FOOTSTEPS OF WESTERN EXPANSION

My adventurous spirit screamed yes. I dreamed of writing a novel about western expansion and those first missionaries who inched their way across the Great Divide, battling raging rivers, hostile tribes, and wild animals. Then that small voice whispered that I needed more than just my over-exuberant imagination to make my story a reality.

Research, research, and more research transpired before I allowed my characters access into my story. I felt like I was in a tiny time capsule in my search into ladies’ customs and etiquette of the era. I couldn’t believe that women couldn’t vote, lost their property rights when they married, and were considered old maids at the early age of 20! Ouch. I figured that my great grandmother’s marriage at fifteen was abnormal not normal.

I learned, too, that my missionary story really dated back to 1802 with the Second Great Awakening at a revival meeting in Cane Ridge, Kentucky, where 20,000 people attended. Because of the Holy Spirit people were healed of their afflictions and alcoholics freed of their habits. Lives changed and people realized they could be saved through the grace of God. The circuit riders, who were made up of Protestant preachers grew in numbers to spread the Good News to the neighboring communities.

But my surprise didn’t end there. In 1803 France sells the land west of the Mississippi River to the United States. A coincidence? Or did God orchestrate this event. The Louisiana Purchase gave the United States 828,000,000 square miles stretching from the Mississippi River to the east to the Rocky Mountains in the west and from the Gulf of Mexico in the south to the Canadian border in the north. A vast region had opened up to spread the gospel message.

Tent revivals continued across America well through the 1830s because of this Second Great Awakening. Those dogmatic circuit riders spread the word on horseback for over a decade throughout the country and tent revivals sprang up like giant mushrooms across the byways.

I knew Wilted Dandelions would need some strong characters to carry this important mission across the impregnable Rocky Mountains. After all, spreading the news about Jesus to the Native Americans and witnessing to the rowdy fur trappers would not be an easy task!

Beautiful, high-spirited, and head-strong spinster Rachael Rothburn evolved. And, of course, Rachael would acquire her calling at a tent revival. Equally head strong, opinionated, handsome and proud Dr. Jonathan Wheaton happily stepped into the role as leading man and hero in Wilted Dandelions. He took one look at Rachael and wanted to become a missionary, vowing he would tame her. Of course, Rachael would have no part of him. That is, until she learns she must be wed in order to go to the Oregon Territory. So a marriage of convenience is arranged. And what a stormy wedding night that was!

Still, that nagging, lingering feeling, that small voice in the back of my head, told me I needed to do more. Rachael Rothburn and Jonathan Wheaton deserved my best, for they had become as real to me as my closest friends. Wilted Dandelions was no longer a fabric of my imagination, it had become real.

I needed to know that every detail, every mile that Rachael and Jonathan traveled was as close to authentic as humanly possible for a writer of the 21st century. Little did my husband and I know what we were getting ourselves into when we decided to follow the route I described in Wilted Dandelions

Stay tuned to Part 2 of “Traveling into the Unknown”.

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IF AMERICA FALLS

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“If America falls there is no champion of good left in the world,” says Pat Robertson of the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN).  Biblical leaders and concerned Christians across America realize America is at a turning point in history.  Franklin Graham is traveling from state to state in a Decision America Tour prayer rally. He will be at the State Capital in Lansing Michigan on Tuesday, October 4. The prayer rally will commence at 12 p.m. on the Capital East Steps. Pat Robertson of CBN is promoting forty days of prayer for America from September 5 to October 2.

This election will have huge consequences for every American. We need to pause, pray and join hands with Pat Robertson of CBN, Franklin Graham, and with the millions of Christians throughout our country who are praying for a spiritual awakening.

“Is there still hope for America?” Yes! Our country may be divided, but God is the same God that our forefathers prayed to for guidance.

“We live in a country that is the greatest the world has ever seen. America is the last hope and bastion of freedom in the world,” says Pat Robertson. “When the first settlers landed here, they claimed America for God and asked that the Gospel would be preached throughout the world from these shores. America has worked to fulfill that covenant!”

It is up to OUR generation to continue on this legacy our fathers have left us. We owe it to our children, our country, and the depressed Christians throughout the world who are losing their lives for Christians to pray for God’s guidance and divine intervention.

Your prayers are important and can make an eternal difference. God loves you so much that He promised to make all things work out for good for His children. So exercise your faith, claim the promises of Jesus Christ. His Word declares that when two agree on earth, it will be done in heaven.

2 Chronicles 7:14 “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face, and turned from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

Words! Words! Words!

CrossRiver Authors Wordsowers

“I’m so sick of words! I get words all day through; First from him, now from you! Is that all you blighters can do?” sings Eliza Doolittle from the musical, “My Fair Lady”.

In the song “Show Me” Eliza was sick of studying, and had packed her bags. “Never do I ever want to hear another word. There isn’t one I haven’t heard.” Have you ever felt that way?

George Bernard Shaw’s, Eliza Doolittle is determined to rise above her meager existence by working hard to improve her English. Improving oneself can be disheartening and tiring, especially when we are not certain we are improving. Eliza was exasperated and says, “…one more word and I’ll scream!”

Romantic in spots, comical in others, and surprisingly philosophical, Eliza Doolittle rises from lowly flower girl to the heights of sophistication in much the same way authors hope their novels will climb from the bottom of Amazon’s charts into the ranks and starlight of popularity.

Word Sowers Christian Writers Conference held in Omaha, Nebraska, helped to encourage, equip, and educate authors so they could give back to their reading population the best novels, devotionals, and non-fiction books possible.

So now allow us to entertain you through the written word!

Attendees of Wordsowers, exuberant CrossRiver authors (from left to right) R. J. Thesman, Catherine Brakefield, Angela Meyer, and CrossRiver editor, Debra Butterfield are ready to share with the public their unique books.

Just think of it. Through the twenty-six letters of the alphabet, gathered into a cluster of rhythm and rhyme, words have the power to entertain, inspire, thrill, and humor you. So while grabbing a little sun, or vacationing at the cabin, read a good book today.

See http://www.crossrivermedia.com/ for some great books!

Wilted Dandelions connects East with West

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My faith-based historical romance Wilted Dandelions is about eastern missionaries Rachael and Jonathan Wheaton, traveling westward during the 1830s to minister to Native Americans. You can just imagine my elation when Twila Shreves from Altoona, Iowa invited me for a book signing at Hidden Treasures Gifts and Boutique on Thursday, from 4 to 6 p.m. April 28.

Lewis and Clark said of the west, “It was like going to the moon.”

Little could those first missionaries know that in the 1860s The Oregon Trail, would lead hopeful families to the same place these brave Christian missionaries; Marcus and Narcissa Whitman, Henry and Eliza Spalding and now my characters, Rachael and Jonathan Wheaton, went seeking to save the spiritual lost.

Rachael had to learn to trust God completely before she could reach her life mission. Like Rachael, we need to learn how to tap into that inner strength God gives us to rise above the pits of despair into the starlight of answered dreams.

Sod House with Ed Everywhere Edward and I drove, were the remnants of the trials and accomplishments of our early ancestors. Like this sod house standing along a busy highway. The clothesline outside, the rain barrel, the little flower box, and the curtains hung with care inside those walls of dirt.

Much of the tourist sites had changed from when I took my first road trip as a girl of seventeen. Only the people remained the same. The same friendly faces, the same stanch pride in their state and country, and the same helpful hand that was always extended to my husband and I. Christopher Blue, technical preservation specialist, Western Historic Trails Center read a proof of Wilted Dandelions and supplied this review:

“Catherine Brakefield has carefully woven several genres of fiction into a singular, well-crafted, narrative…Rachael is strong, independent, and committed to her beliefs, she is also product of her times and susceptible to the pressures of the day…”

Council Bluffs, Iowa Western Historic Trails CenterEdward and I are eagerly looking forward to meeting Christopher Blue of Council Bluffs again and you at Hidden Treasures Gifts and Boutique on Thursday, 4 to 6 p.m., April 28. Plan on sharing your stories about the west! Rachael and Jonathan’s trail in Wilted Dandelions will be available. Refreshments will be provided and two complimentary gifts are provided with every book purchase.

Hidden Treasures Gifts and Boutique is located on 100 8th Street. Altoona, Iowa

 

Oakland County author explores history and the Christian heart

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From left to right Zelma Fellows and author Catherine Brakefield during Summerfest at Christ the King Church.

Learn how to tap into that inner strength God gives to us to rise above the pits of despair into the starlight of answered dreams. Oakland County Author Explores History and the Christian Heart

Thank you Rachel Moulden for this beautiful article! The above article will be in print version in The Oakland Press Sunday arts section.

Don’t miss Wilted Dandelions’ book signing, Sunday, March 20, at Barnes and Noble, 2800 South Rochester Road, Rochester Hills. See you there!

Spring is in the Air!

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Sunlight spewed across the floor of Family Christian Stores in Flint, highlighting the lambs, bunnies, and teddy bears. Easter baskets and tee shirts printed with Biblical messages, dotted the rows of books peeking out from their shelves.

Amidst this gala of ‘spring is in the air’ were the sounds of buffalo rumbling across the television screen, announcing that the presentation of Willed Dandelions was about to begin…

No one left empty handed and everyone enjoyed a nostalgic step into the past created by the historical romance, Wilted Dandelions. Children enjoyed the history of the American missionaries and the short videos about the Second Great Awakening, the covered wagons crossing the Platte River, and the pony express riders bravely carrying the mail from St. Joseph to California.

But the best part of this day for me was the people I met and the friends I made. Thank you Greg Lantz for inviting me!Family Christian Greg Lantz Manager.png Thank you Barb and Max Jersey for posing for the above picture!

I will be holding another book signing at Barnes and Noble Bookstore, located at 2800 S. Rochester Rd., in Rochester Hills from 1 p.m.-3 p.m. on Sunday, March 20.

Have you Ever Dreamed?

37 Catherine meeting a guide at the Archway Entrance of the Great Platte

Ever imagined what traveling across the wilderness in the early 1800s was like?

 On March 12, 1 to 4 p.m. at Flint’s Family Christian Stores located at G-3577 Miller Rd., Genesee Crossing, I will be talking about my historical romance, Wilted Dandelions.

 I will share a 30-minute presentation about my trip out west following Rachael and Jonathan’s trail in Wilted Dandelion that will include pictures, maps and video.

If you ever plan to travel west, this is a way to acquire information regarding museums and travel stops. Refreshments will be provided and every signing will include a personalized gift.

Historically accurate and exciting, Wilted Dandelions is a great story of missionaries going west to minister to the Indians,” says author Marcia Lee. “Catherine Ulrich Brakefield creates a tension filled tale about the Oregon Trail that is fraught with danger and a marriage that is in name only.”

Here’s what award-winning author, Cheryl Wyatt said about Wilted Dandelions:

“…Catherine did a fantastic job making me care deeply about the characters and their journeys… I haven’t read any voice like her, and I found her style very refreshing. …I look forward to her next book.”

Set in the early 1800’s, high spirited Rachael Rothburn marries Jonathan Wheaton in order to go west and minister to the Indians. As the seeds of love grow between them, Rachael realizes God doesn’t create coincidences—He designs possibilities!

God Bless!