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Celebrating the Little Free Libraries

Posted by on Sep 15, 2019 in Books, Oklahoma | 2 comments

Celebrating the Little Free Libraries

Have you heard about the Little Free Libraries? Maybe there’s one near you, and you didn’t know about it. I didn’t know that my town has two, until I looked it up on the map. Sure enough, I found one nearby that’s just as cute as a speckled pup. Tim and Susie S. of Mustang, OK This week the Little Free Library movement is celebrating 10 years. To join in the fun, I visited our Little Free Library and talked to Susie about what led her (and Tim) to build this beauty. How did you come across the idea of building a little library for your neighborhood? Our daughter Shera in Naperville, Illinois, called and asked her dad to build her one. When I checked into the idea, I decided I wanted one for our neighborhood, too. Tim found the plans online and made two, so this one in Oklahoma has a twin in my daughter’s neighborhood in Illinois. Has reading always been important to you? Definitely. My mother was a school librarian, and I was an elementary school teacher for over 20 years. We raised our kids in Central Illinois, and three of four of them presented book reports on the show Reading Rainbow. Reading together as a family has meant a lot to me. Susie and Regina braving the infamous Oklahoma wind while adding “The Lieutenant’s Bargain” to the Little Free Library. What has been the benefit of the Little Free Library? I get such joy from watching the kids with a sack on their bicycle handles come up and switch out books. It’s also fun to see the books that appear in there and think about which neighbor shared them. It’s very community building. Is there any special customization on this Little Free Library? Yes! Tim put a hook on the post so browsers have a place to hook their dog leashes while they make their choice. Favorite book? Love Does by Bob Goff. Best piece of reading advice? Read to your kids, even when they get older. We have wonderful family memories of all four kids getting into bed for story time. Thank you, Susie and Tim! I know your neighborhood is blessed by the work you did to make this available to them. How about y’all? Do you have anything similar near your...

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On the Banks of the River Avon

Posted by on Jun 5, 2019 in Christian Life, Devotions, The Anglo Files | 0 comments

On the Banks of the River Avon

Have you ever felt like everyone was looking at you, and you didn’t know why? That’s what happened to Coy and me in Stratford-upon-Avon. Every day while we were there, we found ourselves stopping along the River Avon at a spot directly across from Holy Trinity Church. If you didn’t know, Holy Trinity was William Shakespeare’s church, but the church was old even before Shakespeare attended. The building was built in 1210, but there are records of a church at that site, going back to 845 AD! Incredible! From the river, the view was perfect, and the first few days of our stay it was quiet and peaceful. Things changed on the weekend when a carnival came to town and set-up in the public grounds behind us. The carnival music did drown out the birdsong, but it was still a lovely view. Another product of the weekend was more tourists. The shops got busier and so did the river. While we sat on the park bench talking and looking at the church, tour boats would go by, filled with phones & cameras poised to capture the perfect shot. And they kept aiming at us. At first, we waved and laughed, thinking that they were being funny, but then we realized that they were unaware of the spectacular scene on the other bank. Half the people in a tour boat were floating down the River Avon, and instead of looking to their right at the gorgeous, historic church, they were snapping pictures of two middle-aged Americans on their left. What in the world? Coy gestured to get them to turn around, but few did. We didn’t understand. What was so interesting about us? Of course, it wasn’t us, it was behind us. The carnival. The flashing lights and the loud music were very effective in drawing the attention away from the eight-centuries-old church sitting in quiet dignity. Could they really find a temporary diversion that would be dismantled and packed away by Monday more interesting than a church that had weathered the better part of a millennium? Tragic. But more than likely, the choice was made without thought. The urgency of barker’s call kept them distracted just long enough that the opening in the trees was passed, and they missed a glimpse of sublime beauty. Maybe the carnival was the picture they wanted, but I can’t help but pity those who looked back too late at the steeple rising above the trees and wondered at what they...

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The Courage Chronicles

Posted by on May 6, 2019 in Books, Oklahoma, The Lieutenant's Bargain | 27 comments

The Courage Chronicles

Welcome to the Courage Chronicles – a Scavenger Hunt/Blog Hop where you might win 5 marvelous books and one mediocre painting! (Haha!) Here’s the skinny – Follow 5 authors as we collaborate on a painting (from LetsMakeArt) and talk about what courage means in our lives. Visit all 5 blogs and find the answers to the questions on the entry form. From the completed forms, one winner will be chosen to win 5 books (one from each author), as well as the painting that they collaborated on. My portion of this great work. How fun is that? So, let’s get started. Read this courageous portion of The Lieutenant’s Bargain, then watch the video for clues: Hattie was just about to return to the coach when she heard a loud cracking noise. What were they doing now? Trying to rush her? She arranged the hood of her coat down snuggly over her chestnut hair and planted her foot on a high shelf of red clay. Another loud pop—a couple, in fact. The top of the stagecoach came into view as she climbed up. The driver crouched in his seat. “Stay down,” he yelled, waving her away. “What?” She caught the edge of her hood to keep the wind from snatching it. The leather window covering flapped open, and a pistol emerged. Smoke puffed out of it, then a second later, a sharp crack split the air. Agent Gibson was shooting at someone, and Mr. Sloane was right behind him. The door opened, and the agent used it to shield himself as he continued to return fire. Hattie felt the blood drain from her face. It couldn’t be. The hard dirt scraped her cheek as she hugged the ledge. The driver had turned and taken up the reins. With his arms flapping, he egged the horses forward. “Wait…” All her paints and canvases were on that stage. They couldn’t leave her behind. But then she saw the horseman racing toward them. The driver of the coach was hunched over the reins, urging the team forward, when he stiffened, then slumped to the side. The stage’s horses jerked into motion even as he fell out of his seat.   Hattie ducked out of sight. No. Why? Suddenly the boorish men she’d been traveling with didn’t seem so bad, and they needed help. But what could she do? Another shot made her rise up just in time to see Agent Gibson topple out of the door as the stage careened away. She could only see the back of the outlaw, but she could feel his deadly intent as he walked his horse slowly toward the crumpled figure. If Agent Gibson wasn’t dead already, he would be in the time it took to twitch a trigger finger. She rested her chin against the ledge. Why was she considering such a reckless act? She didn’t owe the agent anything. Before she could think better of it, Hattie stood to her full height and waved her mittened hand over her head. “Over here!” How small her voice sounded on the prairie. How frail. But it was enough. The killer led with his pistol as he turned his horse toward her. His nose twitched like a dog on the scent, and his mouth hung open like he...

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Q & A with Regina Jennings – The Lieutenant’s Bargain

Posted by on Dec 30, 2018 in The Lieutenant's Bargain | 4 comments

Q & A with Regina Jennings – The Lieutenant’s Bargain

What inspired The Lieutenant’s Bargain? Is there any history behind it? This period in American history is full of conflict and missteps by the U. S. government concerning the Indian tribes. Many policies were long debated, then enforced, then repealed and then enforced again as the government tried to cope with the challenges they’d created for themselves. The inspiration for The Lieutenant’s Bargain came from the laws pertaining to marriages between the two cultures. At this time, white settlers were not allowed on the vast lands of Indian Territory without a connection to the tribe. Unscrupulous men often courted and married Native American women for access to the tribal funds and land. All too often, these speculators would decide to seek easy money elsewhere and leave behind a wife and children, claiming that the Indian wedding ceremony wasn’t binding on them. Over time, the government enacted different policies trying to prevent the exploitation of the tribes, but it remained a problem for decades. The insistence that cavalry officers honor the Arapaho’s ceremonies is what gets Lieutenant Jack and Hattie into trouble when they unwittingly participate in a banquet. Did you have a specific reader in mind when you wrote this? Yes! Actually, this book was written for the late bloomers of the world—those of us who were awkward, nerdy, and maybe spent too much time with books to have much social acuity. Everyone feels like they’ve been underappreciated and there were times when people didn’t bother to notice them. This story is a salute to them. Although Jack Hennessey was a puny bookworm in his childhood, his years in the cavalry have rounded out his character and filled out his lanky frame. The only thing he hasn’t succeeded at is forgetting the girl from back home who never took any notice of him. Years later, when he rescues Hattie Walker after a stagecoach robbery, Jack can’t believe his luck. Now she’ll appreciate him and give him the respect he’s always deserved. If only he hadn’t ruined both of their lives with a colossal mistake.   Can you give us a brief preview of the story? Sure! Hattie Walker dreams of painting the Rocky Mountains, but her parents want her to settle down and marry. They make an offer—she has two months in Denver to place her works in an exhibition. If she fails, she comes back home and gets married. But her journey is derailed when a gunman attacks her stagecoach and leaves her to be rescued by a group of Arapaho. Unfortunately, she’s too terrified to realize they’re friendly. Cavalry Officer Lieutenant Jack Hennessey has two passions—the girl back home who never gave him a chance and helping Arapaho children prepare for their changing world. When a message arrives about a recovered survivor, Jack heads out to collect the victim and is stunned by who he finds. Hattie Walker, the girl who shattered his heart, needs his help. This is his chance to impress her. When his plan gets tangled through translation, Jack and Hattie end up in a mess that puts her dreams in peril— and sets Jack’s two passions at odds.   So, if the heroine, Hattie Walker, is an accomplished artist, what is the extent of your artistic talents? Hmmm…I would say my best work...

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Christmas Romance on the Prairie – Now Available

Posted by on Dec 4, 2018 in Books | 2 comments

  Christmas Story set in 19th Century Indian Territory (Oklahoma) Lieutenant Jack’s life is upended when his childhood crush appears in danger on the reservation. Hattie Walker finds herself in debt to the awkward boy she’d ignored in school. When his critical mistake is uncovered, she learns that she’s bound by more than gratitude. Also available in Audiobook Hattie Walker dreams of painting the Rocky Mountains, but her parents want her to settle down and marry. They make an offer—she has two months in Denver to place her works in an exhibition. If she fails, she comes back home and gets married. But her journey is derailed when a gunman attacks her stagecoach and leaves her to be rescued by a group of Arapaho. Unfortunately, she’s too terrified to realize they’re friendly. Cavalry Officer Lieutenant Jack Hennessey has two passions—the girl back home who never gave him a chance and helping Arapaho children prepare for their changing world. When a message arrives about a recovered survivor, Jack heads out to collect the victim and is stunned by who he finds. Hattie Walker, the girl who shattered his heart, needs his help. This is his chance to impress her. When his plan gets tangled through translation, Jack and Hattie end up in a mess that puts her dreams in peril— and sets Jack’s two passions at odds. Get your copy...

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Historical Tidbit – a/k/a Future Story Idea?

Posted by on Sep 7, 2018 in History | 1 comment

Historical Tidbit – a/k/a Future Story Idea?

British War Widows Will Go to Canada Thousands of British war widows and their children are to be transferred to Canada with the expectation that many women will be married to Canadian farmers, according to plans outlined here today by David Lam of London, commissoner of the International Emigration Society of the Salvation Army. He added that no women will be sent before arrrangements have been made for their employment and the rate of emigration will depend entirely upon the ability of Canada to absorb them. (Source: The Oklahoma City Times, Nov. 20,...

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The Last Thing You Want to See in Your Hotel Room

Posted by on May 1, 2018 in Family, Missions | 16 comments

The Last Thing You Want to See in Your Hotel Room

Last month my husband Coy and I went to Belize to work with a ministry that a friend had started there. We’d never been to Belize before, but we’ve done our share of traveling and thought we’d seen everything. We were wrong. After a long day of flights and getting our bearings in the town, we were pleased to see how nice and clean our hotel was. It was beautiful with French doors to a balcony and many windows, but a quick inspection showed that the balcony was one continuous platform with only a very low wall separating it from the other four rooms on that side of the hotel. Not only that, the lock on the French doors popped open when wiggled and the window in the bathroom (which also opened out to the balcony) didn’t have a lock. Alrighty, then. First, we placed the only chair in the room in front of the French doors and then we propped one of Coy’s shoes on the windowsill to jam the window closed. We’re not usually that cautious, but it was our first night in a foreign country and the front office was closed for the night with no one on call. Might as well be careful. I was sleeping hard, I know that much. With the air conditioner and fan going, outside noises were muted into a soothing drone…that was until I heard screaming. Someone was screaming bloody murder. I sat up in bed and that’s when I realized that the person screaming was me. Why was I screaming? Then I saw him. There was a man standing in the dark at the foot of our bed. Now, let’s analyze this – Waking up to find a stranger in your dark room has to be on the top of every “scenario-you-don’t-want-to-face” list. In my part of the world, when this happens, it’s either the Grim Reaper or someone is fixing to meet the Grim Reaper. To be honest, I didn’t even know where I was, but I knew I was facing pure evil and somehow I was going to defeat it by shrieking at the top of my lungs. Immediately, I heard a roaring next to me. Coy bellowed like Braveheart and threw a pillow at the figure while he simultaneously rolled out of bed and charged. The intruder turned and dashed into the hall. Coy disappeared around the corner and I started hearing a very apologetic voice fading as it ran away, “Sorry. Wrong room. Wrong room.” I can only imagine what people in the neighboring rooms thought hearing this ruckus. Had there been room phones, I’m sure they would’ve lit up the front desk. Coy came back to the room twitching with adrenaline-fueled jet lag and locked the door behind him. (Did I mention there was no latch on the inside of the door?) Then we just looked at each other. Wrong room? How did his key work? Were all the keys the same? Who else was coming through the door? We put the one chair in front of the hallway door and moved a nightstand in front of the French door. Then we piled suitcases up on both pieces of furniture so we’d have a little more warning before someone could make it to the...

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Video: Live from Fort Reno, site of “Holding the Fort”

Posted by on Dec 21, 2017 in Oklahoma | 9 comments

Video: Live from Fort Reno, site of “Holding the Fort”

Do you like to see the places you read about? If so, join me for a quick look about historic Fort Reno, the setting of “Holding the Fort” and the rest of the Fort Reno Series.     I’ll be going back. What would you like to see more of in the next video? What questions do you have that we could get answered?

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Be the First to Welcome Louisa to Oklahoma!

Posted by on Nov 13, 2017 in Oklahoma, Writing | 0 comments

It’s June 11, 1885. Lovely Lola Bell lost her job last night, and is right now checking out the stagecoach times to Fort Reno, Indian Territory. And you want to be there when she arrives! Be the first to Welcome Louisa to Oklahoma!! Holding the Fort Launch Party Tuesday, December 5th 6:30 – 8:30 Mustang Public Library 1201 North Mustang Rd, Mustang, OK     Celebrate the release of Regina’s newest book with door prizes, refreshments, a costume photo booth, and behind the scene information about the new series set at Fort Reno, Indian Territory. All proceeds from book sales goes to benefit the Friends of the Mustang Library. I can just picture her, chewing her lip as she studies the fares, wondering how long her money can last and what she’s going to do now that her singing career is over. Who in their right mind wants to hire a former dance hall singer? And then there’s Major Daniel Adams looking for a strict, decorous matron to be a governess to his willful daughters. Growing up motherless on a frontier outpost, the Adams girls haven’t the least idea of how a lady should act. They need a firm hand – the stricter, the better. Miss Bell would’ve never pretended to be a governess, but they needed one so desperately. And she needs the job. What could it hurt to go along, just for a bit? “The first book in Jennings’ new Fort Reno series is a delightful read that helps solidify what a wonderful and imaginative writer Jennings is. She manages to create unique stories with interesting and well-developed characters while combining humor, mystery and a sprinkle of faith.” — RT Book Reviews” In this character-driven series launch, Jennings offers a powerful lesson on the freedom of truth and forgiveness wrapped in a delightful story of love against the odds.”–Publishers Weekly “This series launch is a charming historical romance set in 1880s Fort Reno, OK. . . . Jennings kicks off a new series with a light and enjoyable tale that will delight her fans as well as lovers of historical romance.”–Library Journal We hope to see you at the Party. If you’d like to join the Facebook group you can find the invitation here. If you can’t be in Mustang, Oklahoma, to get an autographed copy don’t fret. Louisa can come to you. Copies of Holding the Fort are now available for pre-order. Pre-Order “Holding the Fort” Happy reading and thank you! Love,...

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Let the Countdown Begin…

Posted by on Oct 7, 2017 in Books | 10 comments

Let the Countdown Begin…

You wait, and you wait, and you wait…. and then suddenly it’s almost time! Holding the Fort is just around the corner. It comes out DEC. 6th!! And because anticipation is half of the fun, here’s a review from Publisher’s Weekly that I got just today! Jennings introduces readers to an abundant cast in this first installment of The Fort Reno Series set in 1880s Oklahoma. Louisa “Lovely Lola” Bell is the featured singer at the Cat Eye Saloon until the owner replaces her with another performer. Out of a job and with no prospects in sight, Lola heads towards Fort Reno, an outpost in Indian territory where her brother is stationed. On the way there, Lola meets Mrs. Townsend, a Mennonite governess dispatched to the fort to educate Major Daniel Adams’s daughters. When Mrs. Townsend falls ill and can’t continue the trip, Louisa offers to deliver the girls’ textbooks. Arriving at the fort, Louisa is mistaken for the governess and falls into playing the part. Daniel and Louisa’s relationship deepens despite secrets, deceptions, and an Indian uprising. In this character-driven series launch, Jennings offers a powerful lesson on the freedom of truth and forgiveness wrapped in a delightful story of love against the odds. Wasn’t that nice of them?   So, you know you want the book, but you’re afraid you might forget when the time comes? Well, here are some options to help you remember: Write a reminder on your arm in Sharpie. Trace it once a week when it starts to fade. Tell your child that you’ll take them to McDonald’s the day after Holding the Fort arrives (Dec. 6th). Then they will constantly ask you if you’ve got it yet. Visit your local Christian Book Store and pre-order Holding the Fort. Tell them that you are a personal friend of the author. (Because, we probably are great friends, and if we haven’t met yet, we probably would be great friends!) Go online and pre-order Holding the Fort at Amazon, B&N, iBooks, ChristianBook, or another trustworthy business. Post on Facebook telling everyone what you just did. Tell your local library that you MUST READ THIS BOOK and have them order a copy for you! Join my newsletter list. Then you’ll get reminders when the time comes! (December 6th) Make a vow that you won’t wash your hair until you’ve read Holding the Fort. Your co-workers will all celebrate the release date (Dec. 6th) with you. I know, I know. I go above and beyond trying to be helpful, but that’s just my heart for you, dear friends. If you can’t tell, I’m a little excited about getting to write a series set in my home state. If you share my excitement, leave a comment letting me know what you’re doing to help you remember Dec. 6th, the day we can all be Holding the Fort together!! And as an added bonus, at least one commenter will get to be a part of my influencer team, which means a free copy of the book!   (Must comment before Oct. 20th.) Counting the days!! Love,...

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