ACFW December New Releases

December 2017 New Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

Contemporary:

Rebecca’s Redemption by Lee Carver — A nurse seeking redemption for past sins joins a doctor contending against the jungle. Both healers need healing. (Contemporary, Independently Published)

Contemporary Romance:

The Christmas Baby by Lisa Carter — Mistletoe Mommy Anna Reyes is pregnant and widowed, and a Christmas homecoming isn’t so simple. Reuniting with her best friend, Ryan Savage, makes it easier—even though she knows he’ll soon be leaving their small coastal hometown. After putting his career on hold for his family’s business, Ryan’s finally ready to pursue his goals. But as he and Anna work to make the holidays special for a group of at-risk kids, Ryan wonders if he can give up one dream for another. They’re determined to make this a Christmas to remember, but can Ryan and Anna also make their holiday family last forever? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

You’re Gonna Love Me by Robin Lee Hatcher — Nick’s love of thrills and danger and Samantha’s love of safety and security drove them apart two years ago. After her worst fears came true, can they build something new upon the ashes of the past? (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

A Christmas Kind of Perfect by Christine Schimpf — Conrad Hamilton thought his life would be easy. A great job running his own construction business, living in his hometown in Door County, Wisconsin, with Lila Clark by his side. He planned on marrying her as soon as she returned from her Chicago internship but it never happened.
Lila never expected to become a successful writer nor did she plan on spending the last decade in New York. But she did. Can the magic of Christmas turn two hearts back to one another again or is it too late to capture that special kind of perfect? (Contemporary Romance from Prism Christian Publishing)

Under the Mistletoe: A Christian Christmas Anthology by Jenna Brandt, Lorana Hoopes, Carol E. Keen, Elle E. Kay, Mary C. Findley, Judith Robl, Evangeline Kelly, C.J. Samuels — Christmas is the time when families get together and love abounds. Eight inspirational authors have teamed up to bring you 8 wonderful Christmas novellas sure to bring you joy this season. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Making Spirits Bright by Cathe Swanson, Chautona Havig, Toni Shiloh, April Hayman — Christmas is a season for new beginnings and second chances. A time for hope and joy and laughter. A time for people of all ages to find love and come together in community. Making Spirits Bright is a collection of just such stories – four never-before-published inspirational Christmas novellas. From romance to cozy mystery, with a generous dash of humor, these contemporary stories are sure to warm your heart as well as brighten your season and lift your Christmas spirit. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Historical Romance:


The Calico and Cowboys Romance Collection by Mary Connealy — The Old West comes to life under the talented pen of bestselling author Mary Connealy. Enjoy a lighthearted ride alongside seven historical and one contemporary cowboys and the women who tame their hearts. (Historical/Contemporary Romance Novella from Barbour Publishing)



Would-Be Mistletoe Wife by Christine Johnson — Worried she might lose her teaching job if funding is cut for her boarding school, widow Louise Smythe must consider marriage. But the only prospective groom in town is lighthouse-keeper Jesse Hammond, and he wants children–something she may never be able to provide. While Jesse waits for the ideal woman to make his wife, though, Louise can’t help but long for something more than his friendship. If he wants to be promoted to head lighthouse keeper, Jesse needs to find a wife suited to his rustic lifestyle. But as he and Louise partner to give the town’s homeless orphans a joyous holiday, he’s drawn to the petite woman. Will the light of Christmas finally inspire them to trust in each other’s hearts? (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])



Circle of Blessings by Deborah Raney — A young college student is determined to win the love of her English professor at the university in the Dakota Territory where she is studying to be an architect. (Historical Romance from Raney Day Press)

Historical:

Return to Bella Terra by MaryAnn Diorio — When she receives word that her mother is terminally ill, Maria Landro Tonetta travels to her Sicilian homeland with her son Nico. She finds herself yearning for the life she once knew as a child on Bella Terra, the family farm, now on the verge of bankruptcy. Caught between two worlds, Maria dreams of moving back to Sicily with her husband and children to save the farm. When, however, Nico’s biological father unexpectedly appears at Mama’s funeral, Maria faces a new enemy to her dream.
But is there an even greater enemy within her own soul? (Historical, Independently Published)

Brides of Minnesota by Lena Nelson Dooley — Follow a Swedish family’s journey as they settle in Minnesota where each brother seeks a living—and wife. (Historical from Barbour Publishing)

Mystery:

Guilt by Association by Heather Day Gilbert — When the dead body of an overdosed teen turns up next to Tess Spencer’s mom’s trailer, it’ll take a miracle to keep Tess from becoming a casualty in her own personal war on drugs. (Mystery, ACFW Qualified Independently Published)

Romantic Suspense:

Imperfect Justice by Cara Putman — The police say the woman was a murderer. Emilie Wesley knows they can’t be talking about her client . . . can they? (Romantic Suspense from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

Holiday Secrets by Susan Sleeman — When his ex is thrust into the crosshairs of a deadly syndicate, FBI agent Gavin McKade will do whatever it takes to protect her. Even work the case with his stubborn sheriff dad. As if protecting Lexie from professional killers isn’t difficult enough, the unlikely reunion has rekindled their complicated romantic connection. But if Gavin can’t untangle Lexie from this dangerous web, the blurring line between duty and love may not matter…because this Christmas could be their last. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Speculative:

The Redemption of Jedidiah Pinkney by J.R. Pitts — A crippled and bullied young boy finds redemption and healing after an encounter with Jesus. (Speculative from Ambassador International)

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Posted in ACFW New Releases, Christian, Historical, historical heartbeats, Historical Romance, Inspirational Romance, Mystery | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Highland Pearl ~ Spotlight

Author Brenda B. Taylor spotlights the first book in the Highland Treasures series, A Highland Pearl. The book tells the story of a sweet romance that blossomed amidst feuding and war and a Christmastime wedding. Leave a comment to win an ebook copy of A Highland Pearl.

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Blurb:

A sweet romance blossoms amidst feuding and war. With her reputation at stake after being accused of practicing witchcraft and hated as a member of a rival clan, Maidie considers leaving Clan Munro and returning to the home of her birth in Clan Cameron. Fierce battles, a tragic encounter, and a handsome clan chief compel her to make crucial decisions in this haunting romance set in the16th century Highlands of Scotland.

 Excerpt:

The Village of Drumainn, Ross-Shire

Scottish Highlands 1508 A.D.

Maidie rode behind the young warrior on a horse galloping toward the castle. She removed one hand from around his trim waist to pull her wrap closer against the biting wind then secured the kertch trying to fly from her head. The old Cameron scarf was the only one she could find before rushing out of the cottage when Tavish pounded on her door. She replaced her hand, trying not to mind his grimy clothes and gamey smell, and held her bag of precious herbs with the other. Tavish guided the horse between several tenant crofters coming and going from the castle.

The wind whistled through large birch and oak trees lining the road. Leaves of gold, red, yellow, and brown rustled in the wind then floated to the ground. Maidie enjoyed the walk to the castle this time of year, when a lass needed a midwife, but today she could not think about the beauty. She looked back at Sven, who rode behind Maighstir Tam, and held to a small leather bag filled with various implements she used in her work. A chill ran through her, not only from the wind, but also from the dread of seeing the terrible wounds of the injured.

They pulled to one side of a wide wooden bridge leading to the outer bailey of Fàrdach Castle to let a wagon pass. Tavish waved to the guard in the barbican as their party entered through the large, steel-studded oak gates, under the portcullis, and into the outer bailey. The bailey teemed with the life of humans and animals. Their various buildings, dwellings, and shelters lined the curtain wall.

Tavish steered his horse dodging roughly dressed people, went through a second gate in the curtain wall, then across a bridged moat to the quieter inner yard. He waved to a guard on the rampart, and guided his horse to the door of the castle’s keep. Stable boys rushed to take the reins of both horses. Tavish quickly dismounted, then helped Maidie to the ground. She held her bag with a firm grip. He then assisted Sven and Tam from their horse. Large green eyes in the ashen face of her wee son searched hers. She patted his small hand and rubbed his mass of red hair. He tried to smile, giving her a small gift of comfort.

“All will be well, Sven,” she said to reassure him. Not since watching his father die from wounds he received in a battle with Clans MacKenzie and Cameron had she seen such fear in her son’s eyes.

“I dinna wish to go inside, Mam.” The boy drew back from her touch.

“You may stay out here then. Just dinna leave the bailey.” Maidie took Sven’s bag then handed both to Tavish. She cupped the small boy’s chin in her fingers and kissed the lined forehead. “Stay close. Mayhap there are other children close by.”

“Yes, Mam. I will.” His half-smile gave her a sense of relief.

“Just stay close.” Maidie turned and walked toward Tavish who held the heavy wooden door open. Tam followed as they entered the great hall of the keep.

Tavish closed the door with a thud. Maidie stood for a moment so her eyes could adjust to the dimness. Light rays from the small upper windows glinted off the weapons, armor, and heraldry displayed on the stone walls. Lifeless eyes in the heads of boar with long tusks and red stags with huge racks of antlers stared at her from above the weapons.

Although a large fireplace with a glowing fire stood on each of the four walls, the air felt cold and damp. The smell of dirt, blood, human waste, and unwashed bodies blended together into a noxious odor causing a revolt in her stomach. She swallowed a rush of nausea with a gulp. Wounded warriors lying atop rush pallets lined the floor. A servant rushed to the maighstir, pulling him toward a blood-soaked pallet where an unconscious man lay.

Tam began administering last rites to the warrior. Loud groans and cries came from the wounded. One pallet lay apart from the others. Angus MacKay, the castle physician, hovered over it. The laird must be lying there. He made no sound.

Tavish pushed her toward the pallet. “The laird needs your help, Madam.”

She hesitated. “Angus is there with him.”

“His brother asked for you. You must help now.” Tavish grabbed her arm with his free hand and pulled her toward the stricken laird.

She resisted. “So many others need my help.” She counted only three other servants and the laird’s sister, Davina, caring for the wounded.

“Angus can help them.” Tavish tugged on her arm once more. She reluctantly followed. “The tanist said Laird Andrew asked specifically for you to come to his aid.”

“He asked for me?” Maidie pulled against the arm holding her. “He looks unconscious.”

“He’s only resting now. Angus gave him a potion to ease his pain.” Tavish jerked once more.

Maidie reluctantly let him pull her to the pallet that held Andrew Munro. Angus turned to her when they approached, his face covered with a scowl. The castle physician left quickly, making his way to another of the wounded men.

A voice came from the darkness on the far side of the bed. “Thank you for coming Maidie Cameron Munro. As you can see for yourself, my brother needs your attention.”

Maidie’s hand went to the very first thing a Munro noticed— her kertch of Cameron colors. The large form of Gavin, tanist of the clan, rose from the shadows. Filth caked the russet hair tied away from his grimy face with a leather thong. A dirty linen léine hung in shreds from his shoulders and arms. The upper end of his great plaide, now stained with gore, wrapped around broad shoulders with a long dagger sheathed on a wide leather belt at his waist.

“I fought many wearing those same colors this verra day,” he said with heavy brows knit together in a dark, frightening scowl.

Maidie could only shake her head in response. Her stomach churned at the sight and sound of him. Then she looked down at the man lying on the pallet. His face held the green pallor of death she had seen before on the dying. His body, covered with a filthy plaide, trembled. Long black hair, fanned about powerful shoulders. She knelt beside the trembling form, and lifted the plaide. A hand went to her mouth when she uncovered the gaping wound across his abdomen.

A loud gasp escaped between Maidie’s fingers. “Ach! Saints in Heaven! Why didn’t Angus stitch this wound?” She pushed the plaide away from the open wound, leaving it to cover only the lower part of the chief’s torso.

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Buy Links:

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Author Brenda B. Taylor

Author Bio:

The desire to write historical fiction has long been a passion with Brenda B. Taylor. Since elementary school, she has written stories in her spare time. Brenda earned three degrees: a BSE from Henderson State University, Arkadelphia, Arkansas; a MEd from Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas; and an EdD from Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas; then worked as a teacher and administrator in the Texas Public School system. Only after retirement could she fulfill the dream of publication.

Brenda and her husband make their home in beautiful East Texas where they enjoy spending time with family and friends, traveling, and working in Bethabara Faith Ministry, Inc. She crafts stories about the extraordinary lives of ordinary people in her favorite place overlooking bird feeders, bird houses, and a variety of blooming trees and flowers. She sincerely thanks all who purchase and read her books. Her desire is that the message in each book will touch the heart of the reader as it did hers in the writing.

Author Contact Information:

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Posted in A Highland Pearl, Book Spotlight, historical heartbeats, Scottish historical romance, Sweet Romance | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

When Your Heart Comes Home ~ Spotlight

Historical Heartbeats welcomes Author Marilyn Peveto introducing her debut novel, When Your Heart Comes Home. After her husband’s death, Sarah Andersson must care for her small children and run the family business. When her first love returns to town, will Sarah be able to put aside the past?

Sarah Andersson’s immigrant husband becomes homesick for his native Sweden and insists on returning. A prominent member of tiny Pineville, Texas, Sarah decides to stay behind with their two young children. After her husband is killed before leaving American shores, she grieves his death but is asked to rescue the town’s main business, the sawmill.

When her first love, Thomas Carson, returns to Pineville after a five-year absence, Sarah must put aside the past and ask Thomas to do the same. They can only save their town by working together.

While Sarah grieves, cares for her children, and runs the sawmill, she discovers she has feelings for Thomas. But she worries he hides a dark secret.

Will she allow herself to love again?

Buy Links:

Amazon
https://www.amazon.com/When-Heart-Comes-Curtain-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B077CBY6S3
Barnes & Noble
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/when-your-heart-comes-home-marilyn-peveto/1127446818
iBooks
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/when-your-heart-comes-home/id1312463581
Kobo
https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/when-your-heart-comes-home

 

Author Marilyn Peveto

Author Bio:

Marilyn Peveto is a lifelong East Texan from a family that has lived in the Piney Woods for generations. Growing up hearing tales of sawmills at the turn of the twentieth century made the region’s history a natural setting for her stories.

Her hobbies include reading, browsing in antique stores for her next treasure and cooking her family’s favorite southern foods.

Marilyn enjoys life with her two adult children, a son-in-law, an adorable granddaughter, her husband of forty-one years and two geriatric beagles who snooze at her feet as she writes.

Contact Marilyn:

Email:
marilynpeveto@sbcglobal.net
FaceBook:
https://www.facebook.com/marilyn.peveto

Posted in American Historical Romance, Book Spotlight, historical heartbeats, Inspirational Romance, New Release | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Give Thanks

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The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621 by the Pilgrims who left their homes in England searching for religious freedom. They lived in a feudal society where the king and lords determined their faith and controlled their lives. They sought freedom to live and worship according to the dictates of their own hearts.

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Over half of their group died the first winter in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Sickness and death affected every family, but some survived with the help of friendly Native Americans. After the next fall harvest, the survivors celebrated a time of thanksgiving. Although grieving for the lost ones, they rejoiced with Indian friends in the New World, in their new life.

“Give thanks in all things,” the Lord says. Sometimes this is difficult while going through a storm of life, but being thankful in all circumstances will bring you closer to God.

The follow excerpt is from the novel, Through The Storm by Brenda B Taylor. The novel continues The Wades Of Crawford County saga, following Leann and Ralph through the years of making a life together and raising young children. As with all married couples, they struggled through the storms of life, but drew closer to the Lord and to each other.

Through The Storm

“And Sunday we’re going to church,” Ralph told his family. “We’re going to praise the Lord for making us well. I want you kids to get your Sunday clothes ready, and take a good bath Saturday.”

Katy smiled. She loved to dress up and helped Leann wash and press the family’s Sunday garments. Ralph and the boys polished the Sunday shoes and boots. The boys frowned. They didn’t like to bathe, but their mother insisted on a good bath each week with a hair washing, and sometimes in between if they got too dirty.

Bathing took a good deal of time on Saturday night, because Leann insisted each member of the family have fresh water in the tub. She filled a number three washtub with water, then heated water on the stove and added it to the washtub to make a warm bath. She put the tub in a corner of the kitchen and hung blankets around it for privacy. The children bathed first. Since there was not much privacy in the kitchen of their little cabin, Ralph and Leann took their baths after the children went to sleep.

“Do you want us to wash our neck and behind our ears, Papa?” Jesse asked.
Ralph and Leann looked at each other and smiled, trying not to laugh at their son. He was attempting to get ahead of the command Leann gave the children when they bathed. Sometimes those spots were missed.

“Yes, Jesse,” Ralph said. “Be sure to wash behind your ears, and your neck. Dirt sticks in those places when it jumps out on little boys.”

“Dirt don’t jump out on boys, Papa.” Jesse reached up to feel behind an ear.

“I don’t know about all boys, but it sure jumps out on you two.” Ralph winked at Leann.

“You’re fooling me, Papa.” Jesse went to Ralph, searching his eyes for any sign of jesting.

“I’m not fooling, am I Leann?” Ralph stared back at his little son.

“No you aren’t, and we’ll start the baths early to make sure those spots get clean.” Leann knew Jesse and Jim didn’t like to come indoors early to bathe.

“Heck!” Jim said.

“Heck!” Jesse echoed.

Ralph laughed at the boys. Leann went around the table and stood beside him, examining his hair. She smoothed a strand on the back of his head. It went well below his collar.

“Looks like haircuts are overdue. I haven’t paid close attention with everyone being sick.”
Ralph’s smile faded quickly. He disliked sitting still for a haircut more than the boys. “Oh no.”

“Oh no,” the two boys said in unison.

Katy laughed now. Leann rested her hands on Ralph’s shoulders and giggled at the expressions on Jim’s and Jesse’s faces.

“It’s real tough for us men to sit still for haircuts and then be made to take baths,” Ralph told Leann, glancing around at her.

“I can only imagine.” She gave his hair a small pull. He reached up and caught her hand.

“I’m buying us a Sunday dinner at Mrs. McCall’s boarding house,” Ralph said. “We need to celebrate getting over the mumps, and Mama needs a rest after taking care of us.”

“Thank you.” Leann gave him a hug.

The children clamored over each other, trying to hug him. “Thank you, Papa,” they said in unison.

Ralph patted each one on the head and smiled at his children. They were his joy, and a stranger asking Katy questions concerned him greatly. After ten years of having her in his home, she was like his own daughter. For the first few years she lived with them, Leann and he expected her father to return, and guarded their hearts. When Ray didn’t come back, they began to believe she might stay permanently.

“Okay family, time to get on with our work. I’m going to get as much tobacco in the barn before dark as I can. Jim, you and Jesse come and help me. Katy can help Mama.” Ralph rose from the table and put his work hat on.

Leann and Katy began setting the kitchen in order. Leann hummed a hymn from the music he and his pa played earlier. Ralph knew she was pleased they planned to attend church on Sunday after a long absence. He missed the services too.

 

Posted in American Historical Romance, Brenda B. Taylor, Christian, historical heartbeats, Historical Romance, Inspirational Romance | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

BookSweeps Contest and Giveaway

 

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Today, I have a fun surprise that I’d like to share with you.

I’ve teamed up with 51 fantastic authors to give away a huge collection of inspirational romances to 2 lucky winners, PLUS a brand new eReader to the Grand Prize winner!

Oh, and did I mention you’ll receive a collection of FREE ebooks just for entering?

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You can win my novel A Highland Pearl, plus books from authors like Susan May Warren and Robert Tate Miller.

Enter the giveaway by clicking here: http://bit.ly/inspy-holidays-nov2017

Good luck, and enjoy!

Brenda B. Taylor

Posted in A Highland Pearl, BookSweeps Contest, historical heartbeats, Inspirational Romance, Sweet Romance | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Celebrating the American Soldier

We recently celebrated Veterans’ Day, a special time set aside to remember those who fought for our country. So many have given their time, talent, and all defending the freedoms we hold so dear. Freedom is not free. This time of remembrance brings us to a closer understanding of what the Savior experienced when he purchased our freedom with his life.

“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13 NLT)

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The average age of the military man is 19 years. He is a short-haired, tight-muscled kid who, under normal circumstances is considered by society as half man, half boy. Not yet dry behind the ears, not old enough to buy a beer, but old enough to die for his country. He never really cared much for work and he would rather wax his own car than wash his father’s, but he has never collected unemployment either.

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He’s a recent high school graduate; he was probably an average student, pursued some form of sport activities, drives a ten-year old jalopy, and has a steady girlfriend that either broke up with him when he left, or swears to be waiting when he returns from half a world away. He listens to rock and roll or hip-hop or rap or jazz or swing and a 155mm howitzer.

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He is 10 or 15 pounds lighter now than when he was at home because he is working or fighting from before dawn to well after dusk. He has trouble spelling, thus letter writing is a pain for him, but he can field strip a rifle in 30 seconds and reassemble it in less time in the dark. He can recite to you the nomenclature of a machine gun or grenade launcher and use either one effectively if he must.

He digs foxholes and latrines and can apply first aid like a professional. He can march until he is told to stop, or stop until he is told to march. He obeys orders instantly and without hesitation, but he is not without spirit or individual dignity. He is self-sufficient.

He has two sets of fatigues: he washes one and wears the other. He keeps his canteens full and his feet dry. He sometimes forgets to brush his teeth, but never to clean his rifle. He can cook his own meals, mend his own clothes, and fix his own hurts. If you’re thirsty, he’ll share his water with you; if you are hungry, his food. He’ll even split his ammunition with you in the midst of battle when you run low.

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He has learned to use his hands like weapons and weapons like they were his hands. He can save your life – or take it, because that is his job. He will often do twice the work of a civilian, draw half the pay, and still find ironic humor in it all. He has seen more suffering and death than he should have in his short lifetime. He has wept in public and in private, for friends who have fallen in combat, and is unashamed.

He feels every note of the National Anthem vibrate through his body while at rigid attention, while tempering the burning desire to’ square-away’ those around him who haven’t bothered to stand, remove their hat, or even stop talking. In an odd twist, day in and day out, far from home, he defends their right to be disrespectful.

Just as did his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, he is paying the price for our freedom. Beardless or not, he is not a boy. He is the American Fighting Man that has kept this country free for over 200 years.

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He has asked nothing in return, except our friendship and understanding. Remember him, always, for he has earned our respect and admiration with his blood.

And now we even have women over there in danger, doing their part in this tradition of going to war when our nation calls us to do so. As you go to bed tonight, remember this shot… A short lull, a little shade and a picture of loved ones in their helmets.

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When you receive this, please stop for a moment and say a prayer for our ground troops, sailors on ships, and airmen in the air, and for those in Iraq, Afghanistan and all foreign countries.

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Of all the gifts you could give an US Soldier, Sailor, Coastguardsman, Marine, or Airman, prayer is the very best one.

 

 

Posted in Christian, historical heartbeats, Soldier, Veteran's Day | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

A Interview with Laird Andrew Dubh Munro of A Highland Pearl by Brenda B. Taylor

Historical Heartbeats welcomes Laird Andrew Dubh, chief of Clan Munro telling about his home and story.

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Scottish Highlands

Where do you live Laird Munro?

Greetings from 16th century Scotland. My name is Andrew Dubh Munro. I’m know as the Black Falcon of Fàrdach, Thirteenth Baron, and Chief of Clan Munro. My home and seat of the clan, Fàrdach Castle, is located in the Scottish Highlands on the north shore of Cromarty Firth. Fàrdach is a Gaelic word meaning ‘home’. Gaelic is my first language, although in order to trade with merchants in Inverness and other places, I also speak Inglish and French.

How did you meet Maidie?

My father, Sir William Munro, was killed in a battle with the MacKenzie Clan. The MacKenzies and Munros have been feuding since the battle. I wanted to bring peace between the two clans, but Hugh MacKenzie and his warriors continued to reive Munro cattle and destroy Munro property. While confronting the reivers one day, I received an almost fatal wound.

My brother, Gavin, sent for a bonnie lass and healer from the nearby village of Drumainn. Maidie saved my life, and I fell in love with her. I wanted to take Maidie as my wife, but she hesitated since I, at that time, did not believe in God.

How did you come to know the Lord?

One night, the MacKenzies burned a Munro village. I accompanied my brother and our warriors in a chase for the culprits. My injury had not healed completely, and I could not keep up. I insisted Gavin and the band of warriors, except for my gille, Colin, go on without me. We made ourselves comfortable and settled down to wait for Gavin’s return.

I soon learned the burned village was a trap to get me out of Fàrdach Castle. The MacKenzies captured Colin and me, and took us to the dungeon of their castle. We stayed in the dungeon five days, eating rancid meat, and drinking foul water. Our physical condition weakened until I thought the two of us would die.

Being thrown into the dungeon was the best thing that could have happened to me. Colin, a believer, taught me the way to the Lord through his son, Jesus the Christ. I prayed and the Lord accepted me into His kingdom. I wasn’t afraid to die then, for I knew Heaven waited.

What happened between you and Maidie?

Hugh MacKenzie released us on the urging of my former father-in-law, Bryson Fraser. The story takes many turns and twists before Maidie and I were reunited and I declared my love for her. The miracle—she loved me in return and promised to become my wife. The Lord truly blessed me with the desire of my heart—Maidie Cameron Munro.

Where is your story told?

My story is told in the novel by Brenda B. Taylor, A Highland Pearl. Secure your copy today. You will enjoy the adventure through the beautiful Scottish Highlands.

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A Highland Pearl

Blurb:

A sweet romance blossoms amidst feuding and war. With her reputation at stake after being accused of practicing witchcraft and hated as a member of a rival clan, Maidie considers leaving Clan Munro and returning to the home of her birth in Clan Cameron. Fierce battles, a tragic encounter, and a handsome clan chief compel her to make crucial decisions in this haunting romance set in the 16th century Highlands of Scotland.

Excerpt:

The Village of Drumainn, Ross-Shire

Scottish Highlands 1508 A.D.

Maidie rode behind the young warrior on a horse galloping toward the castle. She removed one hand from around his trim waist to pull her wrap closer against the biting wind then secured the kertch trying to fly from her head. The old Cameron scarf was the only one she could find before rushing out of the cottage when Tavish pounded on her door. She replaced her hand, trying not to mind his grimy clothes and gamey smell, and held her bag of precious herbs with the other. Tavish guided the horse between several tenant crofters coming and going from the castle.

The wind whistled through large birch and oak trees lining the road. Leaves of gold, red, yellow, and brown rustled in the wind then floated to the ground. Maidie enjoyed the walk to the castle this time of year, when a lass needed a midwife, but today she could not think about the beauty. She looked back at Sven, who rode behind Maighstir Tam, and held to a small leather bag filled with various implements she used in her work. A chill ran through her, not only from the wind, but also from the dread of seeing the terrible wounds of the injured.

They pulled to one side of a wide wooden bridge leading to the outer bailey of Fàrdach Castle to let a wagon pass. Tavish waved to the guard in the barbican as their party entered through the large, steel-studded oak gates, under the portcullis, and into the outer bailey. The bailey teemed with the life of humans and animals. Their various buildings, dwellings, and shelters lined the curtain wall.

Tavish steered his horse dodging roughly dressed people, went through a second gate in the curtain wall, then across a bridged moat to the quieter inner yard. He waved to a guard on the rampart, and guided his horse to the door of the castle’s keep. Stable boys rushed to take the reins of both horses. Tavish quickly dismounted, then helped Maidie to the ground. She held her bag with a firm grip. He then assisted Sven and Tam from their horse. Large green eyes in the ashen face of her wee son searched hers. She patted his small hand and rubbed his mass of red hair. He tried to smile, giving her a small gift of comfort.

“All will be well, Sven,” she said to reassure him. Not since watching his father die from wounds he received in a battle with Clans MacKenzie and Cameron had she seen such fear in her son’s eyes.

“I dinna wish to go inside, Mam.” The boy drew back from her touch.

“You may stay out here then. Just dinna leave the bailey.” Maidie took Sven’s bag then handed both to Tavish. She cupped the small boy’s chin in her fingers and kissed the lined forehead. “Stay close. Mayhap there are other children close by.”

“Yes, Mam. I will.” His half-smile gave her a sense of relief.

“Just stay close.” Maidie turned and walked toward Tavish who held the heavy wooden door open. Tam followed as they entered the great hall of the keep.

Tavish closed the door with a thud. Maidie stood for a moment so her eyes could adjust to the dimness. Light rays from the small upper windows glinted off the weapons, armor, and heraldry displayed on the stone walls. Lifeless eyes in the heads of boar with long tusks and red stags with huge racks of antlers stared at her from above the weapons.

Although a large fireplace with a glowing fire stood on each of the four walls, the air felt cold and damp. The smell of dirt, blood, human waste, and unwashed bodies blended together into a noxious odor causing a revolt in her stomach. She swallowed a rush of nausea with a gulp. Wounded warriors lying atop rush pallets lined the floor. A servant rushed to the maighstir, pulling him toward a blood-soaked pallet where an unconscious man lay.

Tam began administering last rites to the warrior. Loud groans and cries came from the wounded. One pallet lay apart from the others. Angus MacKay, the castle physician, hovered over it. The laird must be lying there. He made no sound.

Tavish pushed her toward the pallet. “The laird needs your help, Madam.”

She hesitated. “Angus is there with him.”

“His brother asked for you. You must help now.” Tavish grabbed her arm with his free hand and pulled her toward the stricken laird.

She resisted. “So many others need my help.” She counted only three other servants and the laird’s sister, Davina, caring for the wounded.

“Angus can help them.” Tavish tugged on her arm once more. She reluctantly followed. “The tanist said Laird Andrew asked specifically for you to come to his aid.”

“He asked for me?” Maidie pulled against the arm holding her. “He looks unconscious.”

“He’s only resting now. Angus gave him a potion to ease his pain.” Tavish jerked once more.

Maidie reluctantly let him pull her to the pallet that held Andrew Munro. Angus turned to her when they approached, his face covered with a scowl. The castle physician left quickly, making his way to another of the wounded men.

A voice came from the darkness on the far side of the bed. “Thank you for coming Maidie Cameron Munro. As you can see for yourself, my brother needs your attention.”

Maidie’s hand went to the very first thing a Munro noticed— her kertch of Cameron colors. The large form of Gavin, tanist of the clan, rose from the shadows. Filth caked the russet hair tied away from his grimy face with a leather thong. A dirty linen léine hung in shreds from his shoulders and arms. The upper end of his great plaide, now stained with gore, wrapped around broad shoulders with a long dagger sheathed on a wide leather belt at his waist.

“I fought many wearing those same colors this verra day,” he said with heavy brows knit together in a dark, frightening scowl.

Maidie could only shake her head in response. Her stomach churned at the sight and sound of him. Then she looked down at the man lying on the pallet. His face held the green pallor of death she had seen before on the dying. His body, covered with a filthy plaide, trembled. Long black hair, fanned about powerful shoulders. She knelt beside the trembling form, and lifted the plaide. A hand went to her mouth when she uncovered the gaping wound across his abdomen.

A loud gasp escaped between Maidie’s fingers. “Ach! Saints in Heaven! Why didn’t Angus stitch this wound?” She pushed the plaide away from the open wound, leaving it to cover only the lower part of the chief’s torso.

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Author Brenda B. Taylor

Author Bio:

The desire to write historical fiction has long been a passion with Brenda B. Taylor. Since elementary school, she has written stories in her spare time. Brenda earned three degrees: a BSE from Henderson State University, Arkadelphia, Arkansas; a MEd from Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas; and an EdD from Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas; then worked as a teacher and administrator in the Texas Public School system. Only after retirement could she fulfill the dream of publication.

Brenda and her husband make their home in beautiful East Texas where they enjoy spending time with family and friends, traveling, and working in Bethabara Faith Ministry, Inc. She crafts stories about the extraordinary lives of ordinary people in her favorite place overlooking bird feeders, bird houses, and a variety of blooming trees and flowers. She sincerely thanks all who purchase and read her books. Her desire is that the message in each book will touch the heart of the reader as it did hers in the writing.

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