Today I’m happy to welcome author Angela Breidenbach to the blog for an author spotlight and more. Read through to the end to find out how you can enter to win her giveaway.
Sometimes the most surprising discoveries don’t seem possible. In researching Queen of the Rockies, and the entire series, I fell in love with the history of Montana. Most of the series is set in Helena, the state capitol. But a couple of things caught my attention. One of those things was how difficult two of the major players were in Montana concerning transportation.
The two men were so competitive that no one could get to work on time in the 1880s because one man owned a trolley system that went one direction, and the other man owned the system that crossed in the other direction. These two fellows refused to compromise and match up the schedules for people to transfer between the trollies. Understanding who these men were helps me to understand people haven’t changed much over the centuries! And, this historical tidbit was a one-liner found in a newspaper article written in frustration by someone who was tired of being late to work!
What do you think about when you’re alone in your car?
I love this question! You made me laugh because my car time is very eclectic like my writing. My brain is really all over the place. When I’m alone in my car I run through anything that strikes me including story ideas. I wrote an entire story in my head in the car once. Sometimes it’s a great time to pray. When the worries of the world are pressing in on me, the car on long drives is a great place to have long talks with God. Then other times I’m singing at the top of my lungs or listening to my favorite podcasts.
Tell us about your next book & when is it being published?
Queen of the Rockies is followed by book 2, Song of the Rockies in the 6-book Queen of the Rockies series with monthly debuts from Sep 1, 2021 through Feb. 1, 2022. Song of the Rockies is the story of a sweet music teacher given one chance or else! Evan Russell lost everything-his ranch, his wife, and now after trusting relatives with his young son, even his little boy is gone. How can a beautiful symphony of the heart come from chaos?
Song of the Rockies is the October release followed by Heart of the Rockies in November and Flower of the Rockies in December.
Why do you write the kind of books you do?
I love genealogy, history, and finding an unusual story hidden in long forgotten documents, books, and newspapers. Writing historical fiction with elements of romance and genealogy lets me explore those hidden nuggets fully. I get to imagine what the people would have said and done. When I walk into a castle ruin or a historical home, it’s like time travel to me. When I write, I want to create that sense of traveling back in time for my reader, too. Sharing the truth of history, even through fictional characters who interact with real historical people, is important for the integrity of the story, time, and place. You never know, you might find your ancestor in one of my books!
How has being published changed your life?
Being published gave me the confidence that I could be me the way that God designed me to be. Now I’m fearless in going after the goals I believe God put inside me from before I was born.
I have beautiful full color bookplates for each book in the series. If anyone would like me to sign a set and mail it to you for free, I’d be delighted to do that for you. Send me your address via the contact page on my website (AngelaBreidenbach.com) and I’ll send you a bookplate for each book in the series.
QUESTION FOR READERS:
I included Montana travel tips in the back of Queen of the Rockies for people who’d like to visit. What do you think of when you imagine visiting Montana?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Angela Breidenbach is a professional genealogist, media personality, bestselling author, and screenwriter. She’s also the Christian Authors Network president. Angie lives in Montana with her hubby and Muse, a trained fe-lion, who shakes hands, rolls over, and jumps through a hoop. Surprisingly, Angie can also. Don’t miss her show and podcast, Genealogy Publishing Coach!
Find Angie on any social media: @AngBreidenbach
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/angelabreidenbach
Queen of the Rockies
Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. Matthew 7: 12, KJV
Helena, Montana Territory—November 7, 1889
Stop that!” Calista Blythe wrestled her skirts free from the insistent waif. “What are you doing?” She twisted around in a circle as she collapsed the umbrella, dodging packages as they tumbled. Calista waited for her carriage to circle back down Main Street, the newly erected Power Building’s massive stone walls seemed a good idea to keep her out of the sharp wind. But Calista hadn’t counted on a street urchin to mug her. They were getting too brazen — and desperate —with winter descending on Montana. What could she do about dozens of orphans dumped off of trains? Something had to be done for the abandoned children no one adopted when they reached the last stop on the Orphan Train route. No one did. Calista’s heart squeezed a little.
The child twisted her hands into Calista’s blue velvet coat and held on like a bedraggled kitten clawed into a tree trunk. “Please miss, don’t let ‘im whip me no more.” The little girl whimpered in a heavy Irish brogue as tears ran muddy rivers on her reddened cheeks, and she trembled in the cold.
“Who?” Calista craned to see around the corner of the grayish pink battered stone of the business building that served Helena, Montana’s Last Chance Gulch. She caught sight of Albert Shanahan’s handsome, stunned face as he endured confrontation with an angry manservant. The thin switch whistled through the air and slapped against the butler’s gloved palm.
Calista’s body rattled with an involuntary shudder. “Oh my!” Calista ducked back
before she drew attention as the manservant entered a nearby shop. Had the little bumpkin been whacked with that weapon? “Why are you in trouble?”
Get your copy of Queen of the Rockies: https://angelabreidenbach.com/angelas-books/
The Gathering Table by Kathryn Springer — Winsome Lake, Wisconsin, is postcard pretty, but for personal chef Jessica Keaton it’s also a last resort. Fired from her dream job, Jess is starting over as a live-in cook and housekeeper. When she arrives, she finds her new employer is in rehab after having a stroke, and Jess expects she’ll be all alone in Elaine Haviland’s quaint house. A chef with no one to cook for. Instead, she encounters a constant stream of colorful visitors who draw her back into the world. (Contemporary/Women’s Fiction from Love Inspired (Harlequin))
The Heart of Splendid Lake by Amy Clipston — When Brianna Porter’s father unexpectedly dies, Brianna is steeped in grief and guilt—then left alone to clean up the mess. To make matters worse, a constant stream of real estate brokers begins marching through her property, offering to buy the family land. In particular, she keeps running into handsome real estate mogul Scott Gibson. As Brianna struggles to keep it all together, Scott finds his way into her heart. And as the two fight against their feelings, they just might find themselves forging a surprising and exciting new love at Splendid Lake. (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing (Thomas Nelson and Zondervan))
A Midnight Dance by Joanna Davidson Politano — All theater romances are tragedies. Ella Blythe knows this. Still, she cannot help but hope her own story may turn out different than most–and certainly different than the tragic story of the Ghost of Craven Street Theater. (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing (Thomas Nelson and Zondervan))
Brides of the Old West by Amanda Cabot — Four unlikely couples. Four unexpected chances at happiness. Four unforgettable stories of love and faith in the Old West. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)
Daria’s Duke by Linda Shenton Matchett — After the death of her father, Daria Burke is thrust into the role of a servant by her stepmother. Locked in her room one night, Daria watches as the woman and her daughters sashay from the house wearing her mother’s gowns and jewelry. Realizing she’ll never be accepted as family, she flees the house and applies to be a mail-order bride. Then the sheriff arrives on the eve of her wedding with an arrest warrant. Can she prove her innocence or will she go to jail and lose her one chance at happiness? (Historical Romance from Shortwave Press)
Hers to Love by Sherrinda Ketchersid — Fiona McGowan, a beautiful Scottish widow without hope for a family of her own, travels to St. Mary’s Convent to become a nun. In route she is kidnapped by handsome Highlander Adam MacIntosh in a case of mistaken identity. Adam, laird of the MacIntosh clan, is attempting to free his brother held captive by the rival Fergus clan. The failure of his plan leaves him reeling with betrayal, death, and a wee babe in sore need of a healer. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)
The Notorious Noel Caper by Sally Carpenter — A former teen idol investigates murders at a Christmas theme park while he tries to figure out his relationship with his girlfriend. (Mystery/Cozy from Cozy Cat Press)
The Secret of Emerald Cottage by Julie Lessman — Twenty-five-year-old Molly Stewart—ex-Navy nurse and former evidence technician for the Charleston Police Department—has been burned by love. So when her friend, Pastor Chase Griffin, begs her to move to scenic Lake Loon to be a nurse and companion for Miss Lilly, his elderly landlady, she jumps at the chance. The secluded and cozy cottage on a clear mountain lake seems the perfect place to heal from her fiancé’s betrayal as well as indulge in one of her greatest passions—cozy romance. First with reading them by the bookcase and then hopefully, if dreams come true, writing and solving them one day as an author and detective. But when Miss Lilly’s estranged great nephew shows up, it’s no mystery as to why he and Molly butt heads. Because it only takes one stolen kiss—while she’s sleeping, no less—to discover he’s an even bigger player than the ex-fiancé who broke her heart. (Romance/Mystery, Independently Published)
Home Run by Cathe Swanson — Phoebe Schenstrom’s always been a bit bossy. After all, she’s the oldest of ten children, has worked as a nanny and run the children’s ministry at the Unity Plenkiss Community Center for three years. But when a clash – or two – with clients leads to her suspension, she needs to prove that she’s more than a babysitter. (Romantic Suspense, Independently Published)
Personal Threat by Kimberly Rose Johnson — Christmas is supposed to be the happiest time of the year, but when Sally’s young daughter, Emma, becomes the target of child traffickers, and the little girl’s biological father wants Sally dead, the Christmas season takes a dark turn. Police officer, Dillon Brady, responds to a call for help at the home of his friend and Protection Inc. bodyguard, Sally Wilson. When their relationship tips beyond friendship, Dillon is determined no one will hurt Sally or her daughter again. Will his resolve be enough? (Romantic Suspense, Independently Published)
The Next Fithian: An Ordinary Teen on a Strange, New World by Rick Barry — Was this a new life – or a death sentence? When Rankin Johnson boards a flight to Israel, he expects an adventure in archeology. But the airplane comes under attack and explodes in midair. Rankin shouts, “God, I’m yours!” Instantly, he’s in some other place. An angel informs Rankin the Lord is pleased to accept his offer. He dubs Rankin “the next Fithian” – a messenger from God, not to Earth, but to planet Zemna in the alternate dimension. What happened to the previous Fithian? “He was killed,” the angel says before vanishing. (Speculative Fiction/Soft Science Fiction, Independently Published)
Plus check out these recent additions to Fiction Finder published within the past month:
Today I’m excited to host author Izzy James as we discuss her writing and more. Read through to the end to find out how you can enter her giveaway.
Why did you choose this setting and time period?
I craft my books to an historical landscape that is as close to real as I can make it. So far my books take place in Virginia, because that’s where I’m from. I grew up in coastal Virginia near to all the well-known historic landmarks, like Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown. I have been fascinated by all things Colonial for a long time.
The people who colonized our nation were a lusty and hardy people. I think we would be a bit surprised at how down-to-earth they were should we run across a traveler from that time somewhere. Their speech would sound a bit Elizabethan to our ears, but we could figure out their meaning without too much trouble. It was a slower time. A time governed by seasons and harvests. A time when family was paramount. A time of dancing and holiday house parties. Of scientific experimentation, of religious exploration.
My latest release is The Dollmaker’s Daughter the second in my War of Independence series. If you’ve read The Shopkeeper’s Widow you will recognize Amity Archer, Field’s sister. It’s 1776 and Amity, as strong-willed as her doll-maker mother, wishes to be travel writer. More than anything, she dreams of exploring the mountains. It’s a second chance love story. The War for Independence is skirmishing its way forward while Amity and Simon head to the mountains.
My favorite part of writing is the actual writing itself. Paragraphs and sentences, a sharp bit of dialogue. I love that part. I also love research, reading non-fiction stimulates my imagination.
My least favorite part of writing is pushing the send button to my editor. I’m always hopeful that the book I’ve written will be good enough, I’m always relieved when I hear back that it’s passed inspection! 🙂
If you’d like to hear more about my books including new releases feel free to subscribe to my newsletter: https://vr2.verticalresponse.com/s/websitesignupform0708201983447pm
I also do a Christmas Club. Each Christmas I hand write a card and pray for each person that signed up for my Christmas Club. I send cards all over the world. If you would like to receive a Christmas card from me please sign up.
READERS, leave a comment below to enter her giveaway for a chance to win an e-book copy of The Dollmaker’s Daughter.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Izzy grew up on the Chesapeake Bay in coastal Virginia. She lives there still with her fabulous husband in a house brimming with books.
February 1776 Miller’s Ordinary, just outside of Williamsburg, Virginia Colony
“Well, Miss Archer, it has been a long time,” The grinning innkeeper bellowed loud enough to be heard in the yard. He rubbed his meaty hands together.
Amity cast quick glance into the main parlor. A cold rivulet slipped from her sodden cloak into her shoe. Yes, all the guests had taken note of his announcement of Amity’s arrival. All went back to what they were doing when she caught their eye, except a tableful of men in hunting shirts dyed the same shade of indigo. They did not avert their gazes when she noticed them, rather she had the distinct impression she was assessed as one might look over a new dog. An involuntary shiver ran down her shoulders.
Lucy, her maid, took a step closer.
Amity suppressed the chill, straightened her back, and turned to her host.
“Is your father with the carriage?” he asked.
“No, Mr. Burwell. My father was detained and will arrive tomorrow.”
A puzzled look passed through his features before his smile returned. “Well, your rooms are ready.” He waved a large hand toward a slender girl. “Mary, show Miss Archer to her room.”
Amity said her thanks and followed Mary up a windowless flight of stairs to the second floor. Lucy followed them.
One dormer of six window lights cast watery shadows across a wooden framed bed. A cheery fire in the grate forced gloom into the corners of the small room.
“Mary, who are those men in the blue shirts in the chamber?”
Mary’s blue eyes widened. “Shirtmen. They are riflemen come from Norfolk to protect us from the British.”
Amity stiffened. “They are not here, are they?”…
Today I’m happy to welcome Richard Marrison from https://www.historyten.com/ to share some history of Cleopatra and Mark Antony. Happy Reading!
The true love story of Cleopatra and Marc Antony is a fascinating and moving tale of love and sacrifice. This epic story brought together two formidable players from Rome and Egypt, the best of both worlds, only to shatter them to pieces.
After the assassination of Julius Caesar, his favored man, Marcus Antonius of Rome, became the powerful man in the world. Similarly, residing in her mansion was the beautiful and powerful woman, Cleopatra VII Philopator of Egypt.
They fell in love, fought, defeated, and went to the grave together. Apart from a few other names such as Nero, Caesar, Augustus, Plato, and Aristotle, Cleopatra and Antony are ubiquitous in Roman history.
Antony and Cleopatra’s Decadent Date
Roman General Antony, along with the other members of the Second Triumvirate, Octavian and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, ruled the land of Rome among themselves. The eastern provinces were handed over to Antony, who began a quest to restructure their army, locate military funding outlets, and avenge the Parthians to whom they had lost in 53 B.C. The original plan was chalked out by Caesar, whose ardent follower, Antony, shouldered the execution.
For pure politics, Antony headed over to the eastern provinces of Rome, where Hellenistic cultures were entrapped. Little did he know during his journey that his fate would change forever. His fascination with the culture’s grandiose booked him a tour and landed him at Tarsus (now Southern Turkey), where he sent a message for the Queen of Egypt to meet in the city. His goal: to consolidate their ties and tap into Egypt’s abundant wealth and focal location.
It seemed like a golden opportunity even for Cleopatra as she wanted to strengthen her throne and conquer other kingdoms. She deliberately delayed her arrival to tease his anticipation. Perhaps to give him a taste of rendezvous with the Queen of Egypt, she left him an unforgettable memory for a lifetime.
She sailed down in a splendid boat with silver oars and musicians playing for her dramatic entry. Dripping in gold, she looked no less than Aphrodite, the Greek Goddess of Love. This extraordinary display of luxury left the onlookers agape with incredulity; even Antony’s guards raced to catch a glimpse of this elusive beauty.
Her preparation for the meeting was as immaculate as her entrance. She had planned a feast for the Roman General and decorated the dining area in plush couches and precious gemstones. Antony was overwhelmed by the charm of the place and the intelligence and confidence of the Queen.
Cleopatra was well aware of ways to woo Caesar and that Antony stood no chance and would succumb to her extravagance. More importantly, she knew he was enamored by her when they’d met in Alexandria for the first time, fourteen years before.
No sooner had they been introduced they began their love affair. It was the winter of 40-41 B.C. in Alexandria, where this power couple spent their time drinking wine and rejoicing in each intimate moment. Antony and Cleopatra ventured into new paths–both figuratively and literally as they made brief escapes into the night dressed as slaves.
Through the account of Plutarch, we know about their covert adventures, one of which almost ignited suspicion. Similarly, banquets were lavish, and as many as four roasted boars were present on the dining table, prepared for a meager 12 people.
They exhibited an unusual, inimitable, and unpredictable relationship, just like their appetite. They even named their livelihood of drinking, playing dice, and camaraderie as ‘society of inimitable lovers.’ To quote Plutarch, each member would conjure elegant and frivolous entertainment for the others ‘beyond measure and belief’.
The Double Life of Marc Antony
Marc Antony and Cleopatra were madly in love and were physically involved which resulted in impregnating Cleopatra. However, Marc left for Rome leaving pregnant Cleopatra back in Egypt.
In his absence, Cleopatra gave birth to twins, Alexander Helios and Cleopatra Selene in 40 BC.
Marc, on the other hand, married Octavian’s sister, Octavia, while in Rome. He shifted from the sad and sober Roman General to the cheerful Dionysian of the Greek culture. The dichotomy of characters was often described as the tragedy of Rome and the comedy of Greece.
Eventually, in 37 B.C. in Antioch, the love birds reunited in the capital city of Syria. The temporal gap did not seem to affect their relationship, and they casually carried on as they had in the past.
Thus, Cleopatra sat on the throne, ruling outstretched lands like Israel, Libya, Africa, and Turkey. She had complete power over the north, east, and south, even issuing currency bearing both their countenances.
Cleopatra and Antony traveled together many miles for the years to come, moved to the Mediterranean for military purposes. He was formerly known as a great General, winning over every expedition. However, his military prowess declined after his reunion with Cleopatra, as Plutarch describes it as Cleopatra’s fault that Antony lost his men and control over their foes. Antony’s mind was filled with Cleopatra’s thoughts which led to the weak decisions.
The Donations of Alexandria
Antony captured the kingdom of Armenia and earned ample fortunes from his conquest. He held the former Armenian royal family captive in Alexandria. As he returned to Alexandria, he and Cleopatra performed what was known as the ‘Donations of Alexandria.’
In the open court were placed two golden thrones, occupied by Antony and Cleopatra with a typical crown or cobra and vulture cap adorning her head. Seated right below on four chairs were their children. Antony addressed the court and acknowledged Cleopatra as his New Isis. Such a performance was a direct threat to Octavia, Octavian, and the rest of the Triumvirate back in Rome.
The Eastern dynasty was cemented, which perturbed ease in Rome. Octavian was furious about Antony’s infidelity towards his sister, his deliberate recklessness during warfare, and his little stage show in Alexandria. However, the Triumvirate collapsed in 33 B.C., and Antony even divorced Octavia soon after.
With all formal and informal relations cut off between Antony and Octavian, the latter launched a war against Marc Antony.
The Tragic Ending of an Epic Love Story
Cleopatra and Antony together made a formidable team. Cleopatra’s wealth and Antony’s military skill gave the Roman legions an equally challenging fight. The couple resumed their extravagance and partying with the reformed name, ‘Companions to the Death.’
Many men and advisors of Antony fled to avoid the dreadful war brewing on the near horizon.
Octavian’s forces were battled by Antony single-handedly while Cleopatra was occupied with the mausoleum, where her luxurious assets took refuge. Octavian was distressed about the wealth of Egypt, which would be lost in oblivion with the disappearance of Cleopatra.
The Roman forces landed in Greece and launched a food embargo on Egypt to weaken them. Antony heeded Cleopatra’s words and prepared for sea warfare.
Thus, the Battle of Actium was fought in 31 B.C. About 900 vessels were fighting at the battle when Cleopatra’s ships fled, leading to the surrender of Antony’s armies.
Cleopatra knew in her bones that Antony would struggle and perish in the battle. However, the Queen wanted to protect her children from the same fate as theirs. Hence, she sent the word of her death so that Antony would follow back.
Upon learning of his beloved’s death, Antony was shattered and confessed that he would soon follow her wherever she was. He meant what he said, for Antony committed suicide right after he heard.
All concerns of the dynasty and the pressure of the war dissolved as Antony made his life’s mission to reunite with Cleopatra in the heavens.
Cleopatra rushed to see the love of her life on his deathbed. She was determined to negotiate and conclude the ongoing war with Octavian. However, when Octavian refused all peace negotiations, Cleopatra lost hope. In despair, she ingested poison and died along with Antony.
Octavian got word of this only later and sent his men to bust open the temple. There, they witnessed the lifeless bodies of Cleopatra and Antony.
With the Queen of Egypt dead, the Romans were victorious and annexed Egypt into Rome. Since then, Octavian was touted as the sole ruler and the most influential person in Rome. It landed him the title of ‘Augustus,’ the sole emperor in 27 B.C.
He rescued Alexander Helios and Cleopatra Selene who were raised personally by Octavia in her homeland. Octavian, by all means, and measures strived to obliterate the names of Marc and Cleopatra from history. Eventually, he had them buried beside each other, known as the Tomb of Antony and Cleopatra.
Their love signified them, and their death immortalized them. Such was their tragic love story that even Shakespeare couldn’t refrain from penning about them. His tragedy—Antony and Cleopatra–inspired by history, has been reinvented and republished time and again via print, media, and staged in theaters.
Their relationship was complicated, yet they remained together, even with the knowledge of their inevitable death. The two were parallel lines with equal intelligence, ambition, and attuned playfulness. But we all know that parallel lines never meet. Thus, Antony and Cleopatra truly stuck by each other till death did them apart. They left a remarkable history of love and loss that the world sings of even today.
Today I’m excited to welcome author Anne Green to the blog as she shares about her latest story.
Dollar Brides is set in Newport, Rhode Island in 1899. I received the inspiration for this story when I spent several days aboard my good friend’s 54 foot sailboat. The harbor is one of the finest in the world and more beautiful than words can express. I immediately fell in love with Newport.
I found the history of the Dollar Brides to be most fascinating. My friends, hubby, and I toured the unbelievably opulent mansions built by the newly rich during the Gilded Age before men had to pay taxes. The homes were built by men whose names are well-known to Americans: The Vanderbilts, the Astors, the Rockefellers among others almost as well known.
But most people don’t know how these newly rich families became the elite top-drawer of society. The wealthy sold their daughters to the highest titled men in England. Read Dollar Brides to discover how these marriages turned out. You will find the history fascinating.
Dollar Brides is available at: https://www.amazon.com/Anne-Greene/e/B004ECUWMG.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Newport, Rhode Island – 1899
What if you are one of the richest daughters in America, and your parents sell you to an unknown English Lord to gain a title for the family?
When Amelia Schermerhorn Astor’s best friend is sold to the elderly Englishman, Lord Suffolk, Amelia vows to stop this appalling form of slavery. No more Dollar Brides.
Amelia’s seen too many of these nightmare negotiations where wealthy fathers treat their daughters as negotiable objects much like they play the stock market. Amelia risks her entire future and fights the system.
After committing a grave mistake during a business trip to England, Bracebridge Brighton III has a choice. The Duke of Richmond gives Brace three options to right the wrong. Circumstances forbid Brace from taking the first two, so he must accept the third … return to Newport and procure a Dollar Bride for the deceitful Duke.
After a highly unorthodox meeting with Amelia, Brace falls in love with the feisty crusader. When Amelia discovers Brace’s mission, she cuts him from her life.
When they clash again will both forfeit their once-in-a-lifetime love?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
ANNE GREENE delights in writing about alpha heroes who aren’t afraid to fall on their knees in prayer, and about gutsy heroines. Her thirty books are available at https://www.amazon.com/Anne-Greene/e/B004ECUWMG. Her latest novel, Trail of Tears, The Story of John Ross, first book in The Ross Family Saga, released in the spring. Her Women of Courage Series spotlights heroic women of World War II, with the first book Angel With Steel Wings available. Enjoy her private investigating series, Handcuffed In Texas by reading the first book, Holly Garden, PI, Red is for Rookie. If you enjoy mysteries, you’ll love Shadow of the Dagger. Try her award-winning Scottish historical romances, Masquerade Marriage and Marriage By Arrangement. Anne’s highest hope is that her stories transport the reader to an awesome new world and touch hearts to seek a deeper spiritual relationship with the Lord Jesus. Visit Anne at AnneGreeneAuthor.com. and at @TheAnneGreene.
Today I’m happy to welcome author Terrie Todd to the blog for an author spotlight and more.
For years, I tried to let the idea go. A story about a Japanese Canadian girl relocated from Vancouver to a Manitoba sugar beet farm during World War II –a farm where the only remaining son was in a POW camp in Japan—was obviously not my story to write. I’m not Japanese. I’m not a history major. I don’t have the experience required to do the copious research. Plus, I am lazy.
So I fought it. Great idea for someone else. Not me. While I resisted, I wrote two other books. Meanwhile, the “big” story would not let me go.
Then, in June of 2018, I learned about a documentary called “Facing Injustice” in which my friend Terry Tully and his mom, Osono, appear. I watched the film three times. I spent that summer reading books, some about the Japanese internment, some about prisoners of war in Japan, some about sugar beet farming. The more I read, the more I argued with God. The story only grew far too big for me.
I kept reading. I kept procrastinating. Finally, I plunged in. Three chapters into the girl’s story, it was time to start writing the soldier’s. I felt stuck. I knew I needed to get this guy from Winnipeg to Japan somehow, but I couldn’t just randomly make stuff up. I prayed for guidance. I’d promised myself I’d stay off Facebook all weekend and just write. But Hubby asked me to log in and check whether his co-worker’s grandbaby had arrived. When I logged in, the first thing I saw was my friend Anita’s Remembrance Day post. She’d left a tribute to her great-uncle, Isaac Friesen, who served with the First Battalion, Winnipeg Grenadiers and ended up in a Japanese POW camp. Five minutes after asking God to show me how to get this kid to Japan, I’m reading about Isaac’s battalion. I found everything I needed to get my fictional soldier where I needed him, including routes taken, dates, and other priceless details.
Other similar “coincidences” occurred during my process, too many to tell here. In February, I attended a writers’ retreat where bestselling author Rachel Hauck worked with me. “If you don’t write this story, I will,” she said. She meant it as encouragement.
I replied, “Yes, please do. I really wish you would.”
When she saw my tears, she asked why I felt such a powerful connection to this story. I could only shrug and cry harder.
“I think it’s yours to tell,” she said. It was my sixtieth birthday.
Comment below to enter the giveaway for a chance to win a free e-copy of “Rose Among Thornes”.
QUESTION FOR READERS:
What topic or historical event would you love to see covered in a novel?
Question 1: What genre do you write in and why?
The first time I sat down to see if I could write a novel, I decided to place the story in the 1940’s for one lazy reason: it’s easier to get your characters into trouble when they don’t have modern technology to bail them out. Turns out writing historical fiction is not for the lazy by any stretch, but I’ve come to love it.
Question 2: What is your least favorite part of writing?
For me, it’s hammering out that first draft. I’m a pantser, so often just getting down that next scene feels like pulling teeth. Once I’ve got that done and can go back and start editing, I love it.
Question 3: Tell us about your next book…
The Last Piece is a split-time novel releasing in November.
Ray Matthew’s dream is to be an artist. But his father’s death during the Great Depression forces him to drop out of art school and support his mother and sister by selling his paintings to a jigsaw puzzle maker.
However, there’s one personal masterpiece Ray vows never to sell: a portrait of his departed sweetheart, Sarah. When compelled to break his oath, Ray speaks a prophecy over the puzzle— that no one will be able to finish it before he and the love of his life are reunited.
During the next 80 years, the puzzle passes through four different households. Though all are profoundly affected by Ray’s girl at the wishing well, none are aware of the connection between them—until one decision unleashes a peculiar chain of events.
When all five journeys converge in visible and invisible ways, each life is strengthened and forever shaped by the lessons offered through one extraordinary puzzle.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Rose Among Thornes has already released for Kindle from Amazon and in print from ChristianBooks.com. Everything else releases August 31, 2021.
War might be raging overseas, but Rose Onishi is on track to fulfill her lifelong goal of becoming a concert pianist. When forced by her government to leave her beloved home in Vancouver and move to the Canadian prairie to work on the Thornes’ sugar beet farm, her dream fades to match the black dirt staining her callused hands. Though the Thorne family is kind, life is unbearably lonely. In hopes that it might win her the chance to play their piano, Rose agrees to write letters to their soldier son.
When Rusty Thorne joins the Canadian Army, he never imagines becoming a Japanese prisoner of war. Inside the camp, the faith his parents instilled is tested like never before. Though he begs God to help him not hate his brutal captors, Rusty can no longer even hear the Japanese language without revulsion. Only his rare letters from home sustain him—especially the brilliant notes from his mother’s charming helper, which the girl signs simply as “Rose.”
Will Rusty survive the war only to encounter the Japanese on his own doorstep? Can Rose overcome betrayal and open her heart? Or will the truth destroy the fragile bond their letters created?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Terrie Todd is an award-winning author of historical and split-time novels, playwright, newspaper columnist, blogger, and recipient of ICFW’s 2018 Janette Oke Award. Terrie and her husband Jon live on the Canadian prairies where her novels are set. They are the parents of three and grandparents of five. Terrie’s idea of embracing the harsh Canadian winters it to curl up with a good book and hot tea in front of her fake fireplace.
Vancouver, Canada – October 1941
She had expected it to be an ordinary Saturday afternoon at the movies. But suddenly, Rose Onishi knew beyond any doubt that she was staring directly at her future. She stood on tiptoe, mesmerized, gazing into the storefront window, her friend Freda tugging on her arm.
“C’mon, Rosie.” Freda was the only one allowed to call her Rosie. “We’ll miss the start of the movie!”
Rose wouldn’t budge. “This is it, Freda. This is the one.” The black satin dress was the most elegant creation Rose had ever seen. Its hem hung gracefully around the mannequin’s ankles, while a generous strip of shimmering silk draped over one shoulder and fell halfway down the back. Simplicity at its most beautiful. “It’s perfect.”
“For your recital?” Freda finally stopped smacking her gum long enough to take a good look, her reflection in the store window emphasizing the contrast between the two girls. Freda’s five feet, nine inches were topped with a mop of wild blonde curls, while her own long, ink-black hair refused to curl no matter how frequently she begged God. Together at every opportunity, the pair had become known as Mutt and Jeff.
“It’s not just any recital.” Rose glanced at Freda just long enough to scowl, then turned back to the exquisite dress. “It’s everything! It determines whether I get the scholarship or not. Which determines whether I go or not. Everything has to be perfect, including what I wear.”
She imagined herself in the dress, the satin sliding over her arms and swirling around her body like a refreshing dip at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach on a hot July day. She saw herself stepping to the stage and taking her seat on the piano bench, the spotlight catching the glimmer of the fabric and whispering “winner” into the judges’ ears before she even began to play.
Freda resumed her gum-chewing. “Your mom can make it for you.”
Rose nodded. It was the only way. Not in a million years would her parents ever buy the ready-made dress even if they had the money. And never in a million years would they ever have the money.
“She can.” Rose sighed. “But she won’t.”
“Of course she will. Why wouldn’t she?” Freda leaned down to re-roll a bobby sock. “She’s the best seamstress anywhere.”
“I know. But she’ll say it’s not practical. Or I’m too young. Or it’s a waste of fabric she could use for a customer’s dress, or it’s too much trouble for something I’ll only wear once, or … who knows? She just won’t.”
“She wants you to get into UBC, doesn’t she?”
“Yes. She says she does. I mean, I’ve explained it a thousand times.” Mama seemed to think Rose had gone as far as she needed to go when she passed her Grade Ten Royal Conservatory exam, but her father understood. “I get the scholarship, I get into the music program, I become a concert pianist, I travel the world—”
“You mean we. We travel the world.” Freda wagged her thumb back and forth between them.
Today I’m happy to welcome author Carolyn miller to the blog as she shares about your latest story.
Thanks so much for having me today! I’m so glad to have the opportunity to share a little about my latest release Dusk’s Darkest Shores, the first in the Regency Wallflowers series.
I love writing historical fiction and have written nine books in the Regency Brides series, but for this new series I wanted to focus on something a little different to most Regency books out there. This new series focuses on women who were considered “wallflowers,” those plain, untitled, and non-wealthy women who were often overlooked, who were considered too old to be married.
In this new book set in England’s beautiful Lake District, Mary Bloomfield is a doctor’s daughter, who feels her chances for matrimony have passed her by. She has found purpose in assisting her father with his medical practice, which meant I had a lot of fun researching techniques and herbal preparations of the early 1800s.
Mary’s life is peaceful and purposeful—until decorated war hero Adam Edgerton returns to the sleepy district. Mary’s caring nature cannot stand to see someone suffer—but how can she help this man see any brightness in his future when he’s plunged into melancholic darkness, his dreams laid waste by his illness?
Together they work to find a way forward for him, as frustration slowly develop into friendship and esteem. Then a summer storm atop a mountain peak leads to scandal–and both Mary and Adam must search the depths of their hearts to find a future and happiness.
With this new series, I’ve loved spotlighting those whose stories are far more relatable than the young-and-beautiful-seeking-a-handsome-billionaire-duke. 🙂 Early readers have called it their favorite yet, and that they’ve been stirred to faith and hope and encouraged to believe God for His healing power.
Which makes this Aussie author very happy, as that is exactly my purpose in why I write, and my prayer for my readers.
To find out more about Carolyn’s books, please visit www.carolynmillerauthor.com.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Carolyn Miller lives in the beautiful Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia, with her husband and four children. A longtime lover of romance, Carolyn loves drawing readers into fictional worlds that show the truth of God’s grace in our lives. Her Regency and contemporary novels are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Kobo, etc
Today I’m happy to welcome Erica Vetsch to the blog to talk about her writing process.
Thank you, Donna, for having me here at HiStory Through the Ages. As a history fanatic and avid museum patron, this is my kind of blog!
I’m often asked what sort of research goes on behind the scenes when I’m writing a novel, and it’s a question I love to answer. I formerly wrote novels set in the American West, and I loved nothing more than visiting museums and historical sites to help my research along.
Since I’ve made the switch to writing Regency fiction set in England, the research challenges have grown. I had a trip to England planned for last spring, but…yeah. Now we’re hoping for NEXT spring, Lord willing. In the meantime, there are still books to write, so I must accomplish my research using other avenues.
- Books – arriving frequently upon my doorstep, topics such as workhouses, mills, gentlemen’s accessories, and more.
- Lectures – I’ve purchased lectures that I can stream on my computer about love and courtship, family life, education, the arts, and more from the Regency era.
- Professional Organizations – I use the forums of Regency-specific writers’ organizations to ask questions and search out information.
- Classes – I’ve signed up for several classes recently, given through professional organizations such as The Jane Austen Society of North America and The Beau Monde, on subjects such as law and police work during the Regency, inheritance laws, and religion during the Regency.
- Learned Friends – I have some friends who are well-studied in Regency history to whom I can go with my questions and research needs as well.
I love the research and the work. As a former history teacher, I’m happy when I discover a new-to-me historical factoid and studying the wealth of information available for my Regency time period means I stumble upon those formerly unknown historical treasures regularly.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Erica Vetsch is a New York Times best-selling and ACFW Carol Award–winning author. She is a transplanted Kansan now living in Minnesota with her husband, who she claims is both her total opposite and soul mate.
Vetsch loves Jesus, history, romance, and sports. When she’s not writing fiction, she’s planning her next trip to a history museum and cheering on her Kansas Jayhawks and New Zealand All Blacks.
A self-described history geek, she has been planning her first research trip to England.
Today I’m delighted to welcome author Angela Ruth Strong to the blog as she shares what inspired her new book.
I have never written a historical novel and probably never will (because research), but there was a little piece of history that inspired my new romantic comedy. It was an article printed in a 1950s magazine on how to get a husband.
The list had been making the rounds on social media and includes crazy advice such as standing on the street corner with a lasso. I was like, “This is crazy. What modern woman would ever do such a thing?” Then I was like, “Oh…” And I wrote Husband Auditions where Meri is filmed trying out all the advice for an internet show.
I thought it would be fun to compare the bad advice from the past with the poor dating choices made today. I started each chapter with a different item from the magazine list, and it served as a theme for that scene.
Unfortunately, the magazine wanted payment for use of their article, so I had to come up my own version. I was really bummed at first (because research), but I actually love the book even more now.
My Facebook fan group helped me think of some great ideas for my new list. I also ended up looking at other articles from the 1950s and working in iconic references to people such as Alfred Hitchcock and sayings like “diamonds are a girl’s best friend.”
It’s funny how dating changes through the generations. My children date differently than I did, but my daughter still got a kick out of the list when I read it to her. You can find the whole thing at the back of the book, but here’s a few of my favorites:
#3. Offer to take your dad’s new car for an oil change. Have the cutest mechanic check your odometer, so he knows you’re not the type of girl who gets around.
#4. Move to a state with more men than women. We recommend Nevada.
#5. Attend funerals to check out widowers.
You know poor Meri is going to get herself into trouble with this. At least she has the cute cameraman to rescue her when she becomes a damsel in distress.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Angela Ruth Strong sold her first Christian romance novel in 2009 then quit writing romance when her husband left her. Ten years later, God has shown her the true meaning of love, and there’s nothing else she’d rather write about.
Strong’s books have since earned Top Pick honors in Romantic Times, won the Cascade Award, and been Amazon best-sellers. Her book Finding Love in Big Sky recently filmed on location in Montana and will air soon. She also writes articles for SpiritLed Woman.
To help aspiring authors, she started IDAhope Writers where she lives in Idaho, and she teaches as an expert online at Write That Book. Besides writing, Strong teaches exercise classes, works for an airline, and enjoys Harley rides with her husband and camping with her three kids.