Liberty’s Promise and the Locket

I am working on the 7th chapter of Liberty’s Promise, so it is at about 3/4 complete.  I am well pleased with the progress I am making on it.  The past few days, I have just felt so impassioned in writing that it is quickly taking shape.

I decided that I will work on proofing the Locket and getting it ready to publish, as A Wounded Heart still needs considerable editing.  So, hopefully by next week sometime, I will have the Locket on Amazon for sale.  It’s a lovely story taken from a lot of my personal experiences, though it is set in the post-World War I America.

Here is the blurb for The Locket:

Ella Goodwin is a Christian girl living with her parents in the rolling hills of Los Angeles in the last year of WWI. Her father is a lawyer, while her mother is a devoted housewife. They are people of great faith, yet that faith is shaken when tragedy strikes. A devastating illness–influenza–comes to the Los Angeles area after causing many deaths worldwide. Ella must strive to put her life back together, all the while holding on to a promise of love sealed by a golden locket so long ago. She must discover for herself that God’s promises hold true in the midst of her ever-changing world.

Excerpt from “Liberty’s Promise”

Thomas Rockdale took off his wig, and settled back on in his favorite chair at the rectory.  He poured himself a glass of wine, and sipped from it, thinking of Anna Barton.  He wondered for a moment whether he was wasting his time with her.    It wasn’t as if she was the only woman attracted to him.

True, she was startlingly beautiful, and he felt deeply attracted to her.  He did want her as his wife, but he also felt a rebellious streak in her.  Women did need a man to rule over them.  And he felt Anna resented that.

He had long felt that all women needed a man to control them.   Women were naturally rebellious ever since the Garden of Eden, and though they really wanted the rulership of men, they tried to control man.  It took strong men, men like himself, to refuse their games of love, to bring a woman to obey and fear God correctly.

It was just like these unruly colonials.  He had meant his words.  They were like an unruly woman that needed force to bring them under control, and force they would get.  He had heard about their “Congress” that was meeting, though small good that would do.  No, rather, they needed to fall into line and accept the rulership of their King and Parliament and do what they were told.

He came from a very old British family, long before the Elizabethan era, and he didn’t understand this unreasonable behavior among them.    His father, as an Earl, had shouted “God Save the King” at George III’s coronation.  His earliest known ancestor, Richard of Rockdale, had fought alongside Henry VI, the last Lancastrian King of England before the Tudors.  No, he did not understand these rabble at all.

The fireplace flickered, and he let his mind wander back to Anna Barton.  If he were her husband, he would teach her to obey him.  He was a strong man, and smart enough to know the little games women played.  He knew how to overpower them with his personality, how to make them recognize the superiority of men, until they had to give in.  Then she would obey him, and he would teach her what being a godly woman was.

No, if he were her husband, there would be no more speaking against him.  There would be no more games.  Men had to use their superior minds and their force of being to overpower a woman or she would use her feminine wiles on him.  He had seen it in his mother and sisters, how his father gave in to them.  He had seen it in the wives of his friends.  He would not allow a woman to do that to him.

If he were Anna’s husband, she would obey him in the end.  He would make her a compliant, peaceful wife who would fear God and fear him and there would be no feminine games, no emotional outbursts, no shrewish disagreements.   And she would thank him for his attentions to her.

It helped that her own sister was for him.  The insipid Mrs. Tetford.  He knew how to use women to his best advantage and he felt no qualms in doing so.    He realized some women even felt themselves the equal of men, but he knew better.  It was a man’s world, and would remain so, because of strong men like himself.

God had intended the world to be ruled by men.  He had intended a natural order of things, in marriage, in the church, in society.   Men tried to defy the divine right of kings, when they were truly casting off their God.   And women threw off the divine rulership of their husbands for the same reason.

All this talk of “liberty” was against everything he knew in life.  They brought up the Magna Carta, while ignoring that the rights contained in it were barons, and not for the lower classes.    This had begun to be a problem as liberal ideas of the rights of man had taken root in men’s minds, convincing them that they were the equal of kings.   He hoped their government would soon send the Army.  This rebellion needed to be put down before it got out of control.

He sat in his chair and considered what his next strategy should be.  What would bring the beautiful Mrs. Barton to crave more of his attentions?  Perhaps a little jealousy was due.  He could think of one or two women in the congregation he might enjoy having lunch with, and if he let Hope know….He smiled to himself.

He knew Anna was attracted to him.  He felt it whenever he entered the room.  Perhaps if she thought he was considering another woman, she would be more amiable to him.  She was after all, a widow, and not getting younger.  Certainly her number of suitors must be waning—why else would her sister be matchmaking for her?

Yes, he finally settled, he would make her jealous for his attentions.  He would meet with her again soon, and make her think he wanted to marry her, and then he would have lunch with one or two ladies.  She would be anxious about his attentions.

He took out some stationary, and wrote a letter to her.

My dear Mrs. Barton:

I do feel our last meeting was not as amiable as I had hoped.    I was really hoping you would enjoy to hear me speak, and understand my devotion to God as well as to my King.

Anna, I must meet with you at your sister’s home again soon.  I implore you to say yes.   I am sorry if you did not understand my statements on the duties of a wife, but I hope you will give me the opportunity to better explain them to you.   I hope that once you see the truth of my statements, you will agree with them.

After we discuss that, there are other, more important matters I want to discuss with you.

There, he thought.  He felt he was forceful and dynamic, and he also left open the possibility that he might take a closer step toward engagement.  A real man simply had to play the game better than the woman if he was to succeed with her.    And he did feel he would succeed with Anna.



Second chapter of Liberty’s Promise complete and working toward the third.  I’ve also worked on what I can a snippet–a out of sequence scene that just comes to me–from later in the book.  I do think I need to go back and mention things about the buildup to the Revolution, but that shouldn’t be problemmatic.

Also, tonight before bed or tomorrow, I will likely being doing more editing on A Wounded Heart. I’m going to try to get one more book on the market by next week.  I have three projects in various stages of completion.

Liberty’s Promise–progress

I have completed the first chapter of Liberty’s Promise and am writing in the second while I’m also in the editing stage for A Wounded Heart.

I am praying this book will be much smoother in writing than the last.

Will post more as things progress.

Also, backing up my work.  🙂



Book ideas

I bought me a journal because I think it would be good for me to keep track of various ideas I have for future books.  I do not know about other writers, but I’ve come to be juggling several ideas at once.

Here are some are am currently considering:

  • Sequel to A Wounded Heart set in 1963, with Rick Sartori, the former hoodlum trying to convert hoodlums in Highland Park, with a subtheme of Sam Treadwell (I just can’t let go of him) working with veterans who have traumatic experiences related to the War (these days, we would call it PTSD).
  • Liberty’s Promise, set in 1774-75 with the overall theme of liberty vs. tyranny.  Mentioned in other blogs.
  • A children’s book, promised to my grandson, based on King Josiah and how he served God at 8 years old.
  • For a couple of years now I’ve been trying to work on an updating of Ruth and Boaz set during the Civil War called The Other Side of the River.
  • A Sword for Robert, set in medieval Scotland.  Robert is a Scottish noblemans child who is kidnapped by his mother.  She attempts to take him to Ireland, but he is then kidnapped by Vikings and he ends up in a circuit of Scandinavia, the Byzantine Court and the Holy Land, where he finds his father who is there on the Crusade.  All the while, he has a grandmother back in Scotland praying for him.

I love “what if” stories.  A couple of my novels are “what ifs” related to people I’ve known and what their story would look like if they had encountered Jesus in their lives.

Prayer Scene–Liberty’s promise

I have had a scene on my mind from my new book.  Sometimes, that’s the way things come to you as a writer.  You have an idea that sparks into something larger.

Here is the scene, where the heroine, Mrs. Anna Barton, comes upon her neighbor, Mr. Caleb Strong (I changed this.  The name I had for him sounded too much like her name) in prayer.

Anna passed by the window to Caleb’s shop, and noted no one was there.  He must’ve stepped away for a moment.   She wanted to ask him to teach her son Joshua to shoot her husband’s flintlock.   He had shown no interest in showing the boy how, and since she and Joshua were alone, she felt they needed to protect themselves.

She passed by another window, the back room where he kept his supplies and the window was ajar.  She saw that Caleb was kneeling on the floor by a bench, and then she heard him intoning a prayer.   She felt like she was intruding, but couldn’t help being drawn by his low, strong voice pouring himself out to God.   Then she realized, with a flush, what he was praying for.

“Father”, he pled, “help me to know your will.  Your word says that it is not good for man to dwell alone, and Lord, I have been alone these many years.   I know I am not as pleasing to the eye as many others, that young ladies are not drawn to me.   Lord, send me a wife.  Send me a God-fearing woman to be my companion.   Lord, if you would…”  It was not overemotional, nor was it weak, but the heartfelt desire of a lonely man.  Anna could not help be moved, remembering the many lonely nights she had spent since Jonah died.

Her feet seemed fastened to the place where she stood as he continued, his prayer turning to groaning as he laid his head on the bench.   The sound resonated within her own soul, as his prayer turned to fervent words, of beautiful cadence but unknown to her.  She felt the power of the Spirit as he prayed, and tears began to stream down her face.  She leaned against the building and prayed also, not knowing really what she was praying for, except that she felt it was in unison with him.

Then she realized he had stopped, and the Spirit subsided.  She brought a corner of her apron to her face to wipe away the tears.  She took a deep breath to calm herself before entering the shop.

“Mr. Strong, are you here?” she called out and he emerged from the back room, his face slightly flushed with the emotion of his prayers.   He didn’t say anything at first, but she could tell she had surprised him.

“Oh, Mrs. Barton.  Is there something I can help you with, ma’am?”

“Mr. Strong, I did not mean to disturb you, sir, but I wondered if I could beg a favor of you?”  She offered him a friendly smile, feeling a sudden sympathy for the man.

He felt more at ease, and returned her smile, which brought a softness to the plainness of his features.  She thought momentarily how beautiful his smile was, and sensed despite his occasional gravity that he was at heart a kind man.

“What would that be, missus?”  He wiped his hands and gave her his attention.

“Mr. Strong, it’s a matter of protection.  As you know, Joshua and I have been alone since Jonah’s death.”

“Ma’am?  Is there something I can help you with in that area?”  He lifted a brow, and she realized he may have mistaken her meaning.

“Mr. Strong”, she went on, suddenly flushed, realizing he was staring intently at her.  He realized his lack of manners, and broke his gaze.   “Sir, I merely meant that one of us should learn to use a flintlock.  My husband never felt the need to teach us how.  I wondered whether you would teach my son?  He is twelve now, and a quick learner.”

He looked at her again, and for a moment, his deep, brown eyes met hers.  “I would be most happy to help you, ma’am.  There are many dangers for a woman and child living alone, and whatever I can do to assist you.  Mrs. Barton, please don’t hesitate to call on me…for anything…should you need assistance.”

“Thank you, Mr. Strong.  You are most kind”, she responded, breaking his gaze.  He was a pleasant man, even if he wasn’t attractive, and she suddenly felt at ease with him.

“My pleasure, ma’am”, he said, and gave her a courtly bow.

She turned and went out, headed down the road toward her home.   She was suddenly finding that she liked Mr. Strong.   While they had known each other for years, she had always found him aloof and wondered whether it was just that he was not socially skilled.  Though a successful tradesman, he didn’t mingle with many families, but kept to himself except for church.   She knew there were a couple of times he had nearly married, but she did not know why no marriage had occurred.

She sensed that women found him unattractive; his face was kind, but not at all fine-featured.   He had the straight, angular features that more resembled a schoolmaster, and though his deep brown eyes were intelligent, his serious, quiet nature didn’t lend itself to the conversation that would hold a lady’s interest.

Liberty’s Promise

I’ve come up with a sketch of an outline for my fourth book, which will be titled “Liberty’s Promise”, and is set in the period immediately before the American Revolution.  I am thinking it will end with Lexington/Concord.  It represents the two types of ideologies of the conflict: tyranny, both spiritual and physical as represented by the Tory British government, and liberty as represented by the colonials.

The story involves Anna Barton, a young widow and seamstress who lives in a community just outside Boston.  She has a teenage son.  Her neighbor is Caleb Strong, a bachelor carpenter who is interested in marrying her, but Anna is unsure.  He helps her in many ways, including teaching her and her son how to use a rifle for protection.  He expresses interest in apprenticing her son.   At the same time, she is courted by the Reverend Thomas Rockdale, a pastor who represents the Loyalists.  He is the son of an Earl, and his family has money, status, and he personally is attractive and a sought after suitor by many young women.  While seeming to promise Anna a spiritual life as the wife of a pastor, his inner intentions are far different, and he represents the tyranny the Americans will be fighting against.  He is forceful, domineering, and secretly believes that all women are sinful Jezebels trying to deceive men into falling.  He believes all women need to be in subjugation.

One suitor offers a true and steadfast, Christlike love while the other offers duty, obligation without joy, ritualism and legalism.   It represents the struggle, both temporal and spiritual, between freedom of the Spirit and the letter of the Law, in essence, tyranny.