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A Destiny in Defiance Through the Eyes of a … Cougar

Something strange about my new release…

My editor was very complimentary about the twist and turns I worked into A Destiny in Defiance as well as the extreme suspense and tension in the last chapters. She found herself so engrossed in the story, there were several places where she forgot to edit because she was too busy reading! (We’ve worked diligently to find and edit those places!)

Screen Shot 2019-10-30 at 11.55.36 AM One of the fun things I did was actually tell a little bit of the story through the eyes of a cougar. Very Rudyard Kipling, I suppose, what, with Two Spears being–I just realized–a type of Mowgli character.

Anyway, the story was tremendous fun to write, took me almost a year (it’s 96,000 words!), and it covers a lot of ground. It’s like a whole TV season in one book. I hope it moves you to tears, anger, heartbreak, and peace.

Oh, and I’m planning on following it up with either a couple of short stories or novellas in 2020!

Questions this book might answer:

Will the rivalry between Charles and Matthew destroy them both? Do Naomi and Two Spears get caught in the middle? Can Naomi keep her beloved from turning back to his dark past? What secret is the new nurse in town hiding? Will Billy and Hannah ever tie the knot or is she thinking about pursuing other goals? Does Emilio love Mollie or is his heart still stuck on Hannah? Why is ranch foreman Lane Chandler such an awesome character? So, so many good storylines! Can’t wait for y’all to read A Destiny in Defiance!

A Destiny in Defiance releases on November 1.

Right now it’s only $2.99 for a VERY limited time. This is a mammoth book (over 96,000 words) so the price will be going up.

Get your copy today while it’s still at this special price.

OR, you can always read for FREE in Kindle Unlimited. I hope you’ll tell a friend about it and, please,
leave me a review when you have a moment.

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Does a New Romance Have a Destiny in Defiance?

Can two people from very different worlds make a romance happen? I just adored writing the sub-plot of Hope and Lane and their potential romance in my new book A Destiny in Defiance. He’s such a pure Texas cowboy and she’s such a feminist–or so she thinks. Here’s a snippet of one of my favorite scenes:

Hope drifted her fingers softly along the edge of the deep cut gouging its way across the man’s palm and frowned. “I’d say this is more than slight, Mr. Chandler. You’re going to need several stitches. Otherwise, this will never heal properly.”

lq

Famous Western star, L.Q. Jones, the inspiration for Lane Chandler

 “Dang,” he whispered. “It’s my ropin’ hand.”

“Precisely why we need to stitch it. Without closing it up, a wound this long and deep will scar terribly, reducing your mobility. You want your hand back in working order don’t you?”

“Yes, ma’am.” He grinned sheepishly. “I reckon I do.”

“I’ll numb it. The stitches won’t hurt.”

“Ah, pshaw,” he waved away her concern. “I dug a Comanche arrow outta my own shoulder once. After that kind of pain, I can tolerate an itty bitty sewing needle.”

Hope tilted her head, admittedly a little too intrigued by the man. She found the way he told the story of a Comanche arrow in his shoulder and then used the word itty bitty in the next breath…charming. And, my, but wasn’t he handsome?

 She frowned at the repetitive thought and forced herself to focus on the tools of her trade. “This will hurt. I’m sorry.” She clutched his hand and poured alcohol in the wound. Mr. Chandler winced but that was the extent of his reaction. “All right, let’s get the stitches in. You’re ready?”

“As I ever will be.”

Amused by his bravado, she smirked slightly and laced a needle with the catgut. “Did your shoulder heal all right?” she asked conversationally.

“Yes, ma’am. Just an occasional soreness. Mostly on cold mornings.”

“You’re very fortunate to have survived such an ordeal.” She guided his hand to the table, resting it palm up, and cautiously put in the first suture; he seemed to barely notice.

“Yes, ma’am. Texas was a wild and wooly place ten-fifteen years ago. It’s only a little better now. We whooped the Indians but the rougher elements have been flocking there since the war ended.”

“Why is that, do you suppose?”

“I reckon ‘cause the law ain’t too intrusive there. A man can pretty much do what he wants, long as he doesn’t cause too much of a ruckus.”

“Will you be going back any time soon?”

He took a moment to answer and Hope for some reason felt certain he was studying her. “I had planned to give McIntyre a year. Help him build his herd and his ranch. I might give it a little longer. Especially now.”

 

A Destiny in Defiance releases on November 1.

Right now the pre-order price is $2.99. This is a mammoth book (over 90,000 words) so the price will be going up.

Get your copy today while it’s still at the pre-order price.

OR, you can always read for FREE in Kindle Unlimited.

Not a KU subscriber? You can get it here!

By the way, my newsletter subscribers get FREE stuff, exclusive excerpts, contests, pithy commentary. Why don’t you join me in case WordPress goes as anti-conservative as the other big tech companies?! I’d love to have you along with us!

Or you can follow me here:

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Not Everyone Who Cries Needs a Hug — Maybe a Broom Will Do

I am so not a hugger. I once told my Youth Sunday School Class, “I might not hug you, but I will take a bullet for you.” So, I can like you. A lot. Go out on a limb for you. Move heaven and earth to get to you. Search high and low for you if you’re lost. I just may not always spout the right touchy-feely words or wrap my arms around you. In my own introverted way, however, that’s exactly what I’m doing.

Because people like me stand in Defiance of the box that says, “You must invade a person’s personal space to show them you care.” You know what? That’s a lie.

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If you’re a bit of an emotional freak–the stoic gal who prefers actions to words, the woman who weeps in secret for people without telling them you care, the lady who worries she too easily tosses out the pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps speech–this blog is for you.

The Lord showed me something a couple of years ago: he can use even us to share his love.

I heard of a young gal in a youth group who was quiet, withdrawn, didn’t wear makeup, came from a rough background, and was a little loose with her morals. A parent got involved with the group; a parent who was friendly and talkative but didn’t act weird to impress the kids. You know, overly energetic or always smiling and hugging on them. In fact, she was big on giving the kids their personal space. This parent was just real and the young girl was drawn to her.

When the girl got in some trouble and needed help, she called this parent. Because she didn’t need a hug. She needed a friend to invest in her. Be real. Walk with her through some tough stuff. The young lady has since recommitted to the Lord, graduated high school and joined the National Guard. And very few hugs have passed between these two people who both acknowledge they have very BIG PERSONAL DANCE SPACES.

This past Sunday at church I was a little sleepy and not feeling my usual chatty self. I am what’s known as a social introvert. I like people until I need a break from them. Anyway, I wound up standing beside a young lady who was alone. And I knew I had to at least acknowledge her. So, we talked for a minute and when the doors to the sanctuary opened, I asked her to sit with me. We continued our chat and she revealed that she’d been away from the Lord for a while and was trying to find her way back.

And then she started crying.

Oh, man, if ever a moment called for a hug. So I apologized and told her my bullet story. She laughed. And then I proceeded to tell her God loves her even more than I do. And we talked a little more about God and I tried to make up for my BIG PERSONAL DANCE SPACE with light-hearted humor and the love of our Savior. When the service was about to begin, she leaned over and whispered, “Thank you.”

I don’t know that I said everything I should have said to her but I think I said enough. And in a way, she got a hug.

My point simply is this: defy expectations and be who God has made you to be and don’t feel bad about it. He will use you. When people are hurting they may not always need a hug, but they definitely need to know you sincerely care.

~~~~~~~

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All my books are in Kindle Unlimited right now which means you can read them for FREE. Not a KU subscriber? You can get it here!

By the way, my newsletter subscribers get FREE stuff, exclusive excerpts, contests, pithy commentary. Why don’t you join me in case WordPress goes as anti-conservative as the other big tech companies?! I’d love to have you along with us!

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Author Lydia Cameron, God, Starbucks and Me

I was so honored to get a chance to share some random thoughts yesterday with fellow-author Lydia Cameron over on her blog. I hope you’ll check it out. I mean, really, can you ever talk too much about God and coffee and writing?

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And be sure to say hello!

 

In Defiance of Failure. Trust God and Fish or Cut Bait…

Last time, if you will recall, I related that in back in 2000 I had started writing A Lady in Defiance and my computer crashed.

Several thousand words into the story I lost ALL of it.

Well, I had my hands full with a baby. I shrugged and thought I would probably come back to the story one day. If it wasn’t dead and buried for good. Maybe God would resurrect it…Who knew?

Fast forward to 2007.

I took a job working for a vanity press doing author promotions. One day at a book signing, I was watching the author talk about his story and the thought came to me, “I can do this.” Meaning, write a book. I didn’t know anything about plot structure, character arcs, POVs, but I had to write. It felt almost like a compulsion.

The story of three sisters stranded in a lawless mining town roared back to life in my brain. I dove in and had the first draft finished in March of ‘08, mere weeks before the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference.

conf

Only, my first attendance was in 2008

I honestly don’t even know who suggested I attend a writers conference. I’d never given it any thought and I’d never heard of this one. It was (and still is) held in Black Mountain, NC though, and I was up for any excuse to visit my mountains.

When I looked into it, I discovered that I could have a critique done on my first 30 pages by a seasoned professional writer, and even pitch the story to editors and agents! The possibilities were exciting and terrifying. I told my boys–five, eight, and forty-seven at the time–that I had no idea what to expect or even pray for. I just knew there was an adventure waiting.

I remember my eight-year-old said the most interesting thing then. He said, “It’s like that scene from Indiana Jones when he steps out into thin air. But there’s really a bridge there to catch him.”

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Wow. That’s called a Leap of Faith. And what a picture of how God holds us up and leads us. Instantly I knew I was supposed to go to this conference.

It turned out to be a life-changing event.

More next time…

Oh, and I’d love to have you sign up for my newsletter. You’ll get a FREE story and so much more. I promise you’ll find encouragement for chasing your own dreams! Sign up today!

The Reason I Say Never Give In, Never Back Down, Never Lose Faith

I may not be—no, wait, sorry—I definitely am not the highest selling author on Amazon but I bet I have some of the best God stories behind my stories.

Especially when it comes to the Defiance books which have now been optioned for a limited TV series!

On the road to Hollywood (because, yes, I believe Defiance will be on TV one day) I want to share with you some of the amazing ways God has continually moved this project along. Inch by inch. Year by year.

The Story that Wouldn’t Die. Literally.

Most of you don’t know that I started A Lady in Defiance only about a year after my sister passed away. A lot happened in that year. Namely, I had a baby. My first son, Whit, was born in 2000.

first cover

The first cover

While he napped or wiggled happily on the floor, I started writing. The story of three sisters in the West was a flight of fancy that helped me deal with the loss of my sister and handle the stupefying fact I was a mother. To cope, some people jump in the tub with Calgon. I had to write. Just spill out thoughts and emotions, keep Suzy alive for a little while longer…

Several thousand words into the story, however, my computer died and I lost EVERYTHING…

So what happened next?

To get the rest of this story and hear about the many more amazing ways God has kept his hand on A Lady in Defiance, I cordially invite you to sign up for my newsletter. You’ll get a FREE story AND the rest of this one. I promise you’ll find encouragement for chasing your own dreams! Sign up today!

 

Immigrants Who Came to Give and Not Take…Meet Sarah Thal

(Editor’s Note: this is an update of a blog I wrote in 2012)

Going back through some old research notes, I stumbled across the story of an immigrant to America. An unsung heroine who came here to make America a better place and give something back…not just take and remake the country in the image of her old country.

The early immigrants to America, the ones who thrived here, were independent, strong-willed, stubborn, adventurous risk-takers. They didn’t want handouts. They wanted the freedom to make their own way.

Just this morning I read the story of Sarah Thal, a German-Jewish immigrant who came to America with her husband in 1880. The couple settled in North Dakota. Her first child was born in a cabin so full of cracks that a make-shift tent was made around her and the baby. They literally camped in front of the fireplace to keep warm. She watched prairie fires light up the distant sky on more than one occasion. She lost a baby because 10 feet of snow prevented her from getting to a doctor. This was Sarah’s existence. It never broke her. She didn’t let it turn her into a bitter old woman. She accepted her circumstances, praised God in the storm, and plowed on.

One year the German community decided to get together and celebrate the 4th of July. It was a 22-mile trip each way for the Thal’s to attend, but they were proud and eager to do so. As she wrote in a letter, “Each foreign colony celebrated in their own fashion, loyal to the traditions of the old land and faithful to those of the new. . . .”

Faithful to those of the new.

Unfortunately, stout bloodlines like Sarah’s are getting “watered down.” It’s a shame. American women were strong and resilient as a rule, fiercely independent, the toughest in the world. And she wanted to be an American. Therein lies the crux of the matter with the flood of illegals at our border.

Today, I think women like Sarah are the exception, which is why it’s important to remember them! Do you think I’m wrong? Speak your mind, politely, please.

She’s Black, She’s a Woman and She’s Old! Are You Blind? Yep…

by Heather Frey Blanton
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Mary Fields -- All six feet of her!

Mary Fields — All six feet of her!

Being a woman out west at the turn-of-the-century would have been hard enough. Can you imagine being a black woman? Well, for Mary Fields, it was all in a day’s work.

“Stagecoach” Mary Fields was a black slave born in TN probably around 1832 or so. She was taken into Judge Dunn’s family and served as a nanny and house maid, and remained with the family, even after emancipation. During her growing up years, she became friends with Dunn’s daughter Dolly. Dolly, a gentle soul, joined a nunnery and shortly after transferred to Saint Peter’s Mission in Cascade, MT. She quickly discovered that the mission, a school for Native American girls, was in a magnificent state of disrepair.

Sister Amadeus (or, the daughter formerly known as Dolly) just about killed herself trying to get the place cleaned up, to the point she contracted pneumonia and fell deathly ill. She contacted Mary at this point and asked if she would like to come west and help out for a bit. Mary must have been a sight to behold walking around the school. Over six feet tall, weighing in at a lean two hundred pounds, wearing pistols on both hips, this woman was big and very black. And she liked to work. She nursed her friend back to health and then took on the mission, literally. An indomitable attitude coupled with her skill with a hammer and Mary was promoted to foreman of the place in pretty short order.

Not all the men on the grounds crew were OK with this and one mouthy gentleman started a fight. Not only did a bullet windup tearing daylight through the bishop’s drawers (on the wash line), some folks just didn’t care for Mary’s less than ladylike language and her fondness of alcohol. The bishop forced Sister Amadeus to fire her old friend.

After a short-lived attempt at running a restaurant, Mary applied for a job with the US Postal Service delivering mail at the age of 60. The USPS was looking for one qualification: the fastest time in hitching up a team of horses. Consequently, Mary became the first black woman hired by the USPS and only the second female in general.

God love her, Mary’s belligerent attitude, never-say-die determination, and willingness to fight at a drop of hat served her well in this job. She gained an unequalled reputation for delivering the mail. Literally, sleet, snow, ice, blizzards, bandits, it didn’t matter. If the horses couldn’t make the trek, she strapped on snowshoes and kept on trucking. In between, she spent a lot of time at the local saloon and developed quite the reputation for fisticuffs. And what girl doesn’t enjoy a pinch of Copenhagen between the cheek and gum after a tough fight?

Mary retired from the post office at the age of 70 and the nuns at the mission helped her open a laundry, which she ran until her death in 1914. This woman was so loved by the folks of Cascade, they closed the schools to celebrate her birthdays.

Race, gender, age, all barriers Mary busted wide open and the citizens of Cascade were smart enough to look past. Now that’s what I call “respecting the lace.”

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