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Author, Author! — Kathleen D. Bailey And Redemption’s Hope

7 Sep

About The Book

Book: Redemption’s Hope

Author: Kathleen D. Bailey

Genre: Christian fiction

Release date: July 22, 2022

Two distinct sets of villains. Two orphaned children. A man without a country and a woman with too much past . . . . All in a rambunctious young country where anything goes, especially in the West. Seriously. What can go wrong?

In this latest installment of the best-selling series, “Western Dreams”, join Jenny and White Bear as they cross the historic West in an epic story peppered with grit, guns, and glory that award-winning author Kelly Goshorn calls “a sweeping tale of faith, dedication, and perseverance set in the American west.”

Click here to get your copy!

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About The Author

Kathleen D. Bailey was a child in the 50s, a teen in the 60s, a young adult in the 70s, and a young mom in the 80s. It’s been a turbulent, colorful time to grow up, and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it and written about most of it.

More from Kathleen

The “Western Dreams” series

The Oregon Trail was one of the premier events in American history, with people giving up everything to see what waited on the other side of the continent. Some had nothing to give up, and they joined a wagon train simply to survive. That was the case with Caroline Pierce O’Leary, a gently-bred widow whose young husband died before they could make a go of their farm. What would happen, I mused, if Caroline took the skimpy proceeds from selling her farm, signed on as a cook for a wagon master, and worked her way West? And what would happen if the scout on that particular wagon train was the man who had betrayed her years before, and they had to work together to cross the prairie? What if, what if, what if?

Everyone who hopped on a wagon for the Western Migration had a story, and I knew I’d found mine. As Caroline and Michael Moriarty struggled to rebuild their relationship, a host of other characters formed around them like a snowball. The loving Harkness family, who befriended Caroline on the way down from Ohio. Pious matrons who looked down on her and their harried husbands. Jenny Thatcher, the saloon girl who breaks from that life to save Michael’s. And Pace Williams, the wagon master, a man who had seen too much of life before he even took to the trail. The first book in the Western Dreams series, “Westward Hope,” debuted in September 2019.

I fell in love with Jenny and I fell in love with Pace. Jenny followed her new friends to the muddy Oregon hamlet where they settled, and Pace gave up the trail to make a life in the Oregon woods. But I wasn’t done with either of them – they had their own stories to tell. Pace battled his own demons and his love for Michael’s sister Oona, and it was enough to give them their own book, “Settlers Hope,” published in July 2020. I also spun off two novellas, “The Logger’s Christmas Bride” and “The Widow’s Christmas Miracle,” from the bigger books, and these were published with Pelican Book Group’s Christmas Extravaganza.

Jenny Thatcher demanded her own book, and she had a lot to offer. Saloon girl, wagon train scout, hotel cook and maid, horse breeder. Jenny could do anything, and she’d already proved it in the first two books. But Jenny had some unfinished business – the handsome Indian brave who’d saved her life, early in the westward journey. She’d never forgotten him, and White Bear had never forgotten her. What if she left the horse farm, and all she’d achieved in Oregon, to take to the trail again and find him? And what if he had the same idea? What if they crisscrossed the known world, picking up strays and meeting historical figures before coming together in New Orleans? (Honestly, what better place to reconnect with a lost love?) And what if the forces of evil split them up again, so they had to keep searching?

Though Jenny accepted Christ as her Savior sometime in the second book, her past continues to haunt her, and she wonders if she can ever be good enough for God. She’s physically given up the saloon life, but her inner doubts remain. White Bear struggles with a different facet of their union: can he sentence her to the criticism and censure of the white world if they marry?

The epic journey of two larger-than-life people formed the basis for the third Western Dreams book, “Redemption’s Hope,” out July 22, 2022.  Like Caroline and Michael, Pace and Oona, Jenny and White Bear find their answers in the Risen Christ.

Am I done with the West? Not likely. While I’m working on new novels set in other time periods, the West and my personal Western Dreams keep tugging at me. What happened to the Harkness family, Caroline’s friends, when they went to California? What happened to the ragged Smith children Caroline befriended? What happened to Jenny’s traveling companion, the would-be miner Noonday?
And how can I give this up when I haven’t written a cattle drive or a barroom brawl?

Q & A with Kathleen D. Bailey

Many authors say that they have always been a writer — making up stories as a child. When did you first become a writer?

I was probably six and reading Maud Hart Lovelace’s “Betsy-Tacy” books. Always loved to tell stories. “Betsy” wanted to be a writer and I figured I could, too.

Was there a special someone, such as a teacher, parent, or other relative, who encouraged you to pursue writing?

My fifth-grade teacher encouraged me and let me read my stories in front of the class.

Why did you choose the Western fiction genre?

I kind of “fell into” the Western genre. I had an idea for an Oregon Trail book, and when that was done, I had characters who demanded a sequel. And another sequel. And two related novellas. The West is so vast, and there’s so much I haven’t touched yet – the Land Rush, the Gold Rush, cattle drives and barroom brawls. 

Were there any obstacles you faced in your journey to publication?

The biggest obstacle was me. I had to learn to take criticism. Could have shaved years off my journey if I’d listened to more people.

What types of research do you pursue? Books, on-site visits, etc. 

Internet research, now. Not so much in person, though I’m always open to it. 

What does a typical writing day look like? Are you structured or informal in your writing schedule?

Blocks of time Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in the morning, then catch as catch can on the weekend if I have something left over. I live near a lake, and in the summer I’ll often go out and take a dip, then edit hard copy with my trusty red pen under a beach umbrella. 

How long does it usually take to craft your books? (from outlines/first drafts to final edits) 

It depends. Some “gel” for up to 10 years. “Redemption’s Hope” took about a year. The characters were set because Jenny was in the first two books, but I had a huge task with the plotting. She’s looking for him, he’s looking for her, so those are two separate epic journeys, and I had to make sure everyone was where they were supposed to be. Color-coding is my fallback for this kind of thing.

Can you tell us a little about what inspired your latest novel.

Jenny Thatcher, the heroine of “Redemption’s Hope,” appeared in my first two Western Dreams novels, the saloon girl turned wagon train scout turned hotel cook. Jenny has accepted Jesus as her Savior, but finds it challenging to let go of her murky past. She wants to see White Bear again, the Native man she met on the Overland Trail, but she doesn’t think she’s good enough for him. And as a Native man with a foot in the White world, White Bear doesn’t know where he belongs, so he’s not sure he can take her there. She has to let go of her past, and he has to recognize that she’s strong enough to live the life he can offer her. I knew I wasn’t done with Jenny yet, so I gave her her own book. Of course that meant it had to be White Bear’s book too. I also wanted to do something in the “epic” format, with two characters criss-crossing the then-world to find each other. 

What do you want your readers to take away with them after finishing one of your novels?

That God is more than conqueror to anything they are facing, Then and Now.

Readers always want to know what is next for an author. Do you have any works in progress you can share about?

I was going to step away from the Oregon Trail, and Westerns in general, to see if I could be good at anything else. But those pesky characters keep nagging at me. Right now it’s Michael Moriarty’s older brother Tom, stuck in Ireland during the Famine. What will it take for me to bring Tom to the Oregon Country, first in the steerage and then on the wagon train? I’m about to find out…

Blog Stops

Inklings and notions, September 2

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, September 3 (Author Interview)

Texas Book-aholic, September 4

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, September 5 (Author Interview)

Lily’s Book Reviews, September 5

For Him and My Family, September 6

By The Book, September 7 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 7

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 8

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 9

deb’s Book Review, September 10

Jodie Wolfe – Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, September 11 (Author Interview)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 12

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 13

Through the Fire Blogs, September 14 (Author Interview)

Connie’s History Classroom, September 15

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Kathleen is giving away the grand prize package of $50 Amazon card and copy of book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Author, Author! — Carole Brown and Hunter’s Rose

25 Aug

About The Book

Book: Hunter’s Rose

Editor: Carole Brown

Genre: Historical Romantic Suspense

Release date: August, 2022

It’s the late 1800s, and Hunter Carson has married the woman of his dreams and settled on the land he bought. He’s never known God or even much about him. But his tender heart can be touched. His wife—the beautiful and exotic Mexican Rosita DeSantis, is totally in love with him—but something is wrong. Just days after their marriage, why is she crying and touchy? Has she fallen out of love with him already? Or is there something far more serious going on with her?

Rosita’s past is haunting her emotionally. She adores her new husband, but she’ll do anything to keep him from knowing what happened in Mexico before she fled the country. And not because she doesn’t trust him, but she’s worried for his life. Her loving family in Mexico came to accept God into their lives through the ministry of a missionary. But can she hold onto her beliefs through the trials and tests she’ll face when Carlos De Leon insists on forcing her to marry him?

After all, the Mexican Lord—Carlos De Leon—cares nothing for God or any man. His only desire is to obtain what he wants and when. He has a plan and will do anything to accomplish it.

And Rosita will do anything to keep him from succeeding.

Click here to get your copy!





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About The Author

Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, Carole Brown enjoys mentoring beginning writers. An author of thirteen full-length, best selling and award winning books (with a novella in an anthology), she loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. She has found that the traveling and ministering has served her well in writing her novels. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?

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More from Carole

Characters That Walk Off The Page

One of my favorite things when writing a new book, is to create the characters. When I wrote the first book in this series, there were quite a few comments about Hunter and Maria, the cook. Readers wanted to read a book about Hunter—Hunter’s personal story. It was a nice affirmation because I’d already decided that the second book would be about Hunter, his love life and the trouble that created the tension in the book.

Hunter is a fun character. With his father murdered while Hunter was just a child, he very well could have been abandoned to fate. Only another young person’s intervention saved Hunter. He grew up to be a man that was both strong and trustworthy. He’s a bit quick-on-the-trigger (as the saying goes) but he’s also smart, loyal, not a bit stuck on himself, and overwhelmed that a beautiful Mexican girl like Rosita DeSantis could fall in love with him. He has the determination to protect her and the ability to give her pretty much anything she wants—without seeming pompous.

Rosita came from a rich, loving family who adored her, and as an only child was entitled to the family inheritance. Having to abandon that life, she was determined to pursue a different life style even when enduring hardship and fear. Nevertheless, she is a sweet, friendly and a loyal friend to those around her. She knows her own mind, yet is not pushy or obnoxious in her efforts, whether it be love or in scorning the man who insists he wants her back. Rosita is both smart and a real lady.

Carlos De Leon, the villain, on the other hand, is one of those persons who has everything: money, prestige, excellent features and education. Yet he lacks the character to realize that it’s not always possible to have everything you desire. Determined to have what he wants and when, he is not afraid to sacrifice the people who he deems is hindering his quest.

And then, there are the secondary characters: those who support and somehow create interest, not only in themselves but in keeping a reader’s interest in how and when the main characters will respond to them.

Could it be the downright good-looking Jackson, who is quiet and withdrawn, has a story? His support of Hunter, the tell-tell signs of his education, and the absence of any real knowledge of his past encourage the reader to imagine who he really is.

Then there’s Gabrielle Autumn Mayfair, a quiet, rather shy girl who is more of a follower than a leader—until it comes to a man who catches her attention. Her friends worry that she may get hurt, but Gabrielle is more persistent than either of her best friends realize. This blondish-redhead has an endurance that may prove favorable—or it might end in a tragic heartache.

Sully, Old Peete, Nicolas, Susie and Maria—characters that flavor the reading and add some laughter, tension and mixed feelings about their possible hindrance or helpfulness.

Characters—one of the best and most fun parts of a book. I hope you readers will get to know the characters in Hunter’s Rose and love (or hate) them as much as I did when creating the story.

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Q&A with Carole Brown

Many authors say that they have always been a writer — making up stories as a child. When did you first become a writer?

Although I was first published in 2013 with The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman, I remember vividly that first time. It was in my sixth grade of school when we were assigned a project of writing a week-long diary of a caveman’s family. After that I wrote short stories, poems, etc., plus another full-length novel which I held onto for several years, waiting till I felt it was the right time to have it published. 

Was there a special someone, such as a teacher, parent, or other relative, who encouraged you to pursue writing?

Two people (other than my husband):  An older lady (Barb) in our church encouraged me to not give up when I was at the point of doing so. Also Lena Nelson Dooley loved the first book I ever wrote. Her words were a blessing in giving me hope not to quit. 

What types of research do you pursue? Books, on-site visits, etc. 

I love research and enjoy using all kinds, from interviews with potential people who know about the topic I’m interested in, to online research, books I’ve bought or borrowed, etc. I like to make sure my facts are straight.

What do you want your readers to take away with them after finishing one of your novels?

I’d love to know that their faith has been restored or grown, their hearts are warmed by the forgiveness and spiritual growth of the characters. Also a sense of contentment/happiness when finished with any of my books is a sighworthy emotion. 

Readers always want to know what is next for an author. Do you have any works in progress you can share about?

*  Right now, I’m working on the sixth book of the Appleton, WV Romantic/Mystery series. The tentative title is:  Ne’er the Twain Shall Meet

I’m also working on the second book in my Nursery Rhyme series (romantic suspense), called A Spider Beside Her.

And then I’m plotting the third book of this series, Troubles in the West. It’s title will be Jackson’s Fall.

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Blog Stops

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, August 20 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 20

Texas Book-aholic, August 21

Inklings and notions, August 22

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, August 23

For Him and My Family, August 24

By The Book, August 25 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, August 25

Betti Mace, August 26

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 27

Connie’s History Classroom, August 28

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 29

Tell Tale Book Reviews, August 30 (Author Interview)

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, August 31

Pause for Tales, September 1

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, September 2 (Author Interview)

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Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Carole is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Author, Author! — Janet Sketchley

11 May

Please welcome Janet Sketchely, author of Bitter Truth, book 3 in the Green Dory Inn Mystery Series. I love talking to authors about what motivates them, how they organize their writing life, and the books that they have created. Thanks Janet for sharing with my readers!

Many authors say that they have always been a writer — making up stories as a child. When did you first become a writer?

I did make up stories as a child—I even cleared out a corner of my closet for a tiny writing nook, although I don’t think I ever finished anything I started. My teen years brought other interests, and it wasn’t until my late 20s or early 30s that I started writing again.  


Was there a special someone, such as a teacher, parent, or other relative, who encouraged you to pursue writing?

My grade 9 English teacher, Mr. Campbell, was a great encourager. My short stories then bear no resemblance to what I write now. I did send him a copy of my first book to thank him for his influence, and he appreciated the gesture but I don’t know what he thought of the story.

Why did you choose Christian mystery/suspense?

The genre chose me! I had this idea of a woman abducted by the serial killer she’d been praying for—and I couldn’t get it out of my head. Basically I started writing in hopes it’d go away. (It was eventually published as Heaven’s Prey.) By the time I finished, I knew I wanted to keep writing Christian fiction because I value stories that show people working out how their faith applies to life’s challenges. I lightened the suspense level but continued with mystery-suspense because those are some of my favourite stories to read.

Were there any obstacles you faced in your journey to publication?

Other than learning how to craft fiction well enough? 😊 It was almost 25 years before that first book found a home, so I’m definitely on the slow road. As a Canadian writer, I’ve faced a few extra challenges over my US peers. Attending conferences allowed me to connect with a few agents and publishers, and online groups like American Christian Fiction Writers also helped bridge that divide.

What types of research do you pursue? Books, on-site visits, etc.

I like to do on-site visits when I can, to get a feel for the setting and atmosphere. And I’ve joined a couple of Facebook groups for the area where my stories are set (locals give great information!) and one where writers can ask medical research questions. Most of my research is online, though. Google is my friend, even for things like street view of a location.

What does a typical writing day look like? Are you structured or informal in your writing schedule?

My goal is to spend weekday afternoons writing. Far too often I lose some of that time to other responsibilities. I’m ever more aware of the need to start each writing time with prayer—this is too big and too complex for me to craft a God-honouring story and characters on my own. I like to start with a tumbler of ice water or a cup of tea. Right now, the plotting stage, involves covering my table with sheets of graph paper and breaking out the coloured pens and highlighters. I’ll eventually move to my laptop to develop an outline and to write.

How long does it usually take to craft your books?

I think I can do it in a year, but between COVID-19 and family health issues, the last one was two years or more. I love being an independent publisher, because deadlines stress me. I still want to produce books in a regular and timely manner, but as one of my characters (he’s a writer) likes to point out, “deadline” contains the word “dead.”

Can you tell us a little about what inspired your latest novel?

Bitter Truth is book 3 in my Green Dory Inn Mystery Series, so I already knew the setting and the series characters. This particular story came from an idea I’d had about a young woman returning to her hometown to regroup and being pushed over a cliff by someone who perceived her as a threat. The mental picture was of her on the side of a cliff, being held in place by a passing motorcyclist who’d seen the attack and climbed down to help her. Bitter Truth also let me introduce a character I’ve thought about for years but didn’t know how I’d use him. The original concept wasn’t one I wanted to write, but I’m pleased with how he “adapted” to this story and allowed me to address his core idea.

What do you want your readers to take away with them after finishing one of your novels?

“Whatever happens, Jesus will be there.” I often sign that in books. Too many times, when we imagine troubling “what ifs,” we imagine ourselves facing them alone. I hope readers will be satisfied that they’ve enjoyed a good story, but I also pray that a reader who needs a little spiritual encouragement will find it in what the characters learn in their struggles.

Readers always want to know what is next for an author. Do you have any works in progress you can share about?

I’m excited about Green Dory Inn 4, which will be a Christmas book. So far, I have an unwelcome snow globe gift, a cast of suspects, a victim, and a killer. And I’ve “overheard” a conversation between two series regulars about “invisible mistletoe.” The way Bitter Truth ended, neither of them will be expecting that!

Janet Sketchley is the author of the Green Dory Inn Mystery Series, the Redemption’s Edge Christian suspense series, and the daily devotional books A Year of Tenacity and Tenacity at Christmas. She likes her fiction with a splash of mystery and a dash of Christianity. Why leave faith out of our stories if it’s part of our lives? Janet writes in Atlantic Canada, and you can find her online at https://janetsketchley.ca/. Or you can follow Janet on BookBub at https://bit.ly/JanetSketchleyBookBub.

Who would want Ciara dead? And why?

Against all odds, Landon Smith and her ordinary-hero neighbour Bobby Hawke survived a murderous plot six weeks ago. Now, she’s determined to leave solving mysteries to the experts—like handsome local police officer Dylan Tremblay.

But when a friend is nearly killed in a daring daylight attack, Landon can’t sit this out. Not when she knows the anger of being a victim.

Her faith tells her to leave room for God’s vengeance. Her heart says to retaliate.

The fight to expose Ciara’s enemy will uncover secrets and betrayal that could cost Landon her life.

If you like clean Christian mystery and suspense, read Bitter Truth today!

PURCHASE LINK: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09MDY3SZQ

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Welcome to the Green Dory Inn, a fictional bed & breakfast set outside the real town of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.

Meet Landon, a young Christian woman with a traumatic past. And Anna, recently widowed, who owns the inn.

Meet Roy, their wisecracking elderly neighbour, and his adult grandson Bobby, who writes space novels.

And meet the cats, fastidious Timkin and the battle-scarred marmalade stray.

Come for the clean, faith-based mysteries.
Stay for the characters.



TITLES IN THE GREEN DORY INN MYSTERY SERIES:

Unknown Enemy(novella length) Who is the secretive prowler harassing innkeeper Anna?

Hidden Secrets(novel length) What secrets has the inn’s original owner left behind, and how far will Anna’s enemy go to find them?

Bitter Truth (novel length) Who would want Ciara dead? And why?

And more TBA…

If you like clean Christian mystery and suspense, visit the Green Dory Inn today!

Author Interview — Kathleen Denly

17 Feb

Please welcome historical romance author Kathleen Denly to By The Book! Kathleen’s latest novel, Harmony on The Horizon is now available. Find all the details below including a fabulous giveaway! (US residents only.)

Many authors say that they have always been a writer — making up stories as a child. When did you first become a writer?

I always struggle with how to answer this question, because in hindsight I can see the beginnings of my life as a writer way back in elementary school. However, I didn’t start thnking of myself as a writer until I was in high school. During my freshman year of high school, I awoke around four in the morning with a novel premise running through my head. I’d never before considered writing anything more than short stories for fun. Yet, I didn’t question it. I just grabbed the notebook from my nightstand and jotted down my ideas. The next day after school, I started typing out my story. Not knowing any better, I just wrote free flow as things came to me. When my family went on a road trip, I switched to writing long-hand in pencil on legal pads. I think I filled four of them before we got back two weeks later. I worked on that same story off and on for about eight years before deciding it was garbage I would never want to publish and deleting or shredding every word of it. Many writers gasp when I confess this, but I have no regrets. 

Was there a special someone, such as a teacher, parent, or other relative, who encouraged you to pursue writing?

There were many people in my life who praised my skill with the written word, and one of my high school English teachers would read my “fun” writing while I helped grade his students’ paper during my stint as his Teacher’s Assistant. But no one really encouraged me to pursue my writing seriously until I got married. My husband has been my biggest advocate and supporter. He’ll act out action scenes with me, watch the kids while I’m at a writers conference, and plan vacation trips around my research bucket list. But to this day he hasn’t read any of my novels. In fact, he doesn’t really read much and when he does it’s only ever nonfiction. Talk about ironic.

Why did you choose the historical romance genre?

I didn’t actually make a conscious choice to pursue this genre. I began writing my first historical romance after attending a creative writing class that sparked the idea for the premise. Over the course of writing that novel, I learned more about the industry—namely that you’re better off sticking to one genre as a new author. So when I decided to write a second novel, historical romance made sense. By the time I reached a pitch session with an agent who asked if I would consider writing contemporary romance because the market was better for those, I knew it just wasn’t where God was calling me. I may still write one of those in the future, but for now, I’m loving historical romance. 

Were there any obstacles you faced in your journey to publication?

As a homeschooling mother of four it’s difficult to find quiet time to write. When I first started, my husband was working three jobs to make ends meet and there were still days I couldn’t afford the gas to drive the three miles to our closest library. However, God is good and He made a way for me to obey His calling to share His truth through story.

What types of research do you pursue? Books, on-site visits, etc.

I do it all. I start online, of course. Then I move to books and historical archives. Then I visit as many locations as I can. Lastly, I’ll take on as many hands-on projects as I can manage to get a true sense of the lives my characters live. For example, I have woven yucca fibers, made tallow candles, learned to smoke meat, died fabric with plant materials, pumped water from an old-fashioned well pump, washed my clothes on a washboard using lye soap, shucked dried corn for seeds, made my own quill pens, attempted calligraphy, used wax seals, and so much more. For me, research is half the fun of writing historical fiction.

What does a typical writing day look like? Are you structured or informal in your writing schedule?

This is an ever-changing thing for me. I am always learning from my mistakes and trying to do better with managing my time. Recently, I instituted a new rule that I will only respond to emails on Fridays and keep my social media interactions confined to specific morning, lunch break, and evening time slots. This has allowed me to block out distractions during my writing hours which take up the bulk of most days. I hate schedules with time slots and much prefer simple to-do lists. However, I have discovered that a compromise is what works best to keep my life balanced.

How long does it usually take to craft your books? (from outlines/first drafts to final edits)

The birth of an idea usually comes weeks or even months before the research and outline stage. The research and outline stage takes about one to two months. Then it takes me somewhere around three months to actually write my first draft. Then come beta readers followed by a few weeks of self edits and then, of course, I go through my publisher’s edits. All told, it’s about a two year process between committing to writing an idea and actually releasing the book.

Can you tell us a little about what inspired your latest novel?

Harmony on the Horizon was inspired by a field trip I took with my kids to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. During that trip a docent lead us into the Mason Street Schoolhouse and shared the story of the “Mary Walker Scandal.” She was the first teacher to teach in that schoolhouse and, by choosing the “wrong” person to dine with, created a scandal that put pressure on the members of the board to fire her. Long story short, she wound up marrying one of those members. Once I heard the story, I knew I wanted to fictionalize it. My story is not meant to represent the true historical people, but it does, in part, follow the true events of that scandal. 

aWhat do you want your readers to take away with them after finishing one of your novels

I hope that readers will come away from my stories feeling entertained, encouraged, and inspired. I hope that they will have a new or refreshed perspective of who God is and how He sees us. And, of course, I hope that they will be eager to read more of my stories. 😉 

Readers always want to know what is next for an author. Do you have any works in progress you can share about?

I recently completed the first draft of a new novella for my Chaparral Hearts series. Members of my Kathleen’s Readers’ Club will have an opportunity to claim a free copy of this story when it releases in fall of 2022. Right now, I’m working on my fourth full-length novel for the same series which will release in 2023. I’m especially excited about this novel because it’s set in a part of San Diego County where I haven’t yet taken readers and it involves a true gang of banditos that terrorized California in the 1870s. The heroine, Biddie Davidson, is also a character whom fans will recognize from previous novels in the series. I’m excited to show how she’s grown up and the adventures she experiences when she reconnects with people from her past.

Thanks so much, Kathleen, for sharing with us today! Discover more about Kathleen, Harmony on The Horizon, and her great giveaway below.

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Her calling to change the world may be his downfall.

On the heels of the Great Rebellion, Margaret Foster, an abolitionist northerner, takes a teaching position in 1865 San Diego—a town dominated by Southern sympathizers. At thirty-seven years of age, Margaret has accepted spinsterhood and embraced her role as teacher. So, when Everett Thompson, the handsomest member of the School Board, reveals his interest in her, it’s a dream come true. Until her passionate ideals drive a wedge between them.

After two decades of hard work, Everett Thompson is on the verge of having everything he’s dreamed of. Even the beautiful new teacher has agreed to his courtship. Then two investments go south and a blackmailer threatens everything Everett has and dreams of.

As Everett scrambles to shore up the crumbling pieces of his life, Margaret unwittingly sets off a scandal that divides the small community and threatens her position as teacher. With the blackmailer still whispering threats, Everett must decide if he’s willing to risk everything for the woman still keeping him at arm’s length.

Kathleen Denly writes historical romance to entertain, encourage, and inspire readers toward a better understanding of our amazing God and how He sees us. Award winning author of the Chaparral Hearts series, she also shares history tidbits, thoughts on writing, books reviews and more at KathleenDenly.com.

Kathleen lives in sunny California with her loving husband, four young children, one dog, and nine cats. As a member of the adoption and foster community, children in need are a cause dear to her heart and she finds they make frequent appearances in her stories. When she isn’t writing, researching, or caring for children, Kathleen spends her time reading, visiting historical sites, hiking, and crafting.

Connect with Kathleen:

Website | Newsletter | FB Author Page | FB Reader Group | Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest | BookBub | Amazon

GIVEAWAY (US residents only)

• Mini Junk Journal – Prink & Green
• PIN – Sleep Less Read More
• Sing in the Sunlight Bookmark (not pictured)
• Harmony on the Horizon Sticker
• 1 ebook copy of either Waltz in the Wilderness or Sing in the Sunlight

Leave a comment to enter. A winner will be randomly chosen by February 28, 2022. Good luck!

Book Review And Author Interview — In The Shadow of Your Wings

18 Oct

Please welcome JP Robinson, author of the WWI-era trilogy, Northshire Heritage. JP shares a little about his writing journey, process, and the books in this series. I read book 1, In The Shadow of Your Wings, and my thoughts on that book are below.

Many authors say that they have always been a writer — making up stories as a child. When did you first become a writer?

There’s a lot of truth to this. I began writing in high school for our school paper then went on to become a freelance journalist for a newspaper in New York. That was my first experience with professional writing and I LOVED it. Meeting people and capturing their stories and emotions was something that I loved doing. So it set the stage for internships while I earned my degree in English and French, ultimately leading me to where I am now.

Was there a special someone, such as a teacher, parent, or other relative, who encouraged you to pursue writing?

Absolutely. I remember my English teacher, Mrs. Gravino, standing outside her classroom and telling me to write to change the world. I think it was so meaningful because I was the minority in many ways. I was one of probably three Black students, I was new, I’d been homeless for several years, and I was a firm Christian in a very secular New York high school.

While all this was going on my mom was battling cancer while my dad tried to find a way to get us all together again. So this one teacher was kind of the anchor point in a very turbulent part of my life. Her encouragement really gave me the clarity I needed.

Why did you choose the historical fiction genre?

Historical fiction has been something I’ve loved to read all my life. I’m an amateur historian of European civilization and have taught western civilization as part of my curriculum. So, when I started writing fiction, I naturally gravitated toward bygone times of heroes, empires, and the ordinary people who quietly shaped history.

Were there any obstacles you faced in your journey to publication? 5. What types of research do you pursue? Books, on-site visits, etc.

This is a great, and in-depth, question.On average I spend more than 100 hours of research per book. Research for me involves poring of digital copies of newspaper clippings, books, of course the internet, drawing from experts in the field and on-site visits when possible. If I can’t get there physically, Google maps and images from the time period I’m writing about often help me develop an accurate picture.

For example, I currently working on a project centering around a Black family in Nazi Germany. I was recently in Cologne, Germany and used the data from that trip to build a realistic–and accurate–setting. But my protagonist was walking from one location to another and I used Google maps to determine if that would be possible while keeping in mind that the story is set in the 1930s and some of the streets now weren’t around then.

So it’s a lot of data correlation laced with some imagination.

What does a typical writing day look like? Are you structured or informal in your writing schedule?

Great question. Pre-COVID our kids were in school and I had a lot more time to do my day-job (I’m a former teacher) and still get in a few hours writing. We’ve made the transition to homeschooling our kids and I confess that the shift has slowed down my productivity. Still, I’m able to clock 1-2 hours per day in the evenings. 🙂

Can you tell us a little about what inspired your latest novel.

I’d be glad to. The Northshire Heritage trilogy was inspired by a sermon called The Fundamental Foundation for Faith preached in the 1950s, I think, by a minister named William Branham. He’s passed on now but in one of his recorded sermons, he was talking about the Fall and redemption. That sparked a thought in my mind, a comparison between the Father in Genesis 3 and the father presented in Jesus Christ’s parable of the prodigal son.

I know, it might sound strange because the novel centers around espionage, politics, and a brutal war, but tightly woven throughout are references to these two pivotal moments in which God expresses different parts of His divine nature and plan.

After writing all three books, I truly felt like I had a deeper appreciation of what God went through to save the world. As a father of three myself, the content also resonated with me.

What do you want your readers to take away with them after finishing one of your novels?

There are a lot of themes packed into Northshire: forgiveness, redemption, enduring love in marriage when things don’t go as you’d like… But I think I’d spotlight the theme of the overcoming power of faith.

One of the characters loses her child (spoiler alert) and her response is a tribute to my sister and her husband, whose baby died on Father’s Day a few years back. I saw their faith bring them through a crisis, made worse by the date Elisha died and by the fact that they’d been testifying, as Christians, that God would bring their baby through.

Well, he died in my sister’s arms, and still their faith held them in that moment of tragedy. Northshire captures that theme, reminding readers that no matter how bad things may be in our world or in our life, faith in God is its own source of strength.

Readers always want to know what is next for an author. Do you have any works in progress you can share about?

Right now I’m neck-deep in a totally different style project that focuses on minority characters. I’m Black but so far I’ve enjoyed challenging myself to write books that center around ethnicities and cultures that are different than my own. And, to a certain extent, I’m doing that again here as the European Black experience is a bit different (in some ways) than the Black experience of the Caribbean which is where I’m from.

This is a slice of history that very few people know about and I’m SO excited to be meeting with experts in Europe, collaborating with museum directors etc, to create an authentic and compelling piece.

Like most of my books this one includes spies, romance, political games set in the Rhineland against the backdrop of Hitler’s rise, and a Black family that is at the center of it all.

All that to say, I have to have the first draft done in forty-five days (yikes!) and,if all goes well, I hope to see it on the shelves in 2023.

Thanks JP for sharing with my readers!

She’s a spy in love with the enemy. 
Leila Durand, an elite German spy charged with infiltrating the home of British icon Thomas Steele, hopes to use the war to move beyond the pain of her shattered past. But everything changes when she falls in love with Thomas’s son, Malcolm. Is there a way to reconcile her love for Germany and her love for the enemy? 

He’s a son who wants to break free. 
Malcolm, wealthy heir to Northshire Estate, wants nothing more than to be free of his father’s rules. When Thomas becomes too judgmental, Malcolm makes a choice that threatens to bring the Allied world to its knees.

In the Shadow of Your Wings presents inescapable truth that resonates across the past century. Then as now, the struggle for faith is real. Then as now, there is a refuge for all who come beneath the shadow of God’s wings.

My Impressions:

In The Shadow of Your Wings is an historical novel set in England, France, and Germany during WWI. An intense read with very realistic details of the ugly stuff of war — zeppelin attacks, trench warfare, and the effects of Germany’s poisonous gas weapons — this book also deals with the ugliness and beauty of the human soul. The contrast between the many characters, both historic figures and fictional, is stark. Spies determined to devastate their enemy’s defenses, scientists with personal glory as their goals, and those who depend only on self populate the pages of this book. But there are also those who rely on God, even in the most unimaginable circumstances. I’m not sure enjoyment would be a good word for my reading experience, but I will say the fight between good and evil as detailed in the book was intriguing and got me thinking. The complex structure of the book involves multiple story lines — the list of characters and their relationships at the beginning of the book is very helpful. It’s worth the time to review it. The ending of the book leaves a number of threads left dangling, so be prepared to plunge into book 2, In The Midst of Flames. All three titles in the series are available, so you may want to schedule a little binge-reading time.

Audience: adults.

(I purchased the ebook version from Amazon. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

JP Robinson began writing as a teen for a local newspaper. He holds degrees in both English and French and is a state-certified teacher. JP is known for weaving contemporary issues into vivid plots with the goal of connecting readers to God. When he’s not writing or teaching, JP loves spending time with his wife and children. 

Connect with the author, watch videos and more at JPRobinsonbooks.com.

Friend JP at Facebook.com/JPRobinsonbooks

Follow him on Twitter: @JPRobinsonBooks

Spotlight And Author Interview — Finding Common Ground

17 Aug

About The Book

Book: Finding Common Ground: One Octogenarian’s Quest to Help Our Nation Heal

Author: Robynne Elizabeth Miller & Marilyn Siden

Genre: Narrative Nonfiction/Memoir

Release date: April 2, 2021

Because she’d had enough. Enough anger. Enough hatred. Enough division.

Marilyn Siden has lived through much: the aftermath of World War II, Korea, and the horror of Vietnam. She’s navigated good political administrations and struggling ones, a thriving economy and want. Her eight decades of experience living in the US have shown her the best America has to offer and, unfortunately, the worst. But she never thought America would become a place of vitriol and despair.

So, she decided to do something about it.

Through a series of epic journeys across America, Marilyn discovered what she was after: practical advice on how to help our nation heal.

But she found something she wasn’t expecting . . . something far more powerful.

Marilyn found our common ground.

Click here to get your copy!

About The Authors

Robynne Elizabeth Miller is wife to an amazing Brit and mother to a glorious brood of adopted and biological kids. Her adventures have led her to over twenty-five countries, from Malta to Russia, and she’s lived about a quarter of her life in the English countryside. She currently makes her home in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, spending much of her time telling locals they don’t need to apologize for the rain.

With dozens of articles, essays, and blog posts to her credit, as well as eight books and collaborations on several more, she’s put her B.A. from Westmont College and her Master of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction & Fiction from Ashland University to good use She’s an experienced speaker, editor, and writing coach, and teaches regularly at conferences and writer’s workshops. She currently serves as President and Director of Leadership of Inspire Christian Writers and hosts The Art of Semi-Fiction podcast, where she explores every corner of the written word.

On quieter days, Robynne can be found meandering back roads with her family, cooking up some grand adventure with her friends, singing at the top of her lungs, or making bacon from scratch.

Marilyn Siden is blessed with a wonderful family— four grown children, twelve beautiful, talented, Godly grandchildren, and an amazing husband.

**************************

More from Robynne and Marilyn

Hello Dear Readers!

Feeling a little discouraged about the state of our nation today? Convinced you have no hope of being part of the solution?

Good news!

Not only are you ABLE to be a part of helping to heal our nation, but you are both called AND equipped to do so, right where you are. No matter your skillset or resources, you can start being a light for Jesus right now. And that light, however small you perceive it to be, WILL shine in these dark times.

Taking this journey at nearly 80 and crossing the country in search of practical solutions to start reversing the hatred and hurt blanketing our nation was challenging.

But it was worth it, too.

Not only is the book filled with stories of hope and encouragement, it’s filled with practical steps we can all take to start healing hurts, restoring our communities, building a safer future for our children, and bringing light back to our nation.

Are you ready?

We are standing on common ground!

Q & A With Robynne

Many authors say that they have always been a writer. When did you come to realize this?

I learned to read extremely early. From the moment I realized that behind the collections of letters scrawled across a page were adventures and experiences beyond my own four walls, I was hooked. By the time I entered kindergarten, I had decided I would one day be a writer. It took slightly longer than intended, but after ten books, with more on the way, I have finally fulfilled that little girl’s dream.

Can you tell us a little about what inspired your book?

My dear friend, Marilyn Siden, was the inspiration for this project. It was her own desire to be part of the solution to our nation’s current state that propelled her to take a remarkable journey over the course of a year. And as we both have a heart to see healing, it did not take me long to be both enthralled with and entrenched in the project. I believe we are all to be part of the solution, and this book shows us all the ways that is possible. 

What do you want your readers to take away with them after finishing Finding Common Ground

That we all can be, and should be, part of the solutions that are so desperately needed. And it starts with simply listening to each other. From there, the smallest of efforts can, and will, make the largest of differences. There is great hope.

Readers always want to know what is next for an author. Do you have any works in progress you can share about?

I do have books of my own in the works, the next of which will be another in the Little House realm, as many of my books are. But also in the near future is another collaboration with Marilyn Siden. 

Please include any personal information you would like to share (family, hobbies, etc.)

I have a decided love for contributing to the legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder via biographies and essays on the real characters she wrote about. I’ve also lived in the UK for over ten years, have a beautiful blend of adopted and biological kids, and am married to the most wonderful of Brits. 

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, August 16

By The Book, August 17 (Author Interview)

Texas Book-aholic, August 18

Inklings and notions, August 19

For Him and My Family, August 20

Blossoms and Blessings, August 21 (Author Interview)

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, August 21

deb’s Book Review, August 22

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 23

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, August 24

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, August 25

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, August 26

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 27

Splashes of Joy, August 28 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, August 28

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 29

Giveaway

To celebrate their tour, Marilyn and Robynne are giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and a signed copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/112e3/finding-common-ground-celebration-tour-giveaway

Book Spotlight And Author Interview — The Barrister And The Letter of Marque

11 Aug
  • Title: The Barrister and the Letter of Marque: A Novel 
  • Author: Todd M. Johnson
  • Genre: Historical Mystery, Suspense, Inspirational Fiction 
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (August 3, 2021)
  • Length: (416) pages
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-0764239137
  • Trade Paperback ISBN: 978-0764212369
  • eBook ASIN: B08LG91Y95
  • Audiobook ASIN: B0983VZ6XZ

BOOK DESCRIPTION

As a barrister in 1818 London, William Snopes has witnessed firsthand the danger of only the wealthy having their voices heard, and he’s a strong advocate who defends the poorer classes against the powerful. That changes the day a struggling heiress, Lady Madeleine Jameson, arrives at his door.

In a last-ditch effort to save her faltering estate, Lady Jameson invested in a merchant brig, the Padget. The ship was granted a rare privilege by the king’s regent: a Letter of Marque authorizing the captain to seize the cargo of French traders operating illegally in the Indian Sea. Yet when the Padget returns to London, her crew is met by soldiers ready to take possession of their goods and arrest the captain for piracy. And the Letter—-the sole proof his actions were legal—has mysteriously vanished.

Moved by the lady’s distress, intrigued by the Letter, and goaded by an opposing solicitor, Snopes takes the case. But as he delves deeper into the mystery, he learns that the forces arrayed against Lady Jameson, and now himself, are even more perilous than he’d imagined.

PURCHASE LINKS

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLEBOOK DEPOSITORY | BOOKSHOP 

| GOODREADS

ADVANCE PRAISE

“Johnson debuts with a tense story of powerful interests teaming up to thwart a legal challenge in Georgian-era England…Johnson steeps his story in legal maneuvering, layers of intrigue, midnight chases, and even a hint of romance. While faith elements are subtle, this enthralling novel will appeal to fans of both legal thrillers and historical inspirationals.”— Publishers Weekly

“… a mystery worthy of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. This richly historical and lively paced story has all the makings of a modern classic.”— Jocelyn Green, Christy Award-winning author of Shadows of the White City 

“At once atmospheric and gripping, Johnson’s latest is a luminous and refreshing new offering in inspirational historical fiction.”— Rachel McMillan, bestselling author of The London Restoration, and The Mozart Code

“A fascinating glimpse into a Regency London readers seldom see.”— Roseanna M. White, bestselling author of Edwardian fiction

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Todd M. Johnson is the author ofthree legal thrillers: The Deposit Slip (2012), Critical Reaction (2013), and Fatal Trust (2017), and The Barrister and the Letter of Marque (2021), his first foray into historical mystery. He has been a practicing attorney for over 30 years, specializing as a trial lawyer. A graduate of Princeton University and the University of Minnesota Law School, he also taught for two years as adjunct professor of International Law and served as a US diplomat in Hong Kong. He lives outside Minneapolis, Minnesota, with his wife and daughter.

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | BOOKBUB | GOODREADS

Q & A WITH TODD M. JOHNSON

Many authors say that they have always been a writer — making up stories as a child. When did you first become a writer?

Always been a writer? Could I convince you that I can still recall smuggling a pen and paper into my play pen and musing late into naptime on plot points drawn from my long road of experience?

Seriously, storytelling has been a long journey for me. From imaginary childhood friends to stories told to schoolmates, I started pretty early. I first began scribing when a good friend and I got together to write short stories in fifth grade or so, reading our finished works to one another over Cokes and cookies. (I wish I still had those stories, his and mine!) As I grew older, I continued writing fiction whenever I could convince a schoolteacher that a “short story” was an appropriate response to an assignment – like the rewrite I did of a chapter in A Separate Peace by John Knowles from ‘Finny’s’ perspective. In eighth grade, a teacher intern was excited enough about my writing that she volunteered to be my “agent”, setting me up in a classroom after school to write stories under her supervision. I’m sure she went on to be a marvelous teacher. Unfortunately, I hadn’t the patience to stick with it at that young age. 

I got away from writing after college, focusing on the more practical career path of law—only to return to the typewriter (now transformed into a keyboard) about twelve years ago when I realized the dream I’d always nurtured of being a novelist was getting away from me. That led to my fortunate intersection with Bethany House and my four novels (and more in the pipeline).   

Can you tell us a little about what inspired The Barrister and the Letter of Marque?

When I first landed with Bethany House, it was wisely suggested that I “write about what I knew”. As a longtime trial attorney, I dove first into writing contemporary legal mysteries, particularly in the courtroom (The Deposit Slip, Critical Reaction and Fatal Trust).  Each of those first three books were very exciting and rewarding to write. Except …

The fact is that I am nearly as passionate about history as I am about writing. Not only was history an emphasis in college, but historic non-fiction and fiction alike have been my “go to” reads ever since. My poor wife and children have long experienced my obsession as I careen off the road on car trips to catch the latest roadside historical marker (now “hysterical markers” in my family, a term suggested by an equally obsessive friend and history buff). 

The Barrister and the Letter of Marque was inspired by a desire to combine my passion for history with my abiding love of writing. That, along with my great love of Dickens and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and their writings about life in nineteenth century England. 

What does Marque mean? What other Regency lingo can you explain for us?

“Marque” was originally French for “Mars, God of War”.  The phrase “Letter of Marque” has, for centuries, described the device by which a sovereign granted power to a privateer captain (or merchant captain) to take ships of other nations as though the holder of the letter was part of the sovereign’s navy. In practice, it empowered those privateers to take foreign ships without the risk of being deemed a “pirate” – which would subject them to prosecution and hanging for their actions.  

The authority to grant such power continues to this day: it is, in fact, enshrined in the American Constitution, although an American Letter of Marque must be granted by the government. The Letter of Marque which appears in the opening pages of The Barrister and the Letter of Marque was drafted by me from an actual letter issued by the British Crown in the eighteenth century. 

A smattering of other examples of Regency lingo include:

Gaol:  The nineteenth century English spelling for “jail”.

Mulled wine: A favored drink in nineteenth century England (and much earlier), made by combining warmed red wine with sweeteners (sugar, oranges, maple syrup or honey) and adding cinnamon, cloves and/or anise.

Brag: A betting card game played in the Regency period England in which the players each receive three cards instead of the five cards typical of modern poker.

Hosteler: A person who took care of horses at an inn – not to be confused with an “hosteller”, originally a monk who cared for guests, but now a hotel manager.

 Can you share your thoughts on your hero and his challenges in the story?

The principal hero of The Barrister and the Letter of Marque is William Snopes, a barrister in his late thirties practicing in Regency Period London. Barrister Snopes came from money, power and privilege: his father was wealthy and a member of the House of Lords. 

But sadly, his father was also unprincipled, as revealed in the opening pages of the book – so much so that William was driven from home after his mother’s death, turning his back on the money and station he would otherwise have enjoyed. He channeled the resulting anger and revulsion into representing debtors and the lower classes who could not afford representation.

The challenges William faces in The Barrister are personal, professional and spiritual. William is asked to represent the imprisoned captain of a privateer who claims to have operated under a Letter of Marque from Regent Prince George, a letter which has disappeared. The captain and his cousin, Lady Madeleine Jameson, now in dire financial straits, are members of the very class from which barrister Snopes had retreated. Nonetheless, he is drawn to the case by the inequities in power between his potential clients and the forces arrayed against them – and the injustices they are suffering. As he goes deeper into the case, he is forced to examine his own methods in court which, while effective, edge a line of morality, ethics and propriety. How far will he go to save the captain and his cousin? What lines will he be willing to cross? 

I created William Snopes to be his “own man”, but the character is influenced by Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes and the modern television barrister “Rumpole of the Bailey”. Like barrister Snopes, both characters were very creative and insightful, but also flawed and (like us all) hobbled in judging their own shortcomings.  

Why did you choose to write a historical mystery?

As I mentioned elsewhere, history is a great passion for me. Drawing from my own

courtroom experience, I thought it would be fascinating to follow a nineteenth century barrister as he not only fights to solve a mystery but struggles to prove a man’s innocence in the roughhewn courtrooms of the Regency Period – burdened by the knowledge that a man’s life, and the estate of a woman he admires, is at stake.   

What type of research did you pursue of Regency London and detectives during this era?

l read many books and more articles to prepare The Barrister, some of which I’ve

identified in a video I posted a few weeks ago.  There was much about the Regency Period (1811-1820) I wanted to master: social mores, cultural norms and expectations, the court and prison systems, the selection and training of barristers, clothing of the period, eating and entertaining, the Far East tea trade, the economy of post-Napoleonic War England, and more. I also needed to understand the geography of London two hundred years ago. To that end, I bought several map books about the roads, buildings and neighborhoods of Regency London. Finally, I researched some of the great personalities of the period who appear in the book, including Beau Brummell, Princess Charlotte, Regent Prince George, Admiral Nelson and many others. I even used contemporaneous documents and doctoral dissertations to calculate the likely cost of a merchant brig at the time, as well as the likely tonnage of tea that could be stored in its hold.     

One of my favorite resources was an autobiography of an early Victorian period barrister (a decade and a half after the Regency period). That barrister’s description of his early years living and practicing in London was absolute gold.  

As for detectives of the period, there were none with one notable exception: the Bow Street Runners. This was a group of crime fighters organized in the mid-eighteenth century to capture thieves and other criminals for a reward from the government and the victim. Operating until the 1830s, it was very successful – and featured in The Barrister.  

What do you want your readers to take away with them after finishing it.

My hope is that readers will be entertained and find William Snopes and his compatriots of the period to be complex, witty, interesting – and worthy of following in future adventures in Regency England. I also hope they will recognize the inspirational underpinning of the story and characters, as they grapple with and strive to overcome the discouragement of corruption and the imperfection of any system of justice.  

Readers always want to know what is next for an author. Do you have any works in progress you can share about?

I do. I am just finishing edits of an historic novel about Ernest Hemingway in

Cuba in the early 1960s, as he and a young girl he’s befriended are pursued by Cuban intelligence due to knowledge they’ve acquired of secret Russian missiles aimed at America. 

I have also commenced a sequel to The Barrister and the Letter of Marque featuring William Snopes and Lady Madeleine Jameson, with a working title The Barrister and the Mad Duchess.  

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Join the virtual book tour of THE BARRISTER AND THE LETTER OF MARQUE, Todd M. Johnson’s highly acclaimed historical mystery, August 2-15, 2021. Over twenty-five popular on-line influencers specializing in historical mystery, suspense, and inspirational fiction will join in the celebration of its release with an interview, spotlights, exclusive excerpts, and reviews of this new Regency-era novel set in London, England. 

TOUR SCHEDULE

Aug 02 The Readathon(Review)

Aug 02 From Pemberley to Milton(Excerpt)

Aug 02 Austenprose—A Jane Austen Blog(Review) 

Aug 03 Life of Literature(Review)

Aug 03 Captivated Reading(Spotlight)

Aug 04 Laura’s Reviews(Review)

Aug 04 The Green Mockingbird(Review) 

Aug 05 My Jane Austen Book Club(Spotlight)

Aug 05 Reading is My Superpower(Review) 

Aug 06 Among the Reads(Excerpt) 

Aug 06 The Blue Stocking (Review) 

Aug 07 Gwendalyn’s Books (Review) 

Aug 07 Reading with Emily (Review) 

Aug 08 Storeybook Reviews (Spotlight)

Aug 08 Rosanne E. Lortz (Review)

Aug 09 Heidi Reads (Excerpt)

Aug 09 Bookworm Lisa (Review) 

Aug 10 The Caffeinated Bibliophile (Spotlight)

Aug 10 Wishful Endings (Review) 

Aug 10 My Bookish Bliss (Review) 

Aug 11 By the Book (Interview)

Aug 11 A Bookish Way of Life (Review)

Aug 12 Books, Teacups, & Reviews (Review)

Aug 12 A Darn Good Read (Review) 

Aug 13 Fire & Ice (Review) 

Aug 14 The Lit Bitch (Spotlight)

Aug 14 The Book Diva Reads(Spotlight)

Aug 15 Vesper’s Place (Review) 

Spotlight And Author Interview — The Dollmaker’s Daughter

8 Aug

The Dollmaker's Daughter

About The Book

Book:  The Dollmaker’s Daughter

Author: Izzy James

Genre: Historical Romance

Release date: July 16, 2021

9781522303473

Forgetful scientist Simon Morgan lost his chance with Amity Archer ten years ago. He knows there is no hope…until a sea captain trades a meal for an ancient stone reputed to have the power to give him his heart’s desire. Immediately after pocketing the stone, Simon runs into Amity. Did the ancient artifact cause this chance encounter or was it mere coincidence?

Like her favorite travel writer Mrs. Peabody, Amity Archer yearns for adventure, but she’s horrified when her father asks Simon Morgan to escort her on her first real adventure.

With Amity’s Aunt Clementine as a buffer between them, will Simon be able to prove that his love for Amity is real? Can Amity show Simon that her love for him has nothing to do with a so-called magical rock?

Click here to get your copy!

About The Author

IzzyJames

Izzy James lives in coastal Virginia with her fabulous husband in a house brimming with books.

More from Izzy

I am a Geographer by degree. So maps and the shapes of the earth fascinate me. It keeps me looking at the ground. Where I live in Virginia we still travel the imprint of colonial roads. Former villages have been swallowed by large urban areas, but the land is still there. Amity Archer travels these roads on the adventure to love in The Dollmaker’s Daughter.

It makes The Dollmaker’s Daughter special to me. I have traveled the roads Amity and Simon cover many, many times. The research for this book kept me up nights reading true accounts of traveler and taverns in colonial times.

Q&A with Izzy James

Many authors say that they have always been a writer — making up stories as a child. When did you first become a writer?

I have always been enthralled with stories. In elementary school I adapted some lesser known, at least at the time, fairy tales into plays for a couple of school productions. To my astonishment they were well received. It was then that I started writing my own stories using other writer’s characters from my favorite television shows and books. By Junior High School a couple of friends and I swapped reading each other’s stories. Since then there have been tales coming to life in my mind. 

Why did you choose the romance genre?

I did not start reading romance until I was in my thirties. The reason I love them is two-fold. Firstly, they are hopeful. A happy ending is a requirement in the genre and I like that. There are enough real-time, real-life rocky roads. I don’t need or want to experience them in my entertainment. Secondly, I believe in marriage and families. These values are on display and reinforced in Christian Romance. 

So while Romance often gets poo-pooed in more literary circles, I find they share my values. I often find more literary things, while thought provoking and sometimes interesting, don’t share my optimism.

Were there any obstacles you faced in your journey to publication?

Sure. Success at anything is not a guaranteed thing. I think the biggest obstacle I faced was my own fear of not being worthy. I got some positive feedback from a contest I entered twenty years ago. It absolutely freaked me out and I didn’t write anything else for a few years! 

The key for me was of course, is to keep my eyes on God, for He has not given us a spirit of fear. I did not then and do not now want to sit in my chair at age 85 and wish that I’d been more faithful, or more bold, or more of anything really. I mean God can’t bless a book if I don’t write it. Right?

So after about ten years, I sat down at my keyboard and wrote a novella. I entered it in a contest and it won. And my journey started.  

What types of research do you pursue? Books, on-site visits, etc. 

Each of my books is different and requires the answers to different questions therefore, I use whatever resources are available. The Dollmaker’s Daughter takes place in areas that live in. I constantly traverse the same roads that Amity and Simon encounter, so I didn’t have to travel far, but I did research in person at libraries and online at the National Archives. The Library of Virginia’s research team has always been helpful for anything I need. 

For last year’s Christmas novella, Garrett: A Yorktown Christmas Time Travel Novella, I interviewed and was helped by the Yorktown GIS office to interpret maps from Colonial times. 

For the book I’m currently working on, I’m going to the Wilderness Road. 

So basically, I’ll do whatever I need to get the history right, travel, interviews, and I read all the time. 

What do you want your readers to take away with them after finishing one of your novels?

I want them to know that God is real. That He loves them and that He is still working in the lives of men and women now. Miracles are not a thing that only happens in the Bible. The God of the Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob cares about your bad hair day and your great hair day! 

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 7

By The Book, August 8 (Author Interview)

Connect in Fiction, August 8

Inklings and notions, August 9

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, August 10

Abba’s Prayer Princess, August 11

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 12

Beauty in the Binding, August 13

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, August 13

For Him and My Family, August 14

Texas Book-aholic, August 15

Connie’s History Classroom, August 16

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 17

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, August 18

deb’s Book Review, August 19

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, August 20

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Izzy is giving away the grand prize package of an eBook copy of The Dollmaker’s Daughter and a tea cup!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Rocky Mountain Restoration Blog Tour + Author Interview

24 Jul

About The Book

Book:  Rocky Mountain Restoration

Author: Lisa J. Flickinger

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release date: June 29, 2021

Josephine Thorebourne doesn’t deserve happiness. Not after the mess she’s made. 

Mid-voyage, on the steamship Jameson, she learns of the tragic loss of her family’s money. Money she stole with the hopes of turning a profit. What should be a delightful voyage up the Canadian coast turns into a journey of regret. Josephine seeks the solace of the man she loves, only to find out he’s an imposter. Left with no other choice, she must return to her home town of Stony Creek and face the anger of those she’s betrayed.

Owen Kelly was given the opportunity of a lifetime to steward on the SS Jameson. The work meant he could escape his difficult upbringing along the wharves of Chicago. When his heart falls for the woman in cabin eight, Owen must decide if he will continue his work on the ship or follow the love of his life to her Rocky Mountain home.

As Josephine faces the repercussions of her decisions, the future becomes uncertain. Owen is the one person who knows everything and yet still sees the good in her. Will their love survive the challenges the Rocky Mountain town throws in their path?

Click here to get your copy!

About The Author

Lisa J. Flickinger lives and writes from the cliff of a river along the majestic Rocky Mountains. When not writing or reading, you will find her scouring antique shops or sipping a maple latte with friends and family. To learn more about her other books, visit www.lisajflickinger.com.

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More from Lisa

Have you ever smelled a whale’s breath? I have. The experience sparked the idea of taking the characters in Rocky Mountain Restoration on a pleasure cruise up the Canadian coast.

My husband and I vacationed in Ucluelet one summer, a quaint fishing village on the west coast of Vancouver Island. While there, we boarded a cabin cruiser with other adventure seekers to go whale watching.

Not long after leaving the rocky shore, our experienced captain spotted the flick of a tale in the rolling waves, and guided the boat to a position hundreds of yards away.  Within moments, to our delight and awe, a massive humpback breached mere feet from the boat. Its knobbed head rose before us, mouth wide open, hundreds of baleen plates dripping a murky red. The smell was one of the worst in my memory, a vulgar mixture of rotten fish, old road kill, and something indescribable. But what a privilege to encounter one of God’s magnificent creatures up close!

A logging camp, high in the Rockies, is a long way from the pacific coast. That’s the very reason our nefarious antagonists from book one of the Rocky Mountain Revival Series, Josephine and Snoop, have chosen to board the SS Jameson under assumed names

While I can’t promise you whale’s breath in the novel, I can promise you gorgeous scenery and other wildlife encounters as a backdrop for betrayal, thievery, and—of course—romance. Hop aboard!

Q&A with Lisa Flickinger

Was there a special someone, such as a teacher, parent, or other relative, who encouraged you to pursue writing?

I’ve always loved to write, and my teachers were kind enough to encourage my efforts. In an English course I took in my thirties, I caught one of the secretaries reading my latest assignment. She blushed and told me every week she looked forward to reading my work. Her enthusiasm helped give me the confidence to finally finish the novel languishing in my closet.

What does a typical writing day look like? Are you structured or informal in your writing schedule?

When I buckle down to write, I use a structured schedule. If I didn’t, I would never complete my novels. Typically, I will write or do research from 9:00 am until 1:00 pm. five days a week. After a delicious latte, I usually work on editing or handle communications.

How long does it usually take to craft your books? (from outlines/first drafts to final edits)

I’m a painfully slow writer. I usually plan on three thousand words a week and about twenty weeks to finish a novel. It usually ends up being thirty-five weeks to completion and another six or so weeks to finish editing.  It takes me around nine months to finish a book, much like having a baby.

Can you tell us a little about what inspired your latest novel?

I needed the nefarious couple from the first novel in the series to make a getaway, by water seemed the most expedient. The stories of early steam ship travel I read were fascinating and inspired the escapades in Rocky Mountain Restoration

What do you want your readers to take away with them after finishing one of your novels?

I hope my readers will have escaped from the chaos of everyday life and enjoyed a clean story laced with encouragement from God’s word.

Blog Stops

Inklings and notions, July 20

Artistic Nobody, July 21 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 21

For Him and My Family, July 22

Locks, Hooks and Books, July 23

By The Book, July 24 (Author Interview)

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, July 24

deb’s Book Review, July 25

Connie’s History Classroom, July 26

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, July 27

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, July 28

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 29

Tell Tale Book Reviews, July 30 (Author Interview)

Blossoms and Blessings, July 31

Life of Literature, August 1

Texas Book-aholic, August 2

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, August 2

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Lisa is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Book Spotlight And Author Interview — Hosea’s Heart

30 Mar

About The Book

Book:  Hosea’s Heart

Author: Linda Wood Rondeau

Genre: Contemporary Women’s Fiction

Release date: 2018

How much should a wronged husband forgive?

Aubrey Beaumont has spent the last fifteen years in search of his runaway, drug-addicted wife. Now a respected Silver Spring pastor and chaplain, ready to give up and move on, his life takes unexpected turns when she suddenly contacts him. Terminally ill and having found faith, she begs Aubrey’s forgiveness. How can he overlook her past prostitution and liaison with one of Washington’s most vicious drug lords?

Grateful for a chance at reconciliation, Joanna Beaumont prays that her seemingly wasted life might serve some purpose in her final days. Perhaps her testimony against her former lover’s cartel will bring her the peace she craves.

Joanna and Aubrey’s paths will crisscross the Capital District’s underworld where they discover how God weaves threads of failure into tapestries of hope.

Click here to get your copy!

About The Author

A veteran social worker, Linda Wood Rondeau has earned critical acclaim for her heart-warming stories of deliverance and forgiveness. The author now resides in Hagerstown, MD with her husband of forty years. Active in her local church, she enjoys playing the occasional round of golf, a common feature in many of her books. Readers may contact the author through Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and Instagram or visit her website: www.lindarondeau.com.

More from Linda

Folks ask me why I kept searching for Joanna.

I don’t really see myself as a martyr, self-sacrificing, or even like the prophet Hosea as some have compared me to.

Perhaps I searched so long because Joanna was the only woman I ever truly loved. We met at the Top Notch Lounge when I had stopped in to buy a getaway package for my parents’ twenty-fifth anniversary.

I turned to my friend, Gregg, a private detective, and said, “See that girl over there? I’m going to marry her.

Gregg shook his head “You’re crazy. That broad is nothing but trouble.”

“And you know this, how?”

“Instinct, buddy.”

I left Gregg standing at the reservation desk and walked confidently toward a future that I could only guess. She smiled at me as I approached her table and glanced at her beverage. “Cinnamon tea?” I asked.

I sniffed the scent. Then, it was like an aphrodisiac. Now the aroma makes me nauseous. If I had known then what I know now? Moot question because life rarely offers a mulligan.

Gregg gave me a sign that he’d wait for me at the restaurant.

I sat down next to her. “Aubrey Beaumont.”

“Joanna Curtis.”

We talked, though not about anything of importance. I knew no more about her after an hour than her name and that she’d been deserted by her boyfriend. Yet, I knew I loved her.

“Have you had dinner yet?”

“No. Actually, I haven’t eaten all day. I should keep up my strength. I’m eating for two.”

I suppose most men would be scared away at that point. But something tugged at me. I sensed she didn’t need me—but I needed her, as intoxicating as any drug.

“Why not join me and my friend at the restaurant downstairs.”

Despite Gregg’s loud protests, Joanna and I married two days later. I adopted her unborn daughter, though not of my flesh, a child of my heart. I didn’t know about Joanna’s addiction until the first time she left us. Though she had been to rehab numerous times, she relapsed again and again. The last time she left, I held her note in my hand, my heart sliced by the knowledge she’d not be back.

The intelligent thing would be to let her disappear … what she wanted. I always led with my heart, not common sense. Perhaps why God called me into the ministry after Joanna’s first relapse.

My fruitless search took me into the Capital District where I pastored a church in Silver Spring.  Hope waned … and I even thought I might find love again with a woman named Cynthia. Until Joanna found me and called me to her side.

Fifteen years have passed since she left me the last time. Now, here I stand … face-to-face with reality. Cancer will  take Joanna away forever. What does God require of me now? I can forgive her addiction. But sometimes a wife’s betrayal goes beyond the forgivable –her liaison with Joey Juarez, the worst drug czar in the Washington, D.C. area.

I have every right, scripturally and logically, to divorce her and move on. Yet, that same voice that called me to her so many years ago calls to me now. “Till death part us.”

READER: What would you do if you were Aubrey? How would you advise him?

Q & A with Linda Wood Rondeau

Many authors say that they have always been a writer — making up stories as a child. When did you first become a writer?

I’ve always been a hobbyist throughout my childhood and most of my adult life. I won school awards for writing, and enjoyed being a storyteller to the kids I babysat. I even entertained my friends on the school bus by mimicking and storytelling. So, yes. I’ve known I wanted to be a writer all my life. So what stopped me?

My first instinct was to take creative writing in college. Unfortunately, I listened to well-meaning adults who counseled me to prepare for a career that would be more financially beneficial. I had little encouragement from my family, although a high school teacher encouraged me to be a writer as did one of my college professors. Life got in the way of my dreams. Instead of writing, I worked in human services for many years. Perhaps God’s way of preparing me for the type of books he wanted me to write. At age 54, God stepped in. “The time is now.” The road to publication has been hard and bruising. But I never once doubted this is what I’m supposed to be doing at this stage of my life. 

Were there any obstacles you faced in your journey to publication?

Many times I heard seasoned writers say, “God’s timing.” Easy enough to say but very hard to trust. I secured an agent early on, but she was unable to land a contract for me until eleven years (to the day) I committed my life to writing. (The Other Side of Darkness/Pelican). I did publish short stories and articles along the way. During that time, I kept writing and had a number of completed manuscripts. Soon after, another publisher wanted to contract several works from me. A few months later, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I did suffer from chemo brain, a side affect of chemotherapy. God knew I’d need those completed manuscripts to fulfill my contracts. Yes … God’s timing is always perfect. There have been many obstacles. I’ve yet to release a book without stumbling blocks. Satan’s way of trying to convince me God didn’t want me to write. Truth is God is more interested in my spiritual condition than book contracts … yet, he has been my faithful companion in this journey, and the book contracts keep coming. Through this process, I have learned that I’m not called to write … this is a career he’s given me in my quest to spread the good news. I am called to be his child. 

What does a typical writing day look like? Are you structured or informal in your writing schedule?

Seriously? A schedule? I’ve never been able to make one and keep it. By the nature of my life, I cannot assume tomorrow will resemble today in any way shape or form. I do set goals, however, and hope-to-complete tasks. I’m grateful God has given me a flexible personality and a creative mind to “adapt” to surprises. Marketing requires a portion of my brain that doesn’t exist. God makes up for this deficiency in numerous ways. While it’s important to trust, I know I have to put effort and feet into the work. 

Can you tell us a little about what inspired your latest novel.

Hosea’s Heart is not my most recent novel. Before I started writing professionally, I worked in the human services field: family services, adult protective services, child protective services, medical services, senior services, and nursing home social services,  as well as hospital social services and as an in-school case manager. All these roles gave me many insights into the spiral of addiction and the profound impact addiction has on those who love the victim of substance abuse. Those who don’t understand are quick to judge and slow to develop compassion … much like my character Gregg Fischer, who hated drug addicts because of his personal loss. I wanted to write a book to show addicts are as much in need of love as anyone and how true love can only be extended through the power of the Holy Spirit. I hoped to show how God’s healing power transcends our failures.

Readers always want to know what is next for an author. Do you have any works in progress you can share about?

I am pleased to report I have four novels under contract at this time. Actual release dates at this time are uncertain. 

First up is Wolf Mountain Legacy, an Adirondack Romantic Suspense.

A widowed high school history teacher, on leave for mental health problems, is hired as a research assistant by her former lover and college professor, on sabbatical to write a history of Adirondack Railroads. The research begins to unravel the 150-year-old mystery of the death of a railroad tycoon who died as a result of a suspicious fire that destroyed his Wolf Mountain estate. Marci is convinced she and Blake are being followed. But no one sees these people but her.

Second is The Ghosts of Trumball Mansion, a paranormal 

Set between Manhattan and New Haven, Connecticut

A romance writer and her estranged publisher husband spend a summer together in their historic  Connecticut estate. The closer the couple come toward a reconciliation, the more virulent the unexplained “ghosts” become, as if the house is determined to prevent their reunification. 

Third is G.L.I.C.K (a middle-grade science fiction)

Three earth children befriend a stranded alien, a sort of cosmic librarian sent to study Earth’s culture. His name is an acronym for Gatherer of Lore and Intergalactic Cultural Knowledge.

Fourth is Jolly Angel, a contemporary novelette expected to release in October, 2021.

A young women flees her abusive New York City home in hopes of starting a new life in Northern New York only to find her problems are compounded by an unwanted pregnancy.  

Thank you for hosting me today.  

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, March 17

Susan K. Beatty, Author, March 18 (Author Interview)

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, March 18

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, March 19

Texas Book-aholic, March 20

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, March 21

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 22

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 23

Tell Tale Book Reviews, March 24 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 25

For Him and My Family, March 26

Inklings and notions, March 27

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, March 28

deb’s Book Review, March 29

By The Book, March 30 (Author Interview)

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, March 30

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Linda is giving away the grand prize of a book from her Amazon Author page!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.