Reflections In Hindsight

Grace in the Rearview Mirror…it's closer than it appears

  • Ephesians 4:29

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    Thank you for your encouragement and support for the past three years. We've had fun connecting with you and hope you've found useful material here on Reflections. And here's the but... Reflections In Hindsight is closing on December 21, 2012. Elaine and Sophie and I can be found over at http://authorculture.blogspot.com; April can be found at Clash of the Titles, http://www.clashofthetitles, http://www.aprilgardner.com and watch for news for more novels from her!; Janet is ever-present on the Internet with her very special words of wisdom and grace at http://www.janetperezeckles.com, and Luther--who knows where he'll show up next, but I'd watch my back if I were you... Book Reviews are always important, so I, Lisa, will continue to offer them through my blog, as well as those promotions for your new books or book launches, or your news.
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Posts Tagged ‘the Road to Deer Run’

Grace Filled Christmas Blog Tour with Elaine Marie Cooper

Posted by elainemcooper on November 12, 2012

Merry Christmas, dear readers! I am thrilled to be a part of the Grace Filled Christmas Blog Tour, where we promote the books that we hope will bless you.

This blog post will tell you about my Deer Run Saga, a historical romance series that focuses on two generations of a family in New England, beginning in the American Revolution. The first two books in this series have received numerous awards, including the nomination of The Road to Deer Run as Finalist in the 2011 Grace Awards contest. I am delighted and honored to introduce you to my three books:

The Road to Deer Run (Book 1)
British soldier Daniel Lowe has been captured after being wounded at the Battle of Saratoga in 1777. He escapes from his captors and hides in the woods to die, only to be rescued by Mary Thomsen, an American farmwoman.

As his festering wound heals, his gratitude to the woman who saved him transforms into love. But as an enemy soldier, he is endangering Mary, as well as her widowed mother and little sister.

As he desperately tries to hide his identity, he is faced with numerous obstacles: exposure by the local Patriots, an attack by a British deserter intent on assaulting Mary; and his worst nemesis, the American soldier who loves Mary and figures out who Daniel really is.

The Road to Deer Run won Honorable Mention in Romance at the 2011 Los Angeles Book Festival, Finalist in Religious Fiction at the 2011 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, and won Best Romantic Excerpt in the online contest, Clash of the Titles.

What makes The Road to Deer Run perfect for Christmas reading and gifting?
For readers looking for well-researched historical fiction, they should consider this novel filled with romance as well as action and adventure. As the first book of the saga, it sets the scene for the series, which readers repeatedly tell me keeps them up late at night with the intensity of the plot. And the love story amidst the spiritual growth in the characters will draw readers into the tale of Daniel and Mary. A perfect read while cuddling with your Christmas sweetheart—or dreaming of finding a sweetheart under your tree!

The Promise of Deer Run (Book 2)

America’s war for freedom from England has been over for seven years, but the wounds of that conflict still plague the minds and hearts of the residents of Deer Run.

Young American veteran Nathaniel Stearns, suffering from the memories of war that haunt him in the night, has withdrawn to a life of isolation. He still awaits his father who never returned from the war—a mystery that haunts him.

He is brought out of his self-imposed exile by a near-tragedy in the woods that brings him face-to-face with nineteen-year-old Sarah Thomsen, someone he had long admired but he assumed had eyes for another. This chance encounter opens a crack into the door of his heart as mutual affection quickly blooms.

But slander and lies soon mar the budding romance, rendering both Sarah and Nathaniel wounded and untrusting as their faith in both their God and each other is shattered. Set in 1790 and filled with rich detail of the era, this book continues the story of the Thomsen and Lowe families as they struggle to survive in the aftermath of the war that birthed the United States.

The Promise of Deer Run won Best Romance at the 2012 Los Angeles Book Festival, and was a Finalist in Religious Fiction for the ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year contest.

What makes The Promise of Deer Run perfect for Christmas reading and gifting?
This is the perfect book for anyone that has a loved one that suffers from war-related post-traumatic stress. The healing and spiritual growth that occurs in the characters of Nathaniel and Sarah will bring inspiration to those seeking hope when the world seems dark. And the romance? It will set the heart fluttering! There is a surprise Christmas story in this book as well. Be sure to have your tissues handy. :)

The Legacy of Deer Run (Book 3)

In the year 1800, Danny Lowe makes weapons for the defense of America, still a fledgling nation. He also protects his heart from the allure of Susannah, a young woman who seems so far above his station in life that he cannot win her.

She fights her own war against loneliness and grief. Despite her finery and airs, Susannah is drawn to the young armory worker, who is distant yet disarming.

Love is the not the only entanglement. The nation’s enemies are afoot. They creep within the very walls where America’s defenses are being forged. Who are they? When will they strike? Who will survive their terrorism?

Intrigue of the heart and intrigue of the times are only part of this compelling story. This series finale is a gripping mix of romance and deception, faith and forgiveness, transgression and trial.

Janet Perez Eckles, author of Simply Salsa: Dancing Without Fear at God’s Fiesta, says, “Each scene and episode sings with heart-tugging emotion, thought-provoking insights and lasting messages of hardship and pain turned to healing, forgiveness and triumph.”

What makes The Legacy of Deer Run perfect for Christmas reading and gifting? This novel focusing on the next generation of the Lowe family is the perfect conclusion for the series. But don’t assume that only romance is found in between these pages. This tale is filled with intrigue and tension, as well as unresolved situations in the Lowe family that lead to unexpected events for the family. This story is filled with forgiveness and redemption when it seems that none can be found. And my readers describe the romance as “sizzling!” I hope that this entire series can find it’s way to your Christmas wish list as you learn so much about the early days of America.

* * * * *

The Grace Filled Christmas Blog Tour runs through to December 22nd. Don’t forget to check out all the other authors on the tour. Below is a link telling you who all the authors on the tour are and what dates they will be on their own blog sharing about their novels.

http://graceawardsdotorg.wordpress.com/grace-filled-christmas-blog-tour-2012/

Praying for a blessed and Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy New Year to all my readers!!!

Elaine Marie Cooper is a writer of historical fiction as well as devotions and freelance stories for magazines. You can read one of her devotions in Edie Melson’s Fighting Fear, Winning the War at Home. Look for her upcoming historical romance story called “The Tea Set” in I Choose You, a Christmas anthology releasing in Dec. 2012 through OakTara Publishers.

Posted in Author Marketing, History - American Revolution | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments »

Early American Thanksgiving

Posted by elainemcooper on November 11, 2011

Posted by Elaine Marie Cooper

When we sit down at our Thanksgiving meal this month, we’ll be recreating a celebration that is as old as our country: sharing food with loved ones while thanking God Who has provided the abundance.

While we understand that the First Thanksgiving here was celebrated by the Mayflower survivors along with the Indians that had helped them, the first official proclamation that was decreed to celebrate such a holiday was in 1777. It was a recommendation to the thirteen states by the Continental Congress to set aside December 18th that year as a “solemn thanksgiving” to celebrate the first major victory for the Continental troops in the American Revolution: the Battle of Saratoga.

British Re-enactors at the Battle of Saratoga

The Battle of Saratoga has significant interest for my own family since one of my ancestors was a soldier there. But he was not on the American side—he was a British Redcoat. After surrendering to the Americans, he escaped the line of prisoners and somehow made his way to Massachusetts and into the life and heart of my fourth great-grandmother. *SIGH* L’amour!

This family story was the inspiration for my Deer Run Saga that begins in 1777 with The Road to Deer Run. There is an elaborate Thanksgiving meal scene in this novel as well as in the sequel, The Promise of Deer Run.

Some may wonder why such detail was afforded this holiday in my novels set in Massachusetts, while Christmas is barely mentioned. The reason is simple: Thanksgiving was the major holiday in the northern colonies, with Christmas considered nothing more special than a workday. According to Jack Larkin in his book, The Reshaping of Everyday Life, “The Puritan founders of New England and the Quaker settlers of Pennsylvania had deliberately abolished (holidays) as unscriptural.”

But Thanksgiving was begun as a way to give thanks to God for His provision. It usually began with attending church services in the morning, followed by an elaborate feast in the afternoon. The food for this meal was prepared for weeks in advance.

Dennis Picard, Director, Storrowton Village Museum

Since the individual state governors chose their own date to celebrate the holiday, it was theoretically possible for some family members—if they lived in close proximity—to celebrate multiple Thanksgiving meals with family and friends across state borders. The dates chosen could be anywhere from October to December, according to Dennis Picard, Director of the Storrowton Village Museum in West Springfield, Massachusetts.

Chicken was most commonly served, said Picard, as it was readily available in the barnyard. And the oldest woman in the home had the honor of slicing the fowl for dinner.

Dresser from Storrowton Museum

Pies were made well in advance of the holiday and stored and became frozen in dresser drawers in unheated rooms.

“I like the idea of pulling out a dresser drawer for, say, a clean pair of socks, and finding mince pies,” said Picard, tongue in cheek.

Indeed. :-)

Have a BLESSED Thanksgiving!

Posted in History - American Revolution | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Light In The Darkness

Posted by elainemcooper on September 2, 2011

Posted by Elaine Marie Cooper

I will never forget the great Northeast blackout when I was eleven or so. It was an event that forever made me deeply appreciate Thomas Edison’s light bulb invention.

Doing my homework at my bedroom desk that long-ago November evening, the lights began to flicker. I thought it was just my lamp bulb, but when I walked out to the hallway the light there was flickering as well. Within moments, everything was dark.

Those of us who were home already (it was about 5 p.m.) scrambled to find every single candle we could find: Decorative pillars, wax Santa Claus figures, formal tapers—no vestige of paraffin and wick was safe from our discovery.

We lit up each candle and the wondrous feel of bygone days illuminated each corner of our 1860’s Massachusetts home. It was magical. And the best part was, I didn’t have to finish my homework because it was so dark!

What was a unique and inconvenient experience for my family that night was, of course, the norm in Colonial America. Candles then were a necessary commodity that provided the only source of illumination in homes that were not just dark—they were pitch dark. No outdoor street lights were around to help someone’s vision. The only other source of light was the hearth, which burned all day and night.

The very first in-house lighting in the northern and southern colonies was provided by pine knots (called candlewood) from fat pitch pine. These chunks of wood produced wonderful light but messy tar residue and a lot of smoke. Thus they were usually placed in the corner of the hearth on a flat stone. The saying was that a wise farmer would be better off starting out a winter without hay than a good supply of candlewood.

As the numbers of cattle increased in the colonies, the residents began saving the tallow residue from the animal fat to make candles. These waxy stalks were highly prized, not just for their usefulness but because of the difficulty in producing them in the home.

In my novel The Road to Deer Run, which was set in the 18th century, I described the arduous process:

The candle-making could not be delayed any longer. The women scurried to set up two large kettles over the fire, each pot containing water and beef tallow provided by a neighbor. The candle rods were strung with the long wicks for dipping into the hot kettles. The coated wicks were then set to dry on long poles across two chairs. The candles slowly grew in size as they were alternately dipped and dried.

It was an all-day event. The women transformed the bare wicks into the source of light that would provide illumination through the long winter nights.

Mary and Widow Thomsen spent another day making candles from the waxy fruit of a bayberry bush. These sweetly scented green candles were Mary’s favorite. She was grateful for Aunt Prudence, who faithfully brought these berries every year from her home in Bridgewater.

No wonder Colonial women used their candles sparingly.

In Jack Larkin’s The Reshaping of Everyday Life: 1790-1840, he describes illumination in the home:

During the day, Americans depended on direct sunlight entering through windows or open doors. They read, sewed, or did other close work near windows, and moved their tables and chairs to follow the sun around the house.
At night, most Americans walked in darkness between the flickering fire and the “feeble circle of light” that Harriett Beecher Stowe remembered, made by “the dim gleam of a solitary tallow candle.”

It’s hard to imagine so much darkness.

But even worse to imagine is spiritual darkness that can blind us as we stumble into sin in this world. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 (NIV)

Jesus also cautions those who follow Him to use that light rather than snuff it out:

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV)

Perhaps in the darkness of night, it is the easiest to see our need for illumination.

Posted in History - American Revolution | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

Laughter-God’s Gift

Posted by Jennifer Slattery on January 28, 2011

Laughter: God’s Gift for Husbands and Wives

By Elaine Cooper, author of The Road to Deer Run

When I was a little girl (but old enough to read) my brothers, sisters, and I looked at a wedding invitation sent to our parents. As we read the beautiful font announcing the happy occasion, we fell on the floor laughing. So what did we find so funny? It read:

Announcing the marriage of Onessima Boelke to Valentine Putz.

We looked at each other through our jovial tears, and said, “She’s going to become Onessima Putz!” Peals of laughter ensued. We even managed to draw my mom into the humor of it. That, in and of itself, was the best part since Mom was not easily humored. It was a moment of pure hilarity that I have never forgotten, mostly because Mom did not often laugh.

But that memory always reminds me of the importance of having a sense of humor—even when circumstances are difficult.

Anyone who has read any of my posts or interviews before knows that my husband Steve and I have endured major stress in our lives. Yet somehow, laughter has come as a welcome friend even in the most dire of circumstances.

I will never forget an evening at home when my daughter was ill with a brain tumor. While the setting was not funny in the slightest, what ensued still makes us laugh.

We often read chapters from James Herriott’s books to our daughter Bethany since she really enjoyed the tales of the Yorkshire veterinarian. His stories described his large animal practice during the 1930’s through the ‘60’s. This one particular evening, my elderly mom was reading a chapter to Bethany and the story concerned artificial insemination in cows. So picture a woman in her 80’s reading to a cancer patient about a sensitive topic not often discussed in such detail. I think we all nearly landed on the floor, weak from laughter, listening to my very proper mother trying to get through the reading. And yes, even Mom ended up laughing!

It was a moment of joy that relieved our stress.

Isn’t that what humor is? The opposite side of pain that relieves the tension in our everyday lives and marriages?

Consider some of the physical benefits of laughing (courtesy of www.humor-laughter.com):

-       Lowers the levels of cortisol in our body. Cortisol suppresses our immune system

-       Acts like exercise in stimulating our hearts and lungs. Improves our breathing capacity

-       15 minutes of laughter equals the benefit of 2 hours of sleep

-       Laughing for 15 seconds adds two days to your life span (I have NO idea how they figured that one out)

-       Laughter causes endorphins to release into the body with the same exhilarating effect as doing strenuous exercise (I, personally, would prefer to laugh than exercise—but that’s another topic)

A study by the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore states that laughter along with an active sense of humor may help protect you against a heart attack. They quote the old saying of “laughter being the best medicine.”

So what does the Bible say about laughter? Well, it first appears in Genesis. Both Abraham and Sarah are caught laughing when God promises them a child in their old age.

Abraham fell face down; he laughed and said to himself. “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?” Genesis 17:17 (NIV)

Then the Lord appears in a visible form to Abraham and, within earshot of Sarah, promises that by next year at this time, Sarah will give birth to a son.

Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him. Abraham and Sarah were already old and well advanced in years, and Sarah was past the age of child bearing. So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my master is old, will I now have this pleasure?” Genesis 18:10-12 (NIV)

Notice that this particular laughter was at the irony of the situation. It was also rooted in pain, as both Abraham and Sarah had long hoped and prayed for a child. I suppose they laughed so they wouldn’t cry.

But as God is in the business of keeping His promises, Sarah did give birth to a son in her old age. The laughter this time was joyful.

Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” Genesis 21:6 (NIV)

It was a release of heartfelt happiness born after so many years of barrenness. I’m sure if she was able, she would have rolled on the floor laughing. But you never know—any 90-year-old woman who could give birth may have been doing an out-and-out belly laugh!

Laughter in the Bible is often described in its contrast to painful situations. In Psalms126:2, it describes former captives who are now released, returning to their home and filled with mirth:

“Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy.”(NIV)

Again in Proverbs, Job, and Ecclesiastes, laughter is side-by-side with pain:

-       Even in laughter, the heart may ache, and joy may end in grief. Proverbs 14:13 (NIV)

-       He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. Job 8:21 (NIV)

-       A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance. Ecclesiastes 3:4 (NIV)

I cannot imagine getting through the difficulties in life without the comfort of humor. It can be found in even the most desperate of situations, if we pray for the eyes to see it. I thank God for His joy.

When was the last time you broke down in a complete belly laugh with your spouse? Life is filled with stress and certainly there are times when laughing is inappropriate. But could it be that humor is a gift to us when times are tough? When we are beset with financial worries, concerns about our children, fears over a loved ones’ health—maybe God’s remedy to help us cope is as close as a giggle, a smile, a laugh-filled moment.

If anyone wants to borrow the hilarious movie, “While You Were Sleeping,” you can. I own two copies. I have watched the first one so often, I was afraid I’d wear the DVD out so I bought another when it was on sale. I know I can always count on a good laugh when I watch it.

Happy giggles. :-D

Elaine Marie Cooper grew up in Massachusetts but now lives in the Midwest with her husband Steve, her three dogs and one huge cat. She has two married sons and triplet grandbabies, who are often referred to (by her) as “the most beautiful grandbabies in the world.” Elaine’s only daughter, Bethany, passed away in 2003 from a brain tumor.

A retired registered nurse, Elaine has been a magazine freelance writer for many years, and is a regular contributor to a blog on the Midwest called The Barn Door (www.thebarndoor.net) and Reflections. She is also the author of her debut novel called The Road to Deer Run and is currently writing the sequel.

Elaine Cooper can be reached on FaceBook or visit her website at: DeerRunBooks.com

About The Road to Deer Run

The year is 1777 and the colonies of America are at war with England. In the midst of this fierce and painful conflict, two enemies—a wounded British soldier and a colonial farmwoman—are brought together through circumstances that challenge their fortitude, their faith and their ability to forgive. In the struggle comes healing and love. But as their destinies become intertwined, so do the forces that oppose them.

What Are Reviewers Saying about “The Road to Deer Run”?

“A heartwarming love story, sensitively written and a well-researched bit of American history. The book has a solid faith-based perspective that sets it apart.”

—   Jean LemMom, former Editor, Better Homes & Gardens Magazine

“A captivating tale of love, honor, redemption, and patriotism….Cooper breathes life into her characters and their world in an entertaining way with generous details and facts.”

—   Wanda Ventling, Editor in Chief, Life: Beautiful Magazine

“With subplots as appealing as the main story, the book is well researched, well written, and well worth the purchase price. Ready for the sequel.”

— Kirkus Discoveries Reviews

“The Road to Deer Run” is available at:

Amazon.com

BarnesandNoble.com

IUniverse.com

DeerRunBooks.com

Posted in Encouragment, Heart and Home, Living Our Faith Out Loud, Till death do we part | Tagged: , , , , | 14 Comments »

Meet Elaine Marie Cooper, author of The Road to Deer Run

Posted by Jennifer Slattery on December 6, 2010

I first met Elaine on facebook and have grown very fond of her frequently encouraging and Christ-centered comments on Reflections and my personal blog. Her positive attitude and commitment to Christ is clear. Come back this Friday to learn even more about her, her marriage, and her heart.

I had a chance to talk with Elaine a bit about her debut novel,  The Road to Deer Run. Join me as I learn more about this historical fiction and the igniting spark that led to its creation.

Me: On the cover of The Road to Deer Run it says the book is a love story inspired by true events. When did you first happen upon this story and what led to its creation?

Elaine: I first learned the story of a British soldier who had stayed in America after the Revolutionary War when I was a young child visiting relatives at a get-together. One of my cousins pointed out to me that one of my ancestors was an enemy redcoat during the American Revolution! I think he was smirking because HE was not descended from that family branch! As an adult, my curiosity led me to research not just my own family, but the era of that war during which a number of British prisoners of war escaped and stayed behind in the colonies to become Americans. It’s an aspect of the Revolutionary War not often written about.

Me: Historical fiction is one of the hardest genres to write. Not only do you need to learn the historical facts, but you need to be totally immersed in the culture as well. What was your greatest challenge in crafting The Road to Deer Run? What part of your research most excited you?

Elaine: The greatest challenge in writing The Road to Deer Run was incorporating the day-to-day culture and describing it in such a way as to have it make sense to a modern reader. For instance, most of us in 2010 know nothing about growing and processing flax, which was a common crop made into the colonists’ clothing. The tools used, such as a “hetchel,” (a large paddle of wood with iron spikes used to separate strands of flax) required an explanation so that it made sense. But then you needed to have this detail fit in to the storyline without it becoming a distraction. Often I was able to weave in an explanation of the unfamiliar through the context of the story or the conversation. There are so many instances of these long-forgotten ways of life, including the medical practices, which are so difficult for us to even relate to. But if a writer can communicate these details well, it helps the reader feel that they are transported back to colonial America.

The part of my research that most excited me involved the particulars about my own ancestor: where he was born, what regiment he was in, when did he likely escape, where did he build his home in America. I’ll never forget the day the researcher in England discovered his name on the muster rolls of his British regiment in the National Archives in England! I’m sure I frightened my dogs with my shouts of joy!

Me: This is your debut novel, correct? When did you first begin writing?

Elaine: Although I’ve been a freelance writer for many years (newspapers and magazines), The Road to Deer Run is my debut novel. I first began writing at the age of 11 when my hamster escaped into the attic and was lost for three days. After his rescue, my father encouraged me to write a tale about his adventures. After that first taste of writing, I was unstoppable. Poems, songs, stories, even a script for “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” TV show—no genre escaped my literary endeavors!

Me: Tell us more about Mary Thomsen. What are her greatest struggles?

Elaine: Mary Thomsen is a young farmwoman during the American Revolution who lives in a small village in western Massachusetts. With her father having died and her mother working as the town midwife, she carries a lot of responsibility in her household. When the story begins, she is filled with despair at the recent death of her younger brother who has been killed in battle. As a Christian, she is going through a crisis of faith—how can a loving God have allowed the death of her beloved brother, a close friend who shared her love for music? Then, when she discovers a wounded enemy soldier, she is confronted with not only being a Good Samaritan to her enemy, but facing a frightening medical scenario that she is unprepared for.

Me: What is her greatest strength?

Elaine: Mary’s greatest strength is bravery in the midst of turmoil. And even though she questions God in all the horror of war, she still turns to Him in prayer for guidance.

Me: What is one thing you hope your readers will come away with after reading your book?

Elaine: I pray that my readers come away with a sense of hope in the midst of despair. A belief that, in the midst of life’s greatest tragedies, God is still in control and still loves us and will see us through the storms in our lives.

Me: Are you working on anything now? If so, tell us about it.

Elaine: I am presently writing the sequel to The Road to Deer Run and I am very excited about it! It is set in 1790, several years after the Revolutionary War has ended. We still follow the saga of Mary and Daniel, but other characters introduced in the first book are now highlighted more. There is the story of a missing family member who has never returned from the war. And like the first novel, many biblical principles are included along with plenty of romance.

Me: Where can readers find your book?

The Road to Deer Run is available on Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com and through my website: www.DeerRunBooks.com.

Elaine Marie Cooper grew up in Massachusetts, the location for her novel, “The Road to Deer Run.” She has long had a love for history, especially the era of the American Revolution. She lives in the Midwest with her husband of 35 years (Steve), their three dogs and one cat in a house with an English-style garden. A retired registered nurse, Elaine now devotes her time to writing and helping with her grandchildren. She is also involved in her church’s Praise and Worship team and serves in the “Crochet & Pray” ministry, which she founded.

Although a freelance writer for many years, “The Road to Deer Run” is Elaine’s first novel. It is lovingly dedicated to the memory of her daughter Bethany who passed away seven years ago from a brain tumor.

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