Thursday, September 24, 2020

My Story BEFORE The Story ~ Susanna Russell ~ The Heart of Courage by Lynne Basham Tagawa

I’m not quite sure where to start. Here I am, Susanna Russell, sitting in Uncle Basham’s carriage, on my way to glorious Williamsburg—I cannot wait—but my story is a bit dull.

My father’s name is John Russell [The Shenandoah Road]. He married my stepmother about ten years ago, and that was quite a tale, I’m told. But life goes on, you see, and though I love my parents, I just could not wait to leave the Shenandoah Valley.

For one thing, I’ve never been east of Richmond, which you know is not a town at all, just a landing with tobacco warehouses and a few shops. I’ve also been to the Jeffersons numerous times, which is infinitely more interesting. Tom is such a character! He’s always working on some project or other. When we were young we would hunt for precious jewels in the streambeds. We never found any actual gemstones, of course, unless you count colored quartz. We each have a rock collection.

As you know, young men always get a better education than young women, and while Grandda taught me a bit of Latin and history, it does not compare to the education Tom gets—or even Jamie Paxton’s, our minister’s student. He is studying for the ministry, which sounds positively dry, but I hear Jamie studies not just Latin and Greek, but also history and higher mathematics. I do not know if he has studied French, which is my goal. And painting.

I have always loved to draw. And I love color. I do not know why there are so few words to describe the color green. Forest green, hunter green—we must always put a modifier before the word. Green deserves better treatment, if you ask me. Why, other colors have special words: mauve and azure and gold. Why is that?

Anyway, I hope to study painting, though I have no hope of actually doing portraits for a living. In truth, other kinds of projects would suit me better. I wouldn’t even mind weaving. Spinning gives me a headache, though. I just can’t seem to get the knack! My threads are always lumpy.

There’s another reason I’m going to Williamsburg I haven’t mentioned yet. It’s the war. Oh, I know, there is no official war yet. My father says it’s only a matter of time before a declaration of war is made. You’ve undoubtedly heard about Major Washington and Fort Necessity. Some people laugh as if it were some kind of debacle, but it wasn’t! You must understand that between the French and the Indians our militia had no chance at all. I suppose I am just a little biased. Washington is a Virginian, the head of the Virginia militia.

The horrible French have stirred up the Indians, and folks are worried. On top of that, my father and Jamie Paxton are headed north to join Washington, who’s serving as an aide to General Braddock. So he’s sent the rest of the family to my aunt and uncle’s near Richmond, and I get to go to Williamsburg and stay with Tom’s aunt.

Braddock brought thousands of regular red-coated soldiers over here now in addition to our brave militiamen. They are going to capture Fort Duquesne. Or try, anyway.

And I’m worried about my father. And about Jamie, truth be told.

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My Story Title:   The Heart of Courage

My Story Genre:  Historical

My Story Releases:   Date 2019

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The Author of My Story:    Lynne Basham Tagawa

Lynne Tagawa is an author, editor, educator, and best of all, grandma to four. She loves to write quality fiction with solid gospel content. Her debut novel, A Twisted

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Get Connected:

To sign up for her newsletter and find special deals on her books - be sure to go to her website ~ above.

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WHERE can the book be purchased?

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The author will be honored to gift a winner a signed copy of
The Heart of Courage.

Without an email address, we cannot inform the winner!
You may private message your email to me at, letting me know you've left a comment, if you're uncomfortable leaving it here in the comments.


Thursday, September 17, 2020

My Story BEFORE The Story ~ Gerd Hirschberg ~ The Amish Menorah by Patrick E. Craig

Yesterday was not a good day for Germany or the Amish. Today is a good day for me, Gerd Hirschberg.

Yesterday, a huge cloud of dust rising over the hills beyond Ixheim, Germany, but it is not a dust storm, for the ground is still wet from the spring rains, there are no dry fields to surrender their soil to the hungry winds. No, it is tanks, and an army, marching into the Rhineland. Herr Hitler has kept his promise. He will stick his finger in the eye of the French who have lorded it over Germany since 1918. Many Germans think this is a great day, but for Germany, I can only see Gefährliche Tage, bad days. And for the Amish it is especially hard, for the Nazis asked us to forget our promise to do evil to no man. They want us to join them in their cleansing of Germany, They want us to turn in Jews and communists, gypsies, homosexuals, all those who do not fit into their dream of the great Aryan nation that will rule the world. This is not good, and it breaks the heart of our God.

But today—a good day! A very good day! My life has changed. I met her, Emily, or should I say I found her. She was hiding in my barn. She is a Jew. The Nazis have taken her parents and killed her brother. She wants to go to France, but the border is closed. She asked me for help, she offered to give me a golden lampstand, she called it a menorat ḥanukkah. But I could not take it, because from the moment I saw her, she took my heart. Tall, dark hair, green eyes, a laugh like bells and ice. I must help her, if it means losing my own life.

How do these days come upon us?

All my life I was a simple Amish Farmer, though I do not want to be a farmer. I want to raise horses, beautiful horses. I have always wanted to raise horses, but my father was against it. He said it was too worldly and would put me among people who would pollute me, challenge my faith. He said I would never amount to anything. I would always be just a farmer. Winning praise from him was like drawing poison from a wound.

He would tell me the story of my family coming from Switzerland two hundred years ago and buying this farm. “You are the son of a farmer, who is the son of a farmer, and all the way back to the first Hirschberg, farming on the slopes of a great mountain in the Alps. You will never be anything but a farmer. You are not fit for anything else. This is your land and you will die here.”

But now it is my father who is dead. He was angry with me because I told him I did not want his farm. His heart gave out. I am sorry. I did not mean to cause his death. Now I am the master of the most prosperous farm in Ixheim. The elders came to me and said because I am now important, I must become an elder of the Church.

But I have met Emily. She told me about America, about the horses in the West, about Colorado and mountains that go clear to the sky. I think now, I will sell my farm, and take Emily and my mother and we will go to America. It will be hard, for I insulted the new Oberführer of our district and he is watching me. If he finds Emily, we will all go to Dachau. If we go there, we will die there.

Bad days and good days—sometimes you cannot tell the difference.

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My Story Title:   The Amish Menorah
(From The Amish Menorah and Other Stories by The Men of Amish Fiction)

My Story Genre:  Amish Historical Fiction

My Story Released:   May 2020

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The Author of My Story:   PATRICK E. CRAIG

Amazon Best-Selling author Patrick Craig, is a lifelong writer and musician who left a successful music career to become a pastor in 1986. In 2007 he retired to concentrate on writing and publishing fiction books. In 2011, Patrick signed a three-book deal with Harvest House Publishers to publish his Apple Creek Dreams series. His self-published books, The Amish Heiress, The Amish Princess, and The Mennonite Queen, as well as the reprinted Apple Creek Dreams are now published by Patrick’s imprint, P&J Publishing. In 2017, Harlequin Publishing purchased The Amish Heiress for their Walmart Amish series and released it in April 2019.

Patrick and co-author Murray Pura have just released Far On The Ringing Plains, Book 1 in a nine book series that will take in the whole sweep of men and women at war from WW II to the current Desert Campaigns. The have also collaborated on an anthology of realistic Amish stories written with the four other men who write Amish fiction: Willard Carpenter, Jerry Eicher, Thomas Nye and Amos Wyse. The Amish Menorah and Other Stories was published by Elk Lake Publishing in May of 2020. The six authors are currently collaborating on A Christmas Collection which will be released in November. Patrick has also recently released two books in his YA mystery series, The Adventures of Punkin and Boo, with Elk Lake Publishing. They are The Mystery of Ghost Dancer Ranch and The Lost Coast. Patrick and his wife Judy live in Idaho. They have two daughters and five grandchildren.

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Get Connected:

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WHERE can the book be purchased?

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The author will be doing a giveaway of one signed Print Copy of The Amish Menorah and Other Stories to one reader, 
in the U. S. only, who leaves a comment. 

Without an email address, we cannot inform the winner!
You may private message your email to me at, letting me know you've left a comment, if you're uncomfortable leaving it here in the comments.


Thursday, September 03, 2020

My Story BEFORE The Story ~ Irina Vladimirovna Kotva ~ Her Shining Eyes by Jeanette Morris

Help me! Somebody, please…
I’m writing from Russia, the city of Samara on the Volga River. And there has been a terrible, horrible mistake. I’m sitting in a dingy classroom in an old boarding school (better known as an orphanage) somewhere far from the city center where I live. Or maybe I should say, where I used to live. Now I’m not sure about that, or about anything.

I definitely don’t belong HERE. But for a reason I can’t explain or understand, three days ago a rude woman marched me away from my mother and brought me here on the tram. A policeman was there too. I will never forget the look on Mama’s pale face, or her last words to me: “Forgive me, Irochka.” Forgive her for what?

My formal name is Irina Vladimirovna Kotova. But just Irina will do. If you come to rescue me, just say you are looking for the Irina with the violin, and someone will know who you mean. Not that my violin is doing me much good anymore. There are no musicians here or anyone who appreciates culture, manners, or friendship. I have to get out. I just have to.

You see, not long ago, I lived a rather nice, normal life. We had a nice flat. My mother wore stylish clothes and my father was the concert master in the Philharmonic. I attended school at the pension and studied violin with a prestigious instructor. We were happy. But what I didn’t see coming was the end of our country—the USSR. I was too young to understand what had happened, and how everything was ruined. Now that I’m fourteen, I see it now—but I still don’t see why I was taken from my mother. She has been sick, but is that a crime? It wasn’t her fault my father died. I still went to school. Usually there was something to eat every day.

I’m trying to get up the nerve to go to the office of the boarding school director and ask him when my mother will come for me. But so far, I’ve been too afraid. I’m not the most outgoing of girls. And he’s often preoccupied, even angry, rushing here and there, barking orders to the staff. He doesn’t have time for the likes of me.

Oy! Here comes the teacher. She is late and will blame the public transport, as do most Russians. I must pretend to pay attention, even though the lessons are far below my level. If you get this letter and can come to rescue me, take bus 47 to the Chirimshanskaya stop. Cross the street and ask anyone to direct you to the boarding school. Or, just follow the first child who looks as if nobody cares about them.

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        My Story Title:   Her Shining Eyes                   

        My Story Genre:  YA Historical

       My Story Releases:   September 2019
                                   Happy Anniversary

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The Author of My Story:    Jeanette Morris

Jeanette Morris  is a freelance writer/editor, traveler, fisherwoman, missionary to Russia, wife, mother, grandmother, friend, voracious reader, and slow-but-sure knitter. In my second-half adventure, I'm writing novels, exploring the world, trying to stay fit and healthy, and letting go of past labels and failures. It may be my "golden years," but I believe the best is ahead. My story is still being written!

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Get Connected:

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WHERE can the book be purchased?

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The author would also be willing to giveaway a Kindle ebook of Her Shining Eyes or a signed paperback copy to anyone stateside.