Amazon Best-selling Historical Romance

Amazon Best-selling Historical Romance
Escape to a romantic period where love endured, grew, and flourished despite a Civil War.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Embracing Change by Debbie Roome

Embracing Change by Debbie Roome is the winner of the Rose & Crown New Novels Competition 2009, copyright 2010, 36 chapters and 234 pages clearly illustrating God's hand in our lives and how we can embrace change with His help. It's a beautifully written story of love and loss, regained hope and faith, the courage to not only accept change, but to also embrace it, and one woman's ability to do so when she discovers Jesus has been with her through it all.

Sarah, the main character, is engaged to Luke and looking forward to her wedding. They plan to move from South Africa to New Zealand. Luke wanted to make a home in New Zealand, so when she loses him, she brings his ashes and scatters them on the mountains and waterfalls he loved. As she descends the mountain, she meets Joel, a stranger she is afraid of at first. Biblical principles are applied in this moving story that demonstrates how Sarah finds the strength, hope, and courage to move on with her life without her beloved Luke and learns to love and trust again.

The author uses vivid description to allow the reader to travel through South Africa and New Zealand and visualize the landscapes and flowers. She demonstrates through the power of story how forgiveness is necessary to move forward with one's life and provides two sides of a perspective on violence when Sarah comes face to face with Luke's killer, his mother, and his brother. Sarah learns to open her eyes and heart, forgive, and find a future full of hope and promise. This novel is a quick read that evokes readers' emotions. Come learn how to embrace change with Debbie and Sarah, and ponder what you'd do if you had to move half a world away from all family and friends with nothing left of the love of your life but ashes in an urn.

About the Author: Debbie Roome spent 15 years in South Africa before moving to New Zealand in 2006 with her husband and five children. Her writing has won numerous awards, and you may visit her at

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Thanksgiving the Garbage Disposal Ate the Eggs

My sunny Florida kitchen looks out upon sunlight sparkling on the turquoise-blue water of our swimming pool. I watched a squirrel run up the palm tree that cornered the pool while I waited for boiled eggs to cool. A few minutes later, I went to peel the eggs, but they’d vanished.

“Where did my eggs go?” I yelled loud enough for the whole neighborhood to hear.

My son, Rodney, grinned. “I don’t know.”

“I put them in the sink to cool.” I looked down the drain. “That thing ate my eggs.”

Rodney came up beside me and asked, “What thing?”

I pointed to the sink’s drain. “The new garbage disposal Scott insisted on.”

The family laughed like I was a comedian.

“When I first met her, she didn’t even know how to work a dishwasher," my husband said. "Now she doesn’t know how to use the new garbage disposal. Do I have to teach you everything?” His brown eyes twinkled. He patted my shoulder, and his grin lit up his face. Teaser that he was, it was easy for him to amuse the family and for them to enjoy the playfulness of his comments. “Reach your hand down there and get them.”

“I’m not putting my hand in that thing.”

The family’s laughter filled the kitchen. “I can’t make potato salad.
Those were my last three.”

“I’ll run to the store,” someone offered.

Rod said, “It’s a wonder you didn’t accuse me of eating them.”

“The garbage disposal did the job for you. I can’t believe I did that. It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without potato salad.”

“Don’t you mean without turkey?” Rod rubbed his stomach.

I smiled. “No, it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without the thanks and the giving. Having you visit makes it blessed. We can thank God for a good laugh and a joyful day. We’ll remember this for many Thanksgivings to come.”

“Yeah, Mom, Scott will never let you live that one down.”

"I’ll remember how I lost my eggs every year.” I diced the pickles and green onions. “When you were small, I cooked huge family meals. I’ve always enjoyed cooking and decorating for the holidays. Another Thanksgiving is etched in the pages of my memories. Unexpected guests arrived with the family, and the ten-foot wide trailer couldn’t hold them. The cramped kitchen only held a small table.”
Rod took a pickle from the jar. “What happened?”

"I had plenty of food cooked, so I borrowed silverware and plates from your grandmother.”

“Who would show up uninvited?”

“Your grandmother and aunts asked friends from church.” I dumped pickles and green onions into a bowl and continued. “By the time the turkey was served, the trailer burst with people trying to find plates and utensils for eating. People packed into it like sardines in a tin can. Since God smiled on us with beautiful Louisiana weather, most of them took their plates and sat outside to eat. The air was crisp, cool, and refreshing after baking in the hot kitchen. I took my plate and joined them on the steps of the tiny porch.”

Rod’s blue eyes twinkled as he listened to me reminiscing. “I can just see you
balancing a plate of turkey and cornbread dressing on your lap.”

“It tasted every bit as good outside.” I playfully tapped his chest. “I had one more chair than Henry David Thoreau, who wrote in his book Walden that he had only three chairs.”

“Thoreau thought houses were “extravagantly large”. My trailer was extravagantly small for all the Thanksgiving dinner guests. We enjoyed the brisk air and sunshine and thanked God for our family and friends, delicious food, and a lovely day. You know son, that Thanksgiving and this one will always be etched in my heart, mind, and soul.”

“When the guests left, they thanked me for a great home-cooked meal, not an impressive dinner. One man with electric blue eyes said, “It didn’t matter if the dinnerware didn’t match. We didn’t come here for you to impress us.”
A lot has changed over the years. My four children are grown and have made me a grandmother multiple times. I’ve lost family members. My first husband, mother, father, and youngest sister all live in their heavenly home. Though some of the most loved people in my life are not here to share the holidays, I still have a traditional turkey each Thanksgiving, celebrate, and thank God for our food. Some things never change. I know my lost loved ones are feasting in heaven and waiting for me.

I thank God for the family who now shares my holidays. Last year, I did not bake turkey. Rod fried a turkey for us the Christmas before, and it was so juicy it melted in our mouths. So, Scott bought a turkey fryer and experimented. Ever since he cooked his first fried turkey, he said we wouldn’t have another baked one. so I’ve been relieved of one of my Thanksgiving duties.

We are a close-knit family group. Fancy plates and utensils don’t matter, nor does a fancy setting. What makes holidays special has nothing to do with materialistic things. The warmth and friendliness of our family and friends make up for whatever trivial items are lacking.

Times change, people change, places change, but the heart of the family and thanking God for His blessings and your family remain the same. I thank God for the Thanksgiving the garbage disposal ate the eggs and the year uninvited guests overfilled my tiny trailer. Those blessed Thanksgiving days will be eternally etched in the pages of my family’s hearts and minds.

Barbara Robinson makes her home in Florida with her husband, a cat, and two dogs. She is a graduate of Christian Writers Guild’s, a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), and a graduate from the Long Ridge Writers Group. This story appeared in St. Cloud in the News last Thanksgiving. Many years ago a much simpler version appeared in The Ponchatoula Times, minus the Florida part of the story.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Brotherhood by Jerry B. Jenkins

The Brotherhood by Jerry B. Jenkins is a moving novel to say the least. It's 371 pages and 24 chapters with an epilogue, copyright 2011, published by Tyndale House Publishers. Jenkins is a New York Times best-selling author well known for The Left Behind series. His new book showcases his talent in a police thriller with Boone Drake as the main character, a young officer blessed with success in his career and personal life. He has a beautiful wife, Nikki, who taught school until they were blessed with Josh, his son.

Boone is living the American Dream and knows it when the unthinkable, unspeakable takes him by surprise and spirals him from a life of sunshine and happiness to a dreary world with storm clouds raging inside. In the blink of an eye his entire world is changed. He wanted a home for his young family with a yard ". . . with enough grass to mow." God provided his heart's desire, but little did he know the price he'd pay.

When tragedy strikes, Nikki's parents are miles away, and Boone must face reality immersed in bittersweet memories. He doesn't understand how a loving God can allow such good, sweet, innocent people like Nikki and Josh to come to such violent harm. His partner, Jack Keller, is a rock who stands beside him, and his pastor texts Bible quotes to comfort and keep him in God's Word.

If it isn't enough with his personal life demolished, his career is on the line, and it's all he has left until he meets Haeley, the new secretary that he's been warned about, and her young son, Max, who reminds him of his own loss, Josh. The most vicious Chicago gang leader in decades teaches him that God allows second chances. This is a book you won't want to put down until completed. It'll wrench your heart out early.

I could say so much more, but then I'd give too much away and ruin a great novel like ruining a wonderful movie. So, grab your copy and get ready for an impact you won't soon forget! It's available in hardcover or paperback at Amazon and Barnes and as well as through brick and mortar stores. Visit Jerry on Facebook and check out

Sign to follow this blog for an opportunity to win The Brotherhood. I will draw for a winner very soon, so don't hesitate!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Scotty's Jeans

This story was written about my oldest son, Scotty Edbert, who gave me the roses in the picture for Mother's Day. He was named after the song "Watching Scotty Grow," by Bobby Goldsboro and my father, Edbert Russell, who died when I was four years old on Christmas Day.

I jumped out of bed early every morning with the spirit, energy, and vitality of youth, cleaned house, and took care of the family duties. Far too busy to treasure the day with a son in the first grade, I took pride in the fact that I kept a spotless home and had dinner on the table when my husband returned from work.

I hung Scotty's small jeans outside in the sunshine and fresh air. I can still see them blowing in the wind, hung neatly, all in a row, jeans of every color: brown, black, green, navy, maroon, and blue. I took pride in the fact that he had a pair of jeans in each color for school.

Before I knew it, my son grew, left home, married, had children of his own, and made me a grandmother multiple times. Those precious family days were a treasure that didn't last. All too soon, spring turned to summer, summer to fall, and fall is turning to winter. What I wouldn't give to hang those precious little jeans on the line and watch them blow.

I no longer clean house like it's the most important thing in my life. What I once took pride in is dull, boring, and humdrum--just another ordinary, routine day. Now, there are no small jeans blowing in the wind. No first grader rushes home to excitedly tell me about his school day. Those are all things of the past, things that didn't last.

Now, my little grandson's mother throws his jeans in the dryer as she rushes to get ready for work. The hands of time slip by like a silent thief in the night, as precious days fly with the speed of lightning. Off to work. Off to school. Years fly. Days of the past, treasured days, just don't last.

First printed in as Colored Jeans on the Clothesline: Such Precious Days Don't Last. Permission given to reprint revised edition. B. J. Russell-Robinson lives in Florida with her husband, cocker spaniel, Sunflower, and an adopted shelter cat named Frankie.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Hot Glazed Donuts

The following is written in loving memory of my mother. It was published in an earlier version, but I've revised it, and it was published again online yesterday in a second printing in A Woman's Voice published by Dolores Ayotte at I hope you enjoy!

Hot glazed donuts . . .

I was a young girl in elementary school when I learned how to make Mom happy. She sent me down the street to Gene’s Bakery for orders of toast and butter for breakfast, to the drugstore on Main Street for ice cream, or to the local donut shop for hot glazed donuts.

Funny thing, we never owned a toaster, and Mom loved toast with her morning coffee. She loved hot glazed donuts on a cold winter morning with a steaming cup of Community coffee, or perhaps I should say some coffee with her sugar and cream. Hot summer evenings, it was ice cream.

We lived in a small town, and Mom could trust me to run errands. She used to brag, “Why, I could send Jane across the main highway with a $20 bill at five years old, and she’d bring back my correct change.

I was Mom’s little errand runner and lady. There wasn’t much time for being a little girl. I was the oldest of three girls, and it was up to me to set the example. I set some, that’s for sure. I made good grades in school, never got into trouble, and was Mom’s little lady, but I was also a curious tomboy of a girl. That part didn’t always set so well with Mom.

When I played in the Mississippi red clay at my Grandmother Russell’s with doodle bugs Mom would say, “You should stay neat and clean like your sister. Girls should be girls. She plays with dolls and tea sets like a little lady.”

I held out my palm and showed her my find. “I love playing with these bugs because they look like Volkswagen cars. Just look how they roll up their tiny bodies.”

Of course, Mom didn’t care to look at bugs, so she’d just shake her head and walk away, and I went on happily playing with the doodle bugs or making mud pies. I wasn’t always the little lady Mom wanted me to be. I loved dirt and mud like a boy, and just like a boy, I usually splashed right through puddles instead of skirting them.

Over the years, I made many footsteps to the bakery, donut shop, or drugstore buying Mom all her favorites. She even taught me how to go to the drugstore and find her favorite hair color in just the right shade. She made me memorize the hair color number. Her hair was supposed to be dark brown after she applied it, at least that’s what the box said, but it was totally black on Mom. She had pale white skin and hazel eyes and dyed her reddish-brown hair coal black because she hated the red highlights girls go for today. The reddish tint kept shining through the brown. She had to have jet black hair, red, red lips, and pearly white teeth like the song Daddy loved. She always kept up her hair and wore it long, hanging straight down her back, or with the ends curved at her shoulders. In her earlier days, as a young mother, she had it permed, but in later years, she’d complain that the perms always frizzed her hair, so she wore it long and straight, like the young girl she always was at heart.

Mom quit school in the 11th grade to stay home and help her father with the younger children when her mother passed. Grandpa had a strawberry farm in Louisiana, and Mom took over the housework and cooking chores, tending to her smaller brothers and sisters and her older sister’s children. She had a large family, four girls and three boys. Mom was next to the youngest.

Mom always talked about growing up on Grandpa’s Louisiana strawberry farm in Springfield. She loved berries, sunshine, and fresh air. She didn’t like packing them though. She was a picker, the fastest one around. She picked two or three handcarriers to my one and had me picking strawberries at dawn when I was five years old before school. And, I picked again, after school in the evenings.

Mom worked for a local schoolteacher who picked us up and took us to her farm, took me to school with her, took us back to the farm after school, and drove us home at dark. So, I’m a product of Louisiana strawberry fields and packing sheds. When I grew up, I decided I liked packing better than picking, and I was a faster packer than I was a picker. I left the picking to Mom, who could outpick anyone around.

Remember, I told you how Mom loved toast and butter with her morning coffee. Well, I happened to get a two-slice pop-up toaster for a wedding gift. I’d drive to Mom’s early in the morning and bring the toaster with me, so she could have her toast and butter with coffee. I wasn’t there to walk to the bakery for her anymore. Besides, the bakery she loved so much had gone out of business.

Years later, I wondered why Mom never broke down and bought herself a toaster. Maybe it was because she was the only one in the family who was toast crazy. Mom was like that. She wouldn’t have spent the money to buy herself a toaster. She figured the family needed it for other things. Now, I wonder if she didn’t buy a toaster because she liked our mother/daughter visits with coffee and toast. She brewed coffee so strong it’d curl your toes and knock off your socks, but I’d manage to weaken it as much as possible with plenty of sugar and cream and sip it with her. Her coffee was always too strong for me.

How I wish I could bring Mom toast and butter or a hot glazed donut for her morning coffee. On her deathbed, she asked, “Did you freeze those glazed donuts?”

How I wish I could bring her ice cream on a hot summer day. I miss her so much. Growing up, I shared candy and love notes with her. We talked about boys and puppy love. I miss those Mom-and-daughter talks. You see, she left years ago. She had cancer, and God called her home. Oh what I wouldn’t give just to be able to bring Mom an order of toast and butter, an ice cream . . . or a hot glazed donut. But, I count my blessings that I had this mother’s love. I’m who I am today because of God and her.

Barbara Russell-Robinson lives in Florida with her husband, a cocker spaniel named Sunflower, and an adopted shelter cat. She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the Christian Writers Guild (CWG), and a graduate of Long Ridge Writers Group and the CWG's Apprentice and Journeyman level courses. She’s completed a novel, True Hidden Treasures.