Book Review: Naomi Musch’s “The Red Fury”

Empire in Pine, Book Two
The Red Fury
by Naomi Musch

c. October, 2011 Desert Breeze
ISBN 97812162520919
Price $6.99 ebook

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Empire-Pine-Book-Two-ebook/dp/B005VM6O5W/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1321292674&sr=8-2

Nearly a generation after The Green Veil, set in the great north woods of Wisconsin in the lumber era, Naomi’s second story in the series, The Red Fury, ramps up the tension and tosses decorum to the wind in the hustling 1870s Midwest.

Lainey Kade found true love once, but after her fiancé’s death, can’t seem to hold onto another engagement. After a second humiliating breakup she’s ready to leave town and reinvent herself. Adventure comes in the form of a lengthy business/pleasure trip with her brother and cousins when her father sends them to Chicago with sight-seeing around the state and cities expected.

In this time when nightmares still haunt those affected by the recent Civil War, a pair of young veterans roam the area, looking for adventure and a means to quell the grief at the loss of their parents. Kelly and Zane Beaumont live fast and furiously; Zane always on the edge as a card playing, pleasure-seeking high-roller and his younger brother Kelly his sidekick. The six young people meet briefly in Chicago, then again on the train north. They decide to travel together when they realize how well they get along. Lainey, definitely not looking for romance, pretends to be married to her cousin. She doesn’t fool the sharp-eyed Zane for long, however. Her adventuresome unconventional spirit attracts him, but he buries any feelings deep, especially when it’s obvious Kelly has fallen for her hard.

While staying in Green Bay, Lainey sketches. Her drawings present an opportunity for livelihood, which she seizes, much to the horror of her family. Lainey is insistent, however, and they reluctantly let her stay, deciding to reveal that she has inherited a piece of property in nearby Peshtigo. When she invites the brothers to check out the area, they decide to stop traveling and find work and stay in the growing lumber town. Zane and Kelly act as benevolent watchdogs and even accompany Lainey on a visit home for a wedding.

Lainey, Zane, and Kelly work hard at their respective jobs, tiptoeing around their feelings and in Zane’s case, his demons. Kelly dreams of a future with Lainey, while she holds only platonic feelings for him and fights her admiration for the haunted Zane. A terrible accident, a horrific fire that gives rise to the title of the book, and the aftermath of devastation show them how precious life and faith are.

Naomi’s attention to detail, scene and setting are pitch-perfect true to era. I felt the flames and terror of the great fire of 1871, the same night as the Great Chicago fire. I loved Lainey’s spirit, mourned and rejoiced with them all as they realized dreams, loved, fought for life and independence, and breathed the smoke of history.  Another winner for those who revel in the drama of the past.

Reviewed by: Lisa Lickel, author of A Summer in Oakville, with Shellie Neumeier

Lisa Lickel is a Wisconsin writer who lives with her husband in a hundred and sixty-year-old house built by a Great Lakes ship captain. Surrounded by books and dragons, she writes inspiring fiction. Her novels include mystery and romance, all with a twist of grace. She is the editor in chief of Creative Wisconsin Magazine and of OtherSheep, a Christian sci fi/fantasy magazine.

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Writing Through the Christmas Season

by:  Precarious Yates

I love Christmas. I always have! The lights. Songs about Jesus in the shopping malls. The reminder that God came as a human being (this continually blows my mind) and is Emmanuel, God with us.

With a busy season upon us, writers sometimes set down projects until after Christmas, or even after the New Year.

I’ve started something new this Christmas season. I’ve started tithing my writing. Not to others, although I think it’s extremely important to donate your writing to the aid of others. What I’m talking about is tithing writing to God. Rather than filling pages full of words about Him, I fill pages full of words to him.

And I don’t show this writing to anyone. It becomes a secret place.

Something marvelous happens when, through my talent, I offer heartfelt praises to my King. Instead of draining me, it refreshes me. Instead of impeding on time I could spend on a WIP or a deadline, writing out praise to the Lord recharges me. It brings me back to the real reason of why I write at all: for His glory. I experience a paradigm shift toward what really matters, a renewing of the mind, like the one spoken of in Romans 12:2. And during a season when reasons become muddled in the hustle and bustle of consumerism, this renewing of the mind is so necessary!

 

Precarious Yates has lived in 8 different states of the Union and 3 different countries, but currently lives in Texas with her husband, her daughter and their mastiff. When she’s not writing, she enjoys music, teaching, playing on jungle gyms, praying and reading. She holds a Masters in the art of making tea and coffee and a PhD in Slinky® disentangling.

You can learn more about Ms. Yates and about the issues discussed in this novel by visiting www.precariousyates.com

Book 2 of Revelation Special Ops, Pharmacia: Those Magic Arts, is due out in 2012.

Changes coming to Grace & Faith 4U

First of all, thanks so much for following our inaugural blogs on this site!  We so appreciate all of our readers and authors.

As the new year begins, we are making a few relatively minor changes around here to better serve you.

Beginning Jan. 2, this main blog will transition to reader-only content.  We will have reviews, interviews, and devotionals only on this site.

Marketing tips and info for our authors will transition over to the Grace & Faith Marketing blog, which will post on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  If you’re a G&F author and you want to post about marketing or writing tips, your post will be featured over there rather than here.

Please invite all of your reader friends to join us over here for great content and head’s up on awesome Christian books and ebooks!

Again, thanks for following us, and here’s to a fabulous NEW YEAR!

Some Thoughts & Ideas for Marketing a Series

by: Naomi Musch

I’m feeling my way through marketing madness just like every novelist these days. We learn as we go, and pray our way through as we hasten to keep up with blogs and tweets, and try to determine which social marketing techniques really work for us and which are time-wasters or simply not our cup o’ tea. It’s challenging with one book, but when we publish a series we wonder how to keep the interest alive in book #1 which will attract new readers, while promoting book #2, #3, and so on.

Besides all the usual blogging, interviewing, and trying to garner reviews, here are a few ideas I’m testing with my Empire in Pine historical series. Feel free to add your own in the comments.


Business Cards
— I order (from Vistaprint) new folded business cards for each book. Some people like to use postcards or bookmarks. As mine are eBooks, these unique business cards work for me. They look just like tiny books. On the outside is the cover in vivid color. On the back in gray-scale is the cover overlaid with purchasing and web site information. Inside is the book’s blurb. I can get quite a bit of info in there in a comfortable 10 pt. Times New Romans font. As each new book in my series comes out I spread these around liberally. They get mailed with my dentist bills, left in the teacher’s lounge at school where I work, dropped on the table when I dine, or handed out to anyone who seems curious. Also, I use them when doing giveaway drawings with groups of writers. For instance, recently we gals at The Barn Door site did a one year anniversary gift basket drawing. I sent both in an envelope with a Christmas card and my email telling the winner they could choose either as a free download.

A variation of this idea is to put covers of all your books on one postcard with one-line hooks and purchasing information.

Specified Facebook Group Pages — When The Red Fury, book 2 in my series, released, I started realizing I could search out group pages in Facebook that related to the historical setting of the Great Peshtigo Fire, an incident central to the story. I joined the group, and without spamming them, just let them know that I’d written a novel which told the Peshtigo story through the experiences of a young woman with a broken past, torn between the love of brothers running from their memories during the Civil War. You have to think a big outside the box as to what themes, settings, or informational tidbits might be running through your books that could have a connection there in Facebook or Twitter land. Which reminds me, I do the same thing on Twitter, using hashtags of place (towns), themes, personalities, or historical detail that might draw attention.

Interviews Related to Locale — If each of your books is set in a particular local, try to set up talks or interviews which are at or near that local if at all possible (or via the internet). For instance, for The Green Veil, set in my home town, I could try setting up talks or interviews there at the library, historical society, on local blogs or radio shows, etc. For next year’s release, The Black Rose, I hope to hit up coffee shops between Superior, WI and the U.P of Michigan. The thing with local talks is that it gives you the opportunity to not only promote one book, but the whole series. I really suspect that as much as you need to develop a world-wide web presence, building a reader base in localized communities (either your own, or where your book setting is located) is a great way to begin the word of mouth process.

Series Tweets — On your own blog or Twitter page, try running a series of posts such as “What Empire in Pine is about”, then each day post something related to the series as a whole, while offering excerpts or chapters from book #1 one day, from book #2 the next, and so on.

Mentions — When doing guest posts on others’ blogs, primarily promote the current book, but also find a way in the interview to at least comment on something from the previous.

Billboards — There’s always the billboard approach. T-shirts, pens, and even car magnets with your series book covers and website address will draw attention wherever you go. You might find yourself handing out business cards at the gas station.

Fund-raisers — If you have a Christian radio station in your town, I’ve often thought about offering a book giveaway during their fund-raising marathons. You might get on air with a chance to tell something about your series, and at the same time be a service by attracting charitable donations. I’ve also done this with auction gift baskets for schools. There are always folks doing fund-raisers where you might be able to contribute. In the process, you can give everyone involved with the fund-raiser one of your business cards and probably be able to talk up your series face-to-face.

About Blog Interviews — When I visit other blogs, I consider whether the audience will be different than others I’ve already likely touched. If it is, I may talk about the series verses a single book. In other words, I select certain blogs for the new book, others for concentrating on the series as a whole. But when I have a new one out, that’s the one I primarily focus on.

As the world of publishing changes, and the internet alters to open new opportunities, there is only one certainty. As always, the main thing is to write a Great Book each time. If it turns out book #1 doesn’t rock because we’re thinking too far ahead into what books we’ll write after that, then that’ll be the end of it. Make sure each novel you write is your best work. How do you know if it rocks? We all think our own babies are the cutest, cuddliest, most charming creatures in the world. We think their drool is cute. We overlook the burp-ups and smelly messes. Do we do the same thing with our stories? If you happen to be self-publishing, this is the biggest danger. Make sure you hire an editor to help you clean that baby up! Then show it off any way you can.

Naomi Musch is the author of the historical romance series, Empire in Pine from Desert Breeze Publishing. Her aim is to surprise and entertain readers while telling stories about imperfect people finding hope and faith to overcome their struggles. She invites you to visit investigate her series and other works at http://www.naomimusch.com 

When Wise, Men Come to Bethlehem

by: Lynn Mosher

All the prophecies converged in one moment, for “the fullness of the time had come.” (Gal. 4:4 NKJV) So, a young, pregnant girl named Mary and her espoused young man, named Joseph, leave their home in Nazareth to travel to the homeland of their forefathers in Bethlehem to be enrolled according to their families for taxation.

Once in Bethlehem, they search diligently for a place to rest as the baby was about to be born. Only an animal shelter is available because there is no room for them in the inn.

As a hush descends over the earth in the wee hours of darkness, the cries of a newborn pierce the gentle silence. Meanwhile, wondrous songs of praise by a host of angels saturate the skies over the fields tended by shepherds, filling the night air with the glory of God.

During those dark hours, Christ comes.

In that humble place, to the gentle lowing of the cattle and the bleating of the sheep, Mary gives birth to the Saviour of the world. Swaddling Him lovingly, she places Him in a trough, and there, the miracle of the manger takes place.

The empty manger, the vessel cradling the tiny body of mankind’s salvation, is full – full of love, full of expectation, full of holiness, and full of humanity. It is an earthly visitation of the heavenly realm.

A divinely appointed star blazes triumphantly in the eastern sky, proclaiming, “This is the way to the Christ-child.” Its brilliance appears even in the distant land of the Orient. Men, wise in astrology and the prophecies, set out from this land to seek the One upon Whom the star shines, the newborn King.

In time, the star leads the wise men right to the King’s front door. They come in expectation and great joy. “And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” (Matt. 2:11 NKJV)

When the wise men come to Bethlehem, they come bearing gifts, first out of their hearts’ fullness, for they fall down to worship the Christ-child, and then, out of their treasure bags fullness of precious things, for they offer gifts of sacrifice.

When the wise men come to Bethlehem, they bring gold, one of the purest and most valuable of all metals. It serves to remind us of that which is of genuine worth and value, as it was lavishly used to cover the articles of the temple and the temple itself. It reminds us, too, of the pure worth and value of Christ, and that He fashions our hearts into the pure gold for His temple, the home of His holiness and pureness.

When the wise men come to Bethlehem, they bring frankincense, a sweet, aromatic perfume, burned as incense, and, among other things, was an ingredient in the anointing oil.

It serves to show us the precious Holy Spirit, anointing us to be in the presence of the Father, as the incense mingles with the sweet-smelling sacrifice of prayer, rising to the throne room and lingering at the Father’s feet.

When the wise men come to Bethlehem, they bring myrrh, a fragrant, costly perfume, used in purification rites and for cleansing, also as an ingredient in the anointing oil, and used for preservation in death. It represents the costly perfume of Christ as His blood purifies and cleanses us, preserving us in death.

Out of love, God gave. Out of love, Christ came. Out of love, the wise men came and gave.

The wise men found Bethlehem and Bethlehem found its way into their hearts.

Where will Bethlehem find you? In the car sitting in snarling traffic, snarling back at it? On the way to Grandma’s house, Aunt Sophie’s, or Mom and Dad’s? On a plane, or a bus? Or perhaps at the mall, rushing to find that last minute gift? Will it really find you there?

Does it come rolling in with chariot wheels rumbling? Or does it come silently with a gentle whisper? Does it come in a season, or in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye?

Have you found Bethlehem? Have you knelt at the manger of the Christ-child? The only way you will find Bethlehem is when you remember to kneel in worship to the Christ Who loved you so much that He came in a tiny human form.

Do you bring the sacrificial gifts out of your heart’s treasury to the Christ-child? The purity of holiness? The costly fragrance of continual prayer? A cleansed soul, preserved from eternal death?

Do you offer Him your heart as His manger, as the vessel of His resting place? Or is it full of jealousy, envy, hatred, unforgiveness, self-pity, lust, anger, or prejudice? Is there any room left for Him to come and “lay down His sweet head”? Have you said, “Sorry, there is no room for You in this inn”?

Does He plead, “But where will I be born; where will I find My resting place? Your manger is full, full of unforgiveness, full of your own self. I see no room for Me. I’ve been turned away from inn after inn; where do you wish Me to go?”

Wise men give Christ room to dwell. Will you be a “wise man” this year? Will you visit Bethlehem this Christmas? Will its Visitor visit you? Will your inn have room for Him? Or will Bethlehem come and you will have missed it?

Make room for the Christ-child; make room for the Christ-Man. Give Him the lodging place He deserves. Be as the wise men when they came to Bethlehem: worshipping on bended knee, grateful, and bringing gifts.

“O come all ye faithful…O come ye to Bethlehem…Come and behold Him, born the King of angels! O come, let us adore Him…Christ the Lord!”

When wise, men come to Bethlehem!

I pray abundant blessings for you and your family, for a Christmas filled with the miracle of the manger, the presence of the Christ-child and the Christ-man. May you be wise and find Bethlehem…and may it find you.

Christmas and New Year blessings, Lynn

Merry Christmas from Grace&Faith4U!


We here at Grace & Faith 4u would like to wish
all of our readers and authors
a very MERRY and peace-filled Christmas!

In this time of joy, we remember those we have lost and those who are with us only in spirit.  May we remember to give hugs to everyone who is here, extending Christ’s love for us to them. 

May God bless you all
in this Season of Hope, Joy, and Love!

Fill Your Kindle or Nook Week!

Welcome to Fill Your Kindle or Nook Week on Grace & Faith 4U!

Merry Christmas from all of us to you!

So… you’ve got a Kindle/Nook or you’re giving one.  Congratulations!  You’re going to love it!

And we’re here to help you jump in with the very BEST the eBook world has to offer.  Feel free to browse and follow links to read more.

If it’s Christian eBooks you’re looking to find, you’ve come to the right place!

Mysteries

Romance

Suspense

Romantic Suspense

Historical

Women’s Fiction

Chick-Lit

Amish

Young Adult

YA Fantasy

Speculative Fiction

Sci-Fi

Fantasy

Thriller

Paranormal

Non-Fiction

The Journey to Mercy

By: Elizabeth Byler Younts

“Also unto thee, O Lord, belongeth mercy…”

Psalm 62:12 (KJV)

Labor Day Weekend 2010

        Davis and I were elated to be expecting our second child. Only weeks later we moved headlong into numerous complications and we handed this special new life over to the Great Physician with great expectations of His mercy.

With answered prayers and our baby’s life sustained, our journey made a hairpin turn, leading us down a path to one of the most blessed moments in our lives. In the wee hours of a Sunday morning I was thrown into a sudden and quick labor. As our midwife sped to our house, not going the speed limit, she coached Davis on how to deliver a baby. And through our Father’s touch our daughter was born into her daddy’s hands. When Davis handed Mercy to me, I knew I was holding a perfectly imperfect child whose plan of life was already mapped out by our Creator.

On an unexpected day two-thousand years ago in a stable, another mother, alone with her husband and God, experienced the throes of labor and the elation of delivery. In her hands she held Perfection.

Oh, how blessed was my Mercy’s journey into the world. How much more blessed is the world’s opportunity to journey to the great Mercy. Jesus Christ.

Thank you, Father, for providing us with mercy…both little and great.

Mercy and her mom, dad, and big sis.

 

 

 

 

 

Elizabeth Byler Younts is the granddaughter of Lydia Lee Coblentz, the subject of her first book SEASONS: A REAL STORY OF AN AMISH GIRL. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers. She is an Air Force Officer’s wife with two young daughters and makes her home wherever her family is stationed. You may email her at elizabeth.by@gmail.com.

Revisions, Revisions, Revisions

by: Rebecca DeMarino

The mountain is hidden by clouds today, but the snowy blanket that covers the yard is beautiful. I’m thinking of the grandchildren who raced about throwing snowballs and creating snow angels in Christmases past. It’s a special time of year, surrounded by family, good food and fond memories. Celebrating the birth of Jesus draws families together and reminds us of God’s greatest gift.

As I put up the Christmas decorations I can’t help but smile. When my three daughters were tiny they thrilled at helping to decorate the tree. It would look great, but as we approached the big day, I would move a little ornament here, or fill in a big gap there. Revisions, revisions, revisions!

Many Christmases have come and gone since they grew up and started their own families. What I find to my amusement, is that as I decorate the tree on my own, I still revise it here and there: moving an angel closer to a tree light or switching the blue bulb for the red, only to move them back the next day. This goes on right up to Christmas Eve, when I must pronounce it the most beautiful tree ever. Other people might disagree or have suggestions and that’s ok. My husband wants us to do tinsel. We both have fond memories of our mothers instructing us to put one strand on at a time, while we wanted to throw it in gobs, all at once! I think this is the year we do that.

My book revisions are like the tree. I will look at a scene and realize it needs to take place much earlier in the book. Or read a paragraph for the hundredth time and realize it shouldn’t be there at all, only to read the chapter again the next day and wonder why I ever took it out. I want it to shine. I want it to be my best effort. But at some point I have to let it go. Send it to my agent and let others decide. And I can do that knowing God has a season for all things. His timing is perfect and I can wait with humble gratitude for whatever His will is. No matter the outcome.

One only needs to read the story of the birth of Jesus and the journey of the magi to know of God’s perfect timing, His love for us and the hope He brings. And during this busy Christmas season, whether you are trying to perfect the decorations or a manuscript, I hope you have a moment to read and share the story from Matthew 1:18 through 2:12.  And in all things we have God’s promise from Matt 28:20 “. . . and surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Rebecca DeMarino is a retired United Airlines Service Director and worked as an Office Manager at the Natasha Kern Literary Agency from March, 2008 until September, 2010. She currently works part-time as a Carnival Cruise Line representative from her home office. She recently signed with literary agent Barbara Scott with WordServe Literary. ‘She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the ACFW PDX/Vancouver Chapter, the Romance Writers of America, the RWA Faith Hope and Love Chapter, the Christian Writer’s Guild, and The Southold, L.I., Historical Society. A 2011 ACFW Genesis semi-finalist, Rebecca and her husband, Tom, live in the Pacific Northwest. When not writing, Rebecca enjoys reading, running, gardening and trying to keep up with her eleven grandchildren.

Interview with G&F Author: Wendy Young

Today we are so blessed to welcome Wendy Young.  Wendy, for those who don’t know, was the connection point between Karen Baney and me that started Grace & Faith 4U.  It was Wendy’s blog that Karen was on that I somehow stumbled on that started all of this.  Wendy recently released her second book, and we’re so glad she could join us today!

Hi, Wendy.  Thanks so much for coming.  Can you tell us a bit about yourself beyond who you are as a writer?

I am a 30-something wife, mother, and Work-at-Home-Mom who lives in beautiful, friendly East Tennessee. Life is crazy but I am blessed!

30-something. Hm. How pleasantly vague. 🙂 So how did you come to be a Christian writer?

I never set out to write a Christian book but faith has a way of showing itself and when my husband finished it he was like “this should be in Christian stores.” My main characters are Christian, and unabashedly so, but overall it’s still secular fiction. The important question I always ask myself as I consider ‘what will happen next’ in the plot is whether I am glorifying anything that goes against my faith. That’s an important measure for me. I may include bad events like murder, corruption, and so forth, but it’s all in how they are portrayed. I really feel a strong pull to reach people where they are, so to speak, and make them think about things in a new way.

Interesting. I’m curious if you weren’t writing, what would you be doing?

In college I realized the only thing I wanted to be was a Mom. I was on track to pursue Psychology to the very end and become a professional psychologist, counseling patients and everything, but I just knew that I didn’t care about having a career that way and would give it all up in an instant for my kids. Writing has been something I enjoyed for a long time and the only career I want. Whether it becomes a full-time venture, as I hope, remains to be seen. Right now I continue to do what I must – be a wife, mother, full-time day-jobber, and writer.

That’s a lot!  You obviously wear many hats as most authors do.  What new things are you working on right now?

I have done it all, pretty much! Poetry, plays, scripts, songs, short stories, novels, blogging, tweeting, non-fiction articles….  I breathe, I write. At the moment I have a short story available called “One Final Night,” and the Campbell Creek Mystery books – Come the Shadows and Red Sky Warning. The 3rd book, Racing the Sunset, will be available sometime in the spring of 2012. I blog a few times a week at http://wendylyoung.wordpress.com . Topics range from writing updates, to writing/promotion thoughts and tips, and a bit of family life in between.

I love your blog especially for the marketing tips. 😉  As a person of faith do you have any quotes or sayings that really speak to you?

If you’ve seen me on Twitter you know I have LOTS of quotes. There are so many I love and I enjoy finding new ones. I could never pick one but a few I love:

Proofread carefully to see if you any words out. – Author Unknown (This one reminds me to slow down.)

Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task. – William James (I am forever putting off things I don’t enjoy and the weigh so heavily!)

Happiness is not a state to arrive at, but a manner of traveling. – Margaret Lee Runbeck (Good point to remember !)

It is impossible to discourage the real writers. – Sinclair Lewis (So me, but then I am also glad the responses have been so positive to my work thus far. It helps to be encouraged, all the same J )

Cool. I love quotes too!  I have to remind myself to stop collecting them sometimes, and on Twitter I pass on so many that you put up. They are all so good.  So along with putting books out and Twittering, are you working on anything else?

I never stop! I’m working on the 3rd book in my series. Another book that is almost 2 years old now and still unfinished is next. I start a new book the moment one is published. There are so many stories in my head I just can’t write them fast enough.

So it sounds like readers will have lots of new stories from Wendy Young in the years to come. Where can we find you on the ‘net?

I’m everywhere!

Readers can find me on Twitter, Facebook, my blog, Goodreads, Google+, and of course my books can be found on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and anywhere else eBooks are sold.

Thanks  for coming to visit with us, Wendy!  Everyone… don’t miss Red Sky Warning…

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