Saturday, January 28, 2017

Blog Tour: Summer on Sunset Ridge

Blog Tour: Summer on Sunset Ridge


Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book


Book: Summer on Sunset Ridge, Freedom Series Book 1  

Author: Sharlene MacLaren  

Genre: Historical Christian Romance

Brought up on a Quaker farm near Philadelphia at the brink of the Civil War, plainspoken Rebecca Albright is charitable, peace-loving, submissive—and a feisty abolitionist. Determined to aid the Underground Railroad no matter what the cost, her path collides with that of formidable slave-catcher Clay Dalton. When Rebecca is assigned to nurse Clay back to health following a near-fatal gunshot wound, her uneasiness around him and the questions surrounding his mysterious past complicate their strained but developing relationship.

Sherriff Clay Dalton is grimly fighting several battles of his own as he stays on at the Albright farm to work off his debt to the family that has saved his life and taken him in. He is torn between his past commitments in the South and his unlikely present among this quiet Quaker community in the North. Almost against his will, he begins to ponder the impossible idea of a future with Rebecca.…

When tensions between North and South escalate, Rebecca and Clay find themselves propelled on a journey to discover just who God has called them to be, and they soon realize that each holds a key to the other’s answer.

My Thoughts

Rebecca Albright is the oldest daughter in a devout Quaker family who is mired in the Underground Railroad. An incident on her first mission brings her to the brink of death and into the path of slave catcher Sheriff Clay Dalton. Author MacLaren uses authentic “plain” language and vivid description to evoke the pre-Civil War era and Quaker community in Pennsylvania. Historical information is effectively woven throughout Summer on Sunset Ridge educating the reader without being ponderous. Characters are well-developed and likeable.

About the Author


Sharlene MacLaren Born and raised in western Michigan, award-winning, bestselling author Sharlene MacLaren attended Spring Arbor University. After graduating, she traveled with a nationally touring Christian vocal ensemble, returning home to Spring Arbor to marry her husband, Cecil, whom she’d known since childhood. Together they raised two daughters. Now happily retired after teaching elementary school for 31 years, “Shar” enjoys reading, singing in the church choir and worship teams, traveling, and spending time with her husband, children, and grandchildren. Her novels include the contemporary romances Through Every Storm, Long Journey Home, and Tender Vow; the beloved Little Hickman Creek series (Loving Liza Jane, Sarah, My Beloved, Courting Emma, and Christmas Comes to Little Hickman Creek, a novella), and three historic romance trilogies: The Daughters of Jacob Kane (Hannah Grace, Maggie Rose, and Abbie Ann); River of Hope (Livvie’s Song, Ellie’s Haven, and Sofia’s Secret); Tennessee Dreams: Heart of Mercy, Threads of Joy, and Gift of Grace.

Blog Stops

January 19: Giveaway Lady
January 20: The Power of Words
January 21: Bigreadersite
January 23: Genesis 5020
January 24: Pause for Tales
January 25: Book by Book
January 26: A Greater Yes
January 27: Splashes of Joy
January 29: Stuff & Nonsense
January 30: cherylbbookblog
January 30: Daysong Reflections
February 1: Rhonda’s Doings


To celebrate Sharlene’s tour, Whitaker House is giving away:

Grand Prize

Brown and tan fashion purse with cross, multiple interior and exterior pockets and


Five Sharlene MacLaren titles: Summer on Sunset Ridge (Forever Freedom #1); Heart of Mercy (Tennessee Dreams #1); Livvie’s Song (River of Hope #1); Hannah Grace (Daughters of Jacob Kane #1); Loving Liza Jane (Little Hickman Creek #1)

Second Prize

“Keepers of the Light” Orange/Cinnamon/Clove candle from and
Summer on Sunset Ridge

Third Prize

Summer on Sunset Ridge

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post to earn 9 extra entries in the giveaway!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Mystery Monday: Who is Helen McCloy?

Mystery Monday: Who is Helen McCloy?

Courtesy AZQuotes
When one's parents are an author and a newspaper editor can a daughter choose any career but that of a novelist? Similar to children of actors who grow up to be actors, perhaps it is the same with writers.

Born on June 6, 1904, Helen Clarkson received a top-shelf education. She attended the Brooklyn Friends School run by the Brooklyn's Quaker community then following graduation traveled to France and studied at the Sorbonne. Remaining in France, she obtained a job with Universal News Service (a Hearst company). Five years later she quit to become an art critic and contributor to the London Morning Post.

Returning to America in 1932, Helen began to write mysteries and created the pseudonym Helen McCloy. Her first novel, Dance with Death, was published in 1938. Success came quickly, and she published one book a year for the next ten years. Helen continued to publish books until the late 1970s, half of which were part of her Dr. Basil Willing series, the other half were stand alone novels.

Hailed by many critics as one of the greatest writers, Helen explored topics such as the psychology of Fascism, human sensory perception, and the concept of doppelgängers. Her characters have detailed life histories that are explored throughout the novel. Vivid description enables readers to immerse themselves in each scene.

Helen was an active member of Mystery Writers of America and was its female president in 1950. In 1971, she helped found MWA's New England chapter. She was named MWA Grand Master in 1990, and the organization offers a scholarship named in her honor. She passed away in 1994, leaving a long legacy in the mystery writing community.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Traveling Tuesday: Finland

Traveling Tuesday: Finland

Part of Sweden since the 12th Century, Finland became part of Russia after the Swedes lost the Finnish war in 1809. The Russians allowed the country quite a bit of autonomy until 1899 when they attempted to “russify” the Finnish people. This created ill-will on the part of the citizens of Finland, and in the chaotic aftermath of WWI, Finland declared itself independent. A short but bitter civil war followed, before the country became a presidential republic. Unrest continued between Russia and Finland for nearly twenty years until it erupted into the Winter War in 1939.
The war raged for months with the Finnish troops holding off Stalin’s soldiers much longer than expected. Ultimately, the Russians were able to defeat the Finns and as a result received much more territory than originally demanded in the Moscow Peace Treaty. Resentment toward the Russians continued to build, and when Germany invaded Russia in 1941, Finland came to her aid as part of Operation Barbarossa.

Finland had mixed relations with the Allies, indicating that Finland fought beside Germany against the Soviet Union to protect itself. Many countries understood the need for Finland to do whatever it could to protect her citizens. Others maintained that by allowing German aircraft to use airfields in northern Finland made them no better than any of the Axis combatants.

By 1943, Finland sought a way out of the war and formed a new cabinet that instigated negotiations for peace with the Allies and the Russians. The Finnish government felt that Russian demands were once again unrealistic and broke off discussions in early 1944. Finland then fought against the retreating Germans, but by war’s end were charged reparations for the Soviet Union.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Wartime Wednesday: Leprosy and WWII

Wartime Wednesday: Leprosy and WWII

Even today with all the advances in modern medicine, the word leprosy can illicit feelings of fear and/or disgust. Once thought to be highly contagious, the disease is now easily treatable and very rare, typically only found in areas of abject poverty. Named Hansen's Disease for the Norwegian physician Gerhard Armauer Hansen who identified the bacterium responsible for the disease, leprosy has been known for thousands of years.

So what does Hansen's disease have to do with WWII?

A Filipino woman named Josefina "Joey" Guerrero used it spy on behalf of the Allied forces. Orphaned at an early age, Joey was raised by her uncle in Manila. She married a physician, and shortly thereafter gave birth to a daughter. The wealthy socialite was the belle of the ball. Life looked bright.

Then in 1941, Joey was diagnosed with leprosy. As required by the laws of the time, Joey was separated from her family - her young husband and her two-year-old daughter. She never saw her husband again, and only saw her daughter once.

Rather than allow the disease to dictate her actions, Joey used it to her advantage. By this time, her country was suffering under the brutal occupation of the Japanese who imprisoned both Filipinos and Americans. Visiting the camps, Joey brought food and medical supplies to the prisoners. But just as important was the information she carried from the camps to the Filipino Underground, information overheard from the Japanese guards who spoke freely in front of their incarcerated charges.

Because of her disease, Joey received cursory inspections from the guards. As mentioned, leprosy was thought to be highly contagious, and the soldiers were terrified of contracting it. Thus, the notes and messages she carried in her baskets or on her person went undetected.

When the Allied forces captured Luzon in 1944, Joey volunteered to work as an official spy for the Americans, carrying secret messages and mapping minefields. Credited with saving hundreds of lives, Joey was awarded the Medal of Freedom with Silver Palm, the highest award a civilian can earn.

If you want to learn more about this fascinating woman, check out Ben Montgomery's new book The Leper Spy.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Mystery Monday: Ada E. Lingo

Mystery Monday: Ada E. Lingo

"A better-than-average mystery in which a girl reporter in a small Texas oil town turns detective and helps find the murderer of wealthy oil man John Fordham and his banker." (Wisconsin Library Bulletin March 1936)

"Gushers gush and revolvers shoot silently and a young society reporter and her boyfriend scour the country in search of a murderer. It's not as hard-boiled as it sets out to be, but it is crowned with excitement and keeps you guessing." (Chicago Daily Tribune, October 1935)

These are but two of the reviews for Ada Emma Lingo's mystery Murder in Texas, the only novel she ever published.

Born in Fort Worth, Texas in 1908, Ada and her family moved to Louisiana so her father could take a job with Oakdale Ice and Light Company. Her mother passed away in 1919, and as a salesman her father was constantly on the road, so Ada was shuffled around between several relatives in Texas until she graduated high school.

Nicknamed Rusty because of her red hair, Ada was an excellent athlete as well as an outstanding scholar. She received degrees in Journalism from the Collect of Industrial Arts and the University of Missouri before obtaining a job with New York World, Joseph Pulitzer's newspaper.

The paper ceased publication in 1931, but by then Ada had married Charles Trabue Hatcher, an engineer and older by eleven years. Unfortunately the union proved to be an unhappy one, and shortly after the birth of their daughter, the couple separated and ultimately divorced. Ada moved back to Big Spring, Texas where she went to work for the Daily Herald as the Society Editor, writing Murder in Texas in her off-hours.

However, she couldn't have had much free time, because she was also pursuing a medical degree. She went through the pre-med program at Baylor University, and then received her doctoral fromTexas University Med School.

Apparently medicine rather held her attention more so than writing, because Ada only wrote one other manuscript that was never published before relocating to Los Angeles where she started her practice and became a renowned cancer specialist. In her later years, she moved to Olympia, Washington where she passed away in 1988 at the age of 79.

In an effort to keep the memory alive of the writers from the Golden Age of Detective Fiction, Coachwhip Publications has issue a new edition.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Chaz Powell

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Chaz Powell

Inspiration for Chaz Powell
Last week I introduced readers to the Allison White, one of two main characters in my soon-to-be-released novelette. This week I’m interviewing Chaz Powell, Allison’s former fiancĂ©.

LM: Thanks for stopping by Chaz. Why don’t you tell us a bit about yourself?

Chaz: Well, there’s not a lot to tell. I was raised in Purley, outside of London. That’s where I met Allison. We attended the same church. I was smitten as soon as I saw her. Anyway, we started walking out together, but the war came and I was called up. Because I’ve always been fascinated with flight, I chose the RAF.

LM: Being a pilot seems rather glamorous, but I would imagine it’s hard work. What was your experience like?

Chaz: Being a pilot is far from glamorous. There is lots of training. Before I was even allowed in an aircraft I attended lectures, received vaccinations, learned how to march, salute, and lay out my kit. The lectures covered aircraft recognition, navigation, Morse code, and mathematics. I was also subjected to lots of physical training. But it was all worth it, because there is nothing like flying. There is nothing like the sensation of freedom after bumping along the runway.

LM: Which aircraft did you fly?

Chaz: I received my training in both fighters and bombers. I was assigned as a fighter pilot and flew both Hurricanes and Spitfires. Most of the lads liked the Hurri, but I much prefer the Spitfire.

LM: You veered off course and were shot down over Germany. How did that happen?

Chaz: During any air battle, there is a tremendous amount of smoke and fire in addition to the clouds. When my aircraft was hit, my instrumentation went haywire. I didn’t realize it wasn’t working properly until some of the cloud cover cleared and I didn’t recognize the landmarks below. Then I was hit again and because my ejector seat didn’t function properly, I went down with the plane.

German Nazi Resistance Flag
LM: You landed in Germany near the border of France. How were you able to get back to England?

Chaz: I was one of the lucky ones-I survived the crash. The farm where I landed belonged to a family involved in the Resistance. They used their network to spirit me into France and then across the channel into England. Many people risked their lives to transport me.

LM: Thanks for you stopping by, and thank you for your service during the war.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Wartime Wednesday: Escape Lines

Wartime Wednesday: Escape Lines

Chaz Powell is one of two protagonists in my upcoming not-yet-titled novelette. An RAF pilot during WWII, he veers off course during a mission and crash lands in Germany near the French border. He survives the crash but must make his way back to England. He is helped by members of the German Resistance. In researching the Resistance, I discovered there were regular escape lines all over Europe that assisted escaping troops and downed airmen return to Allied countries. Here are just three of the more famous routes:

Pat O'Leary Line: Centered on the Mediterranean Coast, this route was used primarily to bring servicemen from the north of France to Marseille, over the Pyrenees Mountains into Spain. By crossing the mountains, official checkpoints were bypassed as well as contact with German patrols. The name of the route was taken from the alias of Belgium doctor Albert Guerisse who claimed to be French Canadian Pat O'Leary when he was picked up by the Vichy French Coast Guard during a 1941 mission. Ultimately taking over command of the escape route, Guerisse used the alias for the duration of the war. One report indicates that between 1940 and 1944, over 33,000 successful escapes were made along the Pyrenees (a mountain range over 300 miles long that reaches a height of over 11,000 feet)

The Comete Route: This line started in Brussels went through the south of France into Spain and then
to Gibraltar. Created by a young woman from Belgium named Andree de Jonghe, the line was officially sanctioned by British intelligence in 1940 after Andree showed up at the British consulate with a British soldier. When France came under direct Nazi rule, the line became dangerous to use, and by 1942 it had begun to crumble because of betrayals and arrests.

The Shelburne Route: Created in 1944, Wikipedia claims this route is the only escape line not infiltrated by the Nazis. Perhaps because of its short-lived usage, perhaps because it began so close to the end of the war. From Paris, escapees made their way to the beach at Anse Cochat near Plouha where they were shipped across the English Channel to Dartmouth. The use of this line was suspended when preparations for the D-Day invasion began.

No matter which escape line was used individuals were given clothes, identity papers, and food before setting off on their journey. Guides took them to a location where the next guide would pick them up. Members who participated did so at great risk to themselves and their families.