Sutter’s Landing (Kinsman Redeemer Series, Book 2) ~ Betty Thomason Owens

The year is 1955, and although they don’t have a comfortable life, Connie and Annabelle are happy to be home in Trenton, Tennessee.  But as Connie’s marriage draws closer, Annabelle worries about being alone. Something she doesn’t look forward to after losing her husband and sons. But, when an old friend shows up on her doorstep with a plan, Annabelle must make a decision to hold to her beliefs or live out her days alone.

Owens gently weaves a picture of the South with all its charm and bigotry. Through Connie’s eyes, we feel the pain when asked to leave a store because of color. We understand her remorse when friends are not treated like other folks. And we empathize with her when she and Alton are kept apart by family members.

One of my favorite scenes is the accidental meeting with a famous singer. I found the song mentioned on Youtube. I loved the fact that Owens included that particular part of history in her book because it made the story pop.

I have another favorite scene where one character is praying. I can’t share all the details without revealing too much. But I wanted to explain why this story will stay with me for a long time. During this particular scene, I suddenly had an epiphany of how the Lord continually watches over us, loving us, even though we may not return His love. And yet, He is still part of our lives whether we want Him or not.

How sad it must be to love and watch over and not have that love returned!

Although the author didn’t bring out my spiritual thoughts, the scene was the springboard that catapulted me into a wonderous moment. And that, my friend, is why I give Sutter’s Landing 5 hearts.

The second installment in the Kinsman Redeemer series is a crawl-into-your-favorite-chair-and-sit-awhile kinda book. Anyone who enjoys family, history, and the South, will enjoy Sutter’s Landing by Betty Thomason Owens.

I received an advance reader’s copy from the author. All views expressed are my own.

#BOOKGIVEAWAY: Today on Writing Prompts Thoughts and Ideas, Betty is offering to giveaway either a print copy or Kindle to one commenter. So click the link and comment for your chance to win!

img_9428 copyBetty Thomason Owens is a multi-published, award-winning author of historical fiction, and fantasy-adventure. She is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), where she leads a critique group, and serves as vice-president/secretary of their Louisville Area group. She’s a mentor, assisting other writers, and a co-founder of a blog dedicated to inspiring writers. She also serves on the planning committee of the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference.

Along with the upcoming Sutter’s Landing, Book 2, Kinsman Redeemer series (June 2017), her writing credits include a 20’s era romance, Amelia’s Legacy (2014), Carlotta’s Legacy (2016) Books 1 & 2, Legacy Series, and the Grace-Award-winning Annabelle’s Ruth, Book 1, Kinsman Redeemer Series (2015) (Write Integrity Press). She has two fantasy-adventure novels, The Lady of the Haven and A Gathering of Eagles, in a second edition published by Sign of the Whale BooksTM, an imprint of Olivia Kimbrell PressTM.

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http://bettythomasonowens.com

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https://writingpromptsthoughtsideas.wordpress.com

Wings of the Wind ~ Connilyn Cossette

Wings of the Wind is the story of Alanah, a Canaanite woman bent on revenge after her father and brothers are killed by the invading Hebrew army in the battle with Arvad. Not a stranger to the weapons of warfare her arrow soon finds its mark. But Alanah hasn’t the time to rejoice before she is wounded. Buried beneath her fallen comrades, she is discovered by Tobiah, a Hebrew warrior.

When Tobiah realizes the wounded enemy he’s found is a woman, he rescues her from the battlefield and enlists the help of Shira, a midwife, to tend Alanah’s wound. Shira reminds Tobiah of the Law and tells him the only way to keep Alanah safe is to marry her. Tobiah agrees. However, Alanah’s secret soon separates them and puts her and a friend on the path of destruction.

Will Yahweh save her or will she die among those marked for destruction?

4.9 stars out 5 stars

My thoughts:

I like a feisty heroine, and Alanah didn’t disappoint. She was confident, vibrant, and self-sacrificing without being obnoxious or weak. I commiserated with her need for revenge, her pain of betrayal, and her ache to be loved. Her relationship with Yahweh caused me to reflect upon my own. There is nothing I would change about this character except…

Tobiah was a breath of fresh air. He was a warrior, strong and adept. His love for Yahweh was evident but in no way did it emasculate him. His love for his family made him stronger still. And his need to protect Alanah from the brutality forced upon women during that time endeared him to me even more.

Without giving away anything, I would like to share what didn’t work for me.

While being raised on a farm and skilled in warfare by three brothers and a father, I wondered where Alanah obtained her vocabulary. Her choice of words didn’t sound like a girl raised on a remote farm with crude men. But for the most part, the descriptions the characters used were perfect. I loved the way Cossette weaved their way of life into their thoughts and words.

Although I thought the familial tie in the final chapters unique, I couldn’t wrap my mind around the way the historical character was portrayed. For instance, she often seemed clueless about the whole situation unless she was told the facts by Alanah. I understand this is a plot thread to give Alanah a reason for being there at that particular time.

Yet, when reading the account from the Bible, this particular woman understands the rumors flying around concerning the invading army and is very much aware of the fear and dread that has taken hold of her city. Her decision to leave seemed to be at the last minute. Something I find hard to comprehend when you know what’s about to happen.

All in all, I wouldn’t change Alanah’s and Tobiah’s story. It is a story I will remember and probably read over and over again in the coming years. In fact, I loved it so much I bought the first and second installments of this series. I highly recommend this series to anyone who reads biblical fiction.

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House. The above comments are my own.

Women of Faith and Fiction ~ Angela Arndt

Good morning! Today, we have another exceptional woman of faith and fiction visiting with us. Although Angie and I have never met face to face, I feel as if I know her. She is a wonderful friend, a beautiful soul, and a terrific writer.

The Beekeeper’s Daughter has won recognition in the following:

  •  2016 Unpublished Maggie Award for Excellence (Georgia RWA) in the Inspirational Romance category, 3rd place
  •  2016 Orange County Chapter Romance Writers of America’s Orange Rose Contest, Inspirational Romance category, 3rd place
  •  2016 Beacon Contest finalist, First Coast Romance Writers (Jacksonville, FL), Inspirational Romance category, 2nd place
  • 2017 Fab Five Finalist, Wisconsin Romance Writers of America, Inspirational Category, Finalist.

And now, please welcome writer, Angela Arndt. Angie, please tell us a little about yourself.

Framed-Headshot-101416 Angela ArndtI’m married, with two step-children and five grandchildren. Hubby is a beekeeper and we love living back in the woods with our three dogs. I have a Bachelor’s in Graphic Design and a Master’s in Education. Before leaving the corporate world, I was a trainer and curriculum writer.

When I retired because of my health problems, God placed the desire to write in my heart and now that is my job. I love it!

Sounds like a beautiful and blessed life! This month’s theme is Peace. Please share your thoughts with our readers.

Oh, wow. Peace is such a nebulous thing unless you’re squared away with God. The only way to have true peace is to be in the center of His wheel (to borrow your phrase). It’s true: if you’re not doing His will – what He created you to do – you’ll never be happy and at peace. It always amazes me how God gives us that “peace that passes all understanding” even when we should be wringing our hands in sorrow or worry. If we give all our worries to Him, even if it means do it over-and-over again on a minute-by-minute basis, He will keep our hearts at peace.

I agree, my friend. Now, life is a continual journey of learning, applying, and transforming. Have you ever experienced a season when you found it difficult to have peace? If so, how did you overcome?

Oh yes. Without going into a lot of detail, I’m estranged from a member of my family that I love very much. After it happened, I literally cried for two weeks. (Now I know what “being a basket case means.”) While going through all the stages of grief (denial, anger, etc.), I prayed for God to “fix it,” but He didn’t.

Fiction writers thrive on “what if,” but in this case it was getting me into trouble. I kept second-guessing the situation, asking what if I’d done things differently, who else was involved, should I do this or that. I finally realized the best scenario was to put the situation out of my hands and into God’s.

That’s where it is now. I still love her, but nothing’s changed. I have to believe that someday she’ll know the truth. While I don’t have peace about the situation, I do have total peace that God is in control.

Thank you for sharing that, Angie. I’m sure there is someone who needed to hear your testimony today. For my next question, please tell us in what genre do you write and how does your faith influence your writing?

In Christian fiction, we call it women’s fiction, but I really write Southern literary fiction. That genre explores the depths of complex, sometimes eccentric, characters set in the heat, humidity, and paradise that I call home.

The crux of literary fiction is showing how a character changes when placed in heart-rending situations. And I believe that in order for someone to change – a real heart-change –God has to do that work.

When I was an art major, I designed and cast a silver ring in jewelry-making class. First I designed it on paper, then make a mold from wax. Next was the casting process where I melted the silver down on an asbestos pad. It was beautiful and actually glowed! But all the impurities floated to the top, so I had to pull a graphite rod through its heart to gather up all those faults. Finally, I poured the liquid metal into a centrifuge with the mold and spun it so that the hot metal melted through the old wax, replacing it with a purified, gleaming silver ring.

That’s the work God does in our lives. He purifies our hearts, but in order to do it, He turns up the heat and uses the rod on us!

And that’s what I do to my characters, too. 🙂

Angie, thank you so much for visiting and sharing your heart with us!

To connect with Angie visit:

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Women of Faith and Fiction – Lynnette Bonner

Good morning, dearest reader! I’m excited to start a new series I’ve titled Women of Faith and Fiction.

I don’t know about you, but I love to know the story behind the story or song. If I know the heart of the writer, I’m more likely to read or sing their story. I hope you will join me on the third Tuesday of each month to find out more about the authors who weave truth in the parables they write.

Let’s get started, shall we?

This morning I have the privilege to welcome author and cover designer, Lynnette Bonner. Lynnette has written a slew of books you can find here: Amazon Author Page

Thank you for joining us this morning, Lynnette! Tell us a little about yourself.

Lynnette BonnerI am the daughter of missionaries to Africa, so I was born and raised in the small country of Malawi, without electricity or TV. I was a reader from my very early years. I loved to immerse myself in the story and sometimes wouldn’t reemerge for hours. Eventually, my love of story turned the bend to me beginning to pen my own stories. I would read a book and think “it could have been so much better if they’d done it this way.” I started several books but never finished one until I was doing some research about the town I lived in at the time and found some fascinating facts from history that I knew had to be told. That research turned into my first published novel, Rocky Mountain Oasis. Find out more here

Wow! Malawi. Sounds like you had an exciting childhood! This month’s theme is hope. Please share your thoughts with our readers.

Hope is the heart of the good news Jesus came to earth to share with us. We are hopeless without Him. But with Him, there is nothing we can’t overcome. We can even rejoice when we are suffering because we know that suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character, and character produces hope. (Romans 5:3-4)

Yes! Loved that. Life is a continual journey of learning, applying, and transforming. Have you ever experienced a season when you found it difficult to hope?

Oh, for sure. As a Christian mom, I’ve always told my kids, I don’t care what they “become” (as in do for a job/living), I just want them to serve the Lord, because I know that’s the only way they will ever find true happiness. I have one son in particular who challenged that hope of mine for several years. It was very hard to see the end of that tunnel. My heart hurt day after day after day. I fasted one day a week for him and cried out to God daily for his soul. One day as I was praying the Lord impressed on me this question, “Even if he never repents and serves me what will YOU do?” My knees nearly buckled. I knew my answer. “I will always serve you, Lord, even if those closest to me never decide the journey is worth it.” A great burden was lifted from me that day. God was reminding me that my hope was in Him, not in anything I could do to convince my son that faith was the best way to walk. I was able to release a little of my worry and anxiety, and trust that God loved that boy even more than I ever could. (And I’m happy to say all these years later that my son made it out the other side of that dark path, and is now starting on his own faith journey.)

Thank you for sharing that testimony with us. I’m sure it touched hearts, today. Now, tell us in what genre do you write and how does your faith influence your writing?

All of my writing is in the Christian Fiction genre, except for one devotional that my husband and I wrote together. Faith, for me, is actually a very big part of why I write. Jesus used stories to make points to those listening to him. I hope to bring His light into the world with each story I write. Each of my stories has a spiritual message in it, that I hope encourages the readers on their own faith journeys.

Your faith shines through in every story, Lynnette. I love the way you incorporate scriptures throughout your books. Not in a preachy way, but through the lives of your characters as they face the everyday struggles of life.

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of Lynnette’s latest book, Not A Sparrow Falls!!

Or click on the book to purchase the Kindle edition.

Click here to purchase paperback.

You can connect with Lynnette here:

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Making a List

Can you believe we begin counting down to Christmas tomorrow? Twenty-five days! Oh, how time flies when you’re having fun with family! To begin the holiday season, I want to share a few ideas for your reading and gift lists to get you in the mood. I’ll begin with the newest release available tomorrow.

  1. Mistletoe Mountain by Dora Hiers – 5 stars

mistletoe-mountain-dora-hiersBook Blurb: After college, Kane Kirkland returned home to Mistletoe Mountain a changed man, fifty pounds lighter and a new Christian. Six years later, with a successful real estate career and a fresh boost of confidence, all he wants for Christmas is a chance at love with longtime crush Sydney. Something happened to his friend while he was away. Something dark and life-altering ripped the joy from her spirit. And he intends to find out what…

After a disastrous relationship unraveled Sydney Camden’s life, broken and devastated, she gave up all hope for her happily-ever-after. Those silly fantasies belonged only in romance novels, not in real life. Besides, who has time for love? Her life is crazy busy caring for a disabled father and volunteering at Grace Nest, a home for pregnant teens. But then Kane turns up the heat. The gentle giant has always attracted her, but the idea of loving and losing her friend terrifies her. Because when he learns about her hidden sin, surely he’ll vanish from her life forever.

A snowstorm forces them together and unleashes their fears. Kane worries if Syd still sees him as the overweight kid from their past and questions whether a future together is God’s will or his most treasured dream. Syd wrestles the demon of lies as she relives horrendous memories.

Grace Nest…where broken hearts heal, chains are loosened, and hope is restored. Where love finds its way home during Christmas.

  1. Yuletide Angel by Sandra Ardoin -5 stars

yuletide-angelBook Blurb: It’s Christmastime in 1890s Meadowmead, and someone is venturing out at night to leave packages at the homes of the needy. Dubbed The Yuletide Angel, no one knows the identity of this mysterious benefactor.

No one, except Hugh Barnes, a confirmed bachelor who finds himself drawn to the outwardly shy but inwardly bold Violet Madison, a young woman who risks her safety to help others.

When Violet confesses her fear of eviction from her childhood home, Hugh longs to rescue her. His good intentions are thwarted, however, when Hugh’s estranged brother shows up in town … and in Violet’s company.

But Violet faces an even bigger threat. A phantom figure lurks in the shadows, prepared to clip the wings of The Yuletide Angel.

  1. Pieces On Earth by Cathy Bryant – 5 stars

pieces-on-earthBook Blurb: A young mother and wife of a naval aviator longs for a white Christmas, and she doesn’t mean yet another white Christmas beach near where her husband is stationed. Grateful for a recent promotion that should keep her man stateside, Liv eagerly anticipates the first family Christmas in several years with her husband, daughter, and extended family.

Then her military marriage undergoes trial by fire as her husband is deployed for an undetermined amount of time right before the holidays, leaving Liv and her little girl in pieces.

Can Liv find God’s peace in the midst of life’s pieces? Or will the anxiety and secret she’s harboring lead to tragedy?

  1. A Christmas Gift for Rose by Tricia Goyer – 5 stars

a-christmas-gift-for-roseBook Blurb: Rose turned her back on the man she loves after he assisted the Englisch during World War II―only to discover she’s an Englischer herself.

Born in the midst of the hardships of The Great Depression, Rose grew up in Berlin, Ohio, in the arms of a loving Amish family. But she is overwhelmed by self-doubt when she learns that she was born Englisch and abandoned when her family moved West in search of work.

Was she meant to be Amish or would she have been better off growing up with her own kind―Englischers? When the man she loves leaves her behind, Rose is certain he left for good. Yet Rose discovers sometimes our greatest gifts are the ones we fear.

  1. A Patchwork Christmas Collection by Judith Miller, Nancy Moser, Stephanie Grace Whitson – 5 stars

a-patchwork-christmas-collectionBook Blurb: Join three of today’s bestselling inspirational fiction authors in a collection of Christmas stories from Victorian-era America that are full of second-chance romances. Jilted by her fiancé, Karla packs away her wedding quilts and her plans for marriage. Widow Jane travels to marry a prosperous man she barely knows in order to give her daughter a better life—then is stranded in a winter storm. Victoria, a wealthy ingénue, inadvertently causes grave injury to a poor man she once considered quite a catch. Each must search her heart, change her plans. . .and patch together a tender, unexpected life filled with love.

  1. A Prairie Christmas Collection by Tracie Peterson, Tracey Bateman, Deborah Raney, Pamela Griffin, JoAnn A. Grote, Maryn Langer, Darlene Mindrup, Janet Spaeth, Jill Stengl – 5 stars

a-prairie-christmas-collectionBook Blurb: Experience Christmas on the historical American Great Plains as retold by nine different multi-published authors, including Tracie Peterson and Deborah Raney. Follow pioneers, immigrants, and orphans through their adventures, heartaches, challenges, victories, and romances. You are sure to find more than one favorite among the nine holiday romances in this unique collection to warm your heart and inspire your faith.

What is your favorite fictional story to read during the holidays?