Today I’m happy to welcome author Janet P. Reedman as she shares about her new release.
In the Middle Ages, most royal daughters were expected to make marriage alliances to strengthen the kingdom. If they weren’t to be married, they were sent to join the church as a nun. Mary of Woodstock, daughter of Edward I, was the latter, being chosen at the age of six to accompany her grandmother, Eleanor of Provence, into the convent of St Mary’s in Amesbury, Wiltshire. It was an unusually young age to go into the cloister, and Mary’s mother, Queen Eleanor of Castile had not approved, but she gave in to her husband and mother-in-law’s wishes.
Mary had no real vocation to be a nun and it showed. Along with her grandmother, she lived in brand-new private quarters away from the other nuns, with pets, sumptuous beds and other luxuries—including a substantial regular income supplied by her father.
As she grew older, she also acquired a passion for travelling; with permission from the prioress of St Mary’s, she would process about the country just like the princess she was…although she didn’t forget all her religious duties, and did go on a few pilgrimages (with her friends) or inspected a few other nunneries in her office of ‘visitatrix.’ She was at court often and attended the weddings of her numerous sisters; whilst there, she enjoyed dicing and other types of gambling, and frequently had to have her debts paid off by the King.
She was quite close to her brother, who became the unfortunate Edward II, and attended his Coronation and the feast afterwards, which was something of a disaster. The food was cold and inedible, served late, and all the lords of the land were itching to lay hands on Edward’s favourite, the Gascon knight, Piers Gaveston, who had marched around Westminster Abbey wearing royal purple and pearls as if it was his Coronation and not Edward’s.
As Edward’s unfortunate reign progressed, Mary gradually began to spend more time in her convent. A book on the Plantagenet, with emphasis on her father was written by a monk called Nicholas Trevet; it was dedicated to Mary, and she probably commissioned it to be written. It is one of our most important sources on Edward I’s reign.
Mary died in 1332 at the age of approximately fifty-three and was buried in Amesbury. Unfortunately, the priory was completely levelled during the Reformation, with not one stone remaining above ground, so her tomb is now lost, along with that of her grandmother, Queen Eleanor. It is not impossible that one day her grave might be found if the landowner decides to excavate; in which case she would likely be re-interred with a proper memorial in the local abbey church or perhaps Salisbury Cathedral.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
J.P. Reedman was born in Canada but has lived in the U.K. for nearly 27years. Interests include folklore & anthropology, prehistoric archaeology (Neolithic/bronze age Europe; ritual, burial & material culture), as well as The Wars of the Roses and other medieval eras.
Reedman is the author a speculative archaeological fiction epic using a proto-King Arthur in the era of Stonehenge called THE STONEHENGE SAGA, a very successful novel about Richard III, ‘I, RICHARD PLANTAGENET’ and a series called MEDIEVAL BABES: TALES OF LITTLE-KNOWN LADIES, which deals with the lesser-known Queen and noblewomen of medieval England.
Today we welcome Jennifer Uhlarik for an author spotlight and a sneak peak of her book, Taming Petra. Read through to the end to find out how you can enter her giveaway.
• What is your “go to” routine that helps you get in the mood to write? Special beverage? Music? Etc.
My writing routine often looks like this: I grab my laptop from the coffee table and walk toward my writing room—the front bedroom of our home. My dog, Gracie, sees me heading that way and jumps up to race me to the room (she is my helper dog and loves to sit in the room while we work together on stories!). As I set my computer in place and make sure I have any books/research material I may need close at hand, Gracie checks the windows to be sure all is well outside. I typically sit down, then realize I don’t have anything to drink, so I get up, go back to the kitchen to grab water (usually with some Crystal Light Wild Strawberry mixed in it), and then head back to my room. Once closed inside, I’ll put on my headphones. I can’t listen to music and write—too distracting. So is the ambient noise of television or conversations going on outside my writing room. Long ago, I found a white noise app for my computer, and I use it to play the sounds of a rainstorm and thunder to drown out any sounds that break my focus. With the white noise going, I kick off my flip-flops, put my feet up on the footrest I’ve rigged under my desk, and drape a blanket over my lap. Usually at this point, I’ll take a glance at my emails, answer anything pressing, and then settle in to write. That entails a read-through of the previous scene, then hopefully plowing ahead with the next part of the story. Of course, if I’ve failed to close my email or mute my phone, then every beep of a notification distracts me until I remedy the problem, but eventually, I find my focus and slip into story mode.
• Tell us about your next book & when is it being published? Why do you write the kind of books you do?
My latest release is out TODAY! Cameo Courtships is a 4-in-1 novella collection from Barbour Publishing. It features stories from Susanne Dietze, Kathleen Y’Barbo, Debra E. Marvin, and me. The concept of the collection is that during a visit to the palace, a cameo brooch is given by Queen Victoria to a woman who, moments later, meets the man she ends up marrying. The cameo is then passed on to another family member, since Queen Victoria had instructed that one never owns a cameo, but rather acts as its custodian until it becomes clear it is time to pass it on to another. So each story in the collection shows where the cameo brooch is sent and the adventures each new family member has while acting as its custodian.
My particular story, Taming Petra, is about a tomboy named Petra who dresses in buckskin trousers and prefers to go by the name of Buckskin Pete. When her mother sends her the cameo, she promptly loses it to a nefarious brothel owner, and she must team up with the Colorado town’s new pastor to get it back.
I long ago fell in love with the western genre when I read my first Louis L’Amour western (see more of that story in my bio). I was a bit of a tomboy myself when I was a girl, so the genre fit my need for adventure and action, but it also spoke to my more feminine side with the chivalrous cowboys living by the Code of the West. To me, it was a perfect blend of everything. (And there were horses! LOL) I read so many westerns in my teen years that it became a natural avenue to follow in my writing.
• How has being published changed your life? If you aren’t published yet, how do you think being published will change your life?
Life is a LOT busier now that I’m published! It used to be that I could sit and write whenever and however I wanted (meaning—if I wanted to, I could work on three different stories at a time—or do no writing at all for months). But along with being published came deadlines and expectations. These days, I split my time between writing new stories, promoting the latest releases, writing blog posts for my group blog, Heroes, Heroines and History(www.hhhistory.com), critiquing for my writing partners, keeping up with social media and websites, and dreaming up new stories. So it’s become a bit of a crazy life.
That said, the really amazing part of being published is the connections to readers. Since I received my first contract in June 2014, and especially since my first full-length novel, Sand Creek Serenade, came out earlier this year, it’s been so awesome to meet readers across the world who have somehow been touched by my stories. Writing can be a solitary job—just you and your fictional characters, with very little interaction beyond that. Thanks to social media, I’m able to chat with various readers, learn about their lives, and begin to develop friendships that I never would have had if my stories were not out there for readers to see. Those wonderful connections are what it is really all about, and they make all the craziness worth it in the end!
• Question for Readers: Do you enjoy novella collections? Do you prefer the novellas to have a common thread running through them (such as the “Victoria Cameo” being handed down to various family members), or would you rather each novella stands on its own with only a loose theme to tie them to each other? Leave your thoughts to be entered in a drawing for a paperback copy of Cameo Courtships
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jennifer Uhlarik discovered the western genre as a pre-teen when she swiped the only “horse” book she found on her older brother’s bookshelf. A new love was born. Across the next ten years, she devoured Louis L’Amour westerns and fell in love with the genre. In college at the University of Tampa, she began penning her own story of the Old West. Armed with a B.A. in writing, she has finaled and won in numerous writing competitions, and been on the ECPA best-seller list numerous times. In addition to writing, she has held jobs as a private business owner, a schoolteacher, a marketing director, and her favorite—a full-time homemaker. Jennifer is active in American Christian Fiction Writers, Women Writing the West, and is a lifetime member of the Florida Writers Association. She lives near Tampa, Florida, with her husband, college-aged son, and four fur children.
Social Media Links:
1st Page of Taming Petra by Jennifer Uhlarik
Cambria Springs, Colorado Territory—late summer, 1875
“Buckskin Pete Hollingsworth!”
The gruff voice froze Pete’s tracks. People all around the crowded street stopped, and tension climbed. Was someone wishing to start a gunfight? If so, the voice wasn’t familiar, but such details were hardly important to those cocksure young bucks who fancied themselves gunfighters. They’d look for anyone with a bigger reputation than their own and call them out, all to garner fame.
In the last two years, the name of Buckskin Pete had become known about those parts—though not as a gunfighter.
Gripping the rifle in one hand, Pete blew out a breath and turned.
“I am.” A man of about eighteen stepped into the street from outside the Wells Fargo office. “Been lookin’ for you for a month.”
What on earth for? “State your business.”
“We got a couple packages for a Petra Jayne Breaux. That’s you, ain’t it?”
At the mention of her proper legal name, a chuckle rippled through the crowd, and folks along the street shifted anxious glances between her and the gent.
Heat and ire flashed through her. He’d exposed her true identity over packages? Just how had he figured it out, anyway? Only two other people in Cambria Springs knew her real name. Lucinda Braddock, the dime novelist who’d dubbed her Buckskin Pete after her successes at the Founders’ Day wood-chopping competition that started her rise to notoriety, and the town postmaster. Had one of them shared the information? Lu and her husband, Marshal Rion Braddock, were two of her few real friends in the area. She could trust Lu with that secret. Tamping down her unwelcome emotions, Pete stopped in front of the brash man.
“Petra. Pete. One and the same. Now what about those packages?”
The fella waved her toward the Wells Fargo office.
“Lemme get the door for you, Pete.” Tibby, a stately old gentleman despite his unkempt white mutton chops and threadbare clothes, stepped from the crowd to turn the knob. He pulled the door open and, with a flourish of his hand, bowed.
“Get out the way, old man,” the Wells Fargo fella barked.
She turned. “Shut your mouth. A proper gentleman opens doors for a lady.”
He gave her a contemptuous glance, eyes lingering on her buckskin trousers, then swept to the Colt Peacemaker and the Indian tomahawk on her belt, and finally stalled on her short-cropped hair. “You ain’t nothin’ close to a lady.”
Today I’m happy to welcome author Elizabeth Martina as she shares some insights into her novel research.
I write historical novels based on true stories. It is a niche genre and a popular one. The problem is that it takes much research to get all the background story you need for the book to have depth.
My story began as a question: How did a certain woman, Carmela Amato, die? I received multiple answers over the years. None of them were true. It took years (this was in ancient times, before the internet) of research, one city directory at a time, to find the answers. I contacted Hartford, Ct. Police, Hartford Courant newspaper and Connecticut State Library. I poured through coroner’s reports, newspaper articles and met a detective who was actually willing to help me. All of that gave me a bare bones answer.
The internet proved invaluable. I could then find out immigrations, living styles, names of children, and personal lives of the most peripheral of people. I even found out that some police officers in 1912 Hartford, Ct. had been on the New York Metropolitan baseball club. The one in the mid 1880s. A scene about baseball did not make the final cut into the book, but I may save it for another one. And I still have a list of family members for nearly one quarter of the Hartford police!
My knowledge of Italian food traditions ended up becoming a large factor in the story. That, I didn’t have to study. Use what you know.
Researching is fascinating, if you have that turn of mind. Otherwise, it can be drudgery. But, if you want to paint a picture of the world your readers are going to enter, you must give them accuracy and some details.
And the book:
It is Hartford, Connecticut, 1910. Italian immigrants are pouring into the U.S. by the thousands every year. They bring with them their own form of justice from the Old World.
How far can one man and his family go to get their own share of the American Dream…. without losing everything?
This story is taken from the headlines of the Hartford Courant. The names are real. The dates are real. Read it and decide if the decisions made were wise or foolish.
Purchase here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=The+Ragman+Murders&ref=nb_sb_noss
Elizabeth is a historian, genealogist and gardener. She is from upstate New York but has traveled extensively in the States, Canada, Western Europe and Japan. Settling down in the mountains of New York, she is happily married and the proud mom of a Bernese Mountain dog, Hansel, and two adult humans.
As a historian, Elizabeth has learned that some of the more unlikely stories are the true ones. There is no need to come up with a plot when dealing with her stories. They write themselves. As a genealogist, she writes up stories of the families for those whose ancesters she has traced.
In her first published book, “The Ragman Murders”, Elizabeth follows the tracks of an Italian immigrant family from their poor roots in southern Italy to Hartford, Ct. where revenge and threats from gangs destroy the integrity of a family.
She is planning a sequel to that book, titled “The Bronze Box”, but is also working on a series called “Virginia Legacy”, describing a family who immigrated to the colonies, almost at the beginning.
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:
Erected May 27, 1869
By the Cynthiana Confederate Memorial Association
In Memory Of The Confederate Dead
Who Fell In Defense Of Constitutional Liberty
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?
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.
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.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
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.
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.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
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
More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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 https://catherineulrichbrakefield.wordpress.com
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3387463, Catherine Ulrich Brakefield
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!
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: https://susanpagedavis.com or her author page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/susanpagedavisauthor
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
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
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
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
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: https://amzn.to/2UNsZMF
Leave a comment to enter the giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of the paperback collection. (US only)
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 http://www.SusanGMathis.com.
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.
For up-to-date information on these, connect with me here:
Website: www.SusanGMathis.com You can sign up for my newsletter on my homepage.
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