Peyton’s Promise: Sign Language at its Best

Have you ever enjoyed a secret sign of love with someone? Peyton and Patrick did. Here’s an excerpt from Peyton’s Promise. Hope you’ll grab a copy and enjoy…the rest of the story!

As Mrs. Milton returned to the kitchen, Patrick caught Peyton’s eye, tapping his hand to his chest, his middle and ring finger pressed to his palm.

She sucked in a breath. As a child, he’d taught her that sign—the sign for “I love you”—and used it whenever she found herself in a pickle. When she’d asked why, he’d said it was a sign of solidarity, of friendship.

Friendship … and only friendship.

Is that what it was now? If so, why did her heart speed up, her face flush, and a lump in her throat threaten to cut off her oxygen? She gave a nod of thanks and focused on her fish dinner.

Since arriving on the island, she’d sensed his feelings were different. But she couldn’t figure out how. One moment, he disapproved of her. The next, he’d show his affection.

And her emotions? They staggered around like a drunken sailor.

Peyton ate a few bites despite her lack of appetite. One by one, the staff left the table. She nibbled at her bread. She’d wait until they were all gone so she didn’t have to see their stares or listen to their opinions of her.

“Let’s take a walk.” Patrick stood behind her, ready to pull out her chair and escort her out of her humiliation.

She patted her lips, set her napkin on the table, and rose. “Thank you, sir.”

In silence they left the room, walking along the path and down the steps toward the lagoon. Keeping a circumspect distance, they waited until they were far from any other staff member before speaking.

“Thank you, Patrick, for trying to defend me. That woman has it out for me, though I don’t know why.”

“You’re different, and that threatens her control. She wants to be the general of her troops who all align with her rules, her dictates, even her thinking. You’re outside of that in every way, and it drives her to distraction.”

Peyton giggled as she stopped to admire a huge freighter passing the island. The setting sun hovered low on the horizon as crickets took up their noisy goodnight ritual.



Meet author Kathy Collard Miller

Kathy Collard Miller is still amazed at God’s work in delivering her from her abusive anger and then opening doors to share her story through writing and speaking. She is the author of fifty-nine books including Heart of Courage: Daughters of the King Bible Study Series. She has spoken in nine foreign countries and over thirty US states. She and her author husband, Larry, are parents, grandparents, co-authors, and lay counselors who live in Boise, Idaho.

Tell us about your newest book.

Heart of Courage is a ten lesson women’s Bible study with write-in questions along with commentary giving intriguing background information for the text. Each lesson delves into different areas of life where courage is needed, including serving in family & church, standing against unbiblical opinions, facing temptation, representing God and opposing evil. Also, how Jesus was courageous. This study is perfect for individual study and groups.

What inspired you to write Heart of Courage?

I tend to be a people pleaser and a more timid person. I knew God promised He would give courage to His people for the assignments He gives them. I wanted to have that courage in my life so that I could serve and represent Him with greater boldness and confidence. What better way to study courage than to write a Bible study which could also be added to the other Bible studies in my “Daughters of the King Bible Study Series.”

How would you describe this book to someone in a 30-second blurb?

Today more than ever, we need greater confidence and boldness to represent God in our family, church, community, and through social media. We know God promises He will give us courage but exactly what does that mean? This women’s Bible study examines how God empowered biblical characters to take ahold of that confidence and also apply biblical principles for wisdom in responding to life’s challenges.

What genre do you focus on?

Nonfiction Christian living including spiritual growth, Bible studies, commentaries and compiled books.

Why do you write?

Ever since I first tried to write a novel in middle school, I sensed a love for words and expression. I loved sitting at my roll top desk and writing down my thoughts and ideas. I still have the autobiography I wrote in middle school for a class assignment. Little did I know God was developing my skills which also included being editor of my high school newspaper, for which I wrote my first column. I became a Christian at age 18. After 7 years of marriage, God delivered me from my abusive anger and healed our dysfunctional marriage. Then He opened doors for me to share at my church’s young mom’s group and then at other churches. He also led me to write my story in an article and then in my first book (now updated and titled No More Anger: Hope for An Out of Control Mom). Since then, through my personal Bible study and God’s continuing sanctification of my relationship with Him, I write about what God is teaching me even after walking with Him for over 5 decades.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing a book?

I’d rather be at my desk writing than almost anywhere else—except being with my two grandchildren. Choosing to write isn’t hard and I always have more ideas than time will allow.

What is the hardest part of being an author?

I personally love to write and have a harder time being involved in marketing. I’m not a natural artist so my efforts at creating motivational and effective materials is the most challenging for me. Thankfully, God has provided several capable people to help me over the years.

What’s the best part of your author’s life?

Receiving feedback from readers is a highlight. My first article telling my story came out in 1978 and my first book telling my story came out in 1984.  In those days—long ago—there was only US mail, not email, etc. I remember getting letters from many places in the world, including The Sultanate of Oman. Who would have expected that?

And then much later, I had opportunities of connecting with women whose children are now grown, and they would tell me how my books and speaking helped them become a better mother. Of course, all these wonderful things are bonuses. I’m still, though, hoping that I will one day walk in a public place like an airport and see someone reading one of my books. I can’t wait to interrupt her and say, “Hi. I’m the author of that book. Would you like me to autograph it?” I don’t know if that will happen but I hope so.

What’s one unusual fact about you?

When I’m asked this question, it’s fun to pick from two possible answers: I’ve sky jumped out of a plane (tandem, of course). The other is my first epileptic seizure was at a patio restaurant at the base of The Parthenon in Athens, Greece, when I was 66 years old. I’m so grateful I received excellent care from Greek doctors.

Do you have other books? We’d love to know.

Thank you for asking! I can’t name all 59 but here are the most recent:

  1. God’s Intriguing Questions: 40 Old Testament Devotions Revealing God’s Nature (co-authored with my husband, Larry)
  2. God’s Intriguing Questions: 60 New Testament Devotions Revealing Jesus’s Nature (co-authored with my husband, Larry)
  3. Pure-Hearted: The Blessings of Living Out God’s Glory
  4. Never Ever be the Same: A New You Starts Today (co-authored with my husband, Larry)
  5. No More Anger: Hope for an Out of Control Mom

What are you working on now?

I’m now working on the next book in my “Daughters of the King Bible Study Series.” It will be on marriage. Heart of Courage is the 5th book in the series and the one on marriage will be #6. There will be a total of 12 books in that series. The topics of the published studies are prayer, women of the Bible, the Proverbs, and friendship.


Link to book:

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Book Tour fun

I just returned from my annual book tour in the Thousand Islands, and, as always, it filled my soul to the full, not just because I sold out of my books and met so many wonderful fans, but also because I got to spend time with “kindred spirits,” fellow River Rats who love the St. Lawrence River and the Thousand Islands as much or more than I do.

There’s something so special about folks who love the river and the islands. Even on a rainy Monday afternoon, dozens of happy readers drifted into the Little Bookstore in Clayton. On Tuesday, my cousin, Julie and I went to the Thousand Island Park on Wellesley Island for a book talk and signing under the shade of a large oak with the summer breeze keeping us cool.

On Wednesday, browsers in Michael Ringer Gallery scooped up books to match their excitement of the river, and that evening, a boat with sixty folks cruised to Calumet Island for a tour, barbecue, and book signing with me. What a joy that was!

To cap off the week, ten authors met at the Cornwall Brothers Museum in Alexandria Bay for a book talk and signing. Such fun!

Here are a few pictures to enjoy:



Meet author Kathleen Rouser

Kathleen Rouser is the award-winning author of Rumors and Promises, her first novel about the people of fictional Stone Creek, Michigan, and a multi-published author of historical Christian romance. She has loved making up stories since she was a little girl and wanted to be a writer before she could even read. She’s in the grip of God’s grace and is a fan of the three Cs—cats, coffee, and chocolate.

Tell us about your newest book.

In Flying Into Love, her great-grandmother’s journal holds the key to the past–and maybe her future. Unable to say no when others need her, Talia Sampson took on her deceased aunt’s advice column and the care of her special needs niece. Then new veteran, Ben Tanner, shows up unexpected on her doorstep. Hurt many times, he wonders where home is. Talia isn’t happy finding a hot-air balloon with him, but she treasures the old journal with it. Ben hopes restoring her family’s antique will please her, until he discovers a secret that shatters his trust. And Talia hates flying. Will she trust God—and Ben—enough to go airborne?

What genre do you focus on and why?

Most often I’ve written Christian historical romance, because of my faith in Christ to start. I also enjoy a romance with a happy ending with two people who accept each other’s faults and quirks while falling in love. In a sense romance is the story of God pursuing us while we were yet sinners and still loved us! How everyday people lived in the past has intrigued me as well. Their lives made a difference. Perhaps because of my enjoyment of history I was comfortable making Flying Into Love a split time novel with an historical sub-plot.

Why do you write?

I’m pretty sure God is the one who set the idea in my heart, especially since I was so intrigued with the stories my mom read to me when I was four that I wanted to write books someday. I started out wanting to illustrate them as well, but in time realized my aptitude was more towards writing than drawing. The desire was always simmering in the back of my mind and after I gave my life to Christ, I wanted to use my talent for Him

It was easy to get busy raising my family, but I felt convicted one day after hearing sermon on the parable of the talents and questioned how much I had used mine. It’s hard sometimes, but I try to write uplifting stories that show people who are very human and learning to trust in God just as you or I might be.

Who is your main character, and how did you choose that name?

Talia Sampson is my main character. It’s a pretty name and when I looked it up, I found out it meant “dew of God” in Hebrew and in Arabic it means “sheep.” I thought both meanings were lovely.

Talia is someone who cares deeply about others, protective about those she loves, but she also gives to the point that her needs and concerns are lost. She is seeking the purpose God has for her life and whom she is meant to be. Through reading her great-grandmother’s journal she is surprised to learn the truth about long held beliefs about her family and finds guidance for herself.

What is the hardest part of being an author?

Like many other authors I find marketing a real challenge. Being an introvert and a very private person, for me social media feels like a task rather than something fun to which I look forward.

And I struggle knowing how to promote my work and connect better with readers. And then there’s the time factor. Every minute I’m promoting is time I’m not writing.

What’s the best part of your author’s life?

Creating stories with the Lord! It’s fun to be able to make up different kinds of stories, especially when they have a Christian message. He wired me to look for stories, to think about stories, and when I ask him for help, even though sometimes I must wait, He always comes through.

Do you have other books? We’d love to know.

Yes! The first two books of my Stone Creek trilogy, Rumors and Promises and Secrets and Wishes. I hope to eventually publish a third, which is written. The working title is Scandals and Mercies. My novella, The Last Memory is part of Barbour’s Great Lakes Lighthouse Brides anthology. My first novella was published in the anthology Brave New Century and is called The Pocket Watch.

What are you working on now?

A middle grade novel about a disillusioned dragon who is prompted to care for dragon foundlings by two children she’s befriended. I’m also doing research for a novel about the tragedy of the sinking of the Eastland in Chicago in 1915.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing a book?

Depending on the day of the week, I usually write in the late morning or early afternoon. I work toward a word count, depending on my deadline. Some days I may shoot for 500, others it may be 1000 or 1500. If I start with a lower word count goal and I find I’m in the “zone” I will keep going.

What is your favorite pastime?

I suppose it sounds cliché but probably spending time with my husband. We knew each other for only five months when we got married, so our first fourteen years were rather rocky. And after homeschooling for more than twenty years I had a horrible time adjusting to the empty nest. Now I cherish the time that Jack and I have together, whether it’s getting a cup of coffee to take on a stroll on the boardwalk at our town’s mill pond or just watching a whodunnit together in the evening, I am very grateful that by God’s grace we are still together. I also enjoy reading (of course), making jewelry, and baking.


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Twitter: @KathleenRouser


Link to book:


Meet author Bryan Canter

Bryan Canter has a keen interest in history and the Christian faith. He has a passion for lifelong learning in an eclectic array of subjects. Bryan has earned a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering physics, a Master of Arts degree in religious studies, as well as a Master of Arts in liberal arts from a “great books” program at St. John’s College. He writes historical fiction in order to make history come alive for his readers, allowing them to experience the past in new and engaging ways.

Tell us about your newest book.

Daughter of the Gods: A Novel of the Picts is an historical fiction novel set in the highlands of Scotland in 367 A.D.  I had the privilege of visiting Scotland for six months in the summer of 2018 in order to research the subject and literally walk the ground where the story takes place.

What inspired you to write (Daughter of the Gods)?

The novel actually started out as a college writing assignment.  We were supposed to write a descriptive scene, to which I added a bit of a twist at the end.  While we were doing our peer reviews in class, everyone asked, “So, what happens next.”  My reply was, “I don’t know.  It’s just a scene.”  I literally could not sleep for several nights until I finally identified where the scene was, when it occurred in history, and why the protagonist was there. During the rest of the semester, I ended up writing what eventually became the first three chapters of the novel.

How would you describe this book to someone in a 30-second blurb?

Summer, 367 A.D.  In a land of mystery and enchantment, in an age of Celtic gods, Highland warlords, Roman legions, and powerful druids, a young Pictish healer finds herself embroiled in an epic struggle between gods and men.

The Celtic tribes of the lands we now know as Scotland and Ireland conspire to assault Hadrian’s Wall and drive the Romans out of Britain forever. But in order for the warriors to achieve victory in the military campaign, the druids must first gain ascendancy over the new Roman god.

Amid clandestine preparations for war, Flora is yanked out of her peaceful, ordinary world and thrust into a spiritual battle of mythic proportions. In order to save her family, her clan, and her people, she is called upon to sacrifice not only her life, but her very identity. Feeling trapped in a web of manipulation and deceit, she struggles to discover the true reality of who she is and who she will become.

Set in the Scottish Highlands, this story brings to life an age and a people that have remained veiled in the mists of time. Based on extensive research into the archaeology, culture, and geography of fourth-century Scotland, Daughter of the Gods explores the mysterious people knowns as the Picts—a collection of tribes so determined to retain their freedom that they dared to defy the mightiest army the ancient world had ever known.

What genre do you focus on and why?

I primarily write historical fiction.  The past provides so many amazing stories or settings for original stories that there is an existing pool of rich content to pull from.  I always liked history, but I didn’t necessarily like historical text books.  I try to re-write the events of history in ways that help my readers to experience it in a more personal way than is otherwise available in the dry tomes of history classes.

Why do you write?

I wrote my MA thesis on evangelism in a postmodern culture. One characteristic of postmodern people (there are many such characteristics) is that they are more receptive to truth in story form than when it is presented as a logical argument. This realization led me to write fiction for non-Christian audiences with light Christian principles and themes woven throughout the stories. It allows people to encounter Christian ideas who would likely not visit a church or a Bible study. I don’t try to “convert” my readers, but simply acquaint them with concepts that they might not otherwise confront.

Who is your main character, and how did you choose that name?

Flora is a seventeen-year-old apprentice healer who is asked to sacrifice herself for the sake of her people. The story is written from her point of view.  I just randomly chose her name when I wrote that first scene for my college writing class. It turns out that flowers became an important, recurring theme throughout the story. I think that God might have inspired the name from the very beginning, knowing in advance how the novel would end up.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing a book?

I try to write for two hours a day.  I can usually put about a thousand words together in that amount of time. I also work as a publishing consultant, so two hours of dedicated writing provides a decent pace while leaving time for my personal publishing and marketing activities as well as my business commitments.

What is the hardest part of being an author?

Independently published authors have to develop a broad range of skills. They not only have to learn the craft of writing, but they also need to figure out all the tasks associated with publishing and marketing their books. For me, this is a challenge that I enjoy. But I know it can be overwhelming to people who don’t have as much discretionary time to dedicate to these other disciplines.

What’s the best part of your author’s life?

I love doing research and then watching as the pieces of the story come together. I prefer to do experiential research whenever possible. Since I write historical fiction, I not only read source materials from my chosen periods, but I also visit historical locations, participate in archaeological digs, and learn relevant skills, like horseback riding, sailing reproduction ships, and fencing with authentic weapons and techniques. I want to live the experiences as closely as I can, so that I will be able to more accurately portray life in the past to my readers.

What’s one thing your readers should know about you?

I live full-time in a motorhome, so that I can visit historical venues and places of extraordinary beauty.

How have you changed or grown as a writer?

One of God’s characteristics is creativity. Since we are made in God’s image, I believe that He placed a creative spirit within each of us. It might be expressed differently in different people, but it is there in all of us. Writing provides one way for me to interact with God as He teaches me how to create stories and to reflect that aspect of His image in me. It is a never-ending process of learning and growth.

What is your favorite pastime?

I love to be outdoors. I like to hike, to ski, and to film video of nature’s beauty with my drone.

Do you have other books? We’d love to know.

I published The Bethany Tales in February of 2020.  It is a biblical fiction novel, and is available as an eBook, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook.

What are you working on now?

I am currently working on a contemporary romantic drama that I hope to release later this year.  (I know, it’s out of my genre, but God got the deciding vote.)


Link to book:

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Peyton’s Promise: Art Nouveau?

As Peyton works on reupholstering furniture in Calumet Castle, Art Nouveau fabric becomes a focus. But what is Art Nouveau?

It was a popular aesthetic movement from 1890-1910. It was meant to modernize the Victorian-era with geometric and organic themes, elegant designs, and the natural beauty taken from nature. Here’s an excerpt from Peyton’s Promise that explores this movement:

Patting her pocket, she surveyed the bolts. Sure enough, Art Nouveau fabrics littered the pile. Running her fingers over the heavy material, her excitement grew. She’d use many of them, some with modern geometric shapes of arcs, parabolas, and semicircles. There was lavender ribbon with pink roses, rosettes, and other flowers on a cream background for the great hall. And even bolder fabrics with peacock feathers and poppies.

Behind her, Patrick ascended the ladder, humming, “It is Well With my Soul,” a song that had become her papa’s favorite. Sad, melancholy, yet uplifting and reverent at the same time.

 “Patrick, do you know the story behind that tune you’re humming?” Papa had related it to her just last week. Perhaps sharing it now might soothe ruffled feathers.

 Patrick paused, shaking his head as he stopped filling a nail hole. “Nae, I don’t. Please tell.”

Peyton drew closer, as the touching tale did not lend itself to shouting. “There was a man who lost his little boy in the Great Chicago fire of 1871, the fire that also hurt his business badly. Two years later, he sent his family to England, but the ship sank, and all four of his daughters died. Only his wife survived and told him of the tragedy in a telegram. When he went to meet her in England, his ship passed near where the girls died, and he wrote this song about it.”

A woman’s voice commented instead of Patrick’s. “I didn’t know that. How tragic!”

Peyton spun around to find Mrs. Emery with a man who she assumed to be her husband.

Caught shirkin’, as Rachel had called it. Peyton’s face heated, and she curtsied low. “Forgive me. He was humming my papa’s favorite tune, and my tongue flew into the tale.”

The missus laughed. “And an interesting story it was. No harm. This is Mr. Emery.” She inclined her head toward her husband. “We’ve come to examine the fabric I’ve chosen.”