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Swoony Saturdays – Samuel Miller

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.

Samuel Miller

picture of the hero in my WW1 novel, The Thornbearer, Sam Miller. Kind, generous, and faithful, he's faced with the issue of whether to forgive his mother for abandoning him as a child:
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 Who? Samuel Miller (Sam)

Where can we find this dreamboat? The Thorn Bearer by Pepper Basham (released May, 2015) debut. Add to Goodreads HERE.

Personality summary: Loyalty is a key component to Sam’s personality. He’s a defender of the right and is a faithful friend and confidante. One deterrent to Sam’s overall jovial and kind demeanor is the bitterness he harbors against those who’ve deeply wounded him, but once he realizes how grace demands forgiveness, his heart opens wide with an even deeper love and gratitude than he had before. The sweetest romances are born of friendship, so when Sam’s affections turn to his best friend, Ashleigh, there is no way she can withstand the appeal of such steadfast, fun, and tender emotion.

The Thorn Bearer - NovelWhat makes us swoon?

His ready humor lightens moods

He’s a rescuer

Lifesavers…of the yellow variety

Heart of GOLD

He has a tender protectiveness for those he loves

Friend

lifesavers, the old fashioned candy - when they had the white pineapple flavored ones!!  Mmmm!!!!  Green, yellow, and then orange were my least favorite.  So, I guess that means I really only liked the cherry and pineapple!:
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Sam is always ready to give a helping hand

Boyish Charm

He sets you at ease/calms

When he realizes he’s in the wrong, he seeks forgiveness

GRACE

Kissing level of such swooniness: Sam is a solid 4 kisser, but when he thinks he’s lost the woman of his dreams, those kisses bump up into the 5 range.

Basic hero type: Sam has a whole lot of Knightley in him but a little of Captain Wentworth too. A faithful friend and devoted lover, resentment could deter him from making the wisest choices, but good sense, honest friends, and a steadfast Savior, soften his hardened head and awaken his reluctant heart.

How can I meet this swoony mister? thethornbearer-500x750-1

Ashley Dougall has a terminal disease and forgiveness is the only cure.

Ashley Dougall’s father stole her innocence, her selfish fiancé stole her heart, and unforgiveness is slowly stealing her life.  Drawn by the desire to help others, she tries to escape haunting memories and enlists her services as a nurse in war-torn Europe.  Along with her childhood friend and fiance’s best friend, Samuel Miller, the fragile threads holding Ashley’s life in place one-by-one begin to snap. From the deck of the ill-fated Lusitania to the smoke-filled trenches of WWI, Ashley must choose between forgiveness of the past, life in the present, and a Savior who is willing to help her face them both.

You can find The Thorn Bearer on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Don’t forget to add it to your Goodreads as well.

Kissing Levels & Hero Types

Book Journeys- The Biltmore’s Library!

Okay, so we’re back on our tour of the Biltmore – America’s largest privately owned home. This beautiful French-inspired estate is nestled in the lovely Blue Ridge Mountains in Asheville, NC and is one of my FAVORITE places to visit.

You can visit my previous Biltmore posts here and here, but today we’re going to spend an entire post touring my FAVORITE room in the house – the Library!

Book Journeys - Biltmore Library.png

18579073_10213024010255642_1258846513_nRight now, The Biltmore has a wonderful exhibit where some of George Vanderbilt’s books from his library are on display along with costumes from movie-adaptations of those novels. Peter Pan, Jane Eyre, books by one of George’s favorites, Thomas Hardy, and loads of other authors/novels. Needless to say, I was particularly interested in which novel and movie adaptation would hold the coveted spot in the library.

(keep reading to find out 😉)

George Vanderbilt loved literature and even brought some of his favorite authors to stay on his estate – Thomas Hardy visited and Edith Wharton was a fairly frequent guest. The two-level library houses over 22,000 books. He began acquiring books at the age of 11 and even when visitors would tour the family’s mansion in New York, many marveled at the amazing collection George displayed.

18516239_10213024007175565_1087126671_nBecause he cared so much about his guests, he’d often find out what they’re reading-interests were and have their books on display, ready for the picking on the ornate book rack, when they arrived. One of my favorite parts of the library, which also shows George’s consideration for his guests’ access to books, is a ‘secret’ passage behind the mantle that leads directly to the bedrooms of the second floor. I use this little passage in my work-in-progress.

18575616_10213024005495523_1635596850_oA little about this beautiful library: The ceiling kind of pulls your attention as soon as you enter the room from Tapestry Room. Covered in an Italian painting known as The Chariot of Aurora, the vibrant colors accent the deep reds and glossy woods George chose for the library’s furnishings. George purchased the painting, which hung in Pisani Palace in Venice, and had it shipped in 13 sections to be reconstructed for his library.

One feature of the library, which is particularly interesting (besides the BOOKS, of course), is an ivory chess set owned by Napoleon Bonaparte during his exile on St. Helena.

18518507_10213024008215591_829387885_nSo…which novel and movie adaptation did they have on display in the library for the Designed for Drama exhibit?

None other than the costumes for the 1995 BBC version of Pride and Prejudice (for those of you who need more clarification, I have one name: Colin Firth). Oh my, those costumes look so very nice in that gorgeous library.

If you could pick a favorite classic to have George set on the book rack for you to read, which novel would you request?

 

A Wounded Head…But a Healthy Heart

Mother's Day and Brain Injury

So, did that title snag your attention?

Well, the combination of those two things have certainly snagged mine this week.

Mothers-DayFor anyone who knows my brother, you will agree that he is an energetic, kind, sometimes silly, but super sweet kind of guy. He’s ready to give a helping hand, a big hug, a funny response, or a positive word whenever he can. He’s also a really hard worker and, as is true with most of the people in my family, he loves to talk.

Being the big sister, I’ve known him his whole life 🙂 and to be perfectly honest, he’s stayed about the same… In the best ways 🙂

Recently my brother was in a serious car accident which left him with a brain injury. If you don’t know, brains take a while to heal and the type of brain injury that usually accompanies a car accident impacts the front of the brain.

Mothers-Day 1What are some things that go on in the front of the brain?

Short term memory, focus, organization, parts of your personality, reasoning, and…inhibition—which basically means “the filter” on your words and actions has been kicked to the curb.

You could say that in a moment like this, your truest thoughts and actions emerge uncontrolled by your usual ‘catch’.

So, what are we seeing from my brother as he is continuing to heal from this brain injury?

Well, let me just tell you, the nurses have loved coming into Dustin’s room because he compliments them so much.

Every lady is beautiful.

Every guy is his buddy.

Everyone is awesome.

He’s giving an extreme amount of hugs.

Mother's Day Quote.pngHe has such a thankful heart to everyone who is helping him, and will express that thankfulness a lot, and though he’s saying some goofy and/or funny things at times, (more so than usual) his words and actions have remained sweet and kind.

And boy oh boy, he’d rather talk than eat or sleep. He has all kinds of things to say, some are on-target and some not quite, but all positive, encouraging, and kind.

Yes, God created my brother and his optimistic personality, but my mom is one of the most influential people who instilled in my brother a love for others, respect for them, kindness and joy—characteristics that are still shining through in him even though his filter is temporarily on the blink.

Mothers Day 4Moms have an amazing influence. Whether they are biological moms, adoptive moms, moms from the heart, or moms for the moment, the love, patience, kindness, and wisdom they leave behind are powerful enough to resurrect in the most trying of times.

Dustin and I are blessed to have a mom like that. A woman who loves big, who fights ferociously for her children, who believes the best in them even when she knows they could do better, and whose timeless influence reaches to the core of who we are and helps us love others well.

So even if my brother can’t remember the nurse’s name right now, he will certainly remember how to treat her.

It’s a part of his heart not just his head.

Mothers-Day 2

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 LionheartHello! Rachel here. I am Pepper’s assistant, mom of 2 boys, wife, Christian, an avid reader, blogger at Bookworm Mama, and 100% fan girl! I am SO excited to share one of MY favorite heroes with you today (Wes and David are my other favorites, but they have already appeared on Swoony Saturdays). Earlier this month The Lady and the Lionheart by Joanne Bischof was named
“Inspirational Romance of 2016” by RT Book Reviews. In celebration of this award, I thought it only appropriate to share with you the swoony hero of this absolutely incredible book.

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.)

LATL 4 : What makes us swoon?

He TAMES LIONS

He’s a tender daddy
His sacrificial love/Self sacrifice
Strength (works with lions!)
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.

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!

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.

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!

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 – Eagle Harbor Lighthouse

Eagle Harbor Lighthouse

Winding-tower-stairwayWe are taking another little detour from our Biltmore Series to visit a location that appears in Undaunted Hope by Jody Hedlund. This is the third book in the Beacons of Hope Series which revolves around lighthouses and inspired by the REAL women who operated them throughout history.

This book takes place on the Keweenaw Peninsula in Michigan (think the northernmost point in the state). Jody had the opportunity to visit Eagle Harbor Lighthouse while she was writing Undaunted Hope. She even got to stay in the assistant’s cottage for a week!  How cool is that?

Eagle-Harbor-Lighthouse-12The Beacons of Hope Series focuses on different women who operated and served in lighthouses. This particular story was inspired by a woman named Ceccelia Carlson McLean. Ceccila was not fond of living in a lighthouse at all. This got Jody to thinking about the hardships and the daily struggles that a light keeper and his family would have to go through. The isolation, the danger, the list goes on and on. Out of Ceccelia’s history came Tessa’s story.

Fresnel-Lantern-Used-in-the-LighthouseLighthouse Friends has amazing history about this particular lighthouse. Originally built in 1850, a fourth-order, L. Sautter Fresnel lens was installed in 1857. In 1868  the structure was remodeled to withstand the harsh environment of the Upper Peninsula.

On January 8, 1982 the Eagle Harbor Lighthouse was de-staffed. If you visit today you will find several original buildings still standing, many of which are used as museums.

Facts and details taken from the “Author’s Note” in Undaunted Hope with permission from the author. Other historical facts found on Lighthouse Friends.

About the Book

Tessa Taylor arrives in 1870s Upper Peninsula, Michigan, planning to serve as a new teacher to the town. Much to her dismay, however, she immediately learns that there was a mistake, that the town had requested a male teacher. Percival Updegraff, superintendent and chief mine clerk, says she can stay through winter since they won’t be able to locate a new teacher before then, and Tessa can’t help but say she is in his debt. Little does she know that Percival will indeed keep track of all that she owes him.

Determined to become indispensable, Tessa throws herself into teaching, and soon the children of the widowed lighthouse keeper have decided she’s the right match for their grieving father. Their uncle and assistant light keeper, Alex Bjorklund, has his own feelings for Tessa. As the two brothers begin competing for her hand, Tessa increasingly feels that someone is tracking her every move, and she may not be able to escape the trap that has been laid for her. Learn more HERE.

About the Author

Jody HedlundJody Hedlund is the bestselling author of over a dozen novels, including Luther and Katharina, winner of the 2016 Christian Book Award. She received a bachelor’s from Taylor University and a master’s from University of Wisconsin, both in social work. Currently she makes her home in Midland, Michigan, with her husband and five busy children. Visit Jody’s website HERE.

Undaunted Hope - Scripture

Pictures of Eagle Harbor property of Jody Hedlund, used with permission.

Celebrating The Thorn Bearer & Giveaway!

Celebrate!

Today not only marks the 102 memorial of the sinking of the Lusitania (read this week’s Book Journeys post to find out more about that), but today is the 2nd “book birthday” of my debut novel, The Thorn Bearer!

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Image from Reading is my SuperPower

On May 7, 102 years ago, The Lusitania was torpedoed off the coast of Ireland and sank in less than 18 minutes. History gives us glimpses of what those moments were like for the people aboard, but in celebration of The Thorn Bearer’s book birthday, I’m giving away one copy of the book so you can see how my characters survived (if they did) and changed after such a tragic event.

thethornbearer-500x750-1About the Book

SERIES: Penned in Time #1
GENRE: Historical Fiction, WWI
PUBLISHER: Vinspire
PUBLICATION DATE: April 11, 2015
PAGES: 362 pages

Ashley Dougall has a terminal disease and forgiveness is the only cure.

Ashley Dougall’s father stole her innocence, her selfish fiancé stole her heart, and unforgiveness is slowly stealing her life.  Drawn by the desire to help others, she tries to escape haunting memories and enlists her services as a nurse in war-torn Europe.  Along with her childhood friend and fiance’s brother, Samuel Miller, the fragile threads holding Ashley’s life in place one-by-one begin to snap. From the deck of the ill-fated Lusitania to the smoke-filled trenches of WWI, Ashley must choose between forgiveness of the past, life in the present, and a Savior who is willing to help her face them both.

Sneak Peek

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Giveaway

In celebration, I am giving away ONE copy of The Thorn Bearer. Entry Deadline:May 14, 2017 11:59 PM PDT. Void where prohibited by law.

Enter the giveaway via Amazon HERE.

Or copy and paste this link in your browser: https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/66d3603e9b7e8009

Swoony Saturdays – Red Shirt

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.

Red ShirtThis week I thought I would share one of MY favorite heroes from one of my favorite authors. Today we are going to meet Red Shirt…

Martin Sensmeier -Tlingit and Koyukon-Athabascan:
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Who? Red Shirt

Where can we find this dreamboat? Courting Morrow Little by Laura Frantz

Personality summary: A man of few words, quiet strength, and ferocious protectiveness embodies this hero.

What makes us swoon?

His steadfastness

Uncas, Last of the Mohicans. Eric Schweig.:
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His gentleness

His compassion

Quiet strength

A man of few words, but the ones he wields are powerful and gentle

He exudes “manliness” in his strength and conduct

A gentleman in a more rustic way

The real Red Shirt, Oglala Sioux, 19th-century:
The real Red Shirt – Pinterest

Kissing level of such swooniness: Red Shirt is a #3 to #4 level kisser. His gentle yet powerful personality comes through in the way he shows his love for Morrow, even in his kiss. Their first kiss leaves me breathless at sheer beauty.

Basic hero type: Despite the heroine’s mistrust of the Shawnee, Red Shirt is consistent protection, presence, and honed passion slowly breach the walls of Morrow’s heart and relinquishes her heart to Red Shirt’s love. He is a quiet hero, a Colonel Brandon or Wentworth sort – Ah, those military men His devotion to his cause and his heart are compelling, so when Morrow becomes ‘his’, the same devotion draws her into an intense and powerful romance.

Courting Morrow LittleHow can I meet this swoony mister? Courting Morrow Little is available on…
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Goodreads

My review can be found HERE.

About Laura Frantz

Photo credit: Kristin N. Johnson Photography

I was born and raised in Kentucky, living first in Ashland, Mammoth Cave, Bowling Green, and then Lexington. But my heart has always been in Berea, Madison County, the place my family has resided since the 18th-century. I came to know Christ there at the age of 12, was baptized, and spent my childhood roaming through the woods and swimming in the rivers of my books.

My earliest memories are of the public library, standing in front of shelves filled with those little biographies of famous historical figures like Daniel Boone and George Washington and Sacajawea. I began scribbling stories at age 7 and thankfully never stopped. My passion then and now is history and all the wonders of past centuries.

I attended college at Denison University in Ohio and also in England, living in a manor/castle and studying the American Revolution from the British perspective. Shakespeare and 18th-century literature form the backbone of my English degree. Strangely enough, I only took one creative writing class.

It was never a desire of mine to be published. I simply love to write for the sheer joy of writing – and that was enough. But as Proverbs 16:9 says, “The heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”

I hope my books bless you.

Laura’s website can be found HERE.

Kissing Levels & Hero Types