Monday, May 21, 2018

Cherokee Strip Land Run with Jodie Wolfe Story Sparks Blog Tour

Welcome to the Story Sparks multi-Author Blog Tour. Between May 21-26, 2018, readers get a chance to enter and win ebooks from six different authors. Today, Jodie Wolfe is the featured author. Two lucky winners will be awarded either her To Claim Her Heart or Mrs.Wigglesworth's Essential Guide to Proper Etiquette and Manners of RefinedSociety. Jodie will be talking about the Cherokee Strip Land Run of 1893. Read on to discover what sparked Jodie's creativity and to enter the Rafflecopter to win her heartwarming book.


September 16th will mark the 125th anniversary of the Cherokee Strip Land Run of 1893. It was our Nation’s last great race for land. 115,000 people showed up to race for 42,000 plots. I can clearly picture that day. It was hot and dry. Folks gathered along nine different starting places located along the Kansas border and south of the Cherokee Strip in Oklahoma Territory.

All manner of conveyances could be seen—people on foot, horseback, buggies, wagons, bicycles, trains, etc. I can easily imagine the clamor and chaos as all those assembled awaited the gunshot that would signify the start of the race at noon. People were desperate. The country had undergone an economic catastrophe with the plummet of the New York Stock Exchange due to overinvesting in the railroads. Many businesses that depended upon the railroad were forced to close their doors. Quite a number of banks either closed or called in their loans. It was a difficult time.

Such is the backdrop for my new novel, To Claim Her Heart. This book is especially significant to me since it was my dear mother-in-law who introduced me to the history of the land run. It mattered to her because she had several relatives who competed in the land race and found claims. I vividly remember the summer of 1997 when we stopped off in Oklahoma to see one of those original properties. My sons and I tromped over the land and saw the homestead that was built in 1894. The first home had been a soddy that didn’t last longer than a year.

The rock home I saw was partially built into the side of a hill and in a state of disrepair. A stream gurgled nearby and within a couple of miles, the Gloss (Glass) Mountains cropped out of the landscape. It didn’t take much for me to start imagining characters tromping through the area and choosing to settle there.

While Mom never lived to see this book finally published, she knew that I was working on it in her last days. I’m so thankful that she shared her rich family history with me. Quite a few of the family stories she told me were included in my book.
To Claim Her Heart
In 1893, on the eve of the great race for land, Benjamin David prays for God to guide him to his 'Promised Land. Finding property and preaching to the lost are his only ways of honoring his deceased fiancée. He hasn't counted on Elmer (Elsie) Smith claiming the same plot and refusing to leave. Not only is she a burr in his side, but she is full of the homesteading know-how he is sadly lacking.

Obtaining a claim in the Cherokee Strip Land Run is Elsie Smith's only hope for survival, and not just any plot, she has a specific one in mind. The land's not only a way to honor her pa and his life, but also to provide a livelihood for herself. She's willing to put in whatever it takes to get that piece of property, and Elsie's determined to keep it.

Her bitterness is what protects her, and she has no intentions of allowing that preacher to lay claim to her land . . . or her heart.

Here’s the first scene:
Competition should be relegated to the male species. Proper young ladies should avoid a situation which permits rivalry, particularly involving the male species. If unavoidable, allow the gentleman to win. Be above reproach in this manner.

Mrs. Wigglesworth’s Essential Guide to Proper Etiquette and Manners of Refined Society

September 15, 1893, Kiowa, Kansas—Border of the Cherokee Strip
“Elmer Smith?”
For once in all of her days, Elsie welcomed the name Pa had insisted on when her life began and Ma’s had ended.
“Is that you, son?”
“Ain’t your son.” Ain’t no one’s son. Elsie shifted her Stetson lower to ward off the man’s scrutiny.
“There’s no need to get your prickles up. Do you testify you’re at least twenty-one years of age and head of your household?”
Elsie nodded and bit back a retort.
“Then sign here.” The man shoved a paper across the makeshift desk. Beads of moisture dotted his upper lip.
She scrawled her name on the line. The page crinkled when she folded and shoved it into her shirt pocket, along with the copy of The Homestead Laws and Pa’s hand-drawn map.
“Get out of the way, kid.” A scraggly looking fellow jabbed into her shoulder.
Elsie stepped out of line, glaring at him. He ignored her and turned his attention to the clerk.
She elbowed through a crowd of men. How had her small town swelled to so many folks? Thankfully there were few she recognized, or, more so, who could recognize her. The less who knew her gender, the better. She certainly didn’t need no man to help her get the land she and Pa had dreamed about.
Elsie scooted her hat up and swiped at the sweat on her forehead before dropping it back into place, scrunching the thick braid she’d pinned up three days prior. Hefting her saddlebags to her opposite shoulder, she hiked the short distance to the livery and retrieved Buster. A short ride would clear her head and prepare her for what lay ahead.
Dust swirled and nearly choked Elsie as she rode in the opposite direction of the throngs, to see the old farm one last time.
Acrid smoke filled her lungs. Nearby fires, to deter Sooners from entering the strip before the race began, burned in the west, but not out of control.
Elsie urged Buster, careful not to tire him. Everything hinged on finding the land tomorrow.

At the beginning of each chapter I created advice from a Mrs. Wigglesworth. Of course, most of my characters do the complete opposite. :) Because I’ve had such positive feedback in regard to these sayings, I created an ebook of her quips. I’ll be giving away a copy of it as well as an ecopy of To Claim Her Heart, so be sure to leave a comment.

What time period/historical event draws your attention?

About the Author:
Jodie Wolfe creates novels where hope and quirky meet. The power of story to influence lives and change hearts is what motivates her to weave tales that tell of the Savior's faithfulness and forgiveness. She's been a semi-finalist and finalist in various writing contests and is a member of ACFW and RWA. When not writing she enjoys spending time with her husband in Pennsylvania, reading, walking, and being a Grammie. Learn more at


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Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Botany of the Bible with Giveaway

Hello Friends! I'm sharing about Biblical plants and botany life on the HHHistory blog, and there's also a chance to win a copy of The Healer's Touch! So be sure to stop by and check it out. Here's a preview of the article. 

 During our trips to the Holy Land, one of my favorite experiences was visiting the Biblical Gardens outside of Jerusalem. The Biblical Garden is a special reserve that grows and studies all manner of botany and animal life mentioned in the Scriptures. I learned so much, not only about the plants themselves, but also about how the ancients used the plants, and what their every day life would have been like. It gives such a unique perspective on Biblical history. Won't you join me on a little 'virtual tour'? I'll show you a couple of things I enjoyed learning while visiting this Biblical Landscape Reserve.
Read the rest of the article by clicking here.

Friday, March 9, 2018

History & Legend of the Dogwood Tree

We're sharing the history and legend behind the beautiful Dogwood tree on the HHHistory blog!

Since Easter is coming up, I thought I’d share a beautiful legend that always comes to my mind this time of year. The legend behind the dogwood trees. Some of ya’ll may have heard it, but perhaps you don’t know some of the other history behind the tree.

Down South, the Dogwood Trees are a symbol of Spring. There are festivals every year that celebrate Spring and the blooming of the dogwood tree. In fact, three states have honored the tree with state plant status. The dogwood is the state tree of Missouri, the state flower of North Carolina, and Virginia loved it so much that it is actually their state flower AND state tree.

In the mid 1500’s, the trees were known in Europe as the dagwood, because the small stems were used for dags, daggers, arrows or skewers. Later, around 1615, the name was changed to dogwood. No one knows for sure why the name changed from dagwood to dogwood. Perhaps it was a pronunciation thing. Or perhaps it was because the tree sometimes made the sound of a dog barking when the branches knocked together in the wind. Or perhaps it was due to the medicinal properties of the bark, that were often used to treat mange in dogs. 

Read the rest of the article on the blog. 

Help Jasper Solve the Case!

Your favorite detective needs your help!

Who will be this year's winner of the Christian Indie Award?
The CSPA is out to find the Book of the Year, and Jasper and I are so excited that Solve by Christmas has been nominated among the other great titles and authors. BUT this is a vote-driven contest, so if you feel that Jasper and Solve by Christmas deserve this award, will you please take a moment to click over and give him your vote?

It only takes a moment to vote. Here's the link:

Solve by March 31st, or all will be lost...

Thank you so much for your support! You're brilliant!

Friday, January 5, 2018

When Reads the Heart with Sara L. Foust

In September 2017, I read Kelly Irvin’s contemporary Amish novel, A Plain Love Song. I am a huge Kelly Irvin fan, having been hooked by her Amish of Bee County Series. I love her writing style, descriptions, and the fact that she can keep me interested in a love story when I am not usually a reader of simple romance. I tend to like romance subgenres, such as romantic suspense. But, I love Kelly Irvin!

In the course of A Plain Love Song, her heroine Adah wants more than anything to sing music and be accompanied by instruments. She loves the sound of modern music, but her community of conservative Amish folk believe singing for any purpose other than to glorify God is wrong. She learns an important and life-changing lesson. God’s will for her life is more important than her desires. Not only does she learn to let go of worldly things, she learns the value of placing self aside in order to serve His higher plan. And finds the joy in doing so.

What a testimony Ms. Irvin was able to share with me through Adah’s story! I am a mother to five homeschooled children under the age of 12. As most moms can contest, my children are my world. Filling their needs and helping provide their wants is one of my primary goals, second only to my faith and my marriage (which is a post for another time, but I have not been perfect with this!). Upon finishing Ms. Irvin’s story, a strong sense of conviction overtook me. How many years had I been dreaming of being a missionary? How many years had I been pushing those thoughts aside with the excuse that my children were too young for me to leave? How many years had I been denying God’s calling to me, always saying, “Someday, God?”

Talk about some intense praying! I realized in an instant that I was putting my desires to be mom, and a continuously present one, above God’s desires for me. There is a reason the burden to be a missionary to a foreign country has always been a part of my make-up. I may not understand why, and for years fear kept me from acknowledging it out loud, but the important thing is this: God understands what we can’t. When He asks me to go down a path that is unfamiliar, and often terrifying, I am selfish to ignore His request.

So, in May 2018, I am traveling with a group of 7 others to Daet, Philippines, to work with a youth camp. I will be gone for 13 days. And I am petrified. I don’t want to leave my children for that long. I don’t want to leave my husband, either. I have never traveled beyond the ‘safe’ borders of our wonderful country. But, I am going because God is asking me to. I’m tired of telling Him, “Someday, God.” And, in part, thanks to A Plain Love Song’s strong message of following God’s will for His children’s lives, I am ready to follow where He is leading me.

Sara writes Inspirational Romantic Suspense from a mini-farm in East Tennessee, where she lives with her husband and their five homeschooled children. Her debut novel Callum's Compass won second place in Deep River Books' 2017 Writer's Contest. She also has a story in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Step Outside Your Comfort Zone. To learn more about her, please visit