Author Archives: historythrutheages
Today I’m happy to welcome author Susan G. Mathis for an author spotlight.
— When did you first discover you were a writer?
I can’t remember not writing. I’ve taught Language Arts for nine years to 4-8 graders, had my own newspaper column, wrote missions curriculum, and have written just about anything God put in my path.
Before I jumped into the fiction world, I served as the Founding Editor of Thriving Family magazine and the former Editor/Editorial Director of 12 Focus on the Family publications. My first two published books were nonfiction, co-authored with my husband, Dale. I also authored two picture books and am published in various book compilations including three Chicken Soup for the Soul books, Ready to Wed, Supporting Families Through Meaningful Ministry, The Christian Leadership Experience, and Spiritual Mentoring of Teens.
I swore I’d never write fiction, but never say never! My hubby and I went to a book talk/signing, and after we left, I jokingly said, “I could write a story about a quilt!” I then proceeded to tell him the entire story, and he said, “Well, write it!” Thus began my journey of writing historical fiction.
— What is your most difficult writing obstacle?
Transitioning from writing nonfiction to historical fiction was a huge leap but a wonderful discovery in finding my sweet spot. I studied fiction writing for about two years before launching out in this wonderful journey. I read books about the craft, went to writing conferences, and learned from mentors, crit groups, and more, and I’m thrilled to dedicate the rest of my writing career to this genre. Now, by next summer, I’ll have four published historical fiction books on the market.
My debut novel released on St. Patrick’s Day. The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy is the story of a 1850s Irish immigrant and a 21st-century single mom who are connected by faith, family, and a quilt.
My current release is Christmas Charity that’s now available on Amazon. It’s the story of Susan Hawkins and Patrick O’Neill who find that an arranged marriage is much harder than they think, especially when they immigrate from Wolfe Island, Canada, to Cape Vincent, New York, in 1864, just a week after they marry—with Patrick’s nine-year-old daughter, Lizzy, in tow. Can twenty-three-year-old Susan Hawkins learn to love her forty-nine-year-old husband and find charity for her angry stepdaughter? She hopes so, before Christmas comes.
Katelyn’s Choice is book one of The Thousand Islands Gilded Age that releases March 15, 2019 with Lighthouse Publishing. It’s the story of nineteen-year-old Katelyn Kavanagh who leaves her family’s struggling farm to work on Pullman Island for the famous George Pullman. There she finds herself serving powerful men such as President Ulysses S. Grant, and General Sheridan—and falling in love with her best friend’s brother, Thomas, the handsome boatsman. Katelyn gains popularity with her friends by spilling the sensitive high society gossip she’s privy to. But when she overhears possibly damaging presidential conversations, she knows she can’t tell anyone. She could lose her job—and endanger her president’s 1872 reelection—and jeopardize her relationship with the man of her dreams.
Sara’s Surprise releases July 5, 2019. It’s the story of Sara McNully and Sean Graham who must navigate the challenging waters of work and romance. Sara befriends Sean’s 6-year-old daughter, Madison, but when Sara’s trust is shattered, can Sara learn to trust Sean with her heart or will she break two hearts and run away?
— What is your current work in progress?
I’m currently working on Devyn’s Dilemma, book two of The Thousand Islands Gilded Age series. It’s the story of twenty-year-old Devyn McKenna who is nervous about working on Dark Island in the imposing Castle called The Towers, a 28-room castle complete with dungeons, underground passageways, and castle secrets. Devyn struggles to find the self-confidence she needs to carry out her duties as a housemaid in the summer home of the wealthy president of the Singer Sewing Machine Company, Frederick Bourne. As she serves the likes of Brig. Gen. Cornelius Vanderbuilt III and others, her curiosity for learning grows. But when she is accused of stealing his plans for expanding the NYC subway and learns the man she loves, Brice, and her brother ‘borrowed’ the plans, her faith is tested like never before.
First page of Christmas Charity
Monday, December 2, 1864
Wolfe Island, Canada
Susan swung her teaching satchel over her shoulder as she took wee Elizabeth’s hand with her free one. Walking home with five of her siblings—who were also her students—always put a smile on her face and a spring in her step. She could simply be the twenty three-year-old big sister, not their teacher, and on this sunny December afternoon her walk home with them felt nothing short of heavenly. She glanced out at the mighty St. Lawrence River still flowing freely past her beloved island home and turned to her eight-year-old sister, Cecelia. “The river hasn’t frozen over yet. Amazing.”
Cecelia pouted. “I don’t like it when it’s all frozen and no one can come to the island.”
“I know, but we’ve learned how to get by, haven’t we?” Susan let go of Elizabeth’s hand to pat Cecelia’s unruly red hair. I do hope her hair deepens to a nice auburn, like mine.
Six-year-old Elizabeth gazed up at Susan with big, teary eyes. “Daniel says I’m a stupid baby. I’m not. I’m six and know my letters and numbers and can write my name.”
Susan’s eyes narrowed as she fairly growled. She whipped around to see Daniel, Robert, and James tossing rocks at a tree. So much for a heavenly walk.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Susan G. Mathis
Susan G Mathis is a multi-published author of stories set in her childhood stomping ground, the beautiful Thousand Islands in upstate NY. The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy and her Christmas Charity novella take readers to a time and place few have gone as does Katelyn’s Choice, the first in The Thousand Islands Gilded Age series that releases in March, 2019.
Susan is also a published author of two premarital books with her husband, Dale, two children’s picture books, seven stories in compilation books, and hundreds of published articles. Susan makes her home in Colorado Springs, enjoys traveling globally with her wonderful husband, Dale, and relishes each time she gets to see or Skype with her four granddaughters. Find out more at http://www.SusanGMathis.com. Find out more at http://www.SusanGMathis.com.
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Today I’m happy to welcome author Linda Shenton Matchett as she shares the story behind her book, Murder of Convenience. Read through to the end to find out how to enter her giveaway.
My vision isn’t great. I’ve worn glasses for distance vision since I was in the 6th grade and went into bifocals at age 32. My husband’s vision is worse than mine, but glasses correct his eyesight to nearly “perfect” (20/20). However, we had a friend in high school who was designated legally blind and even with glasses was not able to see well enough to drive or do many other common tasks. What does “legal blindness” mean?
Visual acuity refers to how close a person must be to an object that’s twenty feet away to see it in detail. So, someone with 20/20 vision can clearly see the object as they should at that distance. People who are legally blind do have some usable vision, but acuity loss is such that they must be twenty feet from an object to see it with the same clarity that others do at two hundred feet. I cannot imagine how frustrating that must be.
While trying to come up with plots for my latest book series about a group of women who serve in various organizations during WWII such as the Women’s Air Service Pilots, Red Cross, Army Nurse Corp, and the United Service Organization (USO), I was trying to figure out how to get my character to the USO. I wanted the story to revolve around a “run away to the circus” kind of event, and I had read several novels about arranged marriages/mail order brides. However, by the time WWII rolled around, arranged marriages and mail order brides were customs of the past.
After a significant amount of research, I discovered a condition called Retinitis Pigmentosa which was and is still incurable. RP is a degenerative disease that slowly robs the victim of his or her vision. By giving my character, Geneva Alexander, this disability, she would need to be cared for, and I could force her into an arranged marriage. Rather than be tied to a man she doesn’t love, Geneva leaves home and joins the USO.
Unfortunately, her jilted fiancé winds up dead, and she is the prime suspect in his murder. The police don’t seem motivated to look for any other culprits, so despite her deteriorating vision, she must prove her innocence. In an effort to understand the difficulties Geneva faced performing day-to-day functions, I put myself in several vision “blocking” situations, most of which I failed at miserably.
As a result of writing Geneva’s story, Murder of Convenience, I don’t believe I will ever take my vision for granted again.
How’s your vision?
About the book:
May 1942: Geneva Alexander flees Philadelphia and joins the USO to escape the engagement her parents have arranged for her, only to wind up as the number one suspect in her betrothed’s murder investigation. Diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, she must find the real killer before she loses her sight…or is convicted for a crime she didn’t commit.
Set in the early days of America’s entry into WWII and featuring cameo appearances from Hollywood stars, Murder of Convenience is a tribute to individuals who served on the home front, especially those who did so in spite of personal difficulties, reminding us that service always comes as a result of sacrifice. Betrayal, blackmail, and a barrage of unanswered questions… Murder of Convenience is the first in the exciting new “Women of Courage” series.
Geneva Alexander stifled the impulse to roll her eyes as her mother complained about the latest difficulty in obtaining yet another rationed food item. Although the thought of a smear of butter on her roll made her salivate, Geneva poked at the last bite of potato in the congealing gravy on the heirloom Royal Doulton plate before lifting it to her mouth. Too heavy a meal for the humid, June night in Philadelphia.
“Stop fidgeting, Geneva. It’s not ladylike.” Father huffed a sigh then turned to his wife with a grim smile. “We must do our part, Oceana. Everyone is experiencing shortages. We can be expected to do no less.”
Mother pouted. “But I don’t have to like it.”
He patted her arm. “No, you don’t.”
Geneva pushed away her empty plate. “Father, Bethlehem-Fairfield launched three more liberty ships today. That makes six this week. The yard has been producing the vessels at an unbelievable rate.” Mother wouldn’t care about the news, but it might serve to prevent further grumbling. “I wish I could have been there. Lorraine Perkins said it was terribly exciting.”
“Tsk! What is wrong with Lorraine’s parents, allowing her to loiter in a shipyard? It’s not proper.” Mother dabbed at her ruby-tinged lips with a linen napkin.
Geneva shook her head. How did her mother manage to eat an entire meal without smudging her lipstick? “She wasn’t loitering, Mother. She works in the typing pool and used her lunch break to watch the first ship cast off. Lorraine said the president spoke for a bit and then a woman dressed in a fur cape and rather ornate hat broke a bottle on the bow. I would have loved to have seen the ten-thousand ton ship slide down the rails with a screech. Can you imagine the splash and the noise?”
“Lorraine’s parents have plenty of money. People of our station don’t mingle with laborers. Why on earth would they allow her to take a job, especially at a shipyard?” Mother shuddered then motioned for Bernice, the housekeeper, to begin clearing the dinner dishes. A young maid assisted with the task. “Rest assured, Geneva; you will never have to seek employment.”
Linda Shenton Matchett is an author, speaker, and history geek. A native of Baltimore, Maryland, she was born a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry and has lived in historic places all her life. Linda is a member of ACFW, RWA, and Sisters in Crime. She is a volunteer docent at the Wright Museum of WWII and a trustee for her local public library. Click https://mailchi.mp/74bb7b34c9c2/lindashentonmatchettnewsletter to receive the free short story Love’s Bloom a prequel to Love’s Harvest when you sign up for my newsletter.
Social Media Links:
Group blog: http://www.StitchesThruTime.blogspot.com
Leave a comment below to be entered in the giveaway. One winner will receive their choice of paperback or ebook version of Murder of Convenience. If an international winner, only an ebook will be awarded.
Today I’m happy to welcome author Barbara M. Britton as she shares what happened when she was diagnosed with cancer during her publishing career. Read through to the end to enter her giveaway.
Thank you for having me back, Donna. The last time I was here I gave practical tips for writers, but today I’m getting personal and talking about my most difficult writing obstacle—breast cancer.
Little did I know when I signed my first publishing contract in the spring of 2015 that my publishing journey would collide with cancer. I lived the theme to my debut novel, “God is in control even in the chaos of life.”
Previously, I had gone in for a mammogram. I paid extra for new 3D technology. Something showed up on the mammogram, but nothing was visible on an ultrasound. I was told to return in six months. When I returned in the summer, that suspicious spot was still on the mammogram and still invisible to ultrasound. The radiologist was worried. I was worried. A breast biopsy concluded that I had cancer.
This couldn’t be happening. I had waited 8 years for a publishing contract and now I had the “C” word. Would I live to see my dream realized?
No worries. God had this chaos. The cancer was small. I would have a lumpectomy and radiation and be on my way to author bliss. I had a lumpectomy in October of 2015. On my follow-up visit, I heard the words no one wants to hear, “You still have cancer.”
What? How? The 3D imaging had picked up a piece of my tumor. The rest of my tumor was invisible to modern imaging. I had a lot of cancer still inside of me.
God is in control even in the chaos of life. I wanted life. I wanted to survive. So, in December I had a double mastectomy because not only did I have cancer, I carried a genetic mutation called BRCA-1 that lets cancer through my genetic door.
The Lord is faithful. I walked out of my hospital room two days after my major surgery, pain-free and feeling good.
And God has a sense of humor. As I lay in bed at home still connected to drains, my galley arrived for “Providence: Hannah’s Journey.” I rested in bed and read through the pages one last time looking for errors (I know there are a few, but I blame it on the surgery). My publisher emailed me and said my book would release in print in October of 2016. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In October of 2015, I was newly diagnosed with breast cancer. In October of 2016, I was a breast cancer survivor and published author. Thank you, Jesus!
I praise God for life and creativity. I also remind women not to follow in my footsteps.
Schedule a yearly mammogram, preferably with 3D technology.
Do not wait to biopsy if something shows up on your mammogram.
Advocate for yourself and your health. Not everyone’s cancer is the same.
Rally prayer warriors to lift your needs before God.
And remember, “God is in control even in the chaos of life.”
Question: How has God shown up in the chaos of your life?
I am happy to give away a copy of one of my novels (reader’s choice, print or e-book) to the random commenter that Donna picks. The winner must be in the US for a print book.
About the book:
Barb’s latest book in her stand-alone Tribes of Israel series is “Jerusalem Rising: Adah’s Journey.”
When Adah bat Shallum finds the governor of Judah weeping over the crumbling wall of Jerusalem, she learns the reason for Nehemiah’s unexpected visit—God has called him to rebuild the wall around the City of David.
Nehemiah challenges the men of Jerusalem to labor on the wall and in return, the names of their fathers will be written in the annals for future generations to cherish. But Adah has one sister and no brothers. Should her father who rules a half-district of Jerusalem be forgotten forever?
Adah bravely vows to rebuild her city’s wall, though she soon discovers that Jerusalem not only has enemies outside of the city, but also within. Can Adah, her sister, and the men they love, honor God’s call? Or will their mission be crushed by the same rocks they hope to raise.
How deserted lies the city, once so full of people! How like a widow is she, who once was great among the nations! Lamentations 1:1
Seventeen-year-old Adah bat Shallum breathed deep. Deep enough to carry the pomegranate, cassia, and aloe scents from the length of her nose to the depths of her lungs. Was this fragrance a treasure or a stench? She trusted her senses. Her patience had produced a precious perfume worth several silver coins. Possibly some gold ones too. Careful not to spill a single drop, she poured her afternoon’s labor into small glazed jars, and lined them one finger length from the edge of the shelf and one thumb width apart. A piece of whittled poplar closed every opening and kept her fragrance captive.
“Adah. Judith.” The summons echoed down the street. A harsh inflection deepened her father’s voice.
She peeked through a hole in the wall—a rough-edged reminder of Nebuchadnezzar’s siege—and spied her father’s forward-leaning march. Wiping her hands on a clean rag, she scurried around the acacia wood table, a centerpiece to the small space she recently called her own. She crossed the threshold of her storeroom and hastened into the dirt lane.
Judith stood across the street in the doorway to their home, forehead furrowed, hands clasped. Did her sister think the booming call was Adah’s fault?
Barbara M. Britton lives in Wisconsin and writes Christian Fiction for teens and adults. She has a nutrition degree from Baylor University but loves to dip healthy strawberries in chocolate. Barb brings little known Bible characters to light in her Tribes of Israel series. The next installment in her stand-alone series “Lioness: Mahlah’s Journey” will release in October of 2019 (Breast Cancer Awareness Month).You can find out about Barb’s books on her website, or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.
October 2018 New Releases
More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.
A Christmas to Remember by Julie Arduini, Valerie Comer, Janet W. Ferguson, Kimberly Rose Johnson, Deb Kastner, Elizabeth Maddrey, Lindi Peterson, and Ginger Solomon — Eight authors from the popular blog Inspy Romance each share a Christmas-themed novella to put you in the mood for the season. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)
Their Family Legacy by Lorraine Beatty — Annie’s inheritance will provide a home for her twins and all she had to do is keep a man paying for his mistake forever. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])
The Return by Marianne Evans — A prodigal who never wanted to return home must repair his family farm and rush back to the big city before an old love convinces him to stay. (Contemporary Romance from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])
A Harvest of Blessings by June Foster — When Nadia accidentally sits on a stranger’s lap in the graveyard where her late husband is buried, she’s horrified to learn the good-looking guy with salt and pepper hair is her new boss. Jared is intrigued by this beautiful woman who puts God first in her life, but his daughter isn’t ready for him to move on after his wife’s death. As Nadia and Jared try to cultivate a relationship, will they reap a Harvest of Blessings, or a season of drought? (Contemporary Romance from Forget Me Not Romance [Winged Publication])
A Sparkle of Silver by Liz Johnson — Ninety years ago, Millie Sullivan’s great-grandmother was a guest at banker Howard Dawkins’ palatial estate on the shore of St. Simons Island, Georgia. Now, Millie plays a 1920s-era guest during tours of the same manor. But when her grandmother suggests that there is a lost diary containing the location of a hidden treasure on the estate, along with the true identity of Millie’s great-grandfather, Millie sets out to find the truth of her heritage–and the fortune that might be hers. When security guard Ben Thornton discovers her snooping in the estate’s private library, he threatens to have her fired. But her story seems almost too ludicrous to be fiction, and her offer to split the treasure is too tempting to pass up . . . (Contemporary Romance from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)
Reason to Breathe by Deborah Raney — At twenty-nine, Phylicia Chandler put her life on hold to care for her dying mother with her sisters, Joanna and Britt. Now Mom is gone and their father has run off with a woman young enough to be their sister. Phylicia feels stuck–until her father’s protégé, Quinn Mitchell, presents her and her two sisters with an intriguing business opportunity to purchase a trio of cottages just outside of Langhorne, Missouri. But Phylicia is skeptical. Quinn soon finds himself falling hard for Phylicia. But how can he pursue this beautiful, talented woman twelve years his junior when she’s still reeling over her father’s hasty engagement to a younger woman? Quinn is determined to give Phylicia her happily-ever-after. But first, he must help her come to terms with her discovery of long-held family secrets and persuade her that true love can transcend their differences. (Contemporary Romance from Gilead Publishing)
An Amish Homecoming by Amy Clipston, Kathleen Fuller , Shelley Shepard Gray, and Beth Wiseman — A collection of four new Amish stories of coming home. (General from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)
Miles from Where We Started by Cynthia Ruchti — These no-longer-newlyweds want out of this road trip–and their marriage. Too bad they can’t find the off-ramp. (General Contemporary from Gilead Publishing)
When the Heart Sings by Liz Tolsma — In 1943 Poland, the Nazis have forced Natia and Teodor from their peaceful farm to the harsh confines of a labor camp. When the couple is separated, Natia risks everything to send him messages through song as she passes Teodor’s dormitory. The stakes get higher when Natia finds a Jewish orphan on the doorstep where she works. She is determined to protect the boy and raise him as the child she and her husband were unable to bear—but if her German captors discover how much she’s hiding, both she and Teodor may pay the ultimate price. (Historical from Gilead Publishing)
This Courageous Journey by Misty M. Beller — When Noelle Grant sets off to visit her brother in the Canadian Rockies, the prospect of making a name for herself as a news correspondent finally seems within reach. But when the dangers become more than she bargained for, she finds herself—and the mountain man she’s come to love—in a situation more hazardous than any story her imagination could conjure. (Historical Romance, Independently Published [ACFW QIP])
The Reluctant Warrior by Mary Connealy — Union army officer Cameron Scott is used to being obeyed, but nothing about this journey to Lake Tahoe has gone as expected. He’s come to Lake Tahoe to fetch his daughter and nephew, and seek revenge on the people who killed his brother. Instead he finds himself trapped by a blizzard with two children who are terrified of him and stubborn but beautiful Gwen Harkness, who he worries may be trying to keep the children. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker] Publishing)
Enchanting Nicholette by Dawn Crandall — As she acclimates to life in Back Bay again, Nicholette Everstone meets someone she can’t help but fall for. But when she learns of the danger and sacrifices Cal Hawthorne takes on for the safety of others, will her heart be strong enough to keep her fears of “what if” at bay? (Historical Romance from Whitaker House)
The Christmas Heirloom by Kristi Ann Hunter, Sarah Loudin Thomas, Becky Wade, and Karen Witemeyer — A family heirloom brings true love to its bearers through the generations as it is handed down from mother to daughter. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker] Publishing)
A Heart for Freedom by Janet Grunst — Life was better than she dreamed, now the conflict between the British and the colonists threatened the loss of everything dear, even her husband. (Historical Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)
Romancing the Bride by Melissa Jagears — Marrying a stranger to save a ranch is one thing; losing the land on their wedding day is another. Desperate to keep the ranch where three of her children and a husband lie buried, Annie Gephart must marry or sell. Which of the few bachelors in town would consider a surprise proposal to wed a plain widow with a rebellious daughter, a spirited boy, and unpaid taxes—without laughing in her face? (Historical Romance, Independently Published [ACFW QIP])
The Cumberland Bride by Shannon McNear — Thomas Bledsoe and Kate Gruener are traveling the Wilderness Road when conflicts between natives and settlers reach a peak that will require each of them to tap into a well of courage. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)
Mist O’er the Voyageur by Naomi Musch — Desperate to flee a cruel suitor, Metis woman Brigitte Marchal flees into the wilderness to find her long-lost, fur-trader father, but who will save her from the dangers of being a woman among a voyageurs’ brigade? (Historical Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)
Five Years In Yemen by Luana Ehrlich — When the President issues a memorandum to bring home a military scientist who went missing in Iraq, CIA operative Titus Ray has been given the assignment. However, when the mission takes an unexpected turn after his contact is murdered in Riyadh, Titus is forced to make changes in the mission’s protocols, changes that endanger his operational team and have lasting consequences for his future. (Romantic Suspense, Independently Published [ACFW QIP])
Hidden Peril by Irene Hannon — A woman who owns a fair trade shop and a police detective find themselves plunged into international intrigue—and danger—when people connected with her shop begin dying. (Romantic Suspense from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)
Burden of Proof by DiAnn Mills — A hostage negotiator is thrust into danger and betrayal when a frazzled young woman shoves a crying baby into her arms, then disappears. (Romantic Suspense from Tyndale House)
Surrounded by Darkness by Rachel Dylan — When attorney Olivia Murray opens a legal clinic for victims of domestic violence in Windy Ridge, she knows she will face legal and spiritual opposition. The New Age presence has grown stronger as alliances form between groups hoping to spread their destructive way of life and gain a stronghold in the community. While the forces of evil target Olivia’s new clinic, her legal partner Grant Baxter, and her relationships, she refuses to let them stop her quest for justice. Will Olivia’s and Grant’s faith be strong enough—in God and each other—to prevail in the battle that threatens to bring darkness to the entire town? (Supernatural Thriller, Independently Published [ACFW QIP])
A Dance of Shadows by Erica Marie Hogan — Ten days have passed since Sundragon blood was shed for a sacrifice by Raphaela Kael. Ten days since Lathan and Maxx Jandry fled the city in search of Princess Damari Kael and their niece, Noelle. Brecken Jandry, Brae’s loyal husband, remains a tortured prisoner in the Kael dungeons and no one in Sunkai is safe from Roderick and Raphaela’s wrath. Damari Kael flees Sunkai with little Noelle Jandry, determined to deliver the child to the safety of the Shadow Lands, even as her own power emerges within her. The Eventide Sisters embark on a mission to join the Winter Queen. Across the land, Clea Jandry arrives in her birthplace of Molderëin where she is met with a savagery she thought long dead. Afra Malaki seeks the Creator’s will and the Queen of the Woodlands prepares for battle. In the peaceful city of Quintaria, the Winter Queen grieves. But the shadows are coming for her. They carry a message for Adlae Sundragon, and they will not rest until all is revealed. (Fantasy from Elk Lake Publishing, Inc.)
Body By Blood by Dr. Patrick Johnston — In the not-too-distant future, where cloned bodies are marketable commodities among the super-rich, leaving graveyards of trampled dehumanized classes in science’s wake, the richest man in the world who pioneered the breakthrough technologies learns the meaning of true love from a disabled granddaughter. (Speculative Action Adventure from Ambassador International)
Mercury Rising by Tim and Gail Sattler — Four ordinary people are thrown into an extraordinary situation when they are thrown into a diabolical plot hidden under the guise of global warming. (Contemporary Fantasy from Mantle Rock Publishing)
Today I’m happy to welcome author Joan Donaldson as she talks about researching for her books.
Tap, tap, and click. I study the image, checking the details of the 1850 gown, scooped neck line, rosettes on the skirt, wide sash. In the next chapter of my work-in-progress, my character will wear that dress in order to distract a man. While the couple dines at a lush Pittsburgh establish, abolitionists will whisk away the gentleman’s slaves. When I began that novel, I knew nothing about abolitionists in Pittsburgh.
Because I write historical fiction, research dominates my creative process. For my young adult novel, On Viney’s Mountain, I read through ten years of The Rugbian, the newspaper published by the Utopian community, Rugby, established in 1880 by an Englishman in the Cumberland Mountains of Tennessee. Scrolling through the microfilm, I absorbed facts about the English settlers, the rhythm of their language, and their daily struggles in the Appalachian wilderness. Along the way, a character I hadn’t planned on, hopped off a train and assumed a major role in the novel.
The beauty of rooting through the past is that in addition to meeting unexpected characters, I often discover an unknown conflict that turns into a major element in the plot. While sifting through the history of Wears Cove for my novel, Hearts of Mercy, my plot seemed pretty typical, with only minor interpersonal conflicts. Until I stumbled on the history of the White Caps, a vigilante group who disciplined “wayward women” and terrorized Sevier County, TN. They rode into the story with their torches blazing, and Viney proposed a plan to beat back the White Caps.
Research feeds my creativity, and reveals treasures hidden by time. Even if a writer is plotting a contemporary story, consider how the history of a location, a family, and culture might influence the present. Search the internet, pour over books, and talk to experts to discover details that will enhance your drama.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
When Viney Walker’s long, absent father arrives in the 19th century Utopian Community of Rugby, TN, he begs her to return with him to the Great Smoky Mountains. Viney’s sister, Lizzie urges her to go, because a new setting will help Viney heal from a broken engagement. Viney acquiesces and in her new home, she meets her Walker cousins, including handsome and brawny James. The couple’s romance angers the White Caps, a vigilante group that whips lewd women, and they warn Viney to mend her ways.
Seeking revenge and the freedom to love James, Viney joins a counter vigilante group. She plots a trap for the White Caps, but finds herself tied to a post, with a whip racing toward her.
Short section from Hearts of Mercy:
I strolled home, thinking about seeing James tomorrow, hoping we could kiss in the barn, remembering the feel of his fingers running down my ribs. As I stepped onto our cabin’s porch, my bare feet hit something. I looked down, and sucked in my breath.
A hazel switch with a white scrap of cloth knotted at the end, rested like a snake on the top step. I picked it up and saw writing on the muslin. Untying the knot, I spied a drawing of a man wearing a white hood and read: “Mend your ways or we will”.
Kirkus Review: “A captivating tale about father-daughter relationships, personal independence, and second chances.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joan Donaldson
Joan Donaldson is the author of three picture books, two young adult novels, and a new adult novel, Hearts of Mercy. Her essay collection, Wedded to the Land, includes the selection, Saint George and the Dragon that won the 2007 Hearst Prize for Excellence in Literary Nonfiction. Her latest novel, On Viney’s Mountain won the 2010 Friends of American Writers Award, was a finalist for the 2011 Bronte Prize for Romantic Fiction, represented the State of Tennessee at the 2010 National Book Festival, and appeared on the Bank Street List of the Best Books of 2010. In 2017, she was awarded an honor prize by Jane Yolen as part of the Jane Yolen Midlist Author’s Grants. Her personal essays and articles have appeared in The Christian Science Monitor, Mary Jane’s Farm, Victoria, Rosebud, and A Simple Life. Also, she writes and records features from her farm for the Kalamazoo NPR affiliate, WMUK. In 2008, she earned a MFA from Spalding University with a concentration in creative nonfiction. Donaldson and her husband, John Van Voorhees grow organic blueberries on their certified organic farm near Fennville. She is represented by Terrie Wolfe of AKA Literary Management.
Today I’m happy to welcome author Lynne Tagawa as she talks about the Great Awakening of the 1740s.
John Russell is a carpenter. Not a full-time cabinetmaker in a Williamsburg shop, but a backcountry hunter/farmer with a need for furniture. But he enjoys the process, and so he’s always on the lookout for another tool, especially if he can pick one up used for a couple of bits. He’s already made several beautiful cradles out of walnut, as well as most of the items on the cabin’s shelves: utensils, bowls, containers with well-fitting lids. He’s able to sell some of his work for necessary cash.
I enjoyed writing about his carpentry work because in searching out my own ancestry, I discovered some of this type of background. As I type, a little cherry table stands against the wall behind me, made by my grandfather in his woodworking shop. Somehow the love of wood was passed down ever since the first Basham (a cabinetmaker) left Edinburgh, Scotland, in the 17th century.
My other protagonist is a young woman named Abigail Williams. She enjoys botany as a hobby, drawing specimens in a book and gathering as much information she can about them. Sometimes she obtains their medicinal uses. I suppose in some ways she’s a bit unusual for her time, but unlike gentlewomen of Regency England, New England women were part of the economic team of the household, and though they might not study to be scholars, they weren’t expected to be ignorant either. So Abigail’s papa indulges her hobby and her penchant for reading.
I can identify with this a little. I certainly have a penchant for reading. And my degree is in the biological sciences. But botany? Ugh. Animals are a lot more fun. (Unless you’re a gardener, which I can’t say I am.) I worked to put myself in Abigail’s shoes. How would she see the world? And that’s the ultimate question you’re continually asking when you write historical fiction—or any fiction, for that matter.
These characters aren’t me, and they don’t live in the 21st century. How do they think? Even their theology—or at least their way of expressing it—is different. Not to mention clothes and food. Or courtship and marriage. (No spoilers about that!)
Sam broke the gentle silence. “Ye’re sure about this lass?”
John ran his fingers through his sweat-dampened hair and replaced his hat. “I’ve prayed. I have a peace about the thing. She isna a Presbyterian. They have different customs. But she kens her Catechism.”
Sam stared off into the distance. He was a man of few words. What was on his mind?
“Ye say she kens her Catechism. But is Christ the treasure of her heart?”
John blinked. He’d never heard his brother talk quite like this. He shrugged and frowned, studying the clods at his feet.
His brother frowned, as if seeking the right words. “Ye have heard about George Whitefield’s visits here.”
“Oh, aye. I saw the new meetinghouse too.”
“Ye should have been there and heard him preach. I still think on it. In some ways, it was ordinary. Straight gospel preaching. Much like Tennent’s. But the crowds …” His brother’s voice cracked with feeling.
John forgot the heat. He’d not heard his taciturn brother so moved.
“Every kind of person attended the open-air meetings. Negro slaves. Indentured servants. Fancy gentlemen would sit in their carriages nearby, and skinny apprentices perched in the trees. Butchers came with bloody aprons and stood next to ladies in fine muslin.”
Sam paused. His eyes brightened with tears. “They would weep. Sometimes only tears, but occasionally sobs would erupt from deep within the crowd.”
“Why?” Da had written him, but not with such detail. “Why would the gospel make them cry?”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lynne Tagawa
Lynne Tagawa is married with four grown sons and three marvelous grandbabies. A biology teacher by trade, she teaches part-time, writes, and edits. She’s written a Texas history curriculum in narrative form, Sam Houston’s Republic, and two novels, A Twisted Strand and The Shenandoah Road. Lynne lives with her husband in South Texas.
Today I’m happy to welcome author Jodie Wolfe as she shares about her latest story, some family history, and more. Read through to the end to find out how to enter for a chance to win her e-book, To Claim Her Heart.
What is significant about today?
Today, September 16th marks the 125th anniversary of the Cherokee Strip Land Run which took place in Oklahoma Territory in 1893. This was the last great race for land in our Nation. The run came after some major economic struggles. Overinvesting in the railroads led to the financial collapse of banks, throwing the country into a depression of sorts. Folks were desperate. Over 115,000 showed up for only 42,000 packets of land. I imagine it was quite a sight to see. If you’ve ever seen the movie, Far and Away, it gives an accurate depiction of what it must have been like.
How does the date relate to your new book?
The opening of my story, To Claim Her Heart takes place along the starting line of the land run at two of the nine different spots that people raced from. Readers will get a chance to follow my hero and heroine as they claim the same piece of property, both refusing to leave. Instead they agree to let the courts decide their fate. In the mean time, they have their own thoughts of how best to utilize the land and most times they don’t line up with each other.
Why is this event meaningful to you?
My husband had several family members that participated in this land run and claimed property. It’s the story my mother-in-law always wanted me to write since she grew up in Oklahoma. Sadly, she never got to see the story in print, but I did include some of the true stories from her family. I can’t help but think she would have liked that.
Thanks for allowing me to visit today. I’d love to give away an ebook of my new book, To Claim Her Heart. Leave a comment to enter the giveaway!
ABOUT THE BOOK:
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.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jodie Wolfe
Jodie Wolfe creates novels where hope and quirky meet. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA) and has been a semi-finalist and finalist in various writing contests. A former columnist for Home School Enrichment magazine, her articles can be found online at: Crosswalk, Christian Devotions, and Heirloom Audio. She’s a contributor and co-founder of Stitches Thru Time blog. When not writing she enjoys spending time with her husband in Pennsylvania, reading, walking, and being a Grammie. Learn more at http://www.jodiewolfe.com.
Purchase Link for To Claim Her Heart: https://www.amazon.com/Claim-Her-Heart-Jodie-Wolfe/dp/1946016470/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1525790723&sr=8-1&keywords=to+claim+her+heart
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Jodie-Wolfe/e/B01EAWOHXO/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1
August 2018 New Releases
More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.
Out of Their Element by Angela Breidenbach, Robin Lee Hatcher, Vickie McDonough, and Deborah Raney — They are totally out of their element! Four mismatched couples find unexpected romance. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)
The Redemption Road by Christa MacDonald — As Alex awaits retribution, he means to keep Annie safe at any cost, but she knows it’s redemption he needs and she’ll pay any price for him to find it. (Contemporary Romance from Mountain Brook Ink)
Scarlet Tears by Laura Hervey — Caught in a romantic triangle with her brother’s best friend and a charming pastor, former call girl Carly Lawrence struggles to start a new life. (Contemporary Romance from Alabaster Box Press)
Rebecca’s Legacy by Betty Thomason Owens — After a threat against her family, a spoiled heiress is sent to the country to work on her aunt’s produce farm and finds love. (Historical Romance from Write Integrity Press)
The Patriot Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse — Faith Jackson is a wealthy widow, friend of George Washington, and staunch supporter of the Patriot cause. Matthew Weber is friends with both Ben Franklin and his son William, who increasingly differ in their political views; and Matthew finds himself privy to information on both sides of the conflict. When a message needs to get to a spy among the Loyalists, Faith bravely steps up and in turn meets Matthew Weber. Suddenly she believes she could love again. But someone else has his eye on the Faith she portrays in elite social circles. What will Matthew and Faith have to sacrifice for the sake of their fledgling country? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)
Deadly Harvest by Marissa Shrock — Georgia’s biggest challenge in the farming town of Wildcat Springs, Indiana, is figuring out how to win Evan Beckworth’s heart. Until the day she discovers the body of a former student in the woods. When she starts to suspect this wasn’t an accident, memories stir of her father’s murder nine years earlier. A murder never solved. As Georgia works with the sheriff’s department’s newest detective, Cal Perkins, she finds her heart slipping into his hands. But her head is pummeled with conflicting evidence and anonymous threats of severe consequences if she digs any deeper. In the end, Georgia faces a paralyzing choice. Ignore the dark secrets inside the family and friends who surround her or be willing to risk her own life to uncover the truth. (Cozy Mystery, Independently Published)
Hiding in Plain Sight by Mary Ellis — When a Charleston PI rents a room above an Italian restaurant owned by a handsome chef, she lands in the middle of a family feud with robbery, arson and murder for the daily specials. (Romantic Suspense from Severn House Publishers LTD)
Wildfire by Gayla K. Hiss — A female wildfire scientist and a firefighter team up to solve the mystery behind the outbreak of wildfires in the Rockies and find themselves at the center of a firestorm. (Romantic Suspense from Mountain Brook Ink)
Imperfect Promises by Elizabeth Noyes — When a homegrown terrorist threatens the woman he loves, former Special Forces soldier Jonas Cameron calls on old friends to help him eliminate the danger. (Romantic Suspense from Write Integrity Press)
Cold Fear by Susan Sleeman — When a sniper’s ex-girlfriend, a musician, is framed for murder during her summer tour, he jumps to defend her from an imminent arrest and a killer’s deadly rage. But the evidence against her stacks higher as three bodies are found with her name tattooed on their wrist. (Romantic Suspense from Edge of Your Seat Books, Inc.)
Cold Case Cover-Up by Virginia Vaughan — The first thrilling Covert Operatives tale An infant is believed to have been murdered thirty years ago—but investigative journalist Dana Lang is convinced she’s that baby. Now someone’s willing to kill to stop her investigation. And only secretive deputy Quinn Dawson, whose grandfather may have faked Dana’s death to protect her, can keep her safe. But a killer’s dead set on burying the past—and them—for good. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])
Pretense by John Di Frances — A dark cloud hangs over Europe after the brutal murders of two heads of state just days apart. A diabolical plot appears to stretch westward to the United States, implicating the CIA. But do the facts reflect reality or is there a sinister force working behind the scenes to destabilize Europe and NATO? The team of investigators led by Interpol’s Marek Frakas, ‘The Wolf,’ moves quickly to track the perpetrators and uncover the identity of the unseen mastermind behind the conspiracy. This cadre includes the lovely Adrianna, a young forensic weapons expert who can hold her own on the male-dominated international team of investigators. Together they seek to understand reality versus the shattered mirror-like reflections meant to obfuscate the truth and shroud the mastermind’s identity and ultimate purpose. (Political Thriller from Reliance Books Publishing, LLC)
Thirst of Steel by Ronie Kendig — Dismantled centuries ago, the sword of Goliath is still rumored to thirst for its enemies’ blood. Cole “Tox” Russell wants only to put the dangers of his past behind him and begin his new life with Haven Cortes. First, though, he’s called to complete a final mission: retrieve the sword and destroy the deadly Arrow & Flame Order. The AFO, however, is determined to reunite the sword. With the Wraith team slowly being torn apart, things worsen when Mercy Maddox, a new operative, emerges with the stunning news that the artifact is tied to a string of unsolved serial murders. Tox and the others are forced to set aside fear and anger to target the true enemy. No matter the cost, Wraith must destroy the AFO . . . or join them in the flames. (Military Suspense from Bethany House [Baker])
Today I’m happy to welcome author Thonie Hevron as she shares about writers’ clubs.
I would still be wandering the authorial stratosphere if I hadn’t found Redwood Writers. I’d written a book—a thriller set in my former home, Sonoma County. I penned By Force or Fear while I lived on the other side of California, while missing Sonoma County so much that I set my story there. It was my way of coping with homesickness.
In 2004, my husband and I finally came home to SoCo. When I moved, I lost the manuscript. Later, I was lucky to find the outline on a thumb drive. I re-wrote the story and it was even better than before! Soon after, in the local newspaper, hubby found a writers group called JumpStart that met in our town. It’s leader, Pat Tyler, introduced me to reading my work in a group. She also fostered my scribblings, steering me to the local chapter of the California Writers Club—Redwood Writers.
Finding a group of dedicated writers who encourage each other was a huge step forward in my writing process. Under their superlative leadership, I attended club sponsored classes, workshops, and panels. Each monthly meeting has an hour-long teaching session as well—featuring different topics such as the business of writing, craft tips, promotion, marketing and social media.
From all this input, I was able to formulate a plan. Roughly it looked like this: write, write, write, query, learn, write, speak, blog, learn some more. I mapped out my next novel in outline form. After all, I’m a retired law enforcement veteran and structure such as this helps me keep track of all the strands of my story. While I worked on my story, I found a critique group, Thrillerz. After joining Redwood Writers, this was the best thing I could’ve done.
Over the course of these meetings, I realized that I needed to build a platform. I knew I had to expand my audience, but the term marketing struck terror in my heart. After all, I was a writer—solitary, shy, withdrawn from the general population. But wait, no, I wasn’t solitary. I had Redwood Writers, then the Public Safety Writers Association, then, Sisters in Crime. Redwood Writers hosted (still does) bi-monthly salons for authors to read their work to each other. The intent was to dip writers’ toes in the swamp of public speaking. There also were Open Mics held at several different venues (all of which I participated in) and an annual member book launch for 10-12 RW authors to debut their books.
I did the above but felt I needed more. So, I volunteered to co-chair a Redwood Writers’ Conference in 2014. The lead up to the event was where the rubber met the road: I attended every monthly club meeting to publicize the conference. Yes, I got up in front of a crowd of 75 or so people and made announcements. I’m by no means OVER my stage fright but I can certainly manage it. I’ve even tackled some other, unrelated fears such as driving over bridges.
To date, I’ve written four books, with three published. I’ve just signed with a new small press publisher, Aakenbaaken & Kent who’s committed to re-pubbing all three books and the new manuscript under construction. I’ve also conquered challenges that had held me back over the years. I owe it all to Redwood Writers.
Who knew what doors a good writers club would open?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Thonie Hevron
After 35 years in California law enforcement, Thonie Hevron uses her experience to write suspense novels based on the lives of the people behind the badge. She is retired and lives with her husband in the historic Northern California town of Petaluma. Thonie blogs stories (https://thoniehevron.wordpress.com/) from law enforcement veterans to portray the police character accurately and give authors and the public insight into why cops do what they do. Her two police procedural thrillers, By Force or Fear (set in Sonoma County) and Intent to Hold won awards in the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA) Writers Contest in 2012 and 2014. The third book, called With Malice Aforethought (also set in Sonoma County) won 2016 PSWA Writers Contest (unpublished novel, 2nd place) and the East Texas Writers Guild 2015 First Chapter Award. For further information, go to www.thoniehevron.com for appearance dates.
July 2018 New Releases
More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.
A Widow’s Hope by Vannetta Chapman — After tragedy claimed her husband’s life and her son’s ability to walk, Hannah King doesn’t want a new man. She has her family, a home and mounting debts. Scarred Amish bachelor Jacob Schrock offers Hannah the job she desperately needs. But while Hannah helps Jacob resolve his accounting issues, can she and her little boy also heal his wounded heart? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])
Firestorm by Laura V. Hilton — Bridget Behr can’t shake the guilt that it was her fault her family moved—and is too afraid to trust anyone, especially the flirtatious, overly-friendly Amish man who lives next door. Just as Bridget is finally settling into friendship, a new life, and maybe even love, a devastating forest fire ravages the county, destroying both land and the Behrs’ dreams. Now Bridget and her family must decide: will they leave behind the ashes and start anew in another Amish community? Or will they dare to fight for the future they’d hoped for in Mackinac County? (Contemporary Romance from Whitaker House)
Ride to the Altar by Linda W. Yezak — Cattle are dying on the Circle Bar, putting the Texas ranch in financial jeopardy. Newly engaged Patricia Talbert and Talon Carlson must root out the cause before they can concentrate on wedding plans—which involves Patricia’s traveling to New York to patch things up with her domineering mother. While she is away, Talon discovers that the attacks on the ranch are connected to the murder of his first fiancée over eight years ago. Before they can move forward together, each have to resolve the past. Will they be able to start their new life with a clean slate? (General Contemporary from Canopy Books of Texas)
My Heart Belongs in Galveston, Texas by Kathleen Y’Barbo — Dodging bullets takes a simple missing person case to a new level as Jonah Cahill, a Pinkerton agent, and Madeline Latour, an investigative reporter, form a tentative truce in Galveston, Texas, 1880. Are they on to a much bigger story when their best witness is suddenly kidnapped? (General Historical from Barbour Publishing)
The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond by Jaime Jo Wright — Two women, separated by a hundred years, must uncover the secrets within the borders of their own town before it’s too late and they lose their future–or their very souls. (Historical Mystery from Bethany House [Baker])
This Freedom Journey by Misty M. Beller — Adrien Lockman left France to finally live life on his own terms, but when he discovers a half-starved and half-frozen woman in the treacherous Canadian mountains, the truth soon becomes clear—the only way they’ll survive is together. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)
The Widow’s Plight by Mary Davis — After moving to a new town and joining a quilting circle, a single mother steps out of the shadows of abuse and into the sunshine. But will a secret clouding her past cost her the man she loves? (Historical Romance from Mountain Brook Ink)
River to Redemption by Ann H. Gabhart — Orphaned during an early 19th century cholera epidemic and helped by a slave to find a new home, Adria Starr must now stand up for his freedom—and maybe find her own in the process. (Historical Romance from Revell [Baker])
A Rumored Fortune by Joanna Davidson Politano — A young heiress is suddenly the poorest wealthy woman in all of England when her father dies without telling anyone where he put his money. (Historical Romance from Revell [Baker])
Guarded Prognosis by Richard L. Mabry — At first Dr. Caden Taggart feared for his freedom, then for his ability to cope, and eventually he feared for his life. (Medical Mystery, Independently Published)
Darkwater Secrets by Robin Caroll — When Adelaide Fountaine, the general manager of a hotel in New Orleans, finds the body of a guest who was stabbed with a kitchen knife, her childhood friend Detective Beau Savoie is shocked to discover a connection between his friend–the woman he’s quietly loved for years—and the murdered guest. But Beau can’t press Adelaide too hard . . . because he’s keeping secrets of his own. Can Adelaide and Beau afford to hide from the truth with a killer on the loose? (Romantic Suspense from Gilead Publishing)
Camp Hope by Sara L. Foust — Facing dehydration, starvation, and a convoluted kidnapper, will Amy succeed in recovering her precious foster daughter or get lost in a vast wilderness forever? (Romantic Suspense from Mantle Rock Publishing)
Dead Drift by Dani Pettrey — Seven years ago, operative Luke Gallagher vanished to join an elite team of terrorist hunters. Private investigator Kate Maxwell never stopped loving or looking for Luke after he disappeared. But she also never imagined he left her or his life by choice. Now he’s back, asking her help to stop America’s newest terrorist threat—an attack that would shake the country to its core. Together they must navigate secrets, lies, and betrayal, all while on the brink of a biological disaster. Will they and their love survive, or will Luke and Kate become the terrorist’s next mark? (Romantic Suspense from Bethany House [Baker])
Launch by Jason C. Joyner — Teens with special abilities are invited to an exclusive conference where tech billionaire Simon Mazor is looking for those who can help him influence the world. (Young Adult from Little Lamb Books)