Thursday, August 17, 2017

Talkshow Thursday: Meet author Ada Brownell

Talkshow Thursday: Meet author Ada Brownell

Linda:  Thanks for joining me today. Your latest book, Peach Blossom Rancher, sounds intriguing. Where did you get the inspiration for the plot?

Ada: Since the book is the sequel for The Lady Fugitive I knew John Lincoln Parks, Jenny’s twin brother, would be the leading man and own the ranch. But he’d have a mess of trouble since his uncle sold all the horses and neglected the peach orchards.

He met the beautiful Valerie at his sister’s wedding, and they have stayed in touch and he has his eyes on her. Yet, she’s a widow whose young husband was murdered, and she’s not over her mourning period.

I knew I’d have two other eligible young women in the book, but I didn’t know myself which one would own his heart.

A complication with Valerie occurs when she decides to try to get three people wrongly diagnosed freed from the state asylum.

A young gal who works a neighboring ranch because her father had been injured, is a pest, has a temper, but she thinks she’s been in love with John since they were kids. She provides humor and some suspense.

John Parks and Polly, a fantastic woman from the last book who has been in John’s home since he was born, try to help an orphaned young lady when they find her about to give birth in their barn. We learned in The Lady Fugitive that the pregnant girl was assaulted by her employer’s son.

LM: You have made a career in writing, first as a journalist, and now as a novelist. What is your favorite part of the writing process?

Ada: I’ve also written non-fiction books and articles for Christian publications all my adult life. My The Springfield News Leader was “Why Do People Risk Using Heroin?”
favorite thing is when a character seems to take the story and I feel like I’m reading it instead of writing it. In non-fiction, I enjoy the inspiration and truths that come only through the Holy Spirit as I meditate on a subject and research what the Bible says. My favorite part of newspaper work was meeting people, getting the facts about what is happening or happened, as well as picking their brains about what they know, what they do and what they’ve experienced. I still write op-ed pieces for newspapers. My most recent one in

LM: What do you do to prepare yourself for writing? For example do you listen to music or set up in a specific place?

Ada: I have devotions when I get up in the morning, but the most important thing I do for fiction or non-fiction is think. I often lie awake at night with characters and their troubles coming alive and sometimes I get writing ideas.

LM: Part of Peach Blossom Rancher revolves around an insane asylum. What sort of research  
did you do, to ensure historical accuracy?

Ada: As a journalist a former asylum was on my beat. I was given historical documents, extensive information, and I interviewed the superintendent (numerous times), the mentally ill, workers, including psych techs and guards, and visited most of the divisions in the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo (in Colorado).

LM: You live in Colorado which many say is heaven on earth. If money were no object, what is your idea of the ultimate vacation?

Ada: A great family reunion on Grand Mesa or Glade Park. Visiting again the area around Grand Junction such as the Colorado National Monument; the Fruita and Grand Junction churches we attended; as well as the two homes in Fruita where we lived.

LM: What is the quirkiest thing you’ve ever done?

Ada: I’ve done a lot of stupid things in my life. When I got married I knew a couple where the man had an affair and the woman didn’t have a clue. So I decided to be unpredictable because my husband worked shifts at the railroad, often coming and going at midnight. Sometimes I’d be up; others I’d be in bed. One night I stayed up and it was near 2 a.m. when I, in a panic, wondered what I was going to do after I threw my husband out. We had no phone and only one car. Suddenly I remembered I’d kept the car—and I was supposed to pick him up! That cured me of suspicions and we’ve been married 64 years in October.

LM: What is your next project?

Ada: I have several thousand words done on the third book in the Peaches and Dreams series, and I’m enjoying using a few events from my mother’s life. The leading lady, Ritah, is spunky, and believes women should become achievers because they might need to support the family. I also have about 100 articles published by The Pentecostal Evangel I’m making into a book. Many were written in typewriter days, and I’ve had to enter them in the computer. Interesting true stories, and interviews—stories such as “Are Christian Marriages Better?” “The Crutches on the Wall,” and “What Prayer Can Do.”


LM: Where can folks find you on the web?

Ada:
Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/e/B001KJ2C06

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Traveling Tuesday: A Bridge Too Far

Traveling Tuesday: A Bridge Too Far

As I continually research WWII for my novels, I am constantly reminded at just how far reaching the war was. It was not called a world war for nothing. The conflict seemed to impact every corner of the globe. An area I have only recently begun to study is the Netherlands, also known as Holland. The European portion (there are three Dutch islands in the Caribbean) borders Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, and the North Sea to the northwest. Invaded by Germany on May 10, 1940, the country remained occupied for nearly the entire war.

The Battle of Arnhem was fought in September 1944 with Operation Market (airborne forces who would take the bridges) Garden (ground forces) being the Allied plan of attack. It was a brutal and unsuccessful campaign resulting in nearly 20,000 casualties. The road bridge over the Lower Rhine was the final objective of the operation. Troops were to secure the rails, road, and pontoon bridges and hold them until they could be relieved by the XXX Corps. However, German resistance was stronger than anticipated, and they overwhelmed the Allied troops after eight days. A later assessment by military commentators and historians indicated that priority should have been given to securing Nijmegan Bridge.

The bridge was later destroyed during a bombing raid in October, 1944. Arnhem was liberated the following year, and a new bridge was erected shortly thereafter. Because it was a truss-style bridge, it was too low for ships to pass under and subsequently replaced. In 1977, it was renamed the John Frostbrug (literally John Frost Bridge) in honor of the Major General who commanded the British forces that reached and defended the bridge.

Although the operation was a failure, Arnhem became a byword for the fighting spirit of the British people. A Bridge Too Far was written in 1974 by Cornelius Evans, and adapted for film by William Goldman in 1977. The cast is a who’s who list in Hollywood including Sean Connery, Gene Hackman, Liv Ullmann, Elliott Gould, James Caan, and Michael Caine. The book’s title is supposed to have come from an unconfirmed comment by Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery: “I think we may be going a bridge too far.”


Initially received with mixed reviews, the film has since become a WWII classic. Have you seen it?

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Varis Gladstone, Plucky Sidekick

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Varis Gladstone, Plucky Sidekick

As part of the launch for Under Fire, the first book in my mystery trilogy, I interviewed the main character Ruth Brown. Today is your chance to meet Ruth’s BFF and “plucky sidekick.” But first a little bit of background.

Varis is named for one of my great aunts. I was very young when she passed away, but I often heard tales about her; a strong personality, but gracious. From what I understand she followed her own path, never marrying and working as a schoolteacher. She enjoyed traveling and did so extensively (unusual for a single woman to travel alone at that time). When I was looking for a secondary character who could hold her own next to Ruth, I knew someone based on my great aunt was perfect, and why not give her the name too!

LM: Thanks for joining us Varis. Tell us a bit about yourself.

Varis: I’m glad to be here. I’m an only child, and my parents were older than most when they had me. I was born in Hazelton Falls, NH and still live there. I met Ruth on the first day of kindergarten. We took to each other and have been pals ever since. My one vice is clothes. I’m always on the lookout for the next great outfit. Rationing makes it tricky, but fortunately I love to sew which keeps my wardrobe budget in check!

LM: You work for Coltrain Enterprises. What do you do for them?

Varis: I’m Mr. Coltrain’s secretary. He owns the company, having inherited it from his uncle. I type lots and lots of letters, reports, and contracts. I also take the minutes at meetings such as the union negotiations that got a bit out of hand. Because we’re a war contractor, I can’t give you specifics. I’m sure you understand.

LM: Absolutely! You had some close calls with danger during the investigation surrounding Jane’s disapperance. Would you consider yourself very brave?

Varis:  (Laughing) Hardly! When I’m around Ruth, things just seem to happen, so I’ve learned to be on my toes at all times. Most times that works!

LM: What is the greatest challenge you face with the war on?

Varis: The loss of our young men. Hazelton Falls was well-represented at Pearl Harbor and several of our boys perished that day. More have enlisted, and not everyone may return. I’m proud that they have chosen to serve, but it is a scary time waiting for them.

LM: Do you have a special young man?

Varis: Not at this time. I’m enjoying my career, and I’m very busy with hobbies and serving in the Red Cross. My life is quite full.

LM: Anything else you’d like readers to know?


Varis: Under Fire is available online at eLectio Publishing or Amazon. When readers purchase the paperback directly from the publisher they receive the ebook version for free! And please don't forget to leave a review once you've read the book.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Mystery Monday: Wilkie Collins

Mystery Monday: Wilkie Collins

Last month I wrote a blog post about W. Somerset Maugham and his book Ashenden, or The British Agent which was touted as the first spy novel written by someone who served in that capacity. A follower pointed out that Wilkie Collins and his book The Moonstone was the first detective novel since it was published in 1868. I had never heard of Collins, and many of you may not have either, so without further ado, here’s a bit about the man and his novel…

Williams Wilkie Collins, named for his father, painter William Collins, and godfather, Sir David Wilkie, was born in the Marylebone district of London on January 8, 1824. He and his family lived in Italy and France for two years, then he returned to England to attend boarding school. After leaving school in 1841, he worked for a tea merchant, but disliked the job immensely. He began to write stories and in 1850, after his father died, he published his first, The Memoirs of the Life of William Collins, Esq., R.A. It received good reviews, so he continued to write, ultimately publishing thirty books, over one hundred articles, a dozen plays, and numerous short stories.

By all reports, Collins lived against the social mores of the time. Rather than adhere to the strict Victorian code, he ate and drank to excess, wore flamboyant clothing, and formed long-term relationships with two women he didn’t marry, one of whom bore him three children. He also suffered from ill-health and took opium as a result, which he ultimately became addicted to.

The Moonstone was not well-received by critics or Collins’s mentor and friend, Charles Dickens, but according to T.S. Eliot, “the first, the longest, and the best of modern English detective novels…in a genre invented by Collins, not by Poe.” Dorothy Sayers commented that it was “probably the very finest detective novel ever written.”

Containing many thriller elements, the plot of The Moonstone revolves around the theft of a large diamond inherited by a young woman on her eighteenth birthday. Incorporating some of the elements of the origins of the Hope Diamond, the story is told in a series of narratives (similar to Maugham’s Ashenden. The complex plot involves many twists and turns and includes many of the fundamentals now part of many mysteries: red herrings, a celebrated, skilled investigator, a bumbling local police force, lots of false suspects, and the “least likely suspect.”


Over the years, The Moonstone has found its way into radio, film, and television adaptations, the most recent one in 2016 by the BBC. Check your public library, they are sure to have a copy of this classic.  

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Blog Tour: Wounded in the Church

Blog Tour: Wounded in the Church

 

To purchase your copy, click here.

About the Book

 

Book title: Wounded in the Church  
Author: Ray Beeson & Chris Hayward  
Release date: March 14, 2017
 Genre: Non-fiction

Church should be a safe place, right? Then why do so many get hurt there? Ray Beeson and Chris Hayward combine their years of ministry experience to address head-on the elephant in the room: church members and church leaders hurt Christians. All the time. And the long-lasting effects—rejection, shame, despair, loneliness, fear—can be devastating. The authors have witnessed the rise of the “dones,” those who are just done with God thanks to scars from church. With first-person stories of hurt and loss, this book is a wake-up call for any who deny woundedness in the church but is also a redemptive message for any who hurt from church wounds. Leaders and laypeople alike will learn how to grieve over abuse, to leave unhealthy attitudes and patterns that cause pain, and to trust in God’s real, delivering work through churches that build up, not tear down. Thanks to the grace of God, there is always hope beyond the pain.

My Thoughts


Wounded in the Church is a book that should be read by everyone, not just those who have been hurt by Christians and/or church leaders. Written in a conversational style, the book is split into two parts. The first half, titled “The Pain,” shares personal experiences of the authors and others, and many of the vignettes are difficult to read. It was sad to read about the harm done to people. The second half, titled “The Hope,” shares ways those who have been hurt can find healing. Through the use of Scriptures as well as coping mechanisms offered by those who have risen above their pain, the book offers caring and realistic answers. Other books on the topic are referenced, giving readers additional resources. Well-written, Wounded by the Church covers a volatile topic with sensitivity and professionalism.

I received this book for free from CelebrateLit Publicity, and a favorable review was not required. All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Authors

Ray Beeson is the director of Overcomers Ministries, a teaching ministry with a special emphasis on spiritual warfare and prayer. Ray teaches seminars on spiritual warfare, prayer, and Christlike living and is the author of numerous books including Signed in His Blood (Charisma House, 2014) and The Hidden Price of Greatness (Overcomers, 2000). Ray and his wife, Linda, live in Ventura, CA. Chris Hayward has had over thirty-six years of pastoral ministry and is currently serving as president of Cleansing Stream Ministries, a discipleship ministry that works with the local church around the world. He is also the author of God’s Cleansing Stream (Chosen Books, 2004) and The End of Rejection (Chosen Books, 2007). Chris and his wife, Karen, live in Castaic, CA.

Guest Post from Ray Beeson & Chris Hayward

When we tell people we’ve written a book entitled “Wounded in the Church,” many nod knowingly. Sadly, the pain and heartache that happens in churches is all too common. Collectively, the two of us have spent more than 70 years in ministry. During that time we have seen neglect, tactlessness, and blatant insensitivity fostered by some leaders and congregations resulting in the wounding of others. We realize it is not prolific in every church, but the wounding is significant and it needs to be exposed. That is why we wrote this book – we share real stories of real people who were wounded in church, a place that should be a shelter of God’s love and peace. Sometimes people are abused by leaders or church members. There are also times when leaders are abused by people within the congregation. As you read, perhaps you’ll identify with some of the situations described. If so, be assured you are not alone. If you have been wounded, it is our hope and prayer God uses this book to facilitate healing. Because of Jesus Christ, there is hope beyond the pain.

Blog Stops

Here are the remaining blog stops:


August 5: The Power of Words
August 7: Just Jo'Anne
August 8: Lots of Helpers

Giveaway


To celebrate this tour, Whitaker House is giving away:

Grand Prize: Kindle Fire and Wounded in the Church by Ray Beeson and Chris Hayward

First Place Prize: Walking by Faith mug with matching pen OR Bouquet of Blessings mug and Wounded in the Church Second Place Prize: Walking By Faith pen and Wounded in the Church

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/bb6f

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Wartime Wednesday: The Shetland Bus

Wartime Wednesday: The Shetland Bus

I recently discovered a BBC mystery show called “Shetland.” Well-written and realistic without being gruesome, the series is set on the Shetland Isles, an archipelago made up of over 100 islands (15 of which are inhabited). Located northeast of Britain in the subarctic region, the islands are part of Scotland. They are closer to Norway than mainland Scotland, and the history of the two countries is strongly intertwined.

The first episode solved a cold case that occurred during WWII (my favorite period in history!) and involved sailors who were part of the Shetland Bus. I was unfamiliar with the Shetland Bus, so as soon as I finished watching, I dug out my computer and started researching.

The Shetland Bus was the nickname given to a loosely formed group of commercial fisherman who agreed to work for the British Secret Intelligence Service and Special Operations Executive. Their main purpose was to ferry agents, supplies, communications equipment, and weapons in and out of Norway. They also helped Norwegians, who feared arrest by the occupying Germans, to escape.

Initially there were fourteen fishing crafts used, but after several losses of boats and men, it was decided that faster ships were required. The new boats were powered by 1,200 hp diesel engines and could reach a top speed of 25 mph. In 1943, the U.S. Navy assigned three submarines to the operation, and it became an official part of the Royal Norwegian Navy. Most of the crossings were made in the winter under cover of darkness. (Like Alaska, Shetland experiences nearly 20 hours of darkness during the winter months, and the same number of hours of daylight during the summertime.) I cannot imagine how cold it was in an open boat going over the North Atlantic in winter – brrr!


Leif Larson was one of the most famous of the “Bus” men, conducting fifty-two crossings and becoming a highly decorated Naval Officer. A memorial erected in Scalloway commemorates the operation and the brave men associated with it. More information can be found in David Howarth’s Shetland Bus: A WWII Epic of Escape, Survival, and Adventure. I haven’t read the book, but over 80% of its ratings are four- and five-star.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Blog Tour: Crazy About Alaska

Blog Tour: Crazy About Alaska


 

Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book



Book title: Crazy about Alaska  
Author: Shannon L. Brown  
Release date: June 30, 2017  
Genre: Sweet Contemporary Romance  

Can she trust love? Holly has her eye on a handsome state trooper. Not on her boring, oh-so-serious, former professor, Adam. Having her toes curl when she’s near Adam must be ignored. Holly just wants a great dad for her twin girls. She’s going to find one, write a novel to fulfill her dreams, and create a happy life. Falling in love isn’t part of her plan.

My Thoughts


Crazy about Alaska is the third book in the “Alaska Dream Romance” series, but it was easily read as a stand-alone. I loved the main characters Holly and Adam. They were realistic, with struggles and issues I could relate to. The book starts off with a bang then lagged for a bit in the middle before finishing strong. Adam’s interaction with Holly’s kids is fun and very natural for a guy not used to being around children; there were several “laugh out loud” and “awwww” moments. Having visited Alaska a couple of years ago, I loved reading about places I had been to or heard of, but the description periodically interrupted the story. The secondary characters (parents and siblings) were well developed, and Adam’s folks reminded me a lot of my in-laws. Being a dog lover and owner, I loved Adam’s relationship with his dog, Emma. The fact that he took her needs into account while house hunting was heart-warming. I look forward to reading other books by Shannon L. Brown.

I received this book for free from Celebrate Lit Publicity, and a positive review was not required. All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Author



Writing books that are fun and touch your heart Even though Shannon L. Brown always loved to read, she didn’t plan to be a writer. She earned two degrees from the University of Alaska, one in journalism/public communications, but didn’t become a journalist. Years passed. Shannon felt pulled into a writing life, testing her wings with a novel and moving on to articles. Shannon is now an award-winning journalist who has sold hundreds of articles to local, national, and regional publications. Shannon was born and raised in Alaska so she enjoyed writing the books in the Alaska Dream Romance series. “The Feather Chase” was her first published book and began the Crime-Solving Cousins Mystery series. The eight-to-twelve-year-olds in your life will enjoy this contemporary twist on a Nancy Drew-type mystery. Shannon lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with her professor husband and adorable calico cat.

Guest Post from Shannon Brown

Open Doors When a character opens the door and steps from her world into mine, writing about her is easier. Holly Harris in Crazy About Alaska is a real estate agent, and I was once one. I’ve driven clients around and shown them houses only to have them go a different direction. My husband and I bought a new house a few years ago, so I have tales to tell from that experience too. (Readers may think the purple shower is made up. Think again.) I chose to bring a college professor into her life as a love interest. I’m married to one. Some of myself always finds its way into a story. Sometimes, it’s just something I might like to do. Holly’s sister Jemma rehabs furniture in Falling for Alaska, book one in the series. The idea for her business came while I was watching HGTV’s Flea Market Flip. Taking trash and making it beautiful sounds like something I’d like to try. Jemma also dislikes coffee and drinks tea. (Here I am again.) But she is not exactly me. She’s cooking challenged, and I’m a good cook. Does the story become about the author when she inserts herself into it? Reality is only a fun fraction of the book. Holly has two men vying for her affections. That never happened. (It might have been fun if it had!) She also has five-year-old twins. I never experienced that. By far the most challenging of the sisters in the series was Bree in book two, Loving Alaska. She’s a doctor, and my knowledge of the medical profession comes from sitting on the exam table, not from doing the exam. I spoke with doctors I knew and brought her to life. But Bree isn’t all made up either. She despises being in nature, especially camping. I’ve camped on a frozen river, beside a lake after canoeing or boating in, and many more places, but I’m with Bree and hotels are greatly preferred. There I am in the story again. Reading the books I’ve written helps you know who I am. I’m a woman with a big imagination who enjoys bringing stories to life. Oh, and that slightly sarcastic sense of humor you may notice with Jemma and Holly? That might be from me as well.

Blog Stops

Here are the remaining stops on Shannon's tour:

August 1: Kat's Corner Books
August 2: Ashley's Bookshelf

Giveaway


To celebrate this tour, Shannon Brown is giving away a grand prize of a book lovers gift basket – a basket filled with book-related things!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/bb35

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Blog Tour: A Name Unknown

Blog Tour: A Name Unknown

 

Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book

 

Book title: A Name Unknown  
Author: Roseanna M. White  
Release date: July 4, 2017  
Genre: Historical Romance  

She’s Out to Steal His Name. Will He Steal Her Heart Instead? Rosemary Gresham has no family beyond the band of former urchins that helped her survive as a girl in the mean streets of London. Grown now, they are no longer pickpockets—now they focus on high value items and have learned how to blend into upper-class society. Rosemary’s challenge of a lifetime comes when she’s assigned to determine whether a certain wealthy gentleman is loyal to Britain or to Germany. How does one steal a family’s history, their very name? As Europe moved closer to World War I, rumors swirl around Peter Holstein. Awkward and solitary, but with access to the king, many fear his influence. But Peter can’t help his German last name and wants to prove his loyalty to the Crown—so he can go back to anonymously writing a series of popular adventure novels. When Rosemary arrives on his doorstop pretending to be a well- credentialed historian, Peter believes she’s the right person to help him dig through his family’s past. When danger and suspicion continue to mount, though, and both realize they’re in a race against time to discover the truth—about Peter’s past and about the undeniable attraction kindling between them.

My Thoughts


You've heard of sleeper movies? This is a sleeper book. The story begins slowly, which I struggled with a bit, but probably because of the large number of fast-paced suspense and mystery books I read. I loved the main characters. Rosemary Gresham is a believable mixture of grit, gumption, and insecurities. Peter Holstein stutters and hides behind his articulate author persona. He is oblivious to his strength of character (no pun intended), and I loved him for that. It was fun to follow his writing process. Mrs. Teague's about-face was a bit abrupt for me, but nice to see. I loved the plot twist at the end and didn't see it coming which made it all the more exciting. Peter's faith is strong yet gentle, and I appreciated how he was used to share the salvation message. A book to be enjoyed multiple times.

I received this book for free from Celebrate Lit Publicity, and was not required to provide a favorable review. All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Author


 
Roseanna M. White pens her novels beneath her Betsy Ross flag, with her Jane Austen action figure watching over her. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two children, editing and designing, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of over a dozen historical novels and novellas, ranging from biblical fiction to American-set romances to her British series. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to make their way into her novels…to offset her real life, which is blessedly boring. You can learn more about her and her stories at www.RoseannaMWhite.com.

Guest Post from Roseanna White

It’s always a challenge to make a historical setting authentic—especially when it’s set in a region you’ve only ever read about. As I was writing A Name Unknown, I learned so much about Cornwall—all the more when I had the opportunity to visit the gorgeous Penzance region while the book was still in edits! I quickly learned that I had far too many trees in my story, and hadn’t quite captured the uniqueness of the coastal setting. I dove into rewrites with excitement and gusto, ready to make my fictional Cornwall more like the real one. I studied the Cornish accent, Cornish foods, typical Cornish coloring in hair and eyes. I’ve now gotten rather proficient at making pasties (beef hand pies) from scratch, I’ve special-ordered ingredients to make Cornish ginger cookies called fairings, and I’ve spent quite a lot of time listening to videos of people speaking in a Cornish accent. Delving into this rich region and its history was a blast! And I’m so excited to get to share the culture of Cornwall—and a taste of their unique flavors—with you. In a special Celebrate Lit giveaway, I’ll be offering not only a signed copy of my book, but also some homemade ginger fairings! Here’s the recipe I used . . . after special ordering the Mixed Spice (reminiscent of pumpkin pie spice) and Golden Syrup (a thick syrup with a bit of a toffee flavor) from Amazon. 😉 (I have a gram scale so did use the weight measurements rather than volume—also, English teaspoons and tablespoons are a bit bigger than American, so I heaped them, and I turned out deliciously.)

GINGER FAIRINGS RECIPE 100 grams butter, cold and diced 225 grams all-purpose flour ¼ heaping teaspoon salt 2 heaping teaspoons baking powder 2 heaping teaspoons baking soda 1 heaping teaspoon ginger 2 heaping teaspoons mixed spice 100 grams superfine (caster) sugar 4 heaping tablespoons golden syrup Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease baking sheets or line with parchment paper. Combine flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and spices in a stand mixer. Add the butter and beat until mixture forms coarse crumbs. Stir in sugar. In a small saucepan, warm the golden syrup until it’s clarified a bit; stir into the flour mixture until a dough forms. Roll the dough into walnut sized balls and put on prepared baking sheets a few inches apart. Bake 8-10 minutes, until golden. Cool a few minutes on the trays and then transfer to a cooling rack.

Blog Stops

Roseanna's Remaining Blog Stops:

July 30: His Grace is Sufficient

July 30: Book Bits, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses

July 31: Reader's Cozy Corner

July 31: Cafinated Reads

July 31: Artistic Nobody

July 31: The Important Things in Life - God, Books, and Chocolate

Giveaway


To celebrate this tour, Roseanna is giving away a grand prize of a paperback copy of A Name Unknown & 2 dozen cookies from Roseanna!!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/bc0e


Thursday, July 27, 2017

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Ruth Brown and Varis Gladstone

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Ruth Brown


Today is release day for Under Fire, the first in a trilogy about WWII war correspondent/amateur sleuth Ruth Brown. Grab a chair and get to know this spunky, tenacious gal who gets more than she bargains for when her sister, Jane, turns up missing.

LM: Hello, ladies, and welcome. Why don't you tell folks a bit about yourselves?

Ruth: Thanks for having us. After graduating from college, I got a job with my hometown newspaper as a reporter. Up until Jane's disappearance I mostly wrote for the society pages. A couple of times I managed to stumble on a real story, but I had to fight to hold onto the rights to those. I'm the oldest of three kids. My brother, Chip, is two years younger and in the Army. Jane is two years younger than Chip, and she worked in a factory that was converted to war work.

LM: We don't want to give away any spoilers, but what made you think Jane was still alive after the boating accident, even though her body was not recovered?

Ruth: As sisters, Jane and I have a special connection. Don't you feel that way about your own sister?

LM: As a matter of fact I do. We are very different in many ways, but I can't imagine my life without her. We live far apart and don't get together more than once a year or so, but when we do see each other, we take up right where we left off. Is that how it is with you and Jane?

Ruth: Exactly. Jane is artistic, flexible, and a little scatterbrained. I'm more regimented and can't draw a line with a ruler. But we're like two peas in a pod and can often finish each other's sentences. I thought I would feel it in my heart if she were gone. The police declared her dead after two weeks and closed the case. It was up to me to find out what happened.

LM: You ended up in England because of your investigation. What was that like?

Ruth: Exciting, educational, and nerve-wracking. I had never flown before, so that was an incredible experience. The propellers made lots of noise, but the seats were comfortable, and I met a very nice Englishman who was going home to pick up his grandchildren. When I arrived in London, it was difficult to find my way around because most of the street signs had been taken down in anticipation of an invasion by Germany. I had no idea it is only a little over twenty miles across the Channel at the narrowest part. The bombing was hair-raising, and I spent more than a few nights in Tube stations or air raid shelters.

LM: You had a run-in or two with the IRA. What was that all about?

Ruth: The IRA were quite active during the war. Many saw it as an opportunity to cover up their crimes, and they conducted many underhanded and evil acts. Others collaborated with the Abwehr in an effort to remove Northern Ireland from the UK and unify Ireland. They thought if Hitler won, they would be successful in their efforts. When one of my clues led me to Belfast, I was warned by one of the IRA members, a very creepy man.

LM: Some items were difficult to obtain during the war. What was that like?

Ruth: It seemed that nearly everything in England was rationed. That's probably not the case, but it felt like that. Food was especially dear in the cities. In the rural areas, everyone had gardens and grew their own vegetables. London doesn't have a lot of "green space" for that, so their food had to be brought in. There were lots of tinned foods, which frankly weren't very good. One of the other journalists told me they hadn't seen an onion in months. Can you imagine? Anyway, because things were difficult to come by, the black market was quite robust. If people had the money, they could get their hands on just about anything.

LM: What was it like being one of the few women reporters in London?

Ruth: In some ways, it was no different than at home where I was the only gal on the payroll at The Gazette. Many of the men believed women shouldn't be allowed to cover the war. Some of the men were condescending, others played pranks on us, and a few were downright hostile and tried to sabotage our work. I decided that my writing would prove my worth, and tried not to let their shenanigans get to me. In the end, it turned out okay.

LM:  Thanks for stopping by. Where can readers find Under Fire?

Ruth:
eLectio Publishing: http://www.electiopublishing.com/index.php/bookstore#!/Under-Fire-Paperback/p/88329129

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0743MS95H

Or from your independent bookstore.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Release Day!

Release Day!


Did you ever have something you were waiting for that seemed to take forever to arrive, and when it did it felt like it happened in an instant? That has been a bit what this exciting journey to publication has been like for me.

I have been writing since I was a child. It was only after my husband and I moved to New Hampshire that the idea of seeking publication began to germinate in my mind. I stumbled on some freelance opportunities and became a regular contributor to several regional and statewide travel and lifestyle magazines. I even managed to score an article in the national magazine Writer's Journal.

Around 2005, I decided to try my hand at writing a novel. I used NaNoWriMo as the impetus to get started. National Novel Writing Month is held during November, and participants commit to getting 50,000 words down on paper, on a project they begin on the first of the month. Despite being a rookie, I managed to meet the goal. By early the following year, I had finished the remaining 30,000 words and deemed my story ready for a publisher. Needless to say, it was not, and received numerous resounding rejections.

Fast forward to 2016. By then I had attended ten Crimebake conferences, several NH Writer's Project workshops, graduated from Jerry Jenkins' Christian Writers' Guild, and revised my story countless times. In between there, I had self-published some novellas. Then I was signed by not one, but two publishing companies! I had been waiting eleven years to be traditionally published, and my dream had come true. In many ways I felt every one of those years, and in other way, it felt like overnight success.

Sandra Barela of CelebrateLit Publishing contacted me and asked me to write a novelette that was included in their collection Let Love Spring. She was so pleased with my work, she asked me to write another that will be included in a Christmas collection releasing in November, 2017.

In early December of last year, Under Fire was accepted by eLectio Publishing, and a release date of July 25th was selected. The last six months have been a combination of waiting and work. Thanks to my beta readers, Jessica Baker, Rebecca Peterson, Mary Rowlette, Natalee Stotz, and Connie Tillman for taking time to read the manuscript and give me feedback. Thanks to the design team at eLectio who did such a creative job on the cover. The most common response I've had to it is "striking," and I must say I agree. Thanks to Jesse Greever and Christopher Dixon, who believed in me and my story, and have been such an encouragement during the process.

Please consider picking up your copy of Under Fire. (Hint: books make wonderful Christmas gifts too!)

I am visiting Donna Schlacter's blog History thru the Ages and Peg Bann Phifer's blog Whispers in Purple today. I hope you'll stop by.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Mystery Monday: W. Somerset Maugham-Playwright, Novelist and Spy

W. Somerset Maugham-Playwright, Novelist and Spy

W. Somerset Maugham
Every August, the local hospital conducts a street fair of enormous proportions. It has been held for decades and is greatly anticipated by locals and visitors alike. The book tent, which is of course my favorite, holds thousands of books. I have found countless treasures in the past and am looking forward to this year’s fair.

One of last year’s finds was W. Somerset Maugham’s Ashenden, or the British Agent. A collection of loosely related stories, it follows the career of writer-turned-spy Ashenden who decides his new career is not nearly as exciting as he expected. At one point he complains that his life “is orderly and monotonous as a city clerks.” Despite being surrounded by murder, intrigue, and betrayal, his job is to watch and report back to the “powers that be.”

Set during WWI and the subsequent Russian Revolution, Ashenden is partly based on Maugham’s own experiences. By 1914, he had published ten plays and ten novels. His eleventh book, Of Human Bondage, was released in 1915 while he was serving in France in the British Red Cross’s Ambulance Corp.

During his return to England to promote the book, he was recruited by Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service. His first assignment was in Geneva where he set himself up as a French playwright and acted as liaison between field agents and headquarters in London. The reports were coded into his manuscripts and escaped notice of the Swiss. In 1917, Maugham was sent to Russia to gather intelligence on the German spy network.

Too old to enlist during WWII, Maugham spent the war in the United States, where he was asked by the British government to make speeches to encourage the US to send aid to the UK.

Most consider him to be the first author of spy stories who was actually a spy. He considered his exploits useful for his writing career, but not much else. In Ashenden’s forward Maugham writes, “The work of an agent in the Intelligence Department is on the whole monotonous. A lot of it is uncommonly useless.”


I wonder what today’s spies would think about his words.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Sandra Merville Hart

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Sandra Merville Hart


Linda:  Your latest book is the second in your Civil War Romance series. Where did you get the idea for your story?

Sandra: I had a feeling that there was a story waiting for me in Gettysburg. My husband and I went there to find it. We started at the battlefield where I found Tennessee regiments that fought the initial battle on the first day and were part of Pickett’s Charge. We attended ranger talks and tours. An idea began to form.

Gettysburg has many wonderful museums—we visited them. We took evening walking tours and walked the town’s streets around the “Diamond” where women and children lived through a nightmare. Then we returned to the battlefield.

Standing on Cemetery Ridge at dusk, I stared at the open field crossed by Pickett’s Charge. Though the land is peaceful now, it still tells a story. I also wanted to show what the townspeople endured. The idea for A Rebel in My House was born.

LM: You are an editor for DevoKids.com. How does that affect you as a writer?

Sandra: Besides editing the few submissions we receive, I write a lot of historical articles for DevoKids.com. The three main areas I write for on the site are Adventures in History, God’s World, and Holiday Traditions. This task has honed my skills for writing articles. Even a 200-300 word article requires research; I’ve become a better researcher. Learning where to find free images to enhance the post helped me for my own Historical Nibbles blog.

LM: Your website is full of fascinating historical information. Have you always enjoyed history or did something in your past spark an interest?

Sandra: Thank you! I’m thrilled that you like my blog. I had a great history teacher in high school. She brought history to life. It was the first time I thought of historical figures as people who struggled and triumphed as we all do. Then I took an elective in college for World War I. The teacher grabbed my attention the first night and held me spellbound with fascinating, behind-the-scenes, glimpses of the history.

My fascination with the Civil War began as a child with stories of brother against brother and father against son. I wanted to know more, even when in elementary school.

LM: Do you have an intriguing research story to share?

Sandra: When I went to research in Gettysburg for this novel, I decided to pay for a private ranger tour. I asked our Battlefield Guide, Clay Rebert, if there were any Tennessee regiments in the battle. I told him I was researching for a novel and didn’t have a clear idea of the story line yet. I study the history first and then the story solidifies. Our guide tailored the tour for my research and even missed part of his lunch hour. I had offered him my homemade chocolate chip cookies during the tour. He declined. My husband assured him that my cookies receive lots of compliments. He was very gracious and knowledgeable, answering all the questions I had at the time. When he missed part of lunch because of our tour, he accepted a couple of cookies and a bottled water. I hope that tided him over! 

LM: What do you do to prepare yourself for writing? For example do you listen to music or set up in a specific place?

Sandra: I write in my office. I turn on a box fan to mask background noise. That helps me focus.

LM: You seemed to have done a lot of traveling. If money were no object, what is your idea of the
ultimate vacation?

Sandra: Most of the traveling I’ve done has been for family vacations, conferences, and research. Often I don’t look for inspiration—it finds me. People and places with a history inspire me. Many stories fester for months and years before they enter my conscious thoughts. I’d love to tour Revolutionary War cities like Boston and Philadelphia. I’d also love to travel Route 66 at some point to see some of the family businesses that survived all these years. There’s a story idea there …

LM: What is your next project?

Sandra: Thanks for asking! I am writing a Civil War novel set primarily in Tennessee. A friend told me that a husband and wife served in the Confederate Army together. That sparked lots of research! An idea was born for a very different story. My working title for the new novel is A Lady in My Regiment.

LM: That sounds intriguing! Where can folks find you on the web?

Sandra: Thanks for hosting me, Linda! I’d love for folks to visit me on my blog, Historical Nibbles. I'd love to connect on Social Media too:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sandra.m.hart.7
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Sandra_M_Hart
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/sandramhart7
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8445068.Sandra_Merville_Hart
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/100329215443000389705/posts
Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Sandra-Merville-Hart/e/B00OBSJ3PU/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Watch the trailer here

Buy the book! https://www.amazon.com/Rebel-House-Sandra-Merville-Hart/dp/1941103383/ 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Traveling Tuesday: A bit of inspiration

Traveling Tuesday: A bit of inspiration

Thanks to the internet I was able to visit England without leaving my chair, a necessity if I was going to get locations and other details correct in my novel, Under Fire, that releases a week from today. Because the story is set during WWII, facts such as which Tube stops were unusable due to bombing raids were important. I couldn't have my protagonist Ruth catching the train in the wrong place. When I was able to finally visit London and Hastings in 2015, it was thrilling to walk and stand where Ruth had been.

Ruth's story begins in a small, fictional town on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee, a town very similar to my own.


A view of the mountains from Lake Winnipesaukee


A waterfall on one of the islands


A summer cottage Ruth might have
seen while canoeing with Lill





Then she follows clues to London...

Hyde Park: One of the place's Ruth loved to visit.

The Tower of London

Tower Bridge from outside the Tower.
Ruth would have seen this when she followed Roger
to the docks on the River Thames



Big Ben (which is actually the name of the bell
inside Elizabeth Tower) that Ruth would have
seen while prowling the streets for stories

Victoria Memorial that Ruth would
have seen as she walked past
Buckingham Palace


I hope you've enjoyed your virtual tour of London. Be sure to read about Ruth's adventures in Under Fire, available from eLectio Publishing.