Monday, December 10, 2018

Lilian Duncan & Rick Iekel


To Hope-Inspired Stories, for anyone who'd like to discover more about books and stories that uplift and encourage.

Several years ago, while teaching high school art, I found out I was as thrilled as my students when they won awards or were acknowledged for their accomplishments, and that promoting other people's good works was very gratifying. 

So it's my hope you are blessed with a message of grace through the words of authors featured here. Please join me each week as writers of fiction, nonfiction, and devotionals; of romance, mystery, historical and contemporary stories share their work. 

To help me celebrate the upcoming holidays this month are Rick Iekel, author of "House with a Heart," who belongs to a local writers' group, and Lilian Duncan, a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, and author of  "Is Santa Real? (by "Auntie Em" --Lilian). I had the privilege of illustrating both.

Please leave a comment to be in a drawing for your choice of either book.   

"House With A Heart" Stranded on a remote country road, Jessie and her Native American friend, Rose Mary, seek shelter from a storm in an old abandoned house. But, this house has a past, a spirit and a voice. After a rocky introduction, the house shares the story of its first occupants. This story is the tale of nearly every pioneer family in the rural Town of Ashford, New York.
The year is 1848. With only a wagon, a few belongings, two oxen and a cow, Michael and Sarah bring their young family to the recently opened wilderness of Northern Cattaraugus County. This formerly forbidden land of the Seneca Nation was, until recent years, nearly cut off from civilization by the rugged Cattaraugus Creek to the north and the deep forests of tier upon tier of hills and valleys to the south.
Follow the story of a real family in a real place at another time in history. Share in their joys and sorrows as they overcome the hardships of the wilderness to begin a new life in a tiny area of Western New York known as “Franktown”.

Author: Rick Iekel 

“Is Santa Real?”  That’s the question every parent dreads to hear but will have to answer sooner or later. This sweet story will guide your child from the mythological Santa to the very real Jesus in a way they’ll understand and still keep the awe and wonder of Christmas alive in their heart.

Author: Lilian Duncan ("Auntie Em")

Reminder: The authors presented here value your insights, so don't forget to leave a comment. You will be included in a drawing for a book by the author featured during that week. 

...And as a follower of Hope-Inspired Stories, your name will be added to a multiple-prize drawing at the end of this month. December's giveaway: a pretty tote filled with gifts that include this month's DVD: "
When Calls the Heart: The Christmas Wishing Tree, " a journal, a 25.00 gift card, lovely organic handmade bath soap and more, all reflecting this month's holiday mood. 

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things and the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:8).

Hope-Inspired Stories Photo:  The beautiful photo of Sodus Bay, N.Y. during a particularly harsh storm on Lake Ontario earlier this year was taken by photographer and sister in Christ, Ginger Strom. Note the courageous lone seagull taking flight in the upper right corner of the photo.   

Thank you...May you all be blessed and inspired! 


  1. Both books look enticing. Maybe I didn't read far enough, but I missed the age group the Is Santa Real book is for.

    Bonnie Engstrom

    1. Hi Bonnie! A great question...After consulting with the author, she replied that it was typically for children between the ages of five and seven, or whenever they start asking those types of questions. For readers, I feel it's for a level 2 and up. A Level 2 book is usually good for ages 5 to 8.

  2. Is Santa Real? sounds like a great answer to the question that floats in young minds around this time of year. And, House with a Heart sounds like a fun read for a snowy afternoon by the fire. Thanks for introducing these two titles.

    Judythe Morgan

  3. Didn't you illustrate for Is Santa Real, Pat? Both books sound interesting. Have a blessed Christmas, my friend.

  4. Hi Chappy--Yes; I illustrated both :) Two authors.

  5. Great job with the cover art, Pat! I've read parts of Rick's book that he's read at the B&N Writer's Group. I can attest to his creativity and passion for storytelling. IS SANTA REAL? sounds like a very good book to help guide kids from thinking Christmas is about Santa to its true meaning. Looking forward to reading about other authors' books as well.

  6. The covers are beautiful. I love the idea of "Is Santa Real?" - turning a childhood fantasy into faith - something meaningful and enduring. "House with a Heart" sounds soulful. It's fascinating to get a glimpse into the lives and daily struggles and joys of people who came before us. Thanks for sharing information about these books and about their authors with us.