Tracy Groot will be at Baker Book House on February 4th, 2014. At the event, Tracy will give a short talk on the research and writing of Sentinels, followed by a book signing for copies of her new book, Sentinels of Andersonville, a Tyndale hardcover-only release.
UPDATE – SOA is shipping! (http://amzn.to/Kj7quf)
A Civil War story about the infamous Confederate prison in Georgia. A majority of Civil War prisons were infamous in deprivation and hardship for the incarcerated soldier; Andersonville edged out all others.
This is a story about a Confederate prison guard, a fiery Southern belle, a Union prisoner, and a Confederate soldier determined to break his Union friend out of prison.
Sentinels of Andersonville hardcover release is scheduled for Feb. 2014. More Sentinels of Andersonville book signing information to be released soon!
The Maggie Bright
“England, 1940. Clare Childs knew life would change when she unexpectedly inherited the Maggie Bright—a noble fifty-two-foot yacht. In fact, she’s counting on it. But the boat harbors secrets. When a stranger arrives, searching for documents hidden onboard, Clare is pulled into a Scotland Yard investigation that could shed light on Hitler’s darkest schemes and prompt America to action.”
News and Updates!
The Brother’s Keeper E-book Limited Time $1.99 Special
The sons of Joseph run a successful carpentry business in Nazareth. At least, it was successful until the oldest brother, Jesus, left home to tell the world he will forgive their sins and save their souls. Now everyone is hearing outlandish reports of healings and exorcisms. Business is suffering: not many people want a stool made by the family of the local crazy man.
When one of his brothers starts listening to Jesus’ troubling speeches and fanatical Zealots descend on Nazareth to convince his family to join their fight against Rome, James wants nothing more than to shut out these rumblings and have a normal life. But normal walked out the day his brother did.
James knows that this year’s Passover pilgrimage will be more important than ever. Hearing about a possible plot against Jesus, he must find him and talk some sense into him before it’s too late. And he must decide for himself who his brother really is. But on the dusty road to Jerusalem, more than one faction has murder on its mind.
Tracy will present a session on writing historical fiction at the Festival of Faith and Writing at Calvin College, April 12-14, 2014. Look for more details closer to the event.
“The Writing Show” w/ Tim Burns & Dawn Scott Jones will feature Tracy in a live interview on Monday, February 3 7:50PM EST. The Writing Show, a talk radio blog, has a vision to help writers find their unique voice, strive for exceptional skills, and raise the quality of their writing.
I’m getting older. I used to believe that the connective tissue between the young me and the current me grew thinner with every year; the older I got, the more sure I was that the young me, and youth in general, did not have a lot to say to the older me.
I’m glad I’ve trashed that notion.
A girl named Becca Lou helped me trash it. So have Evan and Gray and Riley, and Ryan and Brooke, and Shaina and Phil, and Nikki; so have Darren and Nolan, and Daniel and the other Nikki–these young people I know whose lives stretch out before them like sun-skimmed water, an endless ocean heading for God, and, thrillingly, for God knows where; these guys help me revisit old stomping grounds. Through them, I realize that I used to
• Believe a little more deeply.
• Trust a little more quickly.
• Have a little more compassion.
• Have a little more fun.
• Throw a little more caution to the wind.
I think us older folk are sometimes afraid to look back on the hopes and the dreams we had in our younger days, maybe because we’re afraid to acknowledge that some of them didn’t pan out.
But take another look at my list. Something leapt on my own second pass, and here it is: not once, when I wrote that list from the hip, did I mention concretes. I did not list that maybe I imagined myself living in a log cabin on a lake by this time, or that I drove a certain car, or had a certain job. My gut wrote the list, not my intellect.
When I connect with the young people in my life, I am freshened to the stomping grounds that mattered most. I connect not with absolutes, but with spirit. I feel not a desire to “do it all over again, and this time do it right”, but to think on something else entirely.
These young folk have their twenties, thirties, and forties ahead. My fifties, sixties, and seventies stretch out before me. When I stay in touch with the young people in my life, and with the old stomping grounds they invoke, this is how I see the years ahead: sun-skimmed, and oceanic, and heading for God, and, thrillingly, for God knows where.
The Goethe quote. Anyone hear of it? First time I came across it was through a now-favorite book, Close to the Wind, by Pete Goss. Second time was through The Crime of Living Cautiously; Hearing God’s Call to Adventure, by Luci Shaw. Here it is:
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.”
I have found it is so. My current writing project, (it’s a WWII spy novel—the Jonah book mentioned somewhere on my website will come later) has proved this Goethe quote out. Once the decision was made to write outside my usual genre, it’s as if Heaven opened up in a banging “YES! This is IT! The Right Path! Come on guys—let’s throw in, give some aid, let her know Heaven is her ally!”
I’m telling you what: I’ve had more unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance crop up with this project than I’ve been aware of in a very long time. It’s just God in the wings, relieved that I’ve stopped doing (at least in this part of my life) what Rich Mullins sang about, “I’d rather fight You for something I don’t really want than take what You’ve given that I need. And I beat my head against so many walls, now I’m falling down, I’m falling on my knees…”
Recently I fought so hard to write where I really didn’t want to write. And didn’t God have a dickens of a time trying to get through to me. But he did, and I’m writing something different, and I am amazed. Furthermore, I am happy in this writing biz again. Shockingly, effortlessly happy. Sometimes it isn’t hard at all. It’s just Grace. And Goethe.
Heading for Normandy soon to camp out in the middle of my story. Not sure what to expect, but God will be there, so all is well, and will be well.
Never say never, and never say stuff like “I won’t have a Facebook account until they make it a law” right on your home page, ‘cause you’ll eat it later. Yep, I’ve received the mark of the Facebook beast. It’s called a “Fan Page” (yeah, and doesn’t that make me feel dopey) linked to Jack’s Facebook account, for the purpose of displaying my books because my agents say I gotta have, and the technical term is, “on-line presence.” Incidentally, I have two agents because I’m a special case—Kathy speaks and Dan interprets, because Kathy speaks a language I can’t understand. It’s called Sense.
Anyway, it’s not a very social page from my end. But you know what? This borderline Luddite, (word courtesy of Meredith Smith—look it up on Wikipedia, it’s a great word) who from obtuse laziness and absence of techno curiosity rages against anything new, now takes the first tottering step to the Technological Revolution.
It’s all about being electrocuted together. I’d be one lonely little Luddite if some blown transformer sends you all to Jesus without me. I’d get stuck evangelizing the Left Behind, and who needs that kind of responsibility. And Kathy wouldn’t be around to talk Sense, and Dan wouldn’t be here to interpret. We go, we go together. In this, I am resolute.
So thanks for welcoming me back to the ranks. Because I yet have a foot in Luddite Land, I’d love if you’d contact me via my website if you ever wanna talk about stuff because, have mercy, it’s all about baby steps. When I’m a big girl, I may have my own Facebook account.
(Or not. Said the diabolical inner Luddite vying for control…)
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
I first came across this phrase when I rented a cute little cottage to finish a book. It was on a magnet on the fridge. I studied it warily, not quite understanding why I didn’t like it. Because it seemed I should. I felt obligated to like it.
I came across it once more the other day, when I turned my calendar forward. It was the new inspirational phrase for March. “You again,” I muttered, irked with myself for not understanding why I disliked it. I went on my merry, and thought no more of it until the other day when I read a verse that shot me from my seat and made me bellow, “THAT’S why!”, startling everyone in the room. They are used to me, however, and paid no mind as I grabbed a black Sharpie and ran to the calendar. This is what I wrote: “No it doesn’t! It belongs to those who work hard and get beat up to pursue it! Faith without works is dead!!”
Here’s exactly why I don’t like it: When I reach for substance in that sentiment, my fingers fall through smoke. A vapid vagary does not contain siftable material worthy of inspection. I’d call it damned nonsense if I hadn’t already used it in an earlier piece, and if it didn’t lessen impact to swear twice in consecutive essays.
The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams? Believing is and never will be enough. Ask any demon. “You say you believe in God. The demons also believe, and tremble.” Back up from that verse, James 2:19, and you’ll find “I’ll show you my faith by my works.” I’ll show you what I believe by what I do. The only future I have is in the action I take.
The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams…it’s silly enough to keep repeating, for the sheer revolting glory of it. “I am repulsed, yet I cannot look away.” (Niles said that, in a Frasier episode.) Sometimes you have to look at something long enough to understand what it really is. To my surprise, I find that some things are nothing at all.
The future belongs…okay, I’ll torment you no more and end with an updated version of this silly little sentiment: The future belongs to those who keep moving when fired upon.