The Frontiersman's Daughter by Laura Frantz

The saying “too many books, too little time” has been descriptive of my life these past few years. Once I started attending writing conferences and meeting authors, I found my shelves filled with novels by writers I’d come to call friends. The problem is that there are other writers out there, too. Ones that could eventually become my friends. 

Such is the tale of how I came to read The Frontiersman’s Daughter by Laura Frantz. My sister had gone on a Laura Frantz binge, as had one of my other reader friends. Both highly recommended her novels to me. I had downloaded The Frontiersman’s Daughter to my kindle when it was free, but of course hadn’t read it yet. I remembered that Laura’s books were set in the 1700s, not as popular of a time period but one I have loved since college. So while bored between basketball games, I pulled it up on my phone and started to read. And I was captivated. 

Set in late 1700s Kentucky, this book takes you back to the real frontier, when the “west” hadn’t even reached the Mississippi River. And at a time when the frontier defeated many women, Lael Click finds herself creating her own world there, as woman alone. Of course there are men around. Three that are quite taken with her. I won’t say more because I don’t want to give anything away, but her journey is more than one of romance. It’s a journey to commitment, a journey to salvation, a journey to true love. 

Just at the time I was reading this book and loving the story, I connected with Laura online. (Check out her website www.laurafrantz.net.) Immediately I’d made a new friend! Turns out, our next books are releasing about the same time, and since her publisher, Revell, is under the same Baker Publishing Group umbrella as Bethany House, our books will share space in the fall catalog. Such fun! 

So I found a new author I enjoy reading and, in the process, I made a new friend. If you haven’t read any of Laura’s books, I highly recommend you do!


Birthday Blessings

I used to get all worked up about birthdays. The first spiral of angst would involve the fact that my years were inching upward. I was so distraught the year I turned 20. I thought my life was over! 29 was another bad one, just the anticipation of the following year of 30. 

As I fretted over my life slipping away, I also worried that I wouldn’t be celebrated on my birthday. That no one would make me feel special. That I wouldn’t feel loved. Validated. Remembered. My expectations skyrocketed, leaving those around me trembling that they wouldn’t do enough or wouldn’t do it right, that I’d fly off the handle, tossing out accusations that had no basis in reality.

Thankfully, the Lord worked on those things and I’ve been in a whole new place for about ten years. No longer do I lament the rising number on my birthday cake. Nor do I have any expectations for celebrations of any kind, for I know the people that love me love me every day, not just one day a year. And I know that the celebration of my birthday is really my own personal celebration of Jesus, who knew me before the foundation of the world, who gave me breath and life, who made me a new creation, and who is even now working in me to will and to do His good pleasure.

But a funny thing has happened in that place of contentment over birthdays. The celebrations--big and small--have become so much sweeter than when I depended on them to fulfill an empty place in me. Now I cry when my friends lavishes on me a gift I didn’t expect. Or another friend spends time choosing something a token that shows how well she knows me. I could go on and on. Unexpected blessings at every turn, raining down and soaking me in the way I’d always desired, but no longer need. Because my God is good like that. 


A Sunday Psalm

Now I know that the Lord saves His anointed;
He answers him from His holy heaven with the
saving power of His right hand.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
    --Psalm 20:6-7


Breathing Deep

I told a friend this week that things are so crazy around here that I feel like I’m running around with my hair on fire! Honestly, for all that we have to do, I’m managing fairly well. Long days. Short nights. Lots to do in between. But at least I’m not yelling at everybody— not yet anyway, by the grace of God! But come this weekend I can breathe deep for the first time in a long while. And I intend to enjoy every minute of it.


The Galleys Are Coming!

My galleys for At Every Turn should be here today! Galleys are the hard copy of my book that I read through and can make any last minute changes. But I can't linger. They arrive today and must be back in the mail on March 5. Of course the fear is always that upon the re-read I'll hate the story. So if you think about it, would you pray that fear will stay far away and instead as I read I'll marvel at God's faithfulness in accomplishing what I could never do on my own?


Heart's Safe Passage by Laurie Alice Eakes

Last year I was captivated by Lady in the Mist, the first book in Laurie Alice Eakes’ series The Midwives. Her words flowed so easily into an entrancing story. I finished the book satisfied and hoping the second book would be about one of the minor characters that intrigued me: Phoebe Lee. 

And guess what? It was! 

Heart’s Safe Passage did not disappoint. You’d not think a story about a midwife could take place mostly on board a ship— ahem, a brig— on the water between the US and England during the War of 1812. And yet Laurie Alice takes us captive there, along with Phoebe Lee and her sister-in-law Belinda. Add in a Scottish captain with a past and a vendetta and we are in for a wild ride! 

What I love about all of Laurie Alice’s books, be they American or British set, is that each one is full of adventure. These are stories where small events have big consequences, stories that keep your heart pounding as you turn each page. And I do love that she brings in English and Scottish heroes even in her “American” books. :)

If you enjoy a good love story with a heavy dose of intrigue and adventure, check out Heart’s Safe Passage and Lady in the Mist. I hope you relish them as much as I have. 


A Sunday Psalm

Sing to God, sing praises to His name,
extol Him who rides on the clouds--His name is the Lord--
and rejoice before Him.
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
is God in His holy dwelling.
God sets the lonely in families,
He leads forth the prisoners with singing;
but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.
    --Psalm 68:4-6


A Pat on the Back Goes a Long Way

I’ll admit it— I used to do a lot of things looking for that pat on the back, someone to notice and validate me. Several years ago, I let that go as I realized the only approval or notice I needed was from the Lord. But not looking for a pat on the back doesn’t mean it doesn’t feel good when it comes. In fact, I think it makes the affirmation and encouragement all the sweeter. 

So I’ll say thank you to my friend Lori, who I met at our local writers group, who encouraged me this week with a pat on the back for my blog: 

I think this is one of those “blog awards” that goes round and round and though I am supposed to pass it along (you know, kind of like those old chain letters!), the blogs I tend to frequent have already received this many times over. So instead I’ll say thank you to Lori for her friendship in person and online. And how fun to recently realize we had a completely random non-writer friend in common! I love how the Lord connects us in those ways. Check out Lori’s blog at: http://www.lafreeland.com/the-blog


Some of My Favorite Romantic Movies

If you’re looking for a fun, romantic movie to watch with your family, your friends, or your valentine, check out a few of my favorites!


A Sunday Psalm

Within Your temple, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love.
Like Your name, O God, Your praise reaches to the ends of the earth;
Your right hand is filled with righteousness.
    --Psalm 48:9-10


My Mind is Mush

I’ve written two blog posts for today. Deleted them both. Yes, my mind is mush. Too much writing. Too much editing. Today is a “running from one appointment or activity to another” day. Saturday, back to writing and editing. Weeks like these make me appreciate the coming rest on Sunday. 


One Thing You Lack

Lately as I’ve been reading Scripture, it has occurred to me more and more that while the words mean what they say and say what they mean, there is also a deeper level, if we choose to look past the obvious. 

Like the Song of Solomon being about both marriage and our relationship with the Christ and the church’s relationship with Christ. Or the adulterous woman in Proverbs being about adultery but also about the way our flesh entices us into any sin of indulgence. 

But the one that really struck home recently was the story of the rich young ruler. I was reading the Mark rendition (Mark 10:17-22) and it struck me that yes, the story is about clinging to riches, but it is about more than that. Consider verse 21:

Jesus looked at him and loved him. [emphasis mine] “One think you lack,” He said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 

Suddenly this story is about so much more than a man who loved his riches. It’s about Jesus’s love, about the way He sees our “lack,” as He did in this young man, and how He pushes us into situations that will make up that lack. Because He loves us. 

I see this exact thing being played out very clearly in my own life right now. I have “lacked” some discipline, especially as regards working. So the Lord put me in a situation where I could choose--be disciplined, work hard, make up that lack in my character or take it easy and throw away the opportunities He’s blessed me with. 

These past few weeks have not been easy. I’ve been writing a book I’d already written once, then trashed. I’ve also had some freelance editing projects to get done. On top of that, I’d committed at the beginning of this year to try to stay on top of the housework better. And then there are all the other, normal errands and tasks of life. He called me to a more disciplined lifestyle, to give up something I’ve clung to and enjoyed. The only other choice was to walk away from what I felt God had called me to. But reading this account in Mark has given me new vigor. The Lord hasn’t asked this thing to torture me. He’s asked it because He loves me and He sees a place where I am lacking. 

I still don’t like getting up earlier. Or less free time. Or the exhaustion that comes at the end of the day. But those are things I can endure when I know that my Jesus wants only the best for me. He wants to fill up my lack so that I can, in turn, be a more committed follower of Him. And in the end, isn’t that everything? 


The Rose of Winslow Street by Elizabeth Camden

I have to admit, I was a bit afraid to begin Elizabeth Camden’s new novel, The Rose of Winslow Street, because frankly, her debut novel, The Lady of Bolton Hill, which came out last summer, was so fabulous. I wondered if she could top it. 


I needn’t have worried. 

The Rose of Winslow Street is one of the most unique works of historical fiction I have read in a long time, as regards location, characters, and situations. First, the hero is a Romanian immigrant with a mysterious past. Then there is the heroine, who has a “flaw” not often articulated in a heroine. (I’m trying not to give too much away!) Then there is the house— the one that both Michael and Libby lay claim to. 

Fascinating on every level of the story. Of course as a writer of historical fiction myself, I kept having jaw-drop moments realizing how many things Elizabeth had to meticulously research for this story. Amazing. 

But in the end, it’s all about the characters. At least it is for me. And there were some great ones that lived in these pages. 

If you’ve read The Lady of Bolton Hill, you know that Elizabeth Camden can tell a story. And she just proved it again in The Rose of Winslow Street. 


A Sunday Psalm

The Lord reigns, He is robed in majesty;
the Lord is robed in majesty and is armed with strength.
The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved.
Your throne was established long ago;
You are from all eternity.
    --Psalm 93:1-2


What I Learned From My First Dinner Meeting With a Writers Group

I had a wonderful time on Wednesday night with a local Christian writers group let by my friend Lori Freeland. They meet at a restaurant and enjoy having authors and others in the publishing world come visit with them on occasion. They offer an evening of great conversation and a free dinner for their visitor. And who can beat that?

Of course I was nervous. I still feel like a bit of an impostor when a group of people looks to me for some writing wisdom, though it was easy enough to share the story of my journey to publication. But what I enjoyed most of all was interacting with the people one-on-one toward the end of the evening, answering specific questions regarding their own work or journey and encouraging them in some way. More and more I’m realizing that those interactions energize me to keep stepping out of my comfort zone and addressing groups. 

But being my first “dinner” meeting, I also learned a few things myself. Here are my top three take-aways from my time with them:

  1. DON’T try to eat a salad when you are the guest who will spend much of the time talking. 
It’s harder than you think to shove a bite of lettuce and fruit and chicken in your mouth in the short moment of someone asking a question, let alone chew and swallow! Next time I would order something that could easily be cut into very tiny bites. 

  1. DON’T neglect one end of the table for the other. 
Because I was seated in the middle so everyone could hear, I found I had to keep reminding myself to turn my head and talk to both ends of the table--and even to look straight ahead, on occasion, to the person sitting across from me! A little thing, but one that for me will take more practice!

  1. DO make time to interact one-on-one. 
There’s nothing worse than leaving an intimate group like that feeling neglected. That tends to happen to me, so I tried very hard to talk for a few minutes with each person so everyone felt visible and valuable. I hope I succeeded a little bit in that, but want to try to do better. 

So there you have it. Three lessons learned to carry forward. I’m so blessed that Lori gave this very green author the chance to interact with a whole new group of aspiring writers. And I’m so grateful that the Lord continues to show His faithfulness in every new experience. 


At Every Turn Book Cover

So those who hang around my facebook page got a sneak a peek at the book cover for At Every Turn yesterday. (It releases in September.) I'm so glad the response has been good, because I just love it! Doesn't Bethany House do amazing covers?

I'd love to hear what you think!