Greetings! I'm excited to share the introduction for my latest novel just released. Can't believe I now have nine titles out there! Where does the time go? Oh yeah, that's right...it goes into writing. ;)
This story, MADELEINE'S RANCH, is a contemporary Christian Native American romance, inspired by my five-year stint on a ranch in northern New Mexico (still one of my favorite locations in the world). Hope you enjoy it.
Madeleine Gentry can’t afford to lose the ranch.
Even though childhood dreams betray her, and a history of hurt is wrapped into the place, it’s everything she knows at 47 years of age.
When a handsome Jesus-believing Native American, Dan Longfeather, shows her that the Waymaker has a far better plan, including freedom and healing for her heart, she dares to hope. If only she can learn to trust again and is willing to make the right choice for her future. But when she takes a step in that direction, the last of Madeleine’s world crumbles.
Fighting off a rogue bear that has terrorized the area is tough, but it’s the least of her worries. Madeleine soon discovers she is not safe. There is a danger far worse than a restless bear. Someone is out to get her. People aren't what they seem. And she doesn't know who to believe anymore.
Set in the mountainous Pecos Wilderness of northern New Mexico; discover Madeleine’s wild and desperate love for the Land of Enchantment, and the man who captures her heart there.
They are worlds apart. It’s true, opposites attract. Yet together they’re turned upside down and cannot find a way to coexist. But God does.
Newly released, my latest novel from the Hearts in Africa series. Now available on Amazon.
"Sometimes people ask God to join them in what they are doing, rather than joining God in what He is doing. Emotional tension already high, Nick and Claire are jostled by circumstances as they struggle between human understanding, desire, and the will of God. In the end, they realize that He had their best interests in mind all along. From the wilderness of Washington State, straight to the heart of the Maasai in Tanzania, onto the spice island of Zanzibar and around again, the path of faith and the outcome of their relationship are ultimately made clear in a whirlwind of adventure, trials, and enduring love. Uniquely sweet, Carry My Heart is a memorable missionary romance." ~ CPP
I had decided a while back to come out of hibernation and take up my dance shoes again. However, my little home studio has grown dull and lifeless without community. So, I recently mused on the idea of taking a class. Aside from networking, with my past professional background in lyrical ballet, contemporary, and international styles wherein training occurred a long time ago, I could definitely use refreshers.
On a whim and to my delighted surprise, I located a Russian Gypsy/Flamenco troupe with a strong foundation in ballet currently based out of my local city, Knoxville. Directed by Olga, who not only offers classes for technique but also teaches the significance and history behind the movements and music, she provides opportunities to perform, complete with colorful costumes and beautiful expressions, capturing the hearts of audiences, through her company Sangria Dance. I found gold.
After I took the first class, a conversation went along in my mind: “Well there you are, Tessa! Where have you been?” How could I possibly have retreated from the dance world like I had when I've missed it so much? I do know for certain it was high time to make a change and get back with it – and it feels great. Not only is dance good for the body, it’s nourishment for the mind and soul, too. A dancer without community or personal growth can feel depleted. I've joined the troupe, reconnecting with like-minded individuals in a setting that’s culturally vibrant and expansive. Truly, Sangria Dance is a feast of sustenance to a hungry dancer. Dance is a way of life. And as these things often go, it’ll enhance my writing, too.
“We dance for laughter, we dance for tears, we dance for madness, we dance for fears, we dance for hopes, we dance for screams, we are the dancers, we create the dreams.”—Albert Einstein
Have you seen the 2013 movie, All Is Lost, with a one-man cast starring Robert Redford? The silence of the film is riveting. This is a story about a man sailing solo deep in the Indian Ocean. Everything you can imagine could go wrong on this voyage does, and the man faces mortality at every turn. There are so many nuances in the movie that held such command. Emotional resilience overpowered, I bawled at the end. And then I just had to watch it again. A story about survival, and then letting go, I felt “spoken to” within the passage – along with the accompanying music by Alex Ebert which was so haunting. An extraordinary film, it’s an introspective person’s enchantment.
I couldn't sleep. I guess my nerves were on edge. I felt unsettled about the condition of the world, the state of society, a broken political climate becoming sicker at an alarming rate. Peace, kindness, understanding…forgiveness; a culture without blatant double standards. Where had they gone? When had everything become so complicated within and without? Had a veil covered my vision all along and the unfavorable things existed yet were hidden from my eyes? Or have things, on the whole, truly made a turn for an all-time low?
Before sunrise I stepped outside of the house, consumed with restless thoughts, believing that a bit of fresh air might be good. Under the blanket of a night sky, I glanced up and was struck by the brilliance of the stars. Then it dawned on me that it had been a very long time since I had observed the stars. It used to be a bit of a pastime. What even happened to that diversion? Maybe the change occurred in me, went unnoticed. I had forgotten to appreciate the simple things.
I stood there outdoors, inhaling deeply over and again—I couldn't get enough!—and admired the infinite space, the sparkling lights, each a kind of promise, a reminder that out there, the heavens, is so much greater than anything in my little realm. The Maker of those stars is in control. If he can create and handle all of that and more, he can help me manage the issues of today - issues that seem transitory in the greater scheme of life. A gaze at the stars left me with the profound wish to return to the simple things. How effortless, and yet how beautiful and healing…one upward glance.
At times I've been asked why I dream and word-paint so much in metaphorical pictures. It’s the language I've known since I can remember! In some situations, times, or events, dreams are the only thing a person has, until “I have always been” knocks at your heart’s door with the proclamation, “I am here, seek no longer.” Open that door and things can happen.
There’s a saying, hope deferred makes the heart ache. Be it from a disappointing reality, a lost search for a part of one’s soul, an unfulfilled goal, or an indirect path.
I’m a whimsical dreamer and forever will I be. Because of hope. Because a dream fulfilled is a tree of life. (Proverbs 13:12)
What is love?
Might it be delineated in the throes of passion, or a keen understanding of an event, covetousness for an inanimate object, a déjà vu experience, ambition, redemption, or simply a developed form of comfort called
Whatever it is, Love is huge. Or can it possess very little and still exist?
Perhaps love is indefinable. Nonetheless, isn’t it attractive and all-consuming to explore its meaning…from the latent to colorful ways…
And how human are we to describe something that largely beggars description.
Lightning struck the house. Well, the bolt actually hit a tree next to the house, but it went to ground and fried all electronics not surge protected (use those surge suppressors, they work!). As the week progressed, more items lengthened the “all-lost” list—including heating/air-conditioning units. Let me tell you, it added up fast.
Without much rehashing, I’m just going to vouch that it’s been a stormy season for this family, and I wonder when, when will things stabilize again. . . . In a very human moment I whined, “God, why are you knocking us down at every turn?” As I asked this while outside, surmising the strike zone, something dawned on me. The second highest level to that towering tree was the peak to my son’s bedroom. Suddenly, I had a different outlook - one of protection and gratitude.
It’s all about perspective, because no matter how bad things get it could always be worse. You know what they say . . . “When down in the mouth, remember Jonah. He came out all right!”
Remarkable is the work of Brazilian-born German author, Lya Luft. By grasping the concept of death, she bestows greater appreciation for life. In aging, she compels us to embrace every season of our span. At 40, 60, 80, she urges us to defy the pressures of society, which suggest that happiness, love, passion, joy, fulfillment belong only to the young.
The depth of perspective and wisdom is mindboggling in her Losses and Gains volume subtitled, “Reflections on a life.” Her novel, The Island of the
Dead, proves painfully introspective as does The Red House.
Inspiring are the author’s inflections to progress through life’s throes; allow not our psyches get swept this way or that, cracking, shifting, folding to the superficial forces in which we don’t wish to bow. It’s our perspective that counts (for me, with God’s help), the stabilizer of any event—tragic or blessed.
We cannot predict nor control life. Whether we like it or not it ever changes, circumstances alter. We age. Our days are filled with losses and gains. That’s a haunting yet reaching truth. That is the profound work of Lya Luft.