Skip to main content

Guest blog and excerpt - MISSION OF HOPE by Allie Pleiter

Mission of Hope
by
Allie Pleiter


No one knows who he is or where he's from. But witnesses throughout San Francisco report a masked man in black is bringing supplies—and badly needed hope—to homeless earthquake survivors. Some believe that the city's gallant rescuer is a gentleman of wealth. But others whisper that he is a working-class man with courage as great as his faith. And rumor has it that one of the city's most spirited society belles is helping him against her family's wishes. What can be confirmed is that the masked messenger will need more than a miracle to escape those on his trail—and win the woman risking everything to save him….

Guest blog post by the Allie-nator!

When God slams a door...

You know that old saying, “When God closes a door he opens a window”? What do you do when God slams a door? As in bone-shattering, life-halting, stop-in-your-tracks slam shut?

You pay close attention. At least that’s what I’ve learned. It’s what my hero Quinn Freeman learns, too, as he faces the total disaster of San Francisco’s 1906 earthquake and fires. Quinn thinks all his best-laid plans have just gone up in smoke--literally. It’s easy to know these types of situations are the fertile ground of faith when you’re not the one in them. In the thick of things, it’s hard to see God at work.

Enter Nora Longstreet. Nora helps Quinn see that God can work wonders even in the largest of disasters. She sees Quinn’s unique qualities as perfectly suited for his situation. Once encouraged, Quinn uses his resourceful nature to provide much-needed help to the city’s most desperate refugees. Nora’s affirmations help him recognize the truth that God hasn’t derailed him, he’s launched him in a whole new direction.

And because this is a love story, Quinn sees how Nora’s gifts equip her to serve. He encourages her to take the gifts she sees as insignificant and use them in big, important ways. Sometimes we can’t see the gifts inside of us because we’re so busy looking at the obstacles in front of us. That’s when God uses our loved ones to show us what we most need to see. To point us in the direction of the wide-open window.


Excerpt of chapter one:

It was her. It had to be. It was the eyes that made him certain, even from this distance.

Quinn Freeman stared harder at the young woman— not much more than twenty from the look of it—sitting uncomfortably onstage. She was trying to pay attention to the long rally speeches honoring the city's recovery, but not quite succeeding. And the speeches were surely long. Politicians fought banks who fought insurance companies and everyone nursed a grudge over how things had been handled. The most eloquent speech on God's green earth couldn't explain how one man was still alive while another's life had come to an end. The uncertainty of everything made for chaos.

Still, she was here. By some astounding act of God, she was here. And what a sight she was. Even in the gray light of this cloudy morning, she looked clean and pretty, and he hadn't seen anything clean and pretty in days.

It was the eyes, really, that captured his attention. Round and wide, framed with golden lashes. Even in the brown tint of the charred photo he'd found, he'd somehow known they were an unusual color. Something between a blue and a violet, now that he saw them. The color of the irises Ma was fond of in one of the city gardens.

Quinn fished into his pocket for the battered locket he'd found last week as he walked home from yet another insufferably long bread line. He'd seen it glint in the corner of a rubble pile just south of Nob Hill, a tiny sparkle in a pile of black and brown timber. Usually, Quinn was looking up; he was always looking up at the buildings—or parts of buildings—still standing, admiring how they'd survived with so much rubble marking where others had fallen. It wasn't as if bits of lives couldn't still be found all over the city—even months out as it was, Quinn was forever picking up one shoe or a bit of a cup or a chipped doorknob.

This was different. There was something amazing about the fact that the locket was still shut, and that despite the soot and dents, there were still two tiny photographs inside. Two young women about his own age. Sisters? Cousins? He kept the charm in his pocket, making up a dozen stories as he worked or walked or waited, because everything now took hours longer than it had before. Yes, it was dirty and dented and the chain was broken, but the faces inside had survived an earthquake and a fire. And now he knew the people had, as well. Or at least one of them. Quinn just couldn't ignore the hope in that.

Reverend Bauers never called anything a coincidence. No one was ever "lucky" to Reverend Bauers—they were "called" or "blessed." Quinn had survived the earthquake and the fire. His mother had, too. But he was beginning to wonder if he'd survive the next two months. A few months ago he'd been just another grunt down at the printing press, scratching out a living, trying to hang on to his big dreams. Then the world shook and fell over. He'd survived, but why had God kept him alive while scores of others died?

"God does not deal in luck or happenstance," Bauers always said to Quinn when something went their way or a need miraculously became met. "He directs, He provides and He is very fond of surprising His children." The saying rang in Quinn's ears when he saw the familiar face on the stage this morning. And he knew, even before he pulled the locket from his pocket and squinted as he held it up to her profile, that it was her. Well, Lord, I'm surprised, I'll grant You that.

When that pretty woman saw him hold up the locket, her eyes wide with amazement, he made the decision right there and then to do whatever it took to return the locket to her, to bring one thing home.

The man fished something out of his pocket and held it up, comparing it to the face—her face—before him.

Annette's locket. With the elongated heart shape that was so unusual, the one Annette had picked out for her birthday last year, it just had to be. He had Annette's locket!

It took forever for the rally to end. The moment she could, Nora swept off her chair in search of the fastest way into the crowd. He couldn't have missed her intent given how hard he seemed to be staring at her. Surely he would wait, perhaps even make his way toward the stage.

The crowd milled exasperatingly thick, and Nora began to fear the man would be lost to her forever—and that last piece of Annette with him. Nora pushed as fiercely as she dared through the clusters of people, dodging around shoulders and darting through gaps.

She could not find him. Her throat tight and one hand holding her hat to the mass of blond waves that was her unruly hair, she turned in circles, straining to see over one large man's shoulders and finding no one.

"This is you, isn't it?" came a voice from behind her, and she turned with such a start that she nearly knocked the man over. He held up the locket. Nora let out a small gasp—it was so battered now that she saw it up close. The delicate gold heart was dented on one side, black soot scars still clinging to the fancy engraving and the broken chain.

Soot. A fire seemed such a terrible, awful way to die. Nora clutched at the locket with both hands, her grief not allowing any thought for manners. The two halves of the dented heart had already been opened, revealing the remains of a pair of tiny photographs—one of her, the other of Annette. Nora put her finger to the image of Annette and thought she would cry. "Yes," she said unsteadily, "that's me, and that's my cousin, Annette. However did you get this?"

The man pushed back his hat, and a shock of straw-colored hair splashed across his forehead. "I found it last week. I've been looking for either one of you since then, but I didn't really think I'd find you. I just about fell over when you walked onto the stage this morning, Miss… Longstreet, was it? The postmaster's daughter?"

Nora suddenly remembered her manners. "Nora Longstreet. I'm so very pleased to meet you. And so very pleased to have this back…although it isn't…actu-ally mine." She felt her throat tighten up, and paused for a moment. "It's Annette's, and she isn't…she's isn't here. Anymore." She pulled in a shaky breath. "She died…in it."

"I'm sorry. Seems like everybody lost someone, doesn't it?" He tipped the corner of his hat. "Quinn Freeman."

"Thank you for finding this, Mr. Freeman. It means a great deal to me."

Quinn tucked his hands in his pockets. He wore a simple white shirt, brown pants that had seen considerable wear and scuffed shoes, but someone had taken care to make sure they were all still clean and in the best repair possible given the circumstances. "I'm sure she would have wanted you to have it, seeing as it's you in there and all."

"I'm sure my father would be happy to give you some kind of reward for returning it. Come meet him, why don't you?"

Quinn smiled—a slanted, humble grin that confirmed the charm his eyes conveyed—and shrugged. "I couldn't take anything for it. I'm just glad it found its way home. Too many people lost too much not to see something back where it belongs."

Nora ran her thumb across the scratched surface of the locket. "Surely I can give you some reward for your kindness."

He stared at her again. The gaze was unnerving from up on the stage, but it was tenfold more standing mere feet from him. "You just did. It's nice to see someone so happy. A pretty smile is a fine thing to take home." He stared for a long moment more before tipping his hat. "G'mornin', Miss Longstreet. It's been a pleasure."

"Thank you, Mr. Freeman. Thank you again." Nora clutched the locket to her chest and dashed off to find her father.

She found him near the stage, talking with a cluster of men in dark coats and serious expressions. "Papa!" She caught his elbow as he pulled himself from the conversation. "The most extraordinary thing has happened!"

"Where have you been? You shouldn't have dashed off like that."

"Oh, Papa, I've survived an earthquake and a fire. What could possibly happen to me now?"

"A great deal more than I'd care to consider." He scowled at her, but there was a glint of teasing in his eye. She was glad to see it—he hadn't had much humor about him lately.

She held up the battered charm. "Look! Can you believe it? I thought it lost forever."

Her father took the locket from Nora's hand and held it up, turning it to examine it. "Is this Annette's locket? That's astounding! However did you find it?"

"A man gave it to me, just now. He said he recognized me from the photo inside. The photographs hadn't fully burned. Can you imagine? I knew there was a reason I needed to come with you this morning. I knew I should be beside you up there. Now I know why!" Right now that dented piece of gold was just about the most precious thing in all the world. The moment she fixed the broken chain, she'd never take it off ever again.

"Well, where is this man?" Her father looked over her shoulder. "I'd say we owe him a debt of thanks."

"I tried to get him to come over and meet you—he knew who I was and who you were—but he said he didn't need any thanks." She left out the bit about her smile. Oh, thank You, Lord, Nora prayed as she took the locket back from her father. Thank You so much!

"Did you at least get his name?"

"Freeman," Nora said, thinking about the bold stare he'd given her at first, "Quinn Freeman."

The mail had always been mundane to Nora. A perfunctory business. Hardly the stuff of heroes and lifesav-ing deeds. Papa had told her stories of how they'd soaked mailbags in water and beaten back the fire to save the post office. And now, the mail had become just that— lifesaving. Thanks to Papa's promise to deliver all kinds of mail—postage or no postage—mail had become the one constant. The only thing that still worked the way it had worked before. It was amazing how people clung to that.

No one, however, could have foreseen what "all kinds of mail" would be: sticks, wood, shirt cuffs and collars, tiles and margins of salvaged books or newspaper had been pressed into service as writing paper. Each morning Papa would take her to the edge of an "official" refugee camp—for several questionable "unofficial" camps had sprung up—and they would take in the mail. Standing on an older mail cart now pressed into heavy service, Nora took in heart-wrenching messages such as "We're alive" or "Eddie is gone" or "Send anything" and piled them into bags headed back to the post office.

Nora—and any other female—could only accept mail, for mail delivery had become a dangerous task. Arriving mail consisted of packages of food or clothes or whatever supplies could be sent quickly, and that made it highly desirable. The massive logistics of distributing such things had necessitated army escorts in order to keep the peace. Even after months of relief, so much was still missing, so much was still needed, and San Francisco was discovering just how impossible it was to sprout a city from scratch. The nearly three months of continual scrounging, loss and pain turned civil people angry, and there had even been a few close scrapes for Nora in the simple act of accepting mail. Those incidents usually made her father nervous, but today they made Nora all the more determined to help. Someone had delivered something precious to her, and she would do the same. It was not her fault the postmaster had not been blessed with a son who could better face the danger. If God had given Postmaster Longstreet a daughter, then God would have to work through a daughter. Father had always said, "We do what we can with what we have." What better time or place to put that belief into practice?

"Please," a young boy pleaded as he pressed a strip of cloth into Nora's hand. Its author had scrawled a message and rolled up a shirtsleeve like a scroll, tied with what looked like the remnants of a shoelace. "Martin Lovejoy, Applewood, Wisconsin" was printed on the outside. "All we got is the clothes we're wearing," the lad said, "but Uncle Martin can send more."

"Is your tent number on the scroll? Your uncle Martin needs to know where to send the clothes."

"Don't know," the boy said, turning the scroll over in his hands. He held it up to Nora again. "I don't read. Is it?"

The scroll held none of its sender's information. "What's your tent number?"

The tiny lip trembled. "It's over there."

The boy pointed across the street to the very large "unofficial" encampment that had taken over Dolores Park. Nora bent down and took the boy's hand. "Which…" she hesitated to even use the word in front of him, "…shack is yours?"

He pointed to a line of slapped-together shelters just across the street. "There."

The shack stood near the edge of the camp, but still, he was so small to be here by himself. Nora looked around for someone to send back with him—the unofficial camp was not a safe place to go—but everyone was engrossed in their own tasks. The little boy looked completely helpless and more than a little desperate. It was by the edge, not forty feet away, and perhaps it wasn't as dangerous as Papa made it out to be. Taking a deep breath, Nora made a decision and hopped down off the wagon. Five minutes to help one little boy couldn't possibly put her in any danger, and her father looked too busy to even notice her absence. Nora held out her hand. "Let's walk back together and we'll sort it out. We can ask your mama to help us."

The little boy looked away and swiped his eye bravely with the back of his other hand. "Mama's gone," he said in an unsteady voice. "My daddy wrote it."

Nora gripped the little hand tighter. "All the more reason that note should get through. We'll do what it takes to reach your uncle. It'll be all right, I promise. What's your name?"

Buy from Barnes and Noble
Buy from Christianbook.com
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Books a Million

Want more book giveaways? Subscribe to my newsletter!

Comments

  1. SOunds great, Allie! It's really funny that you're here because I almost bought this book yesterday

    : D

    However, prices have gone up here and the LI books are just about $5/book now. When you're a college bound student living on a budget, you really need to figure carefully which books you get. I HATE it though because I usually really support the LI company every month. This past month though, the prices went up almost $2, which was not expected!

    I think I might HAVE to go back and pick it up though, it sounds SO good!

    Thanks for having Allie, Camy!
    Hannah

    ReplyDelete
  2. Project Journal-
    Thanks for the kind words. If I tell you the book is TOTALLY worth it, will you believe me? I'm not exactly objective, I know, but this really is one of my favorites. Thanks for having me, Camy!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I hear ya about the financial woes, Hannah! But Allie's books are always entertaining for me so I always get them.

    Thanks so much for being here, Allie!
    Camy

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Allie and Camy. This is another must read book going on my wish list. I wish I could win the lottery so I could buy all the books I have on my wish list and all the new books being published daily. lol
    Great interview.
    I try to remember "When God shuts a door he will always open a window". Sometimes it is very hard to do.
    Thanks for dropping by to chat about your book Allie. Can't wait to read.

    misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  5. Good quote to remember, Misskallie! Thanks for stopping by to comment!
    Camy

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular Posts

No Cold Bums toilet seat cover

Captain's Log, Stardate 08.22.2008 I actually wrote out my pattern! I was getting a lot of hits on my infamous toilet seat cover , and I wanted to make a new one with “improvements,” so I paid attention and wrote things down as I made the new one. This was originally based off the Potty Mouth toilet cover , but I altered it to fit over the seat instead of the lid. Yarn: any worsted weight yarn, about 120 yards (this is a really tight number, I used exactly 118 yards. My suggestion is to make sure you have about 130 yards.) I suggest using acrylic yarn because you’re going to be washing this often. Needle: I used US 8, but you can use whatever needle size is recommended by the yarn you’re using. Gauge: Not that important. Mine was 4 sts/1 inch in garter stitch. 6 buttons (I used some leftover shell buttons I had in my stash) tapestry needle Crochet hook (optional) Cover: Using a provisional cast on, cast on 12 stitches. Work in garter st until liner measures

Tabi socks, part deux

Captain's Log, Stardate 07.25.2008 (If you're on Ravelry, friend me! I'm camytang.) I made tabi socks again! (At the bottom of the pattern is the calculation for the toe split if you're not using the same weight yarn that I did for this pattern (fingering). I also give an example from when I used worsted weight yarn with this pattern.) I used Opal yarn, Petticoat colorway. It’s a finer yarn than my last pair of tabi socks, so I altered the pattern a bit. Okay, so here’s my first foray into giving a knitting pattern. Camy’s top-down Tabi Socks I’m assuming you already know the basics of knitting socks. If you’re a beginner, here are some great tutorials: Socks 101 How to Knit Socks The Sock Knitter’s Companion A video of turning the heel Sock Knitting Tips Yarn: I have used both fingering weight and worsted weight yarn with this pattern. You just change the number of cast on stitches according to your gauge and the circumference of your ankle. Th

Happy Thanksgiving!

Year of the Dog serial novel, chapter 7

I’m posting a Humorous Christian Romantic Suspense serial novel here on my blog! Year of the Dog is a (second) prequel to my Warubozu Spa Chronicles series. Year of the Dog serial novel by Camy Tang Marisol Mutou, a professional dog trainer, is having a bad year. While renovating her new dog kenneling and training facility, she needs to move in with her disapproving family, who have always made her feel inadequate—according to them, a job requiring her to be covered in dog hair and slobber is an embarrassment to the family. She convinces her ex-boyfriend to take her dog for a few months … but discovers that his brother is the irate security expert whose car she accidentally rear-ended a few weeks earlier. Ashwin Keitou has enough problems. His aunt has just shown up on his doorstep, expecting to move in with him, and he can’t say no because he owes her everything—after his mother walked out on them, Aunt Nell took in Ashwin and his brother and raised them in a loving Chri

GONE MISSING and the TV show Supernatural

I admit that my husband, Captain Caffeine, and I really liked the TV show Supernatural . We started watching the episodes from season 1 on syndication on cable TV and just got completely hooked. I’m not a huge horror fan, but my husband likes to watch it occasionally, and I ended up liking the show because it had so much humor and tongue-in-cheek moments. I liked that it simply didn’t take itself all that seriously, which made for entertaining TV (despite the monsters). So while I was writing my romantic suspense, Gone Missing , I admit I might have been a little bit influenced by Supernatural . Those of you who have read my blog already know that I completely suck at coming up with character names. I was staring at my computer, trying to find a name for a minor character, when I had the brain fart breakthrough to use the names of the characters from Supernatural . Bwahahahahahahaha! At last count, there are about 33 references to Supernatural in Gone Missing , although a co

Year of the Dog serial novel

About Year of the Dog : A month or two ago, I remembered an old manuscript I had completed but which hadn’t sold. It was a contemporary romance meant for Zondervan, titled Year of the Dog . The book had gone into the pipeline and I even got another title ( Bad Dog ) and a cover for it, but eventually my editor at the time decided she didn’t want to publish it, for various reasons. She instead requested a romantic suspense, and so I cannibalized some of the characters from Year of the Dog and thrust them into the next book I wrote, which was Protection for Hire . Honestly, I didn’t take a lot from Year of the Dog to put in Protection for Hire , aside from character names and a few relationship ties. I was originally thinking I’d post Year of the Dog as-is on my blog as a free read, but then it occurred to me that I could revamp it into a romantic suspense and change the setting to Hawaii. It would work out perfectly as (yet another) prequel to the Warubozu series and introduce

Year of the Dog serial novel, chapter 6

I’m posting a Humorous Christian Romantic Suspense serial novel here on my blog! Year of the Dog is a (second) prequel to my Warubozu Spa Chronicles series. Year of the Dog serial novel by Camy Tang Marisol Mutou, a professional dog trainer, is having a bad year. While renovating her new dog kenneling and training facility, she needs to move in with her disapproving family, who have always made her feel inadequate—according to them, a job requiring her to be covered in dog hair and slobber is an embarrassment to the family. She convinces her ex-boyfriend to take her dog for a few months … but discovers that his brother is the irate security expert whose car she accidentally rear-ended a few weeks earlier. Ashwin Keitou has enough problems. His aunt has just shown up on his doorstep, expecting to move in with him, and he can’t say no because he owes her everything—after his mother walked out on them, Aunt Nell took in Ashwin and his brother and raised them in a loving Chri

Camille Elliot's November newsletter

My Camille Elliot (Christian Regency Romantic Suspense) newsletter went out this week, but in case you missed it, the link is below. In my newsletter this month, there’s an update on my personal life and publishing schedule, and I also announced the release of my new book, Lady Wynwood’s Spies 4: Betrayer ! Click here to read my Camille Elliot newsletter for November. I also forgot to post the link for the October newsletter, so you can click here to read it.

ひとり寿司第24章パート1

「ひとり寿司」をブログに連載します! ひとり寿司 寿司シリーズの第一作 キャミー・タング 西島美幸 訳 スポーツ狂のレックス・坂井 —— いとこのマリコが数ヶ月後に結婚することにより、「いとこの中で一番年上の独身女性」という内輪の肩書を「勝ち取る」ことについては、あまり気にしていない。コントロールフリークの祖母を無視するのは容易だ —— しかし、祖母は最終通告を出した —— マリコの結婚式までにデート相手を見つけなければ、無慈悲な祖母は、レックスがコーチをしている女子バレーボールチームへの資金供給を切ると言う。 ダグアウトにいる選手全員とデートに出かけるほど絶望的なわけではない。レックスは、バイブルスタディで読んだ「エペソの手紙」をもとに「最高の男性」の条件の厳しいリストを作った。バレーボールではいつも勝つ —— ゲームを有利に進めれば、必ず成功するはずだ。 そのとき兄は、クリスチャンではなく、アスリートでもなく、一見何の魅力もないエイデンを彼女に引き合わせる。 エイデンは、クリスチャンではないという理由で離れていったトリッシュという女の子から受けた痛手から立ち直ろうとしている。そして、レックスが(1)彼に全く興味がないこと、(2)クリスチャンであること、(3)トリッシュのいとこであることを知る。あの狂った家族とまた付き合うのはごめんだ。まして、偽善的なクリスチャンの女の子など、お断り。彼はマゾヒストじゃない。 レックスは時間がなくなってきた。いくら頑張っても、いい人は現れない。それに、どこへ行ってもエイデンに遭遇する。あのリストはどんどん長くなっていくばかり —— 過去に掲載済みのストーリーのリンクはこちらです。 *** 24 トイレに行きたい。 手術台の上で何時間寝ていたのか知らないが、レックスは天井を見つめ、すっかり目が覚めていた。寝袋の中で寝そべっているビーナスの小さいいびきは、CPMマシーンが足を曲げ伸ばしするリズミカルな機械音と呼応しているようだ。 かわいそうなビーナス。あのネズミのことについて尋ねる余裕もなく(あの後、まだ見かけていない)、レックスのために全てを整えた後、疲れ果てて倒れ込んだ。今、彼女を起こすことはできない。 マシーンが足を曲げると、頭がかべにぶつかった。ベッドのバカ。

Toilet seat cover

Captain’s Log, Supplemental Update August 2008: I wrote up the pattern for this with "improvements"! Here's the link to my No Cold Bums toilet seat cover ! Okay, remember a few days ago I was complaining about the cold toilet seat in my bathroom? Well, I decided to knit a seat cover. Not a lid cover, but a seat cover. I went online and couldn’t find anything for the seat, just one pattern for the lid by Feminitz.com . However, I took her pattern for the inside edge of the lid cover and modified it to make a seat cover. Here it is! It’s really ugly stitch-wise because originally I made it too small and had to extend it a couple inches on each side. I figured I’d be the one staring at it, so who cared if the extension wasn’t perfectly invisible? I used acrylic yarn since, well, that’s what I had, and also because it’s easy to wash. I’ll probably have to wash this cover every week or so, but it’s easy to take off—I made ties which you can see near the back of the s