30 May 2011


Today, on Memorial Day, we acknowledge and give thanks to those who fought and died for our country. The French people gave a tangible reminder of their gratitude.  Yesterday, at the Virginia War Museum I saw something I had not heard about.

The doughboys arriving in France must have been pretty surprised to find themselves packed into these rickety wood cars, built in the mid to late 1800's. They were referred to as 40/8s - forty men or eight horses could fit inside!

According to the plaque, the American people sent over $40,000,000 in supplies to the French after the war(s) and following WWII, these cars were sent to the United States filled with gifts from the French people. Coats of arms from each province are on the side of each car.

My great-uncles both served as medics during WWI. My uncle Fred was an extremely accurate rifleman, and hunter, but his religious convictions did not allow him to serve as a soldier. Was I ever shocked to read an account of what happened with those medics, as still does today, because they were forced to defend themselves and the ones they were trying to save. I was naive to think that because he was a medic he did not have to fire upon someone. He came home to an epidemic of Spanish flu, his home region of Michigan under quarantine, and was asked as a medic to stay where he was and help with the dying and dead. He did.

Gratitude - we thank those today who gave their all. This tangible gift from the French people is a reminder of the attitude we should have.

28 May 2011

Wounded Warriors

 Not all casualties of war die. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury, and seizure disorders can claim the hearts and minds of some of our veterans. 

Some wounded vets are like this G.I. Joe, who was used and abused by my husband in many “wars” years ago. It may not be immediately visible what is wrong with this soldier. This was one of those talking G.I. Joes, where you pull the string and he “speaks” to you.  Now it is a garbled message you hear, but once it was clear.  And his left thumb hangs on by a strand of plastic.  But in comparison to the rest of my husband's surviving toys, this guy is doing great!  And many veterans may compare themselves to someone less fortunate themselves, or even feel guilty that they survived while their friends did not.

We are grateful for the men and women who have given their lives that we might be free. We also need to be grateful for and supportive of the veterans who return from war without hope, without heart, and without their full faculties, possibly never to regain them again.  Wounded Warriors’ Project was set up to assist our returning veterans.  I was pretty shocked when I attended a TBI intervention conference several years ago and heard of how few services there really were. Was also amazed that there seemed to be little progress in interventions since I attended the National Association of Neuropsychology conference about fifteen years prior.

There are some treatments that help. One is neurotherapy ( which is becoming more available to our veterans. We are blessed locally to have Dr. Lanny Fly and many neurotherapists who Dr. Fly has trained over the years.  He is a veteran and graduate of a military academy as well as having been a chaplain, and really has a heart for our young veterans.

Of course we should pray for them and for their families. Dad or Mom may have come home, but that person may not be the same one who left.  But with God’s help, one can survive, even overcome, these great difficulties, through time and healing.

I am dedicating this post to my father, William Henry Fancett, a wounded warrior. He is in the place of perfect healing. I thank those who also served with him and gave their lives either physically or emotionally as a cost for their participation in WWII.

Memorial Day Weekend Post by Carrie Fancett Pagels

26 May 2011

Diana's Corner - Book Review by Diana Flowers

A fun, relaxing read!

Courting Miss Amsel, by Kim Vogel Sawyer 

takes us to Walnut Hill, Nebraska, in the late 1800s, when women still didn't have the right to vote or own property, and Susan B. Anthony is just coming on the scene, speaking on the women's suffrage amendment. However, they ARE allowed to teach, and that is just what the new schoolmarm, Edythe Amsel does best. Instead of just teaching her pupils "the three Rs", Miss Amsel uses unconventional methods to enhance her students' learning pleasure, and quickly arouses the ire of the townsfolk.
When Joel Townsend comes to pick up his two nephews from school, who have been left in his charge, romantic sparks quickly begin to fly between the handsome farmer and the pretty new schoolteacher. Joel wants to provide a mother for his nephews, and falls quickly in love with Edythe. However, too many obstacles stand in their way.

Miss Amsel does not share Joel Townsend's faith in God, and wishes only to teach and not be saddled down with an instant family. Soon Miss Amsel's very existence begins to crumble; Joel becomes engaged to someone else and the townsfolk are discussing removing her from her position. When a disaster occurs will Edythe change her priorities and acknowledge her need for God in her life? Will she give up teaching to follow the women's suffrage movement, and can she stay in the same town near Joel and his new wife?

This book was not one of suspense or hidden secrets, or even unending excitement. What it was, however, was a wonderful story, with a strong, moral, spiritual thread throughout. When I ended up with a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes at the conclusion, I knew that I had just finished a rich, satisfying read.

Courting Miss Amsel  from CBD
Edythe Amsel is delighted with her first teaching assignment: a one-room schoolhouse in Walnut Hill, Nebraska. Independent, headstrong, and a strong believer in a well-rounded education, Edythe is ready to open the world to the students in this tiny community. But is Walnut Hill ready for her?

Joel Townsend is thrilled to learn the town council hired a female teacher to replace the ruthless man who terrorized his nephews for the past two years. Having raised the boys on his own since their parents' untimely deaths, Joel believes they will benefit from a woman's influence. But he sure didn't bargain on a woman like Miss Amsel. Within the first week, she has the entire town up in arms over her outlandish teaching methods, which include collecting leaves, catching bugs, making snow angels, and stringing ropes in strange patterns all over the schoolyard. Joel can't help but notice that she's also mighty pretty with her rosy lips, fashionable clothes, and fancy way of speaking.

CFP's comments:
Formats:  Book is available in multiple formats, including hardcover, paperback, Kindle, and on CD!  I love audio books, so of course I am thrilled to hear it is available as a listen option.

Giveaway by Diana:  Leave a comment for a chance to win a gently used copy of CMA from Diana.  Don't forget to leave your email address.   

23 May 2011

Light in the Darkness

Old Holland Snuffer Candlestick, Pewter

What a beautiful pewter candlestick this is!  I am awfully grateful to have electric lights.

We are to be light in the darkness. God calls us to that.  At my daughter's graduation from UVA this past weekend, our governor, who gave the address, advised the students well.  He told them:

"Don't curse the darkness, light a candle."  My paraphrase, by the way, as I was not taking notes!!  Shine your light today.  God's light.  That which comes only from Jesus.

Have you done something today that was evidence of Jesus's existence inside of you?  Care to share?

God bless and keep you today!  

20 May 2011

Friend on Friday

Laurie Alice Eakes with her father and stepmother and sister in Virginia!

Today Laurie Alice Eakes posts about research on the internet.  Laurie Alice is known as our "go to" lady with historical questions when we get stuck in both the HisWriters (European fiction group) and our Colonial American Christian Writers group.  

NOTE - Special EXTRA GIVEAWAY:  When you leave a comment at Colonial Quills

AND you put "OTT" (quote marks not needed)  at the end of your post, you earn a chance for a second drawing that I am going to do for my followers who post comments on CQ.  OTT readers get a drawing and CQ readers get a drawing for a copy of one of Laurie Alice's books.

17 May 2011

Book Review – Head in the Clouds

Head in the CloudsReview by Carrie Fancett Pagels

By: Karen Witemeyer

Published by: Bethany House, October, 2010

Review by Diana Flowers top and by Carrie Pagels bottom

DF:  A highly entertaining read!!
Quality: 5 out of 5 .Value: 5 out of 5
This book far exceeded my expectations!

I read some great books in February, with alot of substance, so I thought I would pick something out that would be light, relaxing, and fun to read for a change. I saw the title "Head in the Clouds" and looked at the front and back cover (which was amusing) and I decided to read it. I felt like it would be your typical young lady becomes governess to ranch owner's child, she bumbles her way through, alot of laughs...and they lived happily ever after after! Was I ever wrong! Adelaide, the main character, finds herself in a shameful situation, so she quickly answers an ad to become a governess to the child of a sheep rancher. Typical storyline, right? Not quite... Adelaide finds out that her new little charge has not spoken since she witnessed the unspeakable murders of her mother and father. My eyes teared up continually with pity for this child and the first time she laughed I smiled. The author has a way of making this story so realistic you can't keep yourself from turning page after page, and not wanting to put the book down. 

There are some amusing things in the book that made me smile, and when a near sexual assault occurs my heart was pounding. The author was descriptive, but not offensive in this part of the book, and I could feel this woman's pain. My eyes teared up when a near fatal injury occurs, and does this child ever speak again?'ll have to read this book and find out. There is alot of intense action at the end when an unscrupulous relative comes to kidnap the little girl. 

This book embodied real, grief... laughter, tears... fear, courage. This is not the typical type of book I normally read, but then again, I guess it was! Fantastic job, Karen Witemeyer! 

CFP: I would give it four and a half stars.
Disclaimer: I received my copy from the publisher. There is no requirement to post a favorable review. I met Karen online in a historical Christian writers group.

Link to Amazon:

Link to CBD:

Bibliotherapy aspect: Mute child due to PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Karen’s profile shows her have a B.A. and a Master’s degree in Psychology. Having done therapy with children left mute from tragedies, I was somewhat surprised at the longevity of the child’s silence. Of course the child character did not have a therapist, either! This is Karen’s second published book, the first being the delightful A Tailor-Made Bride, which I loved. This current book is getting rave reviews from readers on both CBD and on Amazon and quickly went to multiple formats (see the following).

Disability Friendliness: The book is available in audio CD (which I wish I had) but I read it in the paperback version. This is also available as an e-book with Kindle having it in text-to-speech format enabled. Large print, hardcover also available at Amazon. I would recommend it in audio because there are few current Christian historical audiobooks out there at any time.  This would have been a great listen. 

Head in the Clouds had an unusual hero – an Englishman who raises sheep in Texas. Ms. Witemeyer’s heroine was most sympathetic in the beginning as a young woman being strung along by a traveling (married! Interesting twist!) salesman. She did a good set up on the romance between the hero and heroine. I found the characterization and storyline gripped me better as A Tailor-Made Bride did but it was still a very good book.

As a psychologist with over twenty-five years experience working with children and adolescents, I found the mute child storyline to not be as realistic as it could have been. However, the average reader would not be a psychologist and as mentioned, this book has been receiving very good reviews. I would have enjoyed this better as an audio listen as it was a tad slower than the first, particularly in the middle, which is not an issue for me with audio listens. I am going over to see if her newest release is available on audio!

Giveaway:  Leave a comment and your email address for a chance to win my gently used copy of this book.

12 May 2011

Diana's Book Corner

Surrender the Night, Surrender to Destiny Series #2   -     
        By: MaryLu Tyndall
Surrender the Night, Surrender to Destiny Series #2.

By MaryLu Tyndall

Published by Barbour Publishing

Heart Racing Read!

Review by Diana Flowers

Amid the war of 1812 the British invade Baltimore, Maryland, and no one feels safe. No one that is except for Rose McGuire, who feels that the British would never venture so close to Baltimore. Ignoring the warning bells she has heard tolling so many times, Rose leaves her home unescorted to go tend the horses. She is brutally attacked by a British lieutenant, and in the aftermath, must hide and nurse back to health another wounded enemy soldier, in spite of her hatred for him. Can she keep him alive and hidden without risking her life and the lives of her family? And how can she have feelings for a man she should hate...a man whose fellow countrymen are burning and pillaging her neighbor's homes and brutally attacking the women? What deeply hidden anguish lies within her and does the dashing British 2nd Lieutenant, Alexander Reed, hold the key to unlock the terrible secret that lies hidden in her heart?

As always when I read a novel based on fact, of any revolution that has taken place in our country's history, I am always reminded of the bravery and the tremendous price our forefathers paid for the freedoms we all now enjoy. I was moved to tears with this heart racing, heartrending, passionately romantic novel! Outstandingly researched and beautifully written, in my opinion this is MaryLu's finest book yet!

*As a Southerner I can't resist saying that I can't wait for MaryLu's upcoming series, which will take place in my neighboring historical city of Charleston, S.C.!*

Thank you Diana for yet another wonderful review. MaryLu is graciously giving away a copy of her book. Please stop by and leave your comments for Diana and MaryLu. Blessings!

11 May 2011


On Monday we launched the hub and webspot for Colonial Quills, begun by some of the writers of the Colonial American Christian Fiction book that I founded this fall.  I was pretty desperate to gather a bunch of other historical writers who were in the colonial storyworld.  Laura Feagan Frantz and Joan Hochstetler agreed with me that we needed such a forum.  So I started somewhat systematically (okay, a spazmeister such as myself has blips of a system going!) At the ACFW conference, where I got to meet Laura in person, we got a list of names started. I knew Carla Gade, our fantastic Colonial Quills webmaster and designer, online, through Laura. Our shy Lori Benton was at conference, too, and agreed. So never having done a Yahoo group before, I set it up and began the process.  I have learned a lot, but I am all about immediate function vs. all the details. As we grew, I was hoping for a hub from where we could direct people to colonial Christian works.  A couple of weeks ago, after a fabulous birthday party here for Laura, two of our members, Roseanna White, who owns Whitefire Publishing, and Gina Wellborn, with an upcoming colonial novella, stirred the fires about a group hub/website. Wonderful Carla Gade volunteered to help us as did Rita Gerlach in setting up a design.  Newcomer Pat
who has a lovely early American history blog also got excited and offered to help moderate. Contributors from the group came on board, too and I am so excited about all the fresh columns that this now group blog will be doing. 

Come by and visit.
 Giveaways every day this week.  Leave a comment and your email address on the post for the day for a chance to be entered for a colonial goody.  Blessings!

08 May 2011

Mercy, Love, and Persistence

Thought about Mothering

Persistence. Never giving up. Lumbering on. Hmm, sounds like my father’s attitude. He was a WWII veteran and had Churchill’s attitude. Never give up, never give in, never ever. A bulldog with a bone. But today my pastor, Larry Jones, talked about MERCY being a quality shown by mothers who are persistent. I never really thought of mercy being a form of persistence but it made sense. We do not give up on our kids and one way we show that is by extending mercy to them.

We were blessed with a healthy baby boy almost thirteen years after we welcomed our precious baby girl. So many prayers were answered and a promise God gave me fulfilled when our little boy joined us, a little prematurely born, but well. We shared our joy with our Experiencing God class and we enjoyed the happiest and sweetest little baby around, and a social and active little fellow. Thirteen months later the little baby who loved music was sick, ended up getting immunizations that day and developing diarrhea that did not end until several months later when a naturepath recommended some drops that cleared him up (this after the pediatric gastroenterologist gave up on any further treatments!). During that time he began crying and fussing and was not consolable and stopped engaging with others. He was slipping away from us into autism.

Now years later after many interventions, my son is doing much better. Someone recently suggested that he had “outgrown” some of the problems. NO!!! That is my emphatic reaction. God directed our path as my husband and I determined what, why, and how we got our boy his various treatments and activities. He did the same as we raised our older child. The times I have gotten into trouble have been when I have listened to people and not to my heavenly Father. We are often tempted to give in and do “as you are told” and that is not a good plan when the telling is not from God.

Mothering is hard whether your child is a normal or even gifted child, as our oldest is. I am blessed to have a supportive husband. I no longer work as a psychologist, but am glad God has given me that knowledge to help others, including my son, who now has mild problems, not the screaming regressed difficulties he had early on. And I thank my pastor, a fellow writer, for helping me see that what we do is an act of mercy. And that just sounds a little nicer than persistent! God bless you all this Mother’s Day!

06 May 2011

Friend on Friday - Katy McCurdy Reviews The Heiress by Laurie Alice Eakes

Jersey Brides (Romancing America)

The Heiress, by Laurie Alice Eakes

CFP’s Note: This book is available as part of a three book collection. The original book was part of a mass market edition and is not longer readily available. However, it is the second book in

Jersey Brides, Heartsongs Presents, March 2011.

Book Review by

Katy McCurdy

Katie’s Rating--5 Stars

Having been introduced to the Glassick family (CFP’s comment: In the Glassblower, nominated for a Carol award) and the symbolism of the goldfinch bottle, I felt right at home reading about Daire Glassick and his adventures with this special perfume bottle. The little mystery and spiritual journey that the characters take within this book was very compelling. As always, Laurie has written another wonderful, unique story that will capture the reader’s attention from the very beginning.

The book starts fast. In the first scene Daire is trying to sell the special goldfinch bottle. We get a good idea of what Daire is like—the desperate state he is in—as he tries to find a way to get back home before it’s too late. While the reader instantly gets the feel that he is making a big mistake by selling the bottle, when a young, kind woman buys it, we feel the makings of a great story. And so it is. After Daire leaves, Susan takes the bottle home to her home. Here we quickly see how little her family thinks of her. They thought of her only as someone to care for their many kids or run the house while her mother and sisters were away doing mission work. My heart instantly went out to Susan. From the very first pages of this book I grew to really like Daire and Susan.

Laurie Eakes writing is always vivid and engaging. I was instantly taken back to that time and into the lives of both Susan and Daire. Even though it is a shorter historical book, I enjoyed this book as much as if it had been a full-length novel. The story plot was, as I mentioned, very unique. And I loved that about it! I wasn’t sure what was going to happen as Daire and Susan searched for the goldfinch bottle. I enjoyed the intriguing twists and turns along the way.

While I normally enjoy a longer novel, I enjoyed both of Laurie’s books — The Glassblower and The Heiress. The length of this shorter historical novel (for mass market) made for easy reading and I was able to finish it in a day. Everything came together and left off very well. I always know I am in for a great adventure whenever I pick up a book from Laurie! 

04 May 2011

Romance in the Colonies!

Fire Dragon's Angel
Fire Dragon's Angel by Barbara Blythe

Book review by Diana Flowers

Barbara Blythe weaves a beautifully written tale of love, hidden passions, and adventure in her new novel, Fire Dragon's Angel.

Latimer Kirkleigh, moves from his home in England, to settle in Virginia, a wild new land, fraught with hostile natives, disease, and wild animals. It is also a land of hope and promise, and Latimer determines to make his home there, transporting corn and tobacco to the London markets. When Latimer's sister is killed, he is left to care for his three year old niece, which necessitates his return to England to marry a woman to help him with the child. Ceressa Quarles is shocked to see Latimer again at a ball given by her godfather. It has been seven long years and Ceressa realizes her childhood crush on Latimer has turned into true love for this man who behaves so rude and arrogant. When a tragedy occurs, Ceressa must flee her English home, and accepts Latimer's proposal of marriage. However, Ceressa finds she can handle her new responsibilities, the untamed land, and even the natives, better than her new husband's cold indifference.

Ceressa's beauty and bravery win the admiration of her husband, but can he ever love her the way she does him? And when Latimer decides to send her back to England, will she go? Sparks and tension fly high between these two strong-willed characters, but can they ever find love and stability when all odds are seemingly against them? Can they overcome the obstacles in this savage new land as well as the ones in their own hearts? To colonial era lovers everywhere, this is a must read! Beautifully written, Barbara!!

This book is available as an e-book and as a print version book.

Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of this book.  Leave your email address.  Winner will be drawn on Friday morning.

Diana Flowers is an avid reader from SC. She loves gardening and the beach. Married thirty-eight years, she and her husband have a grown son and daughter, and three grandkids. Diana is an influencer for several authors and especially enjoys Christian historical fiction!

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