Friday, January 4, 2013

Underground Railroad And The Path Of Freedom

My guest today is historical author,Jennifer Hudson Taylor. Now, I've seen dozens of books featuring the Amish but very few fiction stories set around the Quakers. So I asked Jennifer why she chose that particular group?

My mother’s ancestors were Quakers, and while I did not grow up Quaker, we still have our family reunions in the Quaker church, and I believe many of the Quaker values that came from my great-grandparents were passed onto me through my grandmother and mother. I wanted people to have a better understanding of our American Quaker roots. In the last few years we've learned so much about the Amish and Mennonites through fiction, but have had very little opportunity to learn about the Quakers and how much they have given to our modern society.

Few people understand how much Quakers impacted the movement to abolish slavery, advocated for women’s rights, and fought the justice system to change laws in favor of civil rights. For a quiet, peaceful group of people, the Quakers made history to remember and helped shape us into the America we are today. They were most definitely ahead of their time.

Path of Freedom is about Quakers who commit themselves to helping a pregnant slave couple to freedom on the Underground Railroad in 1858. While the hero and heroine are Quakers who should be devout in their faith and strong mentors, they face many perils that test them.

I named the heroine in my story after my great-grandmother, Flora Saferight, and I set the story in my hometown where Flora also lived. Still, I needed to give my characters personality and life. I never knew my great-grandmother. All I had were the stories my mother had shared with me during childhood, and so I decided to make up the rest. The truth was enough of a basis to get started.

Bruce, the hero, and Flora, the heroine, share a conflicted history that leaves them arguing often and untrusting of each other’s motives. Secondary characters are Marta, a 15-year-old pregnant slave girl who has been through so much, but who wants her baby to grow up in freedom. Marta’s faith becomes a shining beacon to Flora in a time of weakness, in spite of her young years and the hardship of her burdens. Marta and her husband Jim are uneducated slaves, but they have much to teach Flora and Bruce about true love and relationships.

Photo credit
High Point Quakers provided refuge for escaping slaves on the Underground Railroad. Quakers transported fugitive slaves along the Underground Railroad in this false bottom wagon, now on display at the Jamestown Historic Museum at the Mendenhall Plantation House. The wagon in Path of Freedom was a covered wagon, with a false bottom.

Jamestown Historic Museum
In my story, Bruce begins to teach Jim how to read by using the Bible. I enjoyed studying the Underground Railroad. I used the basis of the wagon in which my characters traveled to a real wagon now on display at the Jamestown Historical Museum in North Carolina. The original was actually donated from Center Friends Meeting, where my great-grandmother attended and is buried.

When I discovered the new Quilts of Love line opening up at Abingdon Press, I knew my Quaker story would fit the series. Quakers are known for quilting as much as the Amish, in fact, we have a quilt my grandmother passed on to my mother that means a great deal to us. Quilting has been in my family for generations, and I only wish I had inherited the skill. I remember my mother working hard to finish her mother’s quilt when I was a little girl.

In Path of Freedom, I use the basis of a quilt map for my characters’ travel. I've written a letter to readers at the beginning of the book to explain that there is no historical fact proving that map quilts were used on the Underground Railroad, but I also point out that there is also no evidence to disprove it either. I love the idea as a fiction premise and freely use it in my fiction novel. I hope readers will enjoy Path of Freedom and learn a great deal about Quakers.

Jennifer Hudson

When Quakers Flora Saferight and Bruce Millikan embark on the Underground Railroad, they agree to put their differences aside to save the lives of a pregnant slave couple. With only her mother’s quilt as a secret guide, the foursome follows the stitches through unknown treachery. 

As they embark on their perilous journey, they hope and pray that their path is one of promise where love sustains them, courage builds faith, and forgiveness leads to freedom.

Book Trailer

Jennifer Hudson Taylor is an award winning author of historical Christian fiction set in Europe and the Carolinas and a speaker on topics of faith, writing and publishing. Her debut novel, Highland Blessings, won the 2011 Holt Medallion award for Best First Book. Jennifer's work has appeared in national publications, such as Guideposts, Heritage Quest Magazine, Romantic Times Book Reviews, and The Military Trader. She serves as the in-house Publicist at Hartline Literary Agency and co-owns Upon the Rock Publicist. Jennifer graduated from Elon University with a B.A. in Communications. When she isn't writing, she enjoys spending time with family, long walks, traveling, touring historical sites, hanging out at bookstores with coffee shops, genealogy, and reading.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


For those of you who like to read a good romance I have some selections to snuggle up with on a cold winter night.

A Romance Over a Year of Holidays...Shannon Quinn is the small-town girl who runs "Holiday Quinn" -- a holiday-themed inn and resort based in scenic Door County, Wisconsin.

One winter evening, wealthy Minneapolis businessman, Bram Hartwick, blows into town along with the fast-falling snow. The sparks Bram and Shannon create succeed in heating up the chilly Midwestern night, not to mention plenty of holiday weekends in the year that follows...

But is their relationship reserved only for special occasions, or might it be the elusive everyday love that neither of them thought could be found? First chapter excerpt

Lyric Whetsone only had eyes for Quinn Sobel’s brother Oliver, until a car crash took Oliver’s life on New Year’s Eve. Then, a moment of shared grief between Quinn and Lyric became something more impassioned, something that frightened Quinn so much he ran from Lyric’s bed and her life, disappearing for four long years.
Now Quinn’s back for another New Year’s Eve, struggling for closure, desperate to leave his grief in the past and make amends with the girl of his dreams.
But Lyric has a secret–one that could drive Quinn from her life forever. Will Quinn run away from the love and acceptance he’s always wanted…or will he claim his New Year’s kiss and make her his at midnight? First chapter excerpt
And for those of you who like your reads really hot and sexy, may recommend a spicy holiday anthology from some of the biggest names in erotic romance.

Share Me
by Olivia Cunning, NYT & USA Today Best-Selling Author
Lindsey longs for an amazing Christmas Eve with her favorite band, Sole Regret, and spends one snowy night with two generous rock stars who love to share their gifts.

Jingle Ball 
by Cari Quinn, USA Today Best-Selling Author
This Christmas, rocking the office holiday party has taken on a whole new meaning...

Light Me Up
by Cherrie Lynn, NYT & USA Today Best-Selling Author
She’s dreaming of a little sparkle in her stocking this year. He’s planning a night that’s anything but silent…

An Indecent Proposition 
by Stephanie Julian
Two men. One Woman. Half a million dollars. One very indecent proposition. 

Christmas is Coming 
by Raven Morris
The best gifts are all tied up with a bow…

Stay tuned, I have more hot romance coming up this month. 
Friday, January 4th, my guest will be historical author, Jennifer Hudson.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Monday Musings: Happy New Year to all!

Well, the world didn't end. 
I have to say, I was dumbstruck by all the hoopla around this whole calendar date of 12/21/12. The Mayans said it would happen so it was believable? Why? Because they weren't 'Christian' therefore their predictions were more trustworthy? Really? What part of no one knows the day and the hour (or the year) do they not get? Happens every time there is a prediction as to the day, hour, or the year. You'd think people would learn but they don't. 
My personal philosophy about the earth is different. It's like searching and finding the perfect spot and designing the best environment to fit that spota beautiful house and grounds. If you take all that time to design it and then build it, furnish it, and set up the best ecosystems to keep it running indefinitely while providing everything needed to sustain life why would you allow all your time and effort be destroyed by renters who don't appreciate it? Wouldn't you simply give notice and remove the unappreciative renters, repair and clean  it and then move in new ones who would take care of it the way the lease reads (and trust me, there would be a lease and a copy of the owner's manual)? I would. I certainly wouldn't consider it a solution drop a bomb, incinerate it, or any number of things 'predicted' to happen to destroy it! To do something like that would say all my time and effort was for nothing. That's my personal opinion based on flawed human logic, but there you have it. 
I hope all of you had a lovely holiday season and have some great plans and goals for the new year. May it be filled with an abundance of love, faith, and happiness.

Happy New Year!