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Upcoming: The Man Who Invented Christmas

Christmas is just around the corner, right?

Chestnuts and ornaments and fire’s glow.

Stockings and wisemen and fresh snow.

It also means… MOVIES!

sounf-of-musicAny of you who know me, realize that I’m a big fan of movies, and Christmas movies? Oh YEAH!

There are SO many options and Hallmark usually kicks off the season with a whole host of fun, sweet, magical, and sentimental options. Then, of course, there are the all-time favs, The Holiday, It’s a Wonderful Life, and my brother would add Elf to the list 😉

But there’s one that I’ve watched around Christmas ever since I was a little girl. Music, family, Austria, a few of my favorite things… yep, you guessed it! The Sound of Music.

Julie Andrews, a class act and beautiful lady, paired with the devilishly handsome and charming, Christopher Plummer, bring to life a story of opposites attracting, conflict, hope, finding your dream, and embracing plan Bs.

This holiday season Christopher Plummer is teaming up with another talented (and quite handsome) actor to bring us a new Christmas favorite about one of the most well-known authors of history. Charles Dickens.

Although Mr. Dickens doesn’t have the most glowing personal history, his stories have become classics and one of his classics really brings about the beauty of second chances…and throws a few ‘spirits’ into the mix. A Christmas Carol

christmasBut this year, we get a chance to look behind the scenes of this iconic Christmas film in the movie, The Man Who Invented Christmas.

Here’s a little about the film:

The Man Who Invented Christmas tells the magical journey that led to the creation of Ebenezer Scrooge (Christopher Plummer), Tiny Tim and other classic characters from A Christmas Carol. Directed by Bharat Nalluri (Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day), the film shows how Charles Dickens (Dan Stevens) mixed real life inspirations with his vivid imagination to conjure up unforgettable characters and a timeless tale, forever changing the holiday season into the celebration we know today.

THE MAN WHO INVENTED CHRISTMAS releases in theaters on November 22.

 Want a sneak peek? Check out a film featurette here.

LEAVE a comment and you’ll be entered to win 3 Christmas DVDs – The Sound of Music, A Christmas Carol, and Beauty and the Beast (2016)

So…as we start into this holiday season, what is one of your favorite Christmas movies?

A “Charming” Release Day

CharmingtheTroublemaker 500x750It’s release day for my sixth full-length novel, Charming the Troublemaker, and I’m so excited to share this story with you! As the second book in the Mitchell’s Crossroads series, we get to step back into the world of Ransom, Virginia, and watch how the Mitchell family help lost and lonely folks find a place to call home.

To learn more about the book – check it out here!

According to dictionary.com, ‘charming’ means ‘engaging’, ‘winsome’, ‘pleasing’ or ‘delightful’. I like this one “a power of pleasing or attracting, as through personality or beauty.’ So, as one of my characters attempts to charm the other, I hope you’ll find this story a pleasing or delightful addition to your reading time.

At the heart of Charming the Troublemaker is finding where you belong, just as you are.

PreciousmemeAlex struggles with seeing himself as a ‘hero’ because of his messed-up past. He sees himself as a failure and broken.

Rainey struggles with seeing herself as beautiful and confident because of being wounded in the past. She questions her choices and has forgotten how God sees her.

So…what does the Bible say for these two hearts?

They are more valuable than the sparrows. (Matt 10:31)

You are fearfully and wonderfully made. (Ps 139:14)

You are previous in my eyes…and I love you. (Isaiah 43:4a)

See what manner of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are! (1John 3:1a)

And there are SO many more! Will they learn to see themselves through God’s eyes?

Have you? 🙂

Magic Eraser and the Desperate Leper

Magic Eraser.pngAs a parent, I’m sure you can commiserate with me. Permanent marker is not a 3 year old’s friend, and especially not a mother’s. In less time than in takes for my seventy pound dog to eat his breakfast, a 3 year old can make quick artwork on any item within a home. Permanent.
If you can guess, I’ve had it happen – except, it was on my wall in my office at work. Worse. Much worse. The only thing scarier than permanent marker at work is getting it on the in-laws walls. Yikes!

So, besides freaking out and melting into a embarrassing state of hysteria, I searched for every possible cleaning agent known to man. Greased Lightening (which can take off paint, but not permanent marker), Bleach (yeah, crazy), even The Magic Eraser. Nothing worked.

So the only thing to be done was…repaint the wall. After that, I got rid of all my permanent markers.

MarkerThe wall looked perfect – the evidence removed. Only memory kept the marks clear in my head.

There’s a story in the Bible that reminds me of this. It takes place in Matthew 8 and revolves around some of the most ostracized people in the world. Lepers. The diagnosis of leprosy was catastrophic. It meant the person was removed from his family, friends, and all ‘polite’ society, so to speak, and had to live outside the camp of God’s people. It was humiliating to the point that anytime someone came close to them, they had to yell out “Unclean! Unclean!” to warn the approaching people. Even touching a person with leprosy made the uninfected person ‘unclean’ for a while.

A few amazing things about this story…

1. Jesus TOUCHED the leper. Now, did Jesus need to touch him to heal him? No, but he did this to prove to the doubters and others that he would take the uncleanness of this outcast on himself (as He would do on the cross).
2. Jesus did it ALL. The leper could do nothing to clean himself – no Magic Eraser could take the sores and scars away, but the Great Physician wiped him clean with one touch. Jesus willingly took on the ‘stigma’ of unclean by touching the leper. He was…and is willing. We can never keep the law in any way that completely satisfies God’s requirements. We MUST have grace. Our healing is all about Jesus.
3. We all have a type of leprosy. We are lepers of the heart. Our hearts are infected by the debilitating, corrosive evil of sin. With such an infectious heart, we cannot do good or even ‘see’ clearly. No amount of praying, working, boasting, giving, helping, singing, or learning will clean our hearts. It takes Jesus. For our impure, leprous hearts, he gives the ultimate cleaning. His grace. His sacrifice. His love. As with the leper from Matthew, he looks at us with an ageless, eternal love and says, “I am willing. Be clean.”
Pepper

Magic in the Real World

 

Magic in the Real WorldPeople like C.S. Lewis, Madeline L’Engle, Eric Carle, Dr. Seuss and so many others have a very special mind-set. They still ‘see’ the world from the magical perspective of a child.

And the world is still filled with magic.

I stand amazed on a daily basis at the wonder of simple magic and the grandeur of unusual magic. Do you? The beauty of forgiveness between my children – that’s amazing. The awe of the lights in their eyes as they stare up at the Christmas tree (which is NOT set up yet this year). The marvelous swell of the miraculous in the vast landscape of the world around me.

-Children see magic because they look for it.-.pngThe sweet warmth of tender memories not lost in the past. The tickle of joy in a baby’s laughter. The hug of a dear friend. The tingle of the perfect kiss.

Magic? If we look for it, we can still find it. I might refer to it as God’s fingerprints in our world, but it doesn’t lose it’s glimmer or mystery.

What magic have you seen in your world?

Swoony Saturdays – Josh Tyler

Welcome! Welcome! Swoony Saturdays are your opportunity to be introduced to a book hero who fits high quality hero characteristics. (okay, so he just makes us weak in the knees for all kinds of reasons, but you get the point)

The photos involved are chosen as the most representative of the heroes featured, so IF they look like someone you’ve seen before, that’s almost entirely accidental.

Josh Tyler.pngWho? Josh Tyler

Where can we find this dreamboat?  Then There Was You by Kara Isaac (Bellbird Press, June 2017) You can read my review HERE.

Hugh is relaxing before bed.   (Gretchen?  Have we arrived yet?   We've been a little preoccupied....)
Ok…Ok…I know this is not Josh Tyler…But it’s Hugh Jackman. And he is Australian and look at that smile!

Personality summary: Josh Tyler is a man whose past has brought gravity to her personality but depth to his faith. As a musician in a band that performs all over the world, he’s used to being in the limelight but has also learned, due to painful circumstances, to guard his privacy. He wears a smile more readily than a frown…unless the heroine, Paige, is involved, but don’t worry – her proclivity for being unintentionally ridiculous turns Josh’s frown around. With a desire to do what is right, a love for family, music, and Jesus, he oozes a confidence which is seen best in his compassion with others.

What makes us swoon?

Blue Mountains, australia.
Blue Mountains – Australia

AUSTRALIAN!! (Everyone agrees that this is the top swoony feature 😉)

He’s a musician (guitar)

He can sing

He loves his family.

Loves people

Kind.

Great smile (this is a very swoony one for me. Smiles!! Sigh)

He’s gentle when it’s needed most.

Seriously, this guy is pretty adorable. Funny, confident, flirty…AND he loves Jesus!!!!!!

http://31.media.tumblr.com/b0b9f5ce3324af26cf989159f9d26437/tumblr_mstjqknK6a1rub0hvo1_500.pngStop by the best outdoor bar in #SWFL! The Center Bar in Bonita Springs has great drinks and a great atmosphere! thecenterbar.com/Kissing level of such swooniness: Okay, we don’t get a whole lot of kisses from Josh, but there’s a FANTASTICALLY notable one that happens in a certain ‘tunnel/hallway’. Unforgettable! Up there in the swoony charts. A solid 4.

Basic hero type: Josh can brood with the best of them but underneath is a very caring heart. I think brooding might not be his typical trait, so I’m placing him in the Wentworth (for grudge holding) with a dash of Knightly underneath. What do you think?

How can I meet this swoony mister?Then There Was You

You can find Josh Tyler in all his swoon worthy handsomeness in Kara Isaac’s most recent release, Then There Was You. You can check out my review HERE. And don’t miss out on the Book Journeys post featuring this beautiful country!

Amazon| Goodreads

About the Author

Kara Isaac is an award-winning writer who lives in Wellington, New Zealand, where her career highlights include working in tourism as Private Secretary for the Prime Minister. She loves great books almost as much as she loves her husband and two Hobbit-sized children.

More Books by Kara Isaac 

    

Kissing Levels & Hero Types

Book Journeys – Australia

Australia!!

The first things that come to mind for me are:

Adidas profits from bloody slaughter of kangaroos.  The bodies of slaughtered baby kangaroos - torn from their mother's pouches and too small to be of any commercial use - will lie for the eagles to peck at, while their slaughtered mothers are made into football boots for the sportswear giant.   Adidas has been accused of fuelling ♥Hugh Jackman ♥ Photshoot - Hugh Jackman Photo (26818914) - Fanpop

Kangaroos

Hugh Jackman

Sandy shores

Nicole Kidman

Opera house

Koalas

Thor is no longer arrogant; he's been humbled.  He's grown much since his last movie.  The Thunderer doesn't appear foolhardy in this picture.  Calm, confident, and prepared; but no longer looking for a fight.

Tony Atwood

And Thor (I know. Weird)

Plus, a whole slew of amazing people I’ve gotten to know through the writing process, like Karen Schravemade, Ian Acheson, Katie Donovan, Lucy Nel, Timmy Cleary, and Rel Mollet…plus my new acquaintance Jessica Kate. (If I missed some of my down under cyber-friends, I’m so sorry!!!)

Sydney.pngI just finished Kara Isaac’s novel, Then There Was You. You can find my review HERE. This book takes place almost completely in Australia, particularly in the Sydney area. So today we’re featuring a few lovely sites from that city 😊

  1. The ACCENTS!!! I know, I know. I can rent a movie or hang out on Youtube to get this fix, but live and in-person is so much better. Plus, you get to see the culture, which is another one of my favorite things to explore!! Come on, doesn’t everyone swoon just a wee bit when an Aussie starts talking? Or is that just me? Actually, I probably swoon over English, Irish, and…especially Scottish too, but, my oh my, there’s just something golden about an Australian accent.
  1. The Sydney Opera House – Wow! This magnificent edifice of modern architecture and an internationally recognizable feature associated with Sydney. (I even recognized it in Finding Nemo) The Opera House hosts over forty performances each week.
  1. Tamarama, Bondi, or Bronte beaches are nearby on the eastside and offer beautiful views and excellent spots for romantic beach walks or charming picnics. There are even walking trails connecting some of the beaches, so you can take a lovely stroll from one picturesque view to the next. Or take a half-hour ferry ride to manly for some surfing, snorkeling, and other sea adventures.
    Tamarama Beach via Beautifully, Suddenly
  1. Did you know that Australia has a mountain range known as the BLUE MOUNTAINS!!! (see, I was MEANT to visit there!!) Look at these beautiful mountains! I’d feel right at home (except there’s also a really cool beach nearby and we have to drive a ways to find a beach) http://www.australia.com/en-us/places/blue-mountains.htmlThree Sisters Sunset Blue Mountains New South Wales

The Blue Mountains feature bushland, waterfalls, hiking trails, forests, and… CLIFFS! Okay, okay, I just get nostalgic about cliffs. It’s a weird romantic thing in my head. Plus, they have something called Wentworth Falls???? Really? Engage daydream mode NOW.

Wentworth Rainbow, Wentworth Falls, Australia,  by Toma Iakopo,Tomojo Photography

    1. If you want to take in a great view of Sydney, take a Bridge Climb up Sydney Harbor Bridge. From the photos, the views look spectacular. However, I’m more of a country girl than a city girl, so if you’re looking for me, you’ll probably find me at one of the beaches or…the Blue Mountains 😊

I really hope some of my Aussie friends will chime in to share some great places to visit in Australia!! Have you visited? What did you love about the lovely land Down Under?

Pepper

Then There Was You by Kara Isaac

When Rebecca Maney told me I HAD to read Kara Isaac’s newest release, Then There Was You, two things happened:

  1. I knew I needed to listen because I ALWAYS listen to Rebecca Maney 😉
  2. Kara has been on my TBR list for a whole year because I’d heard her writing style was similar to mine (which I take as a BIG compliment), so I looked forward to finding out if that was true.

So, on a recent flight from Texas, I pulled out my purchased copy of Then There Was You and spent the entire flight time reading…and finishing…this fun, poignant, and sweet romance.

A little about the book:

Then There Was You.jpg

Paige McAllister needs to do something drastic. Her boyfriend can’t even commit to living in the same country, her promised promotion is dead on arrival and the simultaneous loss of her brother and her dream of being a concert violinist has kept her playing life safe and predictable for six years.

Things need to change.

A moment of temporary insanity finds her leaving her life in Chicago to move to Sydney, Australia. There she finds herself, against many of her convictions, as a logistics planner for one of Australia’s biggest churches, and on a collision course with her boss’s son. Josh Tyler fronts a top-selling worship band and is in demand all over the world. But, in the past, his failed romantic relationships almost destroyed both his reputation and his family. He’s determined to never risk it happening again. The last thing he needs is some American girl tipping his ordered life upside down. Especially one who despises everything he’s ever worked for and manages to push every button he has.

When Josh and Paige are thrown together to organize his band’s next tour, the sparks fly. But can they find a way to bridge the differences that pull them apart? Or will they choose the safety and security of what they know over taking a chance on something that will require them to risk everything?

My take:

I love to travel, but with a big family and two middle-class salaries, travel isn’t always an option. Thankfully, Kara provides a wonderful journey to a place I’d LOVE to see some day. Australia. (Which we will be visiting on Thursday on our Book Journeys.)

I’ve seen the movie, Australia, but the place? Not yet. There are loads of people I’d love to visit over there. 😊

But – back to the book!

Kara Isaac writes my kind of story!!!

Then there was you.pngHer characters are such fun. They remind me of the novels I love to write, so, of course, I love to READ them!! Paige is completely adorkable – in her clumsy, bumbling, victory-dancing sort of way, she stumbles right into musician, Josh Tyler’s life. Their personalities are opposite in some ways, but perfectly fitted where it matters most. Kara keeps the faith theme organic, but a strong thread in the midst of two people trying to understanding how to move forward when deep, life-altering wounds redirect their futures.

Kara does a beautiful thing we don’t always see in contemporary fiction. She tricks us! By setting this book in a light-hearted tone, she sneaks in some deep-set spiritual truths in a beautifully, digestible way (kind of like trying to feed kids something they don’t’ like by sneaking it into something they do 😉)

 

And we learn. And grieve. And celebrate along with the characters.

Then There Was You 3.pngFilled with heart, humor, hope, and swoony romance, we join in an adventure of love, loss, and second chances. Josh and Paige are two people who’ve been impacted by some deep traumas, both inside the church and out. By placing them together on the page, Kara forces both of them to confront their own hearts and the desires they each hope to find in the other.

Plus…it all takes place in AUSTRALIA! (Wait, did I say that already?)

And both Josh and Paige are muscicians!!!

My music-loving, travel-happy, romance-saturated heart is SOOOOO happy.

If you’re looking for a funny, sweet story with a perfectly-fitted ending (oh my goodness! too much FUN!), then this book is for you!

Amazon| Goodreads

About the Author

Kara Isaac is an award-winning writer who lives in Wellington, New Zealand, where her career highlights include working in tourism as Private Secretary for the Prime Minister. She loves great books almost as much as she loves her husband and two Hobbit-sized children.

More Books by Kara Isaac 

    

ACFW 2017 – Peeps on the Journey

ACFW2017.png

I look forward to the ACFW conference every year.

beckycarolWhat in the world does ACFW stand for? Well, it’s the American Christian Fiction Writers – an organization for Christian fiction writers – and they converge once a year so that like-minded, fiction loving authors can join forces with editors, agents, and marketing people to form a magnificent force of great minds.

And maybe a few scary minds.

We DO talk to people no one else can see 😉

This year, the conference was held in Grapevine, TX in the Dallas/Fortworth area at the MASSIVE Gaylord Resort. Me in awe:

Yes, this place was huge.

21762093_1656474161084250_1278632755604947540_n

A little village inside one building. It had an expansive atrium, complete with live plants, a little pond, and a cool miniature railroad track, but everything was enclosed…like one of those sci fi books where a colony is placed on Mars 😊

Except a LOT nicer. And less likelihood of death by dropping oxygen levels.

What happens when a lot of writers get together?

21766407_10213940304322689_4106097733915362874_nWell, funny stories emerge. Silly photos. Encouragement. Brainstorming (I got to brainstorm with New York Times Bestselling author Rachel Hauk and that was so. Much. Fun!

There are opportunities to actually HUG people you’ve only met online – like Savanna Kaiser, Erica Hogan, Rebekah Millet, the gracious Cathy Goeke, and Sarah Ruut – AS WELL as, catching up with amazing authors like Becky Wade, Mary Connealy,  Lisa Jordan, Cathy West, Carol Moncado, Janice Thompson, Cynthia Ruchti,  Deb Rainey, and so many more.

I attended excellent classes from Jim Rubart, Cara Putman, the team at Harper Collins 21768451_10214336852475877_8714949246374914216_nand more!

Gleaned encouragement and guidance from beautiful people like Colleen Coble, Pam Hillman, Shaina Turner, Janice Thompson, Brandilyn Collins and MORE.

Had a fab meeting with my agent, Julie Gwinn.

Worshipped on the praise team with an awesome band (thanks so much Javi, Tom, Jason, Jeremy, and Eddie) with the remarkable addition of fellow author, Amanda Wen, on the cello, and led 22008349_10214336872436376_7502329595824910784_nby encourager-extraordinaire, Rachel Hauck.

Um…I got to see DENISE HUNTER AGAIN!! (fan girl moment. She’s so sweet! AND so is her hubby)

Then, of course, there was my time with my ALLEYCATS!  There’s a precious, sweet bond between us and getting to hug them and chat with them IN PERSON is such a refreshment. Cara Putman, Angie Dicken, Casey Herringshaw, Sherrinda Ketchersid, Mary Vee, Ashley Clark, and Laurie Tomlinson – I am SO thankful for you all!! (Ash, Ang, and Case – I LOVED getting to have my last meal/snack at conference with you all…just sharing and loving each 22141195_10214336921437601_2188058956282146488_nother). And Cara and Angie – sooooo thankful for time to encourage one another.

(meet some of them here 🙂

So, what did I GET from ACFW? Besides the obvious fun time and wealth of information?

Renewed and NEW connections with a group of people who all want to glorify God through story.

Massive amounts of encouragement.

22008337_10214336912797385_6135043439045117348_nA solid dose of challenges – let’s face it, this writing gig and the published world isn’t always an easy place.

A heap of love.

And…I even happened to sneak off with a copy of Joanna Politano’s DEBUT novel, Lady Jayne Disappears. (Yes, be jealous)

If you’re a writer, attending a conference is a wonderful way to realize YOU ARE NOT alone – especially when you’re the only person in your family who still talks to imaginary friends 😊

And a Christian writer’s conference? Well, the game changes, because we’re not competing Against each other for something because all of our goals are the same. Using the God-given gift  we have to share the gospel (whether overtly or covertly).

22089935_10214336915037441_6920393314400122921_nIt changes the playing field and makes the journey more like a race uphill with a lot of friends than a tug-of-war with enemies.

God LOVES story!

And we all have one to tell.

Having people on the journey with you, is a must!

And if you want to join some more of the fun of ACFW – check out the fun giveaway I have going on in celebration of my upcoming release Charming the Troublemaker!!! Visit FB or Instagram to join the fun!!

Join the fun HERE on Facebook

22014793_10214319616004976_393304361_n

Swoony Saturdays – Charlie Lionheart

Welcome! Welcome!

Swoony Saturdays are your opportunity to be introduced to a book hero who fits high quality hero characteristics. (okay, so he just makes us weak in the knees for all kinds of reasons, but you get the point)

The photos involved are chosen as the most representative of the heroes featured, so IF they look like someone you’ve seen before, that’s almost entirely accidental.

Charlie Lionheart

In May, my lovely assistant, Rachel Dixon, posted a Swoony Saturday about Charlie Lionheart, because she LOVED him and because…well…I hadn’t read Joanne Bischof’s book, The Lady and the Lionheart, yet.

Now, with the story fresh in my mind since I finished the book last weekend (much to Rachel Dixon and Carrie Schmidt’s ‘finally’ stares), I’m going to SWOON over Charlie afresh with you guys today 😊

Joanne’s novel has garnered RAVE reviews, awards, and excited fandom-status, including a line of women who often use the hashtag – #mycharlie (you know who you are).  Rt Reviews even named it “Inspirational Romance of 2016”.

From here on out, my comments will be in italics 😉

So….Let’s talk about this tamer of lions and soother of hearts.

Charlie Lionheart: Who? Charlie Lionheart

Where can we find this dreamboat? The Lady and the Lionheart by Joanne Bischof

Personality summary:

Raised amid the fame and mystique of the Big Top, Charlie Lionheart holds the audience in the palm of his hand. But while his act captivates thousands, it’s away from the spotlight where his true heart lies. Here he humbly cares for his pride of lions as if they were his brothers, a skill of bravery and strength that has prepared him for his most challenging feat yet—freeing an orphaned infant from the dark bondage of a sideshow. A trade so costly, it requires his life in exchange for hers, leaving him tarnished by the price of that choice. (From the back of the book.)

Charlie is a protector – as fierce as his brotherhood of lions. Yet, amidst the world of the demands, unpredictability, and sometimes horrors of circus life, he breathes a gentleness and uncertainty which is endearing. A bit quirky (in the most adorable of ways), first necessity and then curiosity draw him toward the heroine in a timid dance of two worlds drawing back the curtains on each other. As his protectiveness merges with a sweet love for Ella, a most exquisite and tender romance blooms to outshine any show on the Big Top

LATL 4 : What makes us swoon?

He TAMES LIONS (of course, this would be considered swoony. Seriously??? How many heroes do you know who tame lions??)

He’s a tender daddy
His sacrificial love/Self sacrifice

Strength (works with lions!)I’d add here – his reigned in strength. It’s one thing to be strong (which is swoony, but it’s even more beautiful to curb the power into fierce tenderness and loyalty. That adds a depth that is breathtaking.

Compassion
His bravery (Not just regarding the lions)
His love for those he cares about is not just something to admire, but to learn from.

Another aspect of Charlie that is wonderful is his ability to look beyond external and take a person at face value.

I love his innocence.

And he’s quirky!! Bring on the ADORKABLE!!!

Kissing level of such swooniness: Charlie is definitely a 5 on this scale. I was left in an incoherent puddle for DAYS after reading this book. Make sure you read close to the kitchen, you WILL need your freezer!

THIS IS A KISSING BOOK, if nothing else for ONE kiss alone. Great googley moogley!

The Lady and the LionheartBasic hero type: Charlie is a Darcy. His brooding disposition and assumptions made about the heroine make him out to be harsh and cold. But he is a softy underneath.

Agreed, an unlearned observer might see him as fierce (much like the lions he tames), but closer observation reveals a loyalty, strength of character, and gentleness to remove any doubt of the dedication and swooniness of his character.

How can I meet this swoony mister? 

The Lady and the Lionheart can be found on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Christian Book Distributors.Christian Book Distributors. Don’t forget to add it on Goodreads!

You can find my review HERE.

About the Author

A Carol Award and two-time Christy Award-finalist, Joanne Bischof writes deeply layered fiction that tugs at the reader’s heartstrings. She was honored to receive the SDCWG Novel of the Year Award in 2014 and in 2015 was named Author of the Year by the Mount Hermon Writer’s conference. Her 2014 novella This Quiet Sky broke precedent as the first self-released title to final for the Christy Awards. She lives in the mountains of Southern California with her husband and their three children. Website

Kissing Levels & Hero Types

 

Book Journeys – Roanoke

d87db-the2blady2band2bthe2blionheartI loved getting to return to my home state in Joanne Bischof’s beautiful novel, The Lady and The Lionheart. In Bischof’s excellent story of romance and redemption, the characters remain in the small city of Roanoke, Virginia for most of the book.

Roanoke is a beautiful little city located in the Roanoke Valley in the southwestern part of the state. In fact, a lot of people I’ve met from the northern part of Virginia think that Virginia ends at Roanoke 😉 (but thankfully Virginia Tech has put us a little more southerly on the map)

First named Big Lick (seriously) in 1852 for a large outcropping of salt marshes near the Roanoke River, the name was changed to Roanoke in 1882 (whew…)

The name Roanoke comes from the Algonquian word for ‘shell’ which was used as currency – and the native Americans called the large river nearby, Roanoke, so the town took on the name.

Smith Mountain Lake, VA (prints available here: http://www.smith-mountain-lake-visitor-center.com/prints/prints_smith_mountain_lake_01.htm)
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As railroads became more common, Roanoke became an important hub for people to get from the more metropolitan northeast to the growing west.

Roanoke is a valley framed in by mountains. It’s actually a beautiful place to behold from the Blue Ridge Parkway that gives spectacular vistas of the city. The Appalachian Trail runs through the northern part of Roanoke and the beautiful Smith Mountain Lake is to the southeast (My dad LOVES Smith Mountain Lake!! Great catfish up there).

Visit one of these unbelievably odd yet fun museums to get a different take on Virginia’s history.
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Although small, because of its unique location it’s become an eclectic arts and sciences community. Center in the Square brings this theory to view with a seven-story cultural center in the middle of downtown. The city also has some wonderful museums for history, science, music, and many other things. Oh, and for those with more ‘unique’ interests, there is even the Roanoke Pinball Museum.

For nature lovers, there is opportunity to go below or above. Dixie and Luray Caverns take you on a below-ground tour, but then you can drive to new heights on the lovely Blue Ridge Parkway.

Roanoke Mountain, off the Blue Ridge Parkway...I dream about talking long walks down roads like this...talking to Jesus as I walk! facebook.com/loveswish
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One of my favorite places to visit near Roanoke is Explore Park. There’s SOOOOO much to do there, but I love the historical aspect of the Park. In fact, I have an entire scene devoted to Explore Park in a future book 😊  http://explorepark.org/375/Historical-Area

There are too many things to list to do in this beautiful part of the world, but Clifton Forge (also mentioned in The Lady and the Lionheart) isn’t too far away either. It’s part of the Alleghany Highlands and would have been a much more rural town when Charlie and Ella visited.

So there you have it. A little bit about Roanoke, Va. Subtract about a century, add a circus, and you could step into the world of the amazing novel, The Lady and the Lionheart.

Have you ever been to Roanoke? Would you like to go?

Read my review for The Lady and the Lionheart HERE.

Find The Lady and the Lionheart on….
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Books-A-Million
Christian Book
Google Books

About the Author

A Carol Award and two-time Christy Award-finalist, Joanne Bischof writes deeply layered fiction that tugs at the reader’s heartstrings. She was honored to receive the SDCWG Novel of the Year Award in 2014 and in 2015 was named Author of the Year by the Mount Hermon Writer’s conference. Her 2014 novella This Quiet Sky broke precedent as the first self-released title to final for the Christy Awards. She lives in the mountains of Southern California with her husband and their three children.

 

Pepper