Saturday, October 1, 2011

Elaine Marie Cooper's The Promise of Deer Run

Elaine Marie Cooper grew up in Massachusetts but now lives in the Midwest with her husband, her three dogs and one huge cat. She has two married sons and triplet grandchildren who are now one and a half years old. Elaine’s only daughter, Bethany, passed away in 2003 from a brain tumor.

Her debut novel, The Road to Deer Run, was a finalist in the 2011 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, received an Honorable Mention in the 2011 Los Angeles Book Festival, and was a Clash of the Titles Champion for “Most Romantic Moment.”

The sequel, entitled The Promise of Deer Run, was just released.

A registered nurse, Elaine is also a regular contributor to three blogs for writers: The Barn Door, Reflections In Hindsight , and Faith, Fiction, and Friends.

You can find Elaine online at
FaceBook profile,
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Promise of Deer Run

The Year is 1790.

The American Revolution has long been over, but the wounds of battle still linger in the hearts and minds of many.

A veteran Continental soldier still awaits the return of his missing father, years after the last battle. Haunted by the painful memories of war and scarred from betrayal in love, the young man turns away from faith. The only hope he clings to is that perhaps his father still lives.

Then he discovers his hope is shared by a young woman, who understands loss and the longing for a father. As they encounter this unexpected connection, their hearts become drawn together. But jealousy, slander, and misunderstandings ignite a fire of doubt and mistrust—destroying their relationship.

Can two souls longing for healing and trust, love again? Can faith—and a family—be restored?

Here's an excerpt of The Promise of Deer Run:

“Huzzah! It’s over! The treaty’s been signed! Huzzah!”

The news the troops had been awaiting for months was now a reality: the Americans had won the war against England. The United States of America was free and independent that spring of 1783. Eight long years of battle had proven victorious for the colonists.

Nineteen-year-old Nathaniel Stearns emerged from the small wooden barracks at West Point, New York. He had slept fitfully all night, finally falling into a deep slumber just before dawn. He abruptly awoke when the cheers reached his ears. He rubbed his eyes and squinted at the early morning sun.

“It’s really over?” he said, shading his eyes as he spoke to the jubilant private.

“Over and done, once for all! Johnny Bull is going back where he belongs!” shouted the soldier. “Come! Let’s share a gill of the good creature to celebrate!”

“You go on. I’ll be there in a bit.”

Nathaniel stood by himself as the others ran toward the hogshead of rum that the officers brought out for celebration.

But the elation of this moment was blighted for young Corporal Stearns. The last three years of war had brought more than their share of personal losses, overshadowing the joy of victory. Nathaniel had borne the death of a close comrade, as well as the betrayal of his childhood sweetheart. He would never be the same after seeing his best friend’s face blown away by enemy fire. That memory visited Nathaniel’s sleep on a regular basis, like an unwelcome visitor you wish you had never met.

As he turned back toward the barracks, Nathaniel caught a glimpse of his father approaching. Sergeant Benjamin Stearns had been away from home for the duration of the war, with an occasional furlough to visit his family in Deer Run. The years away from home had deepened the lines around the older man’s eyes and mouth. The jovial man of Nathaniel’s youthful memories had been replaced by a more somber gentleman with a slight stoop about his shoulders.

The younger soldier immediately noticed the change that the news of victory brought to his father’s countenance. He was smiling.

“Father.” Nathaniel stood at attention.

“At ease.” The older man grinned from ear to ear. “Nathaniel, I’m certain you want to celebrate with the lads.” His grin slowly faded as he grew more serious. “But I’m asking you to consider heading back home as soon as you can. Here are your discharge papers. I asked the captain to prepare yours first. I want you to go home and stay at the farm. Check on your mother and brother and sisters.” The older man’s voice caught in his throat. “My heart weighs heavy with worry. Please…”

Nathaniel interrupted him. “I’ll pack immediately, sir. You can count on me.” The young man saluted his father.

Benjamin Stearns looked fondly at his oldest child. “I’ve always been able to count on you, son. You’ve always made me proud.”

Tears began to well in both men’s eyes. The older man cleared his throat and forced his shoulders to attention.

“Well then. Be on your way, lad,” Sergeant Stearns commanded quietly.

“Yes, sir.” Nathaniel sniffed sharply and wiped off his face. “Father, when will you return home? What shall I tell Mother?”

“Tell her … I’ll be home forthwith. Tell her to look through her golden curtains and watch me arrive with the sun.” He smiled. “I know how much your mother delights in seeing the sunrise through her only window.”

Nathaniel couldn’t help but smile at the thought. The two men embraced and his father turned away to join the celebration.

Returning to the barracks, Nathaniel gathered his few belongings. When he stepped out the door to begin the long walk to Deer Run, he searched the crowd of joyous troops for a glimpse of his father, but he could see him nowhere. Nathaniel approached the group, grabbed the half cup of rum allotted to each soldier, and downed the drink in two quick gulps. He threw his satchel over his shoulder and started the journey home.


It took nearly a week to walk from the encampment in New York to the outskirts of Deer Run. Nearing the family farm, he desperately hoped that his mother or brother or sisters—someone—would burst out the front door to greet him. It had been three years since Nathaniel was home and until this moment he did not realize just how homesick he was.

Approaching the log cabin, he only heard the wind as a hollow, haunting sound stirring the trees in the woods. Chilled air swept against his neck and he pulled his collar up higher. The smell of rain infused his nostrils.

“Mother?” he said, his voice filled with apprehension.

He slowly opened the heavy wooden door, crafted years ago by his father. “Ethan? Sadie? Hello?”

His heart almost stopped as he saw that the cabin was deserted. He looked slowly around the room. There were no linens, no dishes, no food cooking in the hearth. Even the yellow curtains that his mother was so fond of were gone.

What has happened? Where is everyone?

He noticed a letter nailed to the wall above the chest of drawers. He walked across the room with unsteady legs and removed the old parchment.

His hands trembled as he began to read the note, dated September 30, 1780:

Dearest Benjamin and Nathaniel,

It is with great sadness that I have been forced to leave our home. Ethan took ill some months after Nathaniel left. Despite our greatest efforts to treat his terrible fever, dearest Ethan went home to heaven. My heart is still breaking.

As I am unable to keep up the farm, my sister Abigail in Boston has kindly offered to take in the three girls and me. I am in despair that I may never see either of you again.

Please send word of your safekeeping and come to Boston as soon as you are able. I await word of my brave men.

With loving regard,

Your Wife and Mother

The paper dropped to the floor without Nathaniel taking notice. He stood there silently for a moment before racing out the door to the burial ground up near the woods.

Tears stung at his eyes. Strands of his long blond hair whipped his face, clinging to the moisture on his cheeks. Frantic, the young man almost tripped more than once on the mass of weeds growing in the old cornfield.

“This cannot be!” he cried, but his voice was lost in the howling wind.

Arriving at the gravesite, the cold letters on the tombstone told the tragic truth:

“Ethan Stearns, born January 19, 1766, died September 2, 1780.”

Nathaniel’s fingers slowly etched the chiseled letters. He outlined them repeatedly with trembling hands encrusted with mud.

Ethan was indeed dead.

The young veteran fell to his knees and shook his head slowly back and forth.

“No. No. No!”

Sobs wracked his body with rhythmic waves. He would have raised a fist toward heaven … if he only had the strength.

You can purchase The Promise of Deer Run from Amazon.

Elaine is giving away a copy of The Promise of Deer Run. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.


marybelle said...

I thoroughly enjoyed the excerpt for THE PROMISE OF DEER RUN thank you.


Anonymous said...

This book sounds good.


CarlybirdK said...

I tried to win a copy of Elaine's previous book many times without success. I hope to win this book :-)

Thank you!

Tracy Smith said...

This sounds like a wonderful book. I would love the chance to read it. Thank you for hosting this giveaway.

countrysunset40 (at) aol dot com

wfnren said...

This looks like a great read, thanks for doing the giveaway.


ann said...

This is a book that I would really enjoy reading please enter me

amhengst at verizon dot net

Judy said...

If I win a copy of The Promise Of Deer Run, I will definitely be purchasing The Road To Deer Run and read that first! This books sounds so good.

On a personal note, I was sorry to read that Elaine's Daughter Bethany passed away in 2003 from a brain tumor. My husband passed away on May 15th 2003 from a brain tumor. So I know a little of the pain and grief that Elaine and her family have suffered. My strength came from God.


Amy said...

I have not read the first book or heard of this author before, but I love reading new authors. This book sounds great.

sweetdarknectar at gmail dot com

Elaine Marie Cooper said...

Ladies, so glad you came by to visit and comment! If you return tomorrow and comment, you'll have another chance to win my novel. Hope to "see" you tomorrow! Blessings to all of you!

Elaine Marie Cooper said...

And @ Judy, my condolences to you on your loss as well. It sounds like 2003 was a terrible year for both of us. I pray that your "New Normal" is filled with peace and blessings. ((HUGS)) My strength was definitely from the Lord as I had none of my own to get me through this heartbreaking loss.

Teresa Mathews said...

This book sounds wonderful...thanks for the chance to win it! :)

Marianne said...

Thanks Esther for hosting this giveaway, and for having Elaine. i would love to win the book The Promise of Deer Run.


Carol N Wong said...

Great excerpt! This story sounds so good!


Amanda Stephan said...

I've met Elaine Cooper, but haven't had the pleasure of reading her books yet. Going to! Thank you for hosting her here today. This book sounds very good.

apple blossom said...

oh, please enter me thanks

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Marianne said...

Excerpts and trailers spoil the book for just want to read the whole book. Thanks for the chance to win.


Patsy said...

Wow, triplet grandchildren! I bet that's fun! The Promise of Deer Run sounds really good. Looking forward to reading it.


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