Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Author Interview: Resurgence of Dawn by Brett Armstrong

Resurgence of Dawn JustRead Blog Tour

Welcome to the Blog Tour for Resurgence of Dawn by Brett Armstrong hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

About the Book

Resurgence of Dawn

Title: Resurgence of Dawn
Series:
Quest of Fire #5
Author:
Brett Armstrong
Publisher:
Expanse Books
Release Date:
December 12, 2023
Genre:
Christian, Epic/High Fantasy, Young Adult

Haunted by tragedies and failures, Anargen and Jason each struggle to find their way. Night has fallen in the Lowlands and neither teen has an easy road ahead. In Anargen’s Era, Monarch Ilyron’s powers and influence grow, forcing Anargen and his dwindling list of allies to travel the length of the Lowlands in a desperate attempt to keep the Quest and all they hold dear from falling into ruin. 

Jason meanwhile must find Aria and her grandfather to help unite the Knights of Light from across the Lowlands against his brother, Dorian. But agents of darkness and painful vestiges of his past mix with vindictive new enemies to make the hope of seeing the dawn of the longed-for King’s Day ever so faint. If either teen gives in and surrenders, doom will come swiftly on their world.  

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Bookshop | BookBub


More Books in This Series

    Shadows at Nightfall  Quest of Fire: Desperation


Excerpt


Seren’s plea for Anargen to keep the faith

Through the tremors of grief wracking her body, Seren warbled, “Cinaed was devoted to the High King and will be rewarded for his courage and sacrifice. The Lowlands are dark and full of suffering, and we all make mistakes to worsen it. But if you give up, if you forsake your father and me and the Quest and the Great King … that’s the greatest loss. The only one certain to destroy all hope. Don’t abandon me. Above all, don’t abandon the High King.

“Sometimes we must make a stand, and it won’t end in victory as we imagine. But there can be an example, a tower of light for others to see by that draws them to the truth and honor and hope that the High King will renew the Lowlands in his Day. And that is worth clinging to no matter how wretched the Lowlands seem, no matter how deep our mistakes and the dark things that seek to destroy us put us in the mire and gloom. You taught me that, so please, please, please don’t shatter that hope for you and for me by discarding it.”

He looked at her again, and in her eyes was a furious pleading, a longing. Not for him in himself, or even for the Knight he should be, but for a glimmer of the light from the High King that should be burning brightly within him. It was evident in her steadfastly refusing to be quenched. And from its heat and vibrance, he found the assurance that the High King hadn’t abandoned him. Whatever the circumstances may seem.

Like a poultice, it pulled away at the infectious decay ravaging him, not erasing the pain but lessening it. Mending began. He could feel it. Warmth entered his bones, and strength coursed back into his limbs that had been slowly leeched away ever since Cinaed’s death.


About the Author

Brett Armstrong

Brett Armstrong has been exploring other worlds as a writer since age nine. Years later, he still writes, but now invites others along on his excursions. He’s shown readers haunting, deep historical fiction (Destitutio Quod Remissio), scary-real dystopian sci-fi (Tomorrow's Edge), and dark, sweeping epic fantasy (Quest of Fire). Every story is a journey of discovery and an attempt to be a brush in the Master Artist’s hand. Through dark, despair, light, joy, and everything in between, the end is always meant to leave his fellow literary explorers with wonder and hope. Always busy with a new story, he also enjoys drawing, gardening, and spending time with his wife and son.

Connect with Brett at brettarmstrong.net to follow him on social media and sign up for email updates.


Author Interview


Q: What inspired you to write Resurgence of Dawn?

Brett: The whole Quest of Fire series is to an extent a story about how stories can shape us and encourage us. How the actions we take now can reverberate across the years to impact people we'll never meet apart from in Heaven. There are two major timelines and sets of characters, Anargen and Thomas in the Middle Era and Jason in the Modern Era. The two are separated by about 400 years, so all Jason has is the stories of what Anargen and Thomas faced as told by Jason's mentor, Cinaed. Across the series Anargen and Thomas face these awful and impossible situations and are pressed over and over to just give up. To leave the Quest of Fire and go back to normal lives and forsake their oaths to the High King. But they don't, even when it seems like no one is watching and only harm will come to them with no good, they stand firm. And Jason hears these stories as he is faced with trials and doubts and is forced to choose to join the Quest or not. Resurgence of Dawn is where the seeds sown in The Gathering Dark and Shadows at Nightfall really started bearing fruit for Jason. He goes from hearing to acting on what he's heard and learned. You can see it in how the series is structured. In The Gathering Dark the majority of the book is about what Anargen was facing and only a bit about Jason. Shadows at Nightfall it's more balanced but still weighted to Anargen's trials. Now in Resurgence of Dawn there's a shift and it's primarily about Jason's actions now. That's really important to the book and series. There is transformation in Jason as he chooses to follow the High King and learns from those who came before him and is encouraged to stand firm in the faith because others who came before him did as well. I feel like that's something we need so badly in our current world. To not just look back at those who came before us but to also see ourselves as the examples a future generation will have to look back at and see that we stood firm and faithful to the end. So, we can say, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.”*

* 2 Timothy 4:7-8, ESV


Q: How long did it take you to write this book?

Brett: I’ve had the basics of the story for years, but Resurgence of Dawn was undeniably a miracle. For most people things after the COVID pandemic started to calm down pretty quickly after things opened back up. By my work didn’t start to normalize for much longer and I got behind on all of my writing projects. Going into the start of 2023 I had two full length novels set to release later that year with deadlines within the first two months. I tried to work on both books but I was completely overwhelmed in a way I’ve never been. So, I prayed about it and asked God to help. Without His help, the books weren’t going to get done. After that the words didn’t just come, they flowed like they never have in my life and with some grace from my publisher both books were done in four months. Over 200,000 words in less time than it normally takes me do a 40,000 word novella. And, the most incredible thing is that when I went back and read those two books, I really feel like they’re two of the best things I’ve ever been privileged to write. The action and pacing were on point, the world-building was solid and the themes, especially the spiritual ones in each, were solidly woven into the fabric of the stories. Most of my books come together over a year or more, but Resurgence of Dawn, by God’s grace and provision and 100% to His glory, came about in two months.


Q: What surprised you while researching/writing this novel?

Brett: One of the cool things about Quest of Fire is the Modern Era is set in a 1910-1920’s type timeframe. There’s cars and telephones alongside Knights wielding divinely imbued swords. An ancient quest in a much more contemporary world. As part of the research for the book, I had to figure exactly what kind of technology would reasonably be available to a society that mirrors that timeframe in real world history. In particular, how advanced aviation and automobiles had become. It’s also a pretty varied book in terms of localities so I ended up researching history and culture for Turkiye, Persia, Armenia and the Caucasus. Including clothing, drinks, and desserts. Which for history nerd like me was so much fun!


Q: Do you have a favorite quote from Resurgence of Dawn?

Brett: I really like the quote below, because it refers back to a moment in the series that I think personally is one of the coolest and most meaningful pictures of what Christ does when we first believe:

“Do you know the High King of All Realms?”

“Huh?” The question threw Jason. It seemed silly, given the man already knew Jason was newly joined to the Knight Order.

“Do you know the High King of All Realms?” the being repeated.

“I do know him,” Jason replied. Finding the answer too brief, he scoured for something else to add and came upon something intensely personal. “He’s the breaker of my chains.”



Q: When did you first know you wanted to be an author?

Brett: I’m not sure when I first realized I wanted to be an author. I do know when it first became real to me though. Which I should probably explain. Some time ago, I found an old assignment from sixth grade in my parents’ attic where we were asked to write about what we would be doing across the next five decades into the future. Featured prominently in my assignment was the declaration that I would be an author. The years between sixth and college cast doubt for me that I could be an author. I thought I had to pick a profession that wasn’t a dream, one that was stable and would provide for me and the family I hoped to have some day. While I was in college following that plan in the computer engineering and electrical engineering dual major track, I was pretty depressed. Math is great, so I thought I’d enjoy engineering, but it left me feeling kind of hollow. In my junior year I had some space in my schedule that I needed to fill because a class I needed to take was already full, so I took a creative writing class for fun. It was such a breath of fresh air to me I took another the following semester and that’s when I wrote a short story titled, “Destitutio Quod Remissio”. It was about a Roman senator who was a Christian in secret but was betrayed and lost everything. He then had a dilemma: sate his desire for revenge or embrace the call to forgive as Christ forgives. I thought for sure in a secular college class it would get shredded, but my fellow classmates and instructor were incredibly positive and supportive. Several classmates said I should turn it into a novel. I mulled that over for days afterward and on my way home from the class it just hit me. Writing wasn’t just a hobby or fun distraction. It was something I felt the Lord was drawing me to deep within, something I was made to do for His honor. That’s when my journey to becoming an author began in earnest and ever since I’ve prayed to be a brush in the Master Artist’s hand. I’m a rather crude tool, but I’m grateful to be used.


Q:  What are you currently reading?

Brett: Right now, I’m participating in the book launch for a fellow Christian speculative fiction author, CE Stone. I’ve been aware of and interested in reading her Starganauts space opera series for years and as part of the launch I’m reading through each of them. I’m enjoying it so far and its really cool to get to support my fellow author.


Q: What is your favorite genre to read?

Brett: I usually enjoy reading speculative or historical fiction stories most, but am open to pretty much anything. Lately, my wife and I have been listening to audiobooks together and she’s a fan of YA, romance, and mystery books so a lot of my recent reads are in those genres. I often say that as a writer, I tend to write in speculative and historical fiction genres, but am open to writing any the Lord leads me to, because the story and what it conveys matters most. I’d like to say the same is true of what I’m willing to read. If the story is one the Lord puts in my path and can build me as a person and follower of Christ, then I’m all for it.


Q: What is your favorite hobby? 

Brett: I would have to say drawing. By time volume spent, it would look like video gaming, and that is owed a lot to my son. I don't get to draw as much as I would like, but it's so calming for me. It's also one of the special things between my wife and I. Our first Valentine's Day as a couple I was away on my freshman college year and she was finishing her senior year of high school. I wanted to get her something, but was completely clueless about arranging a flower delivery from that far away, so I drew her a picture of her favorite flower and included a personal note and mailed it to her. I had never given away any of my artwork before so it was a really personal gesture from my perspective. Ever since then, I've tried to draw her something around holidays and our anniversary. I don't know if anyone else would find it romantic—probably dorky—but my wife has always treated each one as special.

Drawing has also become really helpful to me as an author for sketching out characters, places, scenes, etc. Details that come out in the drawing invariably end up giving more character and depth to the stories. One quick sketch I did actually ended up so inspiring me that it became a key scene and plot point of the Quest of Fire book preceding Resurgence of Dawn.


Tour Giveaway

(2) winners will each win a $25 Amazon gift card, a print copy of Resurgence of Dawn, and a digital poster of the Lowlands!

Resurgence of Dawn JustRead Tours blog giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. The giveaway begins at midnight June 24, 2024 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on July 1, 2024. Winners will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US/CAN only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to JustRead Publicity Tours Giveaway Policies.

Enter Giveaway


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours

Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Author Interview: Not Finished Yet by Sharon Garlough Brown

 About the Book:




Sometimes, you see, Wren and Gran didn't paint flowers or clouds or birds or trees.
Sometimes they painted their feelings.
She and Gran called it "painting prayers."

Gran's art studio is one of Wren's favorite places in the world. Not only is it where Wren and Gran paint, but it's also where they talk about all the good and hard stuff of life—to each other, and to God. Join young Wren as she explores her feelings and discovers that God welcomes our honest prayers.

This gentle story by bestselling Christian novelist Sharon Garlough Brown, paired with exquisite illustrations from Jessica Linn Evans, will be enjoyed by children as well as the adults who read with them. Also included is a note from the author to encourage further conversation about the content.

Mini-Review:

I love that Not Finished Yet: Trusting God with All My Feelings by Sharon Garlough Brown introduces children to the concept that it is safe and healthy to express any feeling to God, not just the positive emotions. That's something I'm still learning as an adult! The narrative is clever and relatable for young children. The winsome illustrations correlate well with the story. This is a book my kiddos would have loved when they were younger! Five stars!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a ecopy of this book by the author or publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.

Author Bio:


Sharon Garlough Brown is a spiritual director, speaker, and cofounder of Abiding Way Ministries, providing spiritual formation retreats and resources. She is the author of the bestselling Sensible Shoes Series, which includes spiritual fiction novels Sensible Shoes, Two Steps Forward, Barefoot, An Extra Mile, and their study guides.
Author Interview:

Q: What inspired you to write this book?

Sharon Garlough Brown: As a spiritual director and retreat leader, I'm passionate about inviting people to journey deep into the heart of God through practices of prayer and other spiritual disciplines so that we can be healed, transformed, and shaped to become more like Jesus. The more confident we are in the height and depth, breadth and length of God's love for us, the freer we become to bring our honest selves to him in prayer, without fear or shame. In Not Finished Yet I translate some of the work I do with adults for children, encouraging them to find ways to express their thoughts and feelings to a God who loves them and listens to them with care and attention, no matter what they have to say.


Q: Is there a common thread that runs between your novels and this children's picture book?

Sharon: Each of my books contains spiritual disciplines that help us practice being attentive and receptive to God's presence and love. Though I don't use the word lament in Not Finished Yet, this is the spiritual practice at the heart of the story as young Wren learns from her grandmother how to express her honest thoughts and feelings to God. My Shades of Light series, in which Wren is the twenty-seven-year-old protagonist, includes art as a spiritual practice, both in creating art as prayer and in praying with art to open conversation with God, especially during seasons of sorrow and loss.


Q: Are there elements of this story that reflect your own experience?

Sharon: I was twenty-one years old and a relatively new Christian when an older work colleague gave me a copy of Philip Yancey's book Disappointment with God as a college graduation present. Honestly, I remember staring at the title and feeling offended by it. I suspect I silently judged my colleague for a lack of faith or even blasphemy. I'll never forget, though, the words she spoke next: "You may not think you need this book now, Sharon, but there might come a day when you will." I silently took offense at that too. How could I ever feel disappointed with God?

By the time I was in my midtwenties, Yancey's book had become the companion I needed while navigating painful seasons in which it was difficult for me to reconcile the goodness, power, and love of God with his apparent unwillingness to intervene in my life and in the lives of those I loved and longed for. Like the psalmists and prophets, I began asking hard lament questions like, "Where are you?" "If you love us then, why?" and "How long, oh, Lord?"

In the decades since then, I've had the privilege of accompanying many people through seasons of lament, offering them the same invitation and permission God gave me long ago: to express my disappointment, bewilderment, anger, and sorrow directly to him, without being afraid of disappointing or offending him with my honesty. What a generous God we have that he welcomes us to speak our pain to him-and about him-in prayer.


Q: What do you hope children will take away from Not Finished Yet?

Sharon: When my sister's children were young, their family would gather at the dinner table to share "highs and lows" from the day. "What's the best thing that happened to you today?" and "What's the hardest thing that happened to you today?" can become invitations to prayer as we bring to God all our thoughts and feelings and experiences-the things that make us happy and thankful as well as the things that make us angry, scared, sad, or disappointed. I hope children who hear or read Not Finished Yet can experience the same kind of freedom Wren experienced in having a safe place where she could be honest with a grown-up who loved her and encouraged her to express her thoughts and feelings to Jesus without fear.


Q: What do you hope parents and caregivers will take away?

Sharon: I've met many people who, when they became upset or angry as children, were told by grown-ups, "Go to your room. And after you calm yourself down, then you can come out and have a conversation." Such a command can potentially impact our images of God, and we might become adults who believe we need to "calm ourselves down" and tidy up our prayers before we can enter into conversation with him.

I hope adults who read Not Finished Yet will hear the Lord's tender invitation to come to him with unedited thoughts and feelings and experience his love, compassion, and comfort. Lament prayers are bold and courageous prayers, which express deep confidence in God's mercy and kindness. I hope all my readers-adults and children-can practice being bold and brave with God, whether through words or tears or creative expression. Pouring out our pain is a pathway to being renewed in hope and trust in a faithful God who is working to make all things new. He's just not finished yet.

*Author Interview taken from Trusting God with All My Feelings press kit. Used with permission.

Friday, June 21, 2024

Book Review: Born of Gilded Mountains by Amanda Dykes

About the Book:


When newcomer Mercy Windsor arrives in Mercy Peak in 1948 after a scandal shatters her gilded world as Hollywood's beloved leading lady, she is determined to forge a new life in obscurity in this time-forgotten Colorado haven. She purchases Wildwood--an abandoned estate with a haunting history--and begins to restore it to its former glory.

But as she does, her every move tugs at the threads of that mountain's lore, unearthing what became of her long-lost pen pal, Rusty Bright, and the whereabouts of the infamous Galloping Goose Engine No. 8, which vanished years ago, along with the mailbag it carried, whose contents could change the course of countless lives. Not to mention another fabled treasure that--if found--could right so many wrongs.

Among the towering mountains that stand as silent witnesses, the ghosts of the past entangle with the courage of the present to find a place where healing, friendship, and hope can abide amid a world forever changed.


My Thoughts:

Born of Gilded Mountains by Amanda Dykes read foremost as a story of friendship. The past and present relationship between Mercy/Marybeth and Rusty unfurled in a combination of narrative prose, typed screenplay, and pen pal letters. This revealing and progressing of their relationship came with timeline jumps, but dates and character ages provided clarification. The story demonstrated the power of friendship and reminded this reader to value true friends.

Born of Gilded Mountains held some emotionally intense moments and I cried more than once while reading this novel. In addition to the element of friendship, the characters traveled through grief on their way to healing the long-held, soul-deep wounds. The characters’ journeys felt authentic, and I especially liked how shared experiences and community played a part in the healing of the characters.

Although written as a standalone novel, Born of Gilded Mountains by Amanda Dykes included a brief cameo of characters from her previous novel, All the Lost Places (which I highly recommend). While it took me several chapters to feel invested in Born of Gilded Mountains, I enjoyed the mystery/treasure hunt in the story. Riddles upon riddles, twists and turns… it felt wild and mind-bending, but delightfully unique and curious. 4.5 Stars!



Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a copy of this book by the author or publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.


About the Author:


Amanda Dykes's debut novel, Whose Waves These Are, was the winner of the prestigious 2020 Christy Award Book of the Year, a Booklist 2019 Top Ten Romance debut, and the winner of an INSPY Award. She's also the author of All the Lost Places and Christy Award finalists Yours Is the Night and Set the Stars Alight. Find her online at AmandaDykes.com.




Author Interview: Adult-o-Nomics by Tez Brooks



About the Book



Book: Adult-o-Nomics: How To Nail It On Your Own

Author: Tez Brooks

Genre: Nonfiction (self-help)

Release date: April 30, 2024

Launching out and making your way in life can be hard. But it doesn’t have to be.

One study revealed that over fifty percent of young adults boomeranged home in the first five years. Often, this is caused by underestimating how many curveballs life throws. You may not want to return home, and helicopter parents don’t help as they sympathetically offer to cushion you in the name of “setting you up for success.” But you know there’s nothing more rewarding than making it on your own.

Mom and Dad couldn’t teach you everything. Your peers can’t offer the wisdom of experience. Even mentors don’t often know what you need guidance for. You need preventive counsel; information obtained before a crisis hits. Well, you found it! Within these pages is experience and know-how collected from famous personalities and others who’ve forged the path ahead of you; from all different ages and walks of life.

This mix of ancient wisdom (adapted from God’s Word) and modern advice from contemporaries will place you ahead of the curve as you increase in know-how and understanding for more effective adulting.

Adult-o-Nomics is a gift book to yourself or others. It’s a collection of 500 short quotes, scriptures, and suggestions for those leaving home for the first time. Topics cover everything from practical housekeeping, automotive maintenance, and career advice, to romance and spiritual living.

If consumers in the target market read Adult-o-Nomics, they will:

  • Discover practical tips for becoming independent.
  • Handle setbacks and trials with know-how, confidence and courage.
  • Understand societal norms for more effective life skills.
  • Learn how to walk closer to God.

Because the book will:

  • Inspire readers to step out and take risks.
  • Encourage young adults to mature and grow a thick skin.
  • Produce a growing dependence on God rather than others.
  • Offer peace in the midst of turmoil and stress
Click here to get your copy!


About the Author


Whether he’s working as a missionary journalist, coaching aspiring writers, or writing devotions, Tez’s passion for walking with God is evident. His book, The Single Dad Detour won Book of the Decade with Serious Writer Academy and recently, Christianity.com featured him in “50 Authors You Should Know.”

As a multiple award-winning author, filmmaker, and international speaker, Brooks was recently named one of the Top Writing Coaches by the Coach Foundation. His work appears in Guideposts, Power for Living, The Upper Room, CBN.com, Clubhouse, Focus on the Family, and more. Tez is a member of Colorado Authors League and president for two chapters of Word Weavers Intl. He and his wife serve as full-time missionaries based out of Colorado Springs. They have four children.


Author Interview with Tez


Q:
Please give us a little introduction to your book.

Tez: In a nutshell it is a book jammed with proverbs (both ancient and modern-day). It covers tips for every part of your life: spiritual, physical, emotional, financial, social, and more. It’s a perfect gift for those young adults 16-25 who may be moving out on their own for the first time.


Q: Are you working on another book now?

Tez: I’m currently working on a book for engaged couples. It’s 100 questions to ask your fiancĂ© before you say “I Do.” It comes from my experience doing pre-marital counseling for couples as they prepare for marriage. So many topics are never discussed or discovered until after the wedding and I’m hoping this workbook will help the bride and groom to be.


Q: Would you share something about yourself that most readers wouldn’t know?

Tez: I used to live in Australia with my wife and kids. We loved seeing the flocks of exotic birds like cockatoos, parakeets, and kookaburras that flew around our house. Kangaroos grazed on the side of the road like deer. It was magical.


Q: What do you like to do when you aren't writing?

Tez: I enjoy hiking the Rockies or swimming. Coaching writers is another great love of mine. I love to teach what I’ve learned about the literary industry so I can help shorten the learning curve for others.


Q: What do you wish you’d known when you were younger?

Tez: I wish I would have known more about finances and budgeting. As a young adult that would have gone a long way in preparing me for adulthood and living on my own—saving me a lot of stress.


More from Tez

AN INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR TEZ BROOKS

Q: Adult-o-Nomics shares insights and encouragement from high school and college students, parents and your own experience as a youth pastor and father of four. What led you to write it?

I wrote it because I see so many young adults struggling with anxiety after moving out on their own. By asking around, I realized it that anxiety comes from a lack of know-how. It’s so stressful to attempt something with little to no information. Google makes it so easy to avoid asking real people by just looking it up online. The trouble is, that alienates us and it doesn’t give us everything we need. People don’t know what they need to learn. I thought it would be nice to have an easy-to-read gift book filled with one-liners and tips – something you could pick up when you have a free minute just to learn something new. Many don’t have time to invest in reading a complete “How-To” book but 30 seconds of advice is easier to digest….bite-sized pieces. So I wrote it!

Q: Would you be willing to share a little bit about your observations from watching young people launch from home?

I have observed a lot of young adults boomerang back home after a few years because they underestimated the cost of living or they forgot to plan for unexpected expenses. But we’ve all had stuff happen that caught us off guard, right? It’s impossible to anticipate everything. But parents who want to be a safety net to rescue their kids don’t really help. Helicopter parents cause their adult kids to lack confidence and become overly dependent upon them. Im not saying parents shouldn’t help in time of need. Im saying help by all means, but with clear expectations and specific end dates. One parent I know bought their daughter a security camera for her apartment so they could watch her sleep and wake her if she overslept for work. Ugh! Another dad insisted on talking to his son’s professor about his grades. It’s my hope this generation will find the peace that comes from total dependence on God and total independence from Mom and Dad. Anxiety doesn’t have to be the norm for those launching out for the first time. Adulting should be a rewarding right of passage, not a dread.

Q: Many young people think living on their own is going to be either really difficult or super easy. You had a difficult event that affected your launch. Can you share with us, what was your experience as a young college student? 

Soon after I graduated high school, my mom died unexpectedly after a minor surgery. I went off to college five states away with little to no experience living on my own. My mom prepared me a little bit before she died. I knew how to do laundry and clean a bathroom but not much more. I experienced a lot of trial and error as I adapted to life away from home. When I returned home after that first semester, my dad had already re-married and started a new life that I was not a part of. My step-mom was not the nurturing type like Mom, and it was clear I needed to take care of myself. It wasn’t easy but I made it. So I have an understanding of young adults trying to adapt to adulthood. It’s way harder for them now than it was for me. Anxiety doesn’t have to rule us though. It’s my hope they will find comfort from some of the tips others have provided in this book.

Q: Adult-o-Nomics is filled with practical advice on topics like romantic relationships, employment, car maintenance, housekeeping, what food to keep in your fridge, and even financial tips. But you also include physical, emotional and spiritual advice? Why are these important?

In the end, our spiritual condition is all that matters. If we get that correct, all the other areas of our life will fall into place. But yes, I do address physical, emotional, and other aspects because these things are vital to our success. Let’s face it, if we know how to get hired for a job but don’t know how to respond in a healthy way to criticism from our employer, we’re not going to have that job very long. Many of the tips in the book are connected and play off each other.

Q: Anxiety is a common issue for this generation. They deal with it more than other generations have. This causes some young adults to delay, avoid, or even abandon their launch. Do you have any advice?

Yes, there’s no need to avoid your launch when God is in your corner. If you have large financial debt and you’re delaying the launch temporarily, that makes sense. I’d pray about how you might trust God to be your Provider. God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. He’s in your corner, cheering you on!

Q: What’s the most important thing a young adult needs to know before they move out? If you could pick one thing to tell them, what would it be?

I’ve said it before, learn total dependence on God. Seek his face. Be sold out to Him…all the rest will work itself out.

Q: What is your next book?

It’s a book based on the pre-marital counseling I have done. It’s called “Is Calling Us to Marry?: 100 Questions for the Well-Prepared Couple”


Blog Stops


Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, June 14

Guild Master, June 15 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 16

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, June 17 (Author Interview)

Texas Book-aholic, June 18

Jodie Wolfe – Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, June 19 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, June 19

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 20

Beauty in the Binding, June 21 (Author Interview)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 22

Back Porch Reads, June 23 (Author Interview)

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, June 24

Artistic Nobody, June 25

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, June 26 (Author Interview)

Lots of Helpers, June 26

Little Homeschool on the Prairie , June 27


Giveaway

To celebrate his tour, Tez is giving away the grand prize of a $75 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Link for giveaway: https://promosimple.com/ps/2be3a/adult-o-nomics-celebration-tour-giveaway

Thursday, June 20, 2024

Book Spotlight: Coal Black Lies by Cindy K. Sproles

Coal Black Lies JustRead Blog + Review Tour

Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour for Coal Black Lies by Cindy K. Sproles, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

About the Book

Coal Black Lies

Title: Coal Black Lies
Author:
Cindy K. Sproles
Publisher:
Kregel Publications
Release Date:
June 18, 2024
Genre: Christian Historical Fiction

Believing the bitter lies you tell yourself leaves little room for the sweetness of truth 

Coal miner Joshua Morgan managed to do the impossible--he broke away from the stranglehold of the iron-fisted Barton family and the Company Store, to whom all the miners in the Appalachian Mountains are indebted. But it cost him the life of his young daughter, who was run down by a posse led by Thomas Barton while coming to collect Joshua's payment to the store. 

Five years later, a sweet but slow-witted young girl lands on his doorstep, and Joshua's desire to protect her from the clutches of the Bartons increases his thirst for vengeance. Joshua sets out to discover where the girl came from in order to take down the Barton family once and for all. 

His journey leads him to the truth about the day his daughter died, a reality he finds hard to accept. But when confronted by Thomas Barton himself, Joshua is forced to rethink the dark lies brewing in his heart. If he broke away, could Thomas have also? Despite his misgivings, can Joshua join forces with a man he once despised to free the miners from the tyrannical Barton family and forge a future of peace for both the young girl and himself?

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | ChristianBook | Bookshop


Also Available

 


Excerpt


The music left Raney’s soul when Anna died, and her mouth grew parched and tight. She rarely spoke unless she had to, and she’d smile from time to time. But when she turned away, the smile left and her face returned to pinched and painful. Raney never recovered, and I could never give her another child—the one thing she lived to have.

I wanted my life back. I wanted my wife back, and I wanted my daughter. If a body could have a wish, I’d wish that day away.

All me and Raney had done was bury the pain. Instead of us grieving together, we hid the pain deep to protect each other. It was senseless because we still wallowed in the sadness—only alone. When you suffer alone, things fall apart. You draw away from one another, and that’s what we’d done. We’d grown apart instead of looking to each other for comfort.

I slid the coin between my fingers. The longer I held it in my hand, the more determined I was to make a change.

“It ends today, Anna. I’m gonna do my best to let this guilt go.”

(p. 10)

About the Author

Cindy Sproles

Cindy K. Sproles is the author of devotions published in newspapers across the country and a teacher at Christian writers conferences. She spent her formative years showing off her beloved Appalachian Mountains to others, and she and her family still live in the mountains of East Tennessee.

Connect with Cindy at cindysproles.com to follow her on social media and sign up for email updates.


Tour Giveaway

(1) winner will win a print copy of Coal Black Lies plus book-related swag!

Coal Black Lies JustRead Tours blog giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. The giveaway begins at midnight June 17, 2024 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on June 24, 2024. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to JustRead Publicity Tours Giveaway Policies.

Enter Giveaway


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Book Spotlight: The Way Back by Heidi Chiavaroli

The Way Back JustRead Takeover + Review Blitz

Welcome to the Takeover + Review Blitz for The Way Back by Heidi Chiavaroli hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

About the Book

The Way Back Title: The Way Back 
Series: Lights of Acadia #1 
Author: Heidi Chiavaroli 
Publisher: Hope Creek Publishers 
Release Date: June 18, 2024 
Genre: Dual Timeline Women's Fiction

Young love means everything . . . until it leaves you with nothing.

The summer before her senior year of high school, Laney Jacobs and her best friend jump from a six-story beachside cliff in an attempt to impress their boyfriends. Laney rose from the water. Her friend did not. 

Six years later, when Laney’s troubled mother’s memoir hits the bestseller list airing the family’s destructive secrets, Laney is forced to relive the trauma, this time in the public eye. To escape the scrutiny, she seeks shelter at her estranged grandmother’s seaside inn. But she can’t reconcile the loving woman with the heartless parent in her mother’s book. As she seeks answers, the boyfriend who once cost her a promising future reappears, stirring up both pain and hope. 

When her mother's vindictive fans threaten her grandmother's livelihood and the lighthouse Laney has come to love, she turns to the century-old words of a young lighthouse keeper to help her find the courage to move forward. But once truths from the past come to light and old love finds new beginnings, will Laney discover that forgiveness is the only way toward true healing?

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Bookshop


Excerpt


Prologue

The memory is never far. To let it flit away like a fearful sparrow instead of holding it close like the persistent, weary ghost it’s become would be to forget my penance for the life I took.

Maddie.

I still remember the slight dip in her cheek when she smiled at me at the top of the cliff, nerves fringing the stretch of her mouth. I remember the smell of salty air, mixing with the Banana Boat coconut sunscreen on our tanned skin. Sunlight glinted off her necklace—a sterling silver pendant picturing a sparrow.

I wore an identical one. Engraved on the back were our initials and the words Best Friends. I’d picked them out because the sparrows reminded me of a card Nana had sent me for my ninth birthday. I used to repeat the scripture verse written beneath the bird’s silhouette over and over in my head to lull me to sleep, to distract me from the sounds of drunken laughter and men and noises I didn’t completely understand coming from my mother’s bedroom.

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.

Even though I didn’t comprehend them, something about the words comforted.

Strands of brown hair brushed Maddie’s face and she squeezed my hand. “Sure we want to do this?”

About the Author

Heidi Chiavaroli

Heidi Chiavaroli (pronounced shev-uh-roli...sort of like Chevrolet and ravioli mushed together!) wrote her first story in third grade, titled I'd Cross the Desert for Milk. It wasn't until years later that she revisited writing, using her two small boys' nap times to pursue what she thought at the time was a foolish dream. Despite a long road to publication, she hasn't stopped writing since! Heidi writes women's fiction, combining her love of history and literature to write both split time stories and contemporary fiction. Her debut novel, Freedom's Ring, was a Carol Award winner and a Christy Award finalist, a Romantic Times Top Pick and a Booklist Top Ten Romance Debut. Her second Carol Award-winning novel, The Orchard House, is inspired by the lesser-known events in Louisa May Alcott's life and led her to write The Orchard House Bed and Breakfast series, a contemporary twist on Little Women. Heidi makes her home in Massachusetts with her husband, two sons, and Wyatt, her standard poodle.

Connect with Heidi by visiting heidichiavaroli.com  to follow her on social media or subscribe to email newsletter updates.


Tour Giveaway

(1) winner will receive a print copy of The Way Back, themed canvas tote bag, bath salts, 3 specialty teas, ocean-inspired candle, magnet, gel pen, notebook, and $25 Amazon gift card!

The Way Back JustRead Giveaway

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight June 19, 2024 and lasts through 11:59 PM EST on June 26, 2024. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

Enter Giveaway


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours

Author Interview: From Comfort Zone to Trust Zone by Cecil Taylor


About the Book



Book: From Comfort Zone to Trust Zone: How Jesus Urges Us to Take Leaps of Faith for His Kingdom

Author: Cecil Taylor

Genre: Christian Living

Release date: March 6, 2024

The innate human longing for comfort is undeniable. However, Jesus challenges us to step beyond the boundaries of our comfort zones and venture into the profound realm of faith, aptly described as trust zones by Cecil Taylor. These are the spaces where we dare to take risks in service of Christ’s Kingdom. In this enlightening exploration of the Bible, Cecil Taylor delves into 12 narratives of Jesus encouraging individuals to forsake their comfort zones in favor of trust zones. Through insightful interpretation, he unveils the valuable lessons these stories impart for contemporary followers of Jesus.

Click here to get your copy!


About the Author


With more than 30 years’ experience as an adult Sunday School teacher and as many in youth ministry, Cecil Taylor has impacted lives in local churches throughout his adult life. He founded Cecil Taylor Ministries to broaden that impact, teaching Christians to live a 7-day practical faith through books, video studies, and speaking engagements. His ministry is cross-denominational, focused on the common struggle Christians face in putting their faith into practice and applying scripture and faith principles to life situations.

From Comfort Zone to Trust Zone has won the 2024 Living Water Award (nonfiction, third place) from the Blue Lake Christian Writer’s Conference. This is the fourth award that Cecil has been presented across his three books.


Author Interview with Cecil


Q:
How long did it take you to write this book?

Cecil: I probably had the original idea for From Comfort Zone to Trust Zone in March 2023. At the time, I was starting work on another book, Unison Parenting, so I didn’t pay much attention to this book until May. I brainstormed ideas and organized them into a sequence during May and June, then began writing in July.

Despite working on two books at the same time, and taking a two-week August vacation, I was able to deliver the book to the publisher during the last week of September.


Q: Would you share a favorite quote from this book?

Cecil: In the chapter called “Relinquishing Certainty, Embracing Uncertainty,” I close the chapter with the line, “Uncertainty is the soil in which faith grows.”

I think this makes so much sense. Hebrews 11:1 tells us, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” If we experience certainty all the time, it cannot grow our faith; faith development depends upon uncertainty. When we embrace uncertainty, we seek an opportunity to expand our trust in Jesus.


Q: Are you working on another book now?

Cecil: Technically, no, as I’m focusing for a while on improving the processes for my expanding ministry, Cecil Taylor Ministries, which teaches Christians how to live a seven-day practical faith. However, I am considering several exciting book ideas.

The first is to write a book aligning with my existing video series, The Legacy Tree: A Christian Model for a Life of Significance. I use a tree metaphor to explain how to define ourselves, how to give ourselves, and how to replenish ourselves for the benefit of God’s kingdom. The video contains wonderful clips and pictures of trees, so I envision a beautiful book with deep, practical meaning.

The second is a sequel of sorts derived from my first book, The Next Thing: A Christian Model for Dealing with Crisis in Personal Life. I plan on taking one vignette out of that book and expanding it into a full book called Live the Life that is Given. I expect this to be a powerful work and possibly a signature book in my writing career.

The third is an unfocused but thrilling book idea. My father was a pastor, and he is bequeathing me all his sermons. I want to begin looking at them this summer. There are several different angles an emerging book could take:
  • “What if you could hear again all the sermons that formed your spiritual life?”
  • It could evolve into a biography of me, a biography of him, or a family history.
  • His sermons could contain messaging that I want to highlight.
Or some mix of the above. The venture is brimming with possibility. I’ll let the Holy Spirit guide me in the way to go.


Q: What are you reading now?

Cecil: I usually read several books concurrently in a rotation, a piece at a time. Not an ideal way to read, but I have so many I want to read!

I am finishing A Modest but Crucial Hero, Judson Stone’s biography of his pastor ancestor George Stone who died while serving the Lord in Oman in 1899. I’m also working my way nightly through Lori Hatcher’s excellent A Word for Your Day book of devotions as part of my bedtime routine.

Other books in the eclectic mix are:
  • The Call of the Mild by Torry Martin and Doug Peterson
  • 12 Ways to Age Gracefully by Susan Neal
  • Caste by Isabel Wilkerson
  • The Florentines, from Dante to Galileo by Paul Strathern
I lean much more toward nonfiction than fiction, but I read fiction now and then.


Q: Where can readers find out more about you and your book?

Cecil: The best place is my home page, CecilTaylorMinistries.com. You can access all of my free content, social media, books, products, and services from there. To keep up with my ministry, I recommend registering for my free monthly newsletter. I offer practical faith tips and updates on the ministry and on me personally. Simply visit my home page and register either via the pop-up or the orange box on the home page.


More from Cecil

Comfort zones can be positive. Not only do we feel good about ourselves, but we also can be effective and efficient. We can find a groove. We may even be able to mentor others and cause a ripple effect of good.

But comfort zones can fool us. Our comfort zones can become invisible. They can limit us and tell us not to take risks. Comfort zones can keep us from going all-in on what Jesus has to offer us.

As I read the Gospels, I see how Jesus frequently pushed people out of comfort zones and into his trust zones, where they would take leaps of faith for the sake of his kingdom. Similarly, Jesus calls us out of comfort zones today, inviting us to take risks while deepening our faith.

A woman who read From Comfort Zone to Trust Zone said one of the most gripping moments in the book is when I shared my own story of going all-in for Jesus. I had grown up in the church as a preacher’s kid. Throughout decades of my adult life, I was a leader in my church, a highly committed volunteer, someone others might think was all-in for Christ.

But I wasn’t all-in, though I fooled myself into thinking I was. In a time when I asked for more comfort zone, Jesus gave me a trust zone: to forget about volunteering so much and to focus on giving my heart to God. I was busted, as I foolishly thought I had hidden from God that I wasn’t fully yielding control of my life. I didn’t know what Jesus would ask of me, so I held him at arm’s length. My prayers zeroed in on what was comfortable for me rather than what the Holy Spirit was beckoning me to do.

Since that moment, my life has changed. I believe your life needs to change, too, if you’re feeling comfortable. It’s time to get uncomfortable, to overcome your desire for certainty, and to inspect the ways in which you have limited the Spirit’s power to work through you. I invite you on a journey to identify subtle comfort zones that you never knew you had and to uncover trust zones that will take your faith to new levels while mightily serving Christ. I invite you to the experience that is From Comfort Zone to Trust Zone: How Jesus Urges Us to Take Leaps of Faith for His Kingdom.


Blog Stops


Blossoms and Blessings, June 15 (Author Interview)

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, June 16

Artistic Nobody, June 17 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, June 17

Jodie Wolfe – Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, June 18 (Author Interview)

Lots of Helpers, June 18

Beauty in the Binding, June 19 (Author Interview)

Texas Book-aholic, June 20

Guild Master, June 21 (Author Interview)

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 22

A Reader’s Brain, June 23 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 24

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, June 25 (Author Interview)

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, June 26

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 27

Fiction Book Lover, June 28 (Author Interview)


Giveaway


To celebrate his tour, Cecil is giving away the grand prize package of a copy of the book and a $50 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Link for giveaway: https://promosimple.com/ps/2ca3c/from-comfort-zone-to-trust-zone-celebration-tour-giveaway

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Book Spotlight: The Amish Book Cellar by Tracy Fredrychowski

The Amish Book Cellar JustRead Blog Tour

Welcome to the Blog Tour for The Amish Book Cellar by Tracy Fredrychowski hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

About the Book

The Amish Book Cellar

Title: The Amish Book Cellar
Series:
Willow Springs Amish Mystery Romance #1
Author:
Tracy Fredrychowski
Publisher:
The Tracer Group, LLC
Release Date: June 4, 2024
Genre:
Christian Fiction Amish Cozy Mystery

It will take everything she has to face her past. Can this wayward woman find her way back into the hearts of her Amish Community? 

When a mistake forces Lydia Troyer to leave her Amish roots in exchange for a new life as an Englischer, she finds herself running from more than her past as Wally Troyer's rebellious daughter. 

Upon her father's untimely death, she is called home to take over The Book Cellar, Willow Springs's favorite Amish bookstore. A series of strange happenings and whispers among her people lead her to suspect there are more than books hidden in the cellar. Will she chance getting her heart broken again if she leans on a longtime friend and carpenter, Aaron Shetler, to help her discover the truth? 

Widower Aaron Shetler has too much at stake to allow Lydia Troyer back into his life. Will it take his young daughter, Mattie Rose, to convince him what he yearns for the most is the one thing he's fighting against the hardest? 

 Together with their Labrador Yankee, Lydia, and Aaron help bring to light a century of mysteries waiting to be unearthed about some of Willow Springs's most upstanding citizens. 

Can this woman find the courage to stand up for what is right and find her place back among her people?  

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Bookshop | BookBub


Also Available

Allie's Amish Family Miracle


Excerpt


The black abyss, a place she had known since childhood yet never fully explored, urged her on. The air grew denser as she ventured deeper into the back section of the unused space. With a flashlight in hand, she found the display case covered in dust. How she wished the electric lights the bishop approved for the bookshop included the cellar.

The eeriness of the night added to her apprehension. With gloved hands, she reached for a particularly weathered volume, and a strange sensation pricked at the back of her neck.

Faint whispers echoed through the walls. At first, she dismissed them as a figment of her imagination, the creaks and sighs of an old building playing tricks on her mind.

Yankee sat at her side. His fur bristled slightly, and Lydia couldn’t help but notice the hair standing up on his back. A low growl rumbled intensely within his chest, a guttural sound that hinted at an awareness beyond her own.

But then the whispers grew into distinct voices. They rose and fell unsettlingly, forcing her to hold her breath and turn off the flashlight. A chill settled over her as the voices carried through the musty air. Fear crept in as the voices seemed trapped in the walls, holding her captive to the darkness. Yankee’s stance reassured her, his loyalty a silent affirmation that she wasn’t alone.

When the sounds faded, she summoned the courage to make her way out of the back room. Ascending the narrow staircase with the ancient book clutched tightly in her hands, the whispers from the cellar still lingered in her mind. As she reached the upstairs apartment, a sudden compulsion prompted her to lock the door behind her.

About the Author

Tracy Fredrychowski

Tracy Fredrychowski’s life closely mirrors the gentle, simple stories she crafts in her writing. With a passion for the simpler side of life, Tracy regularly shares tips on her website and blog at tracyfredrychowski.com

In northwestern Pennsylvania, Tracy grew up steeping in the virtues of country living. A pivotal moment in her life was the tragic murder of a young Amish woman in her community. This event profoundly influenced her, compelling her to dedicate her writing to the peaceful lives of the Amish people. Tracy aims to inspire her readers through her stories to embrace a life centered around faith, family, and community. 

For those intrigued by the Amish way of life, Tracy extends an invitation to connect with her on facebook.com/tracyfredrychowskiauthor. On her page and group, she shares captivating Amish photography by her friend Jim Fisher and recipes, short stories, and glimpses into her cherished Amish community nestled deep in the heart of northwestern Pennsylvania’s Amish County.

Connect with Tracy at tracyfredrychowski.com to follow her on social media and sign up for email updates.


Tour Giveaway

(2) winners will win a $25 Amazon gift card!

The Amish Book Cellar JustRead Tours blog giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. The giveaway begins at midnight June 18, 2024 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on June 25, 2024. Winners will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US/CAN only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to JustRead Publicity Tours Giveaway Policies.

Enter Giveaway


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours

Sunday, June 16, 2024

Epic Book Launch: Collision Course by Millie Inman

About the Book


Book Title: Collision Course
Author Name: Millie Inman
Genre: Historical Fiction
Release Date: October 19, 2023

The shocking death of the popular Prince of Wales launches his young heir from innocent childhood into a roiling caldron of political jealousy and intrigue. Set in all the glory of mid-eighteenth century England, the child prince is urgently prepared for his estranged grandfather’s throne. Under the wing of his godly tutor-advisor, the youth staggers through an escalating minefield of hazards.

Juxtaposed with the prince’s story, is the life of a down-and-out firebrand statesman considering retirement from public service, including the House of Commons because he’s under the king’s fervent disfavor. As rumors of coup d’etat swirl around the prince, an alliance between the youth and the flagging Member of Parliament (MP) secures hope of a safe ascension. The alliance also catapults the prince’s gentle advisor and the seasoned statesman MP into the two most powerful men in Great Britain. One controls the next king. The other controls Parliament. Then, in the face of escalating war, a shocking twist changes everything.

Collision Course shatters clichĂ©s as it treks through England’s finest gardens and dines with kings and statesmen, all the while peering into the universal nature of the human soul and the heartbeat of corrupted constitutional government. This is the true, untold story of alliance, ambition, betrayal, loss, and recovery that set the world stage for the American Revolution.

Book Excerpt

George sprang up. “The doctors said yesterday Papa had improved!” He bolted out the side door. Tears blurred his vision as he raced across the garden path under a pewter-gray dawn. Chilled March wind tore at his shirttail, biting his midriff and ears. Motion slowed, and sound grew distant. Surely this was only a nightmare! He was only vaguely aware Edward and the stooped old reverend galloped somewhere behind him like a panicked rear guard.

As he lunged up the kitchen steps, Edward’s wailing closed in, tugging him from the ragged dream. The door flung open and several teary servants fell in with the miserable entourage. The room was darker than usual. Colder. The young prince paused, catching his breath while his eyes adjusted. He shivered. The fire had burned low. In the dim light, Mama sat at the table before the hearth with her head buried in her arms. A forlorn lady-in-waiting wept softly nearby.

“Say it isn’t true, Mama!” he gasped, racing to her. She looked up dazedly. He saw her eyes, often red with allergies, swollen to slits. Fear squeezed him, forcing a gasp. She attempted a brave demeanor, stood to greet her sons, and smoothed her skirts over the forming lump in her stomach. Ignoring her delicate condition, George threw himself against her, weeping bitterly.