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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Book Give Away by Darlene Franklin

Darlene Franklin is visiting with us today and she's giving away a copy of her new book, a compilation of three stories, Maple Notch Brides.  Here are the rules. You must ASK Darlene a question. I can be based on something she shared below, or something you'd like to know. If you only leave a comment saying you want to be entered in the contest, it won't count.

For a second entry and third "extra" entries in the contest, subscribe to my blog (be sure to let me know you have) or let me know if you already do. (Scroll down on the right hand column...right under the pretty blue picture of the otter it says "Subscribe to blog"). Same with Darlene's blog....go to it and follow, but you MUST tell me you did. (We get notices that you have, but it's easier to verify if you've put it in the comments as well).

I'm sorry, I wish I could include international entries, but this is limited to the U.S., although all comments are welcome.

Miralee wants “interesting” facts about me. The problem is, I think I’m fairly boring! Standard information: I was born in New Hampshire, grew up in Maine, spent twenty years in Denver before moving (back) to Oklahoma. (However, Utah is the farthest west I have ever traveled.) In spite of my New England upbringing, I love the west! I am divorced, have one daughter who is at home with the Lord and a son who lives close by with four precious grandchildren. I’m a Bible college and seminary graduate, and now get to “live the dream” of writing full time. My outside interests have shrunk as writing takes more of my time and crippling arthritis takes more of my health! I still play piano for our church choir. You can find me online on Facebook (of course!) and at
          To encourage any hopeful writers out there: Since I began writing full time 2½ years ago, the number of books under contract doubled in the first year and now I have about twenty books either in print or under contract! I didn’t have a single contract when I decided to try it full-time. And since I’m divorced, I am my sole support. So it can happen!

Darlene can be found (and followed) here: 

Some of her other books are: 
Most recent releases: Lone Star Trail (Rivernorth Fiction, 2011) and Christmas at Barncastle Inn (Barbour, 2011)

Maple Notch Brides:
Climb into adventure in the Green Mountain State where party politics, parental pressure, and personal misperceptions challenge three couples. 

Sally Reid and her family of Patriots are in hiding. Can she trust Josiah Tuttle, a man whose father is loyal to King George? 

Beatrice Bailey’s wealthy father wants his daughter to marry up—not down. Does farmer Calvin Tuttle have any chance of winning Beatrice’s heart and her father’s blessing? 

Clara Farley has accepted the role of spinster. Can Daniel Tuttle get her to change her mind? Will God show these couples a way above the fray?

About Prodigal Patriot from Kathleen Maher:
I just finished this book in one sitting. . . The characters invited me into their world of Revolutionary War Vermont, and drew me with their hardships, ingenuity, and pluck. The writing disappeared and allowed a vivid story world to emerge. I was invested.

Commenting on Love’s Raid from Regina Jennings:
Darlene has done her research and highlights this little known event . . . Clara is conscientious and faces an unspeakable dilemma with courage and conviction. It's no wonder Darlene remains a reader's favorite year after year.

The blog owner did not get paid in any way for posting this give away.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

X Factor -- Attitude ISN'T Everything

Obviously. Not after last week's judges decision to put a pouting, fit-throwing Astro through ahead of Stacy. Sure, Astro is super talented, (although he never SINGS anything, LOL!), but to say he didn't want to sing again because America didn't think enough of him to keep him out of the bottom two? Good grief, that's ridiculous. EVERYONE will end up getting the kicked off at some point other than the winner. So apparently he expected to win and can't take anything less?

Yes, I'm willing to cut him a little slack because, after all, he's only 14. I remember our kids at that age, when they didn't excel at something, or thought they were getting slighted--pouting happens. But not on national TV, when you're very existence is riding on your attitude as well as your talent. I'm guessing the only thing that saved him was the host whispering in his ear--no doubt telling him to get a grip fast if he didn't want Simon to give him the boot.

It's kind of sad, since so many kids look up to artists who sing this type of music. I was hoping "Astro" would be a good role model, but it's not looking real hopeful.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Do Some Good this Christmas Season

Imagine you're a mom of four, living with MS, still readjusting to life in the states after years spent abroad, and finally seeing a dream come true. The book you've researched for years and poured your soul into is finally, today, being released into the world. After all the struggles of moving, of helping children acclimate, of learning a new city, of juggling motherhood and family and writing, you get to celebrate the realization of a dream.

And on that same day, your doctor tells you to come in right away--you you have stage 4 T-cell lymphoma, possibly caused by the medication you've been taking for MS.

This is what happened to Sandi Rog on November 1, 2010. For the last year, Sandi has endured chemo, radiation, and a bone marrow transplant, with the hope of destroying this aggressive cancer. And then, just a few weeks before the release of her second book, new tumors were discovered near her spine that show the cancer has not succumbed the way we had all hoped.

So now, in the face of the holiday season, the Rog family finds themselves settling in for another year of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual battle as Sandi faces more treatments--one of which holds much promise but is not covered by insurance. As you can imagine, the financial cost of fighting cancer can be overwhelming, and that's why we're hosting this fundraiser.

Right now, we're in the process of soliciting and accepting donations of items we can use to create some of the most spectacular "gift baskets" ever. (The quotes are because there will likely not be any baskets used, but that phrase gives you an idea of what we're aiming for.) As items are received, we'll post here so you can see what kinds of goodies will be available for you to win starting November 25th. To purchase a raffle "ticket", donate $5 at And here's the link to the blog that has all the great items that are going to be raffled! There's literally pages of items so far, so be sure and check them all out.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Thanksgiving in Early America

by Elaine Marie Cooper

When we sit down at our Thanksgiving meal this month, we’ll be recreating a celebration that is as old as our country: sharing food with loved ones while thanking the God Who has provided the abundance.

While we understand that the First Thanksgiving was celebrated here by the Mayflower survivors along with the Indians that had helped them, the first official proclamation that was decreed to celebrate such a holiday was in 1777. It was a recommendation to the thirteen states by the Continental Congress to set aside December 18th that year as a “solemn thanksgiving” to celebrate the first major victory for the Continental troops in the American Revolution: the Battle of Saratoga.

The Battle of Saratoga has significant interest for my own family since one of my ancestors was a soldier there. But he was not on the American side—he was a British Redcoat. After surrendering to the Americans, he escaped the line of prisoners and somehow made his way to Massachusetts and into the life and heart of my fourth great-grandmother. *SIGH* L’amour!

This family story was the inspiration for my Deer Run Saga that begins in 1777 with The Road to Deer Run. There is an elaborate Thanksgiving meal scene in this novel as well as in the sequel, The Promise of Deer Run.

Some may wonder why such detail was afforded this holiday in my novels set in Massachusetts, while Christmas is barely mentioned. The reason is simple: Thanksgiving was the major holiday in the northern colonies, with Christmas considered nothing more special than a workday. According to Jack Larkin in his book, The Reshaping of Everyday Life, “The Puritan founders of New England and the Quaker settlers of Pennsylvania had deliberately abolished (holidays) as unscriptural.”

But Thanksgiving was begun as a way to give thanks to God for His provision. It usually began with attending church services in the morning, followed by an elaborate feast in the afternoon. The food for this meal was prepared for weeks in advance.

Since the individual state governors chose their own date to celebrate the holiday, it was theoretically possible for some family members—if they lived in close proximity—to celebrate multiple Thanksgiving meals with family and friends across state borders. The dates chosen could be anywhere from October to December, according to Dennis Picard, Director of the Storrowton Village Museum in West Springfield, Massachusetts.

Chicken was most commonly served, said Picard, as it was readily available in the barnyard. And the oldest woman in the home had the honor of slicing the fowl for dinner.

Pies were made well in advance of the holiday and stored and became frozen in dresser drawers in unheated rooms.

“I like the idea of pulling out a dresser drawer for, say, a clean pair of socks, and finding mince pies,” said Picard, tongue in cheek.


Have a BLESSED Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Fantastic Gift Basket Drawing--Celebrating a New Release

Elaine Marie Cooper, Author of "The Promise of Deer Run"
Elaine is giving away a fantastic gift basket to celebrate the release of her new book, The Promise of Deer Run (available in paperback, hardcover or ebook). 

Here are the rules: Leave a comment about the giveaway and let me know what your favorite item in the basket is to receive one entry. Subscribe to my blog or let me know you're already a subscriber, and you'll get TWO additional entries. You must tell me you're a subscriber to get the extra entries.

I'll draw my winner on Nov 18th, and give it to the blog hostess heading up the blog tour. A grand prize winner will then be drawn from the winners from each blog taking part and will be posted/notified on Nov 21. Be SURE you leave a way for us to contact you. Write your email out like this: miralee at yahoo dot com, etc.

Grand Prize (Retail Value: $297.38) Contains:
  • Basket
  • $25 Starbucks gift card  
  • Spode Christmas teapot  
  • Spode Christmas mugs   
  • Yankee candle
  • Hardbound copy The Road to Deer Run
  • Hardbound copy The Promise of Deer Run
  • Bath and Body Paris Amour scent                                                                                                                                                          
  • An Absolutely Charming Tale!
    Once again, Elaine Marie Cooper pens an absolutely charming tale of eighteenth century Americana. War, no matter the era, takes its toll on both soldiers and families. The Promise of Deer Run is a precious next story following Mary and Daniel’s story in The Road to Deer Run, picking up with Mary’s sister, Sarah a few years down the line. Be sure to read the first book too! As a historian and author, I am grateful to Elaine for her dedication to authenticity.  —Lisa Lickel,  author of A Summer in Oakville

    About The Promise of Deer Run:
    America’s war for freedom from England has been over for seven years, but the wounds of that conflict still haunt the minds and hearts of the residents of Deer Run. Young American veteran Nathaniel Stearns has withdrawn to a life of isolation as he awaits his father who never returned from the war.

    A near-tragedy in the woods brings Nathaniel face-to-face with nineteen-year-old Sarah Thomsen, someone he had long admired but he assumed had eyes for another. This chance encounter opens a crack into the door of his heart as mutual affection quickly blooms.

    But slander and lies soon mar the budding romance, rendering both Sarah and Nathaniel wounded and untrusting as their faith in both their God and each other is shattered. Set in 1790, this book continues the story of the Thomsen and Lowe families as they struggle to survive in the aftermath of the war that birthed the United States.
  • The Road to Deer Run won the following honors:
    • Finalist: 2011 Next Generation Indie Book Awards
    • Honorable Mention: 2011 Los Angeles Book Festival
    1. Best Romantic Moment:, February 2011
I was given a complimentary copy of the book to read for a future review, but the publisher or author did not pay me to take part in this tour.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Always Remember--An Article from Romania

We rarely get a chance to see another country's editorial about the USA

Read this excerpt from a Romanian Newspaper ....  The article was written by Mr. Cornel Nistorescu and published under the title 'C'ntarea Americii, meaning 'Ode To America ') in the Romanian newspaper Evenimentulzilei 'The Daily Event' or 'News of the Day'.

An Ode to  America ~
Why are Americans so united? They would not resemble one another even if you painted them all one color!  They speak all the languages of the world and form an astonishing mixture of civilizations and religious beliefs.

On 9/ll, the American tragedy turned three hundred million people into a hand put on the heart.   Nobody rushed to accuse the White House, the Army, or the Secret Service that they are only a bunch of losers.  Nobody rushed to empty their bank accounts.   Nobody rushed out onto the streets nearby to just gape about.

Instead the Americans volunteered to donate blood and to give a helping hand.

After the first moments of panic, they raised their flag over the smoking ruins, putting on T-shirts, caps and ties in the colors of the national flag.  They placed flags on buildings and cars as if in every place and on every car a government official or the president was passing.  On every occasion, they started singing: 'God Bless
   America !'

I watched the live broadcast and rerun after rerun for hours listening to the story of the guy who went down one hundred floors with a woman in a wheelchair without knowing who she was, or of the Californian hockey player, who gave his life fighting with the terrorists and prevented the plane from hitting a target that could have killed other hundreds or thousands of people.

How on earth were they able to respond united as one human being?

Imperceptibly, with every word and musical note, the memory of some turned into a modern myth of tragic heroes.  And with every phone call, millions and millions of dollars were put into collection aimed at rewarding not a man or a family, but a spirit, which no money can buy.  What on earth unites the Americans in such a way?  Their land?  Their history?  Their economic Power?  Money?   I tried for hours  to find an answer, humming songs and murmuring phrases with the risk of sounding commonplace, I thought things over, I reached but only one conclusion... Only freedom can work such miracles.
Cornel Nistorescu

(This deserves to be passed around the Internet forever). It took a person on the outside - looking in - to see what we take for granted !

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