Category Archives: Uncategorized

Hidden Courage — Rose Allen McCauley

Today I’m happy to welcome author Rose Allen McCauley as she shares some of the history behind her latest story.

I used to read a lot of Christian historical writers until I joined ACFW and discovered a whole world of Christian contemporary authors. Now I read both and write both! The story Hidden Courage in The Courageous Brides Collection was in my first historical collection for Barbour Publishing, and it was a fun set to do with several friends.

My story was pre-civil war and was set in the house my son and his wife and children now live in which was built pre-civil war on the main thoroughfare in Cynthiana, KY. It is only a few blocks from one of the civil war battles in that town which went back and forth between the North and South. In fact, the cemetery has a unique ring of monuments near the entryway containing both Confederate and Union graves. Here is what the cemetery has posted on its site:

During the Civil war, Harrison County was politically evenly split. Over 800 men from the county served in each the Confederate and Union armies. In 1869, the committee felt that any inscriptions engraved on the monument, so soon after the war, would cause undue animosity in the community. Thus, it was not until 1902 that the monument was inscribed with the following: 

(North Side)

Erected May 27, 1869
By the Cynthiana Confederate Memorial Association
In Memory Of The Confederate Dead
Who Fell In Defense Of Constitutional Liberty

(South Side)

On Fame’s eternal camping ground
Their silent tents are spread
And Glory guards, with solemn round,
The bivouac of the dead

“Their names shall never be forgot
While fame her records keep
And Glory guards the hallowed spot
Where valor proudly sleeps”


That much is documented, now I want to tell you a couple of the undocumented stories told by relatives of people who knew others who lived in my son’s house which is over one hundred years ago! One is that when my son’s mother and father-in-law remodeled the house, they tore out a wall and found a small room in the stone basement large enough to hold a couple of slaves for a short while, giving credence to a rumor that it may have been a station on the Underground Railroad.

Another was told to us by my husband and daughter’s high school English teacher who is still living and remembers a lady who was a Confederate widow who told her Mother (grandmother?) who was still living near the end of the Civil War. She asked one of the Confederate officers to please not burn the Peck house as one of her friends lived there and they were “good people”, so thanks to her request, a beautiful old house is still standing with its original carvings for another family to enjoy today!

These are the kinds of details that make writing historical fiction so interesting, especially when it is based on bits of history that you can glean.


And the blurb for the whole collection:

Ride into adventures alongside nine determined women of yesteryear whose acts of compassion and bravery attract male attention. Marcy helps displaced Indians. Emmy tends wounds at Fort Snelling. Ronnie stows away on a cattle drive. Daisy disguises herself as a Pony Express rider. Elinor becomes an abolitionist. Mae tames wild horses. Hannah gets help for accident victims. Lucy’s curiosity unnerves criminals. Kate nurses soldiers on the battlefield. Will real dangers douse the sparks of love?


About Rose:

Rose Allen McCauley has been writing since she retired from teaching school and joined American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). She is thrilled for this to be her third collection with Barbour and her seventh published work. She and her spouse just celebrated their golden anniversary with their three children and their spouses and now six grandchildren! She loves to hear from her readers.


Amazon Author Page







Writing for Beginners — Donna Foster

Today I’m happy to introduce Donna Foster as she shares insights into her notes for a recent writing class.

I’m writing a book “Women of Washington County.” I interview folks from my hometown and write short stories about their lives.

I’ll be teaching a class for beginning writers at a community center. Below is the notes for the first class.

Formula for beginning writers:  Incident, action and benefit
I learned this pattern from a Dale Carnegie course I took years ago.
Incident – Something that happened. The event needs to include a conflict or a crisis or, at least, a problem that needs to be solved. The more concrete images, the better. If you can imagine the scene (like in a movie), and describe what you see, the reader will be able to follow your point of view. Other senses can add depth, but most people relate to visual cues.

Action – Show the process used to solve the conflict, crisis, or problem. Best if you can reveal the purpose or goal the main character was trying to achieve. There can be more than one action taken in an attempt to solve the problem.

Benefit – What was the result, payoff or good that came from the action? Benefit implies something good, but this third element may be the awakening to something not wanted. This last part is the one many folks leave out, so a story doesn’t feel finished. There may be several results or things the main character learned.

There are other interesting formulas that I’ve found useful, and I’ll share those in the future.


Donna Foster has led an interesting life, including working as a university teaching assistant, a stint as an aircraft mechanic, a senior avionics instructor, and serving in various roles such as substitute teaching and yoga instructor. Her writing accolades include editor of Adventures in Storytelling; television producer and director; marketing director; grant proposal writer; and author of magazine articles. Donna combines her love of story with her passion for history, capturing tales of hometown life for perpetuity.

Authenticity — Joan Donaldson

Today I’m happy to welcome author Joan Donaldson as she talks about authenticity in your writing.

In a novel I wrote, the male protagonist was thrown into an 18th century battle between the American colonists and a group of Shawnee. While I spent hours researching the type of weapons used during that time period and the landscape where the battle occurred, I still felt uneasy about my descriptions. Had I missed any facts that could give authenticity to the drama?

On a whim, my husband and I, packed our car and drove to Williamsburg, the heart of 18th century reenactment. We toured the village, noting the little details concerning uniforms, speech, manners, and daily life. Upon entering the brick building called the powder magazine, I pestered the uniformed docent with questions about the different guns. I especially wanted to learn more about the Virginia Long Knives, a company composed of frontiersmen who fought in Lord Dunmore’s War of 1774. At first the tour guide was a little baffled by curiosity until I explained why I needed minute details, then he waxed on, delighted to find such an interested guest as I wrote down notes.

But what was it like for my protagonist to crawl along the woodland floor, aiming his black-powder musket? A few years later, I made friends with a family who participated in reenactments and specialized in target shooting contests, with their flintlock guns. Like many aficionados, the men responded to my questions by offering to demonstrate their guns.

On a warm summer afternoon, they pounded a stake with a target into the ground near the side of a hill on my farm.

“If you miss, the shot will hit the hill,” the man explained.

Step by step, as I took notes, he named each section of the gun, showed me how to clean it, check the flint, load the powder, and shot. He handed me the gun and directed how to hold it.

“Stand firm. The blast may toss you off your feet.”

The weapon was heavy, and my arm shook as I held it against my shoulder. I squinted, aimed, and pulled the trigger. The gun roared. Black smoke enveloped me as I stumbled backward, and for a few seconds, I remained in the bitter cloud. After thanking the men for the experience, I journaled my feelings, the steps in preparing to shoot, and the haze of smoke drifting over the landscape.

A writer can’t always find such special, hands-on moments providing minute details that can recreate the full sensory feel of a scene. But when life offers those opportunities, snatch them up. Take lengthy notes. Lick your lips and feel the gunpowder coating them, the grime on your face. Until I can discover those experiences, I’ll click on YouTube to learn how to how to fire a cannon.


When Viney Walker’s father returns after an absence of many years, she chooses to leave Utopian Rugby and to escort him back to Wears Valley in the Great Smoky Mountains. She hopes to heal from a broken engagement and learn new weaving skills from her talented Walker Sister Cousins. After meeting her cousin, Viney and James begin to court and raise the ire of a vigilante group, the White Caps that disciplines wayward women. Due to the progressive influences of Rugby, Viney determines to work with a counter-vigilante group, the Blue Bills, to halt the terror of the White Caps. But instead of eliminating the White Caps, she falls into their trap.

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 that won first place in the romantic suspense division of the 2018 PenCraft Awards. Her latest picture book, Song of Hope, won third place in the 2018 Moonbeam Awards in the multicultural division. 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 YA novel, On Viney’s Mountain won the 2010 Friends of American Writers Award, 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, and other magazines. 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.



May 2019 New Releases!

May 2019 New Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

Contemporary Romance:

When Love Won’t Wait by Roger E. Bruner — Laugh at Pastor Dan’s impulsive efforts to get out of the ministry and marry a woman of his own choosing by going against his domineering widowed mother’s wishes. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

A Perfect Amish Match by Vannetta Chapman — After three failed relationships, Amish bachelor Noah Graber would rather disappoint his parents than try again. But when matchmaker Olivia Mae Miller agrees to provide courting lessons, Noah’s perfect match becomes clear—it’s Olivia Mae herself! With ailing grandparents at home, she hadn’t planned on love or marriage. Might a future with Noah be everything she’s been missing? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Sing a New Song by Candee Fick — Songbird Gloria Houghton has always needed to be the center of attention, but the spotlight has shifted. Seeking fame and a fresh start, she finds a new stage in Branson, Missouri…only to risk being replaced by a manipulative rival. If Gloria can’t be the star, who is she? Jack-of-all-trades Nick Sherwood is just one leaf on a vast family tree that includes a restaurant chef, hotel owners, and even the headline act at a family-owned theater. He’s seen how fame can blind a person with jealousy and is more than content to stay in the background thank you very much. If only he wasn’t so fascinated–and irritated–by the newest addition to the staff. After a disaster of a first impression and financial difficulties land Gloria in the humblest of jobs—with Nick as her boss—it might be time for her to learn to sing a new song. (Contemporary Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

Pigtails and a Tool Belt by Janetta Fudge-Messmer — The Christian Romance where circumstances seem impossible. But with God – all things are possible. (Contemporary Romance from Winged Publications)

Wooing Cadie McCaffrey by Bethany Turner — After four years of dating Will, Cadie questions his love for her and sends him packing. Their breakup only makes Will more determined to become the man Cadie wants him to be. With the help of his work buddies and tactics drawn from Cadie’s favorite romantic comedies, he devises a “foolproof” plan. What could possibly go wrong? (Contemporary Romance from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing)

General Contemporary:

Over the Waters by Deborah Raney — As “Dr. Botox” to the bored rich women of Chicago, plastic surgeon Max Jordan was shocked by the decision of his son, Joshua, to focus his medical talent on Haitian orphans. Embittered by Joshua’s death, Max searches for resolution in the very place his son called home. The selfless labor of Joshua’s coworkers stuns Max. He is particularly taken by American volunteer Valerie Austin, whose dream of a honeymoon on a tropical beach were crushed, replaced by a stint working in the impoverished orphanage. But Valerie’s view of Joshua’s sacrifice challenges everything Max has lived for. Now Max wonders if he can ever return to his “Max-a-Million” lifestyle, or if the doors to his gilded cage have finally opened. (General Contemporary from Raney Day Press)


True Freedom by Carol Ashby — When a Roman slave rescues his master’s daughter from the kidnapping arranged by her own brother, will his sacrificial service earn the freedom and love he never dreamed possible, or will it only end in death? (Historical from Cerrillo Press)

Historical Romance:

The Daughter’s Predicament by Mary Eileen Davis — Can a patient love win her heart? As Isabelle Atwood’s romance prospects are turning in her favor, a family scandal derails her dreams. While making a quilt for her own hope chest, Isabelle’s half-sister becomes pregnant out of wedlock and Isabelle–always the unfavored daughter–becomes the family sacrifice to save face. Isabelle loves her sister, but with three suitors interested, will she really allow herself to be manipulated into a marriage without love? Or will the man leaving her secret love poems sweep her off her feet? (Historical Romance from Mountain Brook Ink)

Mail-Order Mishaps by Susan Page Davis, Linda Ford, Vickie McDonough, and Erica Vetsch — In The Bride’s Dilemma by Susan Page Davis, Eve Martin arrives in Cheyenne to learn that man she came to marry is in jail, accused of a violent murder. But has God brought her here to help save Caleb Blair’s life? In Romancing the Rancher by Linda Ford, Amelia expects a safe home for herself and her niece in Montana as mail-order bride to Zach Taggerty. Only Zach has never heard of her. In The Marriage Sham by Vickie McDonough, Texas mail-order bride Zola Bryant is a widowed newlywed. Worse, they were never truly wed because the officiant was an outlaw not a preacher. What will she do now that her life and reputation are in tatters? In The Galway Girl by Erica Vetsch, a mail-order mix-up sends Irish lass Maeve O’Reilly to the Swedish community of Lindsborg, Kansas. Will Kaspar Sandberg consider it a happy accident or a disaster to be rectified as soon as possible? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Lord of Her Heart by Sherrinda Ketchersid — Lady Jocelyn Ashburne suspects something is amiss at her family’s castle because her father ceases to write to her. When she overhears a plot to force her into vows—either to the church or a husband—she disguises herself and flees the convent in desperation to discover the truth. Malcolm Castillon of Berkham is determined to win the next tournament and be granted a manor of his own. After years of proving his worth on the jousting field, he yearns for a life of peace. Rescuing a scrawny lad who turns out to be a beautiful woman is not what he bargained for. Still, he cannot deny that she stirs his heart like no other, in spite of her conniving ways. Chaos, deception, and treachery threaten their goals, but both are determined to succeed. Learning to trust each other might be the only way either of them survives. (Historical Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

Love’s Belief by Linda Shenton Matchett — When the Third Reich implements mandates that require Jewish babies and other “undesirables” to be killed as part of The Final Solution, is midewife Pia Hertz’s new faith in Christ strong enough to defy the laws of man? Dieter Fertig is relieved he’s no longer part of Hitler’s army, despite the reason–a battle that cost his arm. After he returns to Berlin, only to discover the Nuremburg Laws require his best friend’s baby girl to be killed, he must find a way to spirit the child out of Germany before the Nazis discover her existence. (Historical Romance from Shortwave Press)

Shelter Bay by Pamela S. Meyers — Adventurous bicyclist Maureen Quinn and her best friend, Preston Stevens, a member of the U.S. Life Saving Service, find love and face life-altering events on the shores of Lake Michigan. (Historical Romance from Mantle Rock Publishing)


Fallen Leaf by Julie B. Cosgrove — When a DNA kit reveals blond, blue-eyed Jessica Warren is half Cherokee, she confronts her adoptive parents and learns her birth father is in prison…for murder! Now he wants her help in exonerating him. Can Jessica trust the handsome, young Tulsa district attorney to help, or does he have an agenda of his own? (Cozy Mystery from Write Integrity Press)

Bitter Pill by Richard L. Mabry, MD — Things were going along just fine until the miracle fouled them up. (Medical Mystery, Independently Published)

Latter-day Cipher by Latayne C. Scott — Kirsten Young, a well-known and rebellious Utah heiress, is found murdered in Provo Canyon. The strange markings carved into her flesh and the note written in 19th century code seem to cast a shadow on ancient Mormon laws. Journalist Selonnah Zee is assigned to cover the story– and it quickly grows out of control. (Historical Mystery from Moody)

Romantic Suspense:

Running Target by Elizabeth Goddard — A routine patrol turns deadly when marine deputy Bree Carrington’s boat is sunk by men carrying illegal weapons. Fleeing a barrage of bullets, she’s suddenly rescued by DEA agent Quinn Strand—her ex-boyfriend. Quinn’s return threatens more than Bree’s heart…because he’s the one the men are really after. As criminals hunt her to get to him, can Quinn and Bree take down a drug ring? (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])


The Pages of Her Life by James L. Rubart — Allison Moore’s dad was living a secret life and left her mom in massive debt. As she scrambles to help her mom find a way out, she’s given a journal, anonymously, during a visit to her favorite coffee shop. The pressure to rescue her mom mounts, and Allison pours her fears and heartache into the journal. But then the unexplainable happens. The words in the journal, her words, begin to disappear. And new ones fill the empty spaces—words that force her to look at everything she knows about herself in a new light. Ignoring those words could cost her everything…but so could embracing them. (Speculative from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

Author Spotlight — Catherine Brakefield ( + GIVEAWAY )

Today I’m happy to welcome author Catherine Brakefield for an author spotlight. Read through to the end to find out how to enter her giveaway.

What is your “go to” routine that helps you get in the mood to write?

I like to awake before anyone else, sip my coffee and reflect. I reflect on memories of special days. For instance, Mother’s Day.

As a young girl, I experienced some interesting May 10th holidays which, at the time, I never dreamt would make it into the pages of Destiny of Heart (Book 3 of the series).

During a monumental time in my life, I had the thrill of having three uniquely different mothers celebrating Mother’s Day beneath one roof. My mother who lived in Warren, Michigan; Gran, my mother’s mother; and Grandma, my father’s mother. My inspiration for my characters who portray my mothers in Destiny of Heart originated from those Mother Day events.

Is that your favorite part of writing, establishing your characters?

Yes. If I didn’t have a clear idea or image of my characters in my mind, my story didn’t excite me. Well, if I had to pull myself to the computer and wasn’t excited to see what happened to my characters next, how was it going to spur my readers to turn the page and draw them into the story plot?

The entourage of mothers, who came from different walks of life, different origins, and different geographical locations, meeting on common ground during those Mother Day events, encouraged my imagination and helped me establish the different points of view you find in Destiny of Heart. The enviable conversation eventually reverted to “ in my day.” Those conversations ignited my imagination and spurred my interest into that gilded age I had only read about in books. Here were the very people who lived in that era!

My grandmother held her down-home dialect of the Kentucky hills, where she was born, throughout her lifetime. My mother, though she had spent most of her youth in the South, quickly lost the twang of the Kentucky hills for a softer version of the northern dialect when she came to Detroit. It suited her as her always-stylish clothes did. However, nothing could dissolve Gran’s or my mother’s Christian roots grounded in the Bible Belt of the south.

When my Grandma from my dad’s side found a seat around our table, I learned about the strict rules of their faith. Grandma was a church-goer who liked to fill the pew at Sunday’s five o’clock service. Grandpa took the children old enough to listen to church at a later service. Grandma stayed home with the toddlers. Her six children went to parochial school through high school. Each were taught to work hard, respect their parents, and had a uncompromising love of God.

Looking back, recalling the events I share with my readers throughout my Destiny series and especially in Destiny of Heart, I can see why God chose that generation to endure the hardships of the Great War, a war they thought would end all wars. Detroit’s Italian, French, Irish, and German immigrants battled through the stress and depravity that existed during the Great Depression. When you lose everything you have, you have to have a strong moral belief, a limitless amount of grit, and an unquenchable faith to come out a better person than when you began.

As these women, donned in Easter bonnets, with fragrant corsages pinned on their spring dresses, sat around my mother’s table, sipping their coffee, their words became as colorful as their clothing. Laughter filled the kitchen like gaily chattering magpies. You never heard one whimper over not having food, shoes for their children, or enough fuel to keep their homes warm. What you did hear is what they learned they didn’t need. How they made do. The practical wisdom of the Word put in layman terms. That what they needed was supplied when they needed it.

Many of the stories I share in my Destiny series, came from those Mother’s Day chats. As they laughed and reminisced over the “Good Ol’ Days,” I was busy taking mental notes. I didn’t know I’d ever use them. But God did.

Here is the opening of chapter 1 of Destiny of Heart:

Sunlight swept across Ruby Meir’s face. A roar like the rumbling Cumberland Falls vibrated through her bedchambers. Horses neighed, men yelled out orders, and brakes screeched to a halt just below her windowpane.

Trucks at Shushan? No, silly, you’re in Amarillo, Texas, in a fancy suite at the Grand Hotel. I must have been dreaming. Her hand touched Collina’s letter. She snuggled deeper into the soft bed and drew up the covers. Stephen and she were on their way to Colorado to homestead a section of land near Pikes Peak.

Drums pounded in the distance, followed by a duet of trumpets. This must be the preparations for the parade the bellhop had told them of the night before.

Since her marriage to Stephen, the years had rolled into her world with Stephen’s illness baffling the doctors. Now, the chain of war events in Europe had reached America’s shores. The Great War did not concern her. Her husband and son did.

She clasped Collina’s letter to her bosom. Collina’s right; the Lord orders all things. Queen Esther faced her darkest hours at Shushan with perseverance. And who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this? God carried Queen Esther through her life trials to jubilation. He could do that for her family, too. She wasn’t going to allow a silly war or Stephen’s peculiar illness or moving to some place she’d never heard of before upset her joy.

My publisher is offering a three book discount. This is sure to make a wonderful Mother’s Day present for your mother!

Tell me about your next book, I think you told me it would be published on June 6th?

That’s right, on D-Day. CrossRiver’s editor, Debra Butterfield, and publisher, Tamara Clymer, thought having it come out on June 6th would fit right into the World War II period I cover in Waltz with Destiny, Book 4. Destiny 4 continues where Destiny of Heart leaves off. Most of the same characters you see in Destiny of Heart you will find in Waltz with Destiny.

Esther Meir is now a young lady of nineteen and Eric Erhardt is twenty. Brought up during the Depression, their generation gaily adapts to the fun-loving frolic of the Big Band Era and the dazzling splendors of Detroit’s ballrooms. But Hitler is like a shadow that hounds their dance steps.

Esther has no control over Europe’s war. But love, well, that can wait. At this moment, all she cared about is getting through this dancing evening and not making a spectacle of herself. Then her mother’s words whisper in her mind. “When you meet the right man, you’ll have no trouble following…”

As Eric Erhardt sweeps her into his embrace, she knows she faces a challenge. Heaven or hell is now just a heartbeat away.

I will give away a book of your choice (e-book or a print) from my Destiny Series: Book 1, Swept into Destiny; Book 2, Destiny’s Whirlwind; Book 3, Destiny of Heart. . (Please note: for readers outside of the United States, I can only do an e-book.)

About the Author:

Catherine is an award winning author of the inspirational historical romance Wilted Dandelions. Her four-book Destiny series is growing in popularity: Swept into Destiny, Destiny’s Whirlwind, Destiny of Heart, and the fourth book of the series, Waltz into Destiny will release on June 6, 2019.

She has written two pictorial history books. Images of America; The Lapeer Area, and Images of America: Eastern Lapeer County.

Her short stories have been published in Guidepost Books True Stories of Extraordinary Answers to Prayer, Unexpected Answers and Desires of Your Heart; Baker Books, Revell, The Dog Next Door, Horse of my Heart, Second-Chance DOGS, and Horse of my Dreams scheduled for Fall, 2019 publication; CrossRiver Media Publishers, The Benefit Package and Abba’s Promise; Bethany House Publishers, Jesus Talked to me Today.

She is a longtime Michigan resident and lives with her husband of 45 years and their Arabian horses in the picturesque hills of Addison Township. She loves traveling the byroads across America, and spoiling her two handsome grandsons and two beautiful granddaughters!

Follow me on:

Blog: Hopes, Hearts, & Hoofbeats

Twitter:, Catherine Ulrich Brakefield


The Bride’s Dilemma — Susan Page Davis ( + GIVEAWAY )

Today I’m excited to welcome author Susan Page Davis back as she shares about her new release. Read all the way through to learn how to enter the giveaway.

Mail-order bride stories are very popular today. My novella “The Bride’s Dilemma” is part of a collection releasing May 1—Mail-Order Mishaps.

I love writing historicals. I write both historical novels and contemporaries, and I enjoy doing both. With historicals, several factors make them challenging, and yet in some ways easier and more fun.

In my novella “The Bride’s Dilemma,” Eve Martin travels from Pennsylvania to Wyoming by train in 1883. Today, she’d fly in a few hours with a carry-on bag and possibly a checked suitcase. But back then, even by rail, it was a journey of many days and discomforts.

Compared to earlier journeys, however, Eve’s trip was easy and fast. Wagon trains would take three months or more to do this, and travelers would have to take not only their clothing, but all the food they would need on the journey, animals to get them there, food for the animals, weapons for defense, tools for repairs, and so much more!

Now add in the difficulty and delays in communications during the nineteenth century. By the time Eve makes her trip, there are telegraph lines to carry fast messages. But go back a few years to 1850. If someone you loved was leaving home to travel overland to Wyoming Territory then, how frustrated would you be by the common communication methods of the day? It could take weeks or even months for a letter to be delivered, if at all.

When I write stories in the period of the westward movement, I think a lot about how families were separated and how agonizing it would be if you were out of touch with your loved ones for months or even years.

Today we want to have instant communication. Cell phones have brought the concept of keeping in touch to a new level. On days when the technology doesn’t work, people are frantic.

Back in the mid-1800s, you had to learn to chill. Those back home weren’t going to chat with the travelers daily, or even weekly. By the time their letters reached home, they might not be within 500 miles of where they wrote them. If someone wrote and told you that a family member had been ill or injured, by the time you got that news it was probably too late to worry. The sufferer had either recovered or died. How heart-wrenching is that?

I use this communication gap often to build tension in my historicals. It makes it much easier to withhold information from some characters. The reader might know things the character doesn’t know, because he’s on the trail and out of touch. How can a warning be sent on time, when everything moves so slowly?

Today we experience “FOMO” (Fear of Missing Out) when we’re away from our computers or phones. Back then, regrets built and festered.

Delays in communication and transportation were so likely a hundred years or more ago, that it can be a boon to the author. But I’m glad I live in the present!

About Susan:

Susan Page Davis is the author of more than eighty romantic suspense, mystery, and historical romance novels. She’s a winner of the Carol Award, two Will Rogers Medallions, two Faith, Hope & Love Readers’ Choice Awards, and she was a finalist in the WILLA Literary Awards. A Maine native, she now lives in western Kentucky. Visit her website at: or her author page on Facebook:





What are you reading right now?
Mind Games, by Nancy Mehl.

What is your current work in progress?
I just finished another historical novella and am now working on a contemporary mystery.

What are your favorite hobbies?
Cross stitch, genealogy, and puzzles.


Mail-Order Mishaps: Dreams of Finding Mr. Right Go Wrong in the Old West

The four novellas in the collection are:
The Bride’s Dilemma by Susan Page Davis
Wyoming, 1883
Eve Martin arrives in Cheyenne to learn that man she came to marry is in jail, accused of a violent murder. Should she get on the next eastbound train, or has God brought her here to help save Caleb Blair’s life?
Romancing the Rancher by Linda Ford
Montana, 1886
Amelia expects a safe home for herself and her niece as mail-order bride to Zach Taggerty. Only Zach has never heard of her, and the last thing he needs is more complications in his life.
The Marriage Sham by Vickie McDonough
Texas, 1888
Mail-order bride Zola Bryant is devastated. Her newlywed husband is dead. But even worse, they were never truly married because the man who wed them was an outlaw not a preacher. What will she do now that her life and reputation are in tatters?
The Galway Girl by Erica Vetsch
Kansas, 1875
A mail-order mix-up sends Irish lass Maeve O’Reilly to the Swedish community of Lindsborg, Kansas. Will Kaspar Sandberg consider it a happy accident or a disaster to be rectified as soon as possible?

Get the book:


Paperback on Amazon:

Leave a comment to enter the giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of the paperback collection. (US only)

Tidbits and Trivia– Getting to Know Author Susan G. Mathis

Today I’m happy to welcome author Susan G. Mathis for an author interview.

So let’s have your bio first!

I’m a multi-published author of stories set in the beautiful Thousand Islands, my childhood stomping ground in upstate NY. Katelyn’s Choice, the first in The Thousand Islands Gilded Age series, released in March. The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy and Christmas Charity novella are available now.

I’m also a published author of two premarital books with my wonderful husband, Dale, and have two children’s picture books, stories in a dozen compilations, and hundreds of published articles in print. I live in Colorado Springs, enjoy traveling globally with my husband, Dale, and relish each time I get to see or Skype with my four granddaughters. You can find out more at

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

My husband and I went to Wolfe Island, Canada, the partial setting for both The Fabric of Hope and Christmas Charity where we met several cousins we didn’t know I had and heard lots of stories that made both of these books extra special.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.

I enjoy reading everything from children’s picture books to nonfiction to contemporary and historical fiction. But if I had to choose, I’d settle in with Christian historical romance and that’s what I’m writing from now on. Smiles.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?

It may sound like a pat answer, but taking time to pray, read the word, and worship keep me in balance. I especially enjoy worship music while doing mindless work such as cooking, cleaning, driving, etc.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?

Although I am so humbled to have accomplished such diverse published works, I’m most thrilled to have my family legacy in print. The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy has been a work of the heart, mind, and emotions. And close to that is being published with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. What a wonderful experience this has been! They’re an amazing group of editors, publishers, and now friends who journey with their authors through the process and do an excellent job.

What is your favorite food?

Being Irish, I consider tea as my comfort drink, and with it, the Irish Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake sounds really good right now.

Tell us about your new book, Katelyn’s Choice.
The Gilded Age comes to life in this first installment of the Thousand Islands Series!

Katelyn Kavanagh’s mother dreamed her daughter would one day escape the oppressive environment of their Upstate New York farm for service in the enchanting Thousand Islands, home to Gilded Age millionaires. But when her wish comes true, Katelyn finds herself in the service of none other than the famous George Pullman, and the transition proves anything but easy.

Thomas O’Neill, brother of her best friend, is all grown up and also working on Pullman Island. Despite Thomas’ efforts to help the irresistible Katelyn adjust to the intricacies of her new world, she just can’t seem to tame her gossiping tongue—even when the information she’s privy to could endanger her job, the 1872 re-election of Pullman guest President Ulysses S. Grant, and the love of the man of her dreams.


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April 2019 New Releases!

April 2019 New Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.


The Heart Changer by Jarm Del Boccio — Miriam is asked to do the impossible: serve the wife of Naaman, commander of the Syrian army. Clinging to treasured memories of home and faith, Miriam faces captivity with bitterness. Little does she know the Heart Changer is preparing her for a greater mission — far beyond what she could imagine. (Children’s from Ambassador International)

Contemporary Romance:

Faith and Hope by Amy R. Anguish — Younger sister Hope has lost her job, her car, and her boyfriend all in one day. Her well-laid plans for life have gone sideways, as has her hope in God. Older sister Faith is finally getting her dream-come-true after years of struggles and prayers. But when her mom talks her into letting Hope move in for the summer, will the stress turn her dream into a nightmare? Is her faith in God strong enough to handle everything? For two sisters who haven’t gotten along in years, this summer together could be a disaster…or it could lead them to a closer relationship with each other and God. Can they overcome all life is throwing at them? Or is this going to destroy their relationship for good? (Contemporary Romance from Mantle Rock Publishing)

Match Made in Heaven by Julie Arduini — Beth Prescott wants to make a difference with the senior citizens she serves as a volunteer coordinator, but their matchmaking efforts leave her guarded. She’s experienced too much pain to make that leap again. Dean Kellerman returns to the Finger Lakes area to help his grandfather and heal his own broken heart. He’s recommitted his life to Christ, and doesn’t want any distractions.
When his grandfather needs assistance with a senior program, it places Dean right in Beth’s path. Can these two surrender their pasts to Christ and have faith in each other and their future? (Contemporary Romance from Surrendered Scribe Media)

An Amish Reunion by Amy Clipston, Kathleen Fuller, Kathleen Irvin, and Beth WisemanTheir True Home by Amy Clipston: Marlene Bawell’s new friendship with an old crush is threatened when change once again disrupts the home she’s tried to make in Bird-in-Hand. A Reunion of Hearts by Beth Wiseman: Separated after tragic grief, husband and wife Ruth and Gideon Beiler are reunited when they accept an invitation to a family reunion they each believe the other has declined. A Chance to Remember by Kathleen Fuller: Cevilla Schlabach, Birch Creek’s resident octogenarian matchmaker, is surprised when Richard, a man from her Englisch past, arrives in Birch Creek for a visit. While he and Cevilla take several walks down memory lane, they wonder what the future holds for them at this stage of life—friendship, or the possibility of something else? Mended Hearts by Kelly Irvin: Abandoned by her father, penitent single mother Hannah Kauffman finds support in her old friend Phillip, who has loved her for years, but fears risking another mistake by opening herself up to love. (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing [Thomas Nelson and Zondervan])

Her New Amish Family by Carrie Lighte — Widower Seth Helmuth needs a mother for his sons, but for now, hiring the Englischer next door as their nanny will have to do. Trina Smith plans to stay in Amish country only long enough to claim her inheritance and sell her grandfather’s house. But as she falls for Seth, his twin boys and Amish life, will she inherit a home and a family? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Beauty for Ashes by Kathleen Neely — Well-known novelist Nathan Drummond revisits painful memories when family responsibilities force him to return to his home town. Although he’d intended the living situation to be temporary, Nathan didn’t count on falling in love. As guilty memories threaten a return of panic attacks, Nathan begins to write a novel paralleling the tragic event from his youthful folly. Will the novel be seen as a work of fiction, or will it expose his secret? (Contemporary Romance from Harbourlight Books [Pelican])

Restoring Her Faith by Jennifer Slattery — An artist fighting to save her career must find a way to work with the handsome yet stubborn cowboy overseeing a church restoration project–without falling for his southern charm. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Sweet On You by Becky Wade — Britt Bradford and Zander Ford have been the best of friends since they met thirteen years ago. Unbeknown to Britt, Zander has been in love with her for just as long. As they work together to investigate Zander’s uncle’s mysterious death, will the truth of what lies between them also, finally, come to light? (Contemporary Romance from Bethany House [Baker])

General Contemporary:

The Edge of Mercy by Heidi Chiavaroli — A dying request from an elderly neighbor forces a woman in a troubled marriage to find the 300-year-old story of a young colonial woman—one forced into an unwanted betrothal but drawn to a man forbidden to her by society. (General Contemporary from Hope Creek Publishers)

All My Tears by Kathy McKinsey — Meet five women who struggle with life’s deep sorrows. Beth fights to recover from alcoholism and to mend her relationships with her family. Ann doesn’t believe God will forgive her. Kathleen wrestles with a years-old fear and with saving her marriage. Cassie needs to learn to deal with chronic depression. Martie finds herself the single parent of the eight-year-old niece she barely knows when the child’s parents die in a car wreck.
See how God gives them the gifts of hope, healing, and love. (General Contemporary from Mantle Rock Publishers)


The Refuge by Ann H Gabhart — Can Darcie Goodwin find love and a way to keep her baby in a community that doesn’t believe in marriage or individual family units? (Historical from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

Historical Romance:

The Artful Match by Jennifer Delamere — At loose ends in London after a near-tragedy, Cara Bernay finds herself at odds with the Earl of Morestowe after she befriends his brother, a talented but troubled young artist. Soon she finds herself drawn to the earl as she becomes more involved with his family. Like Cara, they are suffering from unresolved mistakes in their past. Can they form an unlikely alliance and find a way to a new beginning? (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])

The Golden Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse — Olivia Brighton finds herself widowed and working her brother’s restaurant in San Francisco during the height of the 1849 Gold Rush. Even though she receives at least twenty marriage proposals a day, she will never marry a gold miner. Her brother’s friend Joseph Sawyer has gotten caught up in local politics and the plight of Chinese in forced labor. The more Joseph gets pulled into investigating crime in the city, the less Olivia sees of the compassionate man. And just when she thinks she could love again, a fire threatens to steal all hope. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Romantic Suspense:

Justice Delivered by Patricia Bradley — An escaped victim of sex trafficking must find the courage to report her captors to the authorities—some of whom could be corrupt—when her niece is kidnapped by the ringleader. (Romantic Suspense from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

You Shouldn’t Have by Susan Page Davis — “I SAW MY NEIGHBOR MURDER HIS WIFE!” But the police don’t believe Petra Wilson. There’s no body, no evidence, no murder. But Petra knows what she saw. And now her dangerous neighbor knows it, too. Her sisters introduce her to private investigator Joe Tarleton. Petra tells Joe her story, expecting him to decide there is no case. But the dedicated P.I. accepts her word, and he vows to uncover the truth. Still, he can’t guard Petra twenty-four hours a day. In spite of her precautions, her neighbor makes inroads in her vulnerability. Petra is left open to a killer intent on silencing the only living witness. (Romantic Suspense from Tea Tin Press)

Beauty in Battle by Robin Patchen — Harper doesn’t want to return to Maryland to face the police. The mess she left behind makes her look guilty of the worst, but it’s too late to run again. Red is safe and the authorities are waiting. At least Jack is by her side.
Now that Jack knows the truth, his feelings for Harper are deeper than ever. He’s not about to leave her side, especially knowing a killer is after her. But Derrick is on their trail, and he’s come unhinged. And he may not be the biggest threat lurking. (Romantic Suspense, Independently Published [ACFW QIP])


Flight of the Raven by Morgan L. Busse — Selene Ravenwood, once the heir to House Ravenwood, is now an exile. On the run and free of her family’s destiny, Selene hopes to find the real reason her family was given the gift of dreamwalking. But first she must adapt to her new role as wife to Lord Damien Maris, the man she was originally assigned to kill. While adjusting to her marriage and her home in the north, her power over dreams begins to grow. As the strongest dreamwalker to exist in ages, her expanding power attracts not only nightmares but the attention of the Dark Lady herself. With a war looming on the horizon and a wicked being after her gift, Selene is faced with a choice: accept the Dark Lady’s offer or search out the one who gave her the gift of dreamwalking. One path offers power, the other freedom. But time is running out, and if she doesn’t choose soon, her decision will be made for her. (Speculative Fantasy from Bethany House [Baker])

Snow Globe Travelers: Samuel’s Legacy by K.A. Cummins — Transported into another world, an Austrian girl must face a genetically-engineered warrior with an army of vicious hybrids. (Hard Science Fiction (for Children), Independently Published)

The Baggage Handler by David Rawlings — A hothead businessman coming to the city for a showdown meeting to save his job. A mother of three hoping to survive the days at her sister’s house before her niece’s wedding. And a young artist pursuing his father’s dream so he can keep his own alive. When David, Gillian, and Michael each take the wrong suitcases from baggage claim, the airline directs them to retrieve their bags at a mysterious facility in a deserted part of the city. There they meet the enigmatic Baggage Handler, who shows them there is more in their baggage than what they have packed, and carrying it with them is slowing them down in ways they can’t imagine. And they must deal with it before they can leave. (Speculative Allegory from HarperCollins Christian Publishing [Thomas Nelson and Zondervan])

All For The Cause — Gail Kittleson

Today I’m happy to welcome author Gail Kittleson as she shares some history behind her book, All for the Cause.

How did women come of age during World War II? It stands to reason that young women’s journeys to maturity would be accelerated, with so many men’s spots empty because of deployments. Twila Brunner, a high school senior, was definitely one of these.

Her sense of responsibility, already heightened by her father’s deployment to the West Coast, came to the fore as her mother went to work at the Hormel factory in Austin, Minnesota. Yes, making SPAM.

Susan M. Hartmann, author of The Home Front and Beyond: American Women in the 1940s (Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1982), notes that the female labor force grew by 6.5 million during the war. In 1944, 35.4 percent of all adult women were employed. By 1945, this number rose to 36.1 percent.

At the height of the war, 19,170,000 women flooded the labor force. Several women in my newest release, All For the Cause were among these women. One in ten married women worked outside the home, an increase from 13.9 to 22.5 percent. The percentage of female workers with children under ten increased from 7.8 to 12.1 from 19940 to 1944.

These women made an average weekly wage of $31.21, compared to $54.65 for men. What a discrepancy! These days, we’re used to outcries about this type of injustice, but back then, everyone focused on bringing the war to an end.

Besides, the great need for women workers in factories stirred something in the “fairer sex,” as women were called. Could they rise to the occasion and perform jobs formerly held only by men? You bet they could!

Proving their capabilities provided all the challenge these women needed. In All For The Cause, the heroine’s mother had never worked outside the home before. She kept books for the family lumberyard, but supervising workers at the Hormel factory was different. For one thing, she faced a 45 minute commute each day in a shuttle.

How did this huge change in her family affect Twila? First, she took on more responsibilities at home. She’d been at loose ends when her father left, and rebellion against her family’s rules. But suddenly, a secret from her mom’s past comes to light—what could her mom have done that shook the previous generation to the core?

The quest to discover the answer alters Twila’s perspective and begins her own search to uncover evidence. In that process, she comes to appreciate the reasons behind her mother’s isolation, and also graduates from high school. Along the way, a teacher’s question piques her curiosity. What can she contribute to the war effort?

The answer to this question arrives as Twila seeks guidance. Readers may resonate to her prayer, “I haven’t been much of a Christian lately, but…” Many of us have felt unworthy during certain seasons of our lives…unworthy even of guidance.

But as Twila’s direction unfolds, she finds more than she ever dreamed when she first uttered her tentative prayer. Her niche in this perilous time opens up more than she would ever have guessed—she enters a whole new world.




ABOUT THE BOOK: All for the Cause

Distant thunder rolled as Mr. Olsen poured coffee for his customers, and comments crackled like popcorn.


“Unconditional, he said. Who woulda thought…”

“Sure ain’t lookin’ good.”

“Sure hate to think of ’em bein’ prisoners.”

“Ain’t Howard Hannam’s son over there?”

“Yeah, and my brother’s boy. Sure hope MacArthur keeps his promise to rescue them fellas.”

The news was grim in May 1942. The Philippines had fallen to the Imperial Japanese Army. Rommel is on the move in Northern Africa. The Russian Army is pushed back toward Stalingrad. In the sweltering jungles of Corregidor, PFC Stan Ford battles illness and injury as he and his comrades escape and evade a tenacious enemy. And in the Heartland, women mourn the loss of husbands, sons, and sweethearts.

While everyone else seems to be doing something to support the troops, Twila Brunner feels lost, and useless. But when she sees a newspaper article about a Prisoner of War camp being built in neighboring Algona, Iowa, she believes she has finally discovered a way to to give something for the Cause.



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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Gail Kittleson

When Gail’s not drafting scenes or deep in an edit, she facilitates writing workshops, classes and retreats both in Iowa and Arizona, where winters find her enjoying the gorgeous Ponderosa forest under the Mogollon Rim. The rest of the year, she and her husband of forty years enjoy grandchildren gardening, and visiting WWII sites. Favorites:  walking, reading, meeting new friends and hearing from readers who fall in love with her characters.

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Twitter: @GailGkittleson


Hopping into Historical fiction from the World of Nonfiction–An interview with Susan G Mathis

Today I’m happy to welcome author Susan G. Mathis for an author interview.

After a career in writing nonfiction, I hear you’ve settled into writing only 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 I’ll have four published historical fiction books on the market by the end of the year.

Tell us about your first two fiction books.

My debut novel released on St. Patrick’s Day last year. 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.

Christmas Charity came out in November. 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.

What’s your newest novel?

Katelyn’s Choice is book one of The Thousand Islands Gilded Age 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.


And what projects are you working on now?

I just finished the manuscript for Devyn’s Dilemma, book two of The Thousand Islands Gilded Age series, which is already contracted.

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. Sign up for my newsletter to stay up with the latest news.

Sara’s Surprise is my current work in progress. It releases November, 2019. Sara McNully and Sean Graham must navigate the challenging waters of working together at the magnificent Thousand Islands Crossmon Hotel in Alexandria Bay, NY. When Sean’s precocious, six-year-old Madison befriends her and a colleague endangers their work and relationship, can Sara learn to trust Sean with her heart and become Mama to this little one?

About Susan:

Susan G Mathis is a multi-published author of stories set in the beautiful Thousand Islands, her childhood stomping ground in upstate NY. Katelyn’s Choice, the first in The Thousand Islands Gilded Age series, releases March 15, 2019. The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy and her Christmas Charity novella are available now. Susan is also a published author of two premarital books with her husband, Dale, two children’s picture books, stories in a dozen compilations, 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

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