Skip to content

Archive for

A Legacy of Forgiveness by Betty Thomason Owens

Group of People Holding Cross and Praying in Back LitOne of my favorite things, as a child, was digging through Grandma’s box of black-and-white photos. Some of these dated back to the early 1900s. One caught my eye and I always drew it out first—a professional portrait of a couple, dressed up for an outing. It was the 1920s, and the woman in the picture wore a dress that skimmed the tops of her knees. Shocking! Grandma said the woman was her cousin, who lived in Chicago, and the man was her “intended.”

Grandma’s cousin also wore white stockings and high-heeled shoes and a ribbon around her forehead. I memorized the photo, making up stories as I gazed at it. Of course, she was from a big city. According to Grandma, decent girls around her small town in West Tennessee wouldn’t dream of dressing like that. In the early sixties, about the time I was pawing through her pictures, Grandma still wore a dress while she worked in the garden and the field.

Grandma married in 1920, at the age of fourteen. Grandpa was seventeen. They moved in with his parents and younger siblings, where Grandma was given the daily task of cooking, keeping house, and watching the youngest children, while the rest of the family worked in the cotton fields. And she was only fourteen. Maybe that’s why no one she knew dressed up in the flapper costumes.

One thing they did do in the Mississippi Valley was make and partake of … moonshine. It was outlawed, of course, as was all strong drink. So there was money to be made and two hundred-proof swill to guzzle. Unfortunately, my grandfather died in his thirties as a direct result of the alcohol he drank.

When I set out to write the story of Nancy Sanderson, I remembered that photograph and set the story in the 1920s, an era that had always fascinated me. A few of the remote facts of my family’s history found their way into the story as well. One of the characters in Amelia’s Legacy has to dodge the law because of his connection to the moonshine-running industry.

As I wrote and worked on the story, I noticed a recurring theme running throughout—of forgiveness. Forgiveness has been an ongoing issue in my life. I think it so often finds its way into my writing, because it’s been ever present in my life. I find great joy in the fact that I am forgiven. And not only has God forgiven me, He has blotted out my sins, according to Isaiah 43:25, “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.”

Forgiveness is so important to God, He places a demand on us to forgive (Matthew 6:14-15). Forgive, so that you may also be forgiven. The Message Bible goes on to say, “…if you don’t do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part.”  And how many times do we forgive a transgression? Seventy-times-seven (Matthew 18:22). I don’t know about you, but I don’t keep count, because I’m hoping no one keeps count of the number of times they’ve had to forgive me.

Nancy Sanderson achieves forgiveness and begins to turn her life around then suffers a setback when her past catches up to her. How often does this happen? She deals with it the best she knows how, which isn’t very well, and definitely isn’t the right way. Thanks to a loving family, she eventually finds her way. But it comes down to a final question of forgiveness. Can she forgive the one who set out to destroy her?

In my heart I desire to leave the reader with a basic knowledge of the practice of forgiveness. Or at least a prompting in the heart and desire to make things right. It’s like getting up in the morning and deciding to smile and have a good day. Sometimes, that’s what you have to do. Smiles are contagious. If you smile, other people return your smile. Forgiveness is similar. If you forgive, others will be much more likely to forgive you. God knew this, you see. It is really for our benefit.

It still all comes down to that amazing Golden Rule. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Forgive, and you will be forgiven.

Betty Owens 2About the Author:

Betty Thomason Owens lives in Kentucky with her husband, Robert. They have three grown sons living in the area, along with their daughters-in-law, four beautiful granddaughters (one more on the way!), and two handsome grandsons.

Betty is semiretired, and spends most of her time writing, studying about writing, and critiquing other peoples’ writing. She is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), where she leads a critique group, and attends regular local meetings. She’s also involved with Bluegrass Christian Writers, a lively group of Kentucky writers, who meet quarterly in a Lexington, Kentucky bookstore.

Betty 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 Books, an imprint of Olivia Kimbrell Press.

She also writes historical fiction. Her most recent release, Amelia’s Legacy is the first novel in the Legacy series for Write Integrity Press. In addition to the ’20’s era romances, Betty also writes contemporary stories as a co-author of A Dozen Apologies and the upcoming Love Boat Bachelor.

Visit her webpage or find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.Amelia's Legacy FRONT CoverMore About Amelia’s Legacy:

It’s the Roaring Twenties and anything goes …

Orphaned and living with her grandmother since the age of six, Nancy Sanderson desires only her freedom from her strict grandmother, Amelia Woods Sanderson, who divides her time between Nancy and a successful career. Her grandmother’s plans include a wealthy, smart, and well-connected young lawyer named Robert Emerson, who bores Nancy.

Instead, Nancy seeks the company of the wild-hearted Nate Conners. When her rebellion turns deadly and her dalliance with Nate leaves her in trouble, Nancy turns to Robert, who promises to protect her. But Robert has underestimated Nate’s thirst for revenge.

As hidden truths become known, can Nancy find the strength to forgive herself and gain true and lasting freedom?

Author Interview: Betty Thomason Owens

Betty Owens 2Today’s guest is Betty Thomason Owen.  Betty lives in Kentucky with her husband, Robert. They have three grown sons living in the area, along with their daughters-in-law, four beautiful granddaughters (one more on the way!), and two handsome grandsons.

Betty is semiretired, and spends most of her time writing, studying about writing, and critiquing other peoples’ writing. She is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), where she leads a critique group, and attends regular local meetings. She’s also involved with Bluegrass Christian Writers, a lively group of Kentucky writers, who meet quarterly in a Lexington, Kentucky bookstore.

Betty 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 Books, an imprint of Olivia Kimbrell Press.

She also writes historical fiction. Her most recent release, Amelia’s Legacy is the first novel in the Legacy series for Write Integrity Press. In addition to the ’20’s era romances, Betty also writes contemporary stories as a co-author of A Dozen Apologies and the upcoming Love Boat Bachelor.

Visit her webpage or find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

Betty, I’m so happy to have you back again to discuss your latest release. Tell us a little about Amelia’s Legacy?

Amelia’s Legacy is the story of a young woman’s rebellion against what she believes is a blatant attempt by her grandmother to turn her into someone she isn’t. So Nancy sets out to derail that train and would have ended in a wreck, if not for Grandmother Amelia’s foresight and planning.

As the story begins, Nancy has a very selfish view of life. Amelia is concerned about the many lives in her care. Those livelihoods could be directly impacted by Nancy’s frivolity. This, along with a strong desire to protect her granddaughter’s reputation, is what steers Amelia’s decision.

Robert Emerson becomes the bridge between the two. His steady influence on Nancy’s life brings her to a point where she knows a decision must be made. As often happens, events collide at that intersection to change her life’s course and wrest the decision from her hands.

The story is set in the 1920s, and you bring that era to life. Is there a reason that you chose this era?

I have always had a fascination with the twenties, an era often compared to the sixties, because of the music, the short dresses, promiscuity, and substance abuse. The timeline of events is fascinating as well, especially when you have real life to compare with it. My dad’s mom was born in 1906 as revival took off across America. Then WWI came along and many women worked outside the home, often leaving young children to fend for themselves. As they grow to maturity, we see an era of increased promiscuity, followed by a financial crisis and a deepening depression. If you’re a history buff, that kind of thing really catches your attention. How did they endure it? I loved the stories Grandma told and some of those made it in to Amelia’s Legacy.

Nancy is a memorable character for me because she starts out as a naïve girl who has some growing up to do. She’s a dreamer and a bit headstrong, and that gets her into trouble. Though she doesn’t lose her flawed nature, she matures, but her troubles follow her. So, I have to ask: did you write Nancy from experience?

Aha. You’re on to me. I was a dreamer. I desired to be that rebellious one, and like Nancy, I was too cowardly to be really bad. There were times when my poor decisions and pig-headedness landed me in places that reflected badly on me. Don’t tell my granddaughters, though.

Nancy’s grandmother, Amelia, reminded me of my own grandmother. She was our family matriarch, and without a doubt, she was the most important person in my life. What about you? Did you have a grandmother like Amelia or a grandmother that in some way impacted you the way that Amelia surely impacted Nancy’s life?

Amelia is a figment of my imagination, or maybe a concoction of several women I’ve met in my life. I think my maternal grandmother would have been a lot like Amelia. Grandma was an elegant mixture of Austrian and American Indian who escaped the dust bowl by moving to Seattle. She died when I was two, so I have no memory of her, just the bits and pieces shared by my mother.

Amelia’s Legacy is the first novel in the Legacy series. Would you mind sharing a little about the series and about any other novels you are writing?

I am well into writing the second novel in the Legacy series, Carlotta’s Legacy. Nancy’s best friend Rebecca Lewis is the heroine. She has a strong character and a quick wit, so she’s fun to write. Nancy always envied Rebecca’s freedom, and Rebecca envied the fact that Nancy’s grandmother cared what Nancy did and how she turned out. Rebecca didn’t have that in her life. Her parents fritter away a vast fortune and end up with nothing. Rebecca must make a decision regarding her future that will benefit the parents who basically ignored her most of her life.

I like that these two women will have recurring roles throughout the series. Nancy’s daughter Amy will have her day in the third, as yet unnamed novel. When Amy seems to be headed in the same direction as her mother, her parents must find a way to steer her in a more positive direction. I think Rebecca will figure into the solution, as well.

Amelia's Legacy FRONT CoverMore About Amelia’s Legacy:

It’s the Roaring Twenties and anything goes …

Orphaned and living with her grandmother since the age of six, Nancy Sanderson desires only her freedom from her strict grandmother, Amelia Woods Sanderson, who divides her time between Nancy and a successful career. Her grandmother’s plans include a wealthy, smart, and well-connected young lawyer named Robert Emerson, who bores Nancy.

Instead, Nancy seeks the company of the wild-hearted Nate Conners. When her rebellion turns deadly and her dalliance with Nate leaves her in trouble, Nancy turns to Robert, who promises to protect her. But Robert has underestimated Nate’s thirst for revenge.

As hidden truths become known, can Nancy find the strength to forgive herself and gain true and lasting freedom?

Character Interview: Nancy Sanderson from Betty Thomason Owen’s Amelia’s Legacy

Amelia's Legacy FRONT CoverToday’s guest is Ms. Nancy Sanderson from Amelia’s Legacy. Nancy you live in a very interesting era in our country’s history. Would you mind telling us a little about your life?

We had a country house and a town home. The town home was only slightly smaller than the country house. Some would call either of them a mansion. I called them prison when Grandmother was there.

Of course, there were servants, but only a few. We had a housekeeper, a cook, and a chauffeur who often doubled as a gardener. We could not possibly have done without any one of them.

I attended a private school for girls, and was driven to and from school by the chauffeur. Though Springfield was a smaller metropolis, I was not allowed out unchaperoned. Period. Though times were changing all around us, Grandmother insisted on decorous behavior at all times.

Many of my friends bobbed their hair, wore short dresses, and partied. Grandmother wouldn’t allow any of that. So whenever possible, I escaped, usually by way of my bedroom window. Grandmother’s idea of a good time was a celebratory dinner with her peers, or an afternoon tea given by one her employee’s wives.

A trip to Europe was the highlight of my youth, for it was on that voyage, I met Rebecca Lewis. I’ll never forget the peaceful, sunny days we spent on the French Riviera when Grandmother assumed Mrs. Lewis was chaperoning. She was not.

You’re a dreamer. That’s clear from the start of the story. How do you think being a dreamer affected your life?

You may understand why I was a dreamer after reading my answer to the former question. Dreaming got me through some difficult, empty places in my life. Most of my dreams were very foolish, but there were positive elements. When my life was at its darkest point, I made use of my imagination to survive.

I believe that grandparents can make a tremendous impact in a child’s life. I know your grandmother Amelia did that for you, but I’d like to hear about your grandmother from your point of view.

My grandmother stepped in and took over raising me when my parents died. She was often distant. Partly because she had also taken over running the company her father had built and her husband maintained until his death. Her strength was a steadfast presence in my life. As a child, I longed for her approval and love. It took a health crisis in her life for her to realize she’d shortchanged me in that department. She tried to make up for it, and for a few bright days, we enjoyed one another’s company. That was a gift.

You went through most of your life without a relationship with the Lord. How would you describe the troubled years when you did not know that you had a loving Savior to lean upon?

My idea of God was one of a judge sitting at a great desk, ever ready to exact judgment on His children. We seldom attended church, but Grandmother made me memorize scriptures pertaining to obedience and honoring ones’ elders. For this reason, I constantly struggled with guilt and condemnation. I felt that every bad thing that happened to me, came as a direct consequence of my guilty behavior. I deserved it.

Life didn’t turn out exactly as you expected it to, but we know that God promises that all things happen for good to those who know the Lord … Nancy, looking back over your life, even as far back as the loss of your parents, are you able to see how God used those things—including the mistakes you made—to bring the good to light?

Oh goodness, yes. If my parents had lived, no doubt I’d have been spoiled rotten. I hate to admit it, but Grandmother knew exactly what I needed all along. I think she was trying to right the wrongs in her life—the mistakes she’d made with my father.

Some of my worst mistakes, especially one of them, produced great gifts for which I am so thankful. If there ever was a guiltless person, which there isn’t except for our Savior, they would never know the true joy of being forgiven. That’s the best “good thing” to come out of all this. I’ve been forgiven. That’s true freedom.

Thank you for being with us today and speaking so candidly. I look forward to talking, once again, with your author, Betty Thomason Owens on Wednesday.

More About Amelia’s Legacy:

It’s the Roaring Twenties and anything goes …

Orphaned and living with her grandmother since the age of six, Nancy Sanderson desires only her freedom from her strict grandmother, Amelia Woods Sanderson, who divides her time between Nancy and a successful career. Her grandmother’s plans include a wealthy, smart, and well-connected young lawyer named Robert Emerson, who bores Nancy.

Instead, Nancy seeks the company of the wild-hearted Nate Conners. When her rebellion turns deadly and her dalliance with Nate leaves her in trouble, Nancy turns to Robert, who promises to protect her. But Robert has underestimated Nate’s thirst for revenge.

As hidden truths become known, can Nancy find the strength to forgive herself and gain true and lasting freedom?

BettyThomasonOwensAbout the Author:

Betty Thomason Owens lives in Kentucky with her husband, Robert. They have three grown sons living in the area, along with their daughters-in-law, four beautiful granddaughters (one more on the way!), and two handsome grandsons.

Betty is semiretired, and spends most of her time writing, studying about writing, and critiquing other peoples’ writing. She is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), where she leads a critique group, and attends regular local meetings. She’s also involved with Bluegrass Christian Writers, a lively group of Kentucky writers, who meet quarterly in a Lexington, Kentucky bookstore.

Betty 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 Books, an imprint of Olivia Kimbrell Press.

She also writes historical fiction. Her most recent release, Amelia’s Legacy is the first novel in the Legacy series for Write Integrity Press. In addition to the ’20’s era romances, Betty also writes contemporary stories as a co-author of A Dozen Apologies and the upcoming Love Boat Bachelor.

Visit her webpage or find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

Control and Trust by Janet Sketchley

Jesus will be thereThe back cover of my new novel, Secrets and Lies, says that unlike Carol (the heroine) I’m not related to a dangerous offender. I have a happy home life, and I’ve never been threatened by a drug lord. I’ve also never endured a miscarriage, the death of a husband (she’s better off without him) or of an adolescent son. Nor was there domestic violence in my home as a child.

What made me want to write Carol’s story? Well, for one thing, she’s had a lot of hardship, and I wanted to bring her to a better place. Even if that better place was only accessible by walking through more trouble. Enter the drug lord and his threatening phone calls.

Because that’s the thing, isn’t it? Trouble can break us, but it can also make us. Like Joseph discovered in the Old Testament, even the things our enemies mean to harm us can be used by God for good. (Genesis 45:5-8, NIV)

Carol reacts to stress by pulling in on herself and exerting as much control as she can over the pieces of life within her grasp. Including her son, who she’s pushing away with her restrictions.

Control isn’t a healthy way to live. We know that, but trust issues can make it nearly impossible to let go.

Even for Christians.

Then the question becomes not simply do I trust others, but do I trust God? Do I trust His heart, His ability to make a difference…do I trust Him even when He doesn’t do things my way? Even if He allows the unthinkable?

Not that we could stop Him, but we can worry ourselves sick thinking about what-ifs. That’s why I keep reminding myself that whatever happens, Jesus will be there. And I choose to trust God to pick up the pieces. The better I know Him, through life experience and through the Bible, the easier it is to trust Him. Even if the way leads through trouble.

The other reason to write Carol’s story? It let me explore my own questions about control. This is one of those lifetime journey issues, but I hope her experiences led us both to a place of releasing a bit more of the controlling tendencies that can wall us off from the world. When we’re walled off, we’re not free. We’re not living the life God wants to give us, and we’re certainly not showing our unbelieving friends and family members that God is worth trusting.

I’m not suggesting we become passive. Instead, we can cultivate an active, obedient trust that lives in expectation of God’s care – even when we have no idea what that care will look like or how He could possibly come through for us this time. He’s the same God who has sustained His people for thousands of years, and He hasn’t failed one of us yet.

What are some of the ways you keep fear and control from defining your life?

Janet Sketchley headshot 350x350About the Author:

Janet Sketchley is the author of Heaven’s Prey and Secrets and Lies, two novels of suspense and redemption. She also blogs about faith and books. Janet loves adventure stories, worship music, tea and Formula 1 racing. Like Carol in Secrets and Lies, she loves music and tea. Unlike Carol, Janet isn’t related to a dangerous offender, has a happy home life, and has never been threatened by a drug lord. May those tidbits continue to hold true! You can find Janet online at her website.  Fans of Christian suspense are invited to join Janet’s writing journey through her monthly newsletter. You can also catch up with Janet on the Secret and Lies website, on Facebook, Twitter, Amazon Author Central, and Pinterest.

Secrets and Lies webMore about Secrets and Lies

A single mother must protect her teenage son—from organized crime and from himself.

Carol Daniels thinks she out-ran her enemies, until a detective arrives at her door with a warning from her convict brother. Minor incidents take on a sinister meaning. An anonymous phone call warns her not to hide again.

Now she must cooperate with a drug lord while the police work to trap him. Carol has always handled crisis alone, but this one might break her. Late-night deejay Joey Hill offers friendship and moral support. Can she trust him? One thing’s certain. She can’t risk prayer.

Besides the Amazon link given above, Secrets and Lies can also be purchased at Createspace, at Amazon Canada, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble.

Author Interview: Janet Sketchley

Janet Sketchley headshot 350x350Today, our guest is Janet Sketchley, the author of Secrets and Lies. Janet is the author of Heaven’s Prey and Secrets and Lies, two novels of suspense and redemption. She also blogs about faith and books. Janet loves adventure stories, worship music, tea and Formula 1 racing. Like Carol in Secrets and Lies, she loves music and tea. Unlike Carol, Janet isn’t related to a dangerous offender, has a happy home life, and has never been threatened by a drug lord. May those tidbits continue to hold true! You can find Janet online at her website.  Fans of Christian suspense are invited to join Janet’s writing journey through her monthly newsletter. You can also catch up with Janet on the Secret and Lies website, on Facebook, Twitter, Amazon Author Central, and Pinterest.

Janet, welcome to Inner Source. I enjoyed your story of Carol Daniels. It has plenty of suspense, along with some pretty important issues that Christians often have to wade through. Would you mind telling me where the idea from the story originated with you?

Thanks for inviting me to visit, Fay, and I’m glad you enjoyed Carol’s story. I “met” Carol through writing her brother Harry’s story in Heaven’s Prey, and I knew her life had not been easy. I also knew she needed the Lord. Secrets and Lies gives her the chance to find Him—unless her enemies find her first. I think themes like trust grew out of who she is and the choices she’s made.

Carol is a woman who has suffered a lot of loss, and she endures different types of grief. I’d even go so far as to say that relief was a part of her grief when it came to certain people. Did you write this character from experience?

She’d tell you that losing her husband was a relief! I didn’t write Carol’s grief from experience, although the grief of friends and fictional characters over the years helped me imagine what it must have been like for her. The parts of Carol that come from my experience are more linked to her—ahem—controlling tendencies and her fear. Not that I have tangible enemies, like she has.

Your heroine is a tough one. She seems to handle things that are thrown at her with more strength than I think she even realizes. Have you had an example of someone in your life who has exhibited this type of strength?

Carol doesn’t realize it, no. All she can see is the ongoing battle. It’s funny you’d ask about a real-life example. I could list Christians I know who rely on God’s strength and survive multiple storms, but Carol is someone who survives on her own. (At least she thinks she does—who knows how much strength the Lord subtly lends to those who are still on their way to finding Him?) You’ve reminded me of a friend who was like Carol in the sense that she’d ask us to pray for her while refusing to pray for herself. K was strong, sweet-tempered but very persistent. She, too, had a difficult marriage and her husband died suddenly. Her life wasn’t easy even then. I longed to see the Lord draw her to Himself, and my prayer and hope is that He ultimately did so before she died.

What would you, the author, say to someone who approached you and talked to you about grief, fear, and the regrets that Carol seems to have? Would you have a Biblical response for him or her?

There’s no easy answer for a person with deep hurts, and I’d be praying for wisdom of what and when to speak—and when to be silent. I think key, Biblical aspects of a response would include a reassurance that it’s okay to bring God our questions and our pain (think of David in the Psalms) but that we need to keep looking at God to see what He might say or do. Also that we can trust the heart of God—not to do what we want, but to love us and to work even in the worst times. So I’d encourage the person to discover God’s character through His Word. Ultimately, it would be God Himself who opened the person to believe and receive His love.

In the novel, the character of Joey says a few of the things I’d say: trusting the heart of God, prayer is important, and that we can work with God to re-shape our fears and reactions. As Joey does with Carol, this sort of conversation is long and slow, with lots of pauses. The best thing I could give someone in this situation would be my care and attention, and a willingness to walk with them no matter how far the journey appears to be.

Please tell us a little about your upcoming release No Safe Place and about any other future releases.

The Redemption’s Edge series introduces three members of the Silver family: villain Harry, his sister Carol, and their cousin Amy.

In No Safe Place, Amy Silver is injured in the plane crash that kills her fiancé. His best friend’s offer of shelter sounds ideal, even if the faith he lives by seems too good to be true. But has she found sanctuary…  or something more sinister?

I hope and trust there will be more stories after these, but they’re just thoughts and vague ideas right now. Thanks so much for hosting me, Fay. You ask thought-provoking questions! It was fun answering as Carol in her interview, too.

Janet, it was a pleasure having you with us, and I can’t wait to share your post on Friday.

Secrets and Lies webMore about Secrets and Lies

A single mother must protect her teenage son—from organized crime and from himself.

Carol Daniels thinks she out-ran her enemies, until a detective arrives at her door with a warning from her convict brother. Minor incidents take on a sinister meaning. An anonymous phone call warns her not to hide again.

Now she must cooperate with a drug lord while the police work to trap him. Carol has always handled crisis alone, but this one might break her. Late-night deejay Joey Hill offers friendship and moral support. Can she trust him? One thing’s certain. She can’t risk prayer.

Besides the Amazon link given above, Secrets and Lies can also be purchased at Createspace, at Amazon Canada, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble.

Character Interview: Carol Daniels from Janet Sketchley’s Secrets and Lies

Secrets and Lies webToday’s guest is Carol Daniels from Janet Sketchley’s novel, Secrets and Lies. Carol, thank you for being with us today.

Let’s start out by having you tell our readers a little about yourself.

It’s nice to meet you, Fay. I’m a single mom, husband deceased, raising my teen son and trying to keep a low profile. We’ve had some threats, and I don’t want to be found. <sighs> Except now we may be in danger again. Enough of that. You didn’t invite me here to whine. What can I say about myself? I work in a small café, baking desserts and waiting tables. Art, especially from Impressionist painters like Monet, refreshes my soul. So does a good cup of tea. Peppermint’s my favourite—it smells like freedom. I love classic rock, especially Billy Joel. When I’m stressed, I bake and clean—and I get nightmares.

You have suffered the one loss that I know without a doubt no parent ever wants to go through. Carol, how do you deal with the loss of a child?

I don’t know, Fay. I really don’t know. The one thing that kept me from giving up was I still had Paul. We helped one another, I think. He needed me, so I had to keep going, keep working, and providing for him.

You still have Paul, another son, with you. Is it hard for you to allow him his freedom? If so, how do you manage to loosen the reins on him to let him live his own life?

Paul’s surprisingly well-adjusted, and he’s a great kid. But you know sixteen-year-olds. They think they’re indestructible. He’s not taking this danger as seriously as he should. He keeps his curfew, lets me know where he’ll be, and there’s no sign of drugs. I know what to look for, after Keith. Paul hangs out with his friends a lot, even does his homework with them. So far his grades are okay, and although it’s hard to let him out of my sight, everything seems to be okay. Aside from drugs, the one non-negotiable is music. Listening is fine, but he’s not to play guitar, not to join a band. I want him to grow up to be a responsible husband and dad—not a deadbeat like his father!

I found you an incredibly brave heroine. Your life took a twist—more than once—but you persevered. To what or whom do you credit your resilience?

When anyone you trust will let you down, you can’t break. I’ve never had anyone to rely on, not since my mom died when I was a child. <pause> That’s how it feels, anyway. To tell the truth, I’ve had a few listening ears who’ve made a big difference. Before my son Paul and I fled Calgary, my friend Jackie was great at cheering me up. Now here in my new home, I’ve made phone friends with a late-night deejay, Joey. He’s so welcoming when I call, and he never judges or tells me how to run my life. <snickers> He even says he’ll pray for me, and so far it hasn’t done any harm. Not that I’m in a hurry to try it myself.

Carol, you struggled with prayer. I’d love for you to share those struggles with our readers and then to tell them how that struggle impacted your life.

I believe God is real, but I keep my distance. Prayer hasn’t worked for me. I’m afraid to try it again. I told you my mom died? Well, shortly before that, she “found Jesus” at a tent meeting. My father took it personally, like she was cheating on him. He turned abusive. He didn’t kill her, it was a traffic accident. But he might as well have. Did I pray? All through that time. So did my brother. But Dad didn’t change, and she died. Then my son, Keith… <sniffs, wipes eyes> I’m sorry. It’s been two years now, but some things you never get over. I had a friend, at least I thought she was a friend. Prayer healed her of a brain tumour. Cancer—gone! She taught me how to pray for Keith, said he’d break free. We  prayed it and claimed it. I was so relieved. The next week, Keith was gone. She blamed me. She’d had faith to be healed, so it wasn’t her. My failure killed my son. Joey says God’s not like that. I wish I could believe him, but the stakes are too high for Paul and me. I don’t dare risk prayer. But I don’t think I can handle this on my own. If I break, who’s left for Paul? Or for me?

Thank you for being with us today. I look forward to talking with your author, Janet, on Wednesday.

Thanks for the chance to chat. I didn’t mean to spill so much angst, but it’s been good to have a caring listener.

That’s what Inner Source is all about. Getting to know the heart of the characters and the Truth that drives them. I’m so glad you shared so readily.

More about Secrets and Lies

A single mother must protect her teenage son—from organized crime and from himself.

Carol Daniels thinks she out-ran her enemies, until a detective arrives at her door with a warning from her convict brother. Minor incidents take on a sinister meaning. An anonymous phone call warns her not to hide again.

Now she must cooperate with a drug lord while the police work to trap him. Carol has always handled crisis alone, but this one might break her. Late-night deejay Joey Hill offers friendship and moral support. Can she trust him? One thing’s certain. She can’t risk prayer.

Besides the Amazon link given above, Secrets and Lies can also be purchased at Createspace, at Amazon Canada, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble.

Janet Sketchley headshot 350x350About the Author:

Janet Sketchley is the author of Heaven’s Prey and Secrets and Lies, two novels of suspense and redemption. She also blogs about faith and books. Janet loves adventure stories, worship music, tea and Formula 1 racing. Like Carol in Secrets and Lies, she loves music and tea. Unlike Carol, Janet isn’t related to a dangerous offender, has a happy home life, and has never been threatened by a drug lord. May those tidbits continue to hold true! You can find Janet online at her website.  Fans of Christian suspense are invited to join Janet’s writing journey through her monthly newsletter. You can also catch up with Janet on the Secret and Lies website, on Facebook, Twitter, Amazon Author Central, and Pinterest.

 

Following the Lord’s Plan by JoAnn Durgin

Edinburgh Cover (Large)Fay Lamb asked me in her interview of me earlier this week: Shelby has a not-so-small decision to make about her future, and I know that you, in your own way, have also made that type of decision. Of course, it’s a different scenario, but I have to wonder if during the writing of Echoes of Edinburgh, if you were conscious that you might be making a decision that affected your future? If so, was there a Scripture or a Biblical precept that either you or your character leaned upon in making that decision?

In the editing process of Echoes of Edinburgh, something I’d been pondering for years began to transition into reality. Put it this way: a number of things happened over the course of the past year to pave the way for a huge, life-changing step. In mid-August of this year (Echoes of Edinburgh released in late September), I took a huge leap of faith in *retiring* from my full-time estate administration paralegal position to become a full-time author.

I’d hoped, I’d prayed, but I’ve also worked hard toward making it happen. In other words, while I placed my full trust in the Lord to guide my future, I didn’t sit back and say, “Lord, please make this happen for me.” From the beginning of my writing journey, the Lord has been right there beside me. Each and every time I sit down to write, I pray before I type the first word.

In some cases, events that happened to bring this momentous step possible, both personally and professionally, were almost unbelievable—events that could never have been predicted by any measure of my imagination. Among them: an unexpected financial gift, my predecessor returning to the Louisville area and to the law firm, and my now ex-publisher turning over the copyrights to me for my Lewis Legacy Series early in the year. Since then, due to well-placed advertising and targeted marketing, the sales (and thus my royalties) have dramatically increased.

Not long after my retirement from the law firm, my husband, Jim, and I traveled to New England for his 35th high school reunion in Newport, Rhode Island. As part of that trip, we traveled to Boston to visit with friends (we lived in the Boston area for eight years) and attended a baseball game at Fenway Park. During the Red Sox game, an older gentleman sat near us. He repeatedly apologized for having to displace me; I sat on the end of the aisle and had to get up several times so he could go buy food and snacks for his family members. After the third or so such time, he brought a soft pretzel for me with mustard (how did he know)? Not long after, he came over to sit in an empty seat near us. We talked, he got to know us, and then he shared about his life with us. He’s a retirement age doctor from New York who lives in Boston during the week and works for a nonprofit health care agency. “Doc Duke” listened to my story and said something I’ll never forget. This is what he said: “I wouldn’t look at it so much as a leap of faith, but more one of following the Lord’s plan for your life.”

Since my retirement, I was also blessed to attend the annual American Christian Fiction Writers annual conference in St. Louis. I had not planned to go this year and had no plans to attend. Four days before the conference, I had a fully-paid conference registration and a hotel room—these things pretty much dropped right into my lap! That’s another story in itself, but the Lord made it clear He definitely wanted me there. And what a blessing that experienced proved to be, especially when the winner of one of the pre-published author contests thanked me from the podium in her acceptance speech. If there’s anything I love more than writing, it’s encouraging other authors.

My writing is a ministry, and the Lord has blessed my efforts. Based on notes I’m receiving from readers, my stories are touching hearts and positively impacting lives with truths from God’s word. What’s exciting for me is how even the “little” things in my stories can impact someone for good. That’s so awesome! Imparting how great a relationship with the Lord can be and portraying His mercy, great love and hope through my characters and their stories is my primary goal.

The following two verses of scripture are oft-quoted and well-loved, but they’re verses I have clung to, especially in making this important, life-changing decision:

Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (NIV)

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (NIV)

I like Doc Duke’s theory, and I’m eagerly anticipating what the Lord has in store for my future writing ministry. For now, I’m loving every single moment of this fascinating journey!

Blessings, friends.

JoAnn Author Photo (Princess Cruise)More About the Author:

JoAnn Durgin is the author of five novels in the popular Lewis Legacy Series as well as the Amazon bestselling Catching Serenity. Her novellas include Meet Me Under the Mistletoe, Starlight, Star Bright, Sleigh Ride Together with You (coming for the 2014 Christmas season), and Echoes of Edinburgh. A member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and the Louisville Christian Writers, JoAnn lives her husband and three children in southern Indiana. She’s recently *retired* from her paralegal position to write full-time. She loves to hear from her readers at www.joanndurgin.com or  www.facebook.com/authorjoanndurgin.

More About Echoes of Edinburgh:

To honor her dying father’s wish, Chicago stockbroker Shelby Harmon promises to hand deliver an envelope addressed to “Robert Nichols, Personal & Confidential.” Her quest to find Robert leads her to a most unlikely place—the Castlehill Gardens outside Scotland’s Edinburgh Castle. Who is this fiercely private man and what is his connection to Harmony Lane, her family’s horse farm in Lexington, Kentucky?

Harrison Reed cautions Shelby against dredging up hurtful memories for his close friend, Robert. As they explore the city together, Shelby and Harrison find themselves increasingly drawn to one another. When the contents of the mysterious envelope are revealed, the answer gives her hope for the future of Harmony Lane. Is the time spent in Edinburgh with Harrison destined to be nothing more than a beautiful memory? Did Shelby lose her heart in Edinburgh…or find her way home again?

 

 

Author Interview: JoAnn Durgin

JoAnn Author Photo (Princess Cruise)Today Author JoAnn Durgin is once again with us to talk about her latest release, Echoes of Edinburgh, from Pelican Book Group’s Passport to Romance series. JoAnn  is the author of five novels in the popular Lewis Legacy Series as well as the Amazon bestselling Catching Serenity. Her novellas include Meet Me Under the Mistletoe, Starlight, Star Bright, Sleigh Ride Together with You (coming for the 2014 Christmas season), and Echoes of Edinburgh. A member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and the Louisville Christian Writers, JoAnn lives her husband and three children in southern Indiana. She’s recently *retired* from her paralegal position to write full-time. She loves to hear from her readers at www.joanndurgin.com or  www.facebook.com/authorjoanndurgin.

JoAnn, I have been fortunate to edit several of your Pelican releases. I always find that you write about endearing heroes and heroines and some quirky secondary characters. Echoes of Edinburgh is no different. I’d love to hear how the characters of Shelby and Harrison came about in your mind so that you knew you needed to tell their story.

First of all, thank you for your kind words, Fay. I’ve so enjoyed working with you as my editor. You’ve helped by “holding my hand” through the editing process and made it much easier! As far as the creation of my heroine, Shelby Harmon, in Echoes of Edinburgh, I live in the region of the U.S. affectionately termed “Kentuckiana.” I wanted to write about a character from what I call “God’s country.” The lush, green, rolling hills of Kentucky with the magnificent thoroughbred horses are gorgeous…and the rolling hills of Scotland are quite comparable (just exchanging the horses for sheep).

Shelby grew up at Harmony Lane, her generations-old family’s horse farm. Even though she’s a successful stockbroker living in Chicago now, her heart belongs in Kentucky. She’s loyal to her father and honors his dying wish by going to Edinburgh to hand deliver a special letter. Harrison, an Alabama boy, is full of southern charm and compassion, as evidenced by his work for a family foundation benefitting special needs children. Shelby and Harrison share some common goals and loyalties and—because of some of his own life experiences—he lends insight and helps point Shelby back to her faith and encourages her to lean on the One who can help her find her way in making those all-important life decisions.

I fell in love with Edinburgh, Scotland, and the surrounding areas as I saw it through the eyes of your characters. Have you ever been there, and, if so, what is your favorite memory about the area?

Thank you, and yes, I’ve been there and hope to go again! I’ve always said the best part of my college experience was the quarter I spent studying abroad in London instead of on the main campus. What a blessing! My time in London opened my eyes to other cultures, customs, and languages, and it proved one of the most fabulous times of my life. I also credit my London Centre semester for helping me become much more independent and adventurous.

During my ten weeks in London (followed by a three-week tour of the Continent), I embarked on a fun weekend jaunt with two roommates on the high-speed train from London to Glasgow, Scotland, and then traveled from there to Edinburgh. Although my time in Scotland was short, I fell in love with the beautiful countryside, in particular, and with the city’s rich history. Without wanting to sound like a travelogue of Edinburgh in the book, I tried to incorporate a number of notable “tourist” sights in the capital city of Scotland as seen from the perspective of Americans Harrison and Shelby. Many of my readers may never personally experience Edinburgh, so I wanted to give them an idea of what it was like.

The book is dedicated in part to my cousins, Terry and Lyntha Eiler, who have gone to Edinburgh for thirty years with photojournalism students from Ohio University. Terry and Lyntha were invaluable resources of viewing Edinburgh through the eyes of Americans abroad. They provided the type of “insider” tips only observed by those who’ve been to Auld Reekie and Athens of the North multiple times. While many aspects of the city have not changed, others have transitioned through the years, as represented by the recent vote by Scotland as to whether to secede from the UK (voted down).

I’ll confess the one thing I didn’t love about Edinburgh was the food, which I incorporate with well-intentioned humor in Echoes of Edinburgh. As my hero, Harrison (“Harry”) Reed tells his heroine, Shelby Harmon, the Scots have two favorite meals: breakfast and tea. I will confess that Shelby is more adventurous than me when it comes to tasting the dishes indigenous to Scotland.

Because I know you as a consummate author of Christian romance, I want to know what you find to be most romantic when it comes to the heroes you write?

I don’t know what it says about me, but I love (and actually prefer) writing from the perspective of the hero in my stories. I think most women are fascinated by the way a man’s mind works, and I’m no exception. One of my best-reviewed novels, Second Time Around, is written at least 80% from the hero’s point of view (necessary because of the story line). In that book, a newlywed husband named Marc Thompson is forced apart from his bride, Natalie, by unforeseeable circumstances, and he must woo her all over again. Marc’s efforts epitomize what I admire most about a true hero. Besides being a man of strong character, he’s not perfect. He’s forgiven by the grace of the Lord and wants to become a better man, husband and father of their children—for her. It’s an all-encompassing love that represents the strand of three cords. Marc is a self-made, successful advertising executive and head of his own company. He’s also the son of a famous NBA player and has always lived under the shadow of his father. At his lowest point of despair, Marc has an epiphany and knows in order to keep Natalie, he has to be willing to let her go and surrender the relationship to the Lord. From that point on, their relationship takes a turn for better. The passion a hero displays in becoming a worthy man of God in order to be the best he can be for his beloved is incredibly romantic and hero-worthy.

While I know your next Pelican release is a Christmas novella entitled Sleigh Ride Together With You, in which you take us back to the charming town of Starlight, Iowa, for romance to blossom, I’d love to know what else you’ve been writing or what other releases we’ll see in the future.

Yes, I’m very excited about Nicole and Alex’s story in Sleigh Ride Together With You, and I believe it’s a fitting and touching conclusion to what has now become my Starlight Series. I’m currently working on a prequel to my Lewis Legacy Series, titled Prelude. I’m having a ball writing this love story of the parents of the core character in the series, Sam Lewis. The year is 1962, and Sam’s father—also named Sam—is an Air Force pilot returning back to his small Texas town after his tour of duty in the Vietnam War. To date, none of my published books have featured a hero and heroine who have known one another for years (although I’ve written some to be published in the future, including one in the same series). I’m enjoying the transition between Sam and Sarah Jordan from a neighbor/friend relationship into one of blossoming love.

I joined together with some of my Christian author friends in a box set of eBooks available for a limited time. The first book in my series, Awakening, is included in this set for only 99 cents! Here’s the Amazon link if anyone would like to check it out!

http://www.amazon.com/Love-Brings-Home-Inspirational-Romance-ebook/dp/B00OPMCM9G/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1414422848&sr=1-1&keywords=Love+Brings+Us+Home

Next up, I’m plunging right into Book #6 of my Lewis Legacy Series, called Enchantment. The events of this one take place in New Mexico (called The Land of Enchantment), and my entire TeamWork crew, including their children, are there. It will release in the spring of 2015.

Thank you, JoAnn, once again for sharing your wonderful perspective with us. I look forward to our upcoming promotion of Sleigh Ride Together With You.

Edinburgh Cover (Large)More About Echoes of Edinburgh:

To honor her dying father’s wish, Chicago stockbroker Shelby Harmon promises to hand deliver an envelope addressed to “Robert Nichols, Personal & Confidential.” Her quest to find Robert leads her to a most unlikely place—the Castlehill Gardens outside Scotland’s Edinburgh Castle. Who is this fiercely private man and what is his connection to Harmony Lane, her family’s horse farm in Lexington, Kentucky?

Harrison Reed cautions Shelby against dredging up hurtful memories for his close friend, Robert. As they explore the city together, Shelby and Harrison find themselves increasingly drawn to one another. When the contents of the mysterious envelope are revealed, the answer gives her hope for the future of Harmony Lane. Is the time spent in Edinburgh with Harrison destined to be nothing more than a beautiful memory? Did Shelby lose her heart in Edinburgh…or find her way home again?

Character Interview: Shelby Harmon from JoAnn Durgin’s Echoes of Edinburgh

Edinburgh Cover (Large)Today’s guest is Shelby Harmon, the heroine of JoAnn Durgin’s Echoes of Edinburgh, a Pelican Book Group, Passport to Romance novel.

Shelby, in the story, you’ve lost your father recently, but before he died, he asked you to travel to Edinburgh to deliver a very special message. That’s a big request. Did you ever think about simply mailing the message?

If anyone but Daddy had asked me, I would have sent the letter via some type of personal delivery, but I certainly never would have carried it with me personally all the way to Edinburgh. My father was a man with strong loyalties, and I can’t tell you how thankful I am that God allowed me a few minutes with him before he died. He was dying, and he knew it, but the letter was important enough for him to ask me to take it to Edinburgh. I had no idea why, but in God’s perfect plan, the reasons were later revealed and I discovered even more about the depth of my Daddy’s love for me—both my earthly and my heavenly Father.

As a first time visitor to Scotland, taking in all that the city offers, what would you recommend that your readers see if they get the chance to visit?

To be clear, I’d personally visited Scotland for the first time with my parents when I was eight. I told my mom I wanted to be a princess and live in Edinburgh Castle forever. For others who’ve never traveled there, I’d tell them to visit the castle, first and foremost. I find it fascinating how it sits on the top of an extinct volcano; it was the seat of royalty and then became a military stronghold. The castle is now Scotland’s most popular attraction. Secondly, I highly recommend strolling along the famous Royal Mile and drinking in the people and the ambience of Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital city. From there, you can visit any number of nearby museums and the Parliament buildings.

Edinburgh is so rich in history and offers something for everyone from gardens, museums, historical sites and truly fun places for the kid in all of us. Harry took me to see the pandas at the Edinburgh Zoo, we enjoyed high tea on the Royal Yacht Britannia, and toured the city’s Old and New Towns. The tunnels running beneath The Royal Mile are fascinating and the tour guides impersonate well-known historical figures. We acted like crazy teenagers at the Magic Gallery, chasing optical illusions around the room. Perhaps the only aspect I didn’t like as much was the food. Harrison told me even the Scots say the best meals are breakfast and tea, and I do believe he’s right! However, I highly recommend the restaurant, Angels with Bagpipes, near St. Giles Cathedral. Oh, and you must visit Luca’s for ice cream (five miles outside the city). Try the Cheeky Chocolate—it’s fantastic!

You have a major decision to make, and I know that meeting Harrison didn’t make that decision any easier. What would your advice be to readers who have to make life-changing decisions?

Follow your heart but also trust in the Lord to help you make it. He knows you, your heart, and your desires. The key is in trusting Him to lead you, and I know that can sometimes be hard. After losing both my mom and dad, I was lacking that trust. I’d become convinced I could do everything on my own. Unfortunately, I’d pushed God out of my life—not as a conscious decision, but I was still hurting and grieving. Harrison actually was a good friend and helped open my eyes to the truth about my life. I admire Harry’s solid moral strength. He’d already learned some lessons about leaning on the Lord and was smart enough to know that I, too, needed to find my own way. When you allow God to use you for His purpose, He can do some pretty incredible things! In so many ways, the trip to Edinburgh profoundly changed my life.

Your family has a horse farm in Kentucky. My family is from Kentucky, and I’ve often heard that the Scots-Irish who came to the “new world” settled in the Appalachians not because they wanted the isolation, but because it reminded them of home. Having never visited Scotland but having relatives who live in Eastern Kentucky, I’d love to know if that area is similar to Scotland.

In a number of ways, yes, they are very similar. Born and raised in Kentucky, I’ve always called it “God’s country.” The rolling hills of Kentucky are incredibly lush and beautiful, but I have to say Scotland is every bit as gorgeous. As Nessie, a lovely server in a restaurant in the heart of Edinburgh told me, Scotland’s a lot like Kentucky except they have sheep and we have our horses. True enough! The weather in Scotland is cooler year-round, and they get quite a bit more rain which brings about a mist which keeps things even greener. Kentucky can be sticky and humid in the summer, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything because it’s my home.

Shelby, you lost someone very dear to you, and you’ve had decisions hanging over your head. Is there a scripture of a Biblical precept that you followed in making those decisions?

When I was in Edinburgh, Harrison took me to Carrubbers Christian Center for a Sunday morning worship service. In his message, the pastor quoted this scripture from Isaiah 41:10: So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.

One of the things I love most about how God works is that He always gives me just what I need when I need it, and most often when I least expect it. Hearing that particular verse on Sunday morning in Edinburgh was unexpected but incredibly precious to me. Even though it didn’t give me immediate answers, I understood the Lord was right there with me as I worshipped at Carrubbers. Reassuring and promising me that—no matter what happened—everything would be all right and He’d be with me every step of the way. Seeing how things have worked out in my life, I’m so glad I trusted my heart to Him when I was young, and that I traveled to Edinburgh to honor my Daddy’s wish. All part of God’s “Master” plan for my life. Thank you, Lord!

Thank you, Shelby for being here with us. I truly enjoyed your story, and I look forward to more stories from your author, JoAnn Durgin, whom we’ll meet on Wednesday.

More About Echoes of Edinburgh:

To honor her dying father’s wish, Chicago stockbroker Shelby Harmon promises to hand deliver an envelope addressed to “Robert Nichols, Personal & Confidential.” Her quest to find Robert leads her to a most unlikely place—the Castlehill Gardens outside Scotland’s Edinburgh Castle. Who is this fiercely private man and what is his connection to Harmony Lane, her family’s horse farm in Lexington, Kentucky?

Harrison Reed cautions Shelby against dredging up hurtful memories for his close friend, Robert. As they explore the city together, Shelby and Harrison find themselves increasingly drawn to one another. When the contents of the mysterious envelope are revealed, the answer gives her hope for the future of Harmony Lane. Is the time spent in Edinburgh with Harrison destined to be nothing more than a beautiful memory? Did Shelby lose her heart in Edinburgh…or find her way home again?

JoAnn Author Photo (Princess Cruise)About the Author:

JoAnn Durgin is the author of five novels in the popular Lewis Legacy Series as well as the Amazon bestselling Catching Serenity. Her novellas include Meet Me Under the Mistletoe, Starlight, Star Bright, Sleigh Ride Together with You (coming for the 2014 Christmas season), and Echoes of Edinburgh. A member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and the Louisville Christian Writers, JoAnn lives her husband and three children in southern Indiana. She’s recently *retired* from her paralegal position to write full-time. She loves to hear from her readers at www.joanndurgin.com or  www.facebook.com/authorjoanndurgin.

Just Imagine by Betty Thomason Owens

Light radiates from bible under crossJust imagine, for a moment, what it would be like to live the Word of God—literally—unencumbered by doubt. If the words were spoken, penned by inspired scribes, shouldn’t we believe them?

I remember when I was a brand-new baby Christian. I believed anything was possible, simply because it was stated in God’s Word, the Bible. I read about the gifts of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12), and the fruit of the Spirit (Galations 5:22-23). As a shiny new being in Christ, I could do all those things, right? It didn’t take long for doubt to creep in, as other, more mature Christians coached me through those beginning days.

But just imagine—if you were all alone—and reading, learning, hearing these things, and never doubted. What would you do out of ignorance, just because the Word says it’s possible?

This was the jumping-off point for my story, The Lady of the Haven. My main character, Jael of Rogan, lived mostly on her own since the last of her family died. She’d been taught God’s word all her life. Though none among them could read, and they had no books anyway, they sang the psalms throughout their day and told the old stories of God’s greatness. She had no reason to doubt. Jehovah is the Great God and He is watching over her.

Jael has plenty of reason to doubt. Tragedy has left her all alone, the last of her great lineage. But she knows Jehovah will not leave her. The psalms have taught her to hang on. She follows what she calls “the leading”—an urging within. A trained healer, she seeks to do good in the world, as her forebears have done. Trust is never an issue. She knows God exists.

I longed to inspire through Jael’s journey, belief in the truth of the Word of God. We are so much more capable than we know. God made us, designed us in His image. We use only a small portion of our brain. Hemmed in by doubt and fear, we refuse to believe anything is possible (to those who believe). “…the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.” Ephesians 1:18 NKJV

Why is it so difficult to believe? There are many reasons, beyond doubt. Sin is one reason, distraction, laziness, and the list goes on. Many times, our thought lives are filled with all the wrong things, so there’s not always room for the amazing, glorious truth of God’s Word.

I don’t really want to get into a theological discussion here. My one wish in sharing Jael’s story, is to inspire. I hope to inspire belief, especially in young minds. Believe in the impossible. Believe you can go where your heart leads and do what God calls you to do. Belief leads to faith as we realize that we have a Father in God who will never leave us.

Another what if—Jael does some rather surprising things. She is as surprised as anyone when these things begin to happen. I’m holding back, because I hate spoilers. If you want to know what she does, you need to read the story.  The situation stems from her worship. She gets so caught up in worship, she is almost transformed. How wonderful would this be? How encouraging and strengthening would this be, if we could truly find such a place in our worship?

The sheer joy in writing a character with no limitations is unsurpassed. I have never enjoyed writing as much as I did when I wrote The Lady of the Haven. Jael inspired me to move past my initial doubts and believe I could accomplish what I felt God had called me to do. Not just this story, but many stories. And not just writing, but living, carrying the strong message of faith to those in need.

My greatest desire is not that my readers just enjoy the story, but it is that my readers are inspired by Jael’s story. Inspired to worship the Holy God we serve. Inspired to dig deeper in the Word and find out where we are falling short. Inspired to believe we can do all things through Christ, who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13).

Betty Owens 2About the Author:

Betty Thomason Owens lives in Kentucky with her husband, Robert. They have three grown sons living in the area, along with their daughters-in-law, four beautiful granddaughters (one more on the way!), and two handsome grandsons.

Betty is semiretired, and spends most of her time writing, studying about writing, and critiquing other peoples’ writing. She is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), where she leads a critique group, and attends regular local meetings. She’s also involved with Bluegrass Christian Writers, a lively group of Kentucky writers, who meet quarterly in a Lexington, Kentucky bookstore.

Betty 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 Books, an imprint of Olivia Kimbrell Press.

She also writes historical fiction. Her most recent release, Amelia’s Legacy is the first novel in the Legacy series for Write Integrity Press. In addition to the ’20’s era romances, Betty also writes contemporary stories as a co-author of A Dozen Apologies and the upcoming The Love Boat Bachelor.

Connect with Betty at her webpage or find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

ladyofthehavenAbout The Lady of the Haven:

Jael of Rogan, a young healer-woman known as the Lady of the Haven, has no idea who she’s pulled from the rain-swollen river when a mortally wounded warrior practically falls into her arms. Her healing skills and deep faith in God combine to snatch William, Prince of Coldthwaite, from the brink of death only to learn that the peril to his life is far from over.

As soon as William is able, Jael aids his escape through the mysterious disappearing trail. He vows to return if she ever summons him when the danger has passed. William begins the long and hazardous journey over the Touri Mountains, his heart forever bound to the beautiful young healer whose songs haunt his dreams.

Forced to flee her home, Jael remembers the Warrior’s promise and races to find him in his far off land. Pursued, captured, relentlessly interrogated, her life is in danger nearly from the start. Just as hope begins to fade, Jael is freed by a band of soldiers and learns that William is only a short distance away. Their paths cross briefly as he leads his army in the struggle to defeat their foe. William departs and evil men move in once more.

Here in this strange land, amidst a deadly struggle, Jael comes face to face with a truth she never suspected. Perhaps the power she’d attributed to the haven lay within her all along. But can she, an outcast, ever hope to gain the heart of the prince?