Sunday, March 22, 2015

Easy to be soft

         The narrative genealogy I have been working on for the past few months is called Faith of our Fathers. My ancestors were Baptist going all the way back to the 1600s and their religious beliefs had a major impact on their history. It's why they left England and traveled to the unknown colonies at the first opportunity. And when Baptists were not welcome in most of the original 13 colonies, they headed west in search of religious freedom. 
Lewis Craig,  one of my son's ancestors, is probably the most famous. He was arrested numerous times in Virginia for preaching without a license from the Anglican Church. At one such arrest he surprised the jury by gladly accepting his fate:
        "I thank you, gentlemen of the grand jury, for the honor you have done me. While I was wicked and injurious, you took no notice of me, but since I have altered my course of life and endeavored to reform my neighbors, you concern yourselves much about me. I shall take the spoiling of my goods joyfully.”
      A crowd gathered outside the jail, and he preached through the bars. And when he decided to move to Kentucky for more freedom, hundreds followed him.
     As time passed, and religious freedom was guaranteed by the constitution, the Baptist church grew into one of the largest denominations in the country. I have become soft. I expect religious liberty.
     But certainly that is not true everywhere. Twenty Coptic Christians were beheaded last month in Libya. More than 200 schoolgirls were kidnapped in Nigeria to avoid "sinful" education.We've become accustomed to such atrocities in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, much the way we've become soft about expecting our own religious freedom in this country.
      I'm a Methodist now -- I have the freedom to choose -- and today my minister read a letter encouraging us to speak out about the persecution of Christians. She also encouraged us to pray about the problem, but she said we need to pray humbly.  All of us are guilty of having prejudices and misconceptions about others' religious beliefs.   We want religious freedom but only for the "right"  religions.
        So I will pray for gratitude for the freedoms I have, tolerance for beliefs I don't like, justice for the oppressed and forgiveness for the oppressors.


Monday, March 16, 2015

Kiss me! Just found out I'm Irish!

For 27 years -- from my wedding in 1971 until I returned to my maiden name in 1998 -- I was Sue Wallace. My son still carries the surname of his father. We never had any doubt his ancestors were Scottish. Ryan has a plaque with the clan coat of arms as well as many pieces made in the distinctive red, black and yellow tartan of the Wallace clan.
         Remember the movie Braveheart about the Scottish hero William Wallace? In the final scene when everyone is chanting "Wallace, Wallace, Wallace" my son turned to me and said, "Makes you proud just to have the name."
          Then last week, working on my genealogy project, I put in the earliest known Wallace ancestor, Joseph, who was born in Virginia in 1762.  Then I checked Seems Joseph had a father of the same name, born in 1730 in IRELAND! I couldn't believe it! I guess it's good for a swig of green beer this week, but what am I going to do with all that Scottish tartan?

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Expo Extras!

         Jordan Daily News Mysteries will be featured this weekend at the West Michigan Women's Expo in Grand Rapids. Great Lakes Authors, a group of 32 writers from various genres, will be hosting a booth for the three-day event.
           Although my books will be making an appearance, I won't be there. I'm still enjoying my winter in Florida. I know it is warming up in Michigan, but I'm not ready to leave the Sunshine State. I knew you would understand.
             I'm posting the following FAQ in case you have questions about the series. I hope you'll stop by the expo and pick up one of my mysteries as well as books by other local authors including Charles Honey, Tom Rademacher, Tricia MacDonald, Janet Vormittag and many more.
Jordan Daily News Mysteries
Does this series have recurring characters?
Yes. The mysteries are solved by the staff of a small town daily newspaper. Single-mother city editor Josie Braun leads the staff including investigative reporter Duke Dukakis, smooth talker Nick Davidson and crusader-for-the-underdog Becky Judd.

Where and when does this series take place?
The mysteries are set in the fictional Chicago suburb of Jordan in the pre-internet 1980s.

Is this stuff true crime?
No, this is fiction. The author was inspired, however, by events that happened during her newspaper career. Great News Town, for instance, is inspired by a series of murders that took place in 1983 when Sue Merrell was working for the Joliet Herald-News and One Shoe Off is inspired by the 1957 disappearance of Joliet newspaper editor Molly Zelko.

Do I need to read them in order?
No, each mystery stands alone. But as with any good series the characters and the relationships grow and change from book to book. If you start with the second book, One Shoe Off, you’ll see a city editor who is much more confident than in the first book, Great News Town, and you’ll know the status of her love interest from the first book.

I don’t like too much violence or bad language. Are these books offensive?
Great News Town is about a serial killer with 14 murders in one summer. But the thrust of the story is the lives that were lost and the community’s reaction, not the gory details. Although there are a few deaths in One Shoe Off and one in Full Moon Friday, the stories are more about the anticipation of violence than the actual events. Foul language is kept to a minimum. Part of the humor of the series is that Duke invents a new curse phrase every time he feels like using a four-letter word.

I don’t like graphic sex.
The secret to a sexy scene is in the imagination, not graphic details.

So which one should I buy?
Great News Town introduces the series and the characters with lots of murders to solve. It’s the first in the series and was an honorable mention in Writers’ Digest 2014 Self-Published book awards. One Shoe Off was a finalist in Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel Awards in 2013. Most readers love Zelda Machinko, an opinionated editor from the past who haunts the newsroom. Full Moon Friday is about all the things that go wrong when a full moon coincides with Friday the 13th. It’s for anyone who’s a little superstitious. This fast-paced tale takes place in 24 hours.