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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Home by Christmas - A Victorian Tale

Home by Christmas Part 1
By Louise M. Gouge
Unable to restrain himself any longer, Griffin Tirach spurred his mount to a gallop. The Northumbrian wind bit through the woolen scarf he had thrown across his face against the cold. But he must gain the top of the hill before his heart leapt from his chest. Within a scant five minutes, he reached his destination and stared down into the valley below.

There, just as he had left it eleven years before, stood Arbonne. Vast. Stately. Austere. Foreboding. Home.

Joy welled up in his chest and battled with his anguished doubts, leaving him almost breathless. Would the inhabitants welcome home the prodigal after all this time? Would Mama weep, as she had when he left? Would Father even grant him entrance? Perhaps Terrence would be home for Christmas with his family. Perhaps little Alicia, grown up and married and now with her own children.

He glanced behind him at the heavy-laden coach that lumbered up the road, taking a quarter hour to reach him and carrying all his hard-earned wealth. In this sparsely populated part of the country, highwaymen might have stolen it all. Yet they had only passed a single coach yesterday and none at all today. God was watching over them.

“Whoa.” The coachman pulled the horses to a stop and set the brake. “Quite a sight, ain’t it, gov’ner?” The whiskered old fellow grinned with the familiarity of a close and trusted servant.

“That it is, Stevens. That it is.” Now that he had seen the place, now that they were safely within the borders of Arbonne, tendrils of warmth spread through his chest, shoving his doubts to a dark corner.

He peered through the carriage’s isinglass window and grinned. “Warm enough?”
Bundled in her furs, Verity nodded. Her blue eyes sparkled, and her olive cheeks bore the blush of excitement. Wisps of black hair curled across her forehead, enhancing her look of innocence. Sweet child. She had no idea that his family might send them all packing. Only nine years old, yet she had borne the wild and wintry voyage from India without complaint, unlike many more mature passengers on the Night Hawk.

Griffin glanced at Disha. The Hindu woman gave him a curt nod. Slavishly devoted to the child, she, too, had endured the voyage, refusing to become seasick. Somehow her presence gave him a sense of assurance that all would be well.

Dear God, please grant us grace in Father’s eyes. Grave and parsimonious for eleven months of the year, yet at this season, the old man had always become sentimental and benevolent. May he still be that way. Please, God.If not, they would find out soon enough.

More to come...

Or read more of the story at

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Friday, December 7, 2007

Christmas Greetings from DiAnn Mills

DiAnn Mills' newest release, A Texas Legacy Christmas, is just the book to get you into the holiday spirit. A heart-warming story of love, loss, and reclaimed souls, A Texas Legacy Christmas stays true to DiAnn's inimitable style. Read her take on the story and leave a comment for an opportunity to win a copy of this book of seasonal cheer.

Christmas is the time of year when we remember friends and family, when a bit of nostalgia roots in our hearts and blossoms into sentimental moments. Our faith in God and the birth of Jesus shape our ideals of what we want for the world, our country, and our community. Peace on earth becomes an action instead of a greeting.
The Texas Legacy Series comes to a close with the Christmas book. The characters, whom I have grown to love and respect, will always be with me, but now it’s time to finish the story. We think of Christmas as the beginning of our Christian faith, a time for all of us to reflect on the past and to step forward. I think this is a perfect time to say goodbye to our friends in Kahlerville, Texas.
For me, writing about historical Texas brings that era to life. In the beginning when I wrote Leather and Lace, I fell in love with Casey and her dream of forsaking the outlaw life. But the story would not let me go. Grant needed his story told in Lanterns and Lace, and Bonnie’s sweet story had to be told in Lightning and Lace. I fell in love with Zach Kahler, Bonnie’s son, and I could not let the series end without showing how that wayward boy had grown into a fine man.
So Zack had a story of his own, an amusing and heart-wrenching tale set at Christmas time in 1911. He introduced me to a pair of orphaned six-year-old twins from the streets of New York who wiggled their way into his heart. And those children weren't the only ones who snatched up his heart. A Texas Legacy Christmas captures what all of us dream about in an old-fashioned Christmas--love, laughter, family, and a warm feeling of nostalgia.
My books are character-driven. I believe in strong men and women who step off the page and into a reader's heart. For me, characterization is the most important aspect of writing. I want the reader to sympathize with the protagonists and understand the antagonists. This is not easy or a quick fix! It requires spending time with characters and developing their personalities and temperaments. How characters react and respond to the happenings in their lives reveal who they are.

Our lives are much like the lives of these characters. We grow and change while seeking to turn our weaknesses into strengths. Our faith is challenged, and even though we may stray, God’s love is permanent. Fiction is my way of planting seeds about truth. Writing about Texas history has allowed me to grow truth and memorable characters in the hearts of my readers. And maybe, just maybe, the story might make a difference in someone’s life. DiAnn Mills,
Congratulations to Hannah for winning Kathleen Y'Barbo's Beloved Castaway! I know you'll love it as much as I did.

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Sunday, December 2, 2007

Home by Christmas

The Christmas season is here, and what better way to get into the seasonal spirit than to read a Victorian Christmas story? Fourteen authors joined together to write “Home by Christmas,” set in northern England.

I have the honor of being the first contributor to the story, which you can find at .

Drop by, enjoy the adventure, and leave a comment. When the story is completed, we’ll have a drawing of all the names. Several published authors have donated books to be given away to the winners.

You might want to bookmark the story so you can find it easily to read the daily installments. I’m going to be reading it every day. Although I started the story, I have no idea how it ends! What fun!

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