborn, you’re back. All safe and sound, I trust?”

“Yes, Sir. Safe and sound.”

“How did the wars go? Here, let’s have a little wine.”

Claiborn’s head was splitting already from the hangover, but he took the mulled wine so that he might have something to do with his hands.

John Barclay was a small man, handsome in his youth, but now at the age of forty he was beginning to show his age poorly. He pumped Claiborn for news of the wars, customarily passed along the gossips of the court and of the neighborhood. Finally he got to what Claiborn had come to address. “I assume your brother has told you that he and my girl Grace are to be married?”

“Yes, Sir, he did.”

“Well, it’s a good match,” he rushed on. “She’s a good girl and your brother is a good man. Good blood on both sides! They’ll be providing me with some fine grandchildren. A future.”

Claiborn did not know exactly how to proceed. He had hoped to find Grace alone, but Barclay did not mention her, so finally he said, “I wonder if I might see Miss Grace? Offer my future sister-in-law my thoughts on her impending nuptials?”

“Certainly! She’s up out in the garden. Let her welcome you home. She’ll tell you all about the wedding plans, I’m sure.”

“Thank you, Sir.” Getting up, Claiborn walked out of the castle. He knew where the garden was, for he had visited Grace more than once in this place. He turned the corner, and his first sight of her seemed to stop him in his tracks. She was even more beautiful than he remembered. A tall woman with blonde hair and well-shaped green eyes, with a beautiful smile. He stood there looking at her, and finally she turned and saw him. She was holding a pair of shears in her hands, and she dropped them and cried out, “Claiborn—!”

Moving forward, Claiborn felt as if he were in some sort of dream world. He came to stand in front of her and could not think of what to say. It was so different from what he had imagained it would be like when he first saw her after his long absence. How many times had he imagined taking her into his arms, turning her face up, kissing her and whispering his love, and her own whispered declarations…

But that was not happening. Grace had good color in her cheeks as a rule, but now they were pale, and he could see her lips were trembling. “Claiborn, you’re—you’re home.”

“Aye, I am.”

A silence seemed to build a wall between them, and it was broken only when she whispered, “You know? About Edmund and me?”

“I knew nothing until yesterday when Edmund told me.”

“I thought he might send you word.”

“He’s not much of a one for writing.” Claiborn suddenly reached out and took her by the upper arm. He squeezed too hard and saw pain rise and released his grip. “I can’t believe it, Grace! I thought we had an understanding.”

Grace turned her shoulders more toward him. “An understanding, of sorts,” she said quietly. “But that was a long time ago, Claiborn. Much has transpired since you left.”

He couldn’t stop himself. He reached out his hand to take her own, gently. “I’m sorry. I was a fool.”

“You were young. We both were. Perhaps it is best that we leave it as that.” She turned her wide, green eyes up to meet his.

He frowned. “Is that all it was to you? The passion of youth? Frivolity? Foolishness?”

“Nay,” she sais softly, so softly he wondered if he had misheard her. But then she repeated it, squeezing his hand. His heart surged to doubletime. Her voice was unsteady as she said, “I did everything I could to get out of the marriage, Claiborn. I begged my father, but he wouldn’t take no for an answer. He’s determined…and so is your brother.”

“I know Edmund is stubborn, but there must have been some way, Grace.”

“No, both your brother and my father see a woman as something to be traded. I don’t think my father ever once thought of what I wanted, of what you and I once shared, of would make me happy. Nor Edmund. He’s never courted me. It is purely an arrangement that suits well…on the surface.”

Suddenly Claiborn asked, “Do you think you might come to love him, Grace?”

Tears came into Grace’s eyes. “No,” she whispered. “Of course not! I love you, Claiborn. You must know that.”

Then suddenly a great determination came to Claiborn. He could not see the end of what he planned to do, but he could see the beginning—which would undoubtedly bring a period of strife. And yet any great battle worth fighting began the same way. “We’ll have to go to them both, your father and my brother,” he said. “We’ll explain that we love each other, and we will have to make them understand.”

Grace shook her head. “It won’t do any good, Claiborn. Neither of them will listen. Their minds are made up.”

“They’ll have to listen!” Claiborn’s voice was fierce. “Come. We’ll talk to your father right now—and then I’ll go try to reason with Edmund. My mother will come to my aid, I am certain.”

“I fear it will do no good—”

“But we must try.”

She accepted his other hand and met his gaze again. “Yes,” she said with a nod, “we must try.”

“Grace Barclay, if we manage this feat, would you honor me by becoming my bride?”

“Indeed,” she said, smiling with fear and hope in her beautiful eyes.

“Come, then,” he said, tucking her hand into the crook of his arm. “Let us see to it then.”

The two of them went inside, and found Grace’s father eating grapes. Claiborn knew there was no simple manner to enter the discussion at hand so he said, “Mr. Barclay, forgive me for going against you and your arrangement with my brother, but I must tell you that Grace and I love each other. We want your permission to marry.”

John Barclay stared at the two, then hastily swallowed a mouthful of grapes. The juice ran down his chin, and his face was scarlet. “What are you talking about, man? I’ve told you, she’s to marry your brother!”

“Father, I never cared for Edmund,” Grace said at once. She held her head up high, and added, “I’ve loved Claiborn for a long time.”

“Have you lost your senses, girl? Sir Edmund is the lord of Stoneybrook. He has the money and the title. What does this man have? A sword and the clothes he has on his back!”

“But father—!”

“Not another word, Grace! You’re marrying Edmund Winslow, and I’ll hear no more about it!” Barclay turned to Claiborn, and his face was contorted with rage. “And you! What sort of brother are you? Coming between your brother and the woman he’s sought for his wife! You’re a sorry excuse for a man! Get out of here, and never come back, you understand me?” He turned to Grace and shouted, “As for you, girl, go to your room! I’ll have more words for you later…!”


. . . . . . . . . . . .


As Claiborn rode out of the environs of Barclay Castle, he felt as if he had been in a major battle. He loitered on the way home, trying to put together a speech that might move Edmund after so utterly failing with John Barclay. When he reached the castle he saw his brother out in the field with one of the hired hands. He was pointing out some fences, no doubt, that needed to be built, and he turned as Claiborn rode up and dismounted.

“Well, you ran off early this morning. What was so pressing that you could not even stop to break your fast?.”

“I must have a word with you, Edmund.”

His brother said something else to the field hand and then turned to walk beside him. “Well, what is it? Have you given thought to your profession?”

“No, no, it’s about Grace.”

Edmund’s eyes narrowed. “Grace? What about her?”

Claiborn faced his brother and said, “Grace and I love each other. We have for a long time. Forgive me for this, but we wish to be married, Edmund.”

Edmund’s face contorted into a look of confusion. “Have you lost your mind, Claiborn? She’s engaged to me! Everyone knows about it.”

Claiborn began to try to explain, to reason, and even to plead with Edmund, but Edmund scoffed, “You were always a romantic dreamer, boy. But you are a man grown now. You must embrace life and all its practicalities, as I have. Think if it. The woman is handsome, yes, but what she brings to this estate is even more attractive. There will be another girl for you.”

“Perhaps Barclay will still give the land as Grace’s dowry if she marries me.”

“Of course he won’t! Are you daft? I’m the master here! Now don’t be difficult about this, Claiborn. It’s for the good of the House of Winslow. Let’s hear no more about it.”


. . . . . . . . . . . .


The thing could not be kept a secret, and soon everyone at both houses knew what had happened. Edmund made no secret of his displeasure, and finally, after three days, he found Claiborn, and his anger had hardened, but he gave Claiborn one more chance to change his mind. “Look you now, Claiborn,” he said. “You know you have no way to provide for a wife, without me. And if you stubbornly pursue this one as your wife, I shall turn you out. What kind of a life would a woman have with you then? You know as well as I she’d be miserable. Grace has always the best of everything. What would she have with you, outside of the House of Winslow? Dirt, poverty, sickness, misery, that’s what she’d have. You must see that.”

“But Edmund, we love each other. If you’d help me fit myself for a profession—”

“I will help you! I’ve said so already—but I’d be made to look ridiculous if my own brother took my choice for a wife from me. A lord cannot be made to look the fool. It will bind me in every future arrangement I make. No, the die has been cast. You must live with what has transpired in your absence.”

Claiborn had never asked his brother for anything, and he hated to beg, but he pleaded with Edmund until he saw that it was useless.

“You cannot remain here,” Edmund said flatly. “Not feeling the way you do about my intended. Refusing to act as a man. Refusing the way of honor.”

“I cannot be the man God made me, honor what he has placed on my heart, and do anything but this!” Claiborn cried, arms out, fingers splayed.

Edmund stared at him for a moment and said coldly, “I never want to see you again, Claiborn. You have betrayed me, turned away from all I’ve given you!”

“And you did not betray me? You knew I courted Grace!”

“Once upon a time, as a young whelp! How was I to know you fancied a grand return, a romantic reunion? No, I deal with a man’s responsibilities, and I shall move forward as that, as a man.”

Claiborn stared hard at him. “Mother will—”

“Mother will side with me. With the Lord of Winslow. She knows her place.”

“Just as Grace will know it, right? Pretty, and placed in a corner, until you have need of her in your bed.”

“Get out. My bride is my family, my business. And you, you are no longer kin to me.”


. . . . . . . . . . . .

“Grace, I’ve hoped you’d show more sense,” her father said. “You don’t see life the way it is, so I can’t let you make such a terrible mistake.”

“It would be a terrible mistake if I married a man I didn’t love.”

“Nonsense! You’ve been unfairly influenced by those French romances. I knew I should not have allowed them in my house!”

Grace sighed. To be fair, she had placed him in a terrible position, and never challenged him on anything of note. Up until now. “Father, I believe in love. Did you not once love my mother?”

“There was no nonsense. She understood how things progress, between a man and a woman. She…” He colored, growing so frustrated in choosing his words that he shook his finger in her face. “My father and her father saw that there were advantages to our marriage, and we were obedient. We had a good life.”

Grace lost her mother to the fevers when she was fourteen, just as Claiborn had lost his father at the same age—but she well remembered how unhappy she had been, how she longed for affection, but got very little from her husband. John had loved her mother, just as she knew he loved her, but he seemed incapacitated when it came to showing it. “I love Claiborn, Father,” she repeated. “I beg you, don’t force me to marry a man I don’t love.”

John opened his mouth as if to say something in fury, then abruptly closed it, turning away from her. He took a step toward the fire, burning in the hearth, and ran a hand through his thinning hair. “We shall discuss it no further. You are marrying Sir Edmund Winslow. I shall see to it myself.”


. . . . . .

“We’ll have to leave here, Grace.” Claiborn had come under cover of darkeness to meet with her in the garden. The air was heavy for the rain had come earlier and soaked the earth.

“Yes, we will.”

“I have nothing to offer you.”

Grace looked up. “But I have something to offer you. You remember my Aunt Adella?”

“She married an Irishman when we were but children, didn’t she?”

“Yes, and he died, and now she’s dead. She left the farm in Ireland to me. That’s where we must go and make our lives.”

It sounded like a dream—an unfavorable dream since Claiborn had no good opinion of Ireland. But it seemed they had little choice. Perhaps it was of God, this provision.

“This asks much of you, Grace. You’d have the life you were born to, here, if you married Edmund.”

“No, my life would be tragic, living with a man I didn’t love and never again seeing the man I do. There is no choice. Come for me, in two days’ time. I shall meet you by the side gate, when all are deeply asleep.


.. . . . . .

Two days later, Claiborn waited outside the Barclay estate in the dark, nervously shifting from foot to foot. He had stolen away from Stoneybrook as soon as even the lightest sleeper was deep into his dreams. But if she didn’t emerge soon…if Edmund discovered he was gone, and here, or if Grace’s father came upon them…his hand went to his sword. He would do what it took to get his intended away from here. But if anyone died as they departed, it would haunt them forever. “Please Lord,” he muttered under his breath. “Make a way for us. Help us depart in peace.”

Two men approached and Claiborn narrowly ducked around a copse of trees in time. But the lads had been too deep into the ale to notice him—-nor Ned’s soft whinny in greeting to their own horses. They trotted past, laughing so giddily Claiborn wondered how they stayed astride their mounts. His eyes moved back to the side door, where he had sent word for her to meet him. “Make haste, Grace,” he begged through gritted teeth. “Make haste!”

Edmund was not a fool. He was certain to have encouraged servants to keep an eye out for him and any suspicious actions within Stoneybrook. With each minute that ticked by, their risk of exposure increased. Claiborn’s eyes traced the outline of the side door, willing it to open. Had she changed her mind? Or been intercepted? His mind leapt through different options, should she not emerge within a few minutes. Steal inside? Summon a servant and demand he see her? Or walk away?

But then, there she was. He hesitated for a moment, wondering if his mind was playing tricks upon him. No, it was her. She had come! He hurried forward, wincing as the cart behind Ned creaked in protest. Her head swung toward the sound and she hurriedly shut the door behind her, turning a key in the lock and pocketing it.

He took her hands in his. “All right, sweetheart. We’ll find someone to marry us straight away, and then we’ll make a life together in Ireland. Thank you for this honor. Thank you for trusting me.”

“I’m trusting you and God, Claiborn.”

Claiborn was well aware that he did not really know God in the way that Grace did She had a firm faith in the Lord, and his religion had been more of a formality, but now he put his arms around her and kissed her. “I hope you’re right, Grace. At least we’ll have each other.”

“Yes,” Grace smiled up, tears in her eyes. “We’ll have each other.”


This Week CFBA is Featuring SURRENDER THE WIND


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Surrender The Wind

Abingdon Press (August 2009)

by

Rita Gerlach



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Rita Gerlach has published three historical novels plus articles in Writers Gazette, Write to Inspire, Will Write 4 Food, and The Christian Communicator.

She also is the editor of Stepping Stones Magazine, an online website focused on writing, marketing, and promotion for writers. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and The Western Maryland Writers Guild.

She currently lives in Frederick, Maryland. You can also visit her at her Blog





ABOUT THE BOOK

Seth Braxton, a patriot of the American Revolution, unexpectedly inherits his loyalist grandfather's estate in England. Seth is torn between the land he fought for and the prospect of reuniting with his sister Caroline, who was a motherless child taken to England at the onset of the war.
With no intention of staying permanently, Seth arrives to find his sister grieving over the death of her young son. In the midst of such tragedy, Seth meets Juleah, the daughter of an eccentric landed gentleman. Her independent spirit and gentle soul steal Seth's heart. After a brief courtship, they marry and she takes her place as the lady of Ten Width Manor, enraging the man who once sought her hand and schemed to make Ten Width his own. From the Virginia wilderness to the dark halls of an isolated English estate, Seth and his beloved Juleah inherit more than an ancestral home. They uncover a sinister plot that leads to murder, abduction, and betrayal--an ominous threat to their new life, love, and faith.

If you would like to reas the Prologue of Surrender The Wind, go HERE

Watch the trailer:

WINNERS OF THE LOST DOG

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Congrats Pictures, Images and Photos
THE WINNERS OF THE LOST DOG ARE:
6- ROB
15- KRISTI
5- SANDI
3- CHRIS
& LAST BUT CERTAINLY NOT LEAST . . .
8-RUTABAKER
CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL THE WINNERS!
I will email you and you will have 48 hours to get me your snail mail snail mail snail Pictures, Images and Photos addy. So that I can email Hachette book group and they can get your book to you.
Thanks to everyone who participated!

MY REVIEW IT'S NOT ABOUT HIM by MICHELLE SUTTON

Friday, August 21, 2009





Book Description: Susie wakes up after a party knowing something isn't right. When she discovers she is pregnant but has no idea who the father is, she decides to place her baby for adoption with an infertile couple from church. Following through ends up being more challenging than she'd imagined. But she wants to do the right thing. If only Jeff would quit trying to marry her so she'll keep her baby! Why doesn't he understand? It's not about him; it's about what's best for her child. Meanwhile, a man shows up in her life that looks irritatingly familiar. Could he be the father?


My Thoughts: I am adopted and this is the first book that I have read with the point of view focused on the birth mother and the couple adopting the baby. All of the emotions in the story were real and raw. I felt everyone of them. What is great about what Michelle Sutton is that she isn't afraid to write about what is real. This stuff is really going on in our YA today and she writes about it honestly and right in your face! I didn't want to put the book down! This is an absolutely beautiful story. It shows that an birth mother and the adopted family can work together for the good of the child. This is a definite must read, it's one of my top 10 for the year! I give it a lighthouse and shine a light on it for pointing a path to God!


LITTLE MIND MENTALITY!!!!

Okay, time for me to rant just a bit! It's my blog and I'm allowed! While I'm glad to be away from my soon to be EX in the east. I love being west, but living in a little town stinks!!!! Because Nampa is a little town so are the way they see things. I tell you they have little mind mentality! And in a big way! They can't seem to see things in the big picture. Everything is looked at in the small little town way. They don't see things outside the box, meaning that what is right in front of them is the most important. Most have lived here all of their lives, no where else and they don't know what's outside ID. It's very frustrating for someone who has lived all over and know that things can and do function more efficiently elsewhere.

Instead of trying to make things enjoyable for the students at the high school they run it like a college. I wonder why . . . Nampa Nazarene is just down the street. Lets get the kids all ready to straight from high school onto Nampa's campus. Like that is what I want for my daughter! Went to a Nazarene college, not my plan for my daughter; she can go where she wants!

High school is suppose to be fun, as is the sport a student chooses to play. Not if you live in Nampa! You can just forget that! The coaches take the fun out of the sport by working the players so hard that their vomiting while running the mile during conditioning for volleyball tryouts. New students get put on probation for grades from their last quarter when the school year hasn't even started, and the athletic director knows nothing about the student or the circumstances surrounding that student. It's just these are the rules . . . plain and simple! The big picture is you find out about the new students who make the team and work with them. Not ping them off the bat. Especially when the coaches say that for the students who've been at the school they won't know about their grades until half - way through the season. Talk about a double standard!

If that isn't enough when it comes to registering for classes your herded in like a bunch of cattle to pick your classes. After taking 3 years of German your student is told she needs to take Spanish because she will need it because of the area she now lives in. She was also told that her Drama class wouldn't count for a speech class . . . why I have no earthly clue. The last time I checked in Drama you stand in front of people and SPEAK!!!!!! After choosing all of these classes you then WAIT for the schedule to be done and then make any changes. It's utterly ridiculous!

I'm hoping and praying that I will get use to this "mentality" in time. Right now it's hard to swallow with my lil girl in the middle of it.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the books:


Barbour Books (August 1, 2009) )


AND


All That Glitters

Barbour Books (August 1, 2009)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Nicole O’Dell lives in Illinois with her husband and six children—including triplets! Nicole has a heart for young girls and a special passion for the relationships between mothers and daughters as they approach the teen years. Her new book series, Scenarios Interactive Fiction for Girls, is designed to help girls develop sound decision-making skills and debuts in August 2009 with the release of the first two books. Her writing also includes devotionals and Bible studies for women of all ages.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

Truth or Dare:
List Price: $7.97
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Barbour Books (August 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1602603995
ISBN-13: 978-1602603998

All That Glitters:
List Price: $7.97
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Barbour Books (August 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1602604002
ISBN-13: 978-1602604001

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTERs:


Truth or Dare
Scenarios—Interactive Fiction for Girls

Nicole O’Dell

Chapter 1

Rule the School

The first bright, yellow light of day was starting to peek through the blinds covering her window. Lindsay Martin stretched and yawned as she slowly woke up. After tossing and turning much of the night, she was still sleepy, so she turned over and pulled the puffy pink comforter up to her chin and allowed herself to doze off for a few more minutes, burying her face in her pillow.

But wait. She sat up quickly, remembering it was the first day of school. With no time to waste, she jumped out of bed.

She had carefully selected her clothes the night before, and the khaki pants and screened-print tee were still hanging on her closet door just waiting to be worn. But, after thinking about it, they seemed all wrong. Frantically plowing through her closet for something different to wear, Lindsay pushed aside last year’s jeans and T-shirts, and found the perfect outfit: not too dressy, not too casual, not too anything. As an eighth grader, she wanted to look cool without looking like she was trying too hard—which was the fashion kiss of death. Confident she had selected the perfect outfit, she padded off to the bathroom to get ready to face the day.

Happy with how she looked—jeans with just the right amount of fading down the front, a short-sleeved T-shirt layered over a snug, long-sleeved T-shirt, and a pair of sunglasses perched atop her blonde hair—she bounced down the stairs, slowing as she reached the bottom. Just wanting to get out of the house and be on her way, Lindsay sighed when she recognized the smell of bacon coming from the kitchen. “Mom, I’m really not hungry, and I have to go meet the girls!”

“Now, you know I’m not going to let you head off to school without breakfast, so at least take this with you.” Mom held out Lindsay’s favorite breakfast sandwich: an English muffin with fluffy scrambled eggs, cheese, and two slices of bacon.

Lindsay wrapped it up in a napkin so she could take it with her and gave her mom a quick kiss before rushing out the door. “Thanks, Mom. You’re the best!”

Hurrying toward the school, Lindsay munched on her sandwich along the way. Nerves set in and, halfway through her sandwich, her stomach wouldn’t allow her to finish it; so she tossed what was left into a nearby trash can where it fell with a thud.

After her short walk down the tree-lined streets, she arrived at the meeting spot—a large oak tree in the front yard of the school—about fifteen minutes early. Shielding her eyes from the sun and squinting in eager anticipation, Lindsay watched the street for the first sign of her three best friends. She expected Sam and Macy to arrive by school bus—they lived too far away from the school to walk, so they generally rode the bus together. Kelly didn’t live too far away, but her mom usually dropped her off before heading to her job as an attorney in the city. Lindsay was thankful she lived so close to the school. She loved being the first one there to greet her friends each morning. Since her mom didn’t have to leave for work, and Lindsay didn’t need to catch the bus, she had a bit more flexibility and could save a spot for them under their favorite tree.

The bus pulled into the driveway, squealing as it slowed. It paused to wait for the crowds of students to move through the crosswalk. When it finally parked, the doors squeaked open and students began to pour off the bus just as Kelly’s mom pulled up to the curb right in front of Lindsay.

“Bye, Mom!” Kelly grabbed her new backpack out of the backseat and jumped out of the car. At almost the same time, Macy and Sam exited the bus after the sixth and seventh graders got off.

Excitedly, the four girls squealed and hugged each other under their tree, never minding the fact that they had been with each other every day for the entire summer. They shrieked and jumped up and down in excitement as if they had been apart for months. They were eighth graders. This was going to be the best year yet. With eager anticipation, each one of them could tell there was something more grown-up and exciting about the first day of eighth grade, and they were ready for it.

With a few minutes to spare before the bell rang, the girls stopped and leaned against their tree for a quick survey of the schoolyard. It was easy to identify the sixth graders. They were nervous, furtively glancing in every direction; and, the most telltale sign of a sixth grader, they had new outfits and two-day-old haircuts. The girls easily but not fondly remembered how scary it was to be new to middle school and felt sorry for the new sixth graders.

The seventh graders were a little bit more confident, but still not nearly cool enough to speak to the eighth graders. Most students, no matter the grade, carried backpacks and some had musical instruments. Some even had new glasses or had discarded their glasses in favor of contacts.

“Look over there.” Kelly pointed across the grassy lawn to a student. A new student, obviously a sixth grader, struggled with his backpack and what appeared to be a saxophone case. Two bigger boys, eighth graders, grabbed the case out of his hands and held it over his head. They teased him mercilessly until the bell rang, forcing them to abandon their fun and head in to the school. The girls shook their heads and sighed—some things never changed—as they began to walk toward the doors.

Kelly and Sam both stopped to reach into their backpacks to turn off their new cell phones before entering the school—it would make for a horrible first day of school if they were to get their phones taken away.

“You’re so lucky,” Macy whined as she watched Kelly flip open her shiny blue phone, carefully decorated with sparkly gems. Sam laughed and turned off her sporty red phone, slid the top closed, and dropped it into her bag. Macy’s parents wouldn’t let her have a cell phone until high school.

“When did you guys get cell phones?” Lindsay asked.

“I got mine yesterday, and Sam got hers on Saturday,” Kelly explained. “My mom wanted to have a way to reach me in the case of an emergency and for me to be able to reach her. I’m not supposed to use it just anytime I want to.”

“Same with me. I might as well not have it. I can call anyone who has the same service or use it as much as I want to on nights and weekends, but that’s it,” Sam complained.

“It’s still way more than I have. You’re so lucky,” Macy said emphatically.

Lindsay sighed and agreed with Macy while she smeared untinted lip gloss onto her lips. “I have no idea when I’ll ever get to have a cell phone. My mom thinks that they are bad for ‘kids.’” She rolled her eyes to accentuate the point that she not only thought she should have a cell phone, but that she definitely disagreed with the labeling of herself and her friends as kids. “She won’t even let me use lip gloss with any color in it. She thinks I’m too young.”

With cell phones turned off, backpacks slung over shoulders, lip gloss perfectly accenting skin tanned by the lazy days of summer, and arms locked, the four best friends were ready to enter the school to begin their eighth-grade year. Seeing their reflection in the glass doors of the school as they approached it, Lindsay noticed how tall they’d all become over the summer. Four pairs of new jeans, four similar T-shirts, and four long manes of shiny hair—they were similar in so many ways, but different enough to keep things interesting.

Kelly Garrett was the leader of the group. The girls almost always looked to her to get the final word on anything from plans they might make, to boys they liked, to clothes they wore. She was a natural leader, which was great most of the time. Her strong opinions sometimes caused conflict, though. Sam Lowell, the comedienne of the group was always looking for a way to entertain them and make them laugh. She was willing to try anything once, and her friends enjoyed testing her on that. Macy Monroe was the sweet one. She was soft-spoken and slow to speak. She hated to offend anyone and got her feelings hurt easily. Then there was Lindsay. She was in the middle, the glue. She was strong but kind and was known to be a peacemaker. She often settled disputes between the girls to keep them from fighting.

Amid complete chaos—students talking, locker doors slamming shut, high-fives, and whistles—the first day of school began. There was an assembly for the eighth graders, so the girls head toward the gymnasium rather than finding their separate ways to their first classes.

Unlike the younger students who had to sit with their classes, eighth-graders could choose where they wanted to sit. The girls filed into the bleachers together, tucking their belongings beneath their feet carefully so that they wouldn’t fall through to the floor below. The room was raucously loud as 150 eighth graders excitedly shared stories of their summers and reunited with friends.

The speakers squealed as the principal turned on his microphone and tried to get everyone’s attention. “Welcome back to Central Middle School. Let’s all stand together to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.”

Conversations slowly trailed off to a dull roar as teachers attempted to create some order in each row. The eighth-graders shuffled to their feet and placed their right hands over their hearts to recite the Pledge, and the principal began, “I pledge allegiance to the flag. . .”

Lindsay joined in, but her mind wandered as she looked down the row at each of her best friends. She remembered the great summer they had. They spent many days languishing in the hot sun by Kelly’s pool. She remembered the day when Sam got a bad sunburn from laying on the tanning raft for hours and not listening to the girls when they suggested she reapply her sunscreen. She wanted a good tan, and she paid the price. Kelly had the bright idea of using olive oil and lemon juice to take away the sting—she thought she had heard about that somewhere—but all it did was make Sam smell bad for days along with the suffering that her burns caused.

They also had gone shopping at the mall whenever Sam’s mom would pile them into her SUV and drop them off for a few hours so they could check out the latest fashions and watch for new students—boys in particular. Their favorite mall activity was to take a huge order of cheese fries and four Diet Cokes to a table at the edge of the food court so they could watch the people walk by.

They had a blast burying each other in the sand at the beach whenever Macy’s dad took a break from job-hunting to spend the day lying in the sun. One time, they even made a huge castle with a moat. The castle had steps they could climb, and the moat actually held water. It took them almost the entire day, but the pictures they took made it all worth it.

They had also shared a weeklong trip to Lindsay’s Bible camp. It was a spiritual experience for Lindsay, who used the time to deepen her relationship with God. She enjoyed being able to bring her friends into that part of her life—even if it was just for a week. Macy, more than the others, showed some interest and said that she’d like to attend youth group with Lindsay when it started up again in the fall. All four girls enjoyed the canoe trips—even the one when the boat capsized and they got drenched. They swam in the lake and played beach volleyball. The week they spent at camp was a good end to what they considered a perfect summer.

Although there was a certain finality to their fun and freedom with the arrival of the school year, there was excitement too, as they took this next step toward growing up together. Lindsay took a moment to imagine what it would be like in the future. Next year, they would start high school. After several years, they would head off to the same college and room together as the plan had always been. At some point, they would each find someone to settle down with and get married. They had already figured out who would be the maid of honor for whose wedding. That way, they each got to do it once. And they would each be bridesmaids for each other. Then, they would have children. Hopefully, they would have them at around the same time so they their children could grow up together too. Beautiful plans built on beautiful friendships. . .what more could a girl ask for?


“…One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” The Pledge of Allegiance ended, and all of the students sat down to hear about the exciting new school year.


All That Glitters
Scenarios—Interactive Fiction for Girls

Nicole O’Dell

Chapter 1

Time for a Change

A fancy sports car on one side and a shiny, brand-new SUV on the other, Mrs. Daniels slid her car into a parking spot at the mall. More than any other year, shopping for school clothes this year was a very important task. Dani and Drew, identical twins, were starting the ninth grade—freshman year, the first year of high school. They knew full well how important their first impression was— well, at least Drew did. She had spent most of her summer planning and researching fashion trends, hairstyles, and makeup tips by reading fashion magazines. Not that it would do her much good, she often thought. Their parents didn’t allow them to wear makeup; and her long, straight, dark hair looked just like her sister’s and was cut and styled in the same style they had always had.

“Mom, I think it’s time for a change,” Drew announced as they walked through the parking lot toward the mall.

“What kind of change?” Mrs. Daniels asked hesitantly.

“You know, change isn’t always a bad thing.” Drew thought her mom might need some convincing before she tried to state her case. “Change can just be a part of growing up and a sign that a girl is secure and comfortable with herself.”

“Yes, Drew, I’m aware of that. Why do I have a feeling that I’m not going to like what you’re about to suggest?” Mrs. Daniels sighed good-naturedly and looked at Drew’s twin sister, who shrugged her shoulders not knowing anything about the big change that her twin was proposing. “Well, let’s have it. What have you got cooked up?”

“Oh, it’s really not a big deal, Mom. I’d just like to get my hair cut.” Drew pulled a picture of a hairstyle out of her pocket and showed it to her mom.

Mrs. Daniels could see immediately that the softly layered style would cascade to a very flattering place just below Drew’s shoulders. She looked at Dani and raised her eyebrows. “Do you want your hair cut like that?”

“No, Mom, you don’t understand.” Drew interrupted with a slight whine, nervous that she wasn’t getting her point across. “If Dani cuts her hair like that too, then I don’t want to. This is how I want to look. . .by myself. I want to make a change, even just a slight one like my hairstyle, to separate myself from just being ‘one of the twins.’ I want to be an individual; I want to be Drew.”

“Ah, I see, now.” Mrs. Daniels knew that this would happen one day and, she had to admit, high school was a reasonable time for this to occur. It pained her to think of her baby girls reaching such an independent place, though. “How do you feel about that, Dani?”

“Well, to be honest, I really don’t want to change my hair. And I like being ‘one of the twins’ as Drew put it. I guess I don’t see how that’s a bad thing. Why would changing your hair to look like a picture of someone else make you an individual anyway?” She asked pointedly, turning to Drew.

“It just gives me the chance to express myself and be different than I have been.”

“As long as you really mean ‘different than you have been’ and not just that you want to be different than me.” Dani tried not to be hurt, but it was difficult.

“Aw, Sis, I love you. Nothing can change that we’re twins. That will always be a part of us. We’re just talking about a haircut here.”

“I guess you’re right.” Dani laughed. “Let’s go get your hair cut so we can all get used to it while we try on clothes.”

First stop: Shear Expressions for a new hairstyle. The bell above the door jingled as they entered the store. Luckily, there wouldn’t be a wait because Drew was too excited and impatient to wait. She took her seat in the shampoo chair, and the stylist began to lather up her hair. After the shampooing was finished, she patted Drew’s hair dry and moved her to the station where she would be cutting her hair.

Drew struggled to get her hand into the front pocket of her jeans so she could show the stylist the picture of the haircut that she wanted. “Um, Drew, I didn’t realize that your jeans were getting so tight. We’re going to have to be sure to buy some new jeans today.”

“Mom,” Drew laughed. “This is how I bought them. I want them this way.”

Mrs. Daniels looked at the stylist, obviously a mom herself, and shrugged her shoulders. “I know,” the stylist said, “it looks uncomfortable to me too.”

“This is what I want.” Drew showed her the picture, ignoring the comments about her jeans.

“Oh, that’s going to be easy enough and beautiful too. We’ll just take this hair of yours and cut some layers into it. We’ll probably need to take off about three inches, but you have plenty of length so it won’t even be that noticeable. Are you doing the same cut?” The stylist turned to Dani.

“Nope, not me. I’m staying just like this.”

“All right then, let’s get started.”

Thirty minutes later, with dark hair in little piles all over the floor around her, Drew was staring into the mirror in front of her, getting her first look at her new self. She was stunned with what she saw. After looking at her sister for so many years, she was used to having a walking mirror right beside her. But now, as they both gazed into the mirror and took in the changes, they realized that a simple thing like a haircut signaled major changes afoot. Dani was sad when she saw the differences between them, but Drew was thrilled with her new look.

“I love it!” She spun around to the right and then to the left and watched her hair bounce in waves around her shoulders. “It moves, and it’s free.” She didn’t miss the long, thick straight locks a bit. “It has personality. Thank you so much. You did a perfect job,” she said to the hairdresser.

“I’m so glad you like it. I think it looks great too.” Both the hairdresser and Mrs. Daniels were a bit more reserved out of sensitivity to Dani.

“Mom, what about you? Do you like it?”

“You look beautiful, dear. Very grown up.”

“Now I’m ready to shop.” Nothing was going to contain Drew’s excitement as they left the salon; she was thrilled.


* * * * *


“We need to be wise now, girls. There is a limit to today’s budget. My question is whether you want to split the budget and each get your own clothes—or do you want to pick things out to share and get more that way?”

Drew was trying to be more of an individual, but even she could see the logic behind pooling their resources and sharing the clothing allowance; and she knew that Dani would agree. But Drew did have one trick up her sleeve that she decided to save for later in the day.

They spent the day trying on clothes. It helped that both girls were exactly the same size and basically liked similar things. By the end of the day, they had successfully managed to supply their wardrobe with all of the basics they would need for ninth grade, including new winter jackets, jeans, tops, sweaters, belts, socks, pajamas, undergarments, accessories, and shoes. They were exhausted by the end of the shopping trip, and Mrs. Daniels was more than ready to go home.

As they were walking toward the exit door, Drew said, “Mom, you mentioned that you have grocery shopping to do. Would it be all right if Dani and I stayed here and meet you when you’re finished? I have a few things I still want to look for.”

“I suppose that would be okay, but I’m done with dishing out money today. So what are you looking for, and what will you do once you find it?” Mrs. Daniels laughed.

“I brought some of the money I saved from babysitting this summer, and I really want to use some of it to get a few unique shirts or something that will be just mine—you know, signature pieces. I promise I won’t spend it all, Mom.”

“Oh, I see. This is part of your search for individuality? Is that it?” At Drew’s nod, she continued, “I don’t see anything wrong with that. But, Drew, just remember what your dad and I allow and how we expect you to dress. No super-tight jeans, no shirts that show your belly, nothing with a saying or advertisement that your dad and I would find inappropriate. Think of it this way: nothing that I wouldn’t let you wear to youth group. Deal?”

“Got it, Mom. Thanks, you’re the best.”

After they discussed their meeting time and location, Mrs. Daniels left the girls to their shopping. They hit all of their favorite stores again. Dani wasn’t too happy about it, though. “Why couldn’t you have done this while we were shopping earlier?” She asked Drew.

“Because, I wanted to finish the shopping for our stuff and then I would know what I still needed.”

“Oh, Sis, there’s nothing else that you need.”

“I know, that’s what makes this part so fun. It’s all about what I want.”

Dani sighed and suggested they get started before they ran out of time. With her own money, Drew selected two snug, plaid shirts to wear over a tight black T-shirt that she found. The flannel shirts barely reached her waistband, but the T-shirt was long enough, so she thought it would pass. She also selected a cropped denim jacket that was covered in studded rhinestones. Dani liked the jacket, but it wasn’t really her style at all. Drew also picked a few cropped sweaters that, if worn alone, would be way too short for Mrs. Daniels approval, but with a T-shirt or tank underneath, would probably get by. Her favorite and most expensive purchase was a black leather belt with a big silver buckle covered in rhinestones in the shape of a big rose. Drew thought that it was unique enough to become her signature piece.

“Well, one thing you won’t have to worry about,” Dani assured her, “is that I won’t be bugging you to borrow any of the things you bought. They’re all yours.”

Their time was up so they hurried to the exit door to find Mrs. Daniels already waiting there for them. As they slipped into the car she asked, “Well, was your search successful?”

“Oh, yeah! Mom, I found some really cute things,” the ever-excited Drew told her mom.

“Yeah, real cute,” Dani said, rolling her eyes.

Sensing from Dani’s reaction that there might be something she needed to see in those bags, Mrs. Daniels said, “Great. Then we can have our own private fashion show when we get home.”

“Sure, Mom. No problem.”


* * * * *


After dinner, Mrs. Daniels remembered that she hadn’t checked out Drew’s purchases yet. “Drew, why don’t you get those things that you bought so we can make sure that everything is acceptable for you to wear.”

“Mom, I know the rules and I followed them. I don’t see what the concern is.”

“There’s no real concern, honey; but I’d appreciate if you don’t argue with me and just humor me. I am only looking out for your best interests.”

“Okay, Okay, I’ll go get them.” Drew left to get her bags from her room. She stomped down the hall, careful not to be disrespectful but made sure that they knew she wasn’t too happy.

Plopping her bags down on the couch, Drew waited for the verdict. Her mom wasn’t too happy at all when she saw how small and short some of the shirts were. Drew said, “Hold on, Mom. Before you say no, let me try them on.”

Skeptically, Mrs. Daniels agreed to reserve her judgment until she had a chance to see the items on Drew.

After Drew had the first outfit on, Mrs. Daniels realized that they were layering pieces and that the shorter items were worn on top to reveal the layers beneath. “Well, now, that’s not so bad. But, Drew, you have to promise me that I’m not going to catch you wearing those clothes alone or in anyway that shows your belly.”

“I already know that, Mom.”

Mrs. Daniels raised her eyebrows, waiting.

“Okay, I promise, Mom. Really.”

“Well, then, everything is fine; and I especially like the belt you bought. It’s definitely a unique piece.”

Dani had been sitting quietly on the other side of the room, watching the process and waiting for the verdict. She quietly got up and went to her room, softly closed the door, and got ready for bed. She wasn’t too happy, but she didn’t really know what it was that was bugging her.

“Too many changes,” she whispered as she drifted off to sleep.



My Thoughts: Do you remember the "Choose Your Own Adventure" Series? My girls read them when they were TWEENS I wish these books would've been around when they were entering jr. high / high school. These books are perfect for that age group. They give real life senarios, choices, and show what could happen if the wrong or right choice is made. I highly recommend them and give them a lighthouse and shine a light on them for pointing a path to God.

RONALD REAGAN SPEAKS ON SOCIALIZED MEDICINE!!!!

MY FAVORITE AND THE FIRST PRESIDENT I EVER VOTED FOR SPEAKS ABOUT SOCIALIZED MEDICINE!!!!!!

DANCING WITH THE STARS CAST ANNOUNCED

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


It's that time again . . . the new Dancing With The Stars is just around the corner and here is the cast for this years season . . . who are your favorites?????


1. Kathy Ireland, supermodel
2. Macy Gray, Grammy-winning singer
3. Melissa Joan Hart, actress and one of the stars on our wish list
4. Mya, R&B singer and actress
5. Ashley Hamilton, ex-husband of Shannen Doherty and son of Season 2's George Hamilton
6. Michael Irvin, ex-NFL wide receiver
7. Mark Dacascos, The Chairman on Iron Chef America
8. Donny Osmond, entertainer and brother of Season 5's Marie Osmond
9. Kelly Osbourne, singer and daughter of Ozzy Osbourne
10. Debi Mazar, Entourage star
11. Chuck Liddell, light heavyweight champion
12. Natalie Coughlin, 11-time Olympic medalist in swimming
13. Joanna Krupa, model; most recently seen on ABC's The Superstars
14. Louie Vito, snowboarder
15. Aaron Carter, singer and brother of Backstreet Boy Nick Carter
16. Tom DeLay, former House majority leader

FEATURED ON CFBA IS KATHRYN'S FOUNTAIN


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Kathryn's Fountain

Cladach Publishing (November 8, 2008)

by

David Claassen



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

I'm a follower of Jesus Christ and seek to live my life to please Him and for His glory. I'm walking this journey with my life's partner, Diann. We've been married since 1972 and have two grown children. Our daughter Julie serves as a missionary with her husband Victor in Mexico in a ministry they founded called Fishers of Men. Check their ministry out at www.fishersofmenmexico.org. Our son Dan is married to Teri and he's a detective in a police department in a suburb of Indianapolis.

I have pastored the Mayfair-Plymouth Congregational Church of Toledo, Ohio since 1975, having just celebrated 33 years at the church. You can check out the church at http://www.mayfairplymouth.org/. You can also visit me at my blog, where I add material about every other day or so.

I enjoy photography, that's why I'm treating you with a different photo of mine each week on the web site. Over three hundred of my photos are for sale at www.istockphoto.com.

I'm also a ventriloquist, of sorts, and treat the children of my church with a "visit with Ricky" every third Sunday of the month in the morning worship services.

Raising white homing pigeons is another of my hobbies. I enjoy watching them soar overhead.

That's just a little bit about me. Thanks for visiting. God bless you!


ABOUT THE BOOK

Kathryn is resigned to living out her last days at Victorian Manor, a beautiful old home for senior citizens. Then one day a miraculous experience happens to Kathryn at the garden fountain, and she begins living an adventure beyond her wildest dreams. Love and sacrifice take on new meaning as she involves a social worker and a police detective in carrying out what she believes to be her calling -- to rescue a street child named Jasmine.

Kathryn's Fountain celebrates the gifts that the generations can bring to each other. The conclusion is a resounding affirmation that it's never too late to make a difference.

If you would like to read an excerpt from Kathryn's Fountain, go HERE
 
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