Grace Awards

Expanding the Tent Pegs of Christian Fiction

Archive for the month “November, 2013”

NOVEMBER SPOTLIGHT day two: Elaine Marie Cooper

                                            Country Girl in the Suburbs

                                                             by Elaine Marie Cooper

Elaine Cooper, Horse

While I have resided in the suburbs through most of my lifetime, my heart has always felt more at home in the countryside.

From the time I was a little girl, I would stare in wonder at open fields that beckoned to me while we drove by in our car. If I were lucky enough to have my parents stop, I would burst out of the car door and run to my heart’s content. I remember Mom always calling me her “country girl.”

One day, when bicycling around the suburbs in Massachusetts where I grew up, I made a thrilling discovery: An old farm horse that lived in an open-air stall with a roof for protection. I had found a remnant of country life, right in my neighborhood! The mElaine Marie Cooper, farmlandan who owned her told me her name was “Babe” and every day that I could, I pedaled over to visit my equine friend, carrying sweet offerings of sugar cubes and carrots. We were good friends, or so I imagined. She left such an impression on me that I named a horse in my second novel (The Promise of Deer Run) after this childhood pal.

I never outgrew my love for the country. Even years later, farmland and the site of animals helps me feel at peace with the world. I love the quiet, and the endless green of summer and white expanse in winter. I love the smell of horses and the gentle nuzzle of a sweet gelding content to greet me, even if I don’t bring any treats. I have to enjoy these pleasures vicariously through a friend’s country retreat and animals. It always brings moments of fulfilling contentment—even if just for a short time.

Elaine Cooper, Birthplace

Is the love of the country in one’s blood? Perhaps it is. In researching the life of my third great grandfather who lived in Western Massachusetts, I discovered newspaper articles about the livestock he showed at local county fairs. He even raised horses. My country heart swells with familial joy at that knowledge. J

Elaine Cooper, cemetery

This grandfather, Daniel Prince Jr, is the inspiration for the protagonist in The Legacy of Deer Run. Just like the character in my book (Daniel Lowe, Jr), my real grandfather worked at the National Armory in Springfield for many years to support his large family. But he purchased farmland and raised livestock and lived on his land until he died at the age of 92. And he apparently loved horses, just like his great, great, great granddaughter.

When I travel back to West Springfield, where he lived and died, I place flowers upon his grave and that of his wife, Sarah, my third great grandmother. I think of how wonderful it must have been for their children to run to their heart’s content on the farm. Now that same land has become a developed city of houses. It is now a crowded suburb, just like where I grew up.

Legacy of Deer Run, Nex Gen Indie

NOVEMBER SPOTLIGHT: Elaine Marie Cooper

We are so blessed to have Elaine Marie Cooper here for our November/Thanksgiving spotlight Elaine’s THE LEGACY OF DEER RUN finaled in the Grace Awards 2012. When thinking of novels with themes of thanksgiving, selflessness, gratitude, and sacrifice, Elaine’s entire Deer Run series, set during the American Revolutionary War era, comes to mind.

 Thanksgiving Turkey Terror By Elaine Marie Cooper

The Legacy of Deer Run

As an author of novels set in Colonial Massachusetts—where Thanksgiving was THE holiday of the year—I have a personal, culinary dilemma. In my holiday scenes, I’m supposed to describe feasts for a large family in such a way that my writing seems as natural as Paula Dean in a Southern kitchen.

The truth is, when it comes to planning and executing a banquet in real life, I feel like a fish out of water. When I am the only one available to cook the turkey, stuffing and sweet potatoes, my anxiety level can exceed the red zone of hypertension.

That’s why it was so easy for me to describe the character of Susannah Dobbins in THE LEGACY OF DEER RUN as she fretted about Thanksgiving dinner. Fortunately for Susannah, she had guidance from the housemaid named Modesty, whose cooking skills far exceeded her social ones. Modesty tutors the helpless Susannah in the art of cooking, helping the inept, somewhat-spoiled Susannah become competent at cooking chicken over an open hearth and baking pies in a wood-heated oven that required keeping the temperature just right.

Hearth 2

Susannah scanned the room nervously. “What am I forgetting? 

“I think you’re forgettin’ to breathe, miss.” Modesty threw her head back and gave a hearty laugh as she returned to beat the egg whites for the green corn pudding.

“I am frightfully nervous. My last cooking endeavor was a disaster.” Susannah rolled her eyes at the memory.

The outcome, however, turned out to be a sumptuous feast as Susannah’s suitor, father and brother relished the meal.

Stephen took a swallow and set his glass down. “This looks most delectable, Susannah…and Modesty. I must say, dear sister, your cooking skills have improved immensely.”

Success for the fretful Susannah!

Elaine Cooper's Son, DIL 2

So where is a “Modesty” when I need one? Well, one Thanksgiving meal was a tremendous success—because it was cooked to perfection and displayed in beautiful array by my daughter-in-law, Kristen. She and my son, Ben, were living in Virginia at the time, and Kristen put on a display of sumptuous turkey with all the fixings that would leave you begging for seconds.

I’m not too proud to admit it: My daughter-in-law is a far better cook than I am. My son is a blessed man.

Turkey in Oven

So rather than wallow in self-pity about my lack of cooking skills, I think I’ll admire the delicious offerings of those more skilled than I in the kitchen, help clean up the dishes—and plan another novel at my laptop.

Let’s see…another sequel?

Purchase Links: THE LEGACY OF DEER RUN

Amazon/Kindle.  http://amzn.to/1aY0wjH

Barnes & Noble/Nook. http://bit.ly/1cJrOgz

Elaine Marie Cooper

Author Elaine Marie Cooper

***Photo of the hearth courtesy of Thomas Deitner

The Grace Filled Christmas Book Bash 2013 Is Coming!!!

Xmas, Angel

Another Christmas season right around the bend and we’re so excited. We’ve got a line up of wonderful authors with delightful and inspiring novels perfect for a Christmas read or to gift.

Each author will have a day to showcase her novel and tell us exciting stuff about her Christmas memories, favorite recipes, and the like.

Oh, by the way, this is Gracie, our Christmas angel who can’t wait to interview our authors and find out more about their books. Not only that! She’s got an entire list of questions she can’t wait to ask our writers about their Christmas experiences.

So to find out more…come visit each and every author on their date right here!

Here’s the line up…

Heavenly Haven
Sat, Nov 30: Christine Lindsay ~ HEAVENLY HAVEN: Avalanches happen to other people, not us. Marital problems happen to other people, not us, especially nine days before Christmas. At least that’s what Jack and Shaina Burke thought. Married for ten years, avalanche control expert Jack, and Shaina, only wanted to celebrate their December anniversary in a romantic way, until the shifting snows on the mountain bring havoc tumbling down upon them.
*To read first pages http://amzn.to/I5pozq
A Miracle For Mari
Wed, Dec 4: Suzanne D. Williams ~ A MIRACLE FOR MARI: A fall from grace. A miracle of life. A gift of forgiveness. Mari Tatum has a secret. Forced to be Mary, the mother of Jesus, in the church play, she finds herself working alongside Shay McNab, the very boy she’s keeping a secret from. Yet in the story of Christ’s birth, she finds that in God’s hands her fall from grace can become a miracle.
*To read first pages http://amzn.to/1bJp5lF
Faith In The Shadows
Sat, Dec 7: Sadie and Sofie Cuffe ~ FAITH IN THE SHADOWS: The purple birthmark on her cheek brands Alice Wainwright a spinster. When her fiancé bullies her at their engagement party, blind Civil War veteran Hawk steps out of the dark and becomes her champion. Torn between honor and need, Hawk comes to work for the Wainwright family. Friendship turns to love, but each is blinded by a dark secret. Can they face the truth about each other before they’re torn apart?
*To read first pages http://amzn.to/1aN4Ju7
Victory
Mon, Dec 9: Dette Bedkstead ~ VICTORY: Victory, a town where the people love their country and their neighbors, but what happens when two visitors come to town? One comes with fear and control, slowly taking away the freedoms the people love. The other comes with faith. When darkness overtakes the town who will have Victory?
*To read first pages http://amzn.to/1cbg46o
Paint Me Althena
Wed, Dec 11: Naomi Musch ~ PAINT ME ALTHENA: When still life artist Ethan Day discovers a fantasy painting by Althena Bell in a consignment shop, he’s sure he’s found Ava, his wife who abandoned him and their two little girls three years ago. Finding and rescuing her are one thing, but forgiveness and second chances are impeded by outsiders, and conflict between Ava’s search for identity and Ethan’s new faith might break the safety net he offers.
*To read first pages http://amzn.to/I9xPuh
Goodbye Noel, Amazon
Sat, Dec 14: Nike Chillemi ~ GOODBYE NOEL: The first body is found under a trimmed Christmas tree, the second as they ring in the New Year (1947), the third goes head long out a window. Will Katrina, a young pediatric nurse determined to make it on her own be able to care for an infant whose mother was murdered and escape the killer who has struck again? Can she trust Detective Ian Daltry, the stalwart village detective, with her life and her heart as he works to catch this killer before somebody else dies?
*To read first pages http://amzn.to/17AXaGy
Walks Alone
Mon, Dec 16: Sandi Rog ~ WALKS ALONE: After fleeing her abusive uncle, Anna is determined to reach the city of her dreams. But White Eagle and his fierce warriors take her prisoner and this Cheyenne warrior forces her to be his wife. White Eagle is disillusioned with his faith after a minister leads a massacre on his peaceful tribe. Where is his God? He’s definitely not with the white men who are slaughtering his people. But White Eagle also can’t give in to the idolatry practiced by his fellow tribesmen. Only the Truth can set him free. And it’s found in beautiful Anna’s carpetbag.  *To read first pages http://amzn.to/I8Iwgm
Claddagh
Wed, Dec 18: Tammy Doherty ~ CLADDAUGH: Leigh Latham chose love over money but when the dream becomes a nightmare, she runs back to the friends left behind. Marshal Rory Johnston thought he was over Leigh. Now she’s back and he isn’t sure they can be just friends.  Can he protect her and his heart at the same time?
*To read first pages http://amzn.to/I8Iwgm
Out For Blood
Sat, Dec 21: Marcy G. Dyer ~ OUT FOR BLOOD: Dialysis nurse, Danielle Battershawn’s, life is turned upside down when her identical twin is murdered. As she strives to deal with yet another death, the killer sets his sights on eliminating her. Can handsome security consultant, Tyler Covington, keep her alive?
*To read first pages http://amzn.to/1fsYb8m
*****     *****
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