This RITA Award winning author, Elizabeth Camden, is an author I pay attention to. I enjoy her characters and stories each time I purchase her novels. To the Farthest Shores interested me on so many levels. Far be it from me to spoil your surprise and discovery of the mystery woven into this story. I will not reveal plot twists and turns, but I do say that this was a refreshing dip into the 1898 and 1904-time period, which allowed me to consider how America has changed for the better concerning women’s employment as well as the unique interactions of the characters.
Elizabeth Camen’s characters are fresh, realistic, and entertaining. The main character, Jenny Bennett, is a nurse working for the U.S. Army. Her strength, intelligence, and likability makes her a personality to look up to and respect. Ryan Gallagher, also referred to as Galahad, is an amazing hero and thank you Elizabeth for having a pleasant good guy be the love interest! Refreshing! I love the thread about cultured pearls!
Elizabeth Camden caught me off guard with one of the character’s inner struggles. Well done! You—reader of this blog post—will have to listen on audio or read her novel to discover what I hint about here. I enjoyed the audio version of her novel, but I also purchased the printed copy on my Kindle too. If you do read her novel and figure out what struggle I’m alluding to—don’t hesitated to write a comment on this blog. (Without spoiling it for the next reader of her novel please!)
You may consider this an invitation to read Elizabeth Camden’s novels—she is an author who does not disappoint!
I have recently read “To the Farthest Shores” which I highly recommend as an excellent read. But today I’m switching up which book I’m presenting questions for. My communication with Elizabeth Camden revealed a very interesting story that has been recently released. So reader, does this grab your interest for your next read? This line of questions from Ms. Camden certainly tickled my fancy!
1) How did you decide to write A Dangerous Legacy?
I was inspired to write this novel after reading a terrific book called The Victorian Internet: The Remarkable Story of the Telegraph and the Nineteenth Century’s Online Pioneers, by Tom Standage. The book describes how news agencies telegraphed stories all over the world, and how the telegraph operators who staffed these machines around the clock often got bored and began chatting with one another during slow times. They also eavesdropped on one another. I immediately knew this would provide a great setting for a novel. Although we tend to think of online friendships and internet hacking as very 21st century, all of this was occurring during my 1903 timeframe via telegraph machines.
2) If you could be like one of the characters in A Dangerous Legacy—which one would you be like and why?
There are three leading characters in the book. All are brave, charismatic, and fearless. I’m not like any of them! I don’t even want to BE one of them! I always put my characters through the wringer before they earn their happy ending, so that’s not a lot of fun. If I had to choose one, I would pick my heroine, Lucy, because she gets Sir Colin Beckwith in in the end, and he is a very dishy guy!
3) What is the message theme you most want your reader to benefit from?
Mostly to keep our dreams in perspective. The plot revolves around a family who has been swindled out of a forty-million dollar inheritance, but the heroine has one final chance to win the lawsuit and deliver justice for the people of New York City. I love a good Charles Dickens story, and that was the vibe I aimed for in A Dangerous Legacy, complete with fascinating villains, heroes battling overwhelming odds, and a heroine desperate to put a generations-long vendetta to rest. Lucy’s single-minded determination to win the lawsuit causes her to lead a barren life as she funnels all her time and energy at the quest. She let bitterness get the better of her. I think many people can relate to periods in their life when they felt cheated or slighted. It can be a challenge to keep that emotion confined and prevent it from tainting the rest of your world.
4) What was your favorite bit of history you discovered while you researched for this novel.
I learned a lot about the way water was supplied to New York City, and about the network of tunnels, drains, and subways that run beneath the city. Those spooky settings make for great plot devices!
5) What is your next novel about and when will it be available for purchase?
My next book is a sequel to A Dangerous Legacy, called A Daring Venture, and it will release in mid-2018. The heroine is a doctor who is part of a research team that proposes a controversial solution to cure waterborne diseases. This puts her in stark opposition to the hero, who is the newly appointed Commissioner of Water in New York. It is based on a real life court case from 1908, and I loved the chance to research the courageous scientists, businessmen, and engineers who participated in this landmark case. Decisions this big are rarely easy, so it was a wonderful story tailor-made for a novel.
6) How do you wish your readers to contact you?
Email works! I am at firstname.lastname@example.org
Our September’s Pens of Praise meeting, taught by Sarah Grosskopf called “Visualization, Focus, Camera Angles: Keys to Unlocking Writer’s Block?” proved inspirational at the least! Thank you, Sarah for your instruction and dare I say point of view!
This is definitely a writing lesson that will offer picture perfect clarity and inspiration for your writing project! Visit Sarah and tap into her wisdom at www.ragtimedaydreams.blogspot.com.
“Then Joshua spoke to the Lord on the day when the Lord gave the Amorites over to the Israelites, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, be silent and stand still at Gibeon, and you, moon, in the Valley of Ajalon!” Joshua 10:12
How large should we ask? How can we believe that God will provide where there is lack? What about in the heat of battle? Will God heal when there is sickness or dare we believe that God will save a lost soul? Miracles surround us. Countless, immeasurable. They permeate the fabric of our lives and go so unnoticed that we fail to ask our Daddy, our Father for His involvement in our circumstances. The ones He knew about before our birth, before our parent’s birth, even as far back as the beginning of time itself.
“And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the nation took vengeance upon their enemies. Is not this written in the Book of Jasher? So, the sun stood still in the midst of the heavens and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day.” Joshua 10:13
I’m not sure about you, but this passage makes me feel courageous. As though I can ask Father God for the big requests that have found their way onto my life path. What grabs my notice? So many situations and concerns. Yet, I do not expect for God to always say yes. I do not always expect a speedy reply from His throne, though I hope for certain outcomes. Sometimes those wait forever for the answer questions that we ask, produce a purer faith. We can turn and look behind us and recognize many of the people and happenings which aided the answer to our prayers—because of His sure timing and loving attention. The intricacy of the detail and intimacy involved to bring forth the answer were as though it were a dream or a song. A song of praise to the LOVER OF OUR SOULS.
Dream big writer, write strong the prose that matter—that can be a part of the answer to another traveler’s prayers.
How can we turn negativity to further our purpose?
Communication or influence from a naysayer, can it be all bad? Whether we are related or working with someone at a job or volunteer location, focused and determined criticism toward us is usually unsettling. Negativity against our values, abilities, and our dreams is cutting and even mind-numbing. Does that mean—nothing can rescue us—when naysayer(s) speak criticism to purposely direct what we can and cannot accomplish? What if their attitude and comments cause us to question our worth? Are they truly correct in their judgments?
I would have to say that not everything about a naysayer is negative for us. That critical eye not only discourages and is oppressive, but there may be some truth to what is said. But don’t listen to the point of where someone else’s words hinder developing that special gift or excellent desire held inside your heart. Measure their words against what is known about the particular craft, or dream. Yes, become so knowledgeable and skilled in that said desire that gratitude for the prompting from that naysayer replaces all bitterness, anger, and insecurity.
BEGIN by making a list of ways to strengthen your presentation or accomplishment—if there is something mentioned in the criticism that is worthy of notice. (Sometimes naysayers’ offerings are so far from the truth that there is nothing to redeem from the time spent under their influence.) But, then again, we may have a niggling sense that we should begin or end differently. Maybe we needed to become more professional with our advertisement or writing presentations. We need not wallow in self-pity. Make the truth and skill of your dream arise to new heights.
THINK on the positive, building, and excellent notions that will increase skill, productivity, and benefits of the dream. Our thoughts are powerful, which places us in the position of being our best friend or worse enemy. There are studies about our brain and the influence of negativity—especially what we allow ourselves to ponder. Pushing forward and advancing toward silver lining thinking and increasing the benefits of our positive influence for others actually creates physically changes our brain. Look to Caroline Leaf’s book Switch On Your Brain The Key to PEAK HAPPINESS, THINKING AND HEALTH.
REMEMBER those who have gone before. For example, I’ve been reading ‘Tis Herself AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY by Maureen O’Hara with John Nicoletti. Maureen O’Hara allowed a painful situation with two negative teachers to motivate this internal—not spoken out loud—goal at a very young age, “I’m going to become the most famous actress in the world and one day you both are going to boast to everyone you know that I was in your class.” Major General, Lew Wallace’s Ben Hur: A Tale of Christ 1880, which was appreciated by President Grant and considered the most influential Christian book of the nineteenth century for its popularity, was born from criticism. Lew Wallace, unable to defend his belief in Christ to a well-known atheist motivated him to study deeply and immerse himself in historical truth, so that he could write Ben Hur as a witness.
CHALLENGE Yes, I challenge you and myself to push toward our own purpose and possibly our own ‘Ben Hur’ blessing to the world. The joy of the Lord is our strength. Hang in there and prosper your spirit by encouraging and developing that special gift you have to share. It is worth the work – believe it!
Pens of Praise Christian Writers Group meeting gave a special surprise to Rebecca McLafferty. She will be moving and Kathy Leist suggested we surprise Rebecca by writing something for her. Below is my offering to her. What diverse gifts of writing from so many of our writers! This was a night to remember. Some sent their pieces to me to give to her since they were not able to attend. What a precious talented group!
Chocolate Brown Surprise
Chocolate brown eyes with the warmth of a summers day, peeked out from underneath the wide-brim straw-hat. The ribbon tie flapped against her brunette hair as the breeze pressed its way toward Lake Michigan. Seagulls glided on wind currents and called out with playful exuberance as they spied the nearby park and the river’s edge for dinner offerings. Warmth from the sun heated her face and shoulders with a welcoming embrace. This had been an excellent idea after all.
Pen in hand, she flipped open the steno pad and shorthand spilled onto lined pages. The possible reason for her standing in this location approached. Rebecca measured the man with the blue dreadlocks and saggy pants. Too obvious for a bad guy. She noticed movement behind him and waited. Jogging along in a lime-green outfit and earbuds in place, another man streamlined himself around those walking along the sidewalk on 8th Street. He called too much attention to himself and sported no pockets, no hiding places. He would not do either. Besides, he was by far, too skinny.
A suit moved onto the bridge and turned toward the water. He leaned upon the metal railing and seemed to wait for someone or something.
She had to tilt her head up to the bridge to gain a better perspective. She liked what she saw and took note. Broad shoulders, tanned face, sandy brown hair, and mirrored sunglasses. Just enough mystery to matter. His cell phone chirped and he answered. Looking back and forth and seeming for all the world to be aware of his surroundings, he offered clip answers with just an edge of irritation. The man was a delicious specimen for inspiration.
Rebecca took out her cell phone and acted as though she were taking a selfie, but in reality, she wanted a reminder of his perfect contrast of classy and cheap. She snapped the photo just as the man pinned his mirrored glasses in her direction, which caught the sun and reflected back. Glairing light stabbed her vision, nearly causing her to drop her phone into the waters below. She held the button in far too long and what must have been sixty photos, recorded onto her phone.
Quick movement behind the man caught her eye. Two hooded men, from a stopped car, jumped out and grabbed the suit collar, dragging it down over the man’s arms, so that he was trapped in his own classy cocoon.
She watched and it seemed as though everything transpired in slow motion. The suit’s phone dropped into the murky waters below. The splash was spectacular. Nice touch. She dashed down worthy details, with shorthand of course. Peeking around the brim of her straw-hat she noticed that the thug-touting car headed her way. She dashed toward the door and entered the Maritime Museum as fast as her Prada heals would allow. Of course, one of the hooded men followed her inside. She laughed at him, which added to his discomfort and her pleasure in being able to crack that criminally minded hard shell over his face. If only she could see the result, for he wore a ski mask though the temperature loitered in the high 70s and humidity was beyond mention.
She swung her leg high to use the Prada heal as a weapon.
He ducked, and in a fluid motion—swooped her over his shoulder with a grunt. Bystanders and those safely tucked behind the service desk froze, slack jawed and eyes huge, they watched him carry her outside in silence. She’d almost dropped her steno pad and pen which would have been disastrous!
The man flipped her off of his shoulder and dropped her onto the car’s back seat, right next to the suit they’d abducted moments before. The hooded man slammed the car door.
Child proof locks clicked into place, and Rebecca sighed.
The suit acknowledged her with a nod. “Was that adventurous enough for you, Becky?”
“What?” The voice so familiar, she’d known its tone in the dark. She evaluated him again. The size was just right. The face—could that be him? And wasn’t that a wig on his head?
The man took hold of his glasses and slid them down his nose a notch or two.
A slow smile took her face.
He grabbed his wig off of his head. “Becky, you owe me a phone.”
The front passenger side door opened and, the man slid inside the car. Immediately, the two people in the front seat pulled off their masks and Mike, her son in law and their daughter Colleen finger combed their hair in place, while they laughed in Rebecca’s direction.
“And now, let the adventure begin!” Joe’s voice held such tender pleasure.
Becky rubbed her sore leg she’d swung at Mike. When had she moved like that? No matter. She slipped her arm through Joe’s. “Hey kids, do you have a working air conditioner in this heap?”
The accelerator revved as they sped off toward their greatest adventure—their future. Joe held Becky’s steno tablet as her pen jotted down the discoveries she’d made with sensory and emotive experience, so that as far as it could be possible, Rebecca would share exciting quests on the pages of her novels, devotions, and encouraging emails that would spirit her readers to have courage, be truthful, love better, and all those other benefits that are found in Rebecca’s favorite book of all—The Holy Bible.
By Susan Marlene <3
“Only be strong and very courageous…that you may have success wherever you go.” Joshua 1: 7
And so, it is that God, the Creator of the Universe, has a plan for you, for me. Be strong and courageous and He will be with you wherever you go.
Then chapter 7 in Joshua happens. Achan messed up. He followed his heart—desired the forbidden. This effected Israel, and some lost their lives because of one man’s disobedience. What if we drift or fail? Does that mean that we can’t return and follow the Lord?
Chapter 8:1 follows after the repentance of Israel. “…Do not fear or be dismayed…I have given into your hand the king of Ai, his people, his city, and his land.”
We only need to return and remember our first love. Remember relationship not religion with Him. His love will rescue us and His righteousness bring us through any trial. People or circumstances may tell you that you don’t matter. That is a lie. You are the only one who can fulfill your purpose in the finest way.
“...while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.” Luke 15:20
Scriptures referenced from “The Founder’s Bible: The Origin of the Dream of Freedom” New American Standard Bible.
Christian & Secular Conferences:
Benefits to attending – Connecting with writers, agents, publishers, learning about various publishing opportunities, and receiving excellent teachings.
How to find them:
Taylor’s Professional Writing Conference (Taylor University $99.00 for 2 day conference.)
https://taylorsprofessionalwritersconference.wordpress.com/ August 4 – 5th 2017
What a great find, this is an old photo of Exchange Street in Bangor, Maine! I started looking at images for the 1800s and stumbled upon this photo in downeastdilettante’s blog post. If you are interested in Bangor, Maine or Maine history in general then please visit this location where I found this image: https://downeastdilettante.wordpress.com/page/19/ for there are wonderful photos and comments to luxuriate in.
I’m working on a Bangor, Maine historical and loving the rich details and history of this area. I wish to thank my sweet friend, Marie Kathleen Cutler Smith, for suggesting this location. She had moved from there to Wisconsin and so loved this town. Rumor has it that there is a town in Maine named after her family name, Cutler!
Marie’s suggestion also prompted me to write “Welcome” for the Splickety Love 1.2 Magazine. “Welcome” took place during the late 1780s when women would gather at their homes for all-female prayer meetings. At this time Bangor was called Penobscot. I discovered those story details in CITY ON THE PENOBSCOT A COMPREHENSIVE HISTORICAL OF THE BANGOR,MAINE by Trudy Irene Scee.
Finding courageous and imaginative individuals who took hold of faith and purpose is always inspiring to me. Have a wonderful day, thank you for stopping here to share a thought or two.
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He called the place Massa [proof] and Meribah [contention] because of the faultfinding of the Israelites and because they tempted and tried the patience of the Lord, saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?” Exodus 17:7
Moses, directed by God with such intimate care. How beautiful to witness such respect between the Lord God and imperfect man. By the hand of the Lord, Israel overcame bondage in Egypt and traveled the wilderness for decades—not easily lead by Moses—because of the complaining, ungrateful chosen people.
The first time that the Lord led Moses to receive water out of the rock at Meribah [strife] the people proved surly. Their need so real that their sharpened tongues spilled out cutting demands to Moses, “Give us water that we may drink.” As though Moses could provide! Their respectful fear of the Lord God Almighty seemed to have evaporated with the thirst that deprived their company. Forgetfulness abounded concerning who truly lead them and provided for them. God’s sweet grace, a favored gift that glorified Him even when the actions and attitudes of His chosen did not, directed Moses to lead them to the rock of blessing.
Moses obeyed when told to take his rod and strike the rock, which released the flow of refreshing water that saved the lives and livestock of Israel. Such miracles! Such glory to have the Lord’s provision. If only Israel preferred the attitude of looking forward and holding onto the expectation of what the Lord would accomplish with their trials and roadblocks and needs.
Take the rod, and assemble the congregation, you and Aaron your brother, and tell the rock before their eyes to give forth its water, and you shall bring forth to them water out of the rock; so you shall give the congregation and their livestock drink. Numbers 20:8
Eventually, Miriam had passed away and Moses was much older when 38 years later Israel was lead back to Meribah [strife]. Their tongues parched, angry, and as demanding as before. Violence directed their attitudes. The Lord was still as patient and able. Yet, the people barked orders to Moses—still not looking to their Lord God. The Lord told Moses to pick up the rod and speak to the rock. This time, Moses called Israel Rebels and preformed his service of ministry his own way. For Moses took up the rod and struck the rock—twice. I wonder if he panicked when after striking once, nothing come out. Lifegiving water would come, but the cost of Moses lack of obedience forfeited his entrance into the promise land.
Did God love Moses any less? Did He love Israel any less? No, nor does Father God’s love for us minimize with our lack and indifference. But oh how the angels rejoice when we do all as unto the Lord and seek to please Him. Yes, lets! Find what pleases the Lord and your heart and peace will be like a garden so sweet and fragrant that even our enemies will notice His call. Who knows but they may respond to such grace and largeness of life unnatural to the natural man.
But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. Psalms 3:3
We altered the cheese sauce: From "At Home With The French Classics" by Richard Grausman, page 359 Sauce Mornay Cheese Sauce
Cheddar cheese grated 4 0z.
Mozzarella 4 oz.
16 oz. Sour Cream
2 ½ Tab butter
3 Tab all-purpose flour
1/8 tesp salt
1/8 tesp pepper
Pinch of nutmeg
½ a pinch of chipotle chili pepper
14 or 15 boiled red potatoes with skins
4 oz shredded mozzarella
Mix the chives, cheese and potatoes in a mixer.
Sprinkle on dried bacon bits. If you want. (We wanted real bacon.)
Boil Manicotti’s for 6 – 8 minutes
Grate extra cheese over top of them.
Bake in 350° for 25 - 30 minutes.
Susan Marlene Kinney is published in Splickety Love magazine and newspapers. She writes devotions, fiction, and nonfiction. She is a member and co-founder of Pens of Praise Christian Writers and is a member of Jerry Jenkins Writers Guild, American Christian Fiction Writers, ACFW WISE, and Lighthouse Christian Writers. She speaks at writers groups and prepares devotions and teachings often for Pens of Praise Christian Writers. She is a wife, mother, grandmother and At-Risk Teacher’s Aide. She loves antiques and training her Leonberger, who in turn loves to train her. But don't tell the cat, she thinks she has everyone under control.