Interview with Hannah Lapp from HANNAH’S COURAGE
How long have you lived in Charm, Ohio?
All my life, and I love my Amish community.
Do you work outside the home?
Yes, my Aunt Liza is my Mom’s sister. And she owns a bakery in town. I work with my friends, Maryann and Magdelena. We try new recipes, have bakery socials with our friends, and have customers who are fun, and some not so fun.
Who are two of your favorite customers?
Dr. Harrison and Sheriff Williams are best friends. They are both married, but they come to the bakery each workday and split the newspaper and discuss the top articles over coffee and a pastry or cinnamon roll. They tease and partake in harmless bickering making me laugh often.
Old Order Amish don’t read the outside world newspaper, do they?
No. I listen to the doctor and sheriff’s conversations about actors, movies, music, and more in the news. I find it interesting, but the bishop wouldn’t be happy with me if he knew this.
Why are some of the customers not fun?
We have customers who argue with each other or who treat each other with disrespect. This makes it awkward for us. Englischers are usually kind, but we’ve had some who have asked us personal questions about our simple lifestyle and traditions. We’ve had customers make rude remarks about our clothes or way we do things. Others are curious, and I don’t mind their questions. We’ve had a time or two where the sheriff had to get involved because of some dangerous men.
Do you have brothers and sisters?
I’m an only child, but I have plenty of friends. I don’t mind. I like being a single child. I’m close to my parents, and we’ve always had a good relationship. My Aunt Liza remarried to Jacob after her husband died. They have a baby girl named Betsy, and they adopted a little boy, Peter. They bring joy to all our lives.
Do you have a suitor?
I’m not sure. Timothy Barkman asked me to court, and I wasn’t ready. I’ve heard a newcomer, Charlene, is interested in him. I may have waited too long.
Are you in love with Timothy Barkman?
Yes. We’ve been friends for years. I don’t have eyes for any other man. I blame myself if he’s chosen to move on.
Why didn’t you tell him sooner?
I don’t like change. I took for granted Timothy would always wait for me when I was ready. It was selfish of me. He’s handsome, outgoing, a hard worker, and a man who loves God. I shouldn’t be surprised if he says it’s too late for us. I’m nervous about talking to him.
Does Timothy have brothers and sisters?
He has a brother who suffered a head injury, and he’ll always be childlike. His name is Aaron. He’s innocent and kind, but he says what’s on his mind. He likes to learn, and I’ve been helping him with his homework. He’s surprising me what how well he’s learning to read.
What will you do if Timothy says it’s too late for the two of you to court about tutoring Aaron? You might run into Timothy and another woman.
It would break my heart not to help him. Maybe I can work something out. I can’t hardly stand the thought of Timothy and another woman.
Will you stay in Charm if he says it’s too late for the two of you?
I haven’t thought that far. It would be hard to see Timothy with another woman at church services, socials, and with our friends. But I can’t imagine leaving my life here behind, and I don’t like change. Moving without my family would be difficult. I believe God has a plan for my life, and He’ll show me the way.
Do you have hobbies besides baking?
I like to teach, quilt, sew clothes, clean, and cook. I work in the garden with Mom and Dad, and I love the horses, goats, pigs, and chicks.
What if there is another woman who has made her wishes known to Timothy, will you confront her?
No. I wouldn’t cause trouble.
What if she confronts you?
It depends on what she would have to say.
Thank you for being open and honest with us today, Hannah. We wish you and Timothy our best.
A Peek Inside an Author’s Brain
As an Australian author of Regency and contemporary fiction that’s published around the world I suspect my headspace is a very strange place to be. I love words, I love creating stories, but sometimes balancing the different worlds and cultural expectations can be a challenge. Sometimes I’ll talk to my kids using expressions from Mr. Darcy’s Regency era of 200 years ago. Sometimes I’ll use US spelling in emails to Aussie colleagues. Sometimes I’ll use Aussie / British spelling in my newsletters to US readers. I’m thankful that my kids understand their mum has a vivid imagination, and that people understand we use different forms of English because we’re from different parts of the planet.
The world we live in has shrunk so much. I still find it amazing that I can write books in my little corner of my house in my little Australian town, books that get emailed to publishers on the other side of the world, that end up being read by people in the USA or Germany or The Netherlands by people I may never meet. How extraordinary that is! What a wonderful humbling privilege this writing business is.
When I started my writing journey ten years ago I never expected anything like this. I was inspired to write a contemporary story after watching the Vancouver Winter Olympics – a story that is still waiting for the right time to see the publishing light. J I wrote several other contemporaries, a romantic suspense, then – just for fun – had a go at writing my version of a Pride and Prejudice-type story, a story that eventually became The Elusive Miss Ellison. I loved delving into the history and mannerisms of the Regency era, the language and wit of authors like Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer, to which I added a faith-in-God element, and the romance readers love. This story became the first of the Regency Brides historical romance series (of series).
Now with nine books published and more on the way, the challenge is to keep the characters straight in my head, to make plots fresh, and to not confuse the various eras in which I write. Just this past month has seen the submission of three books with three deadlines – two historical, one contemporary. I love the challenge of writing about different time periods as it helps keep me mentally alert as I switch from one style to another. It’s meant for some interesting reading, too. Usually I like to read in the style of the book I’m working on, but lately I’ve been reading contemporary cowboy books while editing my Regency – let’s hope there are no yee-haws that managed to slip through! My brain is populated by many fictional people, some of whom have managed to have their story told, others who are still waiting, who occasionally murmur something of their secrets while I dream – which means a handy notepad and pencil beside the bed, and prayers to decipher my night-time scrawl the next morning.
I thank God for readers like you, readers willing to take a risk on an unknown author, readers who buy books and write reviews and send encouraging messages to authors, readers whose appetite for stories allow for author dreams to come true. Thank you so much for your support – and for daring to peek and see just how complex an author’s brain can be!
Misty M. Beller
Loving Appaloosa Horses
Hello, Dear Reader Friend! 😊
All my life I’ve been a horse lover, and was blessed to grow up on a farm. My older brother and I each had ponies of our own and rode hours each day. When we were old enough to graduate to full-size horses, we met neighbors who also had horses and we loved to ride with them. The two mares they rode had a mottled black and white spotted look, which I knew to be part of the Appaloosa breed. Through years of riding together, I developed a deep appreciation for those two Appaloosa horses, as well as respect for the entire breed! Those two mares proved they could outrun and outlast any of the other horses in our riding group.
As I met other Appaloosas, I learned the breed has a wide variety of coat patterns, from dramatically spotted horses (called leopard Appaloosas) to solid horses whose rumps sport white “blankets” (with or without spots). You don’t always know what pattern a horse will have at its birth.
I’ve long wanted to include Appaloosas in one of my stories, especially since the breed was said to have begun in the Nez Perce tribe who lived just west of the Rocky Mountains. Most of my books are set in the majestic Rockies, so anything from that area snags my attention!
When I was brainstorming ideas for a new series, I realized this was the perfect time to include Appaloosas! A band of five good friends—as close as brothers. One sets off on a mission to find the famed Paloose horse bred by the Nez Perce tribe. When he doesn’t return as promised, the other four set off to find him. Thus begins the journey of a lifetime…
In the latest release, Hope in the Mountain River, I was able to include many of my experiences with Appaloosas. Although the book is part of the series, it can definitely be enjoyed as a standalone. I pray you love this story as much as I loved writing it, and enjoy a glimpse of the famous Appaloosa horse!
Marguerite Martin Gray
The journey to revolutionary faith…
And what a journey it has been! The result is the five-book series called Revolutionary Faith. If only my own faith held such qualities to see me through a revolution. I can’t compare my daily life to that of having British soldiers dictate my movements. Yet, I can maintain a steady, heartbeat of desire to do God’s will step by step.
My journey to the creation of this historical fiction series began with listening to my father as he conducted a tour through our family home. How many times had I heard the stories of how, when, and why our ancestors came to Louisiana? Many times. But for some reason on this March day, Dad’s words pierced my mind to know more. He showed a locket to the interested crowd that held the image of his six times great-grandfather in a gold case. As his words hit me, I hoped my mouth didn’t drop open. This man was my seven times great-grandfather!
Let the research commence…
The wheels in my inquisitive mind longed to know more. And my creative and active imagination began to spin tales about this man. The whole reason I read historical fiction centers around the historical value where I learn something and the fictional aspect where the characters come alive on the page and in my mind.
My journey took an active turn. There had to be more to Louis Lestarjette. I had seen the artifacts, heard the stories, and studies the lineage. Now, I had to put answers to my questions.
Only one place to go. Charleston, South Carolina. On a four-day research vacation by myself, I unearthed and birthed with prayer and courage this series based on fact and fiction.
The Revolutionary Faith Series…
If you want to explore this fascinating time in American history, this journey to 1772 Charles Town, SC is a good place to start. Who knows, you may uncover your own revolutionary faith for our present world.
Though each novel can be read as a stand-alone book, the order of the series is Hold Me Close, Surround Me, Bring Me Near, and Draw Me to Your Side. Book five, Wait for Me, will be released in 2021.
I hope you will join the journey.
Connect in fiction: Entertain. Encourage. Educate
Hello everyone, I’m so excited over #BecauseFiction and look forward to sharing my writing and visiting with you all through your comments to each month’s connection! For this first time, I thought I’d share about a title that some have called my magnum opus or piece de resistance! That seems pretty hard to follow!
And one avid reader who will always remain dear to my heart has said the story is her all-time favorite book! How humbling is that?
THE BEDWARMER’S SON released in September 2016 and quickly won a Celebrate Lit Readers Choice Award! It’s two hundred eighty pages actually tell two tales.
One belongs to the title character, Billy Harrison awaiting trial on the charges that he murdered his white half-brother, and the other is of his mother, the bedwarmer, purchased to distract the son of a wealthy plantation family whose wife recently passed away in childbirth.
The grieving William never asked for a bedwarmer, but she indeed changed his life.
Her name is Jasmine, and Billy believes that if the young white lady sent to depose him needs to know the whole story if she’s to understand why the cracker had to die. So, his tale in Jim Crow’s Dalton, Georgia (1926) jail begins ‘He sold us right before he married that fancy lady from England then bought us back the next spring.
The novel is the first ‘Texas Companion Book’ to my ‘Texas Romance Family Saga’ series. I so loved the Buckmeyers, Baylors, and Nightingales that even after ten titles, I couldn’t bear to leave them and all the new characters who came to life in the series and wrote more stories of their ancestors and descendants.
The reason I wanted to talk about this backstory—besides that I love it so much—is because I’ve just updated its cover and am totally in love with it! (Thank you, Chautona Having!)
Here’s the old beside the new . . . same beautiful story but with a perfect new cover. I couldn’t be happier with THE BEDWARMER’S SON’s new rendition.
That’s one thing I absolutely love about being an Indie author—well, hybrid, since my first ten titles were published traditionally, number ten by Simon and Schuster—changes may be made!
Typos and other un-ohs in manuscripts that get read over by early editors, proofreaders, and beta readers caught up in the story can be quickly corrected and uploaded, even after a book is in the marketplace. So eventually they can be perfect . . . with a little love from my friends! I’m always so grateful when a new reader contacts me with any error they’ve found.
So, I hope if you haven’t read THE BEDWARMER’S SON that you won’t wait any longer! If you’re a Kindle Unlimited member, you may read it from there for free!
Linda Brooks Davis
The character Ella Jane McFarland took shape as I considered my maternal grandmother. Mama never drove an automobile, joined a woman’s club, spoke publicly, or progressed beyond third grade. But she voted with other women in 1920 and each cycle thereafter!
How different might the kaleidoscope of Mama’s life have appeared with a single twist in one direction or the other? The character Ella McFarland emerged from this essential question.
Ella Jane Pyle, age 14
Born Ella Jane Pyle in Cooke County, Texas in 1886, Mama grew up a farmer/shopkeeper’s daughter in Indian Territory prior to Oklahoma statehood.
Mama turned 18 in 1904 Indian Territory and married Papa—24-yr-old William Tribble Banks.
By 1922, Mama had borne seven daughters and buried four, as well as Papa. In coming years, she would lay another husband to rest alongside another daughter.
I can’t imagine.
Mama possessed a will of iron and a rock-solid faith that ultimately withstood the deaths of two husbands and five children. She experienced destitution few have known; yet, she left a name worthy of a great-great granddaughter and the heroine of a novel that yours truly, her granddaughter wrote: The Calling of Ella McFarland.
Unlike many women today, Mama never leaned back in a massage chair for a manicure/pedicure, but she picked 100 pounds of cotton a day. She never shopped at a mall, but she sewed up a dress in a matter of hours. She never learned to type or take dictation, but she cleared brushland for farming for $8 an acre. She never considered the merits of granite countertops over tile or wood floors over laminate, but she made a home in a corner of a barn. She swept the dirt floor with a broom.
Although far different in superficial ways, the real Ella Pyle and the imaginary Ella McFarland are much alike fundamentally. Soft-spoken Mama never drove a car, but she handled a team of mules pulling a covered wagon from Oklahoma to the extreme southern tip of Texas in 1923. (Roadways are a sight better today.) Both are women of single-minded devotion to their families who overcome hardship through faith in Almighty God and pure grit. Both lives testify to the hope and healing found outside themselves—in Jesus Christ.
A portion of Ella McFarland is Ella Pyle, but a full ¼ of me is Mama. For that I’m thankful.
Wild Heart Books (featuring Lorri Dudley)
Behind the Scenes of The Merchant’s Yield by Lorri Dudley
The Merchant’s Yield is the second book in the Leeward Island series. The idea for my heroine, Lottie Etheridge, stemmed from a writing prompt—Pretend you are a relative from your past. My family has often speculated where the bright red hair that pops up every other generation (my dad, my cousin, and my niece) originated, since my grandfather was adopted. My opening hook at one time was Lottie’s mother stating, “Red hair is for opera singers and ballet dancers. You should have powdered your hair.”
In my research about the island of St. Kitts, I came across a French-American pirate named Jean Lafitte, educated at the military academy on St. Kitts. The concept of my hero, Nathaniel Winthrop, a merchant who could have schooled with a pirate, set my creative juices flowing, especially after reading about Lafitte’s outlandish and quirky behavior. I couldn’t resist interlacing the lives of my main characters with the daring pirate.
I enjoyed writing Lottie’s struggle between pacifying others, yet trying to stay true to how God made her. Also, I can relate to her attempts at rebellion backfiring, for I too could never get away with anything. Lottie’s soft heart contrasts nicely with the guarded hero, Nathan, as she peels back each painful layer of his thick façade to reveal the devoted and ardent love he holds beneath.
To learn more, check out my website at lorridudley.com or watch The Merchant’s Yield’s book trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQLKqJfMf0o&feature=youtu.be