Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Power, Privilege & Representation: Release Day for The King's Mercy and Guest Post by Amarilis Iscold

The King's Mercy, my sixth historical novel with WaterBrook & Multnomah, releases today. To celebrate here on the blog I'm sharing some insightful thoughts from someone who has helped me behind the scenes with all my books, but none more so than The King's Mercy.

I met Amarilis (Amy) Iscold as members of an online Literary Forum we both frequented for years. She lived and worked in Brazil as an MD-Pediatrician with her own practice for a little over a decade before relocating with her family to the USA. On the forum, Amy frequently drew from her considerable experience to answer my and other writer's questions concerning the fictional expectant mothers and newborns that populated our stories, providing real life anecdotes to make those scenes believable and grounded. Amy specializes in Family & Human Development and currently teaches higher education: child psychology, development, and early education. Her upbeat, creative, and inquisitive outlook on life has earned her several sobriquets, her favorites being The Hope Lady and The Book Whisper (if you want a lead on your next good read, follow Amy on Facebook, where she writes compellingly about what she's lately read).

I'm thankful Amy not only chose to read The King's Mercy but agreed to be a guest on the blog today to share her thoughts on one of the major themes of the story: the responsibility of those with power toward those without. As always, Amy dove deep and helped even me to see the story and characters contained in The King's Mercy from a fresh angle.

Power, Privilege & Representation

by Amarilis Iscold


I was recently listening to a scholar (and activist) who spoke, among other things, of representation. She reaffirmed that, ideally, the voices to be heard are those that best represent any given cause. However, she was pragmatic and realistic enough to admit that the world is imperfect and idealism will only carry us so far.

As many - for ages - have said, at times it takes an ally with power to open doors so that those with a cause can make their voices heard.

Those who have any kind of power and privilege should listen. Really listen. Listen with an open heart and an open mind and be prepared to be educated, mentored, and challenged.

This isn't easy... "We are not skilled at listening to the wisdom of those whose life patterns are outside of the social norm" (Jean Vanier in BECOMING HUMAN).

There are many degrees of power - and of oppression. Most of us can think of at least one situation for which we are on either side of the equation. Some have more things on one end of the spectrum... others on the other end.

Knowing a little or empathizing in some degree does not authorize us to represent a whole - much less a whole we do not fully belong to. It does not give us a right to speak for others.

We are all inherently a part of the life we live. We are a product of our times. We cannot remove ourselves from humanity and analyze it from the outside in. There is no outside. Or, rather, there are varying degrees of "insiderness". But we can create alliances.

To align.

In talking about the power of representation and of having a voice in society, an expression that comes up is that of having a seat at the table. During said speech, I was asking myself (and later my journal), "When given a seat at the table, who do you align with? Do you open doors? Or are you a gatekeeper? Do you change the rules? Create a bigger table?"

Lori Benton tackles some of these subtly - and not so subtly - in her new book... Characters find themselves in situations where they are challenged to think about how to use their strengths - and lack thereof. Physical disabilities, financial difficulties, indenture, servitude, sexism, slavery, racism... 
Levels of power and oppression - of belonging or exclusion. Fascinating how when something is on my mind it shows up on things I read.

Thank you, Lori... This was a true pleasure to read. 

Trying to match his self-possession, she faced him. "What you said last night, about the lines between us, my family and the slaves--"

"Wheest," he interrupted gently, straightening but still gripping the fence rail. "I oughtn't to have said such things, Mistress."

"Miss Joanna," she reminded him. "And whether you spoke amiss or not, I've been thinking about it -- even before last night. You're right. I do find it difficult to keep from crossing those lines."

He leaned toward her slightly. "Can you imagine a life without them?"
(excerpt from The King's Mercy)

* * *
Order your copy today at Amazon, CBD, Barnes & Noble

When captured rebel Scotsman Alex MacKinnon is granted the king's mercy--transport across the Atlantic Ocean and exile to the colony of North Carolina--he's indentured as a blacksmith to Edmund Carey, prosperous owner of Severn Plantation. The arrangement devastates the Scot who mourns the life he lost and finds life on a slave plantation intolerable. Unwittlingly, Alex is drawn into the plight of Carey's slaves, particularly those connected to Carey's stepdaughter, Joanna.

A mistress longing for a different life, Joanna Carey is expected to wed the plantation's overseer, Phineas Reeves, who has no patience for her kinder vision for Severn's future. For guidance, Joanna relies on itinerant minister Reverend Pauling, who travels to the plantation seasonally, bringing the gospel to all with ears to listen.

Despite his growing bond with Joanna, Alex longs to break the chains of servitude and forge his freedom, until he's face with the choice that hounds him: continue down his destructive, rebellious path or embrace the faith of a man like Pauling, whose freedom in Christ no earthly power can steal. But the price of such mercy is total surrender and perhaps Alex's very life.


Friday, May 03, 2019

Pre-order The King's Mercy, get a free print!

Pre-order The King's Mercy before 6/3/19 and receive a free signed (by me) landscape print of Lower Lewis River Falls, in Washington State, a shot I took last autumn when the leaf color was breathtaking.



Monday, March 18, 2019

Scavenger Hunt Stop #2 Winners!

Thanks everyone for participating in the Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt. We hope you found a lot of new books and new authors to check out, and enjoyed reading all the posts. I enjoyed sharing the cover journey for The King's Mercy with you, at Lisa Bergren's Stop #1. If you missed the hunt but are interested in my post, you can still find it here.

These hunts are a true labor of love, and all my appreciation and thanks to Lisa Bergren and everyone else who worked behind the scenes to organize, facilitate and keep things running even when heavy traffic took a couple of sites down briefly. Heavy traffic is awesome!

Now for the three winners chosen by random here on my blog, who win a copy of The King's Mercy. You have a choice about that. You can choose:

1. An ARC (advance reading copy/uncorrected proof) now, which will come straight from my publisher. OR...

2. A final copy, signed by me, some time in May (still before the June 4th release date). These will come out of my limited private stash

You choose! If you are...

Anonymous 12:12PM
J S Legs
moodymolly

I've contacted you each by email as well. Congratulations, and I hope everyone enjoyed the hunt! 

And last but not least, Welcome to new followers on my FB Author Page and on Instagram! You might have noticed those two accounts contain very different content. On FB I share my book news and thoughts on writing, and how things are going with the work in progress, while on Instagram I share my other creative passion, landscape photography. The PNW, where I live, is blessed beyond belief with gorgeous mountain, coastal, and eastern high desert landscapes, and whenever I can I'm out with my camera attempting to capture them for you. So while I'm on Twitter as well, I'm very much more engaged with readers and friends on FB and IG. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt Stop #2



If you've just discovered the hunt, be sure to start at Stop #1, and collect the clues through all 27 stops, in order, so you can enter to win one of our top 5 grand prizes!
  • The hunt BEGINS on 3/14 at noon MST with Stop #1 at LisaTawnBergren.com.
  • Hunt through our loop using Chrome or Firefox as your browser (not Explorer).
  • There is NO RUSH to complete the hunt. You have all weekend (until Sunday, 3/17 at midnight MST)! So take your time, reading the unique posts along the way; our hope is that you discover new authors/new books and learn new things about them.
  • Submit your entry for the grand prizes by collecting the CLUE on each author's scavenger hunt post and submitting your answer in the Rafflecopter form at Stop #27. Many authors are offering additional prizes along the way!

It is my honor to host historical fiction author Karen Barnett. She and I (and her pal, Ranger Bear) have taken several road trips together, visiting National Parks along the way.

Here's a brief summary of her soon-to-release (June 18) third installment in Karen's Vintage National Parks series, Ever Faithful

Vibrant historic Yellowstone National Park comes to life in this romantic mystery about a man hiding the truth, braving the west to become something more--and the woman who must confront his deception.


Photo credit: Library of Congress
Don’t Feed the Bears
Karen Barnett
Ever Faithful: A Vintage National Parks Novel


Today most of us laugh and shake our heads at the idea of feeding marshmallows to bears from the back of the family station wagon. And yet, for Yellowstone National Park, this piece of history is not so far in the past. The park officially banned bear-feeding in 1970, and for good reason. Not only was it bad for the animals, but every year there were multiple injuries caused by what the public viewed as innocent fun.


Photo credit: National Park Service
Fortunately for me, one of the joys of writing historical fiction is being able to safely bring these memories back to life without risking wildlife or park visitors. Since I’m a park-ranger-turned-author, I’ve found the research fascinating. In my current series, The Vintage National Parks novels, I’ve enjoyed writing about the early days of Mount Rainier (The Road to Paradise) and Yosemite (Where the Fire Falls) National Parks, and in Ever Faithful (releasing June 18), I finally get to tell the story of Yellowstone.

Did you know at one time, there were official bear-feeding stations set up around the park? Most of the park hotels hosted “lunch counters” for the animals, where staff would pile food scraps from the restaurants to lure bears close for viewing. Hundreds of visitors would gather on benches to watch the grizzlies and black bears partake of these free meals, the animals scuffling to snatch the best tidbits. Rangers offered educational lectures at these stations, just like they do today at Old Faithful and other popular sites.

It wasn’t until the 1960s and 70s that public opinion shifted and the park made a conscious effort to re-educate both people and bears. Problem bears were trapped and relocated. Problem humans were ticketed.

Photo credit: National Park Service
Today the scene in Yellowstone is much different. Photographers gather at road turnouts in Lamar Valley with high-powered lenses to catch distant views of grizzlies in their natural environment, and you’re much less likely to see one chomping on marshmallows.

Most of us agree that it’s better for bears and humans, alike.

And we can still enjoy it in old photos—and in story!


Karen Barnett, author of the Vintage National Parks novels, worked as a ranger and outdoor educator at Mount Rainier National Park and Oregon's Silver Falls State Park. When not writing, Karen enjoys photography, hiking, and public speaking. To connect with Karen, find her at www.KarenBarnettBooks.com or https://www.facebook.com/KarenBarnettAuthor/.





Here's the Stop #2 Skinny:

You can order Karen's book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, CBD, or at your local bookstore!
Clue to Write Down: time
Link to Stop #3, the Next Stop on the Loop: Karen Barnett's own site!


But Wait! Here at Frontier Faith & Fiction I'm offering my own giveaway--my June 4 2019 release, The King's Mercy, one copy each to three winners! To enter:
  • Follow me on Facebook and/or Instagram 
  • Let me know in the comments on this post that you did so (and leave me a masked email address to reach you if you are a winner) 
  • I'll let Random.org do the drawing on Monday, March 18, and contact the winners via the email in your comment.

    Happy hunting and enjoy the rest of the loop!

Monday, March 11, 2019

The King's Mercy: sneak peek!




The King's Mercy releases on June 4th, but you don't have to wait to read the first chapters.

Check them out here.

Can a Man Accept Mercy When it Feels More Like a Curse than a Blessing?

When captured rebel Scotsman Alex MacKinnon is granted the king's mercy--transport across the Atlantic Ocean and exile to the colony of North Carolina--he's indentured as a blacksmith to Edmund Carey, prosperous owner of Severn Plantation. The arrangement devastates the Scot who mourns the life he lost and finds life on a slave plantation intolerable. Unwittingly, Alex is drawn into the plight of Carey's slaves, particularly those connected to Carey's stepdaughter, Joanna.

A mistress longing for a different life, Joanna Carey is expected to wed the plantation's overseer, Phineas Reeves, who has no patience for her kinder vision for Severn's future. For guidance, Joanna relies on itinerant minister Reverend Pauling, who travels to the plantation seasonally, bringing the gospel to all with ears to listen.

Despite his growing bond with Joanna, Alex longs to break the chains of servitude and forge his freedom, until he's faced with the choice that hounds him: continue down his destructive, rebellious path or embrace the faith of a man like Pauling, whose freedom in Christ no earthly power can steal. But the price of such mercy is total surrender and perhaps Alex's very life.