Remembering Lew Wallace and Ben-Hur: By Shirley Raye Redmond

February 2015 marks the 110th anniversary of the death of author Lew Wallace—a former Army general and Wallaceterritorial governor of New Mexico. In my inspirational novel, AMANDA’S BEAU, the school teacher hero Gil Gladney loans my heroine Wallace’s bestselling novel to read: BEN-HUR, A TALE OF THE CHRIST.

Many of you are probably familiar with the book or perhaps the classic movie starring Charlton Heston as the title character. Interestingly enough, when the novel was first released in Ben Hur1880, it was considered unusual for its time—too romantic, and historical fiction was not popular with readers. Wallace declared that after researching and writing the novel, he was convicted with an “absolute belief in God and in the divinity of Christ.” The novel was not expected to become a bestseller, but it did.

After reading and enjoying the book, my heroine Amanda returns in to Gil, saying, “It made me want to be a better person, a stronger Christian. Do you know what I mean?”

“Yes, I do,” Gil replies.

When Lew Wallace died at the age of 77 in 1905, his many books had earned him more royalty income than any other American novelist up to that time. Today, a marble statue of Wallace stands in Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capital—representing his home state of Indiana. He is the only American novelist honored there.

 

Book Blurb:
The year is 1905. It is autumn in the village of Aztec in New Mexico territory. Amanda Dale is burdened with the responsibility of caring for her widowed sister—an invalid—and Ella’s two children—one a premature infant. But Amanda wants a husband and children of her own and despairsAmandasBeau that God does not care about her plight. Schoolteacher Gil Gladney is handsome, intelligent, and God-fearing. He is drawn to Amanda, but feels he cannot propose marriage until he is able to purchase the ranch he has been saving for.

When Gil and his pupils discover the relics of an ancient culture among the ruins outside the village, Gil contacts an old college friend. The possibility of an archeological excavation excites the community of cash-strapped farmers, eager to earn extra money working on the site. 

Gil is delighted when Nate Phillips comes to Aztec to take up the challenge. When a rabid skunk reels through the excavation site, threatening the lives of Amanda and her nephew Rex, Gil realizes that life is short and the possibility of true happiness can be fleeting. In the end, Amanda learns to trust God to provide the happily-ever-after ending she’s been praying for.

 

SRR #1

 

An award-winning children’s book author, Shirley Raye Redmond holds an M.A. in literature from the University of Illinois. She has been married to her husband Bill for forty years, and is active with Community Bible Study. They have two grown children and two adorable grandsons. Lewis & Clark: A Prairie Dog for the President (Random House) was a Children’s Book of the Month Club selection. Patriots in Petticoats: Heroines of the American Revolution, was named one of the best children’s books of 2005 by the Bank Street College of Education. Amanda’s Beau is her first inspirational romance.

Connect with Shirley Raye:
www.shirleyrayeredmond.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Shirley-Raye-Redmond-Author/533496973399344

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/239947.Shirley_Raye_Redmond

Looking good in the 1940s!

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For this week’s blog I thought a visual ensemble might be fun. This month I have been neck deep in the late forties as I write the third book in a post World War Two series I’ve been working on. I have easily come to the conclusion that they had a great sense of style back then.

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Yes, I am fighting with that commandment “Thou shalt not covet.” Here’s a glimpse at some of the dresses I’ve been picking out for my heroine and her sister:

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I love this one and chose it for the heroine’s sister to wear to her prom. I love the lace bodice.

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My hubby likes the cut of this one.

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I like the color on this one, as does the heroine. Unfortunately she can’t wear it as she’s a strawberry blond.

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Perfect for the summer.

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Yep, coveting again. This is her favorite dress.

 

 

Now for the hair. You have to love those victory curls!

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Perfect for the big town dance when the boys start coming home from Europe. Especially if you’re going with the fiance you haven’t seen in four years.

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And then the look to convince everyone in town that you’re completely over him.

And for all those days in between:

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I think the most painful part of my research is the price point for all of this:

0cee3d5e6fd51677b64a7478f6d8ddeaI think it’s time to stock up on dresses!

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“He was secret police and he knew his duty.”

Today is November 3, which means exactly 3 months to the release of my short story, Fire in a Storm. The story is set in 1930’s Soviet Union, so time for a history lesson!

Don’t worry, we’ll keep this painless 😉

Mentally, at least. Physical pain was sometimes a necessary tool utilized by Stalin’s secret police, or NKVD — People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs (yay for making the “people” feel a part of this!) The secret police feature very prominently in this story.

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NKVD (Secret Police) emblem

So who were they and what did they do?

Wikipedia puts it well: “The main function of the NKVD was to protect the state security of the Soviet Union. This function was successfully accomplished through massive political repression, including authorized political murders, kidnappings and assassinations, inclusively in its international “secret” operations.”

In short they were–under Stalin’s authorization–responsible for hundreds of thousands of assassinations, executions and murders at home and abroad. And that’s not even touching on how many others were tortured or left to waste away in prisons and gulags (forced labor camps).

 

This is the uniform worn by the NKVD before WWII:

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But of course you’re never fully dressed without a…

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Aren’t you glad I chose from among their numbers, the main character for Fire in a Storm?

Join me on Dec 3 for a look at the NKVD’s vendetta against religion in the 1930s.

And leave a comment here, or join me on Facebook for a chance to win a free copy of Fire in a Storm and eleven other inspirational short stories in the anthology:

Coming Feb 3, 2015

Coming Feb 3, 2015