Wednesday, November 30, 2016

5 Things You Didn't Know About Huguenots

The Huguenots were French citizens who followed the teachings of John Calvin during the Protestant Reformation. Ultimately, however, they were forced to convert to the state religion or face punishment, imprisonment, or even death. In response, as many as 400,000 Huguenots fled France, never to return. A hardworking and intelligent people, the Huguenots have left a tremendous legacy around the world. Here are five things you may not know about the Huguenots.

1. The word "Huguenot" was originally an insult. French Protestants preferred to call themselves l'église réformée, or the Reformed Church. Though the word "Huguenot" started out as derogatory, it eventually became identified with enduring honor and courage in the face of persecution. Once it lost its stigma, the label was adopted by the Huguenots themselves.

2. The massive exodus of the Huguenots from France caused a serious "brain drain" for the country. A large majority of French Huguenots were entrepreneurs, artisans, officials, teachers, etc., and the loss of so much skill and expertise had a huge, negative impact on the French economy.

3. Perhaps because of their own history of persecution, many French Huguenots helped to hide Jews during World War II. In the plateau region village of Le Chambon Sur Lignon, for example, religious leaders openly preached against Nazism and ethnic discrimination and worked tirelessly behind the scenes to help place Jews—and especially Jewish children—in the homes of local Huguenots. Learn more about this fascinating part of history in the book Village of Secrets: Defying the Nazis in Vichy France (The Resistance Trilogy Book 2).

4. There is an active modern-day Huguenot church in Charleston, SC. The French Huguenot Church of Charleston, SC, even holds a special service in French each spring, to celebrate the Edict of Nantes, and one in the fall, to recognize the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. Services are open to the public.

5. You can experience Huguenot history, frozen in time, in New Paltz, NY. Historic Huguenot Street is a 10-acre National Historic Landmark District that includes a Visitor Center, Seven historic stone houses, a reconstructed 1717 Huguenot church, exhibit and program spaces, archaeological sites, and a burial ground. They also maintain archives and a research library.

Be sure to check out my “Who Are the Huguenots?” Pinterest board for more information on this fascinating people group. And don't miss the Cousins of the Dove trilogy, including:
My Brother's Crown (Cousins of the Dove)
My Sister's Prayer (Cousins of the Dove)
My Daughter's Legacy (Cousins of the Dove) (coming July 2017!)

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Selfie Day: Time Flies in DC

Don't you just love the current trend of recreating old family photos? Usually it's done to honor a mother or grandmother—to give them a token of appreciation along with a good laugh as they see their now-grown children and/or grandchildren holding the same poses and making the same facial expressions they did decades ago. But sometimes, these kinds of photos are done "just because." As was the case with me and my girls...

...We had visited DC when they were quite young, and over the years those have been some of my favorite snapshots. That’s why, on our last visit, I couldn’t resist a redux. My request may have earned me an eyeroll or two, but Emily and Lauren are always good sports—and we ended up with some really fun comparison shots!

It’s a common saying, but what a difference time makes, huh? So fun!

And I can’t tell you how grateful I am for the fact that my grown children love me enough to strike silly poses in front of famous monuments, even with hundreds of people around to see. I am blessed indeed. Thanks, girls!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Selfie Day: Shooting the Moon

Want a secret photography tip? Believe it or not, I took this photo, which was featured a while back in a Serenity Sunday post, with my iPhone.  All I did was point the phone’s lens at the image on a telescope! If you have access to a telescope too, you might want to give it a try. It takes a while to line it up just right, but once you do, the pics are amazing.

I’d love to take credit for the idea, but my nephew and fellow astronomy lover, Andrew Starns, was the one who showed me how to do it. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

November 2016 New Inspirational Fiction Releases

November's looking good. Here's what's new in the world of Christian fiction. (More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.)

Slender Reeds: Jochebed's Hope by Texie Susan Gregory -- In a deadly race to save her son, a young slave woman dares defy the most powerful man in the world. (Biblical from Barbour Publishing)

Contemporary Romance:
Crazy Woman Christmas by Renee Blare -- A quiet cowboy whisks Bianca to his ranch to ride out the Christmas blizzard where she discovers life is cold but also beautiful in the “Cowboy” state. (Contemporary Romance from Inspired [Prism Book Group])

Other Than a Halo by Valerie Comer -- Even though she’s a new woman in Christ, single mom Bren Haddock was no angel as a teen. Now managing the Hiller Farm for a CSA, life is good until a friend offers to enter her daughter into the Little Miss Snowflake Pageant. Old insecurities flare when she meets the intriguing head of marketing the pageant. Rob Santoro isn’t so sure about handling the pageant portfolio until he meets Bren. Soon he’s fallen for her and her two kids. When a Thanksgiving adventure goes awry, he’s left wondering how to love a woman who refuses to be loved. What will it take for Bren to retire her tarnished halo and move into the future God has for her? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Do You Know What I Know? by Becky Melby -- What if a phone call from the obstetrician’s office went to the wrong person? Elizabeth Schmidt can’t figure out why her husband doesn’t seem excited about the news she’s sure he heard. Is he unhappy? Or is James cheating on her? Pastor Jay Davidson is in shock. Bethany Schmidt, the woman he’s in love with, is pregnant. Should he walk away, or is God asking him to play the part of Joseph in real life and not just in the church Christmas program? Bethany can’t figure out why Jay is acting so weird. Has he figured out one of the two secrets she’s keeping until after Christmas? Can a ponytailed itinerant carpenter with a pet chicken help unravel the confusion? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

How to Charm a Beekeeper's Heart by Candice Sue Patterson -- Weddings are the last thing beekeeper Huck Anderson wants to be associated with, considering his past. So when he inherits a building occupied by a bridal boutique, he aims to evict the failing business and open a sporting goods store. That is until his tenant ends up being Arianne Winters, a woman he’s indebted to from a mistake made years ago. When a life-threatening injury derails Huck entirely, Arianne offers to aid in his lengthy recovery if he’ll allow her to remain in his building. But nursing her adversary proves challenging when her adolescent crush resurfaces. (Contemporary Romance from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])

A Portrait of Emily Price by Katherine Reay -- After a whirlwind romance and marriage, Emily Price returns home to Italy with her new husband and learns that life at its richest is only found when she accepts its chaotic beauty. (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing [Thomas Nelson and Zondervan])

Contemporary Women's Fiction:
Forgiveness by Marianne Evans -- Country music bad boy, Chase Bradington is on the comeback trail. Fresh from rehab for alcohol addiction and transformed by the power of Christ, Chase is battling to rediscover the music he loves and a career he nearly ruined. Then he meets up-and-comer, Pyper Brock and instantly sparks ignite. Despite her rampant attraction to the handsome and talented icon, Pyper knows of Chase’s reputation and soundly dismisses his romantic overtures. No way will Pyper repeat the mistake of trusting a man whose done battle with the bottle. Can a sin-damaged past be released in favor of forgiveness? (Women’s Fiction from Harbourlight Books [Pelican])

Beneath a Golden Veil by Melanie Dobson -- As elegant as the Sacramento residence she operates, Isabelle Labrie keeps her past concealed, like the treasure she hides under the Golden Hotel. Then, unexpected guests—fugitive slaves seeking safe passage to the North—force her to confront her past and reconsider her path. (Historical from Waterfall Press)

Forest Child by Heather Day Gilbert -- Historically based on the Icelandic Sagas, Forest Child brings the memorable, conflicted persona of Freydis Eiriksdottir to life. (Historical from Elk Lake Publishing Inc.)

The Lost Generation by Erica Marie Hogan -- On August 5th 1914, the world changed forever. For John and Beth Young, it meant the happiness they finally achieved was snatched out from under them. For Emma Cote, it meant that her husband Jared would do his duty, despite her feelings. For Christy Simmons it meant an uncertain future with the boy she loved. The lives of six people, spread across the British Empire to America were changed forever. (Historical from Elk Lake Publishing Inc.)

Historical Romance:
The Blue Ribbon Brides Collection by Jennifer AlLee, Angela Breidenbach, Darlene Franklin, Cynthia Hickey, Carrie Fancett Pagels, Amber Stockton, Niki Turner, Gina Welborn, and Becca Whitham -- Meet nine men and women whose competitive goals take them to state and county fairs between 1889 and 1930. From baking pie to polishing pigs, from sculpting butter to stitching quilts, everyone has something to prove to themselves and their communities. But in going for the blue ribbon, will nine women miss the greatest prize of all—the devoted heart of a godly man? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Left at the Altar by Margaret Brownley -- In the wild and untamed West, time is set by the local jeweler...but Two-Time Texas has two: two feuding jewelers and two wildly conflicting time zones. Meg Lockwood's marriage was supposed to unite the families and finally bring peace until she's left at the altar by her no-good fiancé. Hired to defend the groom against a breach of promise lawsuit, Grant Garrison quickly realizes that the only thing worse than small-town trouble is falling for the jilted bride. But there's something about Meg's sweet smile and determined grit that draws him in...even as the whole crazy town seems set on keeping them apart. (Historical Romance from Sourcebooks)

Mail Order Mommy by Christine Johnson -- Nursing a broken heart, Amanda Porter had answered a frontier mail-order bride ad placed by Garrett Decker's children—only to find the groom-to-be didn't want a wife. But his adorable children are determined she'll be their mother by Christmas… His wife's betrayal and tragic death demolished Garrett's life. Now he can't even look at another woman, let alone marry Amanda, who resembles his first love. But with his daughter convinced Amanda is the perfect mother, will Garrett realize she's also his perfect match? (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Hope's Design by Dawn Kinzer -- An independent city girl aspiring to be a fashion designer falls for a stubborn artist from the country who wants to keep his talent a secret. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

Brides of Wyoming by S. Dionne Moore -- Roam the Wyoming range alongside three couples who meet under danger from bands of outlaws. Renee escapes a gang of outlaws and lands in the arms of a sheepherder. Olivia’s sleuthing upturns secrets key to solving the murder of a reluctant rancher’s father. Maira is trying to keep her ranch running alone when a drifting cowboy offers a hand. Can love develop where suspicion and greed roam the range? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

The Negotiated Marriage by Christina Rich -- When the railroad pushes to buy her land, orphaned Cameron Sims will do anything to keep the only home she and her sisters have ever known. Even if she must marry a stranger. Duncan Murray doesn’t want a wife. He wants Sims Creek, a sanctuary that can help him forget a troubled childhood. But his reluctant, and captivating, bride-to-be is key to making his dreams a reality. And despite their business arrangement, Camy and Duncan might be signing on the dotted line for true love… (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Love in the Seams by Jodie Wolfe -- A little girl on a quest for a new mama has the local seamstress in her sights. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

Romantic Suspense:
His Perfect Love by Sharon K. Connell -- On the run from a hit man, Patricia Campbell is unaware of the FBI’s search for her to learn what information she might hold, so she continues to hide out. Then she meets a persistent computer technician, a charming philanthropist, and a handsome, wealthy businessman who wants to marry her. But her fears resurface, and she wonders if she can trust any of them. Can she survive long enough to find peace…and perfect love? (Romantic Suspense, Independently Published)

Counter Point by Marji Laine -- Her dad's gone, her diner's closing, and her car's in the lake. Cat McPherson has nothing left to lose ... except her life. And a madman, bent on revenge, is determined to take that, as well. Her former boyfriend, Ray Alexander, returns as a hero from his foreign mission, bringing back souvenirs in the form of death-threats. When several attempts are made on Cat’s life, she must find a way to trust Ray, the man who broke her heart. (Romantic Suspense from Write Integrity Press)

The Flaming Sword by Heather L.L. FitzGerald -- When evil joins forces in the Tethered World, Sadie Larcen must risk all to protect the Flaming Sword and her family...even if it takes her life. (Speculative Young Adult from Mountain Brook Ink)

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Words on Writing: A Pocket Guide to Amish Life … in Korean!

If you’ve been following me for a while, then you know how excited I get when one of my books is translated into another language. To think that people who don’t speak a word of English are still able to buy and read my books … well, it’s the type of thing that never gets old.

So imagine my delight when I found out that A Pocket Guide to Amish Life has been translated into Korean! I’ve had a number of books translated into Dutch and one into German (all of which caused me to do a happy dance), but now Korean? So cool!

And who knew folks in Korea would be interested in the Amish anyway? Just the thought makes me smile.  Seems like everyone is fascinated by their unique faith-based lifestyle, even folks on the other side of the world.